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

Eric Karabell
  (3:00 PM)

Hello all! What could be better than chatting with you while watching a spring training game? Love it! Thanks for showing up and I'll get to as many questions as I can. Here we go...

HD (NY)

Hey Eric, thanks for the chat as usual. In a H2H points league, with lots of dumb point categories (ie: 2 points for an appearance, 5 pts for a save), does it make closers any more valuable?

Eric Karabell
  (3:01 PM)

I'd have to see all the categories, but in general I still say no. If peripheral numbers aren't as critical, I might be more inclined to wait and take the F.Cordero types that pile on the saves, without helping elsewhere.

spence (edmonton)

how do u feel about manny ramirez this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

I doubt he wins MVP, but I could see 120 games, .300 batting average, 20 homers and 80 RBI. I think he'll hit. Bat speed has slowed some, but he can still produce at some level. And he doesn't need a glove and he can take days off. Great situation for him.

Ryan (san mateo ca)

sandoval is off to a hot start this spring, when would you consider taking him in a standard league

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

I'd call Pablo a borderline top 10 third baseman even now. I can't see him hitting .330, but last season's regression was a bit fluky as well. I could see .280 with near 20 homers.

John (Massachusetts)

If you had the 3rd pick, would you take the chance on Miggy Cabrera?

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

Before the DUI I had Cabrera second overall. Now I have him third. Others have him in the third round now, which is absolutely crazy. Honestly, I don't see why everyone is running away from him. He's going to play, and whenever he plays, he hits. I don't have to like what he did, but this is a triple crown worthy player, very similar to Pujols. He's my No. 3 guy at worst.

Bill (Toronto)

Who would you rather have as a starting catcher from a fantasy perspective: Salty in Boston or Arencibia in Toronto, or are both to be avoided as a possible #1 catcher?

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

I would avoid both as starters if possible, because there is so much risk. I assume this is an AL-only league? I can't make the case for either top 10 mixed. I think Arencibia will hit for power, maybe 15 homers. He's got pop. But he might hit .240, too. I have little confidence Saltalamacchia will hit enough, nor will the Boston faithful be patient enough.

Steve (San Diego)

OF Draft question: Who would you take first Ethier or Bruce?

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

Ethier, still. One guy has already been 30-100, the other hopes to. It's not like Ethier is old, either. All Dodgers will bounce back.

Matt (Seattle)

Hi Eric. My longtime league is finally begining to talk about changing our draft format from snake to auction. What type of draft do you prefer, why? Where can I find a great argument in support of auction drafting? Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

I like 'em both. I think auction is more fun, because you can get anyone you want, and aren't a slave to a draft order. I have a new league that combines auction and draft, and it's neat. We have an article about auction strategy in the draft kit.

Mike Ho (Hong Kong)

Hi Eric, there is always a first rounder who doesn't perform up to his billing, who will it be this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Well, I like them all, but I don't have Votto in my first round. He'd have to repeat, and in comparison to other 1B, I just don't think he will separate himself.

Mike (Pittsburgh)

Who would you rather have for the next three years...Bruce or Kinsler?

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

I'll take the middle infielder that runs a lot, even though durability is not a strength. I do like Bruce, but there are other 30-100 outfielders. How many 30/30 middle infielders are there? Kinsler did that in 2009.

Chris (ATL)

You wrote a column last may in which you named players you liked less than your colleagues, and Rajai Davis was among those players (mainly due to playing time I believe). What do you think of him now that he is leading off in Toronto?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

Ya know, I should write that in a blog! Tell my boss! I still don't think Davis is special. These guys have speed, but lack on-base skills. Is Nyjer Morgan "good?" No. I can tell you I did not drop Miggy Cabrera, I do not have Votto or Adrian in my top 10, and Kemp is in my second round. As for who I like less than others, I'd say Phillies infielders (sorry), all top 10 catchers and closers(going too early)and Elvis. I like basestealers with power, even if batting average and durability is a potential issue.

Birdman (Boston)

EK, I've got to submit my Keepers by this weekend. Help me decide on which 2 out of Markakis, Bruce & J Upton. Points based league. For some reason, my gut tells me Bruce has the best year.

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

I think Markakis is the one I would not keep. Upton is gonna be great. Bruce should go 30-100. Markakis has no pop.

John (Denver)

Read your column on Lind. Don't see why we aren't just taking last years first half as a bump in the road. Second half aligned more closely to the year before...

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

I like Lind. Not sure what I wrote, but I believe it's real tough to hit .117 against lefties again. He might not be "fine" but he could threaten 30-100 again.

Jesse (SF)

Does that make slumping HanRam your 2nd overall then? Votto is my 3rd overall and not sure why he slips out of your first round.

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

There is only one strong offensive position this season, and it's first base. So I can't justify taking one other than Pujols/Cabrera that early when I can get Ryan Howard, who I don't even like that much, in round three. I'll take Tulowitzki over Votto... look at shortstop. It's awful. AWFUL! And yes, Hanley second overall, but I might just go back to Miggy. I mean, what he did was wrong, but let's be clear, the Tigers will not suspend him, there's no jail time coming, he will hit like last year.

Sam (Cincy)

It seems you're not the only one who is a little down on Adrian. To me, it seems like a great situation for him. Who should I draft between Tex and him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

I'm not down on him. I just think it's better to get a weaker position filled early and take the minor hit on stats. But I will take the under on 120 RBIs. Expectations are way high on A-Gonz...

Jay (Canada)

We know most people play espn standard mixed leagues, but could you guys give a bit more love to us deep leaguers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

I'm in a pair of 20-team leagues, and a 30-team one in which every player is owned. I can talk about pretty much any player if you ask!

Jay (Canada)

AL only, Weiters for $5 for one year, $10 for 2 or $15 for 3?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

If you're gonna invest, then go all in. I'd say three years. Honestly, at some point he will be good.

Pete (Portland)

Warning bells on Utley's knee or proceed as usual?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

Definitely concerned. It's like his body is 38 years old. I have dropped Utley out of my second round. I do not see a full season from him. Philly's pitching had better be top notch.

Dave (Denver)

Does Gregg win the closer job in Baltimore, and more importantly - if he does will he keep it?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

Every year he seems to surprise everyone by winning the job, saving 30 games, losing the job, but ending up with nice enough numbers for the investment you put in. He'll do it again.

Marc (Charlotte)

If there was an "Celebrity Trainwreck" Fantasy Draft, would Charlie Sheen have wrapped up the overall #1?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

It's sad, really. Probably not gonna end well. I don't wanna watch, but ... it's just sad.

Elvis (Tex)

Elvis Andrus, above or lower batting average - .270

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Lower. He's not ready to be a big time hitter yet.

Rico (San Antonio)

Regarding Weiters...for someone who's already held onto him for a couple pf years, three more makes me want to puke and cut him loose now.

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

And that's what your leaguemates are counting on! Don't do it!

Daniel (BX)

Help! Give me the ceiling for Cliff Pennington

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

I don't know how much better he will get. Perhaps double digit homers and .275, with 35 steals. I doubt it happens this season.

Daniel (BX)

Cliff Pennington and Starlin Castro. Thoughts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Castro. More offensive upside, and safer batting average. Just safer.

Joe (Princeton NJ)

Who do you think will win the yankees last two spots of the rotation?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Nova and Freddy. And I've written that I don't think either will hurt the Yankees. They are capable of winning 25 games between them.

Jimbo (Staten Island)

Gio Gonzalez over/under - 15w 200ip 200k

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

Under on all. Not that he's a one-year wonder, but man, those were great numbers. Never expect the wins, especially on a sub-.500 team.

reggie (winona)

who will be the top 3 HOLDS rp's this year????we need more holds advise!!!!!!!!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

Oooh, I probably need time on this one, but I will say Rafael Soriano for sure, and how about Ryan Madson, Brian Fuentes, Kenley Jansen, Betancourt and Daniel Bard.

Nate McLouth (Atlanta)

Am I a sleeper this year or a bust again?

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

Wrote about him in Tuesday's NL East center fielders blog. It's awfully tough to be optimistic on him. What a shame. I think we will see Jordan Schafer make inroads.

Joe (St. Louis)

Who you taking out of King Felix, Utley, or Kemp?

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

Kemp. Not saying he goes 30/30, but he gets close, and hits .275. First-round talent. Blame the divorce. Most Dodgers will rebound.

bray (union city,nj)

Which player have you been stretching for this year in drafts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Ooh, good one! Well, I seem to like Adrian Beltre more than others. J.Upton, Kemp, Heyward. Perhaps Uggla, Ethier.

DJ (MD)

what do u predict for dominic brown after he bad spring training start?

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

I think he starts the year at Triple-A. I really do. He looks awful, and it's not just spring training numbers. He's not ready. Sorry. I think Ben Francisco can produce enough and they know that, so Brown is going down.

Joe K (NY, NY)

Who are some of your closers we can wait on that you trust?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

Honestly, I might not own any of the top 10 closers from draft day this year. Perhaps I could deal for them later, but I won't take a closer early enough to get a Papelbon or Broxton or K-Rod. I'll surely take Joe Nathan 10 rounds later. I trust him. Cordero and Franklin are safe. And Kimbrel could do this year what Broxton did in 2009. He has that potential.

Mark (Indiana)

EK, quit tweeting during the chat!! Thoughts on Micheal Morse? Late round pick or will he not get a full time job out of spring training?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

I've been told to tweet more - which is to say to start doing it - and I will! Maybe I'll even enjoy it. I think if some team gave Morse 500 at-bats, he would hit 25 home runs. The Nats would have to bench Morgan, which is no big loss, and move Werth to center field to play Morse in right. I could see it. This guy can hit.

Eric (Chicago)

Stretching for Beltre even with a thigh injury? Something at his age that we should worry about?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

I'm not gonna panic yet on Beltre. I liked him before the injury, and they say he will be ready in 2 weeks. Look, great lineup, great ballpark, why can't he do what he did in 2010? He can!

JP (Panama)

Eric, 86 tweets overall! C'mon man, get with the program.

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

I will, I promise! Follow if you like... I mean, do you guys just want me to tweet stuff like "wow, look how fast Nishioka is!"?

Eric (NY, NY)

Do you see an increase in Tommy Hanson's Ks this year? Do you think he'll ever be a top 5 stud, or more of a solid fantasy contributor?

Eric Karabell
  (3:36 PM)

I find it a bit odd Hanson is in our top 10 SP. I do think he'll improve, but it's a bit of a leap. I do like him, but 200 Ks, I don't think so.

Tom (Chicago)

Where does ellsbury hit this year? Seems like a logjam of top of hte order hitters with ellsbury, pedroia, and crawford.

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

I think Ellsbury hits last, actually. Sox go Pedroia-Crawford 1-2, then Youk, A-Gonz, etc. The goal is to put your best hitters at the top, so they hit more. The goal is not to put your fastest guys first. Nyjer Morgan should hit last, even after the pitcher! But don't fret, Ellsbury steals 50 anyway.

Vincent (Jersey)

Nathan, Axford, Lidge. Please rank...

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Just like that. I really believe Nathan is a borderline top 10 closer. I mean, is there more risk on him than Broxton? That's crazy!

Mark (Indiana)

Yeah but don't make your tweets so forced. Might as well put "I have been told to do this but almost forgot so by the way, I am chatting now"

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Well, something like that. I'm just a private person...

Craig (Seattle)

Are there any young SS studs ti keep in a Dynasty League?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Not really. I had to pick a rookie or two at each position to watch, and literally there is nothing at SS. In a few years, Franklin and Machado should be good, but that's like 2013.

reggie (winona)

What can we expect out of maybin this year in SD?i still want to believe,should i?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

I don't know if Maybin will hit above .250, which scares me some. I could see double digit homers and maybe 20 steals - the guy has all the tools - but he will also make a lot of outs.

Joseph (San Diego)

How good is Jose Bautista?

Eric Karabell
  (3:43 PM)

Well, he did hit 54 home runs. I'll expect 35 or so this year, which is still really good. This is not the same Jose from the Pittsburgh years. He's a pull power hitter that takes walks. If we didn't know his Pitt years, last year would not have been that crazy based on his approach.

Jay (Chicago)

Year after year, what player inevitably ends up on your team and are you going to finally pass on him this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

It all depends on value, though. I mean, off the top of my head Utley and Rollins jump out. We have seen their best. But Utley in round 3, sure. Rollins in the 8th, sure. I'd say I've run out of patience on Markakis, Billy Butler, Jason Bay, Kurt Suzuki among others.

Tom (Chicago)

Nick Markakis 2 homers yesterday. Is it the magical age 27 year for him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

Don't overrate spring numbers! Do you see the pitchers on the mound... and even the best pitchers, they're not exactly showing off their best stuff.

Mitch (Baltimore)

Octavio Dotel or Ogando in a Dynasty league this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

Neither, really, but take the younger guy. He could close. Frankly, Ogando has a better shot of closing than Dotel does. Just look at what Dotel does every year against lefty hitters, it's frightening. He can't close.

Joe K (NY, NY)

I agree with trusting Nathan, Franklin and Cordero but who after the top 20 closers are you keeping in your back pocket incase you miss out on those guys?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

All of these guys seem to be borderline top 20 in drafts, but here are a few other names: Thornton will close for ChiSox. Ogando or Lowe in Texas when Feliz starts. Kevin Gregg and Hanrahan.

Rich (NJ)

Andrus or Rollins?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Rollins will do better, but it might be a .250 batting average. But his 15 home runs versus Andrus not hitting any make the difference when both steal around 35.

Tony (Baltimore)

EK... what is your line for Grady this year, and what's his ceiling? I have in a keeper/dynasty league in rd 7 where my OF is thin, and I've owned him for 6 years. help?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

I want to believe Sizemore is healthy, but there are really no indications of this. He probably starts the year on the DL. I'm hoping for .270 and 15 homers, 15 steals in 120 games.

Tim (Cle)

Could you see Tulo being a complete bust this year? After all he was just average before he blew up in September.

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

I could see him regressing overall, but still, a 20-homer shortstop is worth a lot.

Jason (Scottsdale)

What kind of impact will Dunn have on Konerko this year? Can you see 35-100 for both of them this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

I could, but don't get too excited about a new hitter protecting an old one... Konerko did a great job with whatever hit behind him last year. Having Dunn doesn't change it. I see Konerko around 32-100, and Dunn at 38-105.

Evan (Portland)

Deep League love! 20 team. Which pair do you like better? Wieters and Uggla or Mauer and Walker?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

I will take the Wieters-Uggla side. Mauer is awesome, and Wieters can't contend for a batting title, but Wieters can outhomer Mauer... Uggla much better than Walker.

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

Starlin Castro went yard today off Gallardo!

Chris (NY)

possibility of Marcum outpitching Greinke this yr?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

Perhaps, but Greinke is gonna be terrific... I could see 220 strikeouts, 15 wins, nice peripherals. I can't see Marcum fanning 200 hitters.

EM (CO)

I'm protecting 5 hitters and no pitchers. How important is it that I try to get a top 12 starter?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

It's not. Keep the bats, find the arms late. There are a ton of good pitchers out there after round 10. Frankly, I could make a worthy rotation of guys not being drafted, like Buehrle, Blanton, etc...

Joseph (San Diego)

Brian Roberts or Gordon Beckham?

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

Like 'em both, but still think Roberts can hit 12 homers and steal 35 bases. Beckham isn't an injury risk, but he's a statistical one.

Tyler (VT)

Why down on Kurt Suzuki? As a last round draft or FA the last couple years, he has put up top 10 C stats

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Too many innings at too young an age. Reminds me of Russ Martin. And it's not like he's hitting for power or running.

Anthony (Cali)

Cano with the 7th overall pick .... seem right doesn't it?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

I've got him earlier than that...top 5.

Justin (Boston)

Walker or Rayburn? Both 2B eligble...

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

Raburn. He hits 25 homers this year. No, really!

EM (CO)

Bruce or Stanton?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

I ranked Stanton a bit better.

DEF (SF)

Do you like Drew Storen?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

I've been reading that the Nats might view others as potentially closing as well. Not good. Not panicking yet, though.

David (Los Angeles)

Panda or Gardner ? (for my last keeper)

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Gotta got Sandoval. I know Gardner can swipe 40 bases, but Sandoval is a better fantasy option for the power, batting average. I think he bounces back.

Josh (Seattle)

Hamels or Gallardo?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

I have Hamels better. Gallardo's WHIPs the past few seasons aren't great.

Sam (Eastchester)

Montero or Posada?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Miguel Montero over Posada... but Posada over Jesus Montero. I don't think we'll see much of the Yankees prospect in the bigs this season.

Hal (ATL)

Any real difference between Ellsbury or Gardner 5-6 rounds later?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Ah, now you guys are starting to get it! I'm so proud!

Sam (Eastchester)

Will Alex Rodriguez ever jack 40 homers again?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Or maybe not.

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK, that is about all the time we have for today, so thank you so much for the many questions and start watching that spring training baseball. ESPN has a game on Thursday... I'll be in Disney World this Saturday and Phoenix Sunday watching baseball. Can't get bettet than that! Adios and have a great day...