Ask the Experts chat transcript

by Tim Heaney on February 11, 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 Tim, Thanks for the chat. Given position scarcity, talent, etc. would you rather have Brandon Phillips or Alex Rios for 2009 only?

Good afternoon East Coast/good morning West Coast. Thanks for the good question, Jim.

Second base is shallow but not barren (Cano as a bounceback in the mids), and outfield, as always, is pretty deep with talent spread almost evenly through its tiers. Phillips is a great 30-30 talent, but his batting eye worries me in that expecting .300 is wishful thinking. Rios is a 30-30 talent that has been the Tantalus of the fantasy baseball world. He had a great second-half power growth last season.

In my mocks, I have tried to fill out an infield early if the value presents itself given the numerous upside outfielders available late. On average, Phillips goes about one round before Rios, but I view them as players with similar risks - Rios with the homer growth and Phillips with the worrisome discipline. All positions being equal, I'd go with Rios because he's cheaper than last year, but in serpentine formats I would say Phillips, especially if he falls to the middle or late third round.

B. in Dallas

If Abreu ends up finalizing his deal with the Angels how should his numbers end up looking compared to what he did last year with the Yankess. And, who on the Angels takes the biggest hit in their projections because of the arrival of Abreus.

Well, hopefully you're not looking for 25 homers, even though his power has rebounded in the last two years. Abreu is still a very patient, disciplined hitter, but he doesn't have that short porch to help him out. He's a pure No. 3 hitter, though, and the Angels love to run - I could see 20 steals again despite his declining speed just because they tear up the basepaths. He can still drive in runs and is an above-average line-drive hitter.

I expect the Halos to alternate Abreu between LF and RF to give Vlad a rest as a DH, but this hurts Juan Rivera's value most. We at KFFL liked him as a deep sleeper this year mainly because of PT and his raw power, but now we can't fully back that designation in mixed leagues.


Who's your sleeper pick at second base this year?

I'll give you two: Mixed sleeper - Rickie Weeks. How the mightily drafted have fallen. He finally offers proper value this year, not the top-100 status he had in 2008 draft season. Don't count on .260, but he's a potential 20-20 darling as a middle infielder that could put up 2B-slot numbers.

My cavernous sleeper is the Cubs' Mike Fontenot. Barring a trade for B-Rob, I see Fontenot being a dangerous part-time player who could eventually win that job. Aaron Miles is uninspiring, and Fontenot gives Louuuu another lefty bat (he was craving them last year). Fontenot and Theriot were teammates at LSU, so he'd be comfortable lining up next to him.

Also, there's the line Fontenot put up in limited duty last year (.305-9-40 in 243 ABs).


What's your take on Brian Wilson this year?

His ratios scare me. He'll help in saves and K's, but he needs to harness his control before I take him as anything more than a No. 3 closer. He probably won't fall that far, so let someone else worry about him.


Brandon Lyon: Closer for the full season in Motown?

Gut answer says no, just because they have so many options. Lyon's problem was in non-save situations last year (5.20 ERA), and the Tigs have plenty of options (stable? probably not) for the middle and setup innings. I can see Rodney pilfering a bunch of saves, and they'll probably give Zumaya a shot if only to justify his presence. A mega-sleeper is Ryan Perry, who will be closing at Double-A to start '08.

You can most likely draft Lyon late/cheap. Like the Cards' bullpen, this is a situation in which to leave your investments for the late rounds.

Francisco Rodriguez

Can I approach 62 saves again?

J.J. Putz won't single-handedly fix the Mets 'pen, but I can see 50 again if the Mets rotation pans out. Your peripherals have been on the decline for some time, Francisco, and frankly, your windup makes me cringe. You're still a young engine, but your mileage is already piling up. Hitters are getting to you more often and you keep your fans on their toes. Unless you fall to, say, the 7th or 8th, I'm probably staying away from you this year.


I'm in a deep NL-only keeper league that uses two C, five OFers, a CI and an MI. Keeping Aramis, Reyes, McLouth and Haren. Which should be my last? Kelly Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Brian Wilson, or Ankiel?

For upside, Nolasco sounds promising, but that's quite risky given his increased workload. Johnson is a stable 10-10 player, but he's nothing exciting. It's never wise to keep closers because they have such a huge turnover frequency. I would lean toward Ankiel, unfortunately - you know what you're getting with him. If you're in a league in which you can keep fewer than five players in exchange for draft picks, I would lean toward keeping only four. Otherwise, Ankiel for power stability.


What are your feeling on Elvis Andrus this year. I have him in my keeper league and am curious if he should be considered as full time SS this year or more like a middle infielder?

If it's a deep mixed keeper, most definitely as a middle infielder for his steals potential. The Rangers are bypassing his Triple-A stint, which worries me. If it's a full keeper team, he's good to stash, but if it's pre-draft in a limited keepers league I would try to find another option to freeze. He has a .275 career MiLB average - how much can he realistically improve in the majors in what should be his Triple-A year?

Thanks for stopping by! Keep pouring your questions in for the next expert pow-wow at 6 pm 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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