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July 15, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Hello all and welcome to another fantasy sports chat... thanks for being here, let's get going...

KC (Columbus)

EK, pick one. Pujols for Morneau/Markakis or Pujols for Wright/Kemp.

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

Well, you could also opt to keep the best player in fantasy on your team, but if you feel the need to move him - and hey, I can totally see trading him for either of these packages - I would probably choose the Wright/Kemp one.

MIKE (TAMPA, FL)

Good Afternoon Eric! In an effort to stay ahead of the rest with closers, who would you recommend Dotel or R. Betancourt? Thanks for all the good work in the 1st half!

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

And thank you, Mike. Reminder that this week's Relief Efforts is already posted for today. I think it's Betancourt. I don't expect Kerry Wood to be traded, but certainly he's more on the block than Bobby Jenks, and he's more of an injury risk, too. Betancourt seems next in line for Cleveland. Dotel might be next in line for Chicago, but I don't think there's a thing wrong with Jenks.

Marc (DC)

EK, how do you feel about Mark Reynolds? I've been skeptical all season long and but now have the option to keep him for next year (and potentially a couple more). Is he a legit .270 90 35 100 25 kinda guy or is this year an aberration?

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

Well, the only problem here is we don't know if or when Reynolds will decide to stop stealing bases. It's totally up to him. All it takes is a groin tweak and he's back to swiping 2 bases a month. I think he's going 30/30 this season. Arizona has nothing to play for, why not let him go for the stats. I think he's a legit .250 hitter with 35-100 power who has decided to run. Next year it might be 10 steals. Or 30 again.

matt (seattle)

EK, I know you're a believer in Zobrist, but doubters remain. He has fantastic "counting" numbers, but have you looked at his hitting metrics? They're even better! Almost every single one is in the top-7 among ALL hitters...5th - Runs Created per 27 innings3rd - Isolated Power2nd - Secondary Average7th - OB%4th - SluggingIf the "pace" rates hold up and he reaches 30/20, with almost 100/100, that's basically a *slightly* worse version of Chase Utley. Even Zobrist's 49 K / 55 BB ratio is Utley-esque.

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

I know, and that's why I don't understand why I appear alone on Zobrist Island. Every number I looked at was positive for him, all the trends. I don't see a bad second half at all for him. I ranked him in the top 50! Maybe you and I can get the Zobrist-for-MVP bandwagon going... OK, but certainly he should be in the discussion, if he keeps this up, for fantasy MVP.

Jimmy R. (Philly)

EK why are you hating on me? Are you just trying to play both sides so even if I do poorly the rest of the season you look like a genius?

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

That's pretty funny. No, I do not play both sides of any issue. I hope things improve, but I wonder if the recent home stand was just a blip. What do people expect from Rollins? More than 20 homers? More than 40 steals? A .300 batting average. He's good, but let's not go overboard.

Rob (NJ)

What are your thoughts on Capps getting traded?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

The way he's been pitching, I'm not sure his real-life trade value is very high. Would a contender really view him as an upgrade at closer? Would the Tigers? The Marlins? I don't think so. I would be concerned he's hurt, though.

Carl (Carlson City )

I have a choice between A. Johnson and S. Slaton this year with keeper possibilities in the back of my mind. Which Texan should I go with?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I think most people would tell you to go with Andre Johnson, and I kinda agree. I do like Slaton, probably more than most, but I do realize what he did as a rookie was very unexpected and there could be some dropoff. Johnson, however, could be in line for a monster season if Schaub stays healthy.

Glenn (Providence)

I know you dont like answering individual trade questions but i'm getting some heat for this trade in my league, I wont say which side I got, because I want an unbiased opinion, which end of the deal would you want to be on? (16 team mixed)Adam Jones, Francoeur, Gallaraga for Jered Weaver, Nyjer Morgan and Fukudome

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

Well, I'm not a huge fan of Morgan, but still, I don't want any part of Galarraga or Francouer this season, none. Weaver is legit, and Fukudome could go 15/15.

David (Toronto)

How do you think Jay Bruce will do when he comes back from injury in 6-8 weeks?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Coming back from a wrist injury? Run, run, run away. The Reds should be out of it by then, so I don't know why they would push one of their top young players. I didn't rank Bruce at all, because he might play a month, at most, and shouldn't have much power.

Joe (Mass)

Is J. Upton/Teixiera about the right price to pay for Hanley?

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

You know there's no "right" price. It's whatever you and some other guy agree to. Hardly makes it right. I think Upton and Teix is quite a bit for any one player, really. I'd take that for Hanley, as well as Pujols.

aaron (norfolk)

mass had harden ranked the 13th best option at pitcher tomorrow. do you agree? what do you expect out of him going forward?

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

Not even close, but that's why we have so many strong writers on staff, to all share opinions. I'm the wrong person to ask about Harden. I would not want him around, but I do see the possibilities for a big second half. He's still a dominant K guy when he wants to be.

matt (dc)

Do you like AJ?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

I like all our writers. AJ normally has some unconventional opinions, but that doesn't mean they are wrong. It's good to think outside the box on occasion. Maybe I don't do that enough, who knows!

Jonathan (Tulsa)

EK, assuming they're healthy, about how many starts would the average pitcher get in the 2nd half? I'm in a league with a 200 start max and wondering if I should drop one of my SP (prob Harden)

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

Depends on the team, no? Very few pitchers have made 19 starts, so since there is less than half a season remaining, I'd say 15 or so starts seems about right. But that's not exact science.

RJ (New York, NY)

Would you ever trade Pujols in a keeper league if you had him? What would you expect in return?

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

Of course I would. I've done it before. Anyone in fantasy can be traded, anyone. There's always a price that makes it worth it. I'd want quite a bit, generally another power hitter and a top starting pitcher, but I've seen it done in my leagues even this season.

Glenn (Providence)

thanks for answering I appreciate it, but just a follow up if you dont mind.... Is there something about Morgan that I should know? He's never hit below .280 at any level in the minors or the majors, and while he wont hit for power, he might get to 50 steals this year with regular AB's, which he looks in line to get looking at the Nats OF. But you get paid for analysis and I dont, and I ask this genuinely, is there somthing im missing?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

No, not really. He is what he is. Hitting .280 in the minors hardly means a player will do better in the bigs, but Morgan is holding his own. I'm just leary of young players with no chance for power and not a lot of upside. This guy is 29, after all. He's no prospect. He can steal 40 bases, but that doesn't make him a "good" hitter.

Josh Hamilton's Tattoo Artist (Seedy Part of Town)

Should I get my client's "2nd Half Fantasy MVP" tat ready? Do you have any ink? Want some?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

I'm buying a 20-homer second half, but Hamilton has also proven that he might be as brittle as his detractors believed.

Joe ((NYC))

What do you think about Ryan Ludwicks recent resurgence, Fluke or Real Deal?

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

I think iit's the real deal, definitely. Other than a slow stretch in May when he was clearly hurting, Ludwick has hit for power. He can still get to 30 homers, so see if you can get him.

Brian (PA)

Who do you think Grabow would close in Pitts if Capps was traded or hurt? Seems logical to me they'd try Hanrahan there to evaluate him for 2010...

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

I think Hanrahan's days of closing have gone by. He's way too wild, and while Pittsburgh should be accruing good arms and he has one, I doubt he's next. Might not be Grabow, either, but the way Hanrahan has performed for the Bucs, why would he close?

Edwardo (Salsbury )

I don't want to mess up my 1st round pick and have to decide between R. Moss and A. Johnson. Both have huge upsides I understand but which pick is "safer"?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

Well, who really knows what safe is? Moss could catch 20 TD passes if Brady is right. I think Johnson could do that as well if his QB is healthy. Johnson has had injury woes as well. I'd say the answer here is Johnson. Both should be good.

Carlos "Bum-Knee" Beltran (Denver)

He was ranked pretty high in the rankings... especially by Grey at 77. What are your thoughts. Is he worth waiting on?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

My feeling is he'll be out for so long it's not worth it, but I did rank him somewhere. Would he run? Would he hit for average? It's not looking good.

John (Fallujah, Iraq)

Hey EK, bunch of guys over here are big fans. Should I pull the trigger on a deal sending Johan and Damon for Duke and Braun? I need the hitting but feel I might be getting the short end of the stick.

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

Let me say a bunch of guys over here at ESPN - maybe everyone! - are big fans of what you guys do for our country, so thank you. Least I can do is answer a question! I know you need hitting but I would shy away from this deal. Johan is still among the top pitchers to me and even with the sorry team around him, he can have a big second half. Damon is hitting for power - not Braun power, but good power - and I don't see that ending soon. Not at Yankee Launching Pad. I'd hold Johan and Damon.

Frank (Omaha, NE)

Erik, Is there any formula you use to compare relative values of SPs and RPs?

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

Nope. Not me. Others on staff probably do, but to me, if I need a closer, I trade for or draft a closer. I probably rank 15 starting pitchers ahead of any closer normally, in a vaccuum, but I don't think that answers your question. Depends on need. Everything in fantasy does to a degree.

James (Chicago, IL)

Erik, what is Pujols' trade value? (Not specific players, but some general formula you'd use for how many players of what tier(s) would be needed to equal his value)? Pujols' owner is low in the standings, so I want to offer a deal. Thanks for your help!

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

There is no "formula." Some Pujols owners might need a certain stat. Others might want a top 1B back and pitching. Others might be Yankees fans and accept Cano and CC. Who knows. That's the thing, every trade is different because every owner is different. They all think different, have their own team needs. One can never be sure. You ask the guy what he wants, see if it's something you can afford, and go from there.

Bryan (Minnesota)

EK, picked up Frasor when Downs went down (wasn't trying to make a joke), but now it looks like Downs has complete control over closer spot? Is Jim Johnson worth picking up in a deep AL league and dropping Frasor? Thanks in advance!

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

Yeah, I think Downs will get most every Toronto save the rest of the way. No reason to think he'll get hurt again. Johnson is probably next in line if Sherrill gets hurt or dealt. I think it's a decent possibility he's traded, so yeah, I'd make that transaction.

Matt (DC)

Football question! Who is my fourth keeper behind Portis, Steve Smith and Warner: Addai, Bowe or Witten? I don't pick until 11th of 12, so I'm currently leaning toward Addai...

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

I'd probably lean toward Bowe. I am not reading good things about Addai's chances at the same number of touches as we've previously seen. He's like Willie Parker in a way, brittle and losing touches each day....

Tom (Seattle)

What do you think of Willingham? I know you wrote an article endorsing him, and he's been getting pretty good playing time recently.

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Gonna be the quietest 25 home runs for any player this season...

Tom (Seattle)

Is Tejada a top-five shortstop in the second half? Would you take him or Rollins?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

I would definitely take Rollins. More power and speed, and at least there's the upside for a good batting average. Tejada's average can only go in one direction.

Casey (Milwaukee)

Hey EK, it seems like most of the analysts think the Kung-FU Panda is playing over his head a little bit. Besides you, everyone has him out of the top 50. He was a legitimate breakout player pre-season, why can't he keep this up? I would like to think he will, are you with me?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

I don't understand what people are afraid of. Pablo Sandoval hit last year and he's hitting now, and there's enough power for everyone to partake. Two other rankers had him right where I did, so I wouldn't say I was alone, but it's also not like anyone hated him. Why can't he hit .320 with 25 homers? He can! Imagine if you have him at catcher in your league...wow....

jay (NorCal)

The A's HAVE to trade Holliday soon, right?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

I think they probably will, but NO they do not have to. The A's can offer him arb, let him walk after the season and collect draft picks. I love how NL owners assume Holliday ends up there so they save their waiver position. He might stay in Oakland, and stay a disappointment. Plus, he isn't getting dealt back to Colorado, you know. Will he hit in another place?

steve villa (LA, CALIFORNIA)

pablo should of went to the all star game instead of shane pablo is better in every catagory

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Pablo is not a better center fielder... Victorino made the All-Star team as the NL had a need. Sandoval did deserve a spot on the team, but not over Shane...

Ryan (Astoria, NY)

Brandon Inge has catcher availability so he's as good as any to put there, but can you see him hitting more than 12-15 HR's in the second half?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

I don't have concerns about a major power dropoff, but watch the batting average. Even now he's at .268, which could get bad soon. But I see a 35-homer season. Imagine that!

Jason (CA)

How many saves does Mike Gonzalez get from here on out?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

You might not like this, but I take the under on ... 3. It's Raffy's job now.

Ray (Boston)

Ricky Nolasco's in for a monster second half-T or F?

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

Definitely T... we'll look at his numbers come October and totally forget he was demoted to the minors...

Alex (Fargo, ND)

Top 5 Catchers at the end of next season are...?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Next season? Wow, let's finish this one. But if you're looking for Wieters affirmation, you've got it. He's top-5 next season. He might still do it this season.

Lowell (Akron, OH)

Would you start Blanton in Fla. (he's going up against Nolasco)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Blanton is pitching well, so I would start him. And do yourself a favor and don't look at opposing starters. It's irrelevant. Greinke and Halladay, they've lost games this season. Use your fantasy starters for good pitching. Predicting wins is hard to do.

Ricardo (Mexico City)

Rest of the season, 20-man league... Ellis, Getz or Matsui?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Probably Ellis, because he has power and plays a tough position. Matsui has the same power, but is an outfielder, and his knees will never be the same. Sad.

Ryan (Astoria, NY)

Is there any reason to think David Wright will have a power resurgence in the second half of this year? I'm sick of people blaming the ballpark - he only has 2 HR's on the road in 42 games - the ballpark has nothing to do with it

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

The ballpark has something to do with it, but not everything. Wright admits he's changed his approach and his swing. It's his fault he doesn't have 15 homers. That said, I would not be at all surprised if he does hit 15 homers the rest of the way. He's talented, he could easily do that.

Bob (Nowhere)

Rest of the season McGehee or I Stewart?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

Oooh, I am so tempted to go with the fella whose name is pronounced McGEE - you have no idea how many people get that wrong on TV, radio, etc. - but in reality, I expect the Brewers to play Gamel more. So it's Stewart, even if he hits .240. There's power there.

Ben (SF)

If you think Wieters is a top 5 catcher this year, would you deal Mauer/Hanson for Halladay/Wieters?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

I think that trade is fair, actually. Mauer is hitting .370 something, but he won't finish there. Sorry, I can't buy it. I think Hanson is for real, but Halladay is better for this season.

Charlie (Syracuse, NY)

After about 4 years of playing in a H2H league I think I've finally learned that the key is to load up on offense and pick and choose pitchers based on matchups. Are there any other differences that will help me out? It doesn't always seem like fantasy advice is geared to H2H leagues.

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Well, I certainly don't mind punting a category in h2h, but in roto I don't do it. Also depends if you just get a win for the week, or if the 6-4 score counts toward totals. But I'm more likely to seek out consistent players rather than streaky ones - first half to second half, etc. - in h2h.

Stu (Baltimore)

Brandon Jacobs or Slaton? Jacobs is a beast but his health scares me.

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

It's Jacobs. He scores so many touchdowns, and that line is so dependable, I see another strong season for him. As I said, I wonder if that's the best Slaton will do.

Jacob (NC)

I'm not sold on Kinsler-his second half performance is generally far worse than his first half. Do you think this is the year he actually goes strong for a full season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

I do not think we have enough info on Kinsler's short career to make that determination. Same with Pedroia, for example. OK, he never hit for power in the minors. Well, he did in 2008! Kinsler is a 30/30 threat and I think he gets close this year. I don't assume a second half fade.

YD (Philly)

Speaking of streaky, Andre Ethier's BABIP is 40 points below his career average right now...

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Yes it is, but I like to remind people not every stat will revert to the mean. Some BAPIPs stay really high or really low for entire seasons. They don't have to balance out!

Matt (Chicago)

Last try, please help. Would you trade Holliday for CC if it meant you HAD to play Hart and Rasmus in your OF?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Yes I would.

Brian (IN)

Better overall numbers in the 2nd half - Jason Bay or A-Rod?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Bay, but not by much.

Gregg (Nashville)

Which rookie RB do you expect to have the best season?

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

How about ... none... I'd pick Moreno in Denver, but I'm not confident he's safe.

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK, thanks to everyone for the great questions and good luck in the second half of the baseball season, or in football if you're drafting soon. Enjoy!