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February 2, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:01 PM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest fantasy sports chat session. I am Eric. Hope you are staying warm and dry, since here in the northeast part of the U.S.A. it is a mess. But I am indoors and ready to talk fantasy baseball or football, whatever your pleasure. Thanks so much for showing up. So let's get it started...

Brian (NY, NY)

Is Ryan Raburn the starting LF over Boesch or will that be a spring training battle?

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

I think Raburn is worthy of starting and with the way Boesch played the second half of the season - and Raburn, too - I think it's Raburn. I could see a 25-home run season from the guy. He's good. And for some he's second base eligible. I like Raburn this season.

Brian (NY, NY)

Do you like Xavier Nady as a sleeper in ARI?

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

Nah, not really. I think we know by now what Nady is capable of. I realize the Diamondbacks don't have a whole lot else at this point in LF, but why not see what Brandon Allen can do as a regular? He has more upside. Cole Gillespie probably does as well. Even Gerardo Parra! I could see Nady hitting 15 home runs, but don't get too excited.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you like to win Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington,Texas?

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

Well, I think the Packers are going to win. Lotta points coming, too. Should be exciting.

Aqualung (A park bench)

In a year this deep in SP - how much of a $260 budget would you spend on starting pitching?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

It is deep, probably the deepest starting pitching has been since I can remember, but that's a reason WHY you shouldn't spend more money on pitching. Spend it on the limited offense! I generally stick to between $80-100 on pitchers... I'll probably stay with that.

Dela (San Francisco)

Is this the year Jose Reyes finally stays healthy and returns to first-round status?

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Certainly possible, but I don't expect more than 140 games from him, nor do I think he'll steal more than 40 bases. I mean, 40 bags is still very good, but let's not expect 60 again.

Rob (NY)

*cricket*... no one cares about fantasy right now man we are in between seasons.. go on a vacation or something

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

I have! Hey, you're here!

Dave (Novato)

Hello Eric, which catcher would you consider the best value based on where they are being ranked: Carlos Santana, Matt Wieters, or Brian McCann?

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

Definitely Wieters, because he's going quite a bit later than the other guys. I'm not the biggest Wieters fan, and I don't think he neccessarily hits his potential in 2010... but 10 rounds later than Santana and McCann, go for it. I'm personally waiting on my catcher this season... Posada in the final round, you betcha!

Stephane (Philly)

is there any reason why halladay is ranked so much higher than lee? they will provide the same production but you can draft lee 2 rounds lower

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

I think there's some concern about Lee's back issues, but it's not like Lee is barely a top 20 pitcher, either. He's arguably fifth or sixth. Halladay is the best, he's safer.

Curt (NJ)

Is there any argument that supports taking David Wright over Evan Longoria?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

Absolutely. Wright still steals many bases, and actually had five more home runs than Longoria last season. I've got them ranked like 7-8 this year overall.

Matt (MN)

With the Damon signing, is Desmond Jennings doomed to another year in the minors?

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

Subject of today's blog, I think Jennings is headed to the minors. I think the Rays made that kinda clear with the signings... but Jennings can play RF. I would take the under on 300 at-bats here.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What do you think of the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Citi Field in Flushing,NY?

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

Works for me. It's a terrific stadium... just don't expect a lot of runs in that game!

Freezing in Texas ((Yes, you read that correctly))

ESPN initial projection for Liriano has him ranked 90th - I'm thinking about taking him as my first pitcher in round 8. Will he conitnue to progress back to the form that make him a top 5 pitcher a few years ago?

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

Liriano was among the top pitchers last season, topping 200 strikeouts, winning games. I have no issue with Liriano as your first pitcher, but there are probably 20 or so pitchers that will go before him. It's a really deep spot. You don't need an ace... you can get by with three top-30 starters...

Justin Mourneau (Frozen, MN)

Eric, what do you see my stat line looking like at the end of the year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

I think Morneau will be ready by April, and am confident he can play in more than 150 games this season, topping 25 homers, 100 RBIs. He was on pace last season for monster numbers, better than even Pujols. Of course he ran into a knee on a double play in July and he was done...

Bill (NYC)

Is Nathan going to be ready opening day? Keep him for $4?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

Everything I have read is that yes, he will be ready for spring training. I find it hard to believe Nathan will be bypassed for saves at any time, too. This is a 35-save guy, easy. Top 10 closer that you don't have to take top 10. I generally do not keep closers, but $4 is nice.

Moe (New York City)

How much Will Austin Jackson's AVG go down? Projected stat-line?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

I would find it hard to believe Jackson hits near .300 again, because he strikes out so much and his batting average on balls in play was a near record number. When it normalizes, this is maybe a .270 hittter. Nothing wrong with that, and he can steal 30 bags, but be careful here.

Curt (NJ)

Do you think Domonic Brown will win the RF starting job in Spring Training? And if he does, where will you rank him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Becoming a huge sleeper really... he did nothing wrong except have trouble adapting to being a bench player, yet now nobody seems to like him. He wins the job and does well, 20 homers, 12 steals, he'll be fine.

Jim (Chicago(blizzardville))

Does Montero(NYY) start the year in the bigs? What can we expect from him when he does?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

I really doubt the Yankees rush him to the majors. They did sign Russ Martin to catch, and Posada could always do it as well. Montero is probably trade bait when they really need a starting pitcher. Or maybe Bartolo Colon will win 20 games. OK, they'll trade for help.

Bob (NY)

Has Matt Kemp become a bit of the forgotten man? He was a first round talent last year and is not being drafted until the third round based on rankings this year. Has he become a bit undervalued or was last year that much of a hit on his potential?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Well, I think Kemp can do what he did in 2009. I have him ranked mid round 2. Yes, he is undervalued. People get so wrapped up in only what happened in 2010... well, for some players it was aberrant performance. Kemp can run, he has 30-home run power, and he can hit .280.

Max Goldstein (Ohio)

Is jered saltimacha worth spending your money on for a sarting catcher?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

I am a bit skeptical he gets more than 400 at-bats, because he hasn't done it before, and always seems to be hurt. Plus, this is a situation with pressure. He has to perform, or he will be replaced. Hey, when he was a top prospect, I thought he'd be terrific... now, there are many questions.

John (Boston)

Is Cust a sleeper?

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

I doubt he gets drafted in standard leagues, and I can't make a compelling case for including him. Drop in power, tougher ballpark, ridiculously awful lineup around him in Seattle... ugh.

John (Trenton, NJ)

I was recently doing some research on pitchers and saw that Daniel Hudson was 2nd to Liriano in Swinging Strike %, so I see room for growth in his k-rate. In the rankings summit Jason Grey was high on him. What are your thoughts on his potential?

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

I like Grey's potential. OH, you mean Hudson... I do think there is a 175-strikeout guy looming there because he's in the NL, but I want to caution people that a sub-2.00 ERA is unlikely. I'll say a 3.50 ERA and 175 K would still be a terrific season for him.

Murphdawg (Bawstown)

Sup EK? What do you think of Danny Stubbs? I see you took him in the mock. Should call him Stubbs the Zombie. I'm out.

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

You mean Drew Stubbs. Yep, I'm a sucker for anyone with 30/30 potential, even if they hit .250. I used to always go after Mike Cameron back in the day. Chris Young, Grady Sizemore, Ian Kinsler... I'm in! Anyway, I don't know why we simply assume Stubbs can't hit for a better average. The pop and clearly the speed is legit. I'm out!

Jim (Chicago)

Whats your take on Belt in SF? Is he the Giants starting 1B to start the year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

I think it's possible, with Aubrey Huff moving to right field, but this is a crowded team. They've got Burrell - whom they like - in left, Torres/Rowand in CF, and Cody Ross is still there. He's gotta play. Huff has to play. I expect Belt to start in the minors.

George (Hazlet, NJ)

When does the ESPN draft kit arrive?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Very soon, my friend, very soon.

Max (Ohio)

for your first pick who would you go for a pitcher or a hitter?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

I do not have a pitcher ranked in my top 10. Halladay is 11.

Jason (Bmore)

Do you expect Justin Smoak to have better numbers this year even with an anemic Seattle offense?

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

I don't think his problem is neccessarily those around him, but himself. He took a major step backward in 2010. He has the job, which is nice, and he's young enough to emerge... but we need to see it. A year ago, he seemed a lock. I could see a 20-home run season, but the batting average might be low.

James (NY)

Thoughts on Delmon Young?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

Hey, I wasn't a believer. I admit it. Now I think we saw about his ceiling, a .300 season with 20-plus home runs and a ton of RBI. I don't see 100 RBIs this season, not if Morneau and Mauer are healthy, but he's still productive, and let's be positive, he hits for average every season. He's never hurt anyone in that stat.

Logan (Terre Haute)

Give me a mr. irrelevant

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

You mean a strong last-round pick for standard leagues? Jim Thome. Always overlooked, and there you have 25 homers. Amazing.

Michael (Miami,Florida)

Any reason why the Rays traded so many good players away?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

Well, their financial plight is a bit of an issue...most of these guys left on their own, generally the bullpen. And you know what, the Rays will be just fine, you watch. This is a contending team again.

Nick (Atlanta)

I have the opportunity to keep A Pujols, H Ramirez, and D Wright in the first three rounds. My opponents will have all their keepers after the third round. What do you think of this stars and scrubs approach?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

If you can keep three of the top seven or eight players, including the top two, I'd do that every time. Good for you.

Jordan (Casper, Wy)

Which is a more likely scenario? Justin Upton vies for top fantasy outfielder or Hanley loses top spot at SS?

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

Nice! I think both could happen, actually. I really like Upton as a bounceback guy.. he's not exactly old, you know. A year ago we expected a 35-20 season. The problem with Hanley losing top SS is it's basically Tulowitzki catching him, that's it. Who else? Reid Brignac ain't catching him. Shortstop stinks after the top 10. I'd say it's more likely Upton goes nuts.

Brian (NY, NY)

Any word on Brett Anderson's elbow this offseason?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

He scares me. I have him in a keeper league and am about to email the league and put him up for bids. I have not heard anything bad recently, but just worry that a Tommy John surgery is in his future at some point. Gut feeling.

Josh (MO)

I know this is a bit off topic but what do you think the odds are that Albert Pujols isn't a Cardinal next year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

All topics welcome. I think there is about a 10 percent chance. It certainly seems like he's "playing the game" at this point, you know, and he's pushing the Cardinals. They HAVE to sign him... but it's not a 100 percent lock.

Joshua (Michigan)

Why does everyone seem to believe that Carpenter and josh johnson are due for some injuries? I read some where that Miss Bell thinks this of Johnson.

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

It's not a big stretch with either. Johnson was shut down early with back and shoulder issues. Carpenter hasn't exactly been Nolan Ryan for durability. Just don't draft or acquire too many injury risks...

Mike (DC)

I like you

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Ahhh, I like you too!

Jordan (Casper, Wy)

I picked up Pavano last year and was pleasently surprised with his stats across the board, what do you think he does this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Same type of thing. He's a durable guy now - amazing how that perception changed - and he's on a good team, so 15 wins is certainly a possibility. Say an ERA around 4 as well. He's underrated because so many people can't get past the Yankees years.

Joel (Venezuela)

J.P Arencibia can impact this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

Absolutely. I just wonder if the lure of 20 home runs comes with a .220 batting average, that's all. He's not in my top 15 at catcher. Too risky. I don't want a catcher that can hurt me, even if there is upside.

Brian (NY, NY)

What do you think of Kila Kaahuie? He had great OBP in the minors, that's usually a good sign for young hitters. (Though actually I don't think he's that young...)

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

He's 26, so he's not exactly Vlad Guerrero, but there is upside here. I want to try to make the case there's a 20-homer guy with a .290 batting average lurking... OK, I could see that. He just needs regular at-bats, and he should get them with Butler being the regular DH.

Craig (TN)

What is your projected stat line for Jayson Werth this season? I get the lack of talent around him compared to Philly, but Zimmerman, Dunn and Soriano all seemed to get their numbers in while wearing that uniform. Should he really be devalued much?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

No, he should not be devalued much. The lack of hitters around him means nothing, as you proved. I do think the change in ballpark is a factor, and I worry that Werth doesn't run. But he's a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy.

Drew (Boston)

Are you more liekly to target a solid player with position scacity at the end of the first round (ex Utley), or a guy who may potentially hit 40 bombs but plays a deep position like 1B?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Probably Utley. I'm trying to avoid first base in the first three rounds, because it is the only deep hitting position in the game. Adrian Gonzalez is awesome, but if you miss out on Cano, Utley and a few other 2B, you're stuck.

Jason (Bmore)

Who do you think gets the closing gig in TB? My money's on Jake McGee.

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

Seems unlikely to me that a contending team - they led the AL in wins in 2010 - would turn the ninth inning over to a rookie. They've got power right-handers in the pen, wouldn't stun me if Farnsworth has a good spring and gets a chance, or Russell. I just doubt Madden trusts McGee in that role initially.

Adam (New Orleans, LA)

Would you protect Strasburg in a keeper league, or cut him loose and hope to get him back in the draft?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

Depends on the league. In a shallow league, I wouldn't wait. In 2012 Strasburg should be terrific, but will we rank him in the top 20 starting pitchers? I doubt it. We'll want to make sure he's right.

Ben (NY)

Am I crazy for thinking that Kenley Jansen wins the closer role for LAD by September?

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

Not at all. Broxton could lose this job before April... Kuo is an injury risk. Hey, word out of LA is that - get this - Vicente Padilla is even in the running. I think that's sheer absurdity, but that's the rumor. I'll take Broxton for 35 saves and 100 strikeouts, Jansen as a nice bridge to him.

Ryan (PA)

How is Werth a 100 rbi guy? He is yet to eclipse the 100 mark.

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

So what? Doesn't mean anything. He hit fifth for Philly, behind a guy who until 2010 knocked in 130 runs a year. Now he's on a team with Zimmerman and nobody else driving in runs. I see it happening.

Jason (Atlanta)

Eric, cant wait for Baseball Today to go daily! Last year you said you found Chris Coghlan on the majority of your teams after draft day. Whose that guy for you this year and whose a player who you're avoiding?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Coghlan hurt himself but wasn't exactly tearing apart pitchers anyway. What a shame. Nice bounceback candidate now. I think the Tampa Bay middle infielders - Brignac and S.Rodriguez - will emerge. I bet I get Kemp on a bunch of teams, probably Beltre, Aaron Hill, Stubbs...

Tom (West Palm Beach)

What do you like about Eric Young Jr. this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Not much, unfortunately. The Rockies really don't seem interested in making Young the starter at second base, so it's tough to recommend him in fantasy. He might be a utility guy, could steal 20 bags that way, but health has been an issue, too. I like the speed, but I don't think opportunity is quite there.

Brian (NY, NY)

Who do you like to bounceback more Zobrist or A. Hill?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

I think it's Hill. Perhaps the lowest BABIP I have ever seen, and he has good power. Zobrist doesn't seem to. Looks like his 2009 was aberrant by most measures.

Alex (NYC)

Can we please get some love for Tabata? I see 100 Runs 30 Stls 70 Rbis and 15 HRS with an average of around .295. Thoughts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

Really? You see that? Take the under on the power, by a lot. Like half the homers. And I don't see a Pirate scoring 100 runs. But the steals and average, sure. I like Tabata. But don't go overboard here!

John (SF)

Who are some first basemen being drafted outside the top 10 that could give top 10 production?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

For the same reason 10 quarterbacks don't go in the first round in football. It's supply and demand. And 1B is the only strong position for hitters this season, so taking Utley 10th over Adrian Gonzalez, and then Adam LaRoche 10 rounds later to play 1B is better than Gonzalez with a bad 2B.

Randy (Portland)

I got the first pick in my fantasy bass fishing league. Who should I go with?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

I played that game one year... well, I picked some anglers. I play all our games. Some guy from New Jersey was my first pick...I thought it was cool a New Jersey guy could ...angle!

Ryan (LA)

Latest on Pedroia?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

As far as I have heard, all is well and he should be fine for spring training. And I remember where we ranked him a year ago, and it was darn good! Don't forget him in round 3/4.

Tom (West Palm Beach)

Your way to early predictions for AL & NL rookies of the year are...

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Hmmm.... I probably need to research this, but how about Hellickson and Kimbrel? Both rookies still, I believe. And closers seem to get nice voting treatment. Kimbrel is a monster.

Jason (Bmore)

If you were Ozzie, what would you do with Chris Sale? Given Peavy's injury and the lack of a true closer, where do you put him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Well, any guy with a power arm like that, I would start him first and only move to the bullpen if there's a need and he fails first. I'd start Sale. I'd start Aroldis. I'd start Joba. Closers fall from the sky, or there's always a Kevin Gregg looming.

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK, that is about all the time we have for today. Thanks so much for showing up, reading and sending in questions. I enjoy the chats, get some good debate going sometime. Keep warm, avoid the ice, stay outta trouble! Have a great day.