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May 15, 11:29 AM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (2:56 PM)

Happy Friday, gang. Cubs game rained out, so we've got an hour to chat fantasy baseball instead. We'll be happy to talk about the Top-250 re-ranks that we just posted, and any other Q's you may have... Let's get started, shall we?

Todd (Bristol)

Start 'em, Sit 'em: Liriano at the Yanks?

AJ Mass
  (2:57 PM)

I'm not optimistic about the start, no.

Milton Bradley (Chicago)

SUSPENDED ONE GAME ARGHGHRGHR!?? Wait, game postponed...does that mean I have to sit out Saturday now or do I sit out when game made up? Also, what kind of numbers will I put up?

AJ Mass
  (2:59 PM)

That's a very good question, Milton. My guess is he has to sit out one game and since the game never started, he still has to sit out one game - the next one.

Ed (NJ)

WOuld you trade Arod or Zimmerman?

AJ Mass
  (3:00 PM)

I would trade anyone if I thought I was getting back higher value in return. The minute you start declaring certain players as untouchable, you're headed for failure.

Joe (DC)

You like Jeter way more than the other rankers. Significant difference between him and Tulo the rest of the way?

AJ Mass
  (3:01 PM)

Yes, especially in batting average.


IM feeling great bout my pickups of asdrubal and hudson....whatare the chances they keep it up???

AJ Mass
  (3:02 PM)

I think Hudson keep it up a bit longer, but Cabrera is peaking a bit.

Marmol (Chicago)

AJ, Do you think I ever have a shot at closing again. Should I be kept by my fantasy owner? Thanks

AJ Mass
  (3:03 PM)

Sure, you have the stuff to be a closer again in the future, but perhaps not with this team and this manager, especially with the presence of Gregg.

John (Texas)

I'm in need of some comic relief. If you're sitting in a draft room today and you're staring at Mark Tex and Michael Young, you're taking Young. Explain.

AJ Mass
  (3:07 PM)

I very well might. He's a five-category contributor who shows little signs of slowing down form his great start, while Tex has been struggling to stay above .200. You don't have to agree with me, but I think for fantasy purposes, Young outperforms Tex the rest of the way.

Siskel (ratings reviewer)

Ok, you obviously devalue relievers (Nathan - 170) and starters coming back from surgery (Liriano-183). But Joe Mauer way down at 196? Are you on medication or do you know something we don't?

AJ Mass
  (3:09 PM)

Mauer was a tough case, and while I think he's fantastic, the threat of a re-injury was a huge factor in Mauer's ranking. I do devalue pitchers greatly - which is why the "OMG - Santana isn't in your Top 20!" comments are silly to me. He is my No. 4 pitcher overall, and I think that's very reasonable.

Steve (NY)

AJ, you have Jason Bartlett ranked much higher than any one else. What do you see in him that others don't? Is he a top 10 SS?

AJ Mass
  (3:11 PM)

The power is quite fluky, but he's a solid hitter who very reasonably could slip into the bottom part of the top-10 of SS, especially if he maintains his steals rate.

David Wright (NY)

Umm... #25? Sure looks bad after last night's 4 steal game. I want whatever you're having... cause it must be good.

AJ Mass
  (3:12 PM)

Let's be real here. One game doesn't prove or disprove anything - especially a very freakish 4 SB performance from Wright. Nobody is criticizing me for ranking Evan Longoria at 4 after going 1-for-4 last night, but if you want to discuss Wright, bring up a decent argument.

Don (NJ)

Are you serious????? McCann at 197

AJ Mass
  (3:14 PM)

And are you sure his eye problems are over and done with? Because I am not.

David Wright (NY)

Lets see: 300 + avg, 30+ homers, 100+ RBI, 100+ runs, 20+ stolen bases, at 3B, guaranteed! Good enough argument for you?

AJ Mass
  (3:17 PM)

I didn't rank him last... he's at 25. Let's just take a look at average, shall we? If he finishes the year at .309 (his career average) he goes .304 from here on out. If a guy like BJ Upton finishes the year at .286, he goes .314 from hereon out. Relatively speaking, from this point forward, there will be players who are better than Wright. It doesn't mean he's not a great player. You have to be able to separate what he's done from what he will do.

Mike (Charlottesville)

Wandy Rodriguez - 7 quality starts, 4 wins, ERA under 2, 8.31 K/9, and NO HR ALLOWED!!! Is this guy a top 20 starter this year?

AJ Mass
  (3:18 PM)

I think he's a top-10 starter if he can manage to get some help from his team to win a few that he's bound to lose.

Jim (Houston, TX)

What are you seeing in Placido Polanco that I'm not? No power, no speed, no average. Tristan has him almost 100 slots lower.

AJ Mass
  (3:20 PM)

That's probably a better Q for Tristan, as I'm far closer to the average rank than he is...

Fantasy Owner (Anywhere)

C'mon AJ! Do you really think [guy I passed on in the draft] is better than [guy I drafted]? ARE YOU SERIOUS???

AJ Mass
  (3:20 PM)

Sums it up nicely, F.O.

Jeff (LA)

Better year: Gamel, Neimold, or LaPorta?

AJ Mass
  (3:21 PM)

I think Gamel, assuming the playing time is equal between the three.

Fantasy Owner (Anywhere)

C'mon AJ! Do you really think [Curtis Granderson] is better than [Adam Jones]? ARE YOU SERIOUS???

AJ Mass
  (3:23 PM)

Forever? No. For the rest of this year? Yes. This weekend? Most definitely.

Greg (NY)

AJ..bad comparison..Upton is recovering from a shoulder surgery..Wright is actually under performing his RBI and RS numbers (he's averaged well over 100 each of his full seasons) and he's moved into the 'prime' of his career..just an opinion

AJ Mass
  (3:27 PM)

The reason I chose Upton as my example is because many people keep using him as the poster child for "He HAS to have a great second half" argument that is the reason for most of these rankings complaints. Just because a guy has performed at a level for X amount of time does not mean he HAS to end up at that average when 2009 is over. If that were the case, most of the Top-250 would be way off, since no player could possibly ever have a breakout year, or a lousy campaign. It's opinion, folks... you don't have to agree, but to say I am wrong? You can't do that.

Fantasy Owner (Anywhere):

C'mon AJ! Do you really think [Justin Upton] is better than [Aramis Ramirez]? ARE YOU SERIOUS??? (note, I would trade J Ups 5 out of 5 times for ARAM)

AJ Mass
  (3:28 PM)

And then you'd be getting zero stats for two months from Aramis. You have to take known injuries into account.

Duffy (Queens, NY)

Have you had second thoughts about any of your rankings after seeing those of your colleagues? Any adjustments you might make?

AJ Mass
  (3:30 PM)

No. My rankings aren't there to "be controversial" or to be different for the sake of being different. They're my opinion. I will be wrong on some, and right on some. And so it goes...

Jacob (The Island)

Even I don't know how each player will do in a given year. What would be the point of all the writers agreeing on every ranking? Go with your gut, if you're so confident in the players on your team, stick with them and quit looking for someone else's advice.

AJ Mass
  (3:32 PM)

Don't get me wrong Jacob (BTW - Ben's behind you - DUCK!) - I don't mind being challenged on my opinion by people who simply want to understand my reasoning. That's cool. I don't expect anyone to agree with me on every player. It's the outrage I do not understand. You think Player X is better than I do... OK. Why get so angry about it?

AJ Advocate

I have to agree with your ranking philosophy, especially devaluing relievers. I always do fine in saves and I NEVER take a reliever before the alte rounds. Francisco, Bell, Wilson, Qualls - all doing just fine for me.

AJ Mass
  (3:34 PM)

And this list isn't about drafting today - it's about value going forward. So regardless of when you drafted a guy like Broxton, his value is going to be high due to the number of expected saves.

Alberto Callaspo (KC)

Why wasn't I in your top 25?

AJ Mass
  (3:36 PM)

LOL! Just because I like you and don't think you're a fluke, doesn't mean you're Top 25. Yes you can be my leader in Momentum, but that doesn't make you Albert Pujols, and I never said you were.

Jared (Philly)

I must be the only one who agrees with your rankings...I love how people think they can evaluate a player after 1 game, its hard enough to evaluate after a month of play. You starting Kazmir vs Clev today. Also, how do you think Lackey will fair in his first start back. Thanks for your advice.

AJ Mass
  (3:38 PM)

Lackey,I think will have some problems... there are a lot of hitters he'll be facing who have a decent history against him, and it's his first game back. Kazmir should be OK to start.

John W

I agree with many of your rankings. People need to relax and stop funneling your fantasy anger at somebody here to help. Speaking of help, what SP should I target in a trade where I am sending Bartlett away? (obviously a team with a bad SS, but just looking for a type of player/range)

AJ Mass
  (3:41 PM)

This is where it gets tricky. Just because I think Bartlett is better than others, doesn't mean I can convince others he is. That's where the ESPN Overall Re-Ranks come in handy - they're meant to show the average perceived value, which is Brett Myers, Chris Young territory. But if you agree with me that Bartlett is more valuable than that, hold out for more.

Tom Tuttle (Tacoma)

Thanks for single-handedly knocking Roy Oswalt down about 30 slots in the rankings and impairing my ability to trade him before he collapses! Seriously, why so glum on the big O?

AJ Mass
  (3:42 PM)

Actually, we used Olympic scoring rules, so the high and low were tossed. No harm from me here. As for why so glum, look at the K/BB numbers and there's a lot of issues.

Dan (Philly)

Yo AJ. I love your stuff. Per your advice I recently nabbed Aaron Hill as you said he had top 10 overall value going forward. So why the low rank? You have me nervous...

AJ Mass
  (3:46 PM)

No need to worry... but in different situations, I'm ranking different things. For example, value thus far in 09, I have Hill 10th amongst hitters. But I think that his hottest streak is behind him, so his May-forward rank is low. That doesn't mean he won't finish in the overall Top 10.

Garrett (Boston, MA)

Oswalt at #265? So in a 10 team league with 25 man rosters, he's not ownable?

AJ Mass
  (3:47 PM)

Not at all... I ranked 90 pitchers. Exactly enough for a 10-team mixed with 9 pitching slots. If he's on the list, he's ownable. Most of my pitchers are low.

jason (boston)

Love how you refuse to answer any Callapso Sandoval comparisons. Nothing suggests that Callapso will end up with better average than Sandoval. Sandoval also had a 150 at bat strech in which he hit around .330. Oh and by the way Sandoval had better minor league numbers and is catcher eligible in some leagues.

AJ Mass
  (3:50 PM)

Oh yes, the Sandoval-Callaspo questions keep pouring in from all parts of the nation! Guffaw! Catcher eligibility has nothing to do with batting average, so why bring it up? And the 33 point head start for Callaspo along with a far better K/BB rate is better evidence of the likelihood of him finishing with a better average than any minor league stats.

Aaron Hill is not finishing the year among the top 10 hitters.

You can take that to the bank. Silly AJ!

AJ Mass
  (3:51 PM)

Duly noted. Check back in Septmeber and we'll see who's Wright, er, right.

Bill (Boston)

Cantu or Alexei for the rest of the year?

AJ Mass
  (3:52 PM)

Cantu by a long mile.

George (NY)

Thoughts on Martis? Just a fluke?

AJ Mass
  (3:53 PM)

Yes, he's no Steve Carlton, if you get my drift.

Garrett (Boston, MA)

Follow-up question... So you ranked hitters who will sit on people's benches ahead of starters who will accumulate stats? Also, what does Johan have to do to become your #1 starting pitcher?

AJ Mass
  (3:55 PM)

It's not possible to know who is on whose bench and whether or not an owner will start/sit any individual X number of games. I ranked how much fantasy value I thought each player would earn.

AJ the Mets Hater

That is the only possible reason for having the Mets players ranked so low

AJ Mass
  (3:56 PM)

If you only knew how ridiculous that comment was...

Don (NJ)

Johan behind Halladay ... lets debate ... Johan will have a better era, whip, k's - Halladay more wins ... I dont get it AJ

AJ Mass
  (3:57 PM)

Johan may have a better ERA and WHIP by a bit. Absolutely. He's also pitching around two innings less a game than Roy will. At some point, more innings = more fantasy value if the ratio stats are close.

Joe (Chicago)

The only thing I dont like about you is that you unfortunately have the name of one of the most hated players in baseball, Pierzinski. Other than that, you're cool though.

AJ Mass
  (3:58 PM)

I'll take it Joe.

AJ the Mets Hater Part 2

Then justify it please. Johan is a 2nd half pitcher and the Mets can't score less runs for him going forward so he can only improve (moreso than Halladay). And he's on pace for 300 strikeouts! (Although he probably will only hit about 250-275). And Wright you have ranked near Johnny Damon. JOHNNY DAMON!

AJ Mass
  (4:01 PM)

Talk about arbitrary designations... "so and so is a 2nd half" player is preposterous to base projections on. He's a great pitcher. He will do great, but to think he'll do better after the All-Star Break than he is doing now is barely possible. And again - it's not an insult to say I like Halladay better than Johan. I didn't rank him #20 of all pitchers.

AJ Mass
  (4:02 PM)

4pm, gang. I appreciate the questions. This chat was fun. I'll be back on Tuesday for another round, so be ready. See you the next time on Villa Alegre!