Hello everyone and welcome to another fantasy chat session. It's opening week around the majors, so I would think we'll be almost exclusively baseball today, but if you have a football thought, I can discuss. Great week for sports, baseball is back! Anyway, thank you for the questions and reading, watching and listening to our work... here we go!
Brandon Webb has hit the waiver wire in one of my leagues; would you use the #5 waiver claim on him, pick him up if he clears waivers, or just leave him alone? What would you be willing to drop for him? (I could put him in my DL slot, so I wouldn't lose a roster spot, but I might not get back the player I drop for him.) Thanks Eric!
Let me just say I am not optimistic about Webb making more than 15 starts this season, so I can't say I'd drop anyone who can help me now.
What can I expect from the platoon situation facing Fowler and Hawpe in COL? How bad will their numbers be affected? Thanks!
I don't think Hawpe is being platooned; you don't really want him facing left-handers in the first place. It's Seth Smith and Fowler, and that's bad for Fowler since so many people drafted him well. Smith can hit.
How much will Baltimore's offense improve this year? Or do you think it's another depressing summer in Baltimore?
I don't really see adding Miggy Tejada and Garrett Atkins helping the offense much. A full year of Matt Wieters is nice, and maybe Adam Jones becomes a fantasy monster, but with this pitching staff - I mean, Millwood on Opening Day? - it's going to be a loooong season.
Hi EK - I'm looking to deal Oswalt, who scares me this yr. Is Oswalt/Werth for Abreu/Jimenez enough of a return?
I think Oswalt scares a lot of people. Ubaldo is very, very good, so yeah, this seems like a good deal.
Help me Eric Wan Karabell, you're my only hope. Who should I start as my regular catcher: Soto or Y. Molina? Our should I platoon those two based on matchups this year?
I don't see much reason to own them both, to be honest. Seek a trade. I'd probably go with the power option, but if I had done that I would have missed an Opening Day grand slam! Just pick one; matchups are tough there.
Morneau for Halladay in a dynasty league. Would you veto it?
No. I'd prefer Halladay, but Morneau is pretty good, and it's not like he's 38 years old. Vetoing deals stinks.
Too early to worry about Braun's power yet? Kidding, where do you like McGehee to finish the year numbers wise?
I like Casey McGehee if he's your second baseman or middle infielder. I think he will hit 20 home runs, maybe .280. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Do you see Nick Johnson staying in the 2 spot all year for the Yanks?
When healthy, absolutely. When not, then look for Brett Gardner, a 40-steal guy who seems to get it.
Big Papi flipped out on reporters last night. Do you think he will prove everybody wrong?
I saw/heard that. Awfully angry is he! I think he can do something similar to last season, which certainly has value, but I don't think he'll hit for a high average. It is only two games, after all.
If your league has a DL slot is Bedard a good person to stash...in hopes of a stellar second half when he gets back?
I just wrote that in a blog today! Yes, he's almost always effective, but just doesn't pitch enough. We should see him in July.
How do you write the box score bits articles? They're really helpful.
How? I let my fingers do the walking/talking. Bits is fun to write; honestly, I could write 25 Bits per day, but it's settled in nicely at 6 per day.
Hey Eric, who would you take this year between Chris Young(SD) and Shaun Marcum?
I think I'd have to pick Young, but both are going to surprise people. We saw Marcum was very good in 6 perfect innings, and he was very good before the surgery as well. Young is obviously an injury risk.
Eric, Vernon Wells had a nice opening day! Is it possible that he is underrated this season? He had a bum wrist last year but if you look at his numbers a little bit of improvement would seem to be quite possible. Would you rather have Wells or someone like Hawpe as your first OF off the bench?
To be honest, I generally don't keep reserve hitters around. Play your best guys and always manipulate the pitchers. Wells can run a bit, but I still like the underrated Hawpe; always hits for power, and good enough in average.
I should be safe to send out Justin Duchscherer tonight, right? C'mon, it's Milton Bradley & Co.
Well, the Mariners are not going to score 800 runs, that's for sure. In Week 1 if I drafted a starting pitcher to start, I leave him in unless facing the Yankees at Coors.. in other words, I leave him in.
My dilemma must be solved swiftly: R Madsen or C Perez? Only you have the wisdom to crack this.
Short term I say Madson, but in about three weeks then it's Perez.
I'm trying not to panic over Napoli....after all, this very website's draft kit projections have Napoli at under 400abs for the year.... Even so, should I be looking at the likes of A.Moore or A.Avila, or should I keep those rookies statched away til next year?
Why panic? Because he hasn't been playing? He'll be fine. Awful defender, but 20 home runs will be hit.
Hiya EK! Thoughts on John Bowker out in Frisco? And is this the year that Carlos Lee really starts to slip production-wise? Great work on Baseball Today, by the way. Keep it up.
Thank you! I have a blast on the Baseball Today podcast, even going solo. I think Carlos Lee will go 25-95 this season, so no major dropoff. And Bowker will get the chance to play regularly, and I think he might surprise. He could be a 20-homer guy if he keeps the job - and hits!
In a 2 C league, would you drop either Shoppach or Baker for Clement, or just stand pat?
Clement will play every day, but if he doesn't produce power, it won't help a fantasy team. I'd stick with Shoppach and Baker.
Thoughts on Paul Konerko? Contract year, improved lineup. Should he be universally owned?
Honestly, neither the contract status or others in the lineup have an affect here. He hit 28 homers a year ago, he'll be fine. It's not like he can try harder, is it?
You trusting Rich Harden this season? Start him tonight?
No and yes. Hey, if you got him, use him. But I take the under on 22 starts.
Hey Eric - I hate benching pitchers early, but I'm nervous about Cueto's start today. Less so about Santana. What would E do?
I would be, too. I don't bench good No. 2 starters.. .Cueto scares me. I'd use Santana though.
Is there a big diff between Weeks and Jose Lopez in a h2h league?You believe in Weeks?
Well, Lopez stays healthy and is a nice run producer. Weeks doesn't and isn't. He can run, though. Depends on need, but I'd take Lopez.
Todd Helton or Chris Davis at 1B?
If you need 30 HR, then Davis... if you need a safe batting average and 15 HR ... these are really different players. In a vacuum, if you can take the risk, Davis.
Concerned for Soto or should I be counting down the days for Carlos Santana? Does he come up before June?
Not concerned about Soto one bit. And I don't think Santana makes his debut and pushes Lou Marson aside for months, if at all this season.
GO PHILS! GO EK! Thoughts on Delmon Young as a sleeper 20/20 this year? What about Austin Jackson? Thanks!
I can't call Delmon legit after a few days, but he always had 20/20 potential in him. It would be a nice story on him for once. I'd still prefer the rookie Jackson though.
How annoying are fantasy owners ready to jump off a cliff already?
Hey, it's their team(s). They can do what they want. Doesn't bother me and often in my leagues I can get great values in trades or from free agency.
Joba looked pretty good last night (2 batters, 2Ks in a high pressure situation) after a bit of a rough one on Sunday. Do you see him returning to the 8th inning dominance he showed 2007-2008?
I think Joba can do what Hughes did last season, yes. And I think for pure relief innings without saves, Joba will have fantasy value.
You commented that you don't like vetoes. How about Beckett for Rafael Soriano? Is that worth voting down?
Don't veto! Vetoes are generally made by people just jealous they weren't able to rob the league's weak link. If someone really, really needs a closer, then I suppose this makes sense. I want Beckett over any closer. But would I veto... if you get a team, it's yours to do with what you desire...
When will Jake Fox play his first game at catcher for the A's? And, what should we expect from him this year?
Kurt Suzuki starts like 145 games a year behind the plate. At that rate, Fox might not qualify at catcher until June or July. I do see Fox fitting in at DH soon, though. I still doubt he gets catcher eligibility.
John Bowker went yard!
EK, if/when Fox get's C eligibility where do you rank him among the position? and would he be a better option than soto?
If Fox was playing every day and had catcher elig, no, I would still take Soto. But he'd be borderline top 10. For now the problem is at bats. I think Fox would hit 25 homers as the Oakland everyday DH, but he isn't ... yet.
Over/under on Matusz wins this year... I say 16.
C'mon, that's easy! On that awful team... how about 12.
Which catcher is worth owning on colorado, Ianetta or Olivo? Any other sleeper catchers you can recommend? I'm stuck with John Baker in a league :(
John Baker has a career .281 batting average. I see nothing wrong with him at all. And Ianetta, but both Ianetta and Olivo are batting average problems. Not worth the extra power, and anyway, Baker did hit 9 home runs!
Hi Eric Do you think that Daniel Murphy will regain and retain the starting 1st baseman job once he return from the DL?
Need to see at least a week out of Mike Jacobs, but if Jacobs struggles, then Murphy reclaims the job and hits a lot of doubles.
Last bench spot in a dynasty league...need 1 more catcher but also in need of speed...who is the better pick-up: Gardner or Fox?Thanks
Well, only of those fellas will steal bases. And really, it's not guaranteed Fox becomes a catcher eligible.
Pick two for my last two batting slots: Jay Bruce, Nick Swisher, Jason Heyward, Chipper Jones. Thanks!
Heyward and Bruce. Swish is fine, but oh, the batting average. And will Chipper hit even 15 homers? Heyward is for real.
For SB only......Podsednik or Gomez?
Gomez. Playing time is guaranteed, he's faster than Pods and should run wild... with a .290 OBP!
Just got offered Mauer for Heyward and Wieters. Shoud I pull the trigger?
Wow! Guess you have to, but I really like Heyward and Wieters to combine for 45-plus homers.
Hey Eric... Bucholz and Oswalt too much to give up for Lincecum or too little???
Not enough at all, but if you can get it done, go for it.
EK, is Elvis Andrus' bating position poor enough to prefer S Drew at SS? The only issue therein is that I have a ton of power already and Elvis' speed is enticing. Thank you!
Batting position means nothing. Andrus stole 20 bases in 100 games hitting ninth last year. We know batting spot doesn't hurt stolen base attempts that much. Drew is nice, depends on what you need.
Colby Rasmus is on his way to breakout-town. What are the odds he is drafted as a top 20 outfielder next season?
If he hits 20 home runs with a .275 batting average, then pretty good.
Is Starlin Castro worth stashing in a Deep NL only League?
I don't expect Starlin to play in the bigs this season.
OK to drop Kevin Gregg?
Depends on the league, your depth. If Frasor blows his next save as well, Gregg starts to get speculatively added...
I'm of the belief that carrying a second catcher is dead weight. Do you think it's worth having a backup on your roster?
Never. In leagues that start one catcher, even if your catcher gets hurt, there are plenty of others out there. Nobody wants AJ Pierzynski, for example... nothing wrong with his numbers.
A good start by Dallas Braden. Would he be worth picking up to drop one of my position player backups (Scott Sizemore, Carlos Gomez, Alcides Escobar)?
I wouldn't, unless you need pitching. Braden is fine, but won't strike out 10 each time out, either. He's not a big K guy.
DYNASTY trade question ... which side do you prefer: Stewart/Fowler or Kendrick/Rasmus.
Hmmm... probably Kendrick/Rasmus. Stewart best player in the deal, but also won't ever have 2B eligibility again.
Which side wins: Pierzinksi/B. Phillips or Wieters/Weeks
The Wieters side... Weeks should be productive and run, before the inevitable injury.
How long before Jim Johnson is closing in Baltimore?
I don't see that happening. I also think the Orioles would like Mickolio or Uehara to be next instead of Johnson, if it comes to that.
Do you play in any leagues that count holds? What's your strategy for picking up setup guys?
Yes, I do. And I have an important league in which saves/holds is one combined category. I love it; I see teams overdraft Matt Capps, and I just add a Matt Guerrier off free agency... look for guys who pitch the eighth inning and get strikeouts in front of good closers.
Is Carlos Gonzalez equivalent to 2008 Matt Kemp?
No, I can't go there quite yet. Maybe someday. Kemp is pretty special.
In all reality how much of a boost would it be for A Gon if he get's out of SD?
I think the entire situation is being overrated some. Padres might wait until next offseason, or might not move the guy at all. Much more likely Heath Bell - eminently replaceable, and they have options - gets moved. HE can go anywhere. Gonzalez can't go anywhere... not to Boston, for example.
You said having a backup catcher is never worth it. I have Posada as my catcher and he's probably going to only play 110 games. Do you think it's worth it to keep Yadier Molina in that situation?
Nope. Don't care if Posada plays 110 or 140, but 20 homers are 20 homers. I don't look to have multiple catchers and see if I can combine two regulars who hit 20 homers each into 30 homers.
Hello?...is this thing on? Why can't I get a job?
It is odd. Maybe the Nationals pony up money... Willie Harris, Mike Morse and Willy Taveras... ugh.
Dotel: over/under on 30 saves
Under. The Pirates as a team might not get 30 saves for their 60 wins.
Following up on the CarGo/Kemp comparison...would you say Gordon Beckham is the "new" Chase Utley? I see some real similarities.
I think that's a better comp... and check out what Zobrist did in 2009 next to Utley's stats...very similar!
Somebody in my league just dropped Adam LaRoche. That seems foolish to me, should he be rostered in 10 team mixed leagues?
Yes, but as always it depends what you have to drop. Plus, he's not a good first-half producer at all.
Is Ryan Madson droppable? There isn't much available on the wire for relievers.
Of course. For one, Lidge could be back in a week. Two, the Phillies open with 6 of 9 games against the Nats... might be a few blowouts in there, as opposed to 2-1 games with save opps.
Thoughts on Wade Davis this year, more of "09" version or does he get better?
Check out today's blog... mystifying why Davis is one of the most dropped players.
Do you start Latos @ Coors Field?
I would, yes. Good pitchers can beat that park.
Which set up man would you most like on your roster, both as a speculative closer and producer in the short term? Feliz, Thornton, Mike Adams, Joba, somebody else?
I'd say Thornton first, then Feliz, Joba and Adams. Thornton is terrific, even without saves.
Thoughts on Delmon Young actually living up to his potential this year?
Well, I need to see a month of good hitting, not a few days. He's disappointed everyone in the past.
How confident are you in Jon Rauch, and would you bid over $15 AL only?
Bidding depends on the league, but I think 30 saves are coming. What did Fuentes cost? Honestly, Rauch could be similar valuewise.
What are your thoughts on Ian Kennedy this season? How many innings can I count on?
I don't think can count on a ton, but hope for the best; nice spring, good in the minors, should be a 30-start guy.
Should I have J.D. Drew on my team if Kyle Blanks is still available?
Drew, for all his injury related faults, is safe, while Blanks has upside. Your call. Blanks should hit more home runs.
It seems like most pitchers are throwing a number of walks here at the beginning of the season. Does it typically take a few starts for them to get their control down?
Nothing different this April as opposed to last one. Pitchers had plenty of time in spring training...
Jair Jurjjens for Torii Hunter....what side of the deal would you wanna be on?
Depends on need, but in a vaccuum, Hunter. Always the hitter.
EK, let's talk about you. April is great. What are you most excited about this baseball season and who are you most excited to see play this year?
April is great. I am looking forward to seeing Strasburg in the majors...
Where are the articles by Brendan Roberts this season? After you, he's the best.
I will let him know that! He will thank you! He's a standout editor here...
Skipping out of work soon to go to the Phils game! What guys do you like to lead the league in holds this year?
Ha, I have done that a few times! I see Joba thriving, as well as Guerrier, Gregerson, Saito, Bard, Sherrill...
I can call up Heyward to my active roster in my dynasty now, or I can wait until he hits his 150 AB limit for still being on my prospect list. Typically, I'd wait 'til the bitter end just in case he got demoted, but here, am I just being silly/overly cautious in not having him available now? I'd be dropping Delmon Young.
In fairness to Delmon, I suppose wait and see if Young can keep hitting/running first. But I'd prefer Heyward, no question.
Your thoughts on Chase Headley? Him or Rasmus, who is currently on waivers?
If both are outfielders, I take Rasmus. I like the upside better, and he can run.
Which Major League Baseball Pitcher was Suspended for the first 5 games of the Regular Season for Spring Training Altercations?
Cliff Lee is the one I am aware of...
Is my team determined to keep me from winning games?!
Six strong innings from Greinke, then the bullpen entered... ugh. But that was last season, too, and he still won the Cy.
I'm real down on Bobby Abreu and I can't explain it...can you?
Maybe you thought he still had power? Abreu is still pretty valuable, but he's not likely to mash 20 home runs.
My friend and I are battling over left handed bats. Garrett Jones vs James Loney?
I take Jones. I take power. Loney is good at what he does, but fantasy owners need more...
Hey EK, you wanna head out to Harrisburg, catch Strasburg before he hits the Nats? I'll buy the first round.
It's a definite possibility I will see him pitch in the minors in person. Have already looked into it.. .Altoona isn't real close, but East parts of Pa... we'll see.
Thank you. I should point out that I'm a win now team, and I'm just afraid a bad week or two will get a demotion for Heyward, taking up the roster spot. With Young, if he stops hitting, he's gone for the next flavour of the month. With Heyward, I can't demote him. He'll be on my active roster until he retires in 2025 to start the wait for Cooperstown :)
Braves aren't demoting Heyward. Last season Jordan Schaefer homered on Opening Day and despite being bad for months, didn't get demoted.
How can you say that the spot in the batting order means nothing to stolen bases? BJ Upton batting leadoff all year versus batting eighth all year could mean 50-100 fewer opportunities to get on base.
In that respect it absolutely matters, but in terms of cumulative specialty numbers like homers and steals, it does not. Tristan Cockcroft has written that article numerous times. Upton will still run... he'll just bat less.
I listened to you a couple weeks ago about Lincecum, and he brought his A game to the table against the Astros just like you said he would. YOU, Erik Karabell, should join me as the Giants bench coach!
Um, who was really worried about Timmy?
Would you recommend dropping Reimold for a healthier HR option like Konerko or Jake Fox? How many AB's to expect from Fox anyways?
Reimold is supposed to play today... and Konerko must be owned. He's good. Fox will be, but it might take time for him to play. Still, Konerko over Fox...
Will Sean Rod. start the majority of games for the Rays, or will he be stuck in a platoon role? I have high hopes for the guy!
I think he's the everyday second baseman. Enjoy!
I'm still better than youngsters like Stubbs and Blanks... right?
Stubbs, for now yes, Blanks I say no.
True or False, Brian Wilson will finish the season as a top 5 closer?
False. But top 10 yes.
Gregg over Downs if Frasor keeps blowing saves?
That's what I think.
Does Hunter Pence typically star this slow? Now 0 for 11!
It's 3 games against a very good rotation!
Who wins this deal?? Adam Lind for Carlos Quentin and Street. I need saves in a big way. Is this deal worth the move. Thanks
Street won't get saves for another month, at least. Risky deal.
Eric, please rank these players. Masterson, Marcum, and Latos
Latos, Marcum and then, deep down, Masterson. Scares me. Bad, bad team like the others, but not a big K guy.
Look at EK bringing the ruckus to this chat...I like that about you. Anyways, what do you think about the platoon situation in Colorado between Brad Hawpe and Seth Smith? Who do you think ultimately has more fantasy value this year?
Thanks... check yesterday's blog. And Smith is platooning with Fowler, not Hop...
Is it okay to drop Nate McLouth?
I wouldn't, but depends on need. No, I wouldn't. It's day 3!
EK, my man.... Should I drop Brandon Webb for Mark Buehrle?
Yes. No way I'd pick Webb here.
Name game: Soto, Doumit, Martin
In that order. I believe!
OK, that is about all for the time we have today. Thanks so much for asking questions and keeping me honest! We couldn't do this without you guys (and gals). Have a great day, enjoy your baseball, I'll be chatting next week...