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March 11, 12:06 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

Hello all and welcome to another fantasy chat session! We're going heavy on the baseball today as we get closer to the season... so, let's get going! Any questions?

Joe (monticello, Mn)

Please name me a pitcher that will be great in 2-3 years?

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

David Price... Tommy Hanson jump to mind!

Mike (indy)

Hey Eric....Can you tell me who will be closing for the Rockies, Mariners, A's, and Cardinals? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

My guess is Huston Street over Manny Corpas in Colorado.... Mariners turn to Mark Lowe originally, but it's a shared job, and you might not desire any Seattle relievers ... Oakland turns to Joey Devine, definitely ... and the Cards, they tend to change their mind every day. I think it's Chris Perez, but certainly Jason Motte and even Ryan Franklin have a chance.

matt (dc)

thoughts on carlos pena this year? still a lock for 30+ homers and 100+ rbi's?

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

I wouldn't say a lock for either, but a good bet. The Rays are going to score plenty o' runs...

Aaron from Boston

Hi Eric, just wondering who to keep in a h2h auction keeper league....Alex Rios $15 or Geovanny Soto $10?

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

I would probably keep Rios. Good price on both guys, but Rios is just a better fantasy option, and not so bad for his position either. I don't think Soto takes a step back, but Rios does more, and for that small difference in price, I'd take the better player.

Arnie (NY)

Eric, I have a farm draft after my AL auction. Have the 3rd pick and need someone who can contribute by next year. Who would you pick. G. Bechkam,Smoak,Viciedo or LaPorta. Thanks for your help.

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

Well, LaPorta will be a contributor by 2010, and he should be a legit power hitter right away. I think Viciedo will get his chance this season, though. Smoak won't be ready next year, probably not Beckham either.

Ethan (SF)

Is Kendry Morales in line for 400+ AB's at 1st? If so, what do you project for him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

As of now Kendy is the Angels first baseman, so he should get 400 at-bats easily if he hits. Maybe they platoon him, but I could see Morales hitting 12-15 home runs, a good amount of doubles, maybe 70 RBIs and a .280 average. So I see a breakout of sorts, but only because he gets to play.

Billy (Atlanta)

I can keep 2 of these, so who, why and what is expected during the year? They are Garza, Derek Lowe and Scott Baker.

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Well, I like Baker the best of these guys, someone who should become a decent strikeout pitcher. Garza is not a K pitcher yet, consistently. As for Lowe, you know what you'll get, safe ERA around 4, he'll win double digits. Just doesn't have the same upside.

Hal(NYC)

Is Utley going to be healthy, would you take him 8th overall or Tex in 14 team draft?

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

I would take Utley, and not look back. I like Teixeira, but to take two players who each hit around 30 home runs, and not more than that, wouldn't you go with the one at a scarce position? I argued for Ryan Howard over Teixeira last week, then convinced myself of it. Teix hits 30 homers, but lots of people do. In fact, Howard has 95 homers in two years, Teix 96 in three! Anyway, Utley will be fine. More than 30 homers, and my choice over Teix.

Barry (Milwaukee, WI)

Do you still see Josh Hamilton as a risk to miss a good amount of ABs? Should we expect 1st half Hamilton or 2nd half Hamilton this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

That's one of the biggest draft day fallacies about individuals. Hamilton didn't have a bad second half, he just couldn't sustain the RBI rate because people weren't on base as much. Hamilton walked more, so he could use protection, but I see an easy 35 homers here. I don't think injuries are a problem.

Patrick (Potland, OR)

There is a lot of hype this year with Yovani Gallardo, how well do you see him do?

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

I just spoke highly of him on ESPNEWS, predicting borderline ace numbers. More than 15 wins, 180 Ks, I don't see a reason to worry here. The injury was an ACL, a fluky collision. Gallardo is a top-20 pitcher.

Rick(Chicago)

Will it be Gardner,Melky,or Swisher as NYY Starting CF?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

I think each will get to play, but Gardner could lock the job up if he'd get on base enough. He can be the best fantasy option here and swipe 30 bases if he played enough. Swisher probably shares DH duty with Hideki Matsui, which isn't good for either of them. And Melky just doesn't hit.

Jacob, Portland:

Who are your 5 hitters that you think will break out?

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

I don't know if this is in order, but off the top of my head, Sandoval in San Fran, Lind in Toronto, Brandon Wood to a degree for the Angels (power, not average), Fontenot, Elijah Dukes, Andy LaRoche (I believe, kinda)...

Michael (AZ):

Eric, no one wants to answer my question...can I get some sympathy for just having my laptop dropped (still working though!)? How do you feel about a couple of potential post-hype guys: Billy Butler and Chase Headley?

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

Not a fan at all of Butler in KC. He hits lefties, not righties, has no value defensively, and the Royals will play him, but I see a misleading 15 home runs, .270 average. Helpful, but I don't think he totally breaks out yet. I like Headley better, but it might be tough to hit more than 20 homers in San Diego. And he needs to be back at third base.

Jasper (Philly)

EK, really need advice on this one: Pence or Ethier?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

I would take Pence because he can steal bases. He's not a good basestealer, but I could see 15 or so, and similar power to Ethier. Watch Ethier become ordinary now that he's not hitting one spot ahead of Manny...

Brett (Raleigh)

Rank the big 3 second basemen. Pedroia, Utley, and Kinsler.

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

I still think it's Utley, Pedroia and then Kinsler in round 3.

Dan (Phoenix, AZ)

DO you feel Wieters would be a good pick even though it looks like he will start in the minors?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

Yeah, I keep taking him, so I'm not too concerned. Maybe he's in the minors all of April, but don't let him go; he's my No. 6 catcher, and that's with five months of work projected, with everyone else getting six months!

don (sf)

Philly fan here, and really, can you take Utley in round 1? Shouldn't you minimize risk early in drafts? Set backs? Slow start? aren't pedrioa and kinsler more worthy of a round 1 selection?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

Kinsler is no less of a risk with his injury history, and Pedroia is a risk too because he might not sustain the power or the speed. But I also believe Utley when he says he's playing on Opening Day. I normally minimize risk, but I'm not scared of Utley at pick 12-14 or so (not in round 1), or A-Rod later in round 2.

Jeff (CA)

What are you thoughts on Joba? Does he stay in the SP rotation or perhaps go back to RP? Should I drop Carpenter for Joba?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

The Yankees should give him every opportunity to start, until he shows that he either can't sustain the energy, or his arm/shoulder hurts. I'm not saying he will get hurt, or run outta gas, but I'd say he makes around 25 starts. The Yankees should be a bit cautious. I don't think the Yankees need to or will put him in the bullpen unless injuries, ala Papelbon a few years back, dictate.

Brett (Los Angeles, CA)

Eric...I'm a big believer in waiting until the latter half of the draft for my catcher...are the Rockies going to give Iannetta enough at-bats to reach 20-25 HRs? I'm never sure what their thinking is with wasting ABs on Torrealba. Thanks.

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

I normally wait a while on catchers as well. I'd take the under on Iannetta hitting 20 homers, but he's a legit top-10 catcher for the middle rounds.

Tim (CT)

Will the Dominican's early exit from the WBC do to the big leaguers that were on the team? will it hurt or help them?

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

Nothing that happens in the WBC means a thing for fantasy, unless it's an injury.

Eric (Boston)

Braves fan here, same first name. What is the average round that Hanson is going your Mock drafts? Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

He's not going in mixed leagues, and I agree, I wouldn't take him in a 10-rounder. I mean, guys like Hiroki Kuroda don't even go in that shallow of a draft. I'm talking larger formats, or NL-only.

Matthew Berry (Bristol, CT)

I bet you can't chat for 13 hours straight.

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

I bet you're right. Btw everyone, check out what Matthew did on Monday. More power to him...http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=25421

Eric (Fort Collins CO)

Unless I missed it, it doesnt appear that Dukes is being drafted in your experts mock drafts so far. Why not if you are expecting a breakout year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

Well, I can't draft everyone I like. Remember how shallow the 10-team leagues are. I think Dukes actually is worthy - very worthy - in that type of league, but not sure why he didn't go.

John (Florida)

Would you part ways with Cantu for a Carlos Gullien or Melvin Mora?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

Three guys I doubt can duplicate their 2008 numbers... I'd probably go Mora. I seem to be getting him late because nobody wants him.

Josh (Raleigh, NC)

Who do you like best for a long-term keeper league: Pedro Alvarez, Jason Heyward or Madison Baumgarner?

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

Alvarez. I think he's a can't-miss bat at third base for the Pirates in two seasons. I'm always skeptical about pitchers. They have their "Adenhart" year where for no good reason they stink, and all of a sudden they're not so popular. Not saying Baumgarner will struggle, but I'm more comfortable with bats.

HD (NY)

Nice work, EK. How does this potential injury impact E Santana's keeper value? Is he missing a week, a month, etc.? I was planning to keep him in Rd 21 and Peralta in Rd 14. BUt, I can opt to keep Greinke in Rd 12 and Peralta in 21. Is the latter a better option in light of Santana's status?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

I would be very concerned about Ervin Santana. The Angels say it's a few weeks, but that could easily be a long-term issue that results in surgery. Keep Greinke. The round you lose is important, of course, but don't let it dictate major decisions.

Dave (Tampa)

EK, You say nothing in the WBC matters, but how about being overworked? Adrian Gonzalez played in the Caribbean Series, straight to spring training, then the WBC. No worries about him tailing this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Nope, not one worry. He's a hitter. They don't get tired. I'd keep an eye on certain pitchers, but then again, plenty of pitchers who don't appear in the WBC will be hurt in April as well. There's no hard evidence to avoid WBC players.

Lovel (DC)

Thoughts on Chris B. Young (Ari OF) this season. Any chance of duplicating the 2007 season? Also, over/under on 22 homers for Travis Snider of the Blue Jays.

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

I like Young as a possible 25/25 guy, and hope he can hit .270 or so one of these seasons. I'd settle for .255 if he goes 25/25. And the under for Snider, but I do think he's a legit power prospect. I'd rather draft Adam Lind.

Horn (Wintersville, Oh)

Speaking of LAA pitching, will Adenhart earn a roation spot and what is his 2009 outlook?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

Adenhart is un-projectable after the disaster his 2008 was, in the majors and really the minors as well. I have my eye on this Shane Loux fella.

Tim (Santa Fe, NM)

What do you expect out of Volstad? Is he a similar pitcher to Derek Lowe?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

Yeah, I think he can keep his home run rate low, and he'll never be a major strikeout guy, so that's pretty much D.Lowe at this point. Volstad is being underdrafted, a nice late pick for 12 wins, 3.75 ERA or so.

sergio martinez (mcallen,tx)

Is T.O. the key for Bills?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

Ha! Football! I think Terrell Owens will get his 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, not a top-5 WR, but in the 5-10 range. And I'd move Trent Edwards into the 15-18 range among quarterbacks.

Vince (Greencastle, PA)

Does Scherzer nail down a starting spot even though he is behind from being hurt ?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

I think he has a rotation spot waiting for him, but I do expect the D-backs to be cautious and start Max on the DL for a few weeks. They should. No need to force him into 30 starts.

Harold (Boston)

In a long-term keeper league, who do I draft first: Josh Johnson or Tommy Hanson? Should I be worried about JJ's health? What's Hanson's ceiling and eta?

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

I still take good young pitchers like Josh Johnson over prospects. Johnson should be the Florida ace this season, and very good. Hanson could make 20 starts in theory this season, but we don't know yet. I'd take Johnson, even in a long-term league.

Newbies ( everywhere across ESPN mock drafts)

How many closers is enough to contend in H2H?

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

None. Really, in h2h, you don't need any. I normally take a lot of them, at least 4, so I have more pitchers active each day, and my entire bench is starting pitchers.

Ben (Bellflower, CA)

What kind of numbers do you see Josh Fields having this year? Do you think he starts at third base the whole season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

I think he'll have a tough time hitting over .260, but the power should be there. I did take Dayan Viciedo recently in a mock draft just to make sure, but I think Fields will be a 20-homer guy easily.

Mike (New York)

There is an argument as to what pitching category to add in my roto league becuase we added OPS as a 6th hitting category. Do you recommend holds, losses, opponents batting average or quality starts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

I have quality starts in two of my good leagues, but I think in each case it's in place of wins. They are similar. We also have home runs allowed in one league, so you want to get ground-ball types.

Sam (DC)

over/under on saves for JJ Putz?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Eight. And I take the under.

Roger (NM)

Is Adam Dunn worth a 5th round pick in a league that uses OBP instead of AVG? Will the move to the Nationals hurt his power numbers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Yes, he is absolutely worth a fifth round pick because the only reason he isn't now is his batting average. And I don't see why he can't hit 40 home runs again. His power is not because of ballpark.

Steve (Denver)

Over/Under 20 Saves for Qualls?

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

Over. I think he keeps the closer job and saves 32.

Jeff (Boston)

How do you rank Utley, Braun and a 3B eligible Cabrera?

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

I'd go Cabrera, then Braun, and then Utley. Hey, I like Utley and think he's healthy, but he's not in my top 10.

Ira (nyc)

Do you ever use middle relievers in your rotation? I was thinking about punting saves and going with a JP Howell and a Durbin or something like that.

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

I never aim to punt in a roto league, but in h2h, I'd consider it. Just make sure you get the right middle relievers. I doubt Chad Durbin has the same year he just did. In roto leagues I might go 5 starting pitchers, 3 closers and one Ryan Madson type.

Greg (Atlanta)

EK: Freel or Snider? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

20 homers versus 20 steals. Based on upside I'd take Snider and get the steals elsewhere.

Louis C (France)

I dont understand why Adrian G is ranked so low. Please explain. I am thinking about taking him with 26th pick.

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

He's our No. 10 first baseman, so he seems pretty safe to me. I agree he's a bit low in the ranks, and see no reason for worry, but top-30 seems a bit too high.

John (WV)

Over/Under 15 Saves for Arredendo

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

Under. Way under. Like 3 or 4 saves. Fuentes should be fine for 35 saves.

Joe (NY, NY)

Can't Nady play 3rd base? I'm sure thats where he started with San Diego.

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

Xavier Nady has played 3 games in his major league career at third base. I'd think using Cody Ransom, a good fielder, over trying to force Nick Swisher's bat into the lineup where Nady would be is a better option. Fantasy owners of Yankees pitchers wouldn't want Nady at third base, especially an extreme ground baller like Chien Ming Wang.

Collin (Tulsa)

Looking at Rangers camp in Suprise, AZ... Chris Davis 24 AB and 12 K, ZERO HR. Foreshadowing the 2009 season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

I wouldn't read a thing into that, but would it surprise me if he's a draft day bust, no. I don't want to compare Davis to Josh Fields from 2007, and I'm not, really, but let's just say I haven't drafted Davis anywhere. Just being cautious.

Kevin (New York, NY)

Following up on Dunn, where do you rank him overall in a league that uses OBP instead of AVG? Top 5 1B?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

Well, he's not 1B eligible yet, but top-20 outfielder.

Hardy (Jacksonville, IL)

In keeper leagues: What pick# should I target Wieters, Price, Rasmus, and Maybin?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

Impossible to say. Depends how deep the league, among many other factors. I will say you're probably not going to go great if you take them all in one draft. Chances are good a few of these guys will disappoint.

Moe

How hurt is Ben Sheets? Worth $1 and sit on him for awhile?

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

This year's Freddy Garcia. Maybe he makes a few starts late in the season, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Rick(Chicago)

Which Oakland Pitcher has most upside: Gallagher,Gonzalez,Cahill? Thanks.

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

I think it's clearly Cahill, but probably not in 2009. I don't think Gio Gonzalez will be special. Gallagher looks like a fourth starter. Cahill and Anderson could be aces.

Joe (Akron)

ERIC - I read your comment on Chris Getz/2B job battle for the WhiteSox. What about Gordon Beckham? Although listed as SS, would he take over at 2B sometime this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

I don't think the White Sox need to rush him if someone else, one of the scappy dudes, would just emerge. It appears Getz is that guy, and judging by how bad Jerry Owens has been, Getz could hit leadoff. I doubt we see Beckham this season.

Dave (DC)

Thoughts on Howie Kendrick for 2009? Top 10 second baseman or DL flunky?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Until he actually gets 500 at-bats in a season -best he's done is 340! - I can't draft him until late. Also, no power, moderate speed. Kendick doesn't excite me one bit, and he can't stay healthy.

Steve

Will we see improvement in Victorino this year or are his numbers on target for his production going forward?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

I don't see him getting any better than how he is now. And remember, the Phillies thought about moving him. He has a contract, but if he ever left Philly ... see Aaron Rowand. Victorino's 2008 seems like his ceiling to me.

Dave (Tampa)

Are you a believer in Alexei Ramirez or is he too free-swinging?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Both. I'm a believer and he is too free swinging. But like Alfonso Soriano, he can overcome this. And you have to love the multi eligibility (eventually).

Joe (Boston)

What do you think of Bobby Abreu this year? Good #2 outfielder?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

I have no concerns about Abreu starting a steep decline. Seems like another 20/20 season with 100 RBIs to me.

Mark (Austin, TX)

What are you thoughts on Jed Lowrie this season? Is he worthy a starting position on a team in 16-team league?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

I don't know. In a deep league, he has value, but I think Julio Lugo wins the job at short and has a bounceback season. I bet Lowrie is Mike Lowell insurance at third base, and gets a decent amount of time there.

Jon (Boston)

Thoughts on Jose Lopez, can he put up a Pedoia-like season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

No, no, no. He can hit 20 homers, but he's not topping .300, or running. No, no, no.

chris (sc)

Who do you like this year in a Keeper league,Carlos Beltran or Manny Ramirez?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

I like Beltran more in a keeper and non-keeper. Nothing against Manny, but I don't assume he hits .396 again. How about .320 with 30 homers. Beltran and his steals are worth more.

Tim (Pelkie, MI)

Considering age and decline, Hart or Abreau?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Similar. I take Abreu first, because I'm not so sure Hart ever does more than this, and Abreu is safer. And remember, he had a very good season, and is playing for another contract.

Jay (Chicago)

You mention Josh Hamilton's didn't have a bad second half but his SLG% went down 54 points...that has nothing to do with who was on base in front of him.

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

He hit .296 with 11 homers and his OPS was .874 in the second half. I wouldn't call that a bad second half. He didn't match his first half, but if the guy can slug .500 for the season and hit 35 homers, no complaints.

Cory (Detroit)

Who do you see having the best year pitching in Boston? Beckett, Dice, or Lester?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

Normal draft, Beckett goes first. In terms of value, Lester is easily the choice.

Goose (Chicago)

You worried about Hamilton's 33.0% career flyball rate? Very low for a player if you expect 35-40 HRs.

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

His career is what, a year and a half? We can all make anyone look good or bad based on numbers, and I'm not being mean, but I just happen to think Hamilton will get even better.

Jason (Tampa, FL)

Why is Nick Markakis hyped so much higher then Corey Hart? Doesn't Hart's 10 more SB cancel out Markakis' higher AVG?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

When you factor in the RBIs, no, I don't think it does.

Mike ( Missoula, MT)

Who is the better keeper? BJ Upton or Kemp?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

I'm a believe in BJ Upton hitting 15-plus homers, but Kemp is safer.

Teg (Paso Robles, CA)

which position do you feel is the least important to focus on in a H2H league and draft towards the end???

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Shallow league, probably starting pitcher. There's plenty of it and most of us stream starts.

Kyle (Seattle)

Sounds to me like someone drafted Hamilton in a few leagues and is trying to defend his selection despite questionable peripherals.

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Please. I don't do that. He's being overdrafted based on his unfathomable first half RBI totals.

Cody Philly

EK was is Price's value this year, will he be a starter all year or have inning restrictions. Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Starter, but I doubt he makes more than 25 starts. Probably starts the year with a short minor league stint...

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK boys and girls, tried to get to everyone's question, but thanks to everyone who asked. Enjoy your week... the season is almost here!