Hello all and welcome to another fantasy sports chat session. We could talk fantasy baseball or football today, whatever your pleasure. Spring training is approaching - which is of course awesome - so I'm assuming more baseball today. Anyway, thanks for checking us out, let's get moving...
Good afternoon Eric, in a head-to-head league are you buying Mark Reynolds? His rankings seem to be all over the place this season.
They sure are. I've seen rankings with Reynolds in the top-20, and others where he barely made the top-100. I think it comes down to his batting average, because the power - and really the speed - are largely legit. If Reynolds hits .220, nobody wants him. I don't see why he cannot hit .260 or so again. I have him ranked just inside my top-50, and it doesn't matter for him in roto or h2h.
Hi Eric ? can you clarify your reasoning behind the Wright selection in the first round of the mock draft. I feel like Wright is closer to Figgins than Longoria based on last year, suggesting he ?could? have been had in another round. I would not have taken Longoria in the first round either, but likely gone another position (Lincecum?). Please expand?
I think Wright is going to raise his power back to more normal levels. That's basically it. It was not the ballpark that destroyed his power, it was his swing. If it was Citi Field, then Wright would have hit 15 road homers. He didn't. I see him getting back to 22-25 home runs. Knowing he can hit for average and run, to me that's a top-10 player. I like Longoria, too, and have recently become convinced he should be in my top-10 as well, but still behind Wright. A 25-30 player is worth a ton.
Where is the highest you would draft Wieters in a 12 team H2H keeper league?
In our mock draft a few weeks back I thought I stole Wieters in the 10th round. I have him ranked as the No. 4 catcher; there is a large disparity from the top-3 catchers (Mauer, Victor, McCann) to him, but I'd consider Wieters in round 8 or 9 I believe, and a bit higher in a keeper.
I have the age old question of sure thing vs young stud. In a deep 16 team 20 round draft, I can keep Matt Kemp at the end of the 3rd round or Gordon Beckham at the end of the 17th round. The scoring is head-to-head points.
Well, both these guys are young studs, really. Kemp is not old. He's proven, but I think Beckham is as well. Kemp is going to run more, so I'm not sure what your league scoring is, but Kemp in the third round is awesome. Beckham in round 17 is more awesome. I'd probably keep Kemp though.
Eric, I have the 4th pick in next years football draft. Who are your top 4 in order?
T'was all running backs, with Chris Johnson first, then Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew. I think the fifth pick is the one nobody wants for 2010.
Can Jeter come close to matching last year's numbers?
I don't see why not. The guy was a stud, his ballpark dimensions helped him out, and he's playing for a contract really. He might not run as much, especially if Granderson hits second now that Damon is gone, but Jeter is still pretty safe.
do you think, with the depth at 1st base, that I should trade Miguel Cabrera for one or two really good players and then draft someone like Joey Votto? The numbers could be very similar.
Depends on who the players are, as always. But yes, first base is the deepest position this season, and I don't think Votto is that much of a dropoff. For Cabrera you pay for batting average; we think Votto will hit for average, but he's still maturing.
Posey or Carlos Santana for 2010? Long term?
I think Santana is my answer for both now and later. It's likely Santana comes up around June 1, when his money time clock passes a bit, and all he has to do is beat out Lou Marson for playing time. Shouldn't be too tough. In San Fran, a younger, more raw Buster Posey should be in Triple-A most of the season. Bengie Molina is a guy who can play every day, and I think the Giants are contenders.
Hi EricI see you have both Valverde and Bell in your top 10 closers.5x5 std league, keep 10 players, no $ value. Would you keep both closers at the expense of letting go of a Scott Baker or Alexi Ramirez?
I'd probably let the closers go, to be honest. I like Valverde and Bell, but saves are saves. You can always find them, and about a third of the league's closers will lose their jobs at some point. I'm not a huge Baker fan, but I would still keep a safe starting pitcher over a closer. Alexei would be my first choice here, even if the stats we see now are as good as it gets.
Thoguht on Jacoby Ellsbury this year? I don't feel like reaching for him and rather look to get BJ Upton who can be a poors man Ellsbury( minus the avg) , right?
Ellsbury should be pretty safe for a good average and 60 stolen bases, but I can say I'm not the fellow taking him in round 2, which is where he appears to be going. I'll wait until round 20 for Juan Pierre and Podsednik. I'll take runners with power - like Holliday and Justin Upton in round 2. As for BJ Upton, a lot of people think he still has 20-home run pop in him. I'd love to see it, and think Upton 20 spots after Ellsbury is really nice value.
Is there a reason why Juan Pierre SHOULDN'T hit .300 with 35+ steals?
I think the 35 steals are pretty safe, and I don't see why he can't hit .300. Pierre might not be a great real-life player, but statistically, he has always been consistent, and he certainly has job security with Ozzie Guillen.
Kemp or Sizemore? Manny or Holliday?
I think Kemp is a clear top-10 guy, and I have Sizemore more in round 3. And I want Holliday. I don't want Manny.
When will we be able to mock draft and create leagues for baseball Eric?
This month, my friends! It's coming soon!
You mentioned young catchers Posey and Carlos Santana...what about Jesus Montero in 2010?
I'd be very surprised if we see him in 2010. Long-term, he's probably to me just a hair behind Santana, but ahead of Posey.
Is Michael Bourne worth drafting, I know he has 61 steals, what do you expect from him this season, will he hit 226 or around 260? He doesn't help in any other category.
So what? He's a stolen base monster, and in many leagues he's the only base-stealer you will need to compete in the category. It's like a closer for the saves. Bourn isn't a bad player. I think he'll hit better than .260 ... but I see him going early, and again, guys like Pierre and Podsednik and Rajai Davis and Borbon can be had 15 rounds later probably.
eric - do you think justin forsett will start in seattle with pete carroll? thanks.
I'm pretty skeptical that will happen. One would think Carroll will want an established, safe running back...but we shall see.
Hey Eric, what kind of numbers do you project Stephen Strasburg to have assuming he is in the starting rotation from day 1?
My prediction is we don't see Strasburg until August or September, but if he does make the rotation - and he has the most ability of any of the team's starters, but is raw - then I could see double digit wins, ERA in the 3s, more than a K per inning. But again, he's likely to be overdrafted in every one-year league. I don't think the Nats will rush him.
Eric, do you ever play in leagues where draft picks are tradeable? I am in a keeper league where this is a new facet - I just don't want to get ripped off.
I play in a lot of leagues in which picks are dealt, but I couldn't tell you what is a fair and not fair deal without more info. Never take the first offer.. how about that! And in baseball, I think the second half of round 1 is a lot like round 2... so if you pick 8th overall, and can deal down to 15th and get lots of good stuff, do it!
Would you keep Weiters or BJ Upton for this year only?
Upton. Potential for a 15-40 season... Wieters is great, but the diff in 2010 only between him and Bengie Molina, who might not be drafted at all, isn't a ton. Remember, this is a fantasy chat... so we're talking stats, not defense, upside, etc.
I'd like to feel comfortable drafting Quentin, can I expect anythign close to 2008 numbers?
If healthy, absolutely. Quentin is a nice sleeper for this season... could hit 30 home runs. Has the ability.
Erik its a little early but how would you rank J. Charles at RB for next years draft. He closed with over 1,000yds in his last 8 games.
I believe I had ranked Charles as my No. 10 running back for 2010. That's pretty high praise, I think.
Besides 1st base what is the deepest position and what is the shallowist?
Starting pitching is also deep, and outfield. Shallow spots are catcher and the other three infield spots not named first base. Really, 2B, SS and 3B aren't much fun after the top fellows.
Matt Diaz. Am I the only one who thinks he could be a great sleeper this year (I bet Heyword doesn't get called up untill June)?
I don't think Diaz is a great sleeper, because he basically does all his damage against lefty pitchers, and the Braves have known this for years. I agree Heyward starts in the minors, but I doubt Diaz gets much better statistically.
Where do you think Gamel fits in for the Brewers this year?
I think he starts the year in the minors, and gets called only if he hits and fields very well, and Casey McGahee struggles. It's McGahee on opening day...
How valuable is Jose Reyes? Even when he's healthy he seems like just a 2 category stud rather than a complete player.
No, he's pretty complete, actually.. I have major concerns about his health, but Reyes hit enough homers to be relevant in those categories. Don't forget, a year ago this guy was a top-5 pick in virtually every league! Tough to do that as a 2-category player...
If you have 3rd pick in a keeper league, and the first two off the board are Albert and Hanley. Who do you take at #3?
My No. 3 is Ryan Braun, barely over A-Rod, but I could see both sides.
Francisco Liriano has been incredible in the Dominican winter league with 54K/7BB ratio and a sub 1.00 ERA. Do you expect a bounce back this year and if so, what round would you target him?
I blogged about this very Liriano guy a week ago...check it out! I wrote that I didn't "expect" a return to 2006 form, but I'd certainly take a shot drafting him in the final 5 rounds of one-year leagues if you had a bench... Winter league is great, but it still doesn't prove he'll be great in April.
Whos going to catch the majority of games, Shoppach or Navarro?
I would guess Shoppach faces the lefties, and Navarro the right-handers.. so Navarro would play more. Shoppach was not good against RHP in 2009. Pretty effective platoon here, I think.
I always respect your opinions, EK, but I'm sorry to say that it sounds like Matt Kemp is 2010's experts-touted fool's gold. It's not that I think he won't be good, but just not 1st round good. I say he's a 3rd round value.
You could be correct, but I don't see him getting any worse this coming season, and the numbers he put up - the affect all those at-bats had on his average, the HR and SB - made him a top-10 guy. So he's really already there.
Does Clay Buchholz justify $17 in an AL only league in your mind?
Not to me he doesn't... but I rarely overpay for young, inconsistent talent.
Keeper question: Brett Anderson or Clay Buchholz?
I like Anderson better... seems more mature. Might not have quite the upside, but if Anderson just repeats his 2009, that's fine. Really, looking closer at Anderson's numbers, most people would be shocked just how good the lefty was.
Is it possible that Gallardo could make the jump to elite status this year? Possible low 3's era, 1.20 whip, 15 wins, 230k's
Absolutely. I ranked him in my top-20 a year ago, and he's in there again..but not top-10. Walks are a problem, so be careful of the WHIP. And 230 Ks? Dial it down just a bit on that stat!
Even with the depth at OF, Braunny is still your #3?
Yep. He runs, great power, could win a batting title, lot younger than A-Rod. I don't care much about scarce positions in round 1... I'll take Teixeira 10th, even though 1B is crazy deep. I want guaranteed numbers.
Eric, 10 player keeper league. I currently have both McCann & Soto,
Assuming you can play two catchers, then I wouldn't have issue keeping Soto. I think he bounces back to 20 homers and his rookie numbers. There's no good reason for his struggles in 2009, so I have to assume it was injury or he didn't prepare well for the season (he was in the WBC, after all...)
What's more valuable to you on a keeper team... a top-30 OF (among OFs, not overall) or a top-20 Starting Pitcher?
Probably the outfielder... I have no problem finding pitching late in drafts, as people always overrate unproven kids and ignore safe veterans.
What are your thoughts on Josh Hamilton this year?
If Milton Bradley is the first guy you think will definitely hit the disabled list this season, then Hamilton might be second. What a shame. But I just can't project more than 140 games, which is a big problem. I think even in 140 games Hamilton can hit 30 homers, though.
Rank 'em: Dunn, McCutchen, Soriano, and Choo
Dunn is first... consistent and always delivers, never hurt. Then McCutchen, Choo and Alfonso...
Eric, you drafted Cano in ESPN's first mock fairly early. With the lack of depth at 2b this year, do you think he'd make a better selection than Jon Lester late in the 3rd round of a 12 team mixed league?
At the time I hated that Cano pick... I thought it was way too early, but I was concerned about 2B depth, not pitching depth. I think Cano over Lester, definitely. There's a great value Cano's batting average that gets overlooked. You know he hits for average... sure, he doesn't run, but power and average should not be laughed at, when it's consistent.
will espn's MLB fantasy leagues support auction drafts? Also will a commish be able to enter existing rosters and salaries (ie if we want to move an existing keeper league to espn)?
Yes and yes, I am told. And as you probably know, auctions are awesome. Try us out.
Erik, I know you are a Wieters fan, would you keep him over Rollins in a keeper league?
This has nothing to do with Philly bias...but I'd keep Rollins. I like Wieters a lot, but SS is really as scarce as catcher now, at least in leagues like ESPN standard when each team needs only 1 catcher. Rollins should bounce back some to .275, 20 homers, 35 steals.
What are your thought's on Halladay. To me he seems like the clear #2 pitcher overall and poised for a career season in what has already been a stellar career.Or are my Phillies Red colored glasses clouding my judgement as I dream of 22 wins, a 2.40 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP?
I can make the case both Lincecum and Halladay are first-round picks. I never project anyone for 20 wins, but I think Halladay and Sabathia would be those choices if I did. And the ERA... it should be better than that, really. Look at the NL East lineups for the Mets, Braves and ... Nats!
EK, can you rank the Phillie outfielders for me and project some numbers? Is Werth the best option?
He is, though I think asking for the same power is a bit much. He can run when he wants. I could see 30 and 20 from him... Victorino is next with maybe 15 and 25 (more homers since he will hit 6th in the order, and fewer steals... Polanco is hitting second). And for Ibanez, a nice and tidy 30-100.
I would be shocked of Greinke matched his numbers from last year. What's your prediction on Zack's 2010?
I expect some return to the overall mean in ERA and WHIP, but the Ks are legit, and he should win some games. The Royals can score runs.
Eric, will you be representing ESPN in tout wars this season?
Yes, I believe I will be... should be a blast. But we'll have numerous ESPN entries.
My last keeper in my AL Only league will either be C.Quentin at $5 or N.Reimold at $10. I have to choose Quentin crisply, right? Thanks for chatting!
Yeah, that's a bit pricey for Reimold, even though I think he is a nice sleeper and can steal bases. But Quentin at 5 bucks is a bit absurd.. could easily hit 30 homers with health.
Eric, what do you think about DeAngelo Williams and how he does next year considering Stewarts end to the season?
I think for now DeAngelo remains the starter, and Stewart is the backup... some kind of timeshare, but Williams remains the guy, and a borderline top-10 RB.
Last keeper spot: Hanson or Berkman? I'm usually inclined to keep hitters, but I've got nine of my ten keeper spots devoted to hitters so far.
Then I could see going Hanson there.. but Berkman should be fine and bounce back.
Any thoughts on the value of Brad Penny this year working with Duncan?
I bet everyone will overrate their relationship and expect a monster season... I expect a Kyle Lohse season ... that still has value.
What are your thoughts on Youkilis versus Markakis in a 10 player keeper? Youkilis has been pretty consistent over the past few years but will be 31 this year. Markakis has lost a lot of his luster but is still just 26.
Too much of Markakis' value was tied into his stolen bases, and when he didn't run, and didn't increase the power, well, he wasn't as valuable. I'd take Youk... he's not too old, and that's a lot of power.
Eric, how good of a fantasy player will Gaby Sanchez be this year do you think?
I think the Marlins are clearly looking for a veteran first baseman... Russ Branyan maybe? I doubt Sanchez is draftable or becomes ownable.
Is Cabrera a bit undervalued? Seems like he is every bit as good as Tex or Prince but seems to be slipping into the 2nd
I have them all ranked in the same area, like 8-9-10... each as good as the other and as safe.
Hi EK! Do mentioned earlier that Quentin would be a nice sleeper... so round 15 or later? Is it a reach at round 9 or 10?
I never care about what is a reach and what isn't. If you think Quentin hits 30 homers, go get him. It's about value though.. if you know nobody will take him, wait a bit. But I never pick rounds on sleepers for a reason.. every draft is different. In our mock draft, I wanted Chris Coghlan. Didn't care what round it was, and around round 13 I think, I acted. In a mock that didn't include me, who knows if he gets drafted at all?
I was curious why Utley isn't a clear cut #3 pick in your mind given the scarecity of the position....
I have him ranked fifth overall. Could I make the case for Utley over Braun and A-Rod..sure.
I think given full time AB's Kyle Blanks could approach 40 homers this year as he is a monster! Thoughts?
I think in a normal ballpark I would agree that Blanks has that kind of ability. But in San Diego, no. Let's see him hit 25 though...I see that.
EK, what's your take on Ben Zobrist? It's been verified that he completely changed his swing before the 2009 season, and posted rates of .297/.405/.543 - to put that in perspective, he had the same OPS as Mark Teixeira. His "counting" numbers look low on account of getting only 501 AB (a full-time player would have more like 550-600), but what's not to like about a guy who hits like Mark Teixeira (and steals, too) being SS and OF eligible? His underlying numbers (Isolated Power, Runs Created per 27 innings) also support a top-15 hitter.
I think I was the only one on the ESPN staff at the All-Star break last season who ranked Zobrist in the top-50... most had him outside the top 100. And this season I am also the highest on him. So what if he was a utility guy prior to 2009. He's good now! He walks, he runs.. he's totally legit to me. Top-15 hitter is tough, but top-50 on draft day, I see it.
Abreu or Ibanez in 2010?
I say Abreu... love the 30 steals, and there's no reason he can't repeat it.
Might be my biggest sleeper for 2010, but I am curious where he will play and how much. If the A's announce he's the everyday first baseman, I predict 25 homers.
What do you project for Markakis? Is he done improving?
I think it's time for him to show he can make that step to a safe 25-100-10 guy...
I have Carl Crawford for $39 in AL only keeper league, do I spend the cash to keep the speedster?
That's a lot.. I don't think I'd spend that much on anyone in the AL.
Brett Wallace going to play?
Probably the Toronto first baseman..but it's possible he starts the year in the minors. But he can hit.
Upside OFer: Desmond Jennings, Drew Stubbs, Michael Stanton
Because he has power and speed, I say Jennings. Can't go wrong with any of these fellas though.
What are your projections for Jon Lester? Does he take the jump to top tier in the tough AL East?
I'd say he's already there, isn't he? I mean, he's going to strike out more hitters than that?
Has anyone seen my health report on Eric Bedard? I think ESPN missplaced it.
Not worth it to me... but feel free!
extremely deep dynasty league...supplemental draft tonight...pick Everth Cabrera or David Freese...
Love 'em both! I think it's Freese. The Cardinals are giving him the job, and he's a 20-80 bat. Cabrera could swipe 35-40 bases... but I don't know what upside he has other than that. Depends what position you're targeting, too.
GO EAGLES!!!! Reports say they are gonna keep Vick....say it ain't so!..trade him for a pick!...If so is Vick worth drafting in fantasy as a starting QB?????
By this time in March, Vick will be gone. Book it. And when he's the starter for Cleveland or Oakland or some other team, he'll make my top-20. People forget this was a borderline top-10 QB when he ... um ... went away.
are you betting on Ricky Weeks this year?
For a DL stint or two? Yes. More than 400 at-bats, no.
John Lackey... what type of hitter should I expect in return if I offer him in a trade?
How can I know what someone in your league will pay? But I would move him now. I have a bad feeling about Lackey in Fenway this season.
Trade Peavy and Carlos Santana for Roy Halladay? Already have my C in Victor.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!
You spoke about reyes, but avoided the question. how valuable do you think he will be? what round would you draft him in a 10 team league?
I don't think I did, but I see him playing 130-140 games, hitting 10 homers, swiping maybe 35 bases (conservative, I know) and hitting .275. So he's a bit like Rollins now, but with a lot more upside.
Will the 2010 Hamels be closer to 2008 or 2009? Would you draft him over Josh Johnson?
I say Hamels will be closer to his 2008 version, but I still would draft Josh Johnson over him.
Can Abreau go 15/30? this year? over under if you dont mind.
Over on power, under on speed.
Is Brian Robert really trending down? It seems liek it the past 3 yrs. What do you expect from him in a tough AL East?
His underlying numbers say he definitely is trending the wrong way, but from a sheer stat standpoint, he's safe, and fine for a top-5 2B and fourth-rounder. The division isn't a factor for him. He hits, he runs.
Pick three of four keepers: Hanson, Zobrist, Beckham or Aaron Hill. Thanks E.K.!
Tough one... I think Zobrist and Beckham are clear. Then probably Hill. Even when he takes a step back, that's still 25 homers coming.
Crawford Question Revisited: If $260 is the budget you wouldn't spend that much on anyone? Usually the big names like Morneau, Miggy, A-Rod all go for around there if not more. Isn't Crawford a lock for at least 30 steals?
More than $39? I don't think so. I wouldn't do it. Go with $20-25 options and clean up! Crawford is a lock for 30 steals, but still...how about $30, not $39.
You mentioned Longoria is in you top 10 now......ahead of the 1st basemen?
Yes. Third base is not deep. Probably my biggest top-20 adjustment since a month ago.
Is Crawford really a top 10 pick like Ravitz thinks?
A lot of people think Crawford is. I just prefer to mold my teams around power and/or power/speed combinations. There are many ways to build a team.
How do you think Wolf does in Milwaukee?
I could see 150 Ks, but that's about his best fantasy trait.
Your thoughts on Brandon Webb this year? Is he still a stud, and can you grab him in the mid rounds with confidence?
Can't treat him like a stud, but I think he'll go later in drafts than he should. He might be the Jose Reyes of pitchers... major upside.
OK, thanks to everyone for the spirited chat session. I certainly appreciate everyone showing up on a cold February day! Pitchers and catchers report in less than 2 weeks. Are you ready? I am ... thanks again and have a great day...