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February 18, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

Happy Friday, gang. We've got an hour to get to as many questions as we can, so no lolly-gagging allowed. Second cup of coffee in hand -- who is up first?

Mike (Elgin, IL)

Drew Stubbs - I acquired him in an offseason fantasy deal - what's your projection for him? I'm hoping for a 30/30 - is it possible? I view him as comparable with Chris Young and that threat always seems to be there with him.

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

The thing with Stubbs is that he doesn't get on base enough to be a leadoff hitter, which is presumably from where he would do the bulk of his base-stealing. I think with him it's an either/or... 30/15 or 15/30 but not both.

brian (new york)

In berry's draft manifesto he mentioned that keepers should be taken based on value not necessarily how amazing they will be. I'm in a non-auction league with no penalties for what round they were taken in. does this mean i should throw out the idea for value and just take my top 5 players?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

You should keep the five guys who give you the most value, unless you think that you can throw one of those five back and still draft them before someone else snatches them up.

Camden (Yards)

Is smoak going to break out this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

Define break out... Maybe he hits 20 HR, but there's still a long way for the M's to go to get him to score and drive in more than 60 or so...

Mike (Albany NY)

AJ, Playing in a 12 team H2H league for the 1st time. Is your draft strategy different for H2H compared to 12 team 5X5 ROTO leagues? THANKS for the help!

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

The only change I make in H2H leagues is that I try to draft three closers, in order to make sure I have that category covered in most weeks. Don't want to put myself in a hole if I don't have to.

BJ (Indiana)

Better value for their position: Aramis Ramirez or Starlin Castro?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

I'd rather go with Ramirez. You'll get zero pop from Starlin, and Aramis has enormous upside.

Ron (WV)

In 5x5 Mixed league, how would you rate the following starting pitchers: Gio Gonzalez, Matusz, J. Garcia, CJ Wilson...Thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

I'd go Gio slightly ahead of CJ, then Jaime.

Chris (Florence, KY)

Would you worry about Josh Johnson because of shoulder and back injuries late last year? Pass on him for Liriano?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Obviously, you have to fear any pitcher with a recent injury history... but I like Josh a good round higher than Liriano.

Franklin (Santa Cruz)

AJ, If you had the chance to get an OF who hit .285 with 21 HR and 34 SB's last year, how early would you take him? I ask this, because it seems like everyone is leary of Alex Rios who did exactly that last year. I see a guy who could go 20/40 this season if he cuts down on getting caught stealing.

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

I'm totally on board with grabbing Rios in Round 3, depending on who has gone off the board at OF before him, of course.

Mustard (Kingston, ON)

What are your thoughts on the Bautista signing? Can we expect a .265 35/100 season from him this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

That's a reasonable stat line to expect. I don't have any thoughts on the signing, other than it shows that the Jays are as confident as I am that the increase in power was not a complete fluke.

Ryan (Dayton) [via mobile]

AJ who wins the closer battle for the white sox? It has to be thorton right?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

I think he's the definite front-runner, but given that Ozzie is the manager, we will have to wait until the end of spring to know for sure... he can change his mind on a dime.

Ryan (WA)

How do you suggest to approach trades in a league where everyone thinks that every player on their team is equivalent to Pujols? Some things that people in my league are wanting for even backup players are ridiculous. Start calling them out? Just give up?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

You have to show them how a deal helps them but doesn't hurt -- "you can gain three points at SB with this deal, and you'll only lose one in HR" -- if they don't see logic, then you won't ever make a deal. I've found in most H2H leagues, you can all but forget about swinging deals.

Andy (Syracuse, NY)

Better Met's outfielder to own this season, Bay, Beltran, or Pagan?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

I'd say Pagan. He's going to play every day, and may even beat out Beltran for the right to patrol CF. If I had to choose between the two Walking Dead, I'd lean to Beltran over Bay, but I need to see some spring action to feel a bit more confident in either guy.

Arthur (baltimore)

I have a phobia against some third-tier AL East pitchers such as Romero, Matusz, Hellickson, etc. Is this rational, or am I missing something?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

I think it's a case by case thing, and not a "too many games against the Yankees and Red Sox means avoid" -- I happen to think this good be a breakout season for Romero.

Elliot (Maine)

Yo AJ what up? I got a keeper question that I just cannot seem to answer myself, thats is why I am looking to you for advice. Pick ONE: Andrus, Rollins, or Gallardo. 6 keepers 10 team mixed. Thanks for your help, I could use all that I can get.

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

Personally, I'd stick with Yo-Ga.

Brian (NY)

Hi AJ, Do you have a suggestion for determining the order of a taxi round draft after an auction other than lottery for 1st pick? Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

I'm not sure there's a fairer way... but I can see an argument for giving first pick to team that spent the least during auction, and so on. Ties will still need to be broken by lot.

sammy (highland park)

Will Cabrearas recent arrest affect him this season?(Rehab stint or suspension)Should I be searching for a good replacement just in case?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

The short answer is "how could it not affect him?" You have to take the baseball out of the equation and simply hope that on a personal level this was a one-time setback and he can get the help he needs. Until we know more, from the fantasy standpoint, you have to drop him on draft boards, and you have to draft a backup earlier than you would if the incident had not occurred.

Patrick (Chicago)

Interesting H2H strategy. In my H2H, we use IP & Holds, so I avoid closers alltogether, and stream. That way, I win IP, W, K

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

And I'd never play in your league, because I hate streaming with a passion. All that proves is that you can make the most pickups, and not whether or not you can draft/manage the best team, which is why I play.

Mustard (Kingston, ON)

Are you a believer in complete games as a category for roto? I am arguing against having it since last year the person that picked Halladay and Felix had the category in the bag.

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

I think a better category (better than wins) is QS plus "outings allowing zero runs" to determine a starter's worth.

John (Austin)

AJ, I'm a big Astros fan, which pretty much means I'm an idiot and always disappointed. Are there any Stros worth drafting this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

Don't be so hard on yourself, John. We root from the heart -- that doesn't make us idiots. Wandy and Captain Underpants are both solid fantasy picks. Bourn and Lee fill needs as well. The cupboard is not bare.

Ian (Texas)

this is my first year doing just regular H2H. my league is like a 15x15 scoring league, I just wanna know some strategies?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

That's way too complicated. If you can't just glance at a boxscore and know instantly if your player had a good day, you're using too many categories. Best strategy is to rank the players using those categories and our projections, and use that as a starting point.

Patrick (Chicago)

I disagree...when multiple players are streaming, you have to decide A) who is the best player to pickup; B) who is the best player to drop. Each and every day, you have to assess what is valuable on your roster, and what is not.

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Then you're playing a different game. If you're supposed to have a nine-man staff and a three-man bench, and your league allows you to have a de facto fifty-man bench thanks to unlimited waiver moves, then that's fine for your league -- but it's not a game I want to play, and I think it is weak sauce.

Franklin (Santa Cruz)

AJ, do you think Josh Beckett returns to form in 2011 and finishes among the top 25 among SP's?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

Certainly he should bounce back some, but I still think he ends up with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. That's not screaming top 25...

Billy (PA)

Where do you see Andrew Mccutchen this year? Top 10 outfielder?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I'll actually be answering that question in more detail next week in an article for the Draft Kit... but yes, I think Cutch is on the verge of becoming elite at his position.

Mike (San Diego)

Streaming isn't related to skill. It's related to who has the most time on their hands to do adds and drops every day. I like playing fantasy, but it sure as heck isn't priority #1. Streamers suck.

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

League managers have the power to put the right limits on these tactics. I don't really blame folks who can take advantage of loopholes -- though the worst guys are the ones who have leads late in the week and simply bench all their pitchers to avoid negative stats. If you're required to start nine pitchers, then you shouldn't ever be allowed to have empty spots without penalty.

John (NorCal)

Hi AJ, keep 2, Kemp, McCutchen, and Heyward. Leaning towards the first two... thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

As would I be.

Paul (NJ)

Do you see Ike Davis as a good value pick up?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

He's the same as about 15 other guys you could draft late and get the same type of numbers. Personally, given the ballpark, I'm not sure he's the one I'd pick, but it's all a dart toss when you get to his tier.

Mike (San Diego)

Why is Longoria ranked higher than David Wright? Looking at their numbers, it seems like Wright puts up numbers similar to Longoria plus about 10 steals. No knock on Longo, but I think there should at least be some debate as to who is the #1 3rd baseman.

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

We had this debate at our rankings meeting, and it wasn't much of a debate. Look at our projections, and we have Evan ahead in 4 of the 5 standard roto categories.

Chris (Atlanta)

Jay Bruce. 30 HR's 100 RBI's?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

If not, he won't be too far off.

Scott (Boston, MA)

what would you say is the best way to prevent streaming in a H2H 5x5 league? IP minimums and transaction limits?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Transaction limits is the best way. If once the week starts, you don't allow moves, then you have to work with your bench as is. Alternatively, you can put both an IP min (to prevent the no SP move) AND MAX (to prevent the full-scale Sat/Sun fifth starter carousel).

Mike (San Diego)

Not to play devil's advocate, but Miggy Cabrera is projected ahead of Joey Votto in 4 of 5 categories but ranked 2 spots lower. How much of a gap in one category do you usually need to justify shortcomings in other categories?

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

Mike, we haven't yet changed the projection, but given recent events, we've lowered him due to "risk". That's a separate, unique case.

Ryan (Sacramento)

Unknowingly joined a streaming league once. Never. Again. It's not fantasy baseball.

Franklin (Santa Cruz)

I don't see how someone can justify taking Albert Pujols over Hanley Ramirez at #1. 1st base is crazy deep while SS is crazy shallow. It's known that Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball, but that doesn't mean he's the best player in FANTASY baseball. When was the last time he finished #1 overall? The guy is great, but he isn't the #1 player in fantasy.

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

You can make a case for Han-Ram at No. 1, but Pujols is all but guaranteed 35-110-.320 year in, year out. You might get a crazy CarGo year from someone else that keeps Pujols from the top spot, but so what if you draft him at 1 and he gives you No. 3 overall stats?

Corey-Chicago [via mobile]

Weak link of Pedroia, teixera, and Zimmerman?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Pedroia by a large margin.

Bobby (NJ)

AJ, I saw you took a chance on Dom Brown in the late rounds. Any other rookie you see to have a potential solid fantasy season?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Keep in mind, that was the last round of a mock and he was filling a bench spot. I tend to avoid rookies in drafts, due to the uncertainty of them actually being called up before the end of May in most cases. I'd love to see Moustakas in KC and Desmond Jennings in TB get some PT, but I'm not 100 percent sure they will travel north.

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

That's my hour... the SportsNation train pushes me along... find me on Twitter and I'll be happy to answer any Q's I couldn't get to here... until next week, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor!