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February 23, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:01 PM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest fantasy sports chat session. Thanks for being here. We'll talk mainly baseball today, and we'll see if there are any football questions. Lots to discuss, with spring training games starting soon, our draft kit launched, and a really big injury announced today.... so, let's have some fun.

Mets Fan (Sigh)

First off, terrible news about Wainwright today. Feel so bad for the guy.Secondly, Angel Pagan will be the Mets most valuable fantasy outfielder at seasons end. Discuss.

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

Yes and yes. It is a shame about Wainwright. I admit that I didn't expect this. Wainwright had some elbow issues late last season, but he was SO good, to expect TJ surgery is a real bummer. This year's Joe Nathan, I suppose. See ya in 2012. As for the Mets, I wrote that about Pagan early last season, too. He's good. Better than most think. And yes, he will have more fantasy value than Beltran and Bay this season.

Jack (NC)

Who is the best keeper of the 3...Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen, or Jason Heyward

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

I still think Upton will be a fantasy monster. So will the other guys, but Upton's upside is potentially the top player in fantasy. I doubt McCutchen has the power for that, and Heyward won't run enough for it. Upton could be a 30/30 guy soon.

Robbi S (NY)

What are your thoughts about M Aviles this yr - .300-15-60-15 possible?

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

Sure, it is possible. I'll take the under, though. The past two seasons Aviles has had a chance, and not done what he did as a rookie. I think the Royals will play him at 3B, but regardless he should hit for average... he's just streaky.

Charles (Seattle)

Hey Eric -- enjoyed your views during the summit. Are the dodgers too concerned about Kuo's health to hand him the closer job? He seems a better fit than Broxton, and proved it at the end of last year.

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

I don't think Kuo is as good a fit as Broxton; a year ago Broxton was fantasy's top closer. He can still be awesome, and he profiles perfectly. Kuo is dominant, but injuries and workload are the problem. I think Broxton bounces back.

Ben (Columbus, OH)

What do you think of Vlad in Baltimore? Do you like him even more in leagues where he would qualify at OF? (10 game position elig)

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

Of course, I'd prefer to draft a DH that doesn't clog that position on a fantasy roster, if possible. David Ortiz and Travis Hafner can not. If Guerrero is an outfielder, it ups his value. I don't think he'll have the same season he did last year regardless, so be careful here. He's not young, not patient, not healthy, and this lineup does not have Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton.

Brendan (Braintree, MA)

In the rankings summit you made a strong case for Chone Figgins...how would you rank him compared to Ryan Raburn or Neil Walker?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

For the past 3 or 4 years I felt Figgins was overrated at 3B. Lot of speed, no power. Now he's underrated. He's got the 2B eligibility, should add 3B soon, and while that was a bad season for him, he still ran at the same rate. He shouldn't be that bad again. Yes, over Raburn and Walker, but as always, depends a bit on need.

steve (green bay)

Eric,Do you think the Brewers have a chance to be a contender in the NL Central this year? Did they improve their pitching enough in the off season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Absolutely. Especially now that the Cardinals just lost their ace. Milwaukee has nice pitching and they score enough runs. It's still a flawed team, mainly defensively, and Axford isn't a lock to do that again, but it's a contender for 85-plus wins.

Mike (STL)

How could you have NOT expected it? Between the late year elbow issues and a partially torn elbow ligament from 2004? It was inevitable that it was going to give out eventually. Last year's issues were more of a harbinger than they seemed.

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

C'mon, nobody expects TJ surgery, especially not off a season like that. Yes, there were reasons for concern, but Wainwright had barely thrown. I think expected is a little harsh.

John (Boston)

You don't have to draft steals as long as Posednik or Crisp is sitting on the waiver wire, right?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

It's a bit presumptious to assume Podsednik gets enough playing time, and also that Crisp stays healthy. Draft some steals; it's dangerous to leave a draft with an obvious need. Other teams might need it as well, or might prevent you from acquiring it.

Jazzy (Dyer)

I kept Wainwright this year, should I pack in the season now?

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

Absolutely. It's February. Don't bother. OK, c'mon! It's one guy! Yes, it stinks that one of your keepers is likely done, but we all know there are free agents that will be terrific, this year's Jose Bautista or R.A. Dickey. Now you just need some help.

Cody (Philly)

Ek would you pull the trigger on this trade, I am weak at SS, Pujols for Prince Elvis and Billingsly, Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

No, I would stay weak at SS. Not a huge fan of Andrus, to be honest. Yes, he can steal bases, but that's it. I expect he might bat ninth this year, too. No power yet. Give him time, but I can't trade the top player in fantasy baseball for a non-top 20 starting pitcher and a SS I rank around No. 75. I'd need a top-25 player.

Mike (Albany NY)

Hey Eric, I was offered McCutchen for Prince Fielder. I need OF help. What do you thinK? THANKS

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

I don't think you need outfield help. It's February. Draft help. I do like McCutchen and knowing how deep first base is, I have no issue with this one-for-one deal in a keeper league, but you don't need OF help yet. Make it because it's a good deal.

Adam (Lafayette La)

Who would you keep? Keeping two out of Carpenter, Price, Jared Weaver?

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

Probably Price and Weaver. They're younger. Carpenter is older. If I have a choice, and all things are equal, go that route. Weaver did lead the AL in Ks a year ago, after all.

Joe (St. Louis)

Miggy still worth a keeper if I lose a 2nd rounder??

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

I still have Miguel Cabrera as my No. 3 overall player. I realize my colleagues think I am insane, but we don't have to agree. It's a DUI. He has a problem. I think he'll hit like always once the games count. I don't have to like what he did to draft him with confidence. And to answer your question, yes.

A.J. Burnett (Tampa, Florida)

Am I a fantasy sleeper this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

In a deep league with a bench, I think it's worth the risk to select him at some point. In a 10-team standard league, no. He does have talent. He does get strikeouts. He just had one really bad year.

Nick (Atlanta)

What do you expect from Mike Napoli in Texas this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

Probably 400 at-bats between catcher, first and DH, with 22 home runs. Same guy, slightly different role, but still has power and the ballpark is better.

Derek (Anchorage)

Eric, how can you say Mike in STL didn't expect this injury? After all, he is a psychic doctor. Who needs Stefania when you have Mike?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

Stephania warned us all that this was possible, but I don't think she said he WOULD need TJ surgery this season. I would not call this injury expected, not that it matters now.

Ando (Last Place)

In rankings summit Jason Grey said felt good about Bautista at 39 HR...whats your take over/under 39?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I feel pretty good about it as well. I'll take the under, though, but I could see 35 or 36. My issue is there is risk here, notably in batting average. One good year! The Blue Jays just rid themselves of Rios and Wells and they go back to this contract...it's hard to feel sorry for them.

Jon (Colorado Springs)

Should I keep Nelson Cruz or Buster Posey?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

Well, it is your team. I think Cruz will have better numbers, but Posey plays a scarce position. Then again, in a 10-team league, there will be catchers available late. I'd probably keep the best player, and in this case, it's Cruz.

Goofa (Medford)

Your thoughts on Matthew Berry taking Troy Tulowitzki as the 4th pick in your first mock draft. Is he crazy like a fox or just crazy?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Neither... or both. What's wrong with Tulo there? He is in my first round. Elite SS with power, can run. He and Cano in the top 5 overall is fine because they produce, they are reliable and they play middle infield.

Omar infante (somewhere in florida)

How well will I do now that I am a starter?

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

You started last season. I doubt you get many more at-bats than last season. Ballpark change doesn't help, but perhaps Infante hits second and scores a lot of runs.

hal (brick, nj)

in your opinion, Who are the "biggest risks" in the first round?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

I think it's funny when experts call this first-rounder a risk but not this one over there. I mean, aren't they all risks? Some think Pujols is a risk because he will have this "distraction" and might be a free agent. Everyone seems to think Cabrera is a huge risk. Plus, what is the first round? I might have 10 guys in mine and only 6 match up with someone else's.

Butch (PA)

With Wainright out for the season what effect will it have on J. Garcia's numbers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

None. Losing Wainwright doesn't put more pressure on Carpenter or Garcia or anyone. They just need a new fifth starter now. Moving Garcia from the No. 4 rotation slot to 3 means nothing. It's foolish when people say Blanton will face only No. 5 starters... never works that way. All rotations shift by the second week of the season.

Johnny (NYC)

Factoring injury risks, which Oakland pitcher are you drafting first?

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

I think Brett Anderson still possesses considerable upside. I like Gio Gonzalez, but that seemed like his ceiling. And Trevor Cahill is the AL version of Tim Hudson, an extreme groundballer whose numbers are a bit unsustainable. Anderson goes first.

Sly (Philly)

Eric, I'm having a hard time parting with Ryan Braun $43, but I HAVE to accept a trade where I'm offered a $1 McCutchen......don't I?

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

Assuming it's Andrew and not Daniel McCutchen, yeah, I'd have to make that deal. Braun is awesome, but McCutch is a top-10 OF.

Steve (SF)

Most other fantasy sites have Tommy Hanson ranked 15th but you guys have him ranked 10th....Any reason you guys like him more? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

I think we have him ranked a bit too high, but this is proof we have a lot of cooks in this kitchen, ya know? That's a good thing, too. You want lots of opinions, and you can decide if you like any of them! I like Hanson... but he's in the teens for me.

Jason (Cleveland)

What do you see out of Mike Minor this year? In a few years would you compare him to Dan Haren?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Seems like an odd comp, since one is right-handed and proven and Minor is neither. I think Minor could start the year in the minors. There's no rush, and they have depth. I think Beachy makes more starts.

Justin (Boston)

Is it crazy to take Santana before McCann in a keeper league? Santana might have better number even this year.

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

Not crazy at all. I can see it. I like Santana, and remember, a year ago he was higher regarded than even Buster Posey, but McCann is more proven, healthier, and still pretty good.

Mark (NYC)

Jonathan Lucroy broke his finger in batting practice. Does this change your strategy of waiting til the last round to draft a catcher?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

Well, knowing this news, I first will cry, and then I will never take a catcher again. Look, catchers get hurt. More so than others, I think. It's a demanding position, I can't even imagine it.

fantasy auctioneer (anywhere)

No one ever wants to touch this question. 13 team affecting listed auction values. Extra money means what to all the values you see?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

Not much to me. I know others set their prices and will not go above say $30 on David Wright, but I want a player, I go after the player. It's still all about allocating your funds, not whether you get Wright for $33 or $30 or $27.

Dan (Boston,MA)

Please Karabell.. im in a tough spot with keepers. i had them set but with Wainwright gone I have to pick from Hughes/J. Sanchez/Danks/B Phillips/Victorino/Rios.

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

I'd go with Brandon Phillips and not look back. I know you think you need to replace Wainwright with a pitcher, but why? You're lucky you haven't set your keepers yet. I know a guy whose keepers were due last night, and he kept Wainwright!

Charlie (NJ)

Pedro Alvarez...Over/Under .270 26 95 Rbis

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

I think the power is just about right, but I'll take the under on batting average. Still, this is a pretty good player.

Tom (New York)

How is Ubaldo out of the top 10 rankings? If you toss out that horrible April of '09, he's essentalliy been a top 5 guy the past 2 years. He's proven he can pitch at Coors, is durable, and big time K's. Why do people seem down on him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

I like and trust Jimenez. He's not in my top 10 not because he did something wrong, but because I like 10 other pitchers more. That's all. He seems safe to me.

Ryne (Arizona)

You think Kinsler can actually stay healthy this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

Let's just say I do expect Michael Young to end up with second base eligibility at some point this season. It might not happen until September, but I will take the under on Kinsler hitting 140 games. That said, he's a proven 30/30 threat.

Ian (TX)

Eric, WHY is Omar Infante not in the top 300???

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Probably because we do not expect him to hit double digit homers, steal enough bases, do enough offensively. The eligibility is nice, but the numbers just aren't enough.

No Luck Louie (GA)

Keepers deadline was monday, any mulligans if you kept Wainright? I know it depends on the league and commish, but what do you think would be fair?

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Sorry. No mulligans. If I was commish, even if I had kept the guy, no mulligans. But see if your league wants to make an exceptions.

JT (Dallas, TX)

Does the Wainwright injury add weight to the drafting strategyof waiting on starting pitching? Is there any compiled statistical data on the relative number of injuries to pitchers vs. hitters?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

Folks, it's not a surprise that a pitcher got hurt and will miss the season. It happens every year. This affects nothing in terms of strategy. I might take only one or two pitchers in my top 10 rounds of every draft, and seeing what happened to Wainwright won't adjust that. Pitchers in general are not as safe as hitters, for durability and for performance.

Johnny (NYC)

I know there's a lot of people high on Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce, but which relative breakout are you buying into more? Can Stubbs build on his 23/30 campaign and push 30/30? Does Bruce finally live up to his top prospect status?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

Well, if I can get my power along with 30 stolen bases, I almost always go in that direction. I do think Bruce hits 30 home runs, but if Stubbs can hit .275 with 25 homers and 30 steals, he's more valuable.

David (Los Angeles)

Can we talk about something other than Wainwright?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

Nope. Hey, I don't ask the questions!

Frank (LA)

With Wainwright going down I'm not a little freaked by the injury bug. Do you think Cliff Lee's Lat strain in the offseason is anything to be worried about? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

I think because of Wainwright getting hurt that EVERY other pitcher is now a risk to suffer the same fate. (No, I do not think Lee has anything to do with Wainwright. Nothing.)

Ethan Wright (Memphis)

I don't think you should get mulligans but this is another reason keeper deadlines should be much cloesr to the start of the regular season, agreed?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

Well, there has to be a cutoff. I have a league that sets keepers the night before the late-March draft. Injuries happen in between that keeper cutdown and the draft as well. There is no right answer. I have another league in which keepers were due in November.

Geck (KC)

Are there any Royals pitchers worth drafting

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Sadly, other than closer Soria, not really. In fact, check out our projections for the Royals, there is Soria first, then 12 hitters (and some unimpressive ones, to boot) until you get the next pitcher, and it's Jeff Francis! Holy cow!http://games.espn.go.com/flb/tools/projections?&display=alt

Hank (NY)

Wainwright got hurt building his new mansion....

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

Now that is funny! I think it's all A-Rod's fault, personally.

Albert Pujols (Saint Louis?)

Should I punch myself in the face?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

Why? You'll get paid regardless, and clearly that's what matters most to you. And hey, I have no problem with that at all. As for the Cardinals in the NL Central, I wouldn't count them out quite yet. It's not like there's a great team there.

Dan (Boston,MA)

Karabell, our keepers are set March 1st. Draft march 20th. If a keeper is going to be on the mlb dl by opening day(alla wainwright) we give an owner the right to switch him for another player on his 2010 roster.

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

As long as it is in the rules up front, I have no issue with that at all. Makes sense. I dropped out of a long-time league 2 years ago when the commish all of a sudden wanted to change a rule during the season. Sorry, I don't want to be a part of that. But your rule, if it's in the constitution, sure!

Josh (Melbourne, FL)

Morales back to form of the injury or roll the dice with Smoak?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

Even with Morales saying his leg remains sore, I take him over Smoak. Hit major league pitching first, then we can talk and compare to a guy that went 30-100-.300 two seasons ago.

Joe (St. Louis)

Does Alvarez's weight concern you? Can keep him or Joe Nathan for the same value. I think Nathan comes back strong.

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Keep the hitter over the closer. Always. I do think Nathan comes back strong, but always take the big bat.

Jose Reyes (Port St Lucie, FL)

Any chance I return to the mid teens HRs and 60+ SBs?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Always a chance, but I wouldn't bet on it. Tough to hit for pop in that ballpark, and tough to run that much on those legs.

Big Mike (SF, CA)

Dan's league is soft.

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Perhaps. But it is all about the fun. It doesn't have to be overly serious, just run correctly.

Doug (NYC)

You buying a svelte Sandoval turnaround season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

I think somewhere between his first two seasons, which isn't great insight. Both seem fluky to me. He can hit 20 homers. He can hit .300. He can stay healthy.

Greg (Ellicott City)

Why does Bruce get a ton of hype while Stubbs gets none?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Batting average. Whenever someone hits for a low batting average, everyone seems to run away as if it's impossible for that guy to ever hit .270. Check Chris B Young.

Ethan (Memphis)

Using Wainwright as an example, should you shy away from more experienced pitchers with higher workloads for younger guys with fresher arms if you ranked them comparably?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

No. Young pitchers get hurt all the time, too. Like would it surprise me if Brett Anderson is next? Nope. Don't overthink this Wainwright news. It happens.

Tom (New York)

Any news on what the plan for Neftali Feilz's role? Any real chance he's not the closer?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

Very good chance he's the team's No. 4 starter, actually. Depends how he throws in the next 3 weeks, and I suspect he will throw just fine. And good for Texas; far more value in a guy like him giving the team 200 innings rather than 70. Every time.

GT (asheville)

Glad your back Eric. Been waiting for these chats all winter! 3rd pick: does Cabrera worry you enough right now to go with CarGo or Votto? Someone else you would consider for that pick?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Hey, I've been chatting every Wednesday for years, including in January and February! Anyway, no. I still want Cabrera. Yes, there is more risk today on Cabrera than there was 2 weeks ago,but you can't tell me there isn't risk on CarGo, and to some degree Votto. I think people are way overthinking what Cabrera's off-field issues will mean for his stats. He's still gonna have a monster season.

Yousef (Detroit)

In drafts, do you value power over speed in the early rounds? For example, Crawford or Hamilton?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

To be honest, I value players that supply both power and speed over others. It's why I like Stubbs, and Upton, and others that can be 20/20 threats.

jersey bear (jersey)

not fantasy related.. if you could play catch one past or present player who would it be? and why?thanks i got faith in you eric answer me please

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

Well, my fave player growing up was Michael Jack Schmidt. But I've always wanted to see if I could catch that famed Steve Carlton slider. I'd probably have to do the Bob Uecker thing and wait until it hits the backstop and stops rolling!

Adam (Lafayette La)

Whats your thoughts on brad Lidge? He should have a chance to be a top closer with their rotation right?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Very good second half last season. When healthy, he can be elite. I see him getting more than 35 saves.

jersey bear (jersey)

your the man. i think your the only guy that answers me on chats!! awesome

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Jersey! Bear!

Craig (Philly PA)

Losing Wainwright just killed me in my 5x5 money keeper league. Can Scherzer pick up the slack and is he worth keeping now over Prado? Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

You're not killed. You haven't even drafted yet. It's still just one guy, and yes, Scherzer might not win 19 games or have a sub-3.00 ERA, but he doesn't suck. You can make it up.

Damon (Louisville)

Speaking of svelte seasons...what are your thoughts on CC this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

A lot of players are more svelte now. Lots of 'em. I don't think it matters much on CC, but hey, he IS playing for a contract, ya know...

Steve (Vancouver, WA)

Better keeper, Holliday (2nd rd), Uggla (6th) or Lilly (16th)?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Not a great fan of any of those for the price... I guess Uggla makes the most sense.

Tony (Cromwell, CT)

Is it safe to brag if you won your fantasy league 3 out of 4 years?

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

Sure. But it's safe for your leaguemates to make their feelings known, too.... and the fantasy gods are always watching!

Eric Karabell
  (4:01 PM)

OK, thanks to everyone for asking questions. That was fun. Time is up, however, and it's time to roll. Have a great day and if you own Wainwright, your season is definitely not over. You'll be fine. The Cardinals will survive, too. Enjoy your day, get some sun and I'll be back chatting next Wednesday. Thanks!