Ask the Experts chat transcript

by Tim Heaney on March 18, 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!


who's a better pick in the 3rd round, Nate McLouth or Alfonso Soriano, already have Ryan Braun and Dustin Pedroia.

Good morning/afternoon, everyone! Hope your heads aren't reminding you of St. Patty's Day!

Brett, Soriano is by far the safer choice there. Soriano might not be running as much as he has in the past, but he proved after he returned from injury last year that he still has his old power-speed game left. McLouth you can wait on or allow someone else to reach for him - I think he's a worthy pick in Round 5, at earliest.

Soriano is the more established version of McLouth, who might not have that much upside left after getting a late start in his MLB career.


What's your take on Ervin Santana, both for this year and as a keeper.

This year, I'm staying away unless you can snag him as a midrange No. 3 starter. He used his slider more last year, which helped him focus on his strengths.

As a keeper, I'm a bit more intrigued, but it depends on how many players you can keep overall. For a righty who has flashed potential but has also had iffy control throughout his early career, I wouldn't hang onto him if it were anything less than a 10-player keeper setup. Pitchers are inherently risky, anyway.


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 Greinke, Jered Weaver, & Javier Vazquez.

Adam, 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, at least until next year, when we'll see how the new park affects 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.


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, Karl. 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?)

Brian, if he falls to the middle rounds and he can be your second catcher, take the plunge. Otherwise, focus on more established players at more important decisions.

As I mention in KFFL's Top Five List "The Bad Touch," farm freaks often inflate the fantasy value of prospects because of name value. Like David Price, who actually has been taken at fair middle-round value for the most part in drafts I've seen, Wieters is being counted on for too much. I've gone away from the idea of drafting catchers early, anyway, just because in that case of positional scarcity, you're passing up values just to fill a position.

If there isn't anything inspiring, you take him. But in the top 75? I wouldn't do that, even in a keeper.


I've got a keeper dilemma. It's a 5X5 Roto, 10 teams, and I get 5 keepers. I've got Alex Rodriguez and Johan Santana, but after that it seems kind of wide open to me - Carlos Quentin, Justin Morneau, Alex Rios, Shane Victorino, Ichiro, Joe Mauer, Andre 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, Steve! I had a similar query last week, and I think I might be changing my mind on this one.

After A-Rod and Johan, I would lean toward Morneau, Ichiro and your preference of Rios/Quentin. Morneau gives you a cornerstone at first. I'm a huge fan of Morneau's run production, and if he hits 30 HRs, he's a top-15 player.

I said Mauer last week, but that was before news of his back problems really started to swell. If you're not afraid of the injury, I would substitute Mauer for Ichiro. Both give your BA instant credibility, though obviously Mauer is at the more scarce position. Ichiro helps two categories (BA and SB), though, which makes him the safer pick, especially if Mauer needs treatment/rest/surgery on his back. You don't want a catcher with a nagging back issue.

Now, addressing 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.


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

Welcome, J.J.! Let's start with some sleepers.

- 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. We're talking about a potential top-10 player if he can continue improvements in his batting eye.

- 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. This is his coming out party.

- Paul Konerko is due for a rebound, also. He had the worst BABIP in the majors last year and was battling oblique, hand and knee injuries throughout the season. He's a great value for a corner infielder this year.

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, so take him in the middle rounds if you've accounted for your offensive core already.

-Don't draft Matt Wieters as your starting catcher.


I drafted Andruw Jones Real Late but guys like Elijah Dukes, Justin Masterson And the 1b from SF Travis Ishikawa are availble should i drop jones or is there a chance he could come back

Derek, I personally would go with Dukes here. I think Andruw can't be as bad as last year, but Dukes actually represents what Jones used to be - a great athlete with a great power and speed combo. The Nats are probably going to give him every chance to succeed, even with his off-field problems. For a late outfielder, he's worth the risk.

Masterson's role is probably going to be as a long reliever - the Sox have so many starters that I would think injury would be his only way into the rotation. He's intriguing if he enters the rotation, but I don't see him as a pickup at this point unless you're desperate for ratio help.

Ishikawa is an intriguing pick - he's improving his offense. His playing has essentially been based on his glove at first. I still view him as a safer sim pick than a rotisserie/h2h pick.

I would ditch Andruw and grab Dukes as soon as possible.


I am holding Chris Ray we have no ned for Middle Men is he worth holding or dropping for Dukes, Masterson or Ishikawa 1b SF?

Ray might not be a middle man for long, Nick. George Sherrill is the closer in name for Baltimore, but O's manager Dave Trembley has said Ray would spell Sherrill on some save chances early on. We project Ray to eventually overtake Sherrill, who is essentially a left-handed specialist trapped in a closer's role.

As I've mentioned in the question asked by Derek, Dukes is a talent worth taking a shot on. Who are your other closers, Nick? If you think you have three solid options, I would consider ditching him for Dukes if you need the offensive help. Without seeing your team, though, I'd say hang onto Ray if pitching is where you're hurting. This is a chance to stash a potentially dominant, K-friendly closer.


I have a very decent 11 keeper list and am looking at Jimmy Rollins as my 12th keeper. he is a little high at 440 but there will be inflation and a shortage of quality ss available. There was some talk about him having a bad back. Is he too risky at this price?

What's your cap, Dave?

I would hang onto Rollins under almost any circumstance. You know what you're getting from him, as long as you don't count on his power from 2006 and 2007 - double-digit homers is pretty much a safe bet, though, and it's worth it as long as you compensate for power with your other keepers.

We saw last year that he can bounce back from injury - he put up a career high in SBs even after missing nearly 30 games.

He's a franchise fantasy player at a position with a sharp drop-off in talent tiers. Who are the rest of your keepers?


When can we expect to see Yu Darvish in the majors?

That's a question MLB GMs are asking, too, John. He hasn't seemed interested in coming here just yet.

He's 22 years old, but he's polished. I was impressed by what I saw in the WBC - he has a great frame for a pitcher, too.

It'll be a Dice-K situation all over again if he decides to come. The negotiating process is already a bit iffy regarding Japanese players - with the bid posting, etc. He doesn't need to enter fantasy discussions for awhile, though.


Sorry---Rollins is $40 with a cap of 260. My other keepers are Corey Hart, Rick Ankiel, Jay Bruce, Hunter Pence, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin, plus pitchers Yovani Gallardo, Brett Myers, Chad Billingsley, Heath Bell and Chris Perez. By my valuation I go into the draft with the best value. But I can keep just one from Rollins or Perez. Perez is just $10 but Rollins looks like the guy to hold onto.

Dave, that price may be above Rollins' value, but it's still a fairer assessment than keeping Perez at $10, especially since he isn't guaranteed the closer role. That situation could be ugly once again this year - Jason Motte, Ryan Franklin (I know he's unexciting, but he got the job done when needed last year) and Josh Kinney are among those challenging Perez.

I'm not a big fan of keeping closers in general, either, but if you have to keep a certain amount of each position, I understand hanging onto Bell because he has little competition there and he has had great seasons in the past. I wouldn't do it, but I see your rationale behind it.

Myers is a bit overvalued IMO, also. He needed an INCREDIBLE second half to save his 2008 season, and his peripherals have always made me nervous. If you remove his strikeouts, he's just another pitcher for me.

If there isn't a defined amount of keepers for hitters and pitchers, I would say hold on to more offensive guys and ditch the closers (and potentially Myers), unless the freezing pattern in your league tells you that closers probably won't be available in the draft pool.

But to answer your question, keeping Rollins over Perez makes perfect sense.


12 team Snake draft, mixed. Do you think Carl Crawford is due for a rebound? How high of a draft pick would you use on him?


Crawford has been a polarizing subject in fantasy for many years.

It's definitely plausible that his flyball rates will continue to climb, and he'll assure you'll be among the leaders in steals. He showed a nice batting eye improvement last year even after missing all that time.

I'd like to see the power show up before I consider taking him. If I had already built up elite power, I would go after him in the late third round - like Ichiro, that's proper value for him given his lack of pop.

That's all for me today, folks! Thanks for making me your hangover cure!

KFFL managing editor Nicholas Minnix (Monday, noon EST/9 a.m. PST) and I hope to see you again next week at our normal times as the draft rush approaches! We want to hear your last-minute questions before you go on the clock!

Stay tuned for FantasyPros911 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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