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February 8, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest fantasy baseball chat session! Oh, we can talk football as well, but I'm guessing with Spring Training starting soon you wanna talk baseball! So do I! Congrats to the Giants, by the way. Anyway, here we go....thanks for showing up!

John (Denver)

Good afternoon E.K. Who do you have as 2012's Lance Berkman?

Eric Karabell
  (3:05 PM)

Hmmmm ... good question. Colby Rasmus? I mean, everyone gave up on Berkman, right? Well, I think people are giving up on Colby, and he's a lot younger than Berkman is. I have to think more about it... I can find 10 guys like that, probably.

Jazzy (Indiana)

Why would I keep Dee Gordon?

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

Mainly because there's the potential he steals at least 50 bases. I mean, in 2011 when he could barely get on base Gordon stole 24 bases in only 56 games. He has the job... even if his OBP is .310, he should swipe 40.

TT (Millywalkay)

Have you changed your prediction on Starlin Castro or do you still think he's ready to breakout??Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

Well, hasn't he already broken out? He did have 207 hits at age 21! But in terms of power potential, I think he will hit 15 home runs, so we'll see gradual improvement. The guy is good now. Top 5 SS. Eventually a fantasy monster.

Paul (Toronto)

You are against drafting pitchers early in ROTO but when you play in points leagues do you take them earlier or do you still think they are risky? I have DOC and FELIX as keepers but you always scare me!!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

It's still about supply and demand, and there are just SO many quality starters that I can't justify locking up a few great ones at the detriment to my offense. But I wouldn't throw Halladay or Hernandez back in the draft, either. Just draft a ton of hitters... and you can easily get starters after that to go with your studs.

Tom (Chicago)

Pick 1 from these 3 for a final keeper slot: Morse, Kipinis, Howard.

Eric Karabell
  (3:11 PM)

Tough one. It's not Howard. Could miss a month, could miss half the season. He concerns me (and the fact my fave team thinks Ty Wigginton is a suitable replacement concerns me a lot MORE). I'd keep Morse. I'm all for position scarcity but we don't know if Kipnis is really a 15-15 guy. Morse is a 30-homer guy, even if he hits only .260, which is certainly possible.

Matt (Boston)

Just traded away Cain in a 15 team salary keeper league for Choo because we play 5 OF and I feel I can replace pitching. Good trade or bad? Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

Totally agree. Choo is in that class of players people will forget about because he had one bad year. A season ago he was a top 10 outfielder on draft day. What has changed? I like Cain a lot... but you're right, there's always pitching later.

Doug (NYC)

Desparate keeper question, Eric. Please rank the following 4 starters for the upcoming season, factoring in their keeper $: Lincecum (21), Weaver (15), Moore (5), Shields (1)

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

Lincecum would be last there. I rarely pay more than $20 for a starting pitcher, if ever. I'd go Shields first, then Moore, then Weaver. Weaver is safe... but I really think Moore will be awesome. And I'm buying into Shields as well... for a buck, that's wild!

Todd (Cleveland)

If Braun is suspended 50 games would you take this trade? Braun/Stras for Adrian Gonz/Cain

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

Sure, that's fair. I might do the trade regardless. But just know that from June 1 on Braun might really be the best player in fantasy.

Chris (NY)

Baseball is just around the corner! Keeper league question for you Eric, Would you rather keep Andrew McCutchen as 20th round pick for 1 year, or Eric Hosmer as a 20th round pick for this year and maybe more after. Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

Well, have to go Hosmer there. It's not like Hosmer is Adam LaRoche. He's good. Might be Votto in 2 years.

Jimmy p (albany ny)

Chase Utley has a chance to be the comeback player of the year? Projections for this guy?

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

I don't think he can be considered Comeback Player of the Year when he had 11 homers, 14 steals in 103 games last year. Ellsbury came back from missing a season. Not Utley. But let's say 130 games, .275, 18 home runs and 15 steals. Still top 5 2B.

Will (Ks)

Do see Goldschmidt hitting .275 30+ hr this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

No, I see holes in that swing. I'll say 22-25 home runs and .250 average.

Tom (Chicago)

Who's this years Milwaukee SP that you love ala Capuano, Bush, Doug Davis, Randy Wolf?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

Ha! No surprises on this staff, really. A few safe veterans and I can't recommend Narveson. I like Marcum, though, but isn't he already good? Ah, Dave Bush. See ya at Lehigh Valley, buddy!

Jon (Toronto)

What will the real Salvador PErez be this and going forward? If I have him at $1 should I be giddy?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I think he will certainly earn his dollar, but be a bit careful with him: Needs to hit right-handed pitching and I'm not sure he delivers 10 home runs. His batting average for the Royals was aided by a crazy BABIP.

meals (GR)

Hey EK! Pick one Adam for last keeper spot (OBP league keep in mind) Adam Jones or Adam Wainwright?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

Well, not the biggest Jones fan, but there's risk in Wainwright and pitching is deep. Jones is pretty safe, even if he never delivers a .340 OBP.

James (Knoxville, TN)

EK, would you trade Verlander for Cargo in a 7x7 roto league? I am already keeping Felix, Hamels, and Cain, and I don't have an outfielder to keep yet. The rest of my offensive keepers are great, though.

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Yeah, I would do that trade anyway though. Plenty of pitching. But don't make trades like that simply because you don't have an outfielder; you can draft an outfield. And you can always trade a pitcher in April or May or June or....

Daniel (Bronx)

Pick the best Braves pitcher Minor, Hanson or Beachy.

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

I'm going to end up with Beachy. Too big an injury risk on Hansen... and Minor seems kinda average to me at this point. I'd like Beachy to get fewer strikeouts but pitch more innings, and win more.

Jim (NY)

Jason Motte as a closer will finish in the top______?

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

I could see top 10, now that his manager isn't likely to constantly tinker with things.

Chris (Cleveland)

If I wait till the end of the draft to get a 1st baseman, who do ya like out of Duda, Lind, Ike Davis and Goldschmidt?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Duda is gonna hit, and not hurt the batting average. And unlike Davis, I don't have injury concerns. I'd rank them Davis, Duda, Goldy and then Lind, who I have pretty much written off becoming a top guy again.

Rob (Frankfort, IL)

Does Josh Johnson stay healthy this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Nobody knows, including Josh himself. The NL Erik Bedard! I'd take a shot on JJ but not among the top 20 starting pitchers.

Drew (Ny)

Jose tabata worth Drafting this yr? He had a hot start last year but then got hurt as had a poor 2nd half

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

Absolutely. Should be a .290 hitting, 30 steal guy, but not much power upside.

JJ (Boston)

How much improvement do you see Stanton having this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

I think he will be the lone 40 home run guy in the NL this season. So I think he will be pretty good.

Curt (Baltimore)

Eric, for future reference, do you take fantasy football, basketball, or NASCAR questions?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

Football is fine all year long... and I play hoops but I'd say let's keep this to baseball and football.

Jonathan (North York)

I know you are not supposed to chase wins, but do you stay away from pitchers on bad teams for the same reason?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Not really. I draft pitchers with good peripherals... four years ago I'd still draft Cain. Even now... he doesn't win a ton. But most bad teams have bad pitchers...there's nothing on Balt, Pitt, Houston after Wandy, etc...

Will (New York)

We drink during our draft...... do you think that is a mistake?

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

That's a different kind of advice... but I will say, if you're not having fun playing fantasy games, then don't do it. Don't take it too seriously, either. Enjoy the ride!

Fantasy Basketball (ESPN)

FINE!!! I don't wanna be in your stupid chat, anyway!!!

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

I'd say listen to the fine Lipscomb-Yam hoops podcast...those guys do a terrific job!

Keith (Waltham)

Anthony Rizzo now with the Cubs. What type of year can we expect?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

Wrote about him the other day. He's in Iowa. For at least half the season... Bryan LaHair!

Steve (Portland)

Eric, are there certain categories you focus on early in roto drafts? I.E. try to lock up power and good BA guys?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

Exactly that. Of my top 10 picks I'd bet nine are hitters, and I'll get plenty of power and healthy, safe batting average guys, and at least one guy that hits for pop and runs enough to matter. We can always draft steals later, too.

Al (Hollywood, FLA)

Draft prep - I know your colleague covers this in his manifesto, but what advice would you have for someone in an AL only keeper league?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

Focus on the depth at certain positions in that league. For example, lot of first basemen in the AL, about one or two in the NL. Catching imbalance as well. Try for a well balanced team that has a middle infielder or two.

Tom (Jacksonville)

If Trout makes the Angels big league roster out of spring training, he's a no-brainer keeper, right?

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

Yeah, he's gonna be a good right away if the Angels only let him. Sad that the likes of Abreu and Vernon Wells, and perhaps Trumbo, are in his way.

Tom (Jacksonville)

Who hits more home runs this year, Brandon Belt or Edwin Encarnacion?

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

I like it! Probably E5, because I doubt the Giants really let Belt play regularly. They should... but you know Huff will play, for example. At least Encarnacion should get 400 at-bats at DH-1B and hit his 15-20 home runs. I like Belt... I just don't know why the Giants don't.

Jeff (Boston)

Do you see the Red Sox making any other moves before the season starts? Do they have a starting SS? Do they still hope to bring in another arm? Who's starting in right? These guys are making me nervous already.

Eric Karabell
  (3:37 PM)

They should. I think when Bobby V takes a look at the sweet glove of Iglesias he'll want to promote the kid. Iglesias might hit .230. I think the Sox are a third-place team with that rotation...

Rob (Philly)

Name game: Beachy or Garza

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Have to take Garza for now. Beachy a major K guy, but he's not at Garza's level yet. And he doesn't go deep enough in games to win even a third of them! I mean, 25 starts and only 7 wins for a 90-win franchise? Wow!

Brian (Portland)

Isn't Bedard the NL Erik Bedard?

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

For a few months he is... but I can't believe the Pirates keep him all season. Traded to the ... Yankees in July!

Jim (Seattle)

EK, are you moving toward more general baseball - pod, rumors - than fantasy? Would you rather keep Andrus or Panda at $15 or J. Zimm at $1, with OPS and K/BB as sixth categories?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

Well, baseball is baseball. I can handle regular baseball and fantasy. And to me you can't properly handle a fantasy sport without knowing it in and out in reality. I like the Baseball Today podcast and writing for Rumor Central! I'd keep Zimmerman at a buck. Yes, pitching is deep but that's a steal. I think Andrus and Sandoval can be re-selected for under $20. If choosing there, I'd go Sandoval. Plenty of speed elsewhere.

Allen (Ottawa)

On your earlier Red Sox comment, do you se Bard as a starter all year? IF so will he be a servicable fantasy one?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

I think almost any young pitcher with an arm like that and previous starting experience, like Feliz in Texas and Joba for the Yanks, should be a starter. TON more value for any pitcher in 200 innings as opposed to 60, even if he becomes a top closer. You can always find a closer. That's why you NEVER pay $50 million for one (excuse me). Anyway, I could see Bard giving them 150 decent innings in the rotation, but way too early to tell.

Chicken (The clubhouse)

What are your thoughts on Neftali Feliz becoming a starter? The Rangers have had luck with Wilson and Oganda.

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

The fact Ogando and Wilson did ok is irrelevant. Every pitcher is different. But Feliz should have always been a starter... MLB teams just don't get it. And Feliz wasn't even a very good closer last year. I think like Bard the first year is problematic, but 150 innings, 3.50 ERA, I could see it. Needs to use more than 2 pitches, though.

Matt (LA)

Domonic Brown -- Keeper League at $1, but even at that price, is he worth it? (Could otherwise be keeping Julio Teheran at $5.)

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

Sure, at a buck almost any case can be made. But I do NOT expect the Phillies to give Brown much of a shot in the big leagues this season. Then again, I'd never keep Teheran at 5. Too much. He's in the minors too.

John (Denver)

And what about Sale in the same respect as feliz?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

Ditto. I've seen some concerns about him being able to repeat his delivery and stay healthy, and they are warranted, but another difference here is Sale is not far from his starting days, not like Feliz.

Michael Bourn (ATL)

Speaking of plenty of speed being available, why did you guys rank me so highly?? Top 40? Come on!

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

Bourn is terrific, totally legit... but I can never justify taking a steals-only guy in the top 50. Too much power left. And too many steals left later.

Jon (Toronto)

Who do you see with the Jays left field job? Does Thames hold on to it, or they want Snider to win it f, or they want the speed of Davis in the lineup?

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

I liked Snider a year ago and don't wanna give up on him... but I also like Thames. The Jays are nuts if they play Davis over those two guys with power upside. For now I say Thames has the job.

Julio Teheran (Atlanta)

I'm in the minors this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

He's 21. For now it's Hudson, Jurrjens, Beachy, Hanson and Minor. Julio is next, and he should make some big league starts... but 15? Probably not.

Javy (NY)

Over/under 17 homeruns for Jesus Montero?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

I say over. Totally legit. But doesn't play his 10th game at catcher until May.

Drew (Hudson Valley, NY)

Jacoby Ellsbury over/under 20 home runs?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Over. Not 30, but 22 or so seems right. Once you have a skill, you always have it.

Steve (Portland)

How bad will the Mariners look in 3 years when Pineda is domination for the Yankees and Montero is hitting 15 hrs as a DH in the cavernous Safeco Field?

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Seattle had to do that deal. And I don't think Pineda is gonna be dominating. Montero is a big time power prospect, and even if he can't play catcher, the Mariners traded from a strength. Montero might be their cleanup hitter!

Bryan Lahair (Chicago)

Think I can hit 20 HR's this year given ample playing time?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

If he gets 400 at-bats, yes. But if Rizzo is ready and the Cubs can't unload Soriano, LaHair might not play at all. Depends. But serious sleeper possibility here.

Shawn (Milwaukee)

Another reliever turned starter, what are your thoughts on Chapman?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

I wouldn't go near him. He's not starting, he's not closing. No value. Sorry.

Alex (Chicago)

Kipnis and Bonifacio can be kept for $3 each. Both worth it?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

Yes, they are. Kipnis is a potential 15-15 guy, and he will play. Bonifacio could lose out on center field to Cespedes, if he signs there, but I'd play him at second base... he can run, that's for sure.

Brian (Hartford, CT)

Earlier in the season I read that the Red Sox would receive a "high profile player" as compensation for Theo to the Cubs. Is this still happening and who is considered a "high profile player?"

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

Better not be Soriano. Maybe that's what's holding this up!

Gary (Chicago)

Over under on saves from Addison Reed? Is he a legit closer?

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

I think he gets first shot, over Thornton. Legit? You never know until he does it. But like Jim Johnson and David Carpenter, nice saves sleeper.

George (Brooklyn)

I realize after examining last years auction draft, that my 16 team league often over payed on the espn recommended 12 team prices. Is this a common trend with larger leagues, or the result of some over eager fantasy players?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

My motto is pay what you want/have to pay if you really want a certain player. I don't mean go to $50 on Pujols, but if you really want him and your price is $32, and it's up to $35, go for it. Yes, I think what you say here is legit, but just go the extra buck or two in a deeper league.

Jason (Arizona)

Ek, Do you think Matt Kemp will be a 40/40 player this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

No, but I bet he comes close.

The Whaler (Erie, PA)

Over/Under 32 Homers for Arod?

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Over. Definitely a top 10 third baseman for me... but perhaps not for others.

Jack (Montauk)

Who wins the Dodgers closing job?

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

I think Guerra starts out in the role, but if Jansen is healthy and throwing hard, he usurps the role in May.

Mickey (LA)

How worried are you about Joe Mauer?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Somewhat. Still holding out hope he is healthy, because if/when he is, that's a batting title waiting to happen. He's already won 3, and he's not too old. Might never hit 15 home runs again, but a catcher hitting .330... gotta have it.

John (Los Angeles)

"E5" is a hilarious nickname for Encarnacion. Does anyone have a copyright on it, yet?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

I don't think so, but it does make me laugh.

Anthony (Cal)

Posey in the 5th round in a 12 teamer .... too high? just right?

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Too high. I'm not sure I like any catcher in the the top 50 overall. Posey isn't a top 5 catcher on draft day, so I'd say more like round 7 or 8.

Matt (Tampa)

Who's this year's Kimbrel?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Nobody with quite that K rate, but I bet Motte and Betancourt pile on the strikeouts and get 30 saves.

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

OK, I think that is about all the time I have been given for this chat, so thank you so much for showing up and asking good questions, and have a great day! Pitchers and catchers are reporting for spring training before you know it! Get ready! Adios!