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June 11, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning one and all... time to chat a little fantasy baseball for the next hour. Who is going to be up to bat in the leadoff spot?

Rob (State College)

AJ - First question, please? Soto is on the waiver wire in a couple of leagues. Is now the time to grab him, or are the last couple of games nothing to get excited about? Thanks!!

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

Soto wasn't rated in the Top-5 catchers in the pre-season for no good reason, and if your current backstop isn't doing the job, I'd grab Soto and see what happens... if a few weeks from now you're wrong, you can still likely get back whoever you cut now, or get equivalent value.

Jon (New York)

Tell me I didn't blow the 1st pick of the draft on Hanley Ramirez because this guy is INCREDIBLY underwhelming. He doesn't steal bases, he doesn't hit home runs, the only thing he's good for is a high average and a ton of 1-3 with 1 RBI nights. I could have taken Jeter 6 rounds later (or Zobrist in the 12th) for this production. Do you see an "elite-level" run coming or is he the biggest bust of the 1st round?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

I'm not quite sure how you value hitters, because at the pace you suggest, he'll hit .333 with 162 RBIs. Maybe he isn't flashing 30-30 numbers right now, but he's definitely been worth a 2nd round pick, which is not that bad, even from an overall

Ha! (MA)

Tell Jon from New York that, as a Reyes owner (and former sizemore owner), he shouldn't be complaining.

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

There you go...

Samuel L Jackson (California)

Who should I get in return for Verlander if I was to even consider trading him?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

As I wrote in today's Out of the Box, Verlander is on the short list for potential Cy Young candidates, so we're looking at a very short list of equal value. I'd say right now someone like Longoria and a return pitcher is a minimum... and of course the promise to get rid of these %$^$^B snakes!!!!

Mark (Omaha)

Any chance we make it through an entire chat without someone whining about the new format?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Not sure... were you just whining? If so, no. If not... probably no.

Bernard (Princeton, NJ)

The closer for the Oakland A's is________? The closer for the A's should be ________?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

Andrew Bailey. Huston Street - never should have done it.

Sasha Grey (On Set)

AJ, I have Shields and I use to have Meche. Meche is a FA and has been hot while Shields has been maddening inconsistent. Who do you like for the rest of the year and do I make the swithc? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

I like Shields for the rest of the year. Although Meche has been more consistent, the run support is far more spotty. But you can't go chasing hot streaks and cold streaks with SP. It's like betting red/black in roulette. You're going to lose more than you win.

Aaron (Chicago)

Are you as high on Jose Lopez as some of your colleagues? He has been on fire in the last week...is this more of what we'll see in the second half?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

I think he'll be better than the first half, though by no means this hot... I was very high on Lopez in the pre-season and own him on many of my teams... so it's been disappointing... but I've also held on to him and at least am getting some value back for my patience.

Fred ((Boston))

RE: Shields vs. MecheSo are you saying pick 5-6 starting pitchers and stick with them throughout the entire season? Is that the strategy you are promoting?

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

If you draft well, then yes. I'm not saying you have to stick with Chien-Ming Wang if you had him from Day 1, nor am I saying you never make a change, but to say "Pitcher X had two bad starts, I'm cutting him for Pitcher Y who had two good ones." is not a winning strategy.

Crazy Carl (Pontiac, MI)

Do you ever not start a pitcher based on matchups? In you do at what point do you deem it "ok" to not start a pitcher?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

In H2H leagues, absolutely. Certainly, a pitcher going into Yankee Stadium this season or the former BOB might be a sit candidate. However, it a standard roto, I'm more likely to simply let the chips fall where they may... after all, if I sit a pitcher and he gets a shutout, I'm never getting those stats back. In an H2H, everything resets next week, so it's not as big a deal.

Johnny (Harlem)

Why do you have Javier Vazquez ranked so low in the Daily Notes? He's going against a weak PITT lineup, whose best hitters you say are no good against him. Just wondering, thanks for the clarification!

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

This is a perfect example of the whole "don't overthink it" when it comes to pitchers. If I have Vazquez, I am starting him... however with Maholm ranked so high, the chances of a Vazquez win are far lower, plus he's had trouble - even against poor hitting teams - of late getting much past the 6th.

Dan (NJ)

Can I get Utley straight up for Greinke? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

Can you? Depends on Utley's owner. Personally, I might make the deal if I was a little short on pitching versus hitting, since Greinke is one of the few arms who has put up "5-cat hitter" type value. But my guess is that few will have faith in his continuing at his current level and you'll have trouble making that sell.

Chris (NJ)

I know you're sick of strasburg (me too) but I need to know in a keeper league what can I get for dealing him?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

A whole lot. The one stat he will definitely continue to produce this season is "potential" - in the end though, if you have him, I'd wait until later in the season to deal him for a very targeted need in order to win this season - because his ceiling in a keeper league is mondo-high.

JC (Boston)

I can't believe on Tuesday you picked Nolasco over Kuroda. How is that possible looking at the stats, and ACTUALLY watching both in person? Kuroda is excellent and Nolasco stinks. And If you keep giving advice like this, then NOBODY is gonna take you seriously.

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

Which stats shall we look at? Just the ones from this season, or overall... because I'll take the younger pitcher (by close to a decade) who had 70 more strikeouts last season if he regains his form. I have watched Nolasco, and he's struggled... but he doesn't *stink* by any means.

Casey (KC)

Whats your take on Luke Scott for the rest of the season, you buying or selling him?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

Scott's a nice player, but I don't think the power number pace keeps up. I like him far better than guys like Nyjer Morgan and Kendry Morales who have produced more fantasy value so far, but he's not someone I'm rushing to make a deal for either.

DJ (Charlotte, NC)

AJ - Gavin Floyd has been a pleasant surprise as of late. Based on all the inside numbers you all look at, do you expect it to continue? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

First off, DJ, we don't have any more insider stats than anyone else. Stats are stats. I just happen to analyze differently than you might. Floyd has certainly pitched himself back into the conversation of late to where I certainly would be starting him, but I still have him slated as a No. 5 SP from here on out.

Marc (MD)

AJ, Now Oswalt has a sore wrist. I am a first time player in a 14 H2H league. I have heeded everyone's advice to stay the course. DO I change that MO? Carpenter, Lee, Wandy and Cueto are available. No one tries to trade in this league, kinda lame but they don't pay attention to pitching. Are any of those guys better going forward?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

What a bizarre league... how are those guys available at all? I'd probably swap out all of my pitchers for that quartet and take my chances. But, Oswalt's start has simply been moved back to Saturday, so I wouldn't be too concerned just yet on him. However, if he can't make it through six against the D-backs, then I'd start to get a little nervous.

Matt Kemp (City of Dodgers)

Can you tell Joe Torre to keep a consistent lineup? I batted 8th last night, with the protection of the pitcher!

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

I'd rather have Kemp bat eighth than seventh, where at least he still has a chance to score some runs while getting pitched around... but still, Kemp is still giving you Top-30 output, so just hope it's a phase Joe is going through.

Dan (Chicago)

Vernon Wells - his numbers are very mediocre. Is this what to expect moving forward, or do you see improvement in the slugger categories?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

True, if not for the steals, he'd be way down on the list. That is what is keeping him so high in the fantasy rankings, and if HR is what you drafted him for, you're not happy. I see some improvement, but not a lot... I'd trade him to a team in need of some speed from the OF in exchange for a little more "guaranteed pop"

Nate (MD)

Is it time to give up on Russell Martin for the year? He has zero power, cant hit for average, and seems to get worse each week?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

I'm not going to comment since I got criticized heavily for saying he should be cut about a month ago... oh wait a minute, I was right then and I'm right now... see you, Russell.

Sean (Utah)

Rank these: Lackey, Wandy, Slowey. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

Slowey, Wandy, Lackey... I think we all have to own up to the fact that 8-2 is not a fluke.

Constitutional (Amendment)

Baseball NEEDS to change the way it awards wins. I understand the way the rule works, but the pitcher MOST resposible for the Reds win last night was Harang. Baseball, change the Rule !

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

Harang was indeed terrific, but don't blame the rule for his not getting the win... that blame is all Cordero's. Close out the game!

CJ (Boston)

Why do I draft Alex Rios every year? Am I addicted to un-met expectations?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

Probably the same reason I drafted Lastings Milledge... you look at him, and it's right there, and yet, it's not there! Arrrghhh! So frustrating. We all have our fantasy kryptonite, but I'd rather have yours, who has provided nearly as much fantasy value as Ryan Braun despite disappointing you than my Triple-A hostage.

Drew (Toronto)

Baseless steroid rumors aside, what's your take on trading away Ibanez? Is he going to keep this up for the next 4 months, or is it time to capitalize on his awesome numbers and flip him for an underperforming upper-tier player?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Yes he will keep this up, if he doesn't let distractions like random bloggers bother him. What has changed? The park he plays in, the league he plays in, having Utley, Rollins, Howard and Victorino in the lineup around him... that's a much bigger difference than any PEDs would make.

Kyle (Omaha)

Are you trading Albert Pujols and BJ Upton for Migeul Cabrera and Justin Upton in a dynasty league?

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

No. I'll take 10 more years of Albert.

Andrew (Arkansas)

Speaking of Lastings... will he be up again this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

My guess is not while either Manny Acta and/or Elijah Dukes are still on the team. My completely unfounded feeling is that there's an issue between Dukes and Milledge that makes them residing in the same place intolerable, and Acta isn't going to live in that environment.

Jonathan (Tulsa)

Cantu is scaring me with this dizziness thing, AJ. Something to worry about and should I go get a backup plan at 3B? All that's availalable in FA are Ian Stewart, Beltre, Crede, and Hairston

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

Cantu seems to think his dizziness was caused by a cholesterol medication and he's stopped taking it. He feels that should solve the dizziness problem. If he's still dizzy in a week, then you should probably take action.

Pete Becker (ESPN)

AJ, I am curious what your real name is. Is it Ajieus Massio?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

No, but I hear he's playing great for Argentina in World Cup qualifying.

Michael ((Chicago, IL))

Who has more upside for the rest of 2009....Laynce Nix or Josh Willingham?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

Willingham if the Nats can somehow get another team to take Kearns off their hands...

Bob (DC)

A.J., if I can get B.J. Upton for Adam Jones, I have to pull the trigger, right? Jones' BABIP is sky-high and Upton is starting to heat up.

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

1) BABIP... it's not how high it is or how low it is... it's how high or low it is relative to past season's BABIPs for the individual player. 2) I keep Dig Dug. No trigger pulling here.

Barney (Sacramento, CA)

Help a purple dino out, AJ! Overbay or Helton for the 2nd half?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

Helton, but you're going to have to send Dinger flowers before he'll play for you.

Fake Name (Fake Location)

Name some underrated or underperforming (Starting Pitchers) buy low options you would go after.

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Harang, Lester, Millwood and yes, even given last night, I'd take a flier on Carl Pavano if the FA list is slim pickings.

Scott (NJ)

Shin Soo Choo finishes as a Top ________ player?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

50, and still won't be owned in every league.

Nate (MD)

I was offered Manny or Sizemore (my choice) for Gallardo straight up... Steps into my man crush zone, but I sort of like it for the future. Should I?

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

I'd unload Manny for Yo-Ga. Let someone else worry about Manny coming back as "not being Manny" for that value.

Jordan (OH)

Danks looked great last night dueling with Verlander...thoughts moving forward? he has been maddeningly inconsistent as of lat bu would he be a buy low option along the lines or Harang, Lester and Millwood?

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

Could be, but I still am not buying it. I'll need another one or two outings like that before I jump on board.

Dave (DC)

I benched Gil Meche last night. :(Is he a must start going forward?

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

And we've come full circle... yes he is... Don't bench your best! It's not worth it.And that's our time for today. I believe Tristan is up at 3pm. Thanks for the Q's and we'll see you the next time on Villa Alegre!