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January 28, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning again, gang. Plenty to discuss... especially the first ESPN Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft, my "hindsight" article, and a little Bracketology. Let's get this party started... second cup of coffee in hand... who is up first?

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that you will see the Pro Bowl this weekend?

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

Unless there's a career-ending injury, I won't even see the highlights.

Tom (South Dakota)

Is Justin Morneau someone worth taking since guys like Corey Koskie get a concussion and never play the same?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

Of course he's got a risk attached, but every injury is different. Caution is recommended, but we're talking about a possible 30 HR guy here -- certainly someone to gamble on at some point during the draft.

Cody from Mechanicsburg Ohio [via mobile]

I know its early but who is your nl and al mvp and cy young winners?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

My picks are Doc and Verlander for Cy. MVP is a bit more difficult, since a lot depends on where their teams finish rather than personal stats, but I like Pujols and Crawford as early favorites.

Jet (Windy City)

Who gets the closer gig in Atlanta? Venters or Kimbrel?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

I think it might be a tag-team effort. Odds are Kimbrel, as a RHP, will end up with the *job* but both should be in save situations until Fredi gets more comfortable with one over the other.

Mustard (Ontario)

Good morning AJ, Where do you see Rollins ranking among SS given that he is in a contract year? Would proposing a trade for Haren be too much? I am valuing SS position eligibility vs. SP.

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

I've never been a Rollins fan, so I'd have at best No. 5 at shortstop. There's plenty of SP to go around this season, but all else being equal, I'd rather have Haren.

vic (no cal)

How did David Price fall so far in the Mock Draft? It really made me question whether you guys know your stuff. This is a very young pitcher, who just had one of the best seasons in the A.L. -- yet Chad Billingsley gets drafted ahead of him. I don't get it. Help me understand.

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Firstly, don't be concerned over the round he was taken in (11) -- we all figured out that we are waiting on SP, so they all got pushed back. Each draft is different. You're quibbling over 8 spots? That's nothing. And most of Price's value last year was the 19 wins -- same stats with 16 wins and he's being drafted in the right spot.

Greg (Ellicott City)

What kind of stats do you predict for Konerko this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

35 HRs .270 or so average -- should push into top 40.

Brian (NY, NY)

Can you name some sleepers at SS? Seems to be the thinnest position this year.

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

I agree, which is why I picked Jeter so high in the mock. Theriot, Escobar and Nishioka are all guys to grab in the late rounds.

vic (no cal)

David Price v. Chad Billingsley. Yeah, I'm quibbling over 8 spots, because they shouldn't have even been near each other. In every fantasy category, Price had him beat (and it wasn't that close). So, again, why Billingsley over Price? Quibble with that.

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

Key word being *had* -- a) we're talking about the future and b) we're also talking about one person's opinion that Billingsley will be better than Price. I wouldn't have gone with the Buzzsaw first either. But it's certainly a possibility.

Pablo (Reno)

I noticed in your mock draft you took Halladay first. Would you have taken Longoria Crawford or Tulo instead if they were available?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

I would have taken Albert at #1 and Carl at

Scott (Denver)

Do we discard previous notions about rookie WRs, and draft AJ Green adn Julio Jones early and often? (Early meaning 7th roundish)

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

I think the rules in the NFL certainly allow for WRs to jump right in and catch 40-50 balls in their first season. Depends on the offenses they go to, of course, but I'm not as gun-shy any more, no.

Mitch (Baltimore)

Are there any Orioles out there that could have good value this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

Sure - there's value there. I'm not rushing to grab a team full of Markakis, Jones, Hardy, Lee, Reynolds... but this O's lineup should be able to score.

Jim (Utica, NY)

Good morning AJ, keeper question for you. I can keep three and lose that round in the draft- Hamilton (6th), Heyward (9), Santana Cleve C (10), Carpenter (11), Liriano (15), Strasberg (16). What say you?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

I'd keep Josh, Chris and Jason.

Cody OH [via mobile]

Who will have the most RBI's, HR's, and Average?

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

I'll just say Miguel Cabrera for all three and probably end up right in at least one.

Brian (NYC)

Jay Bruce or Mike Stanton, who has the better fantasy year? career?

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

Bruce by a bit because he's likely to have a higher BA, but career-wise I think I'd lean to Stanton.

Mitch (Baltimore)

Last keeper spot, Roddy White or Peyton Manning?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

Last keeper spot? How many have you already picked? Zero?

Tom (West Palm Beach)

What minor league players/ prospects will get called up and have a fantasy impact this season?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

Keith Law just presented his top 100 prospects article on -- I defer to him.

Jeff (Chicago)

A new law is passed, you can only play in one fantasy baseball league. What format are you going to play in?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

If I can't *invent* my own league, but sticking to one of the *standards* in place, I'll select: Rotisserie, mixed league, 5X5.

Brian (NY, NY)

Should we worry about overdrafting Jeremy Hellickson while he'll be learning in the AL East?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

I think it's a risk drafting any 23 year old pitcher. Certainly, I wouldn't take him before I already have three SP under my belt.

Scott (Denver)

Are you on the CarGo bandwagon or feel that he'll regress?

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

CarGo's season was one for the ages. He'll be hard-pressed to ever match those numbers. That doesn't mean he'll regress per se. He's a top 5 guy to me, even without being *that* good.

Brian (NY, NY)

Do you think Gallardo becomes a fantasy ace this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

No, but that's because SP is as deep as ever. I have him ranked 24th, so in a 12-team league, he's just barely a #2. Not an ace, but so what?

Jim (Utica, NY)

With the assumption of an abundance of pitching and a possibly later run on them in the draft, you would still choose Carpenter (11th round) over Fransisco Liriano (16th) as a keeper?

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

Yes, because I think Carp is a No. 1 and Liriano is a No. 3. I'll "pay" five rounds for that difference.

Ray (Dallas, TX)

AJ, trying to figure out a good keeper format. Right now my league just keeps three players and there is zero impact on draft strategy. Any suggestions?

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

Salary cap based on previous year's stats. Teams can keep as many players as they want, but only within a certain budget.

vk (dc)

Am I the only one who thinks Mark Reynolds might hit 50 bombs playing half his games in itty bitty camden yards?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Sure, but he could also hit .200 at the same time. I'm more in the 35-.240 camp.

Jason (Long Island, NY)

Projections on Josh Beckett for the year? Keeper or not a keeper?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

He'll be a winning pitcher, but likely with an ERA over 4.00. I'd throw him back.

Tom (West Palm Beach)

In a head to head categories league do you change your strategy at all?

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

Yes. I usually draft a lot of closers early -- pretty much the strategy Nate used in the mock draft. It's the only nod to the format I make, because week-to-week consistency is nigh on impossible to predict.

Ryan (WA)

Is Doumit a sleeper this year? He's a trade away from being very relevant....

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

But is that trade going to happen? You want to grab him in the last pick, why not? I went with Dom Brown in the mock for that reason -- upside is there, but PT might not be there right now.

Mustard (Kingston, ON)

I know you took Jeter, but if you had him in a keeper league...would this be the time to deal him? Do you feel that this year is the jumping off point?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

Hey. he's 36. When the bottom falls out, it's over. If you can get value for him before it does, by all means do. Obviously, though, I don't think it will.

Belly Check (NYC)

Starting a keeper league this year. That being said, does it make sense to draft a guy like Mike Stanton in the 10th (1st round to keep a player)? Should I move up some younger players that I can keep for the next 2 years in my draft rankings?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Yuck. I hate round-based keeper rules like that. So rather than make people jump potential keepers into the first 10 rounds, they can all sit back and wait? I'd keep my list the way it is and draft the best team for this year.

Starlin Castro (SS)

What is the earliest you'd consider drafting me?

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

I wouldn't as a starter. To fill my bench? Perhaps, but that's not until Round 23.

marteen (pa)

Would you keep Braun, Crawford, Halladay, Tiexera, and Sabathia if it cost you your first 5 picks?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

So, would I keep four guys I have ranked in the top 20 overall and CC, ranked 42 in the first 5 rounds? Yeah, I would.

Johnny Lawrence (Sweeping the leg.)

Is there any reason to be drafting a Seattle Mariner other than Felix and Ichiro for this year? I can understand an Ackley/Pineda for down the road.

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

Depends on how deep the league is, no? Figgins might not be a Mariner soon, but he's in the mix, as could be Smoak and Gutierrez.

Tom (West Palm Beach)

How high has Napoli's stock risen since moving to the sandbox in Texas?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

Went up with both deals. I'd take him as my catcher without batting an eye, and did so in the mock -- when he was still in Anaheim.

dave (va)

what are you thinking about papelbon? another bust season or back to the good ol days?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

He's got risk attached, so personally I'm not taking him, especially with Bard lurking.

Jack (Chicago)

You were right about Green Bay. Unlike MJD, I am a man and can admit I was wrong...sorry.

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

No need to apologize -- I had a 50/50 shot at being wrong. Incidentally, I have Pitt in the Supe, if it makes you feel any better.

Scott (Denver)

Ever done fantasy MMA?

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

I'd rather do fantasy American Idol.

Tom (West Palm Beach)

Lester wins 20 and the CY young. Thoughts?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

If he wins 20, he probably does win the Cy Young. Certainly within the realm of realistic outcomes, but not quite where I think he'll end up.

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

That's the final whistle... we'll be back next Monday with more chattage, and there's always the Twitter. Until then, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor.