Ask the Experts chat transcript

by Tim Heaney on February 25, 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!


In a keeper league I am thinking about trading Vernon Wells at 8 for Jhonny Peralta at 6. Vernon's injury last year and then to start spring training scare me a little and if I make the trade I have Elvis Andrus as my middle infielder.

How's it going, Jason? Good afternoon/morning everyone!

Without knowing the rest of your team, I'll take a stab here. That's a good mixed salary for Wells, and KFFL had been plugging him as a value this year, but the injury certainly is scary, especially since that's two hamstring issues within the last calendar year. I'm among the crowd that thinks Peralta can still improve a bit long term. If you're willing to take the hit in average, I would lean toward making the deal.


What rookies do you feel will make a big fantasy contribution this year?

Well, I'll go a bit deeper than the typical Matt Wieters/David Price discussion - both, I believe, will make some impact but will probably be overvalued.

I equate big fantasy contribution to a combination of skills and playing time, so I'll keep that theme.

The Marlins' Cameron Maybin has arguably the biggest upside because he'll have every chance in the world to hang on to the CF job. His potent line-drive hitting should translate well, and his burning speed will surely be utilized by Fredi Gonzalez.

I think the Cardinals pretty much squeeze Skip Schumaker into second base to keep his average in the lineup and allow Colby Rasmus to enter the majors. His knee looks to be OK, and he bulked up a bit. We don't know if it's news or noise, but Tony La Russa thinks Rasmus could contribute this year.

Travis Snider has all the time in the world this year to develop, but banking on him is risky because he's a bit young.

Speaking of babies, Elvis Andrus of TEX will help you in steals and not much else if he keeps the starting job.

CLE's Matt LaPorta should find some time in the OF this year - probably someone worth stashing in deep mixed, definitely in AL-only.

We're huge fans of James McDonald of the Dodgers. He has a large competition field, but we see him eventually winding up with the No. 5 spot. The Bums are planning on transitioning him into the rotation a la Billingsley, so he could see a taste of rotation time this year.

Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer is intriguing for power and speed. Some other names to keep an eye on: the Braves' Tommy Hanson (may have a David Price-esque MLB stint this year), CHW P Aaron Poreda and OAK SP Gio Gonzalez.


I'm trying to decide (for the first time) a keeper strategy. 12 team - mixed league 24 rounds, I have 6th pick, snake draft. I get to keep 3 players. Do I go for the names? Braun round #1, Sizemore or Johan #2 or my great FA pickups last year? Quentin #24, Alexi Ramirez or Fuentes #23, Joakim Soria #13 Thanks!

Sam, I can't foresee a situation that doesn't involve keeping Braun and Sizemore. That's an offensive foundation of two top-eight players this year. With their four-category contributions, I would drool to have one of them in a single-year league in 2009, let alone as keeper material.

It's hard to pass up on Johan, but the signs of a slight - slight - decline are there. I try not to keep pitching if at all possible unless the proper situation comes along. I expect good (if not great) things from Quentin long term, but can he really sustain that again, especially coming off wrist surgery? We may see a Derrek Lee-style impact on his power there.

Alexei's a nice player, but I don't know if he'll improve his batting eye enough to make him keeper worthy.

I would advise you not to keep closers given the volatility at that position. Fuentes isn't entirely safe this year, and as much as I love Soria's ability I can't justify keeping him.

So your decision comes down to Quentin and Johan. I would lean Johan despite the decline and possibly see if you can move him during the season. In a league with that small amount of keepers, you can certainly find plenty of offensive help. You won't find too many Johans.


How do you htink Gary Sheffield will do this year and what do you project his stats to be and adp etc...

Gil, there are certainly worse options at Sheffield's ADP (326.74 per Mock Draft Central as of this morning), if he lasts that long. Upside? No, but he still has 20-homer potential, especially if they avoid dropping him in the OF. Obviously with Sheff, the concern is his slowing bat speed, which used to make Larry Bowa wet himself with the Yanks. Those shoulder surgeries, though, give me caution into expecting anything besides the '08 version. Still, I can see him clubbing 15 homers and swiping 10 bags. I'm not getting my hopes up for anything more - probably not even a .260 average.


Do you think Eric Byrnes is over the hill? Might he be a bounceback candidate that I should be looking at in later rounds?

Eli, I thought Byrnes' 2007 year was fluky , but I think he's still a useful player. The reality is he's an effort player more than a skill haven. I'm still concerned about the hammies, as well as the D-backs' LF/1B/3B arrangements. Conor Jackson will probably man left for the most part, unless they wise up and move him back to first. You have Chad Tracy competing for time at the corners, too. Byrnes shouldn't be anything more than a No. 5 outfielder if you're desperate. He's a better stash option either in the last few rounds or post-draft in deep mixed. I'm not too optimistic about him swiping 20 bags.


First time I've had to deal with keepers. So I'm unsure about the strategy. We can keep 3 players, 12 teams, mixed league. I have pick #6, snake draft. Do I go for the names? Braun Round 1, Johan or Sizemore round 2 or am I better to keep the free agents I picked up? Quentin round 24, Alexei Ramirez round 23, Aviles round 22. And then still have my picks in case someone better is available? Thanks, Greg

Hi, Greg. Your question resembles that of Sam from before, so I'll stick with my answer of Braun, Sizemore and Johan. I don't think Aviles adds anything that changes my mind.


besides Price who do you see as rookie contributors this season? Gamel? LaPorta? Cahill?

Good question, Eric. I already addressed this in a previous answer, but I'll go deeper on the guys you mentioned.

LaPorta should supplant Ben Francisco at some point - I bet Cleveland is itching to try him out somewhere. Don't see that being at 1B because of the cluster they already have there. His performance at Huntsville last year shows he's just about ready.

Gamel's stone hands may keep him from entering the majors - unfortunately he's in the non-DH league. Still, Bill Hall's injury is something to keep an eye on. The Brewers' D already is highly questionable anyway, so they may just throw him out there and see how he does. I doubt he'll replicate his 2008 MiLB performance within the next two years, though.

Going back to clusters: Cahill. I smell another big trio at the top of OAK's rotation along with Brett Anderson and Vinny Mazzaro eventually. Anyway, Cahill should be the first to the majors of the three, but he has been having some small issues with mechanics. I love his repeatable delivery. With OAK's rotation the way it is, I don't see why he couldn't have at least half a season.


i'm deep at OF in a 16 team, 25 player dynasty league with braun,hamilton,lee mclouth&hart of those, who would you give up to get reyes. who is being shopped. i currently have theriot at ss thanks

Mike, that's a fantastic opportunity for you. Personally, after you've had several negotiations with the Reyes owner, I would cash in on trading Josh Hamilton for Reyes. I view Braun as a much better all-around player (SBs), and I don't know how much more upside Hamilton has. I can still see Braun jacking 40 homers in a season, whereas I think Hamilton's power has peaked. Remember, he's already 28 years old. Braun still has much more to offer, and a potential Braun-Reyes combo brings tears of joy to my eyes.

Besides those two, none of your players would be worth Reyes straight up, so if you were thinking of a combination, I think Lee would be the best option to add another player to. McLouth/Hart and another player probably wouldn't get it done. It's always worth trying, though....


Hi Tim - Can you talk a little bit about your top five 2b for the season?

Hi Steve - My top three will probably look familiar - Kinsler, Utley and Pedroia, yes, in that order. Still, all three present risk this year - Kinsler and Utley with injury and Pedroia in a performance drop-off.

No. 4 is Brandon Phillips, but I'm losing faith in him with more research I do. I don't like his batting eye too much, and I think he's going to be a bit out of place at No. 4 in that order.

No. 5, I'm going to be bold and say Robinson Cano. I believe last year was a big fluke, especially since the only time he hit less than .287 in a month last year was his .151 April. With 20-homer power and a return to .300, he'll probably be a better value than Dan Uggla, but it's definitely a slight edge.


What do you think will be the biggest surprise free agent signing in 2009?

Jerry, assuming you mean the biggest surprise performance of FAs who signed this past offseason, I can see a surprise performance from Andruw Jones. Yes, I said it. Now, let me qualify that by saying he's nowhere near the player he was in ATL, but I don't think he's quite done yet. If he can be a No. 6 outfielder for your team, I say why not. It's a risk worth taking.


Who will lead the AL and NL with saves?

That's a good question, Don. My Vegas bets would be Joe Nathan and Jose Valverde.


Tim - What are your thoughts on the Orioles rotation?

Joe, my first thought is - blech. Sorry, I'm OK. I'm back now. I don't find much there worth talking about unless you're in AL-only. I like Guthrie as a No. 6 or No. 7 fantasy starter - no K's, but he dishes out quality starts often. Rich Hill HAS to be better than he was in '08. I don't see him developing full-blown Mark Wohlers Syndrome just yet - possible AL-only flier. As for Uehara, Hendrickson, Pauley, Jim Palmer - err - Brad Hennessey....I'm not even sniffing them this year in drafts. I'm waiting for Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta at some point in the next few years to even consider any other part of this staff. Tillman may be up this year, so....


I have a followup to your Brandon Phillips #4 2B answer. I read that he will be playing with 2 pins in his right index finger this season. How much does that affect your projections on him? Will that sap his power/SB considerably.

Dave, my medical degree was lost in the mail, but I don't think it's encouraging. We've knocked him down a bit this year regardless of the pins. We're not as worried about Carlos Lee's finger fracture because that has seemingly healed. Anything in which pins are installed worries me a bit. His SBs probably won't be affected. If he falls past the first four rounds, I'd still take the chance on him.

Thanks for the questions, everyone! Hope to see you again next week!

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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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