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April 14, 10:01 AM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

Good morning one and all. Rainy day on the East coast (darn that Petrelli family!) but luckily most of the schedule won't be affected... who wants to talk fantasy?

Denis (London)

Who do you like for 2009... and beyond? Justin Upton or Jay Bruce

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

For 2009 it's Bruce. Upton is struggling and there's a real chance he gets sent back to Triple-A for a time to work it all out. But I think he will - and is a potential 10-season+ All Star.

Jason (Cleveland)

Good morning AJ, do you still see Corpas or Ray getting any saves this year? Or should I drop one of them for someone like Arredondo or Kuo who will help my other numbers?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

Absolutely. There's a slowly growing trend amongst managers to no longer have "one closer" but two guys who they can alternate. I think Colorado ends up going in that direction, and Ray will also end up getting some chances. However, Kuo is a solid pitcher for those vulture wins, so while you're waiting for one of the other two guys, you might want to pick him up and get some useful stats.

Ryan (jersey)

Would you trade N Cruz for Heath Bell? I only have Capps at the moment and would plug Bruce in for Cruz

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

If you're talking H2H, and you don't have saves and have excess power, then you might want to make the deal. Bell will be solid and get you regular saves throughout the season. However, in a roto-style league, I rarely make deals before May. I like to really have an idea where the relative strength of my team is before tinkering.

Shawn (Baltimore MD)

Short and sweet Aviles, Yumel Escobar or Theriot?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

Theriot. Both he and Yunel are hitting at an amazing clip, but I think Ryan runs more and that tips the scales.

Eric(MA)

Have very few RP and am counting on Fuentes to be reliable. Will I get 30 svs? I mean KRod got 62! Thoughts?

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

30 is definitely reasonable. My concerns before the season on Fuentes were simply ones of opportunity, with all the injuries depleting the starting staff. However, if Lackey and Kelvim can return, that should solidify things enough for 30 saves.

Scott (NYC)

Will Daniel Murphy continue to get regular at bats in the 2 hole despite Sheffield expected starts?

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

I think so. Sheffield will be relegated to RF, and that means he'll be subbing for Church.

Howie New York, NY

AJ, what exactly is the reason head to head leagues allow the "unending adding and dropping" of Starting Pitchers every week, for tghe sole purpose of getting the "infamous 2 Start Pitcher" the upcoming week? To me, it's ridiculous, and doesn't imitate real baseball at all, which Fantasy I wopuld think tries to a little anyway. Turning over your pitching roster every single week ruins the Fantasy Game in my opinion. What's your opinion? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

I agree Howie that streaming pitchers is the worst thing about the fantasy baseball game, which is why I rarely play in H2H leagues. I understand why H2H is appealing over roto, especially because it's no fun to be 50 points out of first in May and pretty much "out of it" one month into a six-month campaign... but I prefer the challenge of managing my team for the long haul, and not the quick thrill.

Tom (Cubbie Land)

Just traded James Sheilds for Ryan Dempster...Did I make a homer misteak?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

I'd prefer Shields, but I don't think the difference is big enough to scold you for it. Both pitchers were high on my pre-season rankings.

Brian (Boston)

Hanley hasn't run at all. I know it has only been a week, but is it possible he doesn't even break 20 steals this year? Any chance he'll go back to the leadoff spot?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

I don't think this is a function of a change in Hanley's style of play, it's more that Bonifacio has been on base ahead of Hanley almost every time he's reached first. Hard to steal that way... The lineup isn't going to change, but eventually Emilio will cool down and Ramirez' steals will come.

H2H Points-Man

It's called a SP start limit!

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

No doubt there are methods to control streaming, and also leagues where all the participants enjoy streaming... clearly Howie wasn't in one of those leagues, and I merely was sharing my sentiments towards the tactic.

Dave (Boston)

I picked up C. Wang off waivers and started him this week, should I hang on to him? I don't understand how his foot would be a problem, plenty of time to heal, no?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

Even if the problem is an injury, which Wang denies, I never cared for him as a fantasy pitcher. Yes, he won a lot of games, but that's not a predictable factor. He just isn't overpowering and guys with K/9 rates as low as his who aren't "quirky pitchers" (knuckleballers or sidearmers) don't make quality fantasy pitchers, in general.

Eric (MA)

Can J-Rol pull a Granderson, 20-20-20, and hit .280 45 steals?

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

In Citizens Bank park, 20 HR should not be a hard number for J-Roll to reach. 45 steals is also a fairly easy bar for him to reach. And .280 is realistic as well. I think you've got realistic expectations there.

John (San Diego)

Rank Em: Wandy, Petite, Duke, Lohse, Kawakami.

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

Still like Andy, then I'd go with Wandy, Kyle, and Kawakami. Still not sold on Duke, but if he has another solid start I may offer up apologies.

Rich (Solvay, NY)

Hi AJ, In a head to head full keeper league I have an opportunity to get SP Gallardo in exchange for SP James Shields and minor leaguer Mike Moustakas. Accept or Reject? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

My philosophy is to win for today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Unless Gordon gets hurt in KC, I don't see Moustakas playing this season. Hard to justify the roster spot, but if you have the room, then I guess you can make the deal - the pitchers are fairly equal for this season... though I like Yovani a bit more longterm.

RS (Boston)

Hey AJ! Name Game: Sandoval or Ianneta? Sandoval or Napoli? Sandoval or Kurt Suzuki?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

Sandoval over Iannetta and Suzuki. Napoli over Sandoval, unless you prefer the positional flexibility.

Hutch (Houston) [via mobile]

Trevor Cahill, Wang or Randy johnson for the rest of the year?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

Well, we've already spoken on Wang, but I still have faith in the Big Unit. He's looked good at the start, but clearly, he's no longer going to give you 7. Of course that means he's going to have the ERA baggage from these first two starts hanging over him a lot longer over the course of the season, so perhaps from that standpoint, you may want to go with Cahill. However, I wouldn't mind trading for Unit if I didn't have to worry about his first two starts.

Carlos Quentin (Chicago)

Is it safe to say that you boys at ESPN ranked me too low in your draft kit?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

One week does not a season make. Now, don't get me wrong, CQ is a decent player, but I had him ranked in the low end of the Top-50 for the whole season. That's still where I think he ends up.

Frank (Chicago)

Better season in a vacuum - Bonifacio or J.Lopez?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

Lopez will end up with better numbers for you over the five categories.

Shane (NJ)

Why doesn't ESPN offer a minimum IP setting for H2H leagues? We're 9x9 and a guy could start 1 closer for 1 inning and win 6 categories. Problem that can't wait till '10 I think...

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

9X9 seems excessive to me, but c'est la vie. The issue to me is not a minimum innings problem (though that could solve things) - to me, it's the ability for players to not field a full lineup by leaving active spots blank. That to me is the bigger crime, and I've voiced my complaints on that one.

jasper (philly)

Would you rank these: Beltre, Cantu, C. Davis? Thanks, AJ.

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

I think Davis needs a bit more time to be reliable. I have Cantu, then Beltre, then Davis.

Sahir (Georgia)

Which player's start so far is real...Josh Johnson or Nelson Cruz?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

I think both are "real" but Johnson is more likely to keep it up.

Lee

Shane Loux or Rocky Romero for today?...very short on SP this week...

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

I'd gamble with Romero. I don't like the fact that the Angels skipped Loux last week.

John (NYC)

How deep of a league do you have to be in to own X. Nady?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I think Nady is ownable in a regular 10-team mixed. Not deep at all.

david, dc

re: minimum innings. I can fill active roster spots with injured players to avoid leaving them blank. Only a minimum innings requirement solves Shane's problem

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

Yes David, you can find loopholes in your league rules to circumvent the spirit of the game. Kudos! Your parents must be so proud.

Louis (H-town)

Nady or Werth?

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

Tough call, but I still go with the X-Man. Although Werth has definitely started off hotter than I expected.

Tom (Detroit)

Should we be worried about J. Lestor?

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

Again, worried is too strong a word... but when a solid pitcher starts this slow, it's probably a good idea to bench him for start No. 3 just in case.

Cliff Lee

Ta Dow!! What do you think of me now??

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Still have faith in Lee. Texas can hit off anybody (and only 2 runs would have lost that game) and facing Halladay certainly puts pressure on a pitcher to be perfect. Not making excuses- 9.90 ERA is abysmal... but again, that doesn't mean he's suddenly going to be a 3-22 pitcher either.

Steve (Philly)

Who is the better fantasy CF prospect C. Maybin or D. Fowler?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

I have to say I really like what I see in Fowler. "Five-tool" labels are nice, but I need to see at least two of those tools working before I buy in.

Mike(NJ)

Talk a little about E.Dukes. He projects to be a 30/30 Guy.

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

It's a matter of playing time and attitude... the outfield is crowded and Acta loves Milledge and Willingham. However if the Nationals don't win, Acta won't be around too much longer and a new skipper might be exactly what Elijah needs.

Brett (DC)

Hey AJ -- Just a follow-up to your answer earlier, you think J Upton has a higher ceiling that Bruce? Bruce seems to be a consistent 30-35/15 guy in the making...

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

Both need to learn to cut down on the K's and to pick their spots on the SBs (they both get caught way too often). We're probably splitting hairs a bit, but I like Upton a bit better, assuming he fixes his problems.

max ny

how about a tough question. i get adrian Gonzalez and k-rod and i give up markakis.im very deep in outfield and have ryan howard and my closers suck.

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

I do not even hesitate on this one. Make the deal.

Alex (Sacramento)

What's up with Volquez? I know it is not a matter of stuff, for the rest of the way is he a reliable No. 4 starter?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

I like Volquez, and the numbers say he should be a top-20 pitcher. But the way the Reds use him kills me. As a No. 4, yes he's absolutely worth it, assuming Dusty doesn't kill his arm first.

Pete (NC)

I've got Dempster and Lohse starting agaisnt each other on Friday. Do I start both in a H2H league with very few starters this week?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

I don't worry about head-to-head pitching matchups. After all, would you have been upset with Johan and JJ this past weekend in Florida? I don't think so. Start your best arms and hope for a low-scoring win when they face off.

suzanne/chicago

Would you start Ichiro tomorrow? AND, who would you drop to activate him out of hermida, ian stewart, adam laroche, aardsma, lyon, snell, Edwin Jackson (6x6 roto w/ OPS & WHIP)?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

I'd start Ichiro and drop Lyon without shedding a tear.

Jon (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lightning Round! Corpas, Motte, or Aardsma for the rest of the year getting saves?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Aardsma. Looks like he and Morrow are going to be a 1A and 1B.

Rob (NJ)

How long until you can panick? May, june?

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

I always say look at your team on May 1, then if you're strong in one area and weak in another, find the owner in the opposite situation and make a deal.

Jimbo ( NJ )

You suck! Get outta here. Thanks have a great day!

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

Alright, Jimbo has spoken. Thanks to all for the questions, gang! We'll be back on Thursday at 11, and there's another chat today at 3pm. We'll see you the next time on Villa Allegre!