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February 14, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning, gang! We're here for another 60 minutes of fantasy chattage. Pitchers and catchers are reporting... how about you? Second cup of coffee in hand, so who is up first?

Nat man (DC)

In some of my off-season reading there are experts stating we could very well see B.Harper contend for NL MVP. Are you buying?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

Washington will be good, so odds are the Nats will have several MVP candidates. So, even if Harper "only" goes 25-25 with a .280 average, he'll probably get a lot of votes.

P (VA)

you thinking this is the year Longo stays plays 150 games and turns in that ELITE 3B season?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

No on the 150 games, and while it's not unrealistic to think he can put up top-5 numbers at 3B, I'm not expecting it.

Brandon (RI)

Cliff Lee or Ian Kinsler? 6x6 with OPS, QS, K/BB and the usuals. Already keeping Trout, Cutch, Wright. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

Certainly K/BB is the only reason to consider Lee over Kinsler, and you know, given how off the charts he's been in that category... I'm going with the pitcher here.

JJ (Rocky Mountains)

Any concern that Tulo is not ready to start the season? Is he 1st round worthy, or too much of a risk coming off that type of injury?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

I see no reason to fear Tulo being ready to go Opening Day, at least not right now. I'm not sure I would draft him in Round 1 of a 10-teamer, but you can certainly make an argument for it.

Jim (KC)

What do you see from Alicides Escobar this year? Upward climb or abberation?

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

Definitely on the rise. In terms of "dynasty value" I rank him at No. 4 at SS right now.

Mike (Chi-town)

B.Rondon or K.Jansen - who has more saves at years end? Regardless, I should be in strikeout heaven right?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

I think we've seen recently that the closer job is very fragile and there are bound to be several changes between April and September. For me, I'd much rather wager on Jansen, simply because Rondon is a complete unknown at the moment.

Desmond Jennings (Tampa)

What are you expectations for me this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

It's all about plate discipline. I think you can count on 15 HR and 30 SB, but the question is whether than comes with a .240 BA or a .265 BA. My fear is it will be the latter.

Jeff S. (Vermont)

What are your thoughts on Ellsbury and Bautista going into this year, can/will both put up 145+ game seasons? If so, will both return to 2011 type production?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

Jacoby, to me, has been more unlucky than injury prone. With Joey Bats, that wrist might not be able to handle the hard swings all season long. If both do play a full year, then the numbers should be there, but if I had to give odds on both, Ellsbury gets the edge.

Bill (Athens, GA)

What are your power expectations for Billy Butler? The fact that his HR/FB numbers are way above career norms and given how few FB he hits I was worried, but then I started to dig into his numbers. A bunch of his home runs were on what Bill James would call "fliners" - somewhere between a line drive and a fly ball, so those line drive home runs are lumped into fly balls when calculating HR/FB.

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

True, but he also hit far fewer fly balls than career norms, too... I think last year will prove to be an anomaly, but 25 home runs is perfectly reasonable.

Keeper Help (Desperate)

10 team H2H pts Keep 4 (hitting and pitching equal) : AGonz, Pedroia, HanRam, McCutchen, CarGo, Harper, Wainwright, Darvish

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

I'd keep the three outfielders and Pedroia. You're rarely going to see me choose an elite pitcher over an elite hitter.

Nick (CT)

A pitcher and a hitter that will be on all your teams this year will be....?

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

I seem to be ending up with Freddie Freeman and Wade Miley an awful lot, though I'm not sure what that means.

Paul (Denver)

Would you consider keeping J Upton over Tulo in a 10 team H2H league?

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

This is the old positional scarcity argument in a nutshell, and for me, at least for the first few rounds, I'm not looking at where the players play... I'm going to take the guy I think produces better number. To me, that's Upton.

Ted (Ohio)

Could you see yourself trading price24/longo25/bautista17 for trout17(3 years) A Jackson11, Brett Anderson 9. AL Only

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

Three years of Trout? I think that could be worth the deal in and of itself.

Greg (NYC)

What you be comfortable with laroche as your CI in a 12 teamer on the cheap? $5/260 mixed

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

I don't know if "comfortable" is the word I would use, but for the price, a possible 30 home runs-100 RBIs is not bad.

jason (Charlottesville, VA)

Head to Head league. Looking at mid rounders that could bounce back. Are you buying utley over Seager 2b-elg, C Crawford bouncing back? Napoli hitting 30 bombs playing 1b?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

I'd give the best odds on Napoli.

Dave (Boston)

Strategy question: I'm keeping all position players in a 12 team keeper league. With 2 picks in each of the first two rds, do I still stick with the "pick the best player" strategy regardless of position (guys like fielder, kemp, Tulo, reyes, lee, verlander etc expected to be available) or do I need to make sure I get some SPs to balance out my team?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

It's hard to answer without knowing what the other players have done with their keepers... in essence, you're not starting from Round 1 in a keeper. You're starting from Round X, and if that "X" is late enough, your strategy will change. I think I'd grab at least 2 SP with the four picks...

Todd (Cleveland)

Thoughts on Matt Moore this season? Big step forward? Projections?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

I'd say he should be a top 25 SP, but not too much higher than that.

Matt (Vegas)

Is 2B worth waiting on and grabbing say an Ackley or Espinosa as opposed to the more expensive Kinsler/Phillips? Wouldn't a cheaper option be smarter & then spend the big dollars elsewhere?

AJ Mass
  (11:35 AM)

If you're talking auction, there's a whole dynamic that makes it hard to come up with a hard and fast rule here. I certainly would not nominate either player myself and hope that they don't come up for some time...but I'm not going to outright say I'm not bidding on them either.

MeisterNJ (Mendham)

Top 15 year for Wainwright?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Not nearly as high on him as some of my colleagues... I believe he ended up in our top 15 at the summit, but I'm probably going to end up letting somebody else grab him at that neighborhood.

Tom (Ohio)

We will see Adrian Gonzalez power bounce back to around 30 bombs? All his other numbers were fine last year except for the power, correct?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

In general, I think Dodger Stadium suppresses XBH, but I think we can expect 25 HR here.

Todd (Ohio)

Are you a believer in Cespedes? People seem really high on him this year. The ave last year was not legit for him correct?

AJ Mass
  (11:43 AM)

I think he is legit. I just worry about his health. I think you can easily give him the nickname "day-to-day" and that's not a player I want to hang my fantasy hopes on.

Frank (Okla)

What are your thoughts on Corey Hart? Back soon enough to draft as a 1B as long as you grab a decent filler until he's ready?

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

Yeah, I think he can still hit 25 home runs while missing a month or so...

P (VA)

Heyward: improve, repeat or regress?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Improve. Would not be shocked with 30 HR and .270 BA if he stops offering at so many bad pitches.

The Governor (Woodbury)

Keeper ?--H2H League = Need to keep 1 from this group: Ellsbury (costs me a 7th Rd pick), Lawrie (5th Rd), Holliday (4th Rd), OR Chapman (24th Rd)...Which player would you pick & why? Thanks AJ!

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

Anybody with two good eyes can see that Chapman is the pick at that discount.

Billy (OH)

Do you think Adam Eaton is a good play late? I don't know much about him, but it seems people are high on him in an OBP league and think he can steal 25-30 bags. What are your thoughts on Eaton?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

I think that's a little optimistic in terms of steals, but if you can get a .280 hitter who steals 20 in the last few rounds, that's not bad at all.

Bill (Athens, GA)

Encarnacion - I know expecting ANYONE to hit 40 HR is a recipe for disappointment, but 30-35 is reasonable, right? He hits so many fly balls and managed to hit 42 HR without a ridiculous HR/FB rate.

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Think of it this way... assume the HR/FB drops to 13 percent but he still hits 50 percent FB. How many HRs does he lose? Certainly not 12.

Trout! (Los Angeles)

Think Chapman is a 200 K SP? Where's the ERA?

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

Under the assumption he starts the whole season, I do think he is a 200-K pitcher, but probably with a 3.40 ERA or thereabouts.

Mike (Chicago)

Due to some silly rules in our keeper league, a player acquired through trade can be kept at the price of a 15th rounder. I scored both King Felix and Pedroia last season. Tell me, at that draft position, who would you rather keep? Already keeping Miggy, Prince, J. Upton, Heyward, Bautista and Medlen.

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

If it was my only keeper, I'd probably go Pedroia, but given it's No. 7 I'll let Felix lead my staff.

Paul (Denver)

Is Castro part of the #1 SS convo this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Not yet, but he's pretty close.

mike nyc [via mobile]

Hamilton for 28 or JUpton for 23??

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Cheaper and more production, I'll go J-Up.

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

That's all the time we have for today... where does an hour go? I am on Twitter (@ajmass) if I didn't get to your questions, but I thank all of you for asking away. Until the next time, as always, good luck and may the odds be EVER in your favor.