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February 25, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble! March madness looms, pitchers and catchers and all the rest have reported... it's beginning to look a lot like spring. We have 60 minutes of fantasy chattage ahead - second cup of coffee in hand. Who is up first?

Neil (Detroit)

If you had to choose between Nishioka and Theriot, who would it be?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

The unknown is always more alluring. I'd say because of his speed, Nishioka has more potential to help your team, but he could also be a colossal bust. Don't pay too much here.

Bert (Zimbabwe)

What type of auction strategy do you prefer to use and why?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

I tend to know who I want and who I don't, and I try to nominate the guys I don't -- especially in shallower categories like catcher. If I can stay ahead of the rest of the gang in $$, then I can (in effect) turn an auction into a straight draft later on, since I'll always have that extra $.

Brad (Chicago)

Would it be crazy to consider taking Lester as the 2nd SP overall after Halladay has been taken?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

He's just at the tail end of my top 10, but certainly that doesn't mean it's crazy.

bill (ny)

keeper league....second year...if mccutchen and justin upton are best options available...who do u take? for this year and for future?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

I'm very high on Cutch, as evidenced by my 30Q article on the Pirates. I actually like BJ a bit more than Justin this year...

Tom (Hamsterdam)

Great call on Broxton losing his job last year. Are there any closers, besides JB, that you'd shy away from drafting based off of last year or some other obscure reason?

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

The whole premise on closers losing their jobs is that it's more of a manager's confidence than anything tangible. Spring battles that play out will buy the winners two months of goodwill and then I'll revisit.

Andy (Syracuse, NY)

Which OF wold you take first out of this group: Cruz, Pence, or Ellsbury?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

I'd go with Pence. Cruz has too much injury risk and Ellsbury, I believe, is going to bat 9th and lose about 100 AB's.

Steve (NJ)

How can Youk be ranked above Ryan Howard at 1b when Howard's career averages eclipse youk's career best's in homers and rbi's? and youk has only once broke Howards career average in runs. something isnt right here.

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

1) It's a group effort, so it's not any one person's opinion, but a reflection on the whole. 2) I personally have Howard higher than Youk. 3) The eventual 3B eligibility factored in. 4) Past performance does not guarantee future stats. 5) Howard is in decline, Youk if healthy should surge.

Sam (Cincy)

AJ: Would you draft Reyes at $34 or Phillips at $24? thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

Not a chance I go that high on Reyes. Phillips, depending on the market, perhaps.

Big Tunn (NOLA)

Are you of the group that thinks Heyward will encounter a sophmore slump?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

Not so much a slump, but I don't think he explodes to the levels that some people do. As I've said, Austin Jackson outvalued him last year, and the gap in their rankings is way too big for my tastes. Not that I don't think Heyward is better, just that he's going too high.

Skunk Boy (PA)

I'm a Phillies fan and I've had this argument with a buddy of mine - Cole Hamels can still manage to have a better career than his counterpart, Cliff Lee. If you recall, Lee was even sent down to the minors at one point a several seasons back? What's your beef with Cole Hamels? He was GREAT last year, just no run-support!

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

He had a great second half. Or are we forgetting he had a 4.00+ ERA as of July 4? And 15 times he got 4 runs from his lineup. I think the "no run support" argument is skewed because of the 2 1-0 games vs. the Mets. When he lost, he usually lost big.

Lackey (parts unknown)

DO you think J Bruce is a good (high upside) bet as a 7th round keeper?

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

I think that's way too high a pick for him. Wouldn't go higher than a 12.

Charlie (NJ)

AJ, could you elaborate a bit more on why you prefer BJ over Justin this year? Not saying I think you're wrong or I disagree, I just know that is not the majority opinion, at least from what I have heard.

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

Just think D-backs will be down as a whole, and BJ a good bet for 20-40, while Justin I can't see more than 20-20. I'll trade the 20 steals for 20 points in BA.

steve (kc)

12th round for jay bruce? In a keeper league at that? Are you sure you weren't confused?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

Not confused... still think he K's way too much and I'm playing first and foremost for this season.

Ryan (Dayton) [via mobile]

What kind of numbers do you think Carlos Pena could put up at the friendly confines this year? Will he still be a BA black hole?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

Was just looking at this yesterday... Pena swings far too much at the bad pitches and as a result when he does make contact, he's been grounding out. Unless he suddenly develops some patience, BA won't rise too much.

Ryan (WA)

AJ, touching on your comment about youll trade 20 steals for 20 point in BA: those 20 steals could very easily help you win the category every week. While the 20 points in BA will really only raise the team total about .004 to .005 in the week. I think those 20 steals are more valuable.

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

That is what I said.

James (Ohio)

Does Kemp bounce back big this year? What round you targeting him in a keeper?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

I'm willing to give Kemp the benefit of the doubt here. I'm taking him Round 2-3 if I can.

Barry (NYC)

Can you elaborate on Lester being in your top 10 - top 10 for SP's or overall?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Just SP.

Dave (Boston)

Keeper league: Drop 1 : Latos, Gallardo, Haren

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

I'd let Latos go, but I've always had a soft spot for Haren.

Kanton (Canada)

Where do you slot Pedro Alverez in a NL only 10 team keeper league?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

Bottom half of the starting 3B in an 10-team NL-only. Probably around 6-7.

Bill (Denver)

It's the last round of the draft ... do you take a flier on Webb or Bedard or Peavy?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

I think I'd grab Peavy of the three.

Carl (Cleveland)

Do you also favor a hitter over a pitcher in regards to trades and keepers?

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

Generally speaking, yes. I'm still going to give you Johnny Damon for Felix Hernandez... but because of the 4-categories to 5-categories issue, second-tier hitters will often have higher value than top-tier pitchers.

Andy (NY)

would you draft CJ Wilson before you draft Morrow?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Yes. Plus, I am not concerned about the increased workload, though some are -- I think we're talking apples and oranges when a pitcher changes roles.

Bill Clay (Nakatomi Tower)

Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera in a MI slot?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

Walker. Pirates aren't going to be .500, but they are going to be competitive.

Big Tunn (NOLA)

Can Chase Utley return to elite status at 2b? What about Kinsler is 30/30 possible?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

Kinsler needs to stay healthy - that's the beginning and end of that discussion. Utley never left the 2B elite discussion, IMO...

Mike (San Diego)

What are your thoughts on Marcum this year and in the future? I was given an offer of him and improved draft positions for Holliday (REJECTED), but I'm trying to figure what range of hitter might be good to trade for him.

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

I like Marcum this year, as a potential top 20 SP. But overall, trade value is more Cody Ross/Nyjer Morgan territory.

JT (Dallas)

Is Kubel draftable in a standard mixed league or is he just a high end replacement player?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

20-100 is worthy of 5th OF/bench status.

Lance (SA)

Will enough RBI chances come to Jason Werth in DC to make him a decent option?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Werth, to me, is a fairly average player who was in a great situation. I think he takes a value hit in Washington, but still could be a top-25 outfielder if all falls right. I'm just not paying for top-10 stats.

Jefferson (Somerville, NJ)

Some have David Price in top ten, some have Price down around 25. I'm worried about the depleted bullpen behind him. Thoughts?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

If Price somehow wins 19 again, he is top 10. I think the consensus here is that 15-16 is more likely, with the loss of Soriano/Crawford, and just plain luck changing... that's the reason for the 20's ranking.

Nick (Michigan)

Does Miguel Cabrera's fantasy value drop after the recent incident?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

I don't think anyone believes that Miggy's value changes. The fear of the rehab causing missed time is the issue. It's enough to make me hesitate taking him at No. 3, but he's still a late-first round must-grab.

James (ILL)

Lyle Overbay making nearly $8 mil in Pittsbugh,do they know something I don't? Will he be a top 5 1b in the NL this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Since when do contracts indicate fantasy value? Overbay may be a defensive stabilizer and a veteran presence in the dugout, but that's not going to help your fantasy team.

Jim (NYC)

Thoughts on Aubrey Huff this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

I think the fact he can play OF is a good thing, since he won't miss time when the team wants to put Posey at 1B. 20-25 HRs is reasonable.

Brian (PDX)

Why are some down on Stubbs? Isn't he a threat for 20/30 with decent AVG again?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

The issue is opportunity to steal. Stubbs K's too much to hit leadoff, which is presumably where he would have the most SB chances... at 5th or 6th in the order, the bases may be too clogged to reach 30.

Reuben (NYC)

Everyone's always saying Don't Pay for saves. I'm inheriting a team in keeper league (NL only) with Marmol at $23. But that's about standard for the top closers kept in the league. Am I missing something?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

Don't Pay for Saves has to do with the fact that the difference between No. 1 closer and No. 30 closer is not that great in terms of the number of saves -- at least not enough to draft Mo or Joakim in Round 8 (or pay $35+ for them) -- the market in a keeper league is always a little different. If you can throw Marmol back and maybe get him back for $15, you do it. If throwing him back means you have to then pay $30 to get him, you keep him at $23.

Paul (Illinios)

If Hanley and Tulo are off the board, how long are you typically waiting for a SS, and who are you trying to get at that point?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

I think there's a big drop to Reyes and then another drop to Jeter/Rollins. After that, a cliff. I'm personally not taking Jose or Jimmy, so if Jeter is there I'm not letting him drop past Round 5. I realize I've been hammered for that view, but I call 'em like I see 'em.

Tyler (VT)

AJ, I am in a league that is heavy on power. After the aformentioned Hanley and Tulo, any other SS with power?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Watch our video on JJ Hardy - he's the "next best thing" -- sadly.

Jim (NYC)

What's the difference between Jeter and Alexei, for you, that makes Jeter worth grabbing 3-5 rounds earlier?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

About 25 runs scored and the potential for 5-10 more steals. Overall, Yankees lineup is bound to produce more than Chisox.

Jim (Hawaii)

Buzzer beater: Halladay/D. Lee or Tex/Rajai Davis!!

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

I think it's a fair deal, but I'd rather have Doc.

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

That's the buzzer! Thanks to all who asked questions - far too many to get to... there's Twitter for those I missed, and next Monday we shall return. Until then, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor.