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

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

Good morning gang! It's Friday and we're back for another hour of fantasy chattage. Don't stay out there on the fringe... ask a question and join the fun. Second cup of coffee in hand... who is going to answer the bell?

Red Sox Nation (Fenway)

With Ellsbury healthy, hitting this spring, and potentially hitting leadoff in a loaded lineup, what round would you target him in a ten teamer?

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

Before the spring, I had Ellsbury in the 14th Round - based solely on the need to see him play. Once he proved himself able to suit up, I raised him into the 7th. Now, I can see the 5th round for him... he's come along way back up the mountain!

Lafferty, Daniel (ny)

when can we expect teams to DL these players?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

Not until they have to... but most will take place after they head north.

Tom (NYC)

So AJ... I made a DUMB BOLD MOVE and drafted both Wainwright and Stratsburg in a keeper league with my last 2 picks... How gutsy am I?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

Congrats... you may be fantastic in 2013.

Brendan (Fairfield)

More confident in Madson or Contreras to get saves?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

Can't say I'm too confident in either, but Madson is the one I'd select if I was looking for a Lidge replacement.

Henry (NYC)

Who is the best RP to use a handcuff in April? Romo? Fuentes? Rauch?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Rauch, since he'll at least be in that role at the start of the year -- grab them while you can -- and who knows? Maybe he could even hold onto the gig?

Tom (Calif)

Has A-Rod moved past Longoiria as top 3B in AL only?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

I'm sure he has in some people's books after a solid spring. I still have him 2nd, but he's gaining ground fast.

Henry (NYC)

I got 1 reserve stash. Who should i stash? Jesus Montero or Aroldis Chapman?

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

Chapman. Who knows if Montero even plays before July?

Brian (MO)

Thoughts on Drew Storen vs. Jake McGee?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

I wrote about McGee in my 30Q yesterday... he *should* be the closer by the end of the year, but won't look like it in terms of chances early... I don't think the Nats turn the job over to Storen anytime soon.

Tim (DE)

RE: have him ahead of Wright? Care to elaborate?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Read the question again, Tim... AL-only. Wright and Evan are a coin toss in mixed.

Joe (Ann Arbor)

Matusz is a popular sleeper this year, but he has looked horrible this spring. This isn't Roy Halladay, where you could brush off a rough spring...are you worried about him?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

As long as they don't get hurt and make the rotation, I don't care what they did in the spring. As an outsider, you have no idea if the pitching coach told him to "only throw fastballs today" or "throw the curve every other pitch" -- the results don't count, and sometimes the process is not real either...

Jay (Canada)

What do we make of Pierre? $24 keeper in an AL only roto league?Worth keeping over $23 Adam jones?

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

Hard to argue for keeping him at that price -- even though he likely earns more than that -- because people have this stigma attached to "steals and no pop" guys like Juan. Throw him back and you probably reclaim him for $20 or less.

Justin (Atlanta)

RE: Storen... Since you dont see him having the job soon.... who gets it?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

The dreaded committee... Either Clippard or Coffey emerges.

john (philly)

I know you never get this question about SS options, but here goes:would you go with A. Gonzalez or Peralta or Hardy? Or someone else of comparable talent flying under the radar?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

Almost every draft I've done has come down to Peralta vs Hardy for me, and I find I'm taking Hardy -- that O's lineup looks surprisingly solid.

Jeff (SF, CA)

AJ, how do you separate your tiers? Do you use simple $ amount, projected stats, something else? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

I have my own statistical formulas and then simply do the eyeball test to see where I draw my lines. I think you read your own list and ask yourself if you'd be upset if this was who you got left with -- once you say yes, that's a line.

Jason (St Louis)

Don't you think Clippard would be better utilized as a 7-8th inning, multi inning guy?

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

There's the biggest mistake a fantasy player can make, Jason. It has nothing to do with what I think is best for a team/player... it's all about what I think the manager will do... You may be right, but Riggleman will juggle.

Zac (Utah)

I have this guy in my league named Chuck who keeps complaining about the draft 'only' giving us 90 seconds between picks. What a whiner right?

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

Three words, Zac... BE MORE FASTER!

Amy (Ny)

Who would you take with your pick Uggla, Reyes, or Prado?

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

Uggla and I don't look back.

Wayne (Crescent City)

Last round, lookin for a starting C...Arencibia, Pierzynski, Martin, or Ruiz?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

Even though there's still a chance Arencibia gets shipped to Triple-A, I don't think he will...I'm higher on him than the others.

Joel (Florida Panhandle)

I was surprised to see I drafted only NL pitchers at the end of my draft. I had them tiered and just took the best one available at the time. Do you think - in general - that NL pitchers have an advantage over somewhat equal AL pitchers?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

Generally speaking, yes. Facing the pitcher instead of the DH gives you a better chance at a lower ERA and WHIP and more K's...

Jay (Canada)

Any tips for an auction that you personally use aside from the usual?

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

If there is particularly intense bidding for a player, and you're next to nominate, go with the next best player at the same position... odds are he'll go for a few more dollars than he is worth.

Mr Met (Flushing)

Any Mets that I should take a flier on late in auction drafts?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

First of all, you are not Mr. Met, good sir. That is a title that must be earned! Secondly, I would go with Ike late and why not take a flier on Emaus with a bench spot?

Tim (Cleveland)

DIAMOND DEBATE. Tulo and Braun ranked 4 and 5. Who you taking?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

Braun. I am not paying that much for Tulo given that he might not have that "one month" again...

Nick (Hatfield, PA)

So, I ended up drafting Mauer (34th overall) and Phillips (39th overall), not because I like them especially, but because I thought they were solid value there. Should I try to deal them or just hang tight?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

The biggest mistake people make in fantasy, IMO, is wheeling and dealing before any stats are in at all... unless there's a glaring hole in your lineup because you completely whiffed at a position, or a late injury messed you up --- go with what you drafted for at least a month and then see where you are.

Ryan (Boston)

Better Utley replacement now and longterm (dynasty league)? Danny Espinosa, Neil Walker, Howie Kendrick, or Brad Emaus?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

I think Walker has the power potential, and enough around him in that lineup to be a solid fantasy player, now and later... flavors that are WOW!

Bill (PA)

I keep finding myself trying to pick between Lester and Kershaw. Who you taking?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Lester for me... win probability tips the scales.

Bill (Iowa)

Thanks for the great info A.J.: Jeter comes to me in the 5th round of a 14 team H2H Snake draft (pick 66). Rollins is also still left, do I pull the trigger on Jeter or wait 8 more picks to see if Rollins or Jeter are still left? Thanks a ton in advance.

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

You have to read the table, Bill. Did the guys after you take Han-Ram or Tulo? If so, that's fewer picks to worry about and you can pass. Are any of these guys Yankees fans? If so, you're really waiting on Rollins only...a lot of variables... go with the gut.

Conner (Cali)

Is Brandon Belt making the team? Is he worth drafting late?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

If money weren't a factor, I'd say yes. However, given that the Giants waited with Posey last season, I say they wait again with Belt... that said, he's going to be up in June and certainly worth a bench spot.

Jason (St Louis)

So you aren't in agreement with some of your colleagues that due to the lack of depth at shortstop that Tulo has enhanced value?

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

I do and I don't. Is there a lack of depth at SS? No question -- especially in AL-only. I simply don't believe in altering my draft lists for the first few rounds as a result. I'd rather take the players I believe to be the best overall and build my team around those stats, because odds are, if an injury does strike one of MY guys, I'll be more likely to find a comparable replacement value.

Jay (Canada)

What do fantasy analysts do at work to avoid work? Obviously you can't slack off by going on fantasy baseball chats

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

...but you should see the points on these pencils!

BK Density (Bizzaro World)

In an 8 team NL only keeper league. Hanley is available but the next 7 ranked shortstops (excluding Rollins who I don't want) are already taken. Do I pay whatever to get Hanley or go cheap with Betancourt,Tejada,Barmes (the next best SS)..yuck!

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

That's a different type of positional scarcity... in essence you're getting Han-Ram as the 8th SS off the board, and THAT value is too good to pass on, along with the huge drop thereafter.

Brad (Bloomington, IL)

Am I missing something on Jason Heyward? I don't get why he goes before Ichiro, or even Rios and Pence. Your take?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

Shiny new toys always get played with more than the old favorites. Heyward will be very, very good someday, but I agree he's being taken way too high.

Charlie Sheen (Los Angeles)

CBS is only giving me 2 1/2 draft picks in our league this year. Who should I choose?

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

Contrition and humility... and Jon Cryer.

Mr. Coffee (Pennsylvania)

"Second cup of coffee in hand" -- do you sleep late or drink slow? :-) How do you feel about Luke Scott's prospects in an OPS league?

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

Truth be told, it's more like my 5th cup of coffee, but that doesn't have the same ring to me, you know?Obviously a top-10 OPS guy last year is a solid pick, no?

Bill (NC)

Is "The Bautista Bomb" the real deal? Keep him over Reyes or Kinsler?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

What's more likely? Bautista hits 40, Reyes steals 60 or Kinsler plays 140+? I say it's the Bomb diggity.

Harry (Pa.)

First year in H2H. any different drafting strategy?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Not much... I don't believe you can draft "consistency" - the only nod to the H2H format I make is making sure I have 3-4 closers since all of their teams will not be winning each week. You need a lot of arms to spread out the chances of W's (and therefore, Saves).

Michael (Milwaukee)

Any guys off the top of your head get a significant boost or drop in a points league?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

So many different formats, so it's hard to really say for certain, but guys who have a high OBP, but low SLG usually do a bit better, as long as TB are not involved... your Ichiros, a guy like Starlin Castro, perhaps... top of the head...

Kyle (NY)

Any surprise power guys you like this year? Could be a youngster getting an opportunity or a veteran with something to prove. Besides Morse as that seems to be the popular answer these days.

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Spring stats are so deceiving... anyone remember Micah Hoffpauir? Yes, Morse is a nice player, but he's not hitting 40... Look to guys like Snider, Swisher (who seems to fall through the cracks) and I like McCutchen to break out.

Holden (Preppy School)

Sandoval gonna bring it this season, or do I need to start shopping Jason Werth for a legit 3B? If so, who's fair value...Zimmerman?

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

Funny you should ask... I tackle Panda in today's 30 Q's article... my suggestion? Start shopping -- take best offer.

Wayne (CA)

Fringe was renewed! Best show on TV!

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

Huzzah and agreed.

Clay ((cold office))

Who do you predict has the best chance at pulling a Tuffy Rhodes on this opening day? Who do you predict will pull off the Chris Shelton/Emilio Bonafacio special over the first month?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

Tyler Colvin... only he's not disappearing to Japan after the game. For the second part of the question -- how about Brad Emaus and Alexei?

John ((NY))

Is there any way the Mets surprise at all this year? We know about "Meaningful games in September"...but can we at least hope for "meaningful games in August?"

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Hope springs eternal on Opening Day. I think if everything falls just right -- 85 wins.

GMac (New Jersey)

AJ! SO DESPARATE, I can't sleep at night....Albert 1, Hanley 2...who do I take 3? Miggy, Tulo, Cargo? Help, I'm dying here!

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

I'm going to really screw up your REM cycle, GMac... Carl Crawford.

Schneebles (NYC)

I've noticed a looooot of haters out there for Jayson Werth this year. I fully agree the Nats overpaid him, but that doesn't mean a whole lot in fantasy world. Does he drop off substantially from last year with the new ballpark/lineup/etc.?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Check out his average away from home last season, take away his average against the Nats "pitching" and then add in a heaping helping of the "Phlood" and you'll understand the pessimism.

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

Gang, that's my time. Really quick hour on my end, which means the Q's were solid and fun. Thanks! I'm on the Twitter, so if I didn't get to you, I'll make a few runs there today and over the weekend. Until next time, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor!