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March 22, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

Good morning gang! We're ready for a fresh 60 minutes of fantasy goodness. Second cup of coffee in hand... Watch your appendix, turn down the volume on the Billy Joel covers and ask away! Who is up first?

Josh (Ohio)

Pulling my hair out with having to choose a keeper between Timmy and Weaver. Everywhere I look has them ranked ranked next to each other. What's your opinion?

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

Like them both, but I like Weaver a lot better.

Russ (Dakota)

AJ, I project to be short on HR. Would you trade McCutchen for Fielder in a keeper league. I'd likely need to throw in a pitcher, is T. Hudson or Shields too much?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

I don't typically make any trades before May. We have no real way of knowing exactly how the stats will end up. One month in, you may find that you're actually winning in HR. If you prepare for your draft, you should stick with that team for a bit before bailing.

Jack (Chi, IL)

You liking Jayson Werth at all for this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

Nope. I just don't think he's worthy of being an every day guy.

Rob (Pa)

Broxton or Balfour: who would you rather own and why?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

I'd rather go with Balfour. Neither is yet a lock to have a closer job for the long haul, but in Broxton's case, I fear the decision might be motivated by his price tag rather than his talent.

Jeff (NYC)

Hi AJ,My wife just bought me your book. I'm through the first 30 pages and can't put it down. A little lighter than I thought it might be so far but really thoughtful and funny. Great job. Where do you rank Wainright given the positive feedback thus far? Gio Gonzalez-type value or better. Same for Johan. Top 40? Thanks for your hard work.

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

Thanks plenty. I enjoyed writing it and think it's a fun read. I think Wainwright slots in at tail end of overall Top 100, ahead of Gio who might have some control issues. Johan, I have a lot more doubts with, not only because of run support concerns, but also because I'm not as sold that the endurance will be there.

Tyler Pastornicky (Atlanta Braves)

Should my fantasy owners be worried about me?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

I'm worried for fantasy owners who thought that either Pastornicky or Simmons were an answer at SS. I think Tyler gets the first shot, but the leash shall be short...

Andrew (SF)

Am I the only one who suspects CarGo will have a better year than Kemp?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Certainly not out of the realm of possibility, but personally, I have Kemp as my No. 1 overall. CarGo to me is my No. 17. But in the top 20, there's a lot of hair-splitting.

Andrew (SF)

What's your gut on Josh Johnson?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

Good velocity so far in the spring and pitching longer and longer. I'm thinking he's back to 2009-10 levels this season.

Andy (Denver)

McCutcheon or Pence?

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

Love, love, love Cutch. Mind you, I have the pair ranked back-to-back, but I'll take the Pirate every time.

Mike (Albany, NY)

How about Hellickson? Top 30 SP in your eyes?

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

I like Shields and Price better, but certainly he's coming off a very strong RotY season and should be in the mix at that level. Plus, he won't be nearly as pressured to succeed with Moore getting all the hype in TB.

dejected Saints fan (New Orleans)

What is your favorite auction strategy? Do you pay for a couple of studs and look for value elsewhere, or do you go for second tier guys?

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

Really don't do a ton of auctions, but when I do, I come in with a price point for each player and simply refuse to bid more. Discipline is what rules the day. I'm not handicapping myself and paying $50 for Pujols if I've valued him at $40.

tim (kc)

What do you make of RABURN's hot spring? Could he be a starter at MI? Rotate out during cold spells.

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

Can't say I haven't noticed it, but I'm hesitant to overreact to it. Certainly, I'm going to lean towards Detroit players in all coin toss situations because that lineup could score tons... having said that, the spring is the spring, and Raburn was not in my top 250 heading into it.

Sanjib (Orlando)

Fowler or De Aza?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

Close to being a tossup, but for me I'm thinking Fowler ends up with more ABs, and that tips it to him for me.

Brian (NY)

Thoughts on Pagan and Torres this season in their new homes?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

More optimistic about Pagan. Torres is, to me, not a leadoff hitter, so I'm not expecting the Mets "experiment" to work out for him.

Joe (Ann Arbor)

Hey AJ. Are you worried about David Wright this year? I've seen several articles and blurbs on ESPN about how he is going to have a big come back...but I've also seen just as many saying hes dramatically overrated

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

As I wrote in my 30Q article(http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=mlbdk2k12_30qmets) I think Wright can hit a lot more home runs, but most of those may be of the solo variety.

Mike (Corus)

Can you rank the following SP: Weaver, King Felix, CC, Hamels, Haren, Price?

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

Haren, CC, Weaver, Felix, Cole, Price.

Christian (Boise)

Dee Gordon, or Aybar?

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

Aybar for me. I'm just not seeing the skill set from Gordon. He's a MI version of Juan Pierre, and I'll get better across-the-board numbers from Erick.

hal (ny)

help help last keeper, MYoung rd 10 or Dee Gordon rd 26?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

To follow up on last Q. As a Round 26 pick, he's great value and his name generates more "buzz" than Young. I'd throw a guy like Young back and try and redraft him.

Jason (Tucson)

How about some baseball Mass-o-matics? Which of the top 5 batters wins your pick for consistency?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

Define consistency. I've got an article up today that I think may be what you're reaching for: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=mlbdk2k12_30qyankees

Bob (Philadelphia)

Keeper trading philosophical question: Should you be concerned about how much better a trade makes the other team involved, or only care that you yourself are improving?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

If a trade makes me better, that's all I really care about in the end. However, if the trade also makes the other owner better, and I can properly express that to the other owner, not only is it more likely the deal will go through, but I'll get a reputation for fair trades... longer term, that helps me more.

Brian (NY)

Which 1Bs have you been drafting after the top guys are gone?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

Been waiting and taking Gamel a lot. I actually have Gaby Sanchez ranked higher, but Mat's one of those guys I'm finding too tempting to let slide. We all have those "kryptonite" types.

Mike (Corus)

You drafting Ryan Howard or leaving him for another owner?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

Not my problem. Truth be told, if I am holding a roster spot in the hopes a player comes back in a few months, I might grab Manny first.

Ramsey (Los Angeles)

I can't believe that I'm even asking this, but Danny Espinosa, Kelly Johnson, or Aaron Hill in a 12-team mixer. Who has the higher ceiling? Who's the safest?

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

I'd say Johnson's the safest and Espinosa has highest ceiling.

Bill Clay (Nakatomi Tower)

Nominating first in my keeper league aution this weekend. Any strategy to employ here?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

I like to drain money away from guys I don't want so that I might have an extra few $ to get the guys I do want. Whomever that is for you, if you're sure he's going to go for more than $1, set him up.

Mike (Corus)

What are your thoughts on Chipper Jones? Is he worth drafting in the late rounds or let him retire on another owners team?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

No room for sentimentality in fantasy sports. I haven't yet drafted him in any league or mock. I'd say he's an 18th Rounder or so...

Rog (Annapolis, MD)

What do you expect for Duda and Goldschmidt? 1B in the NL is ROUGH this year!

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

It's definitely Votto and then you can wait until Round 20. Higher on Duda, especially if he starts hitting for power the other way in the new Citi.

Tom (NY)

With the last pick in the first round of a snake draft, would you take Baumgarner or Grienke? I know the one I leave won't make it back to me.

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

I'm assuming this is after a ton of keepers are off the list... I'm grabbing Greinke if these are my two choices.

Fred (Pittsburgh)

Is Rollins a top SS?

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

In the broad sense, yes. There's a definite tier of three at the top with Jose, Tulo and HanRam. He's not close to that group, IMO.

Victor (Tdot)

Drafting Ortiz and Youk in the 6th Rd crazy?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

In a vacuum, I'd draft Papi in the 4th Round. The problem is the positional eligibility issue which can hamstring your lineup construction. For me, I'm sour on Youk, so if I did draft one of them, it would be Papi.

Tom (NY)

Is Castro close to that group of shortstops that you mentioned?

AJ Mass
  (11:48 AM)

Close, yes. I think we're talking Castro, J-Roll, Andrus and Alexei in the next tier.

Rick Vaughn (California Penal League)

How would rank this group of SPs heading into 2012 = Masterson, Liriano, Cueto, Chacin, & McCarthy? Is a SP like Shelby Miller worth a "grab-n-stash" over any of these guys if I play in a Keeper League?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

McCarthy, Masterson, Cueto, Chacin, Liriano. Miller is a good stash, IMO, since Carpenter's status is up in the air and I'm not exactly sold that Lance Lynn will be the answer in the rotation should Carp be out for a long stretch.

Marty (London)

When should I draft my first "holds" guy?

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

Is holds a category in your league? I tend to simply rank RP in the mix of all players and select the "best ones" when they come up. If you don't pay for saves, you certainly don't pay for holds.

Patrick (NYC)

Who is more likely to emerge as an ace this year: Beachy or Moore?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Moore, but not by a huge amount and you can probably get Beachy a good 100 picks later if not more.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Mark Sanchez starts _____ games for the Jets this season...

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

14, and plays in all 16

flnorseman (miami)

Hello. With OBP being our standard instead of AVG does that push SS Andrus up in the rankings at all?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

I think the best ranking systems incorporate both of those stats in them already. In terms of "percentages" versus "counting stats" there's so much variance with only a few balls bouncing one way or the other. I tend not to over-analyze those categories.

Andrew (Toronto)

Are you drafting Moore, Strasberg or Zimmerman?? I am just concerned about the inning limits?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

IP limits are not all that scary, especially in Moore's case. If these guys have a lot of 1-2-3 innings, then the artificial caps will certainly be expanded.

Matt (Naperville)

Spawning off the holds question... Holds is a cat in my league... can you plz rank your top 5-8.... I am racking my brain over K Rod, Broxton on the WW while i currently own Clippard, K Wood, Holland, Cashner

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Top of the head, I like guys like Adams, Marshall, Clippard, Benoit, Soriano and Melanco. But a simple rule of thumb is to take the 7th/8th inning guys on teams you expect to win a lot of games.

Kevin (Oceola)

Is AVG like Wins in fantasy? Can either be predicted pre-season with any degree of certainty?

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

In a general sense, you're simply tiering guys. A projected .300 hitter is not the same as a projected .260 hitter, though both could well meet in the middle at .280. A 14-win guy and an 18-win guy could each meet at 16 easily. Same could be said for every category really...

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

That's the chat, gang. Appreciate the turnout. We're on Twitter (@ajmass) for those I didn't get to. As always, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor.