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March 6, 11:15 AM ET
Fantasy Sports w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

Good morning gang! Time for more fantasy goodness, as we'll tackle as many Q's as we can over the next hour. Who on first?

John (Toronto)

Name Game! Standard 10 team Roto Cano or Uggla?

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

Much higher on Danny Boy. The average is a bit of a drag, but the power numbers are far higher.

Steve (Jacksonville)

AJ, how do you rank Span, Kubel, and Nelson Cruz?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

It's an interesting question because this is a case where if I were selecting in a one season only league, I'd probably go Kubel, Span, Cruz... but in a keeper, I'd flip it entirely and go Cruz, Span, Kubel. On potential, it's clearly Cruz. On "safety" it's Kubel.

Joe (Morris Plains, NJ)

what do you think about nyjer morgan?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Good speed, but not much else. He'll get a chance to keep the LF job for this year, but better prospects Pearce and McCutcheon are looming.

James (Boston)

Hey AJ, while I don't want to draft Arod in the first place, in a 14 team league, how many rounds would he have to fall before you decided to draft him?

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

I wrote about A-Rod in the fantasy blog yesterday. I was down on A-Rod from the get-go, b4 the steroids talk, b4 the cyst. Now, I believe he will have surgery and that the Yankees are posturing with this "he'll play through it. I would have to assume he's missing half the season and wait until I had a solid 3B already on my roster before I take a shot at him.

Your Disciple (Atlanta, GA)

I created a modified form of your "Pierre" rankings that is specific to my league for both hitters and pitchers. The problem I am having is figuring out how to integrate the rankings together to make decisions on when I should draft a pitcher over a hitter. Last year I made my #1 pitcher equivalent to the #10 hitter's value and just scaled the pitcher rankings. Do you have any better ideas? I think comparing pitchers to hitters makes drafting for fantasy baseball way more difficult than drafting for fantasy football.

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

Kudos on the effort, my paduwon. I usually scale starting pitchers to 80 percent and relievers to 20 percent of their values when comparing apples to oranges. It is indeed a delicate science.

Frank (NY)

AJ, What kind of season do you see from Ryan Dempster this year? He seems to be dropping very far in mock drafts i've done. Do you think he's a top30 pitcher this year? Does he duplicate, or come close to duplicating, last years numbers?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

I think he falls a bit. His skill set indicates a decline is forthcoming, but having said that, his numbers were so good last year, that I still would put him at the tail end of the top 20 starters even with a fall off.

Lando

So with A-Rod sliding out of the top 10 (possibly top 20?), how do you rank the top 5? With 3B already thin before the A-Rod debacle, I assume the already hot David Wright starts burning even brighter.

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

My top 5 do not change, because I was already projecting a "down year" for A-Rod, by his standards. Since I already had Wright as my No. 1 3B, I'm not raising him any... Jose Reyes Albert Pujols Grady Sizemore Hanley Ramirez David Wright

Kyle (LA)

I've got the ninth pick in a 10-team league. I am hoping Miggy is there for me, but who would be the consolation prize? Utley? Linceum, Rollins, Longoria? Thanks AJ!

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

I think Utley would be the pick here, as 2B is far scarcer than any other position, IMO.

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

Should fantasy owners be worried about Johan Santana with his small shoulder problem, or do you expect him to have a 20 win season?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

Worried is perhaps too strong a word. Concerned? Yes. Certainly, moving Johan back a few days to start the season will have little effect on his fantasy value... after all, he can pick up the start he misses after the All-Star break with a little rotation juggling. The concern though is that this is not the time of year you want to be hearing any doubts about a shoulder problem. Compare it to Brandon Webb who has similar shoulder issues, but all the talk is "I feel fine" and nothing to be concerned about. The fact that the Mets have even a little concern is reason to be concerned, but until he actually misses that first start, it's not going to drop him in my evaluation.

Steiny (NYC)

Will Ricky Nolasco put up nice numbers?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

I hope so - he's my sleeper special and I have him projected to be a top-10 starter in 09.

Kane Troy, Ny [via mobile]

how long should I wait to draft a closer? roto scoring

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

The mantra here at ESPN.com is "Never pay for saves!" in a roto league. I'd wait until at least my starting lineup and first few starters are in place before thinking about it.

Ben (Tempe, AZ)

What do you think about a max innings pitched each week for a head to head categories league?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

It's essential. Cycling is a scourge on the game, and I would take all steps to minimize it. Additionally, I prefer to use ratio categories over quantitative categories. (For example K/9 rather than K.)

Justin (Natick, MA)

As much as I love the guy, Beckett just seems poised for an awful year. Watching him all last year, he was hit harder than ever before, resulting in a ghastly 25% LD. What can we expect out of Josh this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

I actually disagree completely. The K/9 was good. The BB/9 was decent. The HR/9 was acceptable. I think if anything, he was a tad unlucky... because I still think he's one of the elite pitchers if you analyze the skill set.

Luke (Statesboro, Ga.)

Are players valued different for h2h rather than Roto?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

In general I'd say no - at least in relationship to each other. I'm still drafting a 30-30 hitter before a 15-15 hitter, since I have no way of really predicting when either will be "streaky". However, because you need to compete in each category each week, for H2H, I actually would try and snare several closers in the first 10 rounds to maximize the chances that in any given week I can win that category. I also would draft starters a little earlier than normal, since you can win a week (under many scoring systems) simply by having more 2-start pitchers than your opponent.

Sexy Question Lady (Trying to fool you into answering in Chicago

Hey AJ - Love your stuff since TMR Site!!! NL Only 5X5. W/O any other info - best value Schumaker $1, Lilly $13, or Qualls $10? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

Had to post this one just because the name made me laugh, to be honest. I think Lilly is the best value of the bunch. Schumacher may give you more return when all is said and done,but he is indeed a $1 gamble.

Matt, St.P

I'm in a 10 team H2H league with holds. What's the best way to find holds guys? Is there constent holds guys? Where can I research holds?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

The best holds guys are those one batter specialists. Look to the depth charts and see who the 3rd guy on the list is... that's probably a guy who'll get a lot of holds. But I'd much rather dump that category and focus on the others.

Todd (Philly)

How do you think Texeira will react to Arod's injury and does that have any impact on his pre-draft ranking?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

6 of one, half of another. Sure the Yankees might not score as much with Ransom in the lineup instead of A-Rod, but then again, Tex should get a greater percentage of the team RBI's without A-Rod driving folks in. Do I think he drops a tad... maybe. Enough to affect where I draft him, probably not.

Pete (NJ)

PLEASE RATE!! Volstad. Carmona. Pelfrey. Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

Pelfrey, Volstad, Carmona.

Derek (Boston)

Hey AJ, who would you keep for this season between Cole Hamels and Brandon Webb? I'm concerned about Webb's decline in the 2nd half of last year, but also with Hamels not pitching deep into games and only racking up 14 wins. Any thoughts? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

I like Webb by a hair, especially if you consider how perfect the Phillies pen was last season, and how unlikely they are to be so again. I mean they are both #1 pitchers, but I lean towards Webb.

Jake (Buffalo)

Am I crazy to think Brett Cecil is a better bet for 2009 than David Price? PECOTA loves the kid, great GB rate, good Ks and plenty of opportunity.

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

I think Price is the better bet right now since we KNOW he's going to be on the team, and has some high-pressure experience under his belt. Cecil may well end up in Toronto eventually, but I think Triple-A for at least a few months is more likely.

Arms Race

Who would you take as your ace from CC, Johan, and Timmy Lincecum?

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

Good pool to be choosing from, but I go with CC. I just believe he's built for a heavy workload and will give you more innings at the highest level over the season.

Justin (Houston, TX)

My league plays only 9 offensive players (No CI, no MI, a utility and only 3 outfielders). Since, this is such a small number of offensive players, wouldn?t one lean towards increasing the value of the top SP?s?

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

On the contrary, it would be the reverse, I think. It's even more essential to get the highest production out of each hitting slot, because one dud will cause your point totals to plummet. SP can't get saves, and wins are very much out of their control. You need to have the 5-category hitters even more with a limited number of positions.

Adam (Louisiana)

How do you feel about Peavy and Oswalt this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

I'm down on Peavy. I don't like the recent lack of control and I can't imagine he's going to be all too happy with all that off-season trade hoopla that hovers. If he actually gets dealt, I may boost him a bit depending on the situation, but I am concerned if he stays where he is.

Erik (Atlanta, GA)

AJ, I like to think I generally agree with you more often than the other analysts, so I'm glad to see you're hosting the chat today. What are YOUR expectations for Ryan Ludwick this year? Why is the rest of your staff down on him and so high on Hamilton. If anything, I'd say Ludwick should be considered similar in stats to Hamilton, but for a much lower price/draft pick. Why isn't there more hype about Ludwick?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

For the record, I also have Hamilton ahead of Ludwick, but it is close... Josh is my #15 hitter, Ryan #21. I think the reason for resistance to Ludwick is that it's hard to imagine that last season wasn't a career year and many people don't think he'll be able to sustain it. I actually think he has even more room for growth, so I'm with you.

Nick (Newington)

Who are your favorite Outfielders selected in rounds 6-12?

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

Hard to say when any OF will go in your draft, but judging by ADP, Ellsbury, Quentin, Abreu and Ludwick all jump out with ADP over 60.

Andy Sonnanstine

Am I being overlooked?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

I was so high on you last year, Andy, and you were the guy I touted from the mountaintops, but you let me down. Fool me once... I'd still take you as my #4 SP, but I hesitate to go much higher with you.

ari(deal)

You're on the clock, who do you take Soriano or Lee? Morneau or Fielder? Roberts or Phillips?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Lee, Morneau and Roberts

MJ (SC)

Hey AJ, I ended a conference call early so I could get your valued opinion... Roto Auction league, who do you like better? Markakis @ $23 or Adrian Gonzalez at @18?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

I like Markakis better, but probably not $5 better.

lovely linda lovelace (still kicking it)

buzzer beater........granderson or mclouth as my last keeper?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

Call me crazy, but I believe in first-half Nate.

Fernando (Pembroke Pines Posse)

Obi won El Massive your my only hope, draft on Sunday Utley or Braun 7th pick 12 team h2h is it a reach ???

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Neither would be my #7 pick personally, because I go Pedroia before Utley, but taking a 2B there is fine by me.

John (KC)

Billingsley question--his ESPN projections show him pitching far less innings than last year. Is there an injury concern with him outside of the freak leg injury? Isn't he one of the few SPs who could break in to the top 5-7 this year but is ranked much lower? Any other pitchers that fit that mold come to mind?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Billingsley is a top-20 for me. Greinke and Meche are also pitchers I wouldn't mind taking fliers on to have really solid seasons - Royals may lose 100, but that doesn't mean those two can't win 35-40.

Seth (NJ)

Can you explain why you like Sizemore so much more than Beltran?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

I don't know about "so much" we're talking my #1 and 2 OF. I think Sizemore's average rebounds a bit and he steals (and gets opportunity to steal) a few more bases than Carlos. We're still talking two top-10 hitters here.

Chet (LA)

Does Shin-soo Choo deserve a roster spot in a standard 12-team league?

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

He would, if healthy. I'm not sure that's the case even though he's been cleared to play for Korea in the WBC. Last round flier? Maybe, but I'd rather take the chance on LaPorta.

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

That's all the time we have guys. Thanks for the Q's. Be sure to check out the cool new NCAA Tournament Mini-game we've got planned and we'll see you the next time on Villa Allegre.