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March 20, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (11:01 AM)

Hello all and welcome to the latest ESPN Fantasy sports chat session. I am Eric, waking up early in Arizona where I was fortunate enough to take in a pair of spring training games on Tuesday. Have one game today, two more on Thursday! Anyway, if you've got questions, I will try to answer! Here we go...

Kj (Stl)

Will Oscar start the season in Stl or in Memphis?

Eric Karabell
  (11:03 AM)

Everyone's talkin' about Oscar Taveras, but I think he starts in the minors. Terrific talent, but there's no reason to believe Matt Holliday or Carlos Beltran will miss considerable time at some point. Beltran played in 151 games last year. I don't see Taveras with great value in one-year formats.

greg (tulsa,ok)

What rankings should i use for a 5x5 h2h categories league? rotisserie or points rankings?

Eric Karabell
  (11:03 AM)

I would use roto, which is to say don't solely rely on any rankings, but use as a guide. Points ranks are way, way different. I mean, just check where Mike Trout is!

Joey (Seattle)

Good morning. How do you feel about Ichiro this year, and how does he compare to guys like Pagan, Revere, Gardner, Aoki, Eaton?

Eric Karabell
  (11:05 AM)

He compares well, but because he is "old" he'll be unfairly overlooked and pushed aside by those that only want the young studs. But Ichiro could hit near .300 with 10 home runs and steal 35-plus bases. Are we expecting any of these guys to do more than that? Ichiro is going in round 18, and that is a bargain.

Brian (Boston, MA)

Would you take Cespedes in the 5th/6th rd of a 10 team mixed points league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:06 AM)

That seems reasonable, sure. Good power guy, runs a bit, has more growth.

Matt (NJ)

Hey Eric...pick the 2 best keepers for the next 3 years: Pedroia, Price, Bruce, Hamels, Zimmerman?

Eric Karabell
  (11:06 AM)

I'd go Pedroia and Bruce, personally. All are good keepers, but I still lean hitters over pitchers.

Jeff (MI)

1st yr keeper...was offered J.Shields for M.Harvey...keep 5 and i dont think Harvey would make the cut barring a great season...i accepted...agree or disagree? figure shields helps me more this year.

Eric Karabell
  (11:07 AM)

Yeah, Shields is probably safer for 2013, but even there, his career numbers outside of domes does concern me some. But it's hard to know what Harvey will do over 200 innings, if the Mets let him do that. But after this season...I'd want Harvey.

Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco)

Do you see me being a top candidate for NL Cy Young this season?

Eric Karabell
  (11:08 AM)

I picked him last year and that didn't go so well. I think he's among the group of contenders again, certainly. No reason for concern.

Domonic Brown (Philly)

Being the resident Phillies fan, do you see me FINALLY putting all the tools together & breaking out this season? I've been raking so far during Spring Training...Thanks EK!

Eric Karabell
  (11:10 AM)

Well, I like what I have seen from Dom and expect 500 at-bats. I don't think he's gonna win the MVP award, but cautiously hoping for 15 homers, 75 RBI, .275, maybe 10 steals. Man, we'd all take that. And for those that think this is just Phillies bias, Keith Law led his Tuesday breakouts article with Brown.

Matt (Saratoga Springs, NY)

It is known that you LOVE Ruggiano. Can you give a brief description on why?

Eric Karabell
  (11:12 AM)

Strong words, but he was the subject of the first Sleeper Week blog entry because he has strong fantasy skills (HR, SB, a job) and is undervalued. Again, it's about value. I don't think he goes 30/30 or hits .300. I think he can easily reach the projections of .270 with 15 homers and 15 steals. He's a 20/20 guy and for those that dislike him for batting average risk, because his BABIP was over .400, don't run so fast. He had high BABIPs all through the minors. A sleeper, not a guy to build around.

Jim (Newark, DE)

Do you recommend picking up Matt Carpenter now that he's been named the starting second baseman?

Eric Karabell
  (11:13 AM)

And he was the second blog entry of the week on sleepers! Yes, he has nice value as a .300 hitting, 15-homer guy that should add second base eligibility by mid-April. Not a top-10 second baseman but I know many of you play in far deeper leagues than 10-team standard, as do I.

Stevie Ray (Tempe)

Thoughts on I.Kinsler this year? Has he begun his decline or do you envision a return to his earlier production levels?

Eric Karabell
  (11:14 AM)

I don't think he's declining yet, but I could see a guy like him hitting a statistical wall at a younger age than most because of his style of play. It's hard to steal bases. The guys that thrive at it always talk about the toll it takes on a body. But a 25/25 season in 2013 is hardly out of the question. We project close to that.

Rob (Philly)

With Ortiz's injury lingering - when would you draft him?

Eric Karabell
  (11:15 AM)

Certainly I would have taken Ortiz earlier - in my top 100 - had he been 100 percent healthy. Have some concerns, but he's slipping so far he's a better value pick, too. I don't expect more than 130 games this season though.

George (Jersey)

Any chance Beltran gets traded leaving an opening for Taveras?

Eric Karabell
  (11:16 AM)

The Cardinals have a team that can win it all. I don't know why they'd move a guy that hit 32 home runs.

HanRam's Thumb (L.A.)

How worried are you about HanRam's thumb he injured during the WBC Final last night? Should his owners start to get worried & begin to scramble for a replacement?

Eric Karabell
  (11:17 AM)

I don't think this is the same as Chase Headley's situation, so as of now, no worries at all. Still borderline second rounder for me, likely in the third.

Leo (MA)

With the lingering affects of a concussion on Stephen Drew, is Iglesias worth taking a shot on?

Eric Karabell
  (11:18 AM)

I don't think he can hit enough to warrant attention for fantasy owners. He might run a bit, but shortstop isn't as scarce as people think. Even in AL-only, the statistical upside is low.

Jeff (Philly)

What round would you consider drafting Granderson in a 10-team mixed head-to-head league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:19 AM)

Maybe round 13 or 14, so I doubt he'd last to me. People think he'll simply do his thing when he returns from injury. Doesn't always work that way with wrist injuries, and this is a guy I was avoiding anyway because of the batting average. Not like he's stealing many bases anymore. Plus, while stashing players away is wise, I like pitchers on my bench in h2h formats to take advantage of multi-start options for the week.

Jim [via mobile]

Still no suspension concerns on Braun despite Quinn's report?

Eric Karabell
  (11:20 AM)

Nope, not yet. I get the same question 10 times a day and I just don't see it. Baseball isn't a normal process.

Evan (Concord)

How do the Karabell tea leaves on Chapman read? Ardolis wants to close. Dusty seems to want him to close. He'd easily be a top 3 Closer. What's the hold up?

Eric Karabell
  (11:21 AM)

I ranked Chapman as a closer all along, thinking it would be the Reds that caved in. Instead, it's the pitcher. None of this surprises me though. It's clearly more valuable for the Reds to try to use him for 200 innings rather than 70 - there is NO argument the other way, sorry - but most managers don't see things that way. I see a top-5 closer.

Billy (NYC)

How worried are you that Lawrie is officially becoming injury prone? And that he may start the season on the DL?

Eric Karabell
  (11:22 AM)

I think it's still premature to assume he's brittle, but I admit it's not looking great. Don't give up yet.

Bob (Florida)

Do you see Morse hitting 25 Hrs this year? I know he doesn't play great defense, but .285 25 Hr and 100 RBI seems to be obtainable?

Eric Karabell
  (11:23 AM)

I spoke to Morse about eight hours ago actually about his return to the Mariners and his expectations. I'm convinced his power is legit and he's relatively safe in batting average, too (and it's not because I talked to him. I like plenty of players I won't get to talk to!) The numbers you quote are reasonable, yes.

Andy [via mobile]

Why doesn't josh willingham get more love? What do you expect from him?

Eric Karabell
  (11:24 AM)

I laugh when I see Willingham out of the top 100 in ADP and going multiple rounds after Mark Trumbo, for example. I expect another 30-100 campaign.

Jim (Boston)

Can CC be the ace of my staff?

Eric Karabell
  (11:25 AM)

A fantasy team doesn't need an ace - whatever the term actually means - to win. If CC is your best pitcher, you're fine if you've surrounded him with enough depth. "Ace" doesn't mean anything.

Fred (NY, NY)

With only minor consideration regarding Melky Cabrera's recent comments on his "workout habits", do you see him having a big year in toronto? I know the power won't improve much but playing in that ballpark and with that lineup can't hurt his run/rbi totals right?

Eric Karabell
  (11:26 AM)

I think he's being a bit overdrafted, not because of any of the off-field stuff (he won't be suspended, either) but because I don't expect big totals in home runs and steals. But he'll play a ton, hit for average (which is underrated) and score a lot.

Dee (Va)

Should I draft two outfielders with the 10 and 11 picks in a 10 team league causing the other owners to reach or should I draft the best available?

Eric Karabell
  (11:27 AM)

I never worry about what others might draft. Take what you want, and that early go best available.

Don (Boston)

Am I crazy for keeping Keppinger for $10 in an AL -only 12 team keeper league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:28 AM)

It seems like too much money, since he's not a power or speed guy. Even in a deep format, I'd let him go. Batting average safe, yes, but tough to earn $10.

Machado (BAL)

No one really expects me to take off this year. I may be 20 but I can hit 25+hrs, steal 10, and possibly be ss and 3b eligible. What's not to like?

Eric Karabell
  (11:29 AM)

I think what's not to like is the risk that he is too young and raw to come close to that. He has upside. As of now I'd say fewer than 20 home runs and he's not seeing time at short with J.J. Hardy healthy.

Abraham (Trenton)

What is the weakest position this year, in your opinion? I'd say it is either closer or second base? Agree or disagree

Eric Karabell
  (11:30 AM)

It's definitely not closer. There are 30 of them, for sure! And 10 others that you can reasonably assume will get saves. It's middle infield, but don't overrate it. It's not weak. There is enough talent for any fantasy league.

Rob (Philly)

Are you waiting on C's in a 10 team mix format, or if the value is right, you'd go after a Mauer or Molina type?

Eric Karabell
  (11:31 AM)

In a 10-team league with one catcher, I won't take those guys. I'll wait until round 20 when it's me and one other team that doesn't have a catcher. I see more than 10 reasonable starting fantasy catchers, so why take one early? Sal Perez or Montero (either one) or Lucroy will be there late.

Todd (Montreal)

De Aza or Eaton? 10 team mixed, h2h.

Eric Karabell
  (11:32 AM)

De Aza has done it already, so him. But Eaton will do it. Just a bit more risk.

Bill (Missouri)

Why is everyone so down on Chris Carter's OBP at ESPN? he has a .370 career OBP in the minors and got on base at a .350 clip in his only major league season with consistant AB's

Eric Karabell
  (11:34 AM)

I don't speak for others, but I'm not particularly worried about Carter. Seems like a safe bet for 20 home runs and multiple eligibility. Shouldn't hit for average, but will take some walks.

Bubbles Da Chimp (Boston, MA)

Do you like Rizzo better than Hosmer or Davis this year only? I can get him at the back end of the 8th round and I have not yet taken a 1B.

Eric Karabell
  (11:34 AM)

I do like Rizzo more than those guys, and that seems like a wise spot to select him.

Rob (Philly)

What are the chances Starling Marte wins NL ROY?

Eric Karabell
  (11:35 AM)

No chance since he is not eligible. I see a 12-homer, 25-steal guy eventually, but low batting average.

Brian (Boston, MA)

What do you expect from BJ Upton with his new team?

Eric Karabell
  (11:36 AM)

Pretty much what he always does, 20 homers, 35 steals, low batting average. Playing with his brother should be fun, but I don't see it resulting in a career year. These are his skills.

MeisterNJ (Mendham)

Moustakas or Machado for your last keeper in a 10 tm roto league? We keep 15 with 27 man rosters.

Eric Karabell
  (11:36 AM)

Definitely Machado. Far more upside. Nothing against Moose, but I don't see a surefire 30-homer guy.

Todd (Montreal)

Jason Grili, seems like a sleeper good closer for Pitt. Like Hanrahan a few years ago and now he's in the top ten... Seems right? Always a few of these closers come out of the woodwork each year.

Eric Karabell
  (11:37 AM)

Grilli isn't a sure thing, though. Everyone just assumes he thrives now, but I see a rejuvenated Mark Melancon having as good a year overall, if not better, and taking some saves. Grilli is not like Hanrahan. Doesn't throw as hard.

rich (dallas)

What about a 2 C league? How does that change your approach?

Eric Karabell
  (11:38 AM)

Far more likely to get a catcher in the rounds 10-14 range there, but still won't jump at Posey in the top 20. More likely to get a Lucroy-Montero combo that way, or one of the top 15 catchers and then take a shot on a Tyler Flowers later.

Randall (East Coast)

Is Billy Hamilton worth drafting this year in a non-keeper league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:39 AM)

I don't think so. He can't steal playing time if there's a manager in play that loves his veterans.

Loghan (CT)

Do you think Profar will stick with the club or did I made a mistake grabbing profar and machado with the 7th-8th rd in my keeper league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:40 AM)

I don't think it's a mistake yet. But I don't see Profar making the team. Don't drop him, be patient. Trout didn't debut in 2012 until the final days of April. That turned out ok, right?

Brian (Spokane)

EK, I tend to lineup with your rankings more than others on ESPN. If you come out of the first three rounds with two top OF and 2B. Where do you go in round 4? Another top OF or Pitcher? 6x5 league, OPS is extra cat

Eric Karabell
  (11:41 AM)

I never go into a draft assigning positional requirements to rounds. I'm likely going offense with 8 or 9 of my first 10 rounds, especially if OPS is the extra category, but I'm likely going best available all along with the bats.

Mark (Indiana)

Who would you rather have in a OBP roto dynasty league? Moustakas or Headley?

Eric Karabell
  (11:41 AM)

Still Headley. He's not out that long. Still a fantastic player and not that old.

Mark (Indiana)

Is giving up McCutchen for Bautista, Desmond Jennings and Moustakas too much in a 11 team OBP roto dynasty league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:42 AM)

Sounds ok if you need the depth. I generally try to get the best player in a deal, but not knowing your specifics, it's a proper return.

Mike G (NYC)

Any thoughts on Wellington Castillo making an impact in the fantasy realm in 2013?

Eric Karabell
  (11:43 AM)

I could see double digit home runs, but he's not in my top 20 at the catcher spot. The position is not nearly as weak as believed. I'd rather have Flowers, who isn't top 20 in ADP but is for me.

Josh (MD)

How many steals do you think Paul Goldschmidt will have this year? Does he have Top-5 1B potential?

Eric Karabell
  (11:46 AM)

He does have that potential, but in most cases the stolen base potential is basically just his whim of what he feels like doing. He's not a fast guy. Remember the year Lance Berkman just decided to run? Wouldn't surprise me if Goldschmidt stole 5 bases. Or 20. No way to know, but don't expect a lot.

Erasmo Ramirez (Seattle)

Do you think I get a rotation spot when the M's break camp? Am I worth owners taking a late rd flier in standard leagues?

Eric Karabell
  (11:47 AM)

Should win a spot, but no, far off the radar in shallow leagues like that. There are so many pitchers with promise, he's not in my top 75.

John (NY)

What are you expecting from carlos gomez this year if he starts everyday?

Eric Karabell
  (11:48 AM)

Low batting average, lot of steals, fewer home runs than last year. Still a worthy player, but that power was unexpected. Chances are pretty good he won't be on my teams.

Juan (Miami)

Any chance we see Yelich in the majors this season? Kid seems legit.

Eric Karabell
  (11:49 AM)

Expect we will see him, but not in April. Marlins aren't contenders, they can be patient and should.

Jim (Boston)

Josh Rutledge or Matt Carpenter? Who ya got?

Eric Karabell
  (11:50 AM)

Rutledge has more fantasy upside, of course, but with his walk rate is no lock to hold a job. I won't be getting Rutledge in any leagues, I'm sure of it. Carpenter isn't 10-team worthy yet.

Nate (NYC)

I was offered asdrubal and neise for wainwright or latos. would you take it? i need extra speed plus i have tulo so a bit insurance wouldn't hurt...should i ask for more?

Eric Karabell
  (11:51 AM)

I like Niese, and there's nothing wrong with Asdrubal. I'd do Latos for that duo for sure. Wainwright I'd keep.

Slim (Everett)

K.Seager seems underrated to me this year considering he's still young and coming off a 20/80 season and is both 2b/3b elig. Where would he rank for you at 2nd?

Eric Karabell
  (11:53 AM)

Top 10 with 2B eligibility. Looks like Seager will hit fifth, after Morales and Morse. Nice spot for him, and he runs a bit. All Mariners after Felix are essentially being overlooked.

Bill (MA)

Some late round flyers on closers for those of us who refuse to draft any until the end?

Eric Karabell
  (11:54 AM)

Cishek, Perkins, League, Parnell jump out to me as overlooked in every league. And I think I'm about to assume Santos in Toronto has a shot. Fujikawa in Chicago as well, though perhaps not in April.

j (Boston)

when do players start getting officially listed on the DL? thinking Beachy, in particular

Eric Karabell
  (11:55 AM)

Ah yes, this happens every March. Teams can wait until setting rosters the weekend before the season, so be patient! Not much fantasy owners can do about it.

Eric (FTC)

How would you rank these guys for our supplemental rounds? Ruggiano, Gyorko, Matt Carpenter, Pierre. Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (11:56 AM)

Pierre is a 40-steal guy and pretty safe, so I'd choose him first, depending on the makeup and needs of your team. Ruggiano is not as sure a thing. Gyorko and Carpenter aren't sure things at all. So I would rank Pierre, Ruggiano, Gyorko and Carpenter in that order. I like Ruggiano, but people think that means he's a 9th rounder for me. Let's be realistic!

Brian (WA)

When you say you avoid low BA players, what is too low?

Eric Karabell
  (11:57 AM)

When you know Granderson isn't going to hit .250, that's a problem. Doesn't mean Adam Dunn-low, but I'd rather have Melky when he hits .300 and add the power elsewhere.

Dave (Boston)

EK, do you predict Rosenthal will eventually outdo Miller or Kelly this year and become a starter?

Eric Karabell
  (11:57 AM)

I predict Rosenthal is a full-time reliever this season, dominates in the role, usurps the eighth inning from Boggs, steals maybe 5 saves from Motte, and next year like Wainwright is a terrific starter.

Willin Rosario (Colorado)

Am I a real deal? or will I get into sophomore slump?

Eric Karabell
  (11:58 AM)

Big power, but big problems behind the plate that will cost him playing time, and that batting will drop. Not Arencibia low, but .250?

Rob (Frankfort, IL)

Thoughts on Headley???

Eric Karabell
  (11:58 AM)

Injuries make people panic. He'll drop in leagues the next 2 weeks and become undervalued.

Wil Myers (Tampa, FL)

Given a "patient" Rays front office, when am I getting called up? I've done everything I can in AAA, right?

Eric Karabell
  (11:59 AM)

Not for that organization he hasn't. June at least. Rays are a smart team and Myers can still improve in certain areas.

jason (dc)

does beltran repeat last years numbers?

Eric Karabell
  (11:59 AM)

I think so. But he's not 25, so a lot of others don't!

Nate (NYC)

better stash - shelby miller or liriano?

Eric Karabell
  (12:00 PM)


Eric Karabell
  (12:01 PM)

OK, thanks to everyone that made this a fun chat session. Lots of questions today, which is awesome. Enjoy your drafts and try out a mock or two to get you ready... it's just good practice. I'm going to get my day rolling here in Arizona and watch some baseball! Doesn't get much better! Enjoy!