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February 23, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

Good morning gang! Sixty minutes of fantasy chattage is ahead of us, so let's get right to it. Second cup of coffee is in hand. Who is up first?

Eric (Port Elgin)

Bumgarner or Ian Kennedy over this season and beyond in a keeper?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

I like Kennedy for this season and so, I lean in his direction.

Tim (Riverdale)

Longoria or Upton? Seems simple, but is not.

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

I'd go with Justin over Evan, mainly because of the steals, but you are correct... the call be close.

Paul (Manhattan)

Hello AJ,Can you provide a speculative percent chance that Braun's suspension is reduced or eliminated?Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

I can't see it being eliminated. Could it be reduced? That evidence, whatever it is, would have to be incredibly compelling... not sure what it would be. 20 percent?

The Whaler (Erie, PA)

If you had to put money on who will have better overall numbers this year, you betting Matt Moore or Jon Lester?

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

I think it's Lester... likelihood of wins puts him way over top on Player Rater.

Doug (Chicago)

I have too many players and not enough keeper spots in a head to head points league. Which combo do you like better: josh johnson and matt cain or dan haren and eric hosmer?

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

I'd go with Haren and Hosmer. Overall, there's more pitching than hitting to be had...

Joe (Raleigh, NC)

ESPN does a fantastic job with the Draft Kit. The Cheat Sheets are great and diverse to many league settings. However, some of us who have new dynasty leagues starting this year. What kind of advice would you give to determining the difference in value of a younger vs older player in dynasty formats?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

I wouldn't worry about it. Draft a winning team for this season first and foremost. Now, if it's the later rounds and say you're deciding between Trout and Vlad, then you should go youth. But don't draft, say, Bryce Harper on spec when you have lineup holes to fill today.

Brian (Wilmington, DE)

I'm thinking about waiting real late in my draft for pitching. Do you think in a 12 team league it would be foolish to not pick a SP until round 6 or 7? I think I could probably grab the likes of Bumgarner/Hanson etc.

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

I don't think you can go into a draft with a "I won't draft X until Y" kind of hardline stance. Each draft is different and you need to be flexible. If all the other owners have the same feel as you, then by Round 6, you might be able to get CC and Price... if they all go SP early, then you might be stuck with Yu Darvish as your "ace". I say you go with the flow.

esai (nyc)

Are you allowing for a scenario where the new fish park saps Stanton of some homers? There's a big difference between 45 and 33 when you have to grab him in the second round...

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

That's one of my big concerns with our projections on Stanton, Jose and Hanley... we don't know how the park will play. Quite frankly, I think we're being generous with them right now... but if it turns out to be a bandbox...

Chris (FLA)

Does Brandon Belt play everyday? Would you keep him if he had to stay active all year long? What kid of line do you project for him if he plays everyday?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

In the OF, yes. He should get 20-25 HR and hit about .250.

Mike (Yankeeland)

Bounce back season for Tex, or is his batting average shot for good?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

You take the 30+ homers and anything more than .260 BA is gravy.

Graham (MN)

Mauer and Morneau, are you taking the gamble on either? Is it worth it?

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

I'd take the Mauer reach, yes. Whether or not either makes it through the year in one piece is debatable, but the Morneau post-concussion issue scares me a lot more.

Frank (Chicago)

With word that Seattle will move Ichiro from leadoff the 3rd in the order, but more importantly, that they are working on his swing to make him more of a "traditional hitter", what kind of season do you project for Ichiro and is he a player you would stay away from for fear of a large regression?

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

I don't see guys like Carp and Montero terrifying opposing pitchers enough so that Ichiro sees tons of good pitches. Maybe the average dips a bit if they do start tinkering with his swing, but otherwise, you'll get what you'd expect from a 38-year-old veteran.

kevin (FL)

Tell a Mets fan 5 things to look forward to in 2012.

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

I hear the Shake Shack's prices aren't going up... um... er...

Frank (NJ)

Is Posey expected to be ready opening day? Any concerns about him?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

I think he'll be ready physically. I'm a bit more concerned about mentally due to the constant "block the plate" discussion that won't let the incident die.

nick (NYC)

tommy hanson ($43) for brett lawrie ($17) in an unlimited keeper league, which side do you want?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

I'm not looking forward to keeping Hanson at that price.

Ryan (DC)

You drafting Harper or Trout first in a keeper league..with eyes on this year as well?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

How many keepers did we start with? If I have 10-15 guys already, then perhaps I'd consider it. If I'm starting fresh, then not a chance.

Patrick (NYC)

It seems that there are 5 spots (3 OF, 1B and DH) for 8 players in Los Angeles (Pujols, Morales, Trumbo, Abreu, Wells, Bourjos, Trout, Hunter). Who plays and who has fantasy value?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

I think we need to see Morales play in the spring before giving him ABs. Trout is odd man out, IMO, and starts year in the minors. Abreu will likely be shipped somewhere before April.

Nate (Florida)

How useful is BB/Ks in evaluating hitters for points leagues?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

Very. Read more about it here: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=mlbdk2k12pointsstrategyhitters

Derek (work) [via mobile]

In your opinion, what's more fun, 3 OF spots or 1 each of LF CF and RF?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

Not really a "fun" thing but rather a "how much time do you have" thing. I'm all for it, if that's what your league wants to do.

Chase Utley (Philadelphia)

What's my line this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

If you end up injury-free, then I'd say 20-20.

Chris (Michigan)

Prince or Pujols in an AL only keeper league where you can keep guys forever. Standard 5x5.

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

I'll take my chances with Albert.

Jeff (Atlanta, GA)

AJ, everyone seems to be really high on Alex Avila and sees him as an elite level catcher. Is that because position is weak? I would still put him behind: Napoli, Mauer, Posey, Wieters, Santana, and maybe Miguel Montero.

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Position is weak overall, but I'd put him ahead of Posey and Mauer right now.

Dustin Ackley (Seattle)

Does Ackley profile better in the points format than roto? Is he worth a 6th round pick in a 12 team keeper league?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

By a good 5-6 rounds, yes - but I'd still target him in 9th or so.

Derek (work) [via mobile]

Why do you always wonder how the Marlins ballpark will play? The dimensions have been released, it's like Petco almost.

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

In 2004, people were actually surprised at how much of a pitcher's park Petco was. Parks with the same dimensions don't play the same due to wind patterns, etc. We won't know until they start playing...

Ian (DC)

I struck the elite young pitching jackpot in a dynasty league: Strasburg and Pineda for $3 each; Moore and Chapman at $1. I can only keep 2 of the 4, who should it be?

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

I'd take my chances with Strasburg and Moore.

Stan (RI)

Can BJ Upton go 30/40 this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

20/40 I'll buy. 30? Not so much.

Max (Natstown)

When can we expect to see some Mock drafts show up?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

We should be doing our first one next week! Stay tuned.

Prime Minister Pete Nice (Brooklyn)

What do you think of David Wright this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

Could be a 25-90 guy. I worry about him not having anybody to drive in. Not mortgaging the farm with him this season.

Stan (RI)

Better late round guy this year. Stephen Drew or Jed Lowrie?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

I'd go with Drew.

Alex (Portsmith)

Why is Votto usually a few spots ahead of Gonzalez? I seem them as similar numbers with Gonzalez probably getting an extra 10-15 points in AVG.

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

Positional depth factors in. Especially in NL-only leagues, 1B is weak sauce after Votto.

Jon (Orlando)

Is there any way to get access to sabermetric projections on ESPN? What are the OPS projections for hitters, or the K/BB projections for pitchers?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

OPS is in the projections. K/BB can be easily computed from the individual projections.

Richard (Tampa)

Pedro Alvarez resurgence this year? I've seen arguments from various writers, including some on ESPN, stating he could be this year's Alex Gordon.

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Would not hold my breath.

Randy (Boston)

Pick one OF for H2H dynasty points league: Maybin, Duda, Boesch, Beltran

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

Beltran

Jason (Long Island, NY)

Better keeper at round 6 value: Brian McCann or Dan Uggla?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

Uggla.

Napa (Massachusetts)

I think Freddie Freeman will hit 45 homers this year. Am I nuts?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

I'm thinking we might want to lay off the caffeine for a bit. Only one cup of coffee for you...

Geoff (Ireland)

What's the difference between dynasty and keeper leagues?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

Most people call any league where you get to keep a player for more than one year a "keeper" league. The majority of these are just a handful of guys being kept. Dynasty leagues are usually what we'd call leagues where the number of keepers is much closer to full roster retention. Some do use the terms interchangeably, though.

Dom (Brooklyn)

Pick 3 out of these 4 keepers - Cargo, Wright, Pedroia, Stanton

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

I'm sending David away.

Don (Phoenix)

Weeks or Kennedy for the same price in an NL keeper league this season?

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

I'd go with Kennedy unless it's a points league.

Jeff (Atlanta, GA)

An intriquing sleeper this year is Michael Cuddyer in Colorado. Assuming full time at bats and the thin air, would a .280, 30 HR, 100 RBI season be reasonable?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

I think those power numbers are a bit inflated, even for Coors, but not incredibly far off the mark.

Pat (Bronx)

Which "quad-A" stigmaed player do you think has better odds to have a breakout Morse-style LaHair or Gamel?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Gamel.

Allen (Toronto)

Giovatella hitting 2nd in KC lineup what are you expecting? any value if a 4X4 league where Runs is not a category?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Not really. Even assuming he hits 2nd and not 8th, I don't see more than 50 RBIs.

Alex (Irvine)

what are your thoughts on Dee Gordon? Really like his potential, but sometimes chasing unrealized potential can kill a fantasy season...

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

He's a big risk because he's Juan Pierre-esque, but at SS, you can get away with it more than in the OF. Not my first choice at SS, but if you need speed...

Steve ((Wheaton))

Lawrie, Hosmer, or Montero in keeper?

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

Not Montero. I'd give slight edge to Lawrie.

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

That's the final whistle, gang. Thanks to all for the Q's. If I didn't get to yours, try me on Twitter (@ajmass) and please check out my book "How Fantasy Sports Explains the World" -- until the next time, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor!