Ask the Experts chat transcript

by Tim Heaney on March 9, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT


Twice a week, KFFL fantasy baseball experts Nicholas Minnix (Mondays, 12 p.m. EST, 9 a.m. PST) and Tim Heaney (Wednesdays, 12 p.m. EST, 9 a.m. PST) chat live with fantasy baseball players to answer their most pressing questions.

Go to the Ask the Experts Landing Page to access these exciting chats and have your questions answered by Heaney, Minnix and the rest of the best in the industry!


I grabbed Mike Jacobs in several leagues, figuring he's good for a BA rebound and about 30 HRs. Buyer's remorse is starting to set in...some sites say that Jacobs is a platoon guy at best (with Ryan Shealy) and that he may soon lose the job to Kila Kaalhue. Should I be overky concerned or will Jacobs get 500+ ABs in 2009?

Good morning, everyone! Sorry I'm a bit late - Ervin Santana breaking news to tend to that we'll probably talk about in a bit.

Brian, your buyer's remorse would depend on how high you drafted/how much you paid for Jacobs. He'll start and play a lot - that's why they acquired him. They needed his raw power bat. I still think Jacobs is a great late-round source of power, but I'd be careful of overvaluing him as something more; I don't see his average or runs total helping you much this year.

They wouldn't keep him on roster if they were giving the job to someone else; he'll catch on somewhere either as a 1B or DH. Kila Ka'aihue is interesting, but I would picture them moreso splitting him with Billy Butler in a DH platoon more than I would be of him taking much time away from Jacobs' ABs. It's safe to assume 500 ABs for Jacobs at the moment.


What are your thoughts on John Lackey? How many innings do you expect from him?

Eric, Lackey is probably one of the most underrated pitchers in fantasy baseball. KFFL values his consistency - remember, he missed more than a month with an elbow injury, so that ate into his performance more than a natural drop-off.

The best part about him this year is that you can probably grab him for a much cheaper price than you could in the past. He had three straight years of 200-plus frames before last year, so I would expect him to approach that again. I'm a bit worried by his K rate decline, but I still see him as a great No. 2 fantasy starter.


Chris Davis seems to have potential, but there is always risk drafting a person without a proven record. I see him going 5-6 round in some mock drafts now and I'm afraid that could be a little steep. What are you projecting?

Nice observation, Chris. I have to agree with your assessment of his current draft spot. We rave about his freakish power at KFFL home base, and I think he has 40-homer potential within the next few seasons. He's a pure line-drive hitter even when he doesn't leave the yard. And of course, he's in a great park to develop his skills.

Still, I'm not banking on 40 homers this year - his contact rate was nauseating in his 2008 stint, and he strikes out more than yours truly at a San Diego bar. Since he's not going to have elite totals in runs or batting average, you're pretty much pigeonholing yourself for 40 Davis homers if you're taking him that soon - not a safe bet.

If he somehow slips into, say, Round 8, that would be a nice time to take him. Problem is, that probably won't happen, so plan not to own him if your other draftmates are willing to reach.


Where does one draft Matt Wieters in a dynasty redraft that will keep 4 next year? Do you think he'd be keepable within a top 4 keeper list and warrant an early pick this year (within the top 75?)

The Wieters Debate wears on. Ryan, keeping a catcher of his promise is always a tempting thought. It truly depends on if you're playing for this year - and in a league where you keep only four players, I hope you're not giving up already.

I would lean toward no - you can give your keeper spots to other players who have been safer sources of production. This is another case of prospect inflation - everyone needs to have the hip player on their team. I recently saw him play in a spring game against the Nationals, and I saw flashes of the great scouting reports.

That being said, I'm not being sucked in and giving up on a more proven player so I can be the guy who has Wieters. I'd rather win than be the popular guy at a draft.


Can you give me a few sleeper Catchers?

Of course, TK!

Many people are down on Bengie Molina as I've seen him fall several times this year. Sure, he's old, but he's hitting cleanup in the Giants order. He still has very nice contact rates. I'm not saying he'll have the season he had last year, but I'm willing to find out at the average ADP of 173 (Mock Draft Central).

Jorge Posada is also dropping based on his injury last year. Like Molina, this is a buy-low opportunity more than anything. I expect even better things from Chris Iannetta this year (I was high on him last year, too, before he broke out), but obviously everyone has caught on to him and reaching for him a bit.

It's hard not to think there's some value still left in Ramon Hernandez. Professional hitter in a fresh start at a great hitters' ballpark - yes, even better than Camden Yards, obviously, the GABP.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia makes for a nice No. 2. Sure, he's battling with Taylor Teagarden and MAx Ramirez, but he had a hot winter ball performance and he's worth using your last pick on if you wait too long for the position.


I've got a keeper dilemma. It's a 5X5 Roto, 10 teams, and I get 5 keepers. I've got Arod and Johan Santana, but after that it seems kind of wide open to me - Quentin, Morneau, Rios, Victorino, Ichiro, Mauer, Ethier. None of them seem like slam dunks to me. What's your inclination for the last 3 guys? As extra background, I also have Justin Upton and Cameron Maybin in the minors, who will be kept as well.

Thanks for the question, Aaron!

After A-Rod and Johan, I would lean toward Morneau, Mauer and your preference of Rios/Quentin. Morneau and Mauer would give you cornerstones at those positions. I'm a huge fan of Morneau's run production, and if he hits 30 HRs, he's a top-15 player. Mauer gives your BA instant credibility, and he's one of the Catcher Trinity (Mauer, McCann, Martin) that makes you buck the trend of not keeping a backstop.

Now, the debate is essentially between Rios and Quentin. Quentin's wrist injury causes some concern, since he has an injury history and only truly broke out last year. Still, it was a great display.

Rios, as everyone knows, has been a 30-30 tease for several years, but he had great flyball growth in the second half of last year, which means that 25-homer power could be on its way.

I want my keeper core to be healthy and consistent with some more upside left in their game. Don't get me wrong - Quentin is a promising talent, but we've seen Rios do what you expect him to do before. If you want to go all out for risk/reward, go with Quentin - he's obviously a safer bet for raw power. Personally, I would lean safer and go with Rios, the more versatile player who has already showed a hint of what's to come. A power growth makes him a top-20 player.


SP Scott Baker -MIN had a great 2008, but he did not perform that well in previous years. Is that just because it was a contract year for him? Can we expect more of the same performance/skills in 2009? I would draft him about the same round as Zack Grienke, Jared Weaver, & Javier Vazquez.

Nick, I would draft him ahead of everyone except for Vazquez, which would be a toss-up to some extent. But yes, the middle rounds are about right for him. You may see some people reaching for him.

I remain a big fan of Baker, especially since I like to shy away from taking too many pitchers early - he has great speculative skills for where you can draft him.

As for his contract year, this wasn't like an AJ Burnett-esque performance; Baker is still growing. His walk rate remains very low, and he pitches in a nice ballpark to contain opposing hitters. Still, his flyball rate saw a bit of a jump last year, and as low as his walk rate has been, it has been climbing a bit, too.

I wouldn't be too concerned with his skills this year. I wouldn't shy away from taking him where he normally goes.


Ervin Santana - what to do now that he's starting the year on the DL?

Randy - This is the price we all pay for taking pitchers too early. Another Santana elbow is causing concerns.

Much of his success last year came when he shortened his arsenal to incorporate his slider more often. He was being taken as a No. 1 in many circles, and we advocated the risk of that even before his injury came along.

Now, he's best as a No. 3 starter. I would even suggest to avoid him altogether this year - don't set yourself back by spending such an important pick on uncertainty.


What are your expectations from Gavin Floyd this year?

Pete: Mostly, a return to earth.

He was extremely lucky last year - a .268 BABIP, a 3.84 ERA compared to a nearly 5.00 FIP. For a pitcher who doesn't strike out that many batters and walks a bit more than average, he was very fortunate, in the mold of Joe Saunders. I certainly wouldn't count on 17 wins.

It seems as if many are catching on to the fluke, though, so I still think he's worth a flier as a No. 5 starter. He still has a nice arsenal when all is said and done.


Tim, Who are a couple of players you are looking to have breakout or bust seasons and are you supporting those with numbers or hunches?

Just snuck in, Clayton!

I see Curtis Granderson outperforming his draft stock. His power has been teetering on 25 HRs in the last two years - I think he can pass that this year. His percentage of flyballs that left the yard increased last year, and I see that continuing to blossom.

Robinson Cano should bounce back. His poor April destroyed his average single-handedly. He hit .297 outside of that month.

I see Delmon Young approaching 20-20. He focused on an inside-out swing last year that restricted much of his power growth. He hit seven ding-dongs in the second half, and I think there's something to build on there, especially for the cheap price at which he's going this draft season.

Busts - A.J. Burnett ,just mainly because he's being taken as a No. 2 fantasy starter. I still think he has immense talent, but he's a bit overvalued.

Alexei Ramirez - it's hard seeing him succeed at that level again with the batting eye ratio . I'm not paying that much to find out if he can do it again.

I see Ryan Ludwick falling off in average - he had a high BABIP last year, and he hasn't established much of a MLB precedent in that category. The power is real, though.

That's all for today, everyone! Thanks for the questions!

I'll be moving back to Wednesday (3/18) next week, same time. Nicholas Minnix will be on this Wednesday at my normal time of noon EST.

Stay tuned for Baseball HQ's Jock Thompson at 6 p.m. EST!

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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