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July 14, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:58 AM)

Good morning, gang. Home Run Derby is behind us - now it's time to get to the game that really counts (he said, eyes rolling). Myself, I'll watch until Big Brother starts at 9. What's on your mind this morning? Who's up first?

Sean (Iowa)

We want your personal rankings published!!!Better keeper for next year - Greinke or Verlander?

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Thanks, Sean. We're going to have everyone's "From this point forward" rankings out today. As for the keeper issue - I'm much higher on Verlander, but of course, let's wait and see all the FA movement before making that decision, shall we?

Joey (NYC)

EK was saying that Carl Crawford was on his sell high. Do you agree?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

In a way, yes. I think Crawford has tons of value, but most of it is tied to SB. If you don't need those- and I think there's a drop off in his totals going forward - then definitely you can move him. However, I am not sure you get can true value for him.

Brent (Nashville, TN)

Better player the rest of this year: Jayson Werth or Nelson Cruz?

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

I ranked Werth 66 and Cruz 68 going forward, so it is close --- but my rankings come with a bit of a caveat. Because they were going to be absorbed into the group, I didn't just start from scratch, but rather, I adjusted the May-forward rankings to fit my personal view of "rise/fall" -- If I hadn't, too many of my ranks would have likely been kicked out as too high or too low, and not been used at all, so I adjusted a bit. I do like Werth better though.

KC (Columbus)

AJ, pretty weak in the OF. Thinking of moving Pujols. What type of OF/1b combo do you think I could get?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Name your price. He's Albert Pujols, and the top player in the game. Just field the offers and sell when you get Prince and Ichiro or some such combo.

Jarred (Kansas)

AJ, True or False: Zack Greinke has been the best pitcher in the American League to this point.

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

True, although Halladay is just a hair behind.

Zeke THE Outrageous! (Brooklyn)

AJ, I don't buy into the Haren 2nd half demise, despite 4 years of sub-par ERA. What is your honest opinion? You see Lester in the Top 10 SP at year's end?

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

I don't either, as I've said before. He's not going to pitching in "high-stress" situations, and frankly, in the past six years, he's had 3 good Septembers and 3 bad ones. I'm high on Haren. As for Lester, I think he's Top 15, but not quite Top 10... but a few extra wins over his peers and he could get there.

Kevin (Boston)

Will Matt Cain be a fantasy ace in the second half?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

Assuming he suffers no ill-effects from the liner off his arm, I think he's going to be a No. 2 fantasy pitcher in the second-half. Not quite an ace, but not too far removed.

Trent (New York)

AJ, If Zack Greinke has been a hair better than Roy Halladay why isnt Zack starting the ASG?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Because Joe Maddon disagrees with me. If Greinke pitches the third inning instead of the first, does it really matter to anyone? Not me.

steven(ca) [via mobile]

After sanchez no no should I pick him hoping that he continues that succes or was it just a fluke?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

Not just a no-no, but darn near a perfect game. Of course it was a fluke - most no-hitters are. I'm not buying based on a lightning in a bottle outing against a not-so-great team.

Sean (Iowa)

Why are you much higher on Verlander over Greinke? Is it the state of the Royals offense? Just interested in a little clarification, thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

I think Verlander has a lot better stuff, if he can get a hold on his control, he can have an ERA a full run lower than he does now. Greinke is at max capacity for fantasy output. Since Verlander has room for improvement, I give him the edge going forward. And yes, lineups and run support do factor in a bit since wins count in fantasy.

Chris (Saratoga, NY)

Which current closer will most likely be traded by July 31? Street? Capps? Sherrill?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

I think there's little chance Capps remains in Pittsburgh the way that team has been moving bodies.

Bill (Lawton, OK)

What's your thoughts on grabbing Pedro. Think he has 8 wins in him?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

I'm not sure he has 8 innings in him. If he's pitching in Philly, I want no part of that ERA and WHIP.

Ryan (Tampa)

AJ, is it fair to say that if Zack Greinke pitched for the Red Sox he very well could be 15-2?

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

Sure, but he also could have an ERA of 4.00 pitching at Fenway. Can't really play that game.

Bill (Chicago)

Is E Jackson for real and a legitimate #1 for the rest of this year and beyond?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

He's for real, but not a No. 1 -- I think Jackson is certainly a Top-20 starter if everything falls right the rest of the way, but legit No. 1 pitchers are much more sure things.

ben (Brooklyn)

Two weeks ago you said Reynolds was a TOP 5 Bat, now he is not even top 30 for your rankings?Wow talk about inconsistent rankings

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

It's not inconsistent -- Reynolds is my No. 5 on my personal list. However, as I tried to explain earlier --- he was 180 on ESPN's May list. I raised him about 150 spots. That's where my confidence lies in him. And this list is different than the one I did for Hit Parade, where I adjusted Brendan's ratings rather than completely rewrite them. Otherwise, there would be no week-to-week consistency at all for him.

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

Care to give an example instead of just doing a "hate-and-run"? I'm happy to discuss why you're wrong.

Brad ( St. Louis)

Why such a big drop for Votto and McCann in your Hit Parade?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

Because Brendan had them both way too high. I like Votto, but I don't think he hits anywhere near .350 the rest of the way, I don't think he steals and I don't think he scores a lot of runs. Even if he hits .300, there are plenty of players who will give you more fantasy value going forward - which is all the list represents. Similar reasoning on McCann.

Mike (Tampa)

I listened to you and sat David Price, and he got 21 points!! and i lost my matchup by 20!! is it wrong to just throw him out there every time because you dont know what he will do?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

We're not psychic. We didn't rank Jonathan Sanchez No. 1 the day he threw the no-no either. Given a one-game sample, all experts will be wrong more often than they are right. All we can do is give the best read of the snapshot as it currently exists, and for now, I'm not starting Price regularly.

Brent (Nashville, TN)

All explanations aside, it's pretty frustrating to see different qualifications, reasonings, and tweakings behind every single set of rankings you produce.

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

You have to tailor your rankings to the question being asked, though. And, rankings "going forward" are going to change daily. If you think Player X is going to hit 40 HR on the season, and has 20 today, that's 20 going forward. A week from now, if he has 23, that's only 17 going forward. His value has dropped even though he's playing better. Unless, of course you also tweak the projection to 43 HR. You have to tweak somewhere, or else you're sure to be wrong. That's baseball.

Jim (Omaha)

How do I handle a situation in which the bottom player in my league is unloading all his good players to help another player near the top?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

Freeze his roster. I'm all for a free market, but a targeted sell-off to one owner in particular is the definition of collusion.

Steve (Denver)

You gotta love the entertainment value of Big Brother. Who is your prediction for the final 2? I say Russell and Casey make it to the end.

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

Too early to make predictions, as those darn twists change everything, but I am rooting hard for the Off-beat guy who speaks his mind and King Nerd right now.

Kevin (Boston)

These people are harsh.

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

I'm a big boy, Kevin. I can take it. I don't have to post these questions if I don't want to. However, I enjoy debating my point of view - that's what I think fantasy sports are all about. Nobody KNOWS what will happen. As long as it remains civil, without name-calling, I have no problem with people wanting clarification of my thoughts.

Jack (Chicago)

I think people should send you their fantasy winnings since you make all of the decisions for them.

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

Feel free to find me on Twitter to get my paypal account! LOL.

Brian (IN)

Is Choo a sell high? What kind of 3b can I target for him?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

If I can Michael Young for him I certainly do it. But I fear not too many people are going to have his current value as high as I do, and in those cases, I hang tight.

Johnny Cueto (still in the shower)

Sliding into my 2nd half funk?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I think there's a underlying injury we don't know about. Hopefully a few extra days off, and out of Dusty's hands will get you back on track.

Mr. Math (Buffalo)

"Given a one-game sample, all experts will be wrong more than they are right." Logic seems to be flawed. If you except experts to be more right than wrong over the course of the season (I'd assume you do), then odds would be that they would be more right than wrong over a one-game sample.

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

Actually, I consider experts to be more right than non-experts over the course of a season... just I expect Pujols to have a higher batting average than most, even though he gets out 7 of ten times, hence failing more than he succeeds.

Mike (Nashville)

So then if "Given a one-game sample, all experts will be wrong more often than they are right" and football only has 16 weeks, which isn't a large sample, how do you effectively put together rankings short of just guessing?

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

Baseball chat, but I'll tackle this one. (See what I did there?) Predicting TDs is a complete guess, and anyone who says different is wrong. However, analyzing matchups in the NFL to predict yardage leaders and identifying the better offenses/defenses is something we can do.

Anthony (staten Island )

Who is more likely to keep it up?..... Zobrist or Ibanez?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

Given all the Phillies who are having terrific power seasons, I'd say Raul. It's clearly something contagious from playing at the Bank.

Adam (NYC)

I'm pretty sure that any statistician will tell you that it's wrong to predict that a player will do worse after jumping from 20 HRs to 23 HRs on the basis that you predict 40 HRs over the course of a season. I mean, that's just very, very wrong.

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

Not getting it, Adam. I'm saying projections have to CHANGE with more data, but if you take the stance that I change my projections too much, then if I project 40 HRs for the whole season - and I'm not supposed to change them, then I have to assume that with 23 HRs, that player will hit fewer over the course of the season, since I'm committed to the endpoint of 40.

Brody (MN)

Second half values of Matt LaPorta and Carlos Quentin?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

I think CQ can get back to the Top 100, but I'm not sure we'll see a whole lot of LaPorta. I'd side with CQ.

Jim (DC)

AJ, most of us are here for advice not logic lessons from statiticians. Do you see Mark Derosa making a difference in the second half or are you thinking the injury is really bad?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

I'm thinking the injury is bad enough to make me wonder. But I'm not sure DeRosa is the right fit to protect Albert - I'd rather have him at 3, and Pujols at 4. However, LaRussa's not moving Albert - so I don't see DeRosa having the impact he could.

Nick (Philly)

I don't even consider stats when picking fantasy players... I just choose which players have the luckiest uniform numbers

Jon ((CA))

Hey AJ!Would you do McClouth for Wieters and Cueto?

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

In a keeper league, I'd think about it. For the rest of 09, no.

geoff (nyc)

When do you see the Brewers bring up Alicdes Escobar? I think he's be an improvement over hardy in every way besides power.

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

I don't see it with Gamel already not getting enough PT up in the show and McGehee doing so surprisingly well. September, sure. Not sooner.

Bob (DC)

Is it too early in the season to considering 'losing' a trade in a roto league if it means getting help in a targeted category?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

Not at all. In fact, by the end of this month, you should consider the "help your enemies" trade, where you send a team some talent in one category so they can pass your nearest competitors, lowering their overall point totals in the process.

JT (Illinois)

You can't win either way AJ (also my bro's nickname)...since Pineiro just got snagged, who do you like of Contreras, Bergesen, Marquis, Gaudin, Bucholz, Feldman, Sanchez...I know, it's kind of an "eh" list...

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

As I've gone on record as saying Marquis is deserved of being an All-Star, I go with Jason, hands down.

George (Dallas)

When are the rankings gonna be released??????????????

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

At some point today. Be patient. In the meantime, check out the NFL Draft Kit. New team previews are being posted daily.

Jamaal (Sewell, NJ)

Quick one...best 2nd half....Romero, Slowey, or Blanton? Thx

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

I think Romero is going to do well the rest of the way, and if Halladay gets traded, he may well step into the role of staff ace.

Greg (Boston)

You buying J-Roll's resurgence?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Not entirely. I think the Phillies as a whole are playing a bit over their heads offensively.

Tony (NYC)

Your 2nd half fantasy MVP is_____

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Same as the first, Albert.

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

That's my time for today, gang. Thanks to all who wrote in with Q's and those who just lurked and read the responses. We'll be back on Thursday, where I am sure there will be plenty of "nay-sayers" on the Rankings which should be up soon. Until then, we'll see you the next time on Villa Alegre!