Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 25, 11:11 AM ET
Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:00 PM)

Hello there and welcome to another fantasy chat session.... we're getting ever so close to the start of the baseball season. Let's get some questions in here!

Antonio (Boston)

Eric when can we expect to see guys (A-Rod, Santana) who won't be with their teams on Opening Day to get DL-status in our leagues?

Eric Karabell
  (3:01 PM)

A very popular question... when the Yankees make the move to DL A-Rod, we will. Same with Twins and Mauer. As for Johan, I do not expect a DL stint. Some pitchers will be sent to the minors for a week until they are needed to start, but I think Santana and Hamels will be ready.

Jeremy: (Burlington, Vermont)

Will Jordan Schafer be on the opening day roster for Atlanta? What about James McDonald for the Dodgers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

I would say no and yes. The Braves can easily go with Josh Anderson and Gregor Blanco in CF, and Anderson has some fantasy upside as a basestealer. McDonald has a shot to be the LA No. 5 starter right out of the spring. I think he makes the team regardless.

Jason (Crozet)

Is McClung going to be the closer in Brew town by June?

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

I think McClung might get some saves the first week or two of April, but as pessimistic as I have been about Trevor Hoffman, he is still clearly the Brewers closer. Maybe he misses a week or two, but I expect 30 saves and he keeps his job. McClung might have to start games if Looper is out.

Mike (New Jersey)

Hi Eric. Everyone seems to be on the Shin Soo-Choo bandwagon. In a 12 team mixed league that also uses OBP and SLG, where should he be drafted? Thanks.

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

There does seem to be a lot of interest in Choo, which is warranted to a degree. I don't know if 500 at-bats would produce a definite 20 homers, and he's not a basestealer. He should hit for a strong average and knock in runs, though. It's about health. He's never hit consistently without getting hurt before. I won't ever name a round to draft someone, it depends on way too many factors, but I think he can be a fantasy No. 3 outfielder maybe.

Tony (Rochester, MN)

I am trying to round out my roto league categories and am hung up on On Base Percent vs. On Base Plus Slugging. What is your expert opinion?

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

I think OPS is a pretty smart, representative category of how good a player is. You can't fake OPS. Some players have power but don't get on base, and others like Ryan Theriot walk and hit for average but haven't a lick of power. I think on-base plus slugging is the stat to use.

Frank - Conn

EK, can you please name a few AL only players that will start in the minors, but make an impact on fantasy this year (Besides Weiters)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Certainly David Price of the Rays, and I think we'll see LaPorta in Cleveland, Max Ramirez in Texas, Josh Fields eventually in the Seattle bullpen and maybe Dayan Viciedo for the Chi Sox, too. He can hit and is almost ready.

Tony (SF)

Would you rather have Fontenot, Kaz or Kelly Johnson as your staring 2B?

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

I think Kelly Johnson is the safest, but Fontenot could hit more home runs if he plays enough, and Matsui will surely steal more bases even if he plays in only 100 games, which is likely.

Ryan (Richmond)

Which Murphy has a better yer, David or Daniel?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

I think the Mets' Daniel is more likely to play regularly and has a bit more upside for power and batting average. I'm not sure the Rangers expect David to do that again, and they have other options.

Charlie (NH)

Do you believe in Yovani?

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

On the Baseball Tonight Fantasy Draft Special that we just did - it reairs on Thursday night on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET - I called Gallardo a near top-10 ace and someone I would feel comfortable making my first fantasy starting pitcher. I expect at least 180 strikeouts and probably 15 wins as well. So yeah, I believe.

Paulie (Vancouver)

Any clarity on the STL or OAK closer situation?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

I think Jason Motte is the guy to start April, but oh what a short leash he will be on because Chris Perez shouldn't need long to heal his shoulder, and Tony LaRussa has many options really. I think Motte starts that way and could keep the role. In Oakland it would be Joey Devine if he was healthy. I think he's healthy enough for now, and Ziegler lurks.


Being a Philly guy, what do you think of your RF this year? Similar to last year or a was 08 a fluke?

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

I like Jayson Werth but think we'll see him hit fewer home runs and steal fewer bases. I worry about his ability to remain healthy, frankly. Could he go 20/20? I suppose, but let's just say I don't expect more than that. He's fine.


Speaking of Josh Fields, when do you see him coming up and what impact do you see him having? ERA, WHIP, holds or saves?

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

I think the Mariners will realize by midseason that Fields is their best relief pitcher, even if he's in the minors. They may not want to subject Fields to what is looking like a 90-plus loss season, but I could see very good relief numbers and possibly some saves.

Drafting Now HELP!!!!

7th overall pick. Pujols, Miggy or Sizemore. Thanks in advance.

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

Pujols is available at 7? That league is awfully sketchy... For 5-6-7, I happen to rank it Sizemore, Cabrera, Braun. The top 4 is obvious.

Stringer Bell (Baltimore)

Matt Wieters...will he dominate catcher position like Piazza did in the late 90's?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

I think he ends up just outside our top 5 for catchers this season, even if he misses a month or more. Yes, he will be very good, but 40 homers, I don't know about that. Just a very good all-around hitter.

Damon (Louisville)

Longtime reader. Please settle an argument. Which side and how close? Fielder/Molina or Granderson/Soto?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

I think it's Grand/Soto. I am not a big Prince fan. I doubt he hits 40 homers again, which means other first basemen five rounds later are just as valuable. And I think Granderson is getting better.

Jeff (Minneapolis)

Go-Go Gomez or Coco Crisp?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I see a lot of people expecting Coco to all of a sudden go back to hitting 16 home runs and for the first time steal like 30 bases. Why? Because he's a Royal? He's servicable in fantasy, 10 homers maybe, 25 steals. Gomez can steal 40 if he just gets on base. I think he will, and he can hit double digit homers. I take Gomez.

Terry (Grand Rapids, MI)

How does the Nationals OF/1B situation play out? When (if at all) will Adam Dunn become 1B eligible?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

The rumor I am hearing is that Josh Willingham could start the season on the bench, with Nick Johnson playing first base. Did you see Dunn play first base in the WBC? Apparently the Nats did, and they didn't like what they saw! So I don't know when Dunn gets 1B elig, but knowing Nick Johnson, I'd say it happens eventually.

joe pgh

What about greinke? does his less than stellar spring concern you?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Not one bit. I don't even bother looking at spring numbers for pitchers like him. He'll get his 175 K and win games. Royals could surprise people.

Ben (Bellflower, CA)

I'm listening to the podcast right now. What don't you like about the Dodgers this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Yes, check out the Baseball Today podcase everyone. I host it Mon thru Fri and we get into some good baseball discussions. I don't think I dislike the Dodgers, but the back of the rotation is far from set, and everyone just assumes Manny settles all problems. Can Furcal stay healthy? Will Ethier hit? Who sets up Broxton? I expect 85 or so wins, which is probably enough to win the division, but I think the D-Backs and Giants are close.

Gary (Muncie, IN)

What exactly is the studs and scrubs theory give me exactly your typical best five players and prices.

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

In an auction draft I like to get a few of the top players, even if I have to overspend, which I rarely mind doing. If I can get Reyes and Wright below $40, for example, I'm in. If that means later in the auction I can only spend a dollar for my last outfielder, a backup catcher, a pitcher or two, I am all for it. The stars get the best numbers obviously, and I feel I can get dollar options later.

Garrett (Duluth)

Good afternoon EK! Taking Gary's question a step further -- I'm going with the Labadini draft strategy in an auction draft this weekend. Do you have any general advice? What are some good $1 pitchers to target?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

Get ready to trade a lot! You need serious luck if you spend only a dollar on each pitcher. You're punting saves, most likely, and ERA/WHIP. You often have to depend on Jeff Suppan types, or get lucky with JA Happ types who happen to make a rotation. It can work, if you massage the team during the season. Or you could lose every pitching stat and finish 9th.

Cody Philly

EK, Adam Jones's final stat line is ____? Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

I could see 16 homers and 12 steals. He's growing, ever so slowly.

Alex Gordon (KC)

Is there really going to be a day where I hit 40 HR's and have 120 RBI's like Tim Kurkjian said??

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

Timmy is very optimistic, isn't he? I rarely project anyone to hit 40 homers. Howard, Pujols, Dunn, maybe Cabrera and Braun, anyone else? Let's see Gordon hit 25 first! But sure, he is young, there is lots of room for growth.

ARB (Hoboken)

If Hamels misses Opening Day, is there then a good chance that he will NOT be matched up against others teams' #1 starters going forward?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

That means nothing to me. Even if he was the No. 1, sometimes it takes about 2 weeks and he's facing No. 5 starters. Most teams have different off-days, some go strictly on a 5-man rotation. Hamels is fine, doesn't matter who he's facing. Plus, look at half the team "aces" in the NL anyway. Are you scared of Paul Maholm or John Lannan?

Mark (Omaha)

I drafted Madison Bumgarner and Stephen Strasburg in my keeper league. How long before you see these guys making an impact and will they be #1's

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

Scouts tell me Strasburg could be the Washington ace THIS season if they let him. He's that polished, that ready. But I will say mid-2010 on both, at best.

Mark (ct)

Eric what do you think about the closing situations for the cubs and rockies?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

I think Lou Piniella is going to name Kevin Gregg his closer, but since he knows it won't be popular, it might take a few more days. Gregg could lose the job, too. And for Colorado, Corpas has had a better spring. I expect he'll start April getting saves.

Dan (Lexington, KY)

Should I feel nervous about having Peavy as my top starter? Trade him for A-Rod perhaps?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

I would rather have A-Rod, but then again, Peavy isn't missing two months. I would draft A-Rod before Peavy, definitely.

Greg, Yorkville, NY

Hey nice fantasy special i just watched on espn! Please rank Dukes, Adam Jones, and Choo?

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

Thanks! It reairs Thursday night at 8 on ESPN, for those who might be working today. It was fun. I'd say Dukes has a shot at 25/25 if he just plays, so I put him first. Then Jones and then Choo. Choo can hit, but until he gets 500 at-bats and hits consistently, it's tough to take a big risk on him.

Jeff (LA)

Hey Eric, how come Quentin is ranked so low this year? He was a stud before he injured his wrist.

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

I seem to be the only one on staff who thinks what Quentin did can be duplicated. Why was that a fluke? He missed almost all of September and still had monster power stats! So, the ranks you see representing ESPN fantasy are from a lot of people. I think Quentin is a top-50 player.

Matt Holliday (Oakland)

Yo, EK. After 3 consecutive impressive seasons, why am I dropping so far in drafts (I am in a contract year, by the way)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

I think the main reason Holliday is being avoided is because Oakland's stadium is not even close to Coors Field. I think Holliday will manage to overcome much of this, and he will steal 20 bases. His demise has been exaggerated.

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

By the way, Nate Robertson hurt his hand today.... Dontrelle is awful ... could be Rick Porcello time in Motown!

Sid (NYC)

In a league that counts OPS along with the standard 5 hitting stats, do you prefer Abreu or Ellsbury? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

I prefer Abreu either way. Sure, Ellsbury swipes 50 bases, but Abreu could get 25, and he has more power and should bat third and knock in 100 runs.

Mike (Atlanta)

What do you think of Jeff Francoeur's spring so far? Will it carry over to the regular season? Projection:

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

He's not really lifting the ball, which is a concern. I think he will raise his batting average and knock in runs, but more than 20 homers, I don't know about that. He's still hitting ground balls.

Gene (SD)

Who can come closest to replicating Holliday's stats in Colorado now??

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

Nobody! Really, the Rockies don't seem to have anyone who can steal double digit bases to go along with double digit homers. Maybe Clint Barmes? That's about it. I think Seth Smith emerges, but he doesn't have near the power of Holliday, and doesn't run.

Jeff (Seattle)

Please expand on your Porcello comment...

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

Hotshot Tigers prospect who is projected to be a natural ace, big strikeout right-hander, and while he's very, very young, remember Bonderman came up when he was 20. In 10-team leagues I don't take Porcello, but I'm not a fan of such shallow formats. In a 12-team AL-only, Porcello could be a very interesting pick.

Ryan (Richmond)

Is Cameron Maybin worth starting?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Of course! I think he scores 100 runs hitting ahead of Hanley Ramirez. He'll strike out 130 times, but 12 homers, 25 steals, why not? He's got that ability.

Scott (Newport Beach)

Brett Anderson or Anthony Reyes?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Well, tough to compare. Reyes is in the Cleveland rotation now and I think he'll win 12 games, ERA around 3.75, moderate strikeouts. Anderson of Oakland projects as a stud, but I don't think we see him for a few months.


For this year only...Manny or Holliday?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

I still take Holliday. He runs. And he'll still hit. Manny isn't gonna hit .396, people.

Jay (NJ)

best pitching prospect to make an impact this year besides price?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

On our Fantasy Focus online show - coming soon! - I talked up Atlanta's Tommy Hanson. That kid is legit.

Sam (Grand Rapids)

Hey EK, what do you think of Mike Napoli this year? Should I be worried about him missing time with injuries and splitting time with Mathis? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

Yes and yes, but Napoli didn't need many at-bats to hit a whole lotta home runs a season ago. In 300 at-bats he can hit 20 homers easy.

Zak (Cincy)

Utley: steal at 17? What can he do with 600 at bats?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Colleague Matthew Berry has Utley ranked No. 6 overall. I have Chase at 10. So yeah, we believe what he does every year is what's happening again. At least 30-100 and 10 steals, with a .300 average. Tough to get at any position, let alone second base.

Civil Ian, Toronto

Hi Eric. Does Brandon Wood make the Angels?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

I'd really like to see that happen, because Wood could hit 20 homers this season if he would just get a chance. He might hit .240 along with it, but don't the Angels need power? Juan Rivera is going to do better? I bet we see Figgins play all over the place, including left field, and Wood plays a lot at third and gets his 20 homers.

Dan (Tulsa)

Over/Under: Chris Davis 25 HR's, Elvis Andrus 25 SB's.

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Over on both, but let's just say they are each being drafted a bit too high for my taste. Andrus might hit .240 with 500 at-bats, which negates the positive stolen base total.

Sam (Dallas)

Does BJ miss only the first week of the season or possibly more? Would you rather have BJ or Ellsbury?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

I would prefer BJ Upton over Ellsbury, I see 20 homers. There is power there. And so what if he misses a week? He might, but there are what, 21 more?

Graham from Atlanta, GA

Double digit steals and HRs in Colorado??? Have you not heard of Spilborghs???? HELLLOOOOO

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

He has 16 in his career, but if he got regular time, I suppose he could do that. I just think Smith plays left and Dex Fowler sticks, eventually, in center.

Steven (Bridgeport,CT)

Hey EK, 30 min ago i was just offered Manny and Votto for Rios and Delgado. What do you do? Do you pull the trigger? I have Hamilton and Upton as my other outfielders. Please Help

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

Yes, as a big Votto supporter I would make that deal. I like Rios, and Delgado is hitting well this spring, but Votto can swipe 15 bases, too.

Collin (Tulsa)

EK!!!! Smarter last round pick... Andy LaRoche or Jordan Zimmermann???

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

I would say in most last rounds it's worth it to take a chance on someone, and Zimmerman is that guy. I do think that other LaRoche plays well enough to keep his job, but what's the upside? Zimmerman can be, eventually, an ace.

John (Syracuse, NY)

Who's Seattle's closer? Aardsma, Lowe, Batista, Morrow? Will Cordero factor in later in the year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

It's anyone's guess. I say it's not Morrow, and Cordero isn't ready yet, but probably Lowe or Corcoran.

Mike (Toronto)

Speaking of Zimmerman's...What are Ryan Zimmerman's final numbers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Maybe 22 homers, 90 RBIs, .275. I'd like to think there's more, but we just have to worry about his health.

Scott (Binghamton, NY)

You mentioned Clint Barmes as a potentional double digit HR/SB guy. Who you like better for a MI position, him or Mike Fontenot

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Fontenot has more upside, but he can't really afford a bad start, or Piniella will sit him for Miles. I'd still take the upside of Fontenot over an average Barmes, who could lose playing time to Ian Stewart. Helton is really hitting so far, so Stewart might not play otherwise.

Cody (SD)

Adrian Gonzalez is the most under-rated 1B in fantasy baseball. Discuss.

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

He's still going in the top 60. Someone like Adam LaRoche, who doesn't get drafted, is more underrated. And I think Pablo Sandoval is flat-out being ignored.

Gabe (CO)

Who do you like better: Ubaldo Jimenez or Brett Myers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

I think Myers is safer, still. And it is a contract year. Myers has struck out 200 hitters before, he could do it again.

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

OK everyone, thanks for the questions and have a great day. Baseball season is here, only 10 days until Opening Night in Philly! Enjoy...