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February 2, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning gang! It's February, and while I haven't seen my shadow yet, I do have my second cup of coffee in hand... So let's get right to sixty minutes of fantasy chattage. Who's leading off today?

Tim (Minnesota)

I'm in a head to head points league......I want the player that will score the most points with my first pick period. I have the 3rd pick and I assume Miggy and Pujols will be gone. Do I take A. Gonzalez, Fielder, Kemp, Joey Bats or someone else?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

Generally speaking, it's SP who score the most over the course of a season. But of hitters, Joey Bats would be my choice.

Sam (Chicago)

What do you think of Bryce Harper? Will he make the opening day roster? Would you keep him as your 6th keeper in the 16th round or send him back to the draft and hope you can redraft him.

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

From a talent standpoint, I think he easily could make the roster, but the financial part of the game makes me think his 2012 debut waits a few months. Even so, I'd keep him in Round 16.

Tom (Delray Beach)

Jacoby a 1st rounder?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

Skeptical as I am with that level of power he exhibited last season, I still would take Jacoby late Round 1, yes.

Joe (Monticello)

Rather have D Wright for 1yr at the cost of 2yrs or Brett Lawrie for 2-3 years overall? Contract league

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

I am down on Wright this season, not because I don't believe in him specifically, but I just don't think there's enough around him to get him back to the upper echelon of hitters.

dave (Philly)

what round would Ryan Howard be a steal?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

This is a question that can only be answered in retrospect... Howard's return date is a mystery, so really, he'll only be a steal if he comes back sooner rather than later. I've heard nothing to indicate "sooner."

Jeff (Colorado)

Dynasty league, keep any 8 players every year, would you rather own votto or hosmer and matt moore?

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

I win for today. Votto > Hosmer and Moore is unproven as of yet. Give me Mr. V.

Bill (Athens, GA)

Thoughts on Mike Trout and Wil Myers in 2012? I'm in a keeper league with only five keepers and trying to target a high upside prospect for later rounds.

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

I doubt we see Myers at all. Trout on the other hand, I'd be stunned if he's not on the roster by June if not sooner.

dave (Philly)

How is castro rated 6th best when he had 200 hits?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

Key word: HAD. We're trying to predict the future, not recount the past. I think ranking him 5-7 is quite fair.

Brian (NY)

Any word if Boesch will play ft this year? Thoughts on him?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

I like Boesch, and while full time is not a lock, if he plays 3 out of 4 games, I'd be satisfied. Look for .270 and close to 20 HR if that happens.

Andrew (GA)

You think Youk has a bounce back year? He seems Undervalued now. Just gotta stay healthy.

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

That's the million dollar question, isn't it? Third base was really hard to rank this year because there were so many options that could have ended up from 6-12. Think of his ranking as the low end if he stays healthy...

Derek (work) [via mobile]

Am I crazy to think Hunter Pence could be the #1 OF at the end of the year?

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

A little bit, yes. Could he be a top 20 overall player? Sure. Best outfielder overall? Not thinking he gets there. Maybe 20-90, .280?

Ryan (NY)

Karabell is really in love with the idea of taking "suspended" Braun in the 3rd round. Where would you take him?

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

A 162-game Braun is the second player off my board. But cut out a third of the season that good and I would rank him in Dan Uggla range.

Carl (Ohio)

Just bought your book for my brother's bday present! Could Brett Jackson be the next Andrew McCutheon?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

There's a chance we see him around the All-Star Break. With David DeJesus the thing "keeping him back" I'd not be surprised to see him given a chance. Wrigley could help the power numbers...

Brian (NY)

Shallowest positions for you this year? 2B and SS?

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

Stunned to see how few 1B there are... especially in the NL. When we did our positional rankings most of the names came from guys with multi-positional eligibility.

vic (no cal)

I see that the "Summit" ranked Halladay ahead of Verlander. Do you agree with that? Do you think the ADP will ultimately reflect that?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

Yes, but we're splitting hairs at that level. I do think that Verlander was SO GOOD last year that it's impossible to expect a repeat, but even with 5 fewer wins, he's still a valid No. 2 overall SP candidate.

Alex (Woodstock, IL)

Is Belt gonna get 500 ABs? This Bochy/Huff lovefest needs to end.

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

I think Huff knows he needs to put up or shut up and he's admitted he wasn't there mentally last season. With the amount of $$$ they're giving Huff, he'll get the first shot at the job, so chances are Belt will need to play a lot of OF to get those ABs.

Jason (Pittsburgh)

Who do you have at the top of your 2B rankings? Kinsler, Cano, Pedroria?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Personally, it's Cano by a nose over Kinsler.

Richard (NY)

Hey AJ, loved your book! Are you down on Hanley this year given his serious shoulder injury and attitude issues?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

Thanks! Please do check it out if you haven't: http://www.amazon.com/How-Fantasy-Sports-Explains-World/dp/161608295X/ As for HanRam, I am down on him... as a team, I think we're way too high on all Miami players given that we really know nothing about the new ballpark. That to me is more of an issue than anything else...

Ryan (Columbus)

Let's talk undervalued pitching...who are you targeting?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

At what level? I was way higher on James Shields than most of my colleagues and I think guys like Doug Fister and Mat Latos can be had for a song...

Jeff (Colorado)

Would you rank a suspended Braun higher in a H2H league than a roto league, knowing that if you get into the playoffs you will have an elite bat?

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

As long as you have enough roster space to handle the "dead spot" Braun gives you, then yes, it's a fair point that in a H2H he's got more intrinsic value once he returns.

Ben (Chicago)

If someone builds their team early in the draft with hitting, is it reasonable to build your staff around Bumgarner, Kennedy, and Latos? Or do you believe you should have one of the aces to lock down the rest of the staff?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Absolutely. Wins are unpredictable and there are going to be tons of guys with similar stats from No. 20 through No. 40 in the SP ranks. I think you need to grab hitters earlier than usual this year and can wait on the SP.

Jake (Fort Worth)

What do you expect out of Uggla this year? I nearly dropped him before he went on a late season tear and contemplating on keeping him this year.

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

No reason to think he can't get 30 HR again, especially given how he rebounded last season.

Rick (Pittsburgh)

Are you saying that in a points league pitching should be picked early?

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

Earlier, yes. Because there is a 15 point swing in terms of a win versus a loss, it behooves you to load up on the aces earlier than in non-points leagues. Verlander last year was light years more valuable than the top hitter... as were about a dozen more arms.

John (NJ)

Re: undervalued pitching, how about Ubaldo? Out of Coors and his underlying numbers were the same last year as 2010.

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

I'd flip a coin in terms of Ubaldo and a guy like Max Scherzer. Not too excited about either.

Ricky (Denver)

Berkman over/under 25 HR's, .290 average?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

Over on power, under on average.

Bobby (OH)

BJ Upton, Chris Young, or Drew Stubbs. Who's the best of these hr/steal but avg killers?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

I'd say B.J. - I'm actually working on an article about batting average "anchors" and how you shouldn't worry about it. League average has dropped consistently over last six seasons, so each year it seems, these guys hurt you less.

Brian (NY)

Do you think OF is strangely shallow this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

Quite the opposite. I think its strangely deep. The problem is that there are so many guys with question marks, you know that some of them are going to answer those questions and thus, the pool will end up being full of talent. Unfortunately, predicting who those guys will be is proving harder than ever...

Bill Clay (Nakatomi Tower)

Hart or Adam Jones for this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

Both guys are actually ones I'm not fond of, so begrudgingly, I'd go with Sunglasses over DigDug.

Loghan (NYC)

isnt OF shallow when you play in leagues where you start 4 or more OF?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

I think of it this way... in a 10-team league, 1B goes 2-deep (because of corner spot) and you go through 20-25 guys of 30 starters, most of whom play every day. Nothing left on the wire. For OF, even if you go 6-deep (with UT) and take 60 guys, that's still only two-thirds of the pool of everyday starters. You CAN find a replacement on the wire.

Jeff (ME)

I agree that 1B is surprising shallow this year. Once people start drafting, it's gonna be front and center. Once the big ones are off the board, what do you think of guys like Michael Morse, Ike Davis, Gaby Sanchez, Freddie Freeman, and other possibilities at first? Any sleepers?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

You're looking at the "battle" for No. 3 1B in the NL with those guys. It's really Votto and then everybody else... In a mixed league, I'd consider taking fliers on a Lind or a Reynolds.

kurt, tx [via mobile]

I dont play fantasy baseball (play football, basketball, racing) but im curious on how much time goes into it on a given week in comparison to football.

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Baseball requires more time and effort because it is a daily event, rather than weekly for football. Even if your league only allows for weekly moves, following 30 teams X 7 games X more relevant players per team over 7 days is a lot, lot more time consuming.

Joe (St. Louis)

Need to keep 3: Carlos Santana (10th), Kinsler (5th), Miggy (1st), David Price (8th), or Ryan Madson (25th)?

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Your first three names for me... I'd never keep a closer, personally.

Jeff (Colorado)

You've made it clear that you will most likely be waiting on pitching this year, around what round do you think you will be grabbing your first pitcher in a 10 team draft?

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

Haven't started our mock draft season just yet, but outside of Verlander, Halladay and maybe Lee or Kershaw - if they're still lingering in Round 3-4, I'd plan to wait until Round 8 at the earliest.

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

That's the hour... flew by! Thanks for all the questions. If I didn't get to yours, @ajmass on Twitter is where you can find me. I do my best to answer in a timely fashion. Until next week, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor!