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April 4, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (3:00 PM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest ESPN Fantasy chat session. I am Eric. Lots to get to today as the baseball season really starts up, and we've got breaking news with the Red Sox bullpen and many other things. SO, thanks for showing up and let's have some fun....

The Sipper (office cube)

In a 12 team mixed league, is Bailey droppable? If you picked up Melancon as insurance is he droppable as well?

Eric Karabell
  (3:02 PM)

Yes, the somewhat surprising news is that Alfredo Aceves will become the Red Sox closer, not Melancon. I'd drop Bailey; he's out for 3 months, at least. What a shame. I think Melancon and Daniel Bard have a shot at saves, but for now, own Aceves. He was terrific in relief last season and this spring, and that's what Bobby Valentine has decided to do, for better or worse. Could change by the weekend...

JT (Pittsburgh, PA)

Good afternoon EK, Bard, Samardzia, Nicasio, are you buying any of these guys breaking out with a top 30 season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:03 PM)

As a top 30 starting pitcher, no. I think all three can be good enough for deeper leagues, but I'm not bothering in 10- or 12-teamers. I like Nicasio the most, despite the ballpark. He was usable last year as well. With Bard and Samardzija, I worry about fatigue, the walks, and now the bullpens!

Seth (St. Louis, Missouri)

Is Domonic Brown still in the Phillies plans for the future or his he likely to be traded? Does he still project to be an impact player?

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

Absolutely. I think they want him to play left field and see what happens. He's been awful defensively. He will hit, and by midseason it wouldn't be a shock to see him playing regularly for the Phillies and hitting sixth. And he will hit.

Art (MA)

Where does Aceves fit into the closer rankings? Worth dropping Thornton for?

Eric Karabell
  (3:04 PM)

Yeah, believe it or not, I would. No guarantees that Thornton is the White Sox closer. I still think Reed takes the job soon.

Ferris (Chicago)

This spring training shows once again you don't take closers early. I was able to draft both League and Perez late (both very underrated). I also have managed to pickup both Marshall and Aceves in my league. I see Marshall as a Top 5 Closer (his peripherals and the team he is on). What are your thoughts on this strategy and Marshall?

Eric Karabell
  (3:06 PM)

I never take closers early in drafts, and when I got around to taking them, I certainly avoided brittle fellows like Bailey. I don't have him anywhere. I did get caught in an auction league with Ryan Madson. Oh well. I have Brandon League on multiple teams. I don't know why people continue to draft saves early, but if they didn't, our strategy would not work! As for Marshall, I concur. Could be awesome.

Peanut (Catonsville)

Swisher or Delmon?

Eric Karabell
  (3:07 PM)

I would go with Swisher. More consistent for power and health year after year. I do expect Delmon to knock in many runs, but give me Swish.

Ferris (Chicago)

In a 10 team mixed league, is Kenley Jansen droppable? I really like the guy and his upside is between Papelbon and Kimbrel but, as a setup-man he isn't doing much for me.

Eric Karabell
  (3:08 PM)

If he throws like he did last season I think he can do a lot for you, actually, even without saves. And while I expect Javy Guerra to get the saves and have all along, Mattingly could change his mind.

joe (sf)

setting the line at 15 saves, over/under for broxton and peralta.

Eric Karabell
  (3:09 PM)

Under on Broxton, over on Peralta. For those unaware, Kyle Farnsworth is hurt and I think Peralta is the new TB closer. I blogged on this, and it should be posted today. I have no faith in Broxton, if he gets the job.

M (Chicago)

You a believer in Lilly sub 4 era and 1.1 whip?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

Yep. I believe every year and every year Ted Lilly does just fine. He might go on DL today, but don't panic. He'll miss one start.

Bias Cat (Graveyard)

Bud Norris & Gavin Floyd - who has the highest upside, and who do think will have provided the most fantasy value at season's end?

Eric Karabell
  (3:10 PM)

I will take Norris. More strikeout potential. Yeah, the Astros stink, but don't try to predict wins. Norris has more upside.

Paul (PA)

Its being reported Belt will play in SF; does it improve your outlook for him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:12 PM)

I wish it did. As Keith Law and I discussed on Wednesday's Baseball Today podcast, it's great that Belt made the team, but he can't afford a slow start or he's in the minors in a week. I just don't understand the Giants thinking, but they gave in to public pressure and are starting Belt, but if he's 2-for-20 by next week, he doesn't stick around. I think he will hit.

MJ (Chi town)

So is farnsworth headed to D.L? If so when?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

Many of you are asking "when" a player will be placed on the DL, and the answer is it's up to the individual teams. We don't control that. I presume Farnsworth gets his asterisk today.

George (NY)

Are you a believer in E Encarnacion?

Eric Karabell
  (3:13 PM)

Absolutely. The guy has legit power, and if he could stay on the field and be a bit more consistent he could hit 30 homers.

Maddie (Louisville)

Tough Final Four Saturday...on to baseball: Sounds like you're a big fan of Sean Marshall. Should I consider dropping my #7 starter (Niese or Minor) for Marshall? I have Santos/Motte as my two closers, but three closers and six starters has proven successful in the past. Thoughts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:14 PM)

I think Marshall will be better than Santos and perhaps Motte, too, so yes, I would add him. I think 6 starters and 3 closers is perfect. You can always stream in starters depending on 2-start guys and injury during the season, and closers make for way too good trade bait in fantasy (and real life).

Twins fan (St. Paul)

Who is closing for Twins at All-Star break?

Eric Karabell
  (3:15 PM)

The lefty Glen Perkins. Matt Capps is terrible.

Dave (CT)

Can you elaborate further on peralta and farnsworth??? Do you think peralta excels and keeps the job???

Eric Karabell
  (3:16 PM)

Yes, I do. Just like last year when everyone thought the rookie Jake McGee was closing and Joe Maddon went with Farnsworth. Peralta is the closer and I think he'll remain closer all year, health and performance permitting.

J (Nebraska)

Who are you taking a chance on, Dunn or Morales?

Eric Karabell
  (3:17 PM)

I like them both, actually. And Morneau. I don't think it's naive to expect all 3 of them to have nice bounce back seasons, to a degree. Not 30 homers for any, but enough health and productive. If choosing, I go Morales because he won't hit .230.

Eric (Huntsville)

More useful (for 2012 season) currently injured A's pitcher: Anderson or Braden?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

Definitely Brett Anderson. More upside, better pitcher, and he might even return sooner.

tom (NY)

How should I think about trading? Are two guys with 100 ADP worth one first rounder? Can you give me a general sense of how you think about it?

Eric Karabell
  (3:18 PM)

I couldn't care less which round they were drafted. If I want to trade for Jacoby Ellsbury, I see what the guy wants in return and start there. Why waste time? Maybe he's not available. Maybe it will take only a third-tier closer. One never knows.

James (NYC)

If Rollins gets 150 at-bats hitting third, what does that do to his number? Is 80-15-80-30 possible from my SS? Does he trade power for steals and go 20-25?

Eric Karabell
  (3:19 PM)

I think he is what he is, which is not a power hitter. And he'll still run. Only change I'd make to his projections, and there is no guarantee he remains ridiculously in the No. 3 spot to start with, is trade runs scored for RBI. I doubt Rollins is hitting third in a month.

Stephen (Alaska )

Matthew Berry keeps complaining about Lawrie's sample size! Tell me why I should feel comfortable after taking him in the 5th round?

Eric Karabell
  (3:20 PM)

You've already got the player, so it doesn't matter if you overpaid or not. You don't want your ESPN analysts to agree on everything, trust me. Don't worry about comfort on your players... Lawrie will be great. Draft day value is irrelevant after the draft.

David (Toronto)

Would you drop a SP like Porcello for Aceves?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

If I needed saves, sure. Not a big fan of Porcello to start with. Doesn't strike anyone out, high WHIP, just nothing special.

David (Toronto)

How do you feel about Rick Porcello this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:21 PM)

Apparently not very good.

MJM (Chicago )

Rank these 3 closers in H2H league, Marshall, Hannahan, Aceves... Thanks!

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

Everyone wants to talk saves today... wow. I go Hanrahan, Marshall and then Aceves. I don't presume anything with Bobby V... changes his mind all the time.

Brian (NY)

What do you think of "selling high" on Morneau after a decent spring and before he's hurt?

Eric Karabell
  (3:22 PM)

Kinda negative, but makes sense. I can't imagine anyone in your league will assume Morneau stays healthy all season, and he needs to have a good start to be tradable... I'd just keep him.

Matt (Cleveland, OH)

Eric Thames' projection seems a bit low considering he won the full time starting job in LF for the Jays. 20+ HR a possibility?

Eric Karabell
  (3:23 PM)

Sure, 20 HR is likely in fact if he gets 450 at-bats, but that's the rub: They have Travis Snider ruminating and Rajai Davis is platooning with Thames against lefties. So I doubt Thames gets 450 at-bats. Hey, he can't learn to hit lefties unless Jays let him try... I'd let him play. Jays don't agree.

Phil (Winchester, VA)

What is your take on position and roster flexibility in fantasy? I have Billy Butler and Jesus Montero who are both only DH eligible. Our league does have 2 util spots, but should I'm nervous about having two guys who are limited to only those spots.

Eric Karabell
  (3:24 PM)

Nope. They're probably the next most productive DHs after Ortiz. And Montero should get catcher eligibility by June... no, really. Mariners in no hurry to play him behind the plate, but for interleague, they will. And Hosmer can play right field, so Butler should play some first base, too.

Jon (New York)

Do either Parmalee or Goldschmidt crack the top 10 1B by the end of the year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

No, but I have to say I really like Parmelee. Not a big fan of Goldschmidt's pending batting average..

Dougie (KC)

How about a guy like Mike Moustakas? Think he can top 20 HR and 80 RBI and is he low-end starter material in a 14 team league?

Eric Karabell
  (3:25 PM)

Yes, he is a nice corner infield option for a deeper league. He might hit .250, though, but the power is legit.

Tony (NYC)

Thoughts on Chris Davis? I read somewhere that he has 40 homer potential. Is this year finally going to be the year for him?

Eric Karabell
  (3:26 PM)

He does have that potential, but he could also bat .210. He's a lefty version of Mark Reynolds. And Reynolds has a track record of production. I won't go near either.

Matt (In n Out Burger)

Any hope for Billingsley this year? Worth owning in standard 10 team mixed?

Eric Karabell
  (3:27 PM)

I doubt if he takes that next step up to be a top 40 starting pitcher, but worth owning, yes.

Eric (NY)

While I agree Lawrie doesn't have much of a sample size, you can use stats for any argument you make. Berry loves Youk, and I can argue that I have a much larger (and therefore more reliable) sample size of his injury history, so I'd feel more comfortable saying Youk will not play a full season than Lawrie will be a bust. But I digress. Just picked up Melancon today. Is he worth holding onto for the time being, or do you think Aceves sticks with the job?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

We're all just spinning stats to make our points, and nobody can say we're wrong, yet. As for Aceves, he has the ability and skill to keep this job all year, yes. But Melancon is worth keeping around just in case.

Matt (Indy)

Hi Eric. Is Ryan Roberts going to be an adequate 3b in a 10 team H2H league?

Eric Karabell
  (3:28 PM)

Barely. I'd rather use him at weaker second base.

Rob (Washington)

What are your thoughts on Bartolo Colon this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

Not a big fan, but in that home ballpark he'll have periods of usefulness. Don't expect a big second half statswise.

Von (NYC)

Ryan Rayburn poised for a breakout year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:29 PM)

No. A good spring means little in the big picture. Raburn is what he is.

Eddie Mush (Bronx)

What happens to Brian Roberts this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

It doesn't look like he will play anytime soon, which is a shame. What a player he was a few years ago... live life to the fullest!

Bryan (CT)

Hey EK, what are your thoughts on Michael Pineda this year?!

Eric Karabell
  (3:30 PM)

Well, they aren't positive thoughts. I'd avoid him. I drafted him in the 17th round of a recent draft, but outside the top 40 starters.

Ron (Hoboken)

Farnsworth MRI came back negative, still think Peralta ends up as Rays' closer?

Eric Karabell
  (3:31 PM)

Yes. Joe Maddon doesn't owe Farnsworth anything.. he's just trying to win games and every year his closer changes.

Bill (RI)

Would you be confident with Espinosa as your starting 2B when Kelly Johnson is out on waviers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

Sure. Not like Kelly is a lock to hit for average, either. And Espinosa can still get better and he runs.

MJM (Chicago )

What can you expect out of Ivan Nova this year? Deep staff and shaky spring have me worried.

Eric Karabell
  (3:32 PM)

He's clearly hurt, and I don't expect him to pitch well or at all in April. I'd find reinforcements. And that's not anti-Yankee hate.. I love plenty of Yankees. But Nova and Pineda are clearly hurt.

Jason (MA)

Trumbo gunna see 450+ AB's ???

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

Not if the Angels want to win. There's more to real baseball than home runs.

Matt (DC)

what are your thoughts on Jason Kubel? Worth a pickup as insurance behind Heyward and/or Cruz?

Eric Karabell
  (3:33 PM)

I could see 20 home runs, 80 RBIs.

Daniel (Bronx)

Do you believe in Bedard, Cueto or Volquez to have a big year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:34 PM)

I think all three will help fantasy owners. Cueto has the most upside, but Volquez in San Diego should pile on the strikeouts. Only concern with Bedard is health. He's never a bad pitcher, and the Pirates should trade him to a contender at some point.

Chris (Nations Capital (Go Nats!!))

Trumbo or Gamel for the year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

Gamel, easily. Better hitter, guaranteed a job.

Rob (Philly)

Is Lance Berkman one of the most underrated players in the Saber era?

Eric Karabell
  (3:35 PM)

Absolutely. Is always on base... except for the two-month period for the Yankees when everyone gave up on him.

Bob (NC)

Does Morel have value as #2 hitter for CHW? Is he better than Polanco?

Eric Karabell
  (3:38 PM)

Hitting Morel second, based on what he has done in the past and his avoidance of taking walks, is a ridiculous move, but before judging it I want to make sure Morel hasn't changed. He's not Polanco. Frankly, hitting Polanco second is just as bad. But if Morel can produce a .330 OBP, he'll score runs.

Mike Trout (My Bedroom)

talk about me

Eric Karabell
  (3:39 PM)

Enjoy the minors for about three months. Sorry. Angels can't find anyone to take Abreu, Kendrys Morales is fine now and Vernon Wells will bounce back.

Boesch (Number 2 Spot)

Should we buy into the Brennan Boesch hype of lineup protection=fantasy gold for him this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Somewhat, but the only tangible change in his numbers is that he'll score more runs hitting second than he would hitting sixth. But hey, if the media or a fantasy expert says it... must be true. I don't think Boesch is gonna hit 25 home runs or bat .300, no. He's not that special.

Rob (Philly)

Anyone worth trading away whose value is inflated from ST?

Eric Karabell
  (3:40 PM)

Yeah, Ryan Raburn! And probably Brad Lidge, too.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

When do you think that we will see P Andy Pettitte pitch for the Yankees since he signed a minor league contract this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:41 PM)

By this time next month. They will need him, and he'll be ready by then. And he should do well.

George (NY)

Just curious what do you think of sandoval and floyd for bumgarner? Bumgarner owner has weak bats and very strong staff. Bumgarner is his 8th best pitcher. Sandoval has wright at 3b.

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

Well, in a vacuum I'd want Sandoval. It's a nice upgrade from Bumgarner to Floyd, but Sandoval is a terrific player.

Doug (Kitchener)

Do you believe in Colby Rasmus?

Eric Karabell
  (3:42 PM)

I sure do. I am aware how my colleagues do not, and honestly, I still think Rasmus will have a nice season.

Matt (CA)

Thoughts on Altuve from HOU? Better question, does HOU have ANY players worth owning besides Myers?

Eric Karabell
  (3:44 PM)

In a 10-team league, Wandy Rodriguez and ... Carlos Lee. I think perhaps J.D. Martinez will superficially knock in enough runs to get owned. Altuve... not a special player. Can run, but can't get on base at the big league level.

JP (Columbus, OH)

I understand the risks involved in Votto's extension, but to me it was a choice between contending for 2 more years, or contending for 7 more years. If the price of contending for 7 more years is to pay for 5 additional years, then that's alright with me. And yes, that is the going rate for a superstar these days. He wasn't going to sign ANY six year deal.

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

Votto doesn't make the Reds a contender by himself, which is what he'll be because he makes a quarter of their payroll. Reds will regret this contract unless they trade him in 5 years. Sorry, but he's a first baseman. Everyone has a first baseman.

mike (colorado)

On a team where I have pedroia at 2B and mitch moreland on 1B is it ok to trade Jason Kipnis for Paul Goldschmidt?

Eric Karabell
  (3:45 PM)

If you're not going to use Kipnis at all, I suppose I could make the case, but I wouldn't do it. You can't use Kipnis at utility? He's good!

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

Just an aside, I'm trying to avoid closer questions... I think we handled them. And if you post the same question 25 times, it won't get answered!

Jake Stone (Raleigh)

How many starts do you think Matt Downs gets for Houston?

Eric Karabell
  (3:46 PM)

I'm looking at him for deeper leagues. He really hit last year, though it wasn't a large sample size, and while I don't think he can play shortstop for a big league team, this is the Astros. He can probably play short for them.

Clayton (Dallas)

What do you see from De Aza this season?

Eric Karabell
  (3:47 PM)

A sleeper pick for average, runs and steals. He's been the same player for years but couldn't get back to the majors. I think he'll work out well for the White Sox.

Rip (Denver)

Is Jason Bourgeois ownable? Think he'll get enough starts?

Eric Karabell
  (3:48 PM)

If he plays a lot then the Royals have a problem. I suppose if it's second base then OK, but the outfield is full and productive. And Giavotella should be back in the bigs soon... Bourgeois is a bench guy, but one that can steal 20 bases.

Jonathan (Indiana)

I don't understand why you would avoid closer questions. You tell people not to draft them, so according to your strategy, this is the time when they most need to be discussed.

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

How many more times can we discuss Aceves and Peralta? I mean, even their own managers, especially in those cases, could change their minds!

Mark (Philly)

I saw an earlier Rollins question, but Rollins stole 30 last year and this week Manuel said he wants to see him run a lot more. Is Rollins fast enough still for 40sb?

Eric Karabell
  (3:49 PM)

Yes, he can steal 30 bases, but he doesn't get on base enough to steal a lot more than that.. .and hitting third shouldn't affect that steals total much, but he'll be leading off again soon.

Gary (ny)

Phillie needs some pop in that line up badly. Mayberry plays over Pierre, right? What's your outlook on the season for them? Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:50 PM)

Unfortunately it appears Pierre will lead off and play left field... I don't know understand why. I like Mayberry, and Charlie claims he does, too, but it sure looks like it's Pierre in LF and ... wait for it ... Wigginton at 1B. Gonna be tough to watch, I admit.

Eric (Pgh)

Hi Eric. Please pick two. When healthy, McCarthy, Jimenez, Burnett, Pettitte, Capuano. Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

McCarthy for sure. In a different class than these guys. And then Pettitte. I want no part of Ubaldo this season... he will hurt your ERA and WHIP, trust me.

Andrew (Illinois)

Chris Carpenter has already been dropped in my league, is he worth using a #1 waiver wire position this early in the season to stash on the DL?

Eric Karabell
  (3:51 PM)

Probably not. He's perhaps 3 months away... depends on your situation, and it's possible he'll slip through waivers and you can just add him in a week.

Eric (Chicago)

EK, if you're banking on Juan Pierre playing LF for your dearly beloved Phillies, man you got problems. May I send you some game footage of when he was on the White Sox?

Eric Karabell
  (3:52 PM)

Read it again, I'm not banking on it. I'd NEVER do it. I wouldn't have signed him at all. But that's what the team is doing... it's awful. But with this pitching, they're still taking the NL East.

Charlie (Ronkonkoma, NY)

Please tell me something good about Edwin Jackson, whom I drafted.

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

Well, he's probably got a lot of frequent flyer miles. Not a fan. Is a Yankee on July 30.

Baltimore (Orioles)

Not *everyone* has a First Basemen!

Eric Karabell
  (3:53 PM)

Well, most teams do.

pj20 (Marin)

I just dealt David Wright for Brett Myers and CJ Wilson since I have Brett Lawrie manning 3B. You like that deal, or will I regret it if/when Lawrie gets hurt??

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

No, that seems like a bad deal to me. Sorry. You want honesty, right? Lawrie will be great, but Wright is worth more than that.

tyler (paper st.)

lucas duda's hype legit??

Eric Karabell
  (3:54 PM)

I think so, but I realize Mets fans don't agree. Like your team!

Chris (Michigan)

What is the reasoning behind some teams waiting so long to DL guys while other teams do not. For example the difference between the Phillies and Giants

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Basically, they don't care about fantasy. Nor should they! The deadline is 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, or in 5 minutes. Teams should wait as long as they can and discuss options.

Gary (NY)

Neftali Feliz will have a huge first half. Your thoughts???

Eric Karabell
  (3:55 PM)

Can't say I agree. Sorry again.

Chris (Boston)

Hey EK, how's Ike Davis looking? Here's another great season from the Phils!

Eric Karabell
  (3:56 PM)

Looks fine to me, but fatigue won't set in yet. Hopefully the Mets are careful with him. Should have a big season. He's got a bright future.

Mary (Iowa)

Back on the closer bandwagon ... please rank C Perez, J Nathan, Aceves, Peralta for the season ... and would you trade Nathan for Dee Gordan?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Yes, Gordon will be awesome. 50 steals ahead. No closer is worth a 50-steal shortstop, not Rivera, not Kimbrel last year. And Perez, Nathan, Peralta, Aceves would be my order. I expect Valentine to change his mind here.

Hulk Hogan ((FL))

What's your thoughts on Angel Pagan this year?

Eric Karabell
  (3:57 PM)

Underrated. Big base stealer, can get on base, most people avoiding him... nice sleeper late.

Ryan (MI)

What are your thoughts on this trade... Uggla and Cruz for Braun and Luebke? 5x5 H2H using OBP instead of AVG. Thanks, Eric!

Eric Karabell
  (3:58 PM)

Well, not using average really helps Uggla.... I'd take that side. Luebke is great, but there's so much pitching out there, why trade for it?

mike (colorado)

How legit do you think Darvish is based on the skills he's flashed in ST? Looks talented, but mild control issues?

Eric Karabell
  (3:59 PM)

Keith Law picked Yu for Cy Young... I think he'll be good.

Eric Karabell
  (4:00 PM)

OK, that is all the time they have given me for today, so I thank you for showing up and asking questions and hope I answered yours! It's a great day... real baseball tonight! Enjoy it! Adios!