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April 22, 12:06 PM ET
Fantasy Sports w/Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

Hello all and welcome to another Wednesday afternoon chat. I'm Eric, we've got lots of baseball to discuss, so let's go. Any questions?

Dylan (Natinal City)

If yu have Jel Hanrahan wuld yu drp Chris Ray fr Garrett Mck? Thank yu fr all that yu d.

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

I love the lack of "o" there! I get it! Anyway, you can't drop Hanrahan. He might get 30 saves, even on a bad team. He's their closer. Certainly Mock is waiting for his chance, and might get it, but I think Hanrahan will be ok. As for Baltimore, I don't see a change being made anytime soon with Sherrill.

Bart (Wall, SD)

Ethics question: If you have a player returning from the DL, is it unethical to open up a roster spot for him by doing a 2 for 1 trade rather than simply dropping one of your players?

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

Ethics? What are these ethics you speak about? No problem at all with what you're suggesting. I see far worse every week. And really, this isn't even an ethics issue, it's smart management.

Bob (Oakland, CA)

Nolasco. Injured or just not as good as everyone thought he was going to be going into the season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

Too early to assume he's not as good. I've been watching his start today, and while I'm not impressed, there's no way I'd drop the guy or move him for less than value. Look at his second half last season. Maybe he's just not in his groove yet.

Colin (Toronto)

Would you drop either Millwood or Washburn for J Zimmermann?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

I would probably drop Millwood to get Washington's new ace, but remember, he's a rookie. Be careful. He has more upside than Millwood, but will also have some growing pains. As for Washburn, I'm a believer. I just went on TV and said a year ago at this time nobody thought Cliff Lee was for real. How is Washburn different? Two 30-something lefties nobody would expect. Washburn has a new sinker and obviously it's working. I could see this being his best season. I won't trade the farm for him, but if I have a bench spot, I absolutely take the risk just in case. If he goes back to the old Washburn, you drop him. But trade Halladay for him, no.

Hells Bells

Hey EK, noticed Bell moved up in your Relief Efforts today. I need a SP, who would you target for Bell? Harden, Kershaw, Kazmir, Baker or Lowe?

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Yes, Heath Bell jumps into my top 10. I don't expect his rate of chances will continue, as the Padres just aren't that great, but Bell is good enough to earn 40 saves, even if the Padres win only 70. You always move the hot closer - and Bell is the hot closer right now - for the best you can get. In this case, I suppose it's Harden, though I am not a fan, but any of those names would suffice.

Scott (Binghamton, NY)

Brandon Wood. Considering the Angels SP needs does he keep a roster spot? Drop Josh Fields for him in a 5x5 league?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Wouldn't surprise me one bit if/when the Angels demote him again later this week. They obviously don't think Wood can hit in the majors yet. They brought him up Monday but rumors are he'll be back in Salt Lake by the weekend. I'd let him play regularly. Yeah, he might look like Mark Reynolds with the batting average and the strikeouts and the glove, but so what, he'd also hit 30 homers. I don't get it. Maicer Izturis not only the DH but batting third? Ridiculous. So no, I can't recommend getting B.Wood until we know he'll play, though Fields is nothing special.


Jim Callis just said Josh Johnson over Billingsley!!! How about fantasy wise?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Very similar. And yeah, I can make the case for Johnson. I do think both of them will be very good.

Butch (7Springs PA)

Too early to start to worry about Hamels? He pitched an awful lot of innings last year!

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

You can worry if you like, but statistically I expect Hamels to be just fine. He has to adapt to how his arm is feeling if it is tired from 2008, but I don't think that's it. Just a slow start after a crazy, hectic offseason.

Todd (Philly)

Eric - which one do you stash on your bench - Smoltz or Wang?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

Probably Smoltz. But I am not cutting Wang if I have him, just benching him. It's amazing how reactive fantasy owners are. This is a guy who has won 19 games twice recently. You know what you're getting. And it means nothing to me what his final ERA will be, just what it will be from this point forward. I think Wang needs a few weeks to tweak mechanics and he'll be fine. I'd buy low. But Smoltz does have more upside, notably in K's.

chuck (denver, CO)

going forward....carlos lee or adam jones??

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

Definitely Lee. Hey, I think Jones is breaking out just like the next guy, but 15-15 is his range. Lee can hit 35 homers and steal 10 if he wants.

Bobby, Boston

Has Brandon Phillips played himself into a spot on my bench in favor of Kaz Matsui? What about playing furcal over Alexei Ramirez until both stars slumps end?

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

I think that's too reactive, but it is your team. I have no worries about Alexei Ramirez. He's going to be streaky because of the way he approaches his at-bats. Watch when he's going good. Sitting these guys is not a big deal, just look at matchups, make the right call. Me? I'd keep Phillips active, always. But Furcal over Alexei, I have no issue with that.

gordon (alexandria, MN)

top 5 fantasy starting pitchers @ years end???

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

I'm not going to count out Johan, Lincecum or Sabathia. I don't expect Peavy there, but I'll fill my top 5 with Halladay and ... Zach Greinke!

Steve (Raleigh)

Matt Holliday: Slow start or 3rd round bust?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

Slow start. Everyone giving up on the Oakland offense is getting a small tutorial today as they hit Sabathia. Holliday wouldn't have reached his 2008 numbers anyway, but he'll hit.

Josh (Las Vegas, NV)

EK, What do you make of Pablo Sandoval and will he be the stud so many expected this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

Another streaky guy, and nothing to worry about so far. Note Pablo is playing catcher today, which is very good news in fantasy. Just a few more games there and his value shoots up. I think he can still reach 80 or so RBIs.

Scott (Boston, MA)

Speaking of Greinke, what would you have to be getting in return to trade him right now?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

Everyone is tradable, including a guy who refuses to allow a run. He's a sell high choice, but every year it seems someone like him just keeps going strong. If you have him it has to be tough to part with him, so ask for a top-20 hitter, definitely. He might actually be worth that.

Joe (Boston)

Yay Greinke! Okay, with the Washburn love, rank: Washburn, Kershaw, Wandy, Weaver, Unit, Dempster?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

I still go Dempster, Randy, Kershaw, Wandy and then I'm willing to give Washburn the nod over an average Weaver. I'm not saying Washburn will be this great all year. I'm saying his new approach and new pitch make it possible.

Todd, boston

Hey Eric, What's up?!?! Great podcast today. Is it worth it to keep Spillborghs as my 4th outfielder in deep mixed league or pick up someone like Hairston, Josh Anderson, kearns or Zobrist? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

Thanks. For those who don't know, I host the Baseball Today podcast, not affiliated with fantasy at all. And it's fun. As for Spilborghs, I don't see this going well for him, but none of the players you named are likely to be big-time fantasy options either.

Sean (Hoboken)

Is Matsui back ? he is starting to look better and went yard today at the New Yankee Bandbox.

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Hey, as a Matsui owner in a key really deep keeper league, I hope he hits. I do. I just don't see it ending well when his knee is clearly a problem and might need monthly draining updates. He can hit when healthy. Hopefully he gets 400 at-bats. But if you find someone who saw the homer and believes 20 more are coming, I don't see how you can't consider moving him.

Mike (NYC)

EK! - The closer Man!!What's good?? What are you're feelings on Andrew Bailey? Maybe a dark horse closer candidate?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

Absolutely a candidate. For now Ziegler is Oakland's guy, but as I've said for months, he's going to struggle against lefties, just like other submariners have. He could lose the role. It appears next in line is not Santiago Casilla, but former Cardinal Russ Springer, but Bailey is off to such a great start, I could absolutely see him getting saves in the second half.

Abe Vigoda (33rd Precinct, NYC)

Scott Baker's serving up HRs like Pat serves up the Philly steak. Would you rank him higher than either Dempster or the Big Unit, in reference to the question above?

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

I think Baker will fix this problem, but something appears wrong with him. Most smart pitchers, of which he is one, figure things out. Based on Unit's K potential, I'd drop Baker behind him for now. And Dempster is fine. Never a doubt to me, as I ranked him better than most. Not a fluke in 2008.

brian (seattle, WA)

we've all heard about tommy hanson, which other young starting pitcher do you think has a chance at coming up this year and making a big impact? and do you think w/ wangs struggles phil hughes gets the call soon, and if so has he gotten it together?? thanks a ton EK

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

I think Carlos Carrasco in Philly has a chance the way Chan Ho Park is sputtering. Certainly David Price could be as soon as a week away from promotion. And Hughes can only replace Wang if Wang goes on the DL or to the bullpen. Of course, we've seen Hughes in the bigs before. Until we see him succeed, I remain skeptical.

Brad (MA)

Pick one for the rest of 2009: Big Papi or M.Holliday???

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

Holliday, easily. By the way, when I said I was writing Ortiz off, it didn't mean I would cut him. Just that my expectations are not high. I compared him to 2008 Gary Sheffield, 20 homers, low average. I still see that.

John, Harlem

Why does Pascarelli breathe so hard into the phone at the airport during your podcasts? In fantasy news, are you starting Verlander tonight?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Trust me, we all wish we knew about Pascarelli! As for Verlander, depends who else I have, but his K rate looks decent enough to trust.

Ryan (PA)

Will Doumit be the same after he "recovers" from wrist surgery? Time to drop?

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

Depends on the league. Two months is a long time, and this guy is a catcher, so it might take longer. Plus, some hitters take a while to regain power. See Derrek Lee, who still hasn't gotten it back! In a standard 10-team league, with catching actually deep, I'd drop him. I mean, people are cutting Iannetta and Ramon Hernandez in shallow leagues,and don't even own Shoppach and John Baker. It's easy to get a catcher there.

Danny (Erie, PA)

Josh Hamilton: I'm not panicking but at what point to I temper expectations?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

In June. Honestly, if Hamilton was struggling during a two-week period last June, did you panic? He'll be fine.

blake - phx,az

Michael Young finishes as a top 5 SS and 3B, am I crazy? How much better is Rollins this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

Certainly possible, but I think more in the 5-10 range. Young has looked good so far, and he's holding his own in the field. The Texas offense is just fine, and Davis will hit. But to expect someone with 12-homer pop and 10 steals to be top 5 at SS or 3B is asking for a lot. He'd have to hit .330!

Tom (PA)

Hey Eric, also getting frustrated with Aviles. Is he droppable if I also have Y Escobar?

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

I still think it's premature to give up on Aviles, but then again I probably would have taken Escobar in the same spot a month ago. They are similar if you can't wait for Aviles to hit.

Hunter (Atlanta, GA)

EK! You're my favorite fantasy guy because your level-headed(Like your advice on not dropping Wang and other struggling sluggers and pitchers). If you're so patient with them, why not Big Papi? He was hurt last year, so those numbers aren't his baseline, and he usually struggles in April. What gives?

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

And I like feedback like this, well thought out and not simply calling us names! I think you have to watch players play. Ortiz has lost bat speed. Now, he might get it back, but I think at his age it's unlikely. He has to adapt his approach with lost bat speed, and so far he hasn't been able to. I'm not saying Ortiz should be dropped. Never did. Just that I've lowered expectations a great deal. Wang is different. But I'm not going to be patient on him for another month.

rick (co)

EK, what to expect from Travis Snider? 25/90 and solid #3 OF too much?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

I actually think Adam Lind can do that, and I think because Snider plays less I take the under on those numbers. But he will be good, and in a year Snider should be hitting fifth for Toronto.

Peter (scottsdale AZ)

love the baseball today stuff, you and my namesake make an interesting team. Two questions. Is Atkins no longer a 20-25 homer 90-100RBI guy? And are you buying low on the phillies offense, i.e Howard and Rollins?

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Definitely an interesting team, but hey, it is fun and I do love baseball. I enjoy the show. As for Atkins, what's the problem with him so far? He's still a 25-90 option. And Howard looks great so far. I think he will hit for a .270 average now, at least. Rollins will get hot soon, too. Patience!

Shane, AK

Do you drop Milledge to add Lowell and play him in your UTIL spot?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Milledge is not hitting at Syracuse, though he is running. Still, there seems no obvious end to his demotion, so why keep him active? Lowell looks like a big RBI guy.

John, Harlem

I have McCann as my starting catcher, with Wieters stashed on my bench. Do you think McCann's eye issue will affect him all year, or am I OK to trade Wieters (either now or later)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

I don't think McCann's eye problems will continue. Hold on to him and expect top-3 catcher numbers. As for Wieters, I think he's up in the next month and he'll be awesome. You have nice trade bait, or play one at utility.

Jack (Pitt)

With Morgan playing so well, is there still a real concern that McClutchen will come up and steal his spot in the lineup?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

i don't think Andrew McCutcheon was ready this spring, so this isn't a surprise. I expect the Bucs to call him up in September. And I remain a bit wary of Morgan, but he's certainly a basestealer.

Brett (NZ)

Hey Eric - please convince me that Ubaldo is not the next Daniel Cabrera? I still have nightmares about the year I drafted Cabrera.

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

No, I don't think that. But statistically I worry he might be like Oliver Perez. Too early to say for sure. But Cabrera, that guy gives many of his chills. No, I don't see that comp.

Dan (Vermont)

I see the Indians called up Tony Sipp for a cup of coffee...or a sipp of coffee if you will. I have him stashed away as a rookie. I'm not suggesting I run right out an activate him--just curious to hear your thoughts about his promotion. I wasn't expecting to see him til next year in 'The Show'. What do you think about Sipp? Thanks for chatting!

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

I think this is a reminder to Rafael Perez that he'd better get things going. Perez has a 16.71 ERA so far and has been every bit that bad. Sipp should be better against lefties, but I don't see saves coming his way. Jensen Lewis is next if Kerry Wood falters. Which he won't.

Emeril (NO)

Chris Young, Hawpe, Kendrick, Lowell. Who is the odd man out?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

Of this crew, it's Kendrick. Not only can't he stay healthy, but there's not much power or speed upside. Just batting average. The others have legit power.

Antonio(miami, FL)

Lowell or Beltre for year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

Still Beltre, but I could be convinced otherwise. I've always liked the underrated Lowell.

Rob (State College)

Jason Kubel - Not a hot topic, but can you talk about his value in H2H leagues? Do you expect his fairly solid production to continue? PS. Holliday's line against Sabathia today: 3 1 2 1

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

Kubel looks legit to me. I don't see his value being different in h2h or roto. He's an emerging hitter, and this looks like his breakout. But keep expectations in check. All this breakout might be is .300 with 22 or so homers, 90 RBIs. And he can't run anymore.

Chuck (Minnesota)

Please comment on Alexei Casilla, I have been trying to get an answer since Thursday. Thank you

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Too early to give up on him, and at some point he should hit and steal bases. But I never expected more than .290 with 20 steals. He can still do this.

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Let's see if we can avoid all panic questions the final 10 minutes!

Vlad (Los Angeles, CA)

Think I have it in me to make it the 12th year in a row hitting 25 HR's or more?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

No. I do think Vlad gets back sometime in June, but I had him hitting maybe 25 homers with 150 games. Now it's more like 110 games.

Austin (B/CS)

You expect Lackey to jump right in and immediately start being the horse we all know he is?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

I do. Buy low.

Matt (Denver)

Who do like better this year H2H...Tulo or Alexie Ramirez? Would you drop Tulo for A Ram?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Even with all the love I had for Alexei this preseason, I still had Tulo ranked better. Both will be fine, and both should be owned everywhere.

Bart (Toronto, ON)

EK, what are you projections for Aaron Hill? Can he keep this up?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

He's hit 17 home runs before. I don't see why he can't do it again this season. He's legit when healthy. Most players are!

Rob (boston)

hate to ask a yankees question, but I gotta do it. Melky or Gardner for my 6th outfielder? Melky is so young and I still see upside in him, while Gardner might just be David Eckstein in CF. Thoughts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Neither are very good hitters. But Gardner can continue to be bad and still steal 20 bases. Melky cannot.

Matt (Beckley WV)

Take advantage of anothers Panic? Jay Bruce dropped, drop Ankiel, Werth, Ludwick for him or stand pat? Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

I'd consider dumping Ankiel for Bruce, but not Werth or definitely not Ludwick. Ludwick is going to be nearly like last season. Bruce will probably match Ankiel, but has more upside.

Buzzer Beater

Does Joe Mauer finish the season top 5 catcher?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)


John, Harlem

Does Ryan Zimmerman replicate his 2007 or his 2008? So far, so good...

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

I think his 2007, but remember, it's not like his 2007 was awesome.

Joe (DC)

Not to keep harping on Ortiz (especially since I agree with you) but I remember similar things being said about Delgado around this time last year. In other words, if you can get Ortiz cheap it could be worth it.

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

I could see that. But I also think if there are 10 situations a year like Delgado last season, about 1 comes through like that. And a year ago I didn't know anyone buying Delgado low. if you did, congrats.

John (Dallas)

Tristan said earlier he thinks Nelson Cruz will hit a Alexi Rameriez type dry-spell and hit .260 (while hitting 30-35). Your thoughts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

I don't know about the dry spell, but .260 sounds about right. It's still only 2-plus weeks. The power is clearly legit though.

Bill (Philly)

EK - Would you trade Soriano for Hamels and Magglio? Their slow starts scare me, but still...

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Depends on the pitcher I'd have to drop, since it's a 2-for-1. I think all these players will be fine, but Soriano is a top-20 player, and the others are not. Make the deal FOR Soriano and sign Washburn!

Ben (Oklahoma)

A-Rod, how does he do when he returns?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

I believe he'll be as good as new, but I seem to be alone on that one.


Sandoval or Hernadez at C

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

If Sandoval qualifies, then him. But I'm 50/50 that he gets the chance to qualify. He's not a catcher.

brad (harrisburg, pa)

do you see Masterson staying in the Boston rotation long term?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

No, not this season I do not.

Jenny B (NYC)

I never panic but I am a long do I wait on Justin Upton?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Look at his April a season ago. It was fine. That could be his May 2009. I wait.

tyger (bettendorf, IA)

drop matt wieters for scott baker?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

If I've kept Wieters this long then I do not drop him.

Eric (Fort Collins CO)

How would you rank these 3? Nick Johnson, Kendry Morales and Overbay?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

While he's healthy Nick is first. I have no expectations for good Kendry numbers. Maybe Brandon Wood can play first base!

O-Town (brooklyn)

Did you say get Washburn? DOH!mit cleared a roster spot and he's on the wire. Worth a snag?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

My view is if Washburn starts to stink, you cut him. But what if he really keeps this going? Like Cliff Lee in 2008? Worth a bench spot for sure.

Ed, Philly, PA

Who are the Eagles taking rd 1? Everyone is projecting a RB but you know they never take rb's that early!

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Probably an offensive lineman ... again. That's Eagles football! But I will be watching...

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK, thanks to everyone for a strong chat session. We couldn't do this without you. Have a great day and enjoy the day baseball... there's more coming tomorrow... Adios.