Ask the Experts chat transcript

by Tim Heaney on March 4, 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!


hi 14 team al/nl keepers league (6 keepers allowed) (24 players total - positions plus one utl, 7 pitchers 8 bench i have papelbon at 8, chamberlain at 9, wainright at 7, lowe at 14 justin upton at 16, lowrie at 23 brignac at 21, sanchez at 20 gardner at 13 - who would think are the best 6 to keep? oh and it is a snake draft and I have the first pickt his year cheers brian

Hi, Brian! Welcome everyone!

Justin Upton is a definite. I think we see him move closer to his potential this year. Usually I wouldn't say to keep pitchers, but I would hang onto Joba (despite the health risk, the upside is immense, especially at that price) and Wainwright (one of my favorites for this year and beyond). That's three.

Now, can you receive picks in exchange if you don't keep all six players? If so, I might try that route. If not, you're talking a lot of risk/underperformance to keep on your team.

Gardner might not even start this year - great for steals, but what else?

Brignac is blocked by Jason Bartlett, and he hasn't really shown the offensive promise he, well, promised.

Lowrie is intriguing since that wrist injury sapped his power a bit last night.

Lowe is steady as they come.

Which Sanchez do you mean? Feel free to ask another question to clarify.

Paps is probably the only closer I'd want to keep this year, and even that is a stretch. I usually wouldn't advise keeping stoppers given the volatility at the position, though. In this case, I'd make him the fourth.

In summary, Upton, Joba, Wainwright, Paps - and if you need to keep two more, I would say Lowe and Lowrie, reluctantly - unless you clarify which Sanchez you're talking about. Still, I can't think of one off the top of my head worth hanging on to.


Jeff Samardzjia of the Cubs...what are his chances of starting and is he worth taking a chance on?

Jake, I think the Cubs are pushing for him or Aaron Heilman to win that last rotation spot. Still, I see my former favorite Notre Dame WR winding up as the seventh-inning reliever. I'm definitely targeting him in deep NL-only setups given the value placed on setup men. He has good strikeout potential if he can rein in his shaky control. If it's a deep mixed draft (25-plus picks) and you're looking for K's, I wouldn't blame you for taking him if he meets your needs/plan. Why not?


What are the chances that Ryan Ludwick comes up big like he did last year...what are you projecting for him this year and where would you be taking him?

Look for Ludwick's batting average to normalize, considering he hasn't necessarily established an MLB BABIP pattern yet. I still think he has the raw power, though, there's no question there. Around, say, the ninth round of deep leagues as a No. 3 outfielder would be the soonest I'd take him if I skirted power. If not, I might let someone else take him if they're willing to grab him earlier. It's not a huge loss given the risk involved, and outfield remains deep in potential power. Someone like Jermaine Dye could fly under your league's radar - if so, take advantage; he's more proven.


What do you see as the overall fantasy value of Manny staying in LA? How does it affect Manny and the guys around him?

Mick, Manny is so intriguing this year. I think Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier's values are definitely helped. They'll probably have the most positive aspects resulting from this. Of course, Juan Pierre will take a hit, unless they decide to platoon him and Ethier, which I can't see happening.

Back to the subject at hand, Man-Ram is risky. He has his money now. Will he still put forth an effort? I'm not doubting his talent, and he's one of the best - if not THE best - hitters I've ever seen. As a Yankees fan, I know how Manny's head works. If he's cranky, or his knee is slightly bothering him, or if he doesn't get the tickets he wants, look out. You're going to suffer. His performance and legs have been in slight decline in recent years, anyway, and he will probably miss some time to injury.

Talent is one thing, but attitude can sometimes overshadow skill. Here's how I'd handle him: I would wait through the first three rounds to establish a more stable offense. If Manny somehow lasts until after that, then jump on him. If someone's willing to grab him in the second round, let him go and grab someone with less questions.

Joe Fernald

Justin Verlander? I play in a 5 x 5 with innings as a category rather than K's. I have Verlander at $21. Should I keep him or throw him back and spend the $21 on someone else?

Joe, KFFL was big on Verlander in '08, and of course, you know what happened. That drop in velocity last year is definitely worrisome, and he had a horrible finish to the season. Still, I just don't think he is unable to repeat 2006 and 2007, especially since he's only 26 years old.

Is your league mixed or AL-only? If mixed, I might say throw him back, but he should help you with innings. I'd lean toward letting him go in mixed just because of the price. If someone is willing to spend 22 on him, then you took money off the board and now have other options to work with.

In AL-only, however, I'd say hang onto him just because of the upside factor; in a limited single-universe pitching pool, not many people that will be thrown back have as much potential as he does. Of course, keep in mind, if you can only keep a limited amount, evaluate your offense before deciding to keep a pitcher.


I have Jonathan Broxton at $7 and Brian Fuentes at $10, who would you keep?

Hmmm, I would normally say neither if you are able to keep bats instead. Still, I'd say Broxton. Fuentes has less stability (Arredondo and Shields will probably pilfer some saves even if he retains the job throughout the season). Don't count on a repeat of K-Rod's abundant 2008 save chances, though they should once again be among the league leaders. (I have this worry a bit about lefty closers, too, since the majority of bats are right-handed, but anyway....)

Broxton is still working through some control issues, but he will help you in the K's department more than Fuentes for the future. He has less competition and has better raw stuff. Plus, you have him locked in at a cheaper price. Don't hesitate to send Fuentes into the draft pool and let someone else overvalue him.


Everyone in my league is really down on Carlos Gomez, thoughts on him?

Late-round steals specialist in deep leagues. If plate skills resembled school progression, I would put his at pre-K. Still, his speed all but guarantees him a spot in that messy Twins OF. If you are aching for stolen bags late, I don't have a problem with you taking him, as long as you balance the deep parts of your offense out first.


Looking to cover my 1B need with pick #12 in Rd 1 (12 team league). Possible choices - Berkman, Morneau or Youklis? How do you rate them? ( I have C. Lee and Aramis Ramirez as keepers already).

Curt, I'm a huge Morneau fan. His run production potential and the state of his career make him better in my eyes than Youk and Berkman. The Canadian's batting eye is increasing, and he's just a professional hitter.

I see Berkman faltering a bit. His line-drive rates have been falling, and an addition to his value from last year came from 18 stolen bases - where did THAT come from? I think Youk is growing, but I see his power coming to a bit of a plateau - a one- or two-homer improvement, at best. A core of Morneau, Lee and A-Ram is imposing.


Do you think that Nelson Cruz can get 500 at bats this year?

That's becoming a bit less likely now that Andruw Jones is in Texas. I wouldn't be on him topping that, if anything. Cruz is finally coming into his own, and I think 25 HRs is very possible this year. Andruw, though, still has something left, I think. I'm not saying he's the 41-homer version from 2006, but 15 HRs isn't out of the question with enough time. That park is great for him.

Remember, Texas still has David Murphy, too, who had a nice year before he finally came back to earth and suffered an injury. Texas enjoys having him in the lineup, too.

I would probably make Cruz a No. 5 outfielder in mixed leagues. Someone will probably overvalue him, so let that happen if it will cost you too much.


Hi, I'm in a 14 team AL/NL roto 5x5 keeper league. We can keep 10 must keep 5. I can keep A. Gonzalez for $20. or I'm thinking of trading D.Wright $31 for M. Kemp $19 & M. Jacobs $5. I just feel making salary room with the two for one then drop Gonzalez might be alright

I love Matt Kemp's potential, and I think he's due to break out.

On the other hand, I think $31 is a fantastic keeper price in a mixed league for David Wright. He should easily outperform that. Sometimes you need to ignore cost cutting and recognize the value you have for a top-flight player. A-Gon for 20 is also a nice price. I think Jacobs is a masher, but I don't know how much he can improve, especially with that lineup he's in.

Frankly, I'd keep both studs you already have - great anchors at corner infield. You can find outfielders and one-dimensional first basemen anywhere.


Looking to cover my 1B need with pick #12 in Rd 1 (12 team league). Possible choices - Berkman, Morneau or Youklis (may not be available)? How do you rate them? I already have C. Lee and Aramis Ramirez as keepers.

Curt, to expand on your question, if Morneau isn't there for you, I'd reluctantly say Berkman, just because he's more proven than Youk. Beware of the declining factors, though.

Thanks for the questions, everyone! My next chat will be Monday, Mar. 9, same bat time, same bat channel. After next week, I'll be back to Wednesdays on the 18th.

Stay tuned for FantasyPros911's Paul Greco 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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