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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday January 21, 2014 6:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.

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Mike takes your fantasy questions.

Mike Gianella: Believe it or not, fantasy baseball's right around the corner. Let's get right to the chat.

ares1800jr (San Antonio): 12 team keeper H2H categories 6x6 (.ops & holds) I can extend K Morales for last year @ $9, Or should I drop him and overbid on Adrian Gonzales (min 2 year contract)who will be available. I have the most $$ ($100) out of $260. Only have 8 roster spots to fill out of 35 man rosters. I will have to overbid due to a few owners having $$ but few Elite players to bid on. I already plan to go hard on Abreu to fill CI spot. I'm punting average and going for power and speed with likes of Carter, Villar, ECab, Cespedez, Reddick, Braun.

Mike Gianella: Hey ares:

Glad you're somewhere warm.

I never think you should "overbid" on anyone, but I hear what you're saying. Given that terrible choice, you probably want to overbid on Adrian Gonzalez...at least if you have to make the decision right now. Kendrys Morales is a fine player in your format but my concern would be that he signs somewhere where he isn't a full time player and lands in some sort of platoon or quasi-regular role. I'm not sure what your trading culture is like, but I'd try to push for a trade rather than go too far out on a limb for Gonzalez.

David (Montreal): Do you have faith in Josh Donaldson and Matt Carpenter repeating or at least putting up similar numbers to last year in '14? Thanks for the chat Mike!

Mike Gianella: Hi David:

Love chatting. Thanks for your question.

I have faith that both Donaldson and Carpenter will be solid this year but except both to slip somewhat in 2014, particularly Carpenter. A lot of Carpenter's value is tied up in his batting average and while I think he's a great hitter it is difficult purely from a prognosticator's point of view to say that this is repeatable. Donaldson has a better chance of putting up the similar numbers, but I expect a slight dip for him. Both players are very good, though, and if you wind up with one in the grouping after the elite players go in your draft/auction you've done quite well for yourself.

AJ (Phoenix): At the 1-3 pick in my dynasty draft, Buxton and one of A. Bradley and Tanaka are off he board. I'm looking at Baez, Giolito, Bryant, Correa, and J. Gray. Who do you take? Why? How would you rank them? (Reference: I pick 1-3, and 1-6 due to trades; one of the picks in between mine would be Abreu and one of Baez/Correa (in that order)). Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Hi AJ.

The order might be different from a pure prospect perspective, but I'd go Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Jonathan Gray, and Lucas Giolito. While Correa could wind up being a better baseball player than Baez, Baez's power tool is ridiculous and from a purely offensive standpoint (read fantasy) he has the higher ceiling. Correa's pretty damn good too, though, and I anticipate a power spike this year in the minors. His raw numbers don't look great, but he was an 18-year-old at Quad Cities. I'm impressed. Bryant's great too, but you're asking me to rank him against two amazing prospects. Gray and Giolito go behind the hitters just because I have a bias toward hitters when it comes to prospects in fantasy. I'll go Gray because Giolito had the TJ. He should be fine, and it's entirely possible that I'll flip these two if someone on BP's great scouting team comes back with a positive review on him in spring training.

Javier Baez (Fast Track to Wrigley): Where do Kare Bear (K. Bryant) and I end up defensively?

Mike Gianella: Javier, why worry about that? Just hit and do your thing and everything will turn out fine.

If I had to make a stab in the dark guess, I'd say you eventually wind up at third and Bryant winds up at first. If your asking for your friends you can draft you in fantasy leagues, I wouldn't sweat it. You're both going to be fantasy assets regardless of position.

Cansy (YYZ): Keeper league, trying to consolidate; Hosmer and Cole for Goldschmidt, is that an overpay?Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Hi Cansy

I think it's a bit of an overpay. Paul Goldschmidt is great, but both Eric Hosmer and Gerrit Cole have growth potential, particularly Cole. I don't know if Cole's going to be an ace this year, but he WILL be an ace at some point and in a keeper that seems like too much ceiling to give up for Goldy, even though he's obviously great. Push back a little bit on the pitcher and see what you can give up besides Cole.

Jonah (Redwood): 20-team dynasty. Would you rather have Gerrit Cole and the 8th pick in a prospect draft (A. Bradley, J. Gray available around there), or David Price and the 15th pick in said draft (Appel, Stroman territory)?

Mike Gianella: Hi Jonah:

I think in a dynasty league I'd rather have Cole and the #8. As I alluded to in the last question, I'm really high on Cole and think he's going to rise in a hurry. This has less to do with the prospects (I think prospects have a lot of fungibility, particularly pitchers) and more to do with Cole. His ceiling is close enough to what Price is now and could be achieved in the next couple of years. Take the MLB arm with less miles on it if it can do almost as much as Price.

balticwolf (Silver Spring MD): Mike: Joc Pederson and Maikel Franco. Which one, in your opinion, will be the better player in 3 years? Am I correct in saying that Pederson has the higher floor and Franco has the higher ceiling?

Mike Gianella: Hi balticwolf.

Hope you're staying warm.

Maybe it's because I live in Philadelphia and am succumbing to the hype, but I like Franco more than Pederson. Franco seems like he could be a big time power hitter if everything breaks right, whereas Pederson strikes me as a more solid all around outfielder but with less of a chance of achieving star potential. Regarding floor and ceiling, I'm not sure that's exactly right, but I would agree that Pederson has a narrower range of expectations (in my view) than Franco does. I don't see Franco crashing and burning, but if he was "only" an ordinary 15 HR/.270 BA guy it wouldn't surprise me.

proffitt9 (Tampa): My Yordano Ventura and Koji Ueharra for his Kris Bryant? Thoughts?

Mike Gianella: I like Ventura better than Bryant, but that seems like a lot to give up for Bryant in any format, even if it's a dynasty league. I don't value closers a lot, but Koji Uehara provided significant value in 2013 and should do the same this year. I might do that if I were giving back a lesser prospect.

Brad (Santa Barbara): I have Matt Harvey in a dynasty league and am not sure what to do. 14 team 24 man starting roster and 5 person bench, no DL spots, $280 salary cap. He would cost me $10 to keep this year, with a $5 increase every year. Also if I decided to keep him, I have to sign him to a specified contract link this offseason and keep him exactly that many years. My pitching is weak at the moment, but we haven't had our auction for this year yet.

Mike Gianella: Hi Brad

A lot of that answer depends on your league. I agree it's really tough to make a commitment to a $15 starting pitcher coming off of a major injury, even with the $280 salary. I would probably throw him back as tough as that is. You're obviously not going to keep him at $10 for this year only, and keeping him at $15 just for a healthy 2015 that might be an adjustment year isn't worth it. I don't have to tell you that three years for $20 is folly.

Spirou (Montreal): What to do with Sonny Gray on draft day ? Nobody seems to agree on his ceiling.

Mike Gianella: Hi Spirou.

I think Gray is a solid double-digit bid guy in AL-only but not someone I'd target like an elite pitcher.

Chopper (indy): Realistic MLB ceiling for Jorge Soler?

Mike Gianella: Hey Chopper.

It's hard to say without knowing whether or not the power is going to come. Scouts love the hit tool but there is a wide expectation of outcomes. Realistic is probably 15 HR with a .290 batting average, but he could be better than that. We need more minor league data here.

Rich (Maryland): What do you anticipate Dom Brown's 2014 stats will look like? Power i sgetting harder to find; are you a believer that Brown has truly "arrived"?

Mike Gianella: Hi Rich.

I expect more of the same from Brown in 2014, with perhaps some slight slippage. His detractors will say that he was a streaky hitter last year and you can't expect those streaks again, but I think he's always going to go through good grooves and bad grooves just from what I have seen. I think he has "arrived" from the standpoint that he's a legitimate MLB hitter, but given where he is on the age curve I don't expect a big spike from him.

Rich (Maryland): What do you anticipate Dom Brown's 2014 stats will look like? Power i sgetting harder to find; are you a believer that Brown has truly "arrived"?

Mike Gianella: Hi Rich.

I expect more of the same from Brown in 2014, with perhaps some slight slippage. His detractors will say that he was a streaky hitter last year and you can't expect those streaks again, but I think he's always going to go through good grooves and bad grooves just from what I have seen. I think he has "arrived" from the standpoint that he's a legitimate MLB hitter, but given where he is on the age curve I don't expect a big spike from him.

doog7642 (Blaine, mn): Dynasty points league with a salary cap of $162. My team is currently around $125 and likely to add another $10 through the draft. Before the next round of free agent bidding, I can choose to lock up one of these three: David Ortiz $9/2 yrs, Iwakuma $9/2, or Chris Tillman $5/3. Which do you prioritize? For the other two, I'll have the right to match the highest bid placed on them. If you need more context, please let me know. Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Hey doog.

Given raw ability/value I'd probably want Papi but given age and probably want Iwakuma. It's a close call between those two but I'd go Iwakuma just based on age and the fact that your salaries are so low.

Chesty (Mohegan Sun): Mike,ave,runs,hr,RBI,sb,xbh.Top 5 Picks for draft.Thanks as a new member to fantasy I will be interested with the questions and answers .

Mike Gianella: Hey Chesty.

This is kind of a copout, but Top 5 with that category added are Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, and Andrew McCutchen. Davis is probably the biggest difference with the XBH category added. I might have kept him out of the Top 5 otherwise. Likewise, McCutchen slips a little for me adding XBH.

Jim (Tampa): Hi Mike, If you were looking to add to your rotation and hold the rights to some young players who would you count on from this short list. Tyler Thornburg, Eric Johnson (whats the upside on Eric) Eddie Butler, Andrew Heaney?

Mike Gianella: Hi Jim:

I don't know if you can really count on prospect pitchers, so that makes this a tough question to answer. I like Heaney better than Butler just because of the park difference (though I think Butler can play with that sinker). Of the four, I like Thornburg best. Johnson's upside for me is as a mid-tier rotation guy, although I could also see him not quite getting there.

DL (Milwaukee): Thanks for not being "too good" for fantasy questions. What return of "win now" SP should I be able to garner if I put Cole on the block in a dynasty league? Or is Cole just too valuable to trade in this format? What's his SP ranking for this year? What's his "dynasty" ranking overall among SPs??

Mike Gianella: Ha ha.

If you've read through the whole chat, you probably know that I like Gerrit Cole a lot. I would want an ace back for him, but honestly I don't even know if i would do a straight up 1-for-1 for Cole at this point in a dynasty unless it was the middle of the season and one pitcher could REALLY make a difference for 1st. So yes I think he's too valuable to trade in a straight up deal in this format. For this year, I have Cole in my Top 20. I don't do dynasty rankings but there he's at least Top 15 and maybe Top 10.

Loria (Milwaukee): I'm likely to have a shot to win this yr in my 20 team dynasty. I own the 1.3 pick which likely will be Baez. I was offered Adam Jones, Wong, and G. Stanton for my 1.3, Bautista, and Pence. I need a CF. Figured I get younger with equal or better upside for this year w/ a CF to start. What say you?

Mike Gianella: Hi Loria:

A lot depends on the trading culture in your league. I think that deal is "fair" in that you are getting more talent back for this year, but even in a Roto league I would be given pause at dealing Baez in a deal like this without getting more back. I can usually pull a 2-for-1 or at least a 1.5-1 (MLB players for the farm player) for a quality prospect like Baez. The tough thing is that a full year of stat's from a MLB player like Kolten Wong isn't something to dismiss lightly. But Wong isn't an elite like the other hitters you're getting. And the more I look at this the more I don't like it. Jones/Giancarlo Stanton are better than Jose Bautista/Hunter Pence but not by a wide margin. I'd hold here.

Zeek (Canada): Other than catcher, which position do you believe is the most shallow for 2014 in a 12x23 draft, followed by next most shallow?

Mike Gianella: Hi Zeek:

This is a bit of a copout, but I think it's pretty close between second base, shortstop and third base. Twist my arm and I guess it's shortstop followed by second base. I reviewed Larry Schechter's Winning Fantasy Baseball early this month and he found that position scarcity in a standard mixed is overblown outside of catcher and I agree with his findings. Don't blow this out of proportion when planning for your draft.

Alex (Anaheim): In a 12 team mixed league, where are you drafting Jeter and his injury worries?

Mike Gianella: HI Alex:

I see Derek Jeter as a reserve pick. I have him 22nd among shortstops and you don't need to do heavy analysis to know that he won't fit in at middle unless second base is putrid. Maybe Jeter bounces back, but the presence of Brendan Ryan makes me believe that Jeter won't see more than 120 games...and that mgiht be generous. I hope he proves me wrong, because I love watching a healthy, productive Jeet. But his age and injury profile tell me otherwise.

maattwind (Brasil): 10 team AL only 7 kepers. Definites: Kipnis $6, Donaldson $5, Longoria $21, Scherzer $21. Need 3 more: Cruz $15 (assuming he signs in AL), Salazar $1, J. Johnson $9, Miller $5, Peavy $8, Franklin $1

Mike Gianella: Hi maatt

I wouldn't touch Nelson Cruz at the moment. Of those maybes, I think I'd go with Danny Salazar, Jim Johnson, and Jake Peavy. Brad Miller is tempting, but I like the surer things given the limited number of keepers.

John (Boston): Hey Mike,please rank.....Tanaka,Gray Salazer,Peterson...and under/over 15 wins for Tanaka....is he going to do well or struggle???? Thanks

Mike Gianella: Hi John.

For this year only, I would rank them in that order. Wins are hard to predict and a lot is going to depend on where he lands. I'll completely guess and go under if you're asking me to make a prop bet. I think Tanaka will do very well but fall somewhat short of Yu Darvish.

dbrosene (San Mateo, CA): Mike! Big gan of the podcast. Give me three sleeper pitchers for this season (ideally post-hype guys).

Mike Gianella: Hi dbrosene

The sleeper question depends on your league, but I'll go with Tyler Skaggs, Marco Estrada, and Dan Straily. Estrada is probably the biggest stretch as a "sleeper" but I can see all three of these pitchers being undervalued in standard mixed leagues and fitting the post hype description.

Javier Baez (2B): If I move to 2B and arrive mid-June to the show. Do I instantly become the #1 fantasy 2B in the game?

Mike Gianella: Slow your roll, Mr. Baez. Not many rookies come up mid-season and instantly become the best. Even Mike Trout struggled in his initial exposure to the Major Leagues in 2011. You might eventually be a top player at ANY position you're at, but 2014 is asking a lot.

cracker73 (Florida): Contract year for Sandoval and he has lost 42 lbs. Do you think that he will ever stay healthy and reach his potential as a hitter?

Mike Gianella: Hi cracker73

I think Pablo Sandoval could stay healthy but if by "potential" you mean put up a 30 HR/.320 BA year I doubt it. He'll be a solid fantasy asset but not a superstar in my opinion.

Frank (Houston): Is George Springer going to get enough at bats to win AL Rookie of the Year? Who do you like for the award?

Mike Gianella: Hi Frank:

My guess is Springer gets a mid-season call-up and would have to put up incredible numbers to win the award if that's the case. I'm terrible at these sorts of questions; I picked Aaron Hicks last year for BP's preseason projections. I'll go with Jackie Bradley just because I can see the playing time for him and think he'll be solid.

Frank (Houston): Is George Springer going to get enough at bats to win AL Rookie of the Year? Who do you like for the award?

Mike Gianella: Hi Frank:

My guess is Springer gets a mid-season call-up and would have to put up incredible numbers to win the award if that's the case. I'm terrible at these sorts of questions; I picked Aaron Hicks last year for BP's preseason projections. I'll go with Jackie Bradley just because I can see the playing time for him and think he'll be solid.

Frank (Houston): Is George Springer going to get enough at bats to win AL Rookie of the Year? Who do you like for the award?

Mike Gianella: Hi Frank:



My guess is Springer gets a mid-season call-up and would have to put up incredible numbers to win the award if that's the case. I'm terrible at these sorts of questions; I picked Aaron Hicks last year for BP's preseason projections. I'll go with Jackie Bradley just because I can see the playing time for him and think he'll be solid.

Henry (Detroit): Is Nick Castellanos going to hit enough in 2014 to be the starting third baseman on an AL-only team in a 10-team league?

Mike Gianella: Hi Henry

In a format that deep, Castellanos will hit enough to be a starter. I don't see him as a top option this year, but you can start him comfortably.

Flip (Detroit): Have Yo Darvish ar $3 in my Al only 5x5. Time to sign to long term deal Do i go 3years/$13 4/$18 5/$23 etc?

Mike Gianella: That's a tough call with a pitcher. Four years and $18 is OK for Yu Darvish but three years and $13 is the safer choice. If it's me, I go with the safe choice, since I can still dump Darvish to a non-contender at that price and sell two additional years just as easily as I can sell three additional years.

nevadamartin (Las Vegas, NV): Your overall thoughts on Danny Duffy going into 2014?

Mike Gianella: Duffy followed the typical injury recovery from TJ surgery at the tail end of 2013. His velocity was there but his command was not. My concern is that Duffy's command has never really been great at the Major League level so there are no guarantees he is going to find it this year either. I think Duffy is a solid back end guy in fantasy, but I wouldn't chase him and the only format where I'd really pursue him is in dynasty. There is a lot of reward but also a lot of risk here.

jaymoff (Salem): Do you have a personal preference on what fantasy baseball website to use to manage a league? I miss All Star Stats :(

Mike Gianella: Hi Jay.

My home leagues and Tout Wars use On Roto (onroto.com), which is very similar to the old TQ Stats interface. It's very good and user friendly, but doesn't quite have all the bells and whistles of All-Star. On the other hand, it's a lot cheaper.

Jonah (Redwood): Follow up the that question: In three years from now, would you rather have Cole or Price?

Mike Gianella: Hi Jonah:

Close call, but if I had to go by ceiling I'd lean Gerrit Cole.

Jon (texas): If i have a pitching keeper heavy team would it be worth trading Garett Cole for Bogarts or Baez?

Mike Gianella: Hi Jon.

If you have a pitching heavy team then, yes, you could make this trade in a long term keeper or dynasty league.

higgsboson (guelph): Anthony Rendon. Which direction do you see him going this year. I'm tending to think he's a bit undervalued.

Mike Gianella: Hi higgs.

I see moderate improvement for Rendon. I think he'll get a little bit better but don't see him having a breakout year. I see the opposite; I think he'll be a little overhyped by some, but this has a lot to do with the leagues I play in.

yancyeaton (Faint07): Is Abreu really capable of living up to all this hype he's getting? I'm seeing him being consistently ranked top 20 at his position and I'm incredibly skeptical.

Mike Gianella: Bobby Abreu signed a minor league deal and I thought for a second you were talking about him. I have to assume you're talking about Jose Abreu, the Cuban important who will presumably start at 1B for the White Sox. Top 20 is well within his reach but, yes, there is obviously a good deal of risk surrounding Abreu given all of the unknowns. In standard mixed there are probably safer plays, but in a deeper league I think you have to take him.

Joe (Girardi): Im in a dynasty league, pitching flush, and own too many of my yanks. Looking to move CC on to new pastures, what type of prospect should I be hoping to get? Kyle Zimmer type range?

Mike Gianella: Hi Joe:

I think CC Sabathia could bounce back a little bit this year but if you've decided you're sick and tired of him, then Zimmer is certainly a worthy target if you can get him.

Joe (Girardi): Im in a dynasty league, pitching flush, and own too many of my yanks. Looking to move CC on to new pastures, what type of prospect should I be hoping to get? Kyle Zimmer type range?

Mike Gianella: Hi Joe:

I think CC Sabathia could bounce back a little bit this year but if you've decided you're sick and tired of him, then Zimmer is certainly a worthy target if you can get him.

shakyhands (NJ): What are your thoughts on Yordano Ventura this year? I don't think I can keep him, and his number 1 prospect ranking might make him sellable, but I'm open to the possibility

Mike Gianella: Ventura is going to be solid in the long term but I could see some struggles in the short term due to his command. If you can get back a more polished product with a similar ceiling do so. If you are underselling off of short-term concerns, hold on and hope for the best.

shakyhands (NJ): Hello, Where would you place Gregory Polanco in with 2013 draftees and free agents like Tanaka and Abreu?

Mike Gianella: Polanco is behind Tanaka but ahead of Jose Abreu. All that's lacking for Polanco is the power, but even if it doesn't come you're looking at a pretty damn fine player. This is a long term, dynasty answer. This year I'd go Tanaka, Abreu, Polanco.

craneplace (The Present): good evening Mike, thanks for the chat. I have a couple good pieces in an AL keeper league, but will not be able to win in 2014. Do you have any auction advice/strategies for trying to win the following year ('15/'16)?

Mike Gianella: This is really part of a longer discussion, but my first advice is not to simply give up at your auction. However, if you must I would try to go stars and scrubs. Buy some expensive players you can dump (but wouldn't keep) and some cheap players who could turn in to keepers. If things break, you could wind up with 4-5 $1-3 keepers to go along with the players you dumped for.

dzemens (Adrian, MI): 16 team dynasty league. My current OF (3) is a combo of Leonys Martin, Wil Myers, BJ Upton, Nick Swisher, Mike Morse. Ive got an offer of George Springer for my Michael Wacha. Im up in the air on it as I think my rotation (Verlander, Teheran, Ian Kennedy, Chris Tillman, Jose Quintana and Ubaldo) can handle the loss but Im wondering how you see a deal like that shaking out long term? Springers hit tool worries me long term as I could see him being a .240 hitter which impacts his counting stats production as well. What do you see he and Wacha turning into?

Mike Gianella: I think I would make that deal in a dynasty. Springer's average might never be great, but his power/speed combo in fantasy is enticing and a Raul Mondesi type wouldn't surprise me. I like Wacha a lot, but I see him as more of a 2/3 type than an ace. Springer might not be a top real life hitter but he could be in fantasy because of the speed. I'd make the deal.

jaymoff (Salem): Are you buying the Brian Dozier projection hype established by a few sites?

Mike Gianella: I haven't seen any Brian Dozier hype...I must be visiting the wrong sites. I think Dozier is going to slip somewhat this year and is more of an asset in deeper mixed and only leagues than in standard mixed. The power won't completely maintain and the batting average is going to slip. He'll keep the job, but isn't going to be a 25-30 HR guy.

Ryan (Wintery Wonderland): N. Arenado or B. Belt for CI, this year and the future?

Mike Gianella: Hi Ryan:

I'd go with Brandon Belt over Nolan Arenado both this year and long term. I like Belt a lot better as a pure hitter and even though Arenado is in Colorado I'm skeptical that he is ever going to be a big time masher. The park difference is significant which makes Arenado tempting in a keep forever, but I'm going with the talent here and taking Belt.

craneplace (The Present): Any good non-closer RP that should be targeted in NL only for $1?

Mike Gianella: In NL-only for $1 you really could grab a number of quality middle relievers and be happy. If you're asking from a saves perspective, I like Vic Black on the Mets, Mark Melancon on the Pirates and Pedro Strop on the Cubs. I don't know if any of those guys will go for $1, but they could get saves. A.J. Ramos is another guy who could be a "post-hype" saves guy and pick up a few or get the job if Steve Cishek gets traded or is ineffective.

Andy5Schwall (MKE): I really like Marco Estrada for this year. Problem is, if I hang on to him in my league is has to be for the next 3 years (matching a restricted free agent bid). How productive do you think he could be over the course of the next few seasons? It'd be for a modest price, but the guy is 30+ already and I'm worried about what will happen he can't even touch 90 anymore w/ that fastball. Thoughts? Thanks!!!

Mike Gianella: I think you hit the nail on the head Andy. Estrada is a good pitcher and knows what he's doing on the mound but his age and his profile suggest a limited ceiling. If the price is modest you should keep him, but I'm not in love with committing three years to a guy like Estrada, particularly if you have limited keeps. I could see Estrada as a $10-15 pitcher in an only format, with more of a single-digit earning profile in mixed.

Jim (Chinatown): Who do you like at 2b between Profar, Rendon, and Gyorko?

Mike Gianella: Hi Jim.

Of the three, I like Jedd Gyorko most for this year and Jurickson Profar most long-term. Profar is the guy that I'd take in a keeper without a doubt.

Jim (Chinatown): Who do you like at 2b between Profar, Rendon, and Gyorko?

Mike Gianella: Hi Jim.

Of the three, I like Jedd Gyorko most for this year and Jurickson Profar most long-term. Profar is the guy that I'd take in a keeper without a doubt.

Scott (LA): With no defined role and the likelihood that he might be a middle reliever, how do you value Carlos Martinez in an NL keeper league? Which two would you keep between him at $5, Eric Young Jr ($10) and Wilson Ramos ($13)?

Mike Gianella: I like Martinez a lot. He's a rare player where I go with the skills over the role. I have him at $10 in my home league NL and am keeping him no matter what happens this spring. That being said, it's kind of tough to keep him over Ramos if you have to choose one. Ramos should start and even if he only gets another 300 at bats or so he's a catcher and should earn that. Young is also uncertain on his role and might not get the opportunity to steal 40+ bases again. I'd go Ramos, since I think you should be able to get Martinez back at that price because he's not closing or starting.

andy (frozen tundra ): Appel or gray?

Mike Gianella: Jonathan Gray over Mark Appel, though it's really close and if you went the other way I wouldn't blame you.

Andy5Schwall (MKE): Is Danny Salazar legit or are people getting a little too excited over a SSS? The stuff is filthy and the K/9 shows some serious #rig.

Mike Gianella: I think Salazar's legit. He looked great when I saw him and my major concern is durability since we haven't seen him pitch a full season yet.

John (LA): Can Yelich be a top 20 OF this year? Is 15/15 with a .340 OBP realistic?

Mike Gianella: Hey John:

For this year, that seems like a stretch. Those numbers are realistic if he gets the PT but that for me is a big question. I like Yelich better long term than I do in 2014.

higgsboson (Guelph): NL only keeper. 3rd base will be scarce at auction time. Who do you target: Zimmerman, Sandoval, or A-ram. After that I'm looking at Chavez, Valbuena... it only gets worse. Do I put my $21 Prado at 3rd and invest at deeper positions instead?

Mike Gianella: Hi higgsboson.

Of the three, I'd go after Ryan Zimmerman. He is the most reliable of the three and probably should be a solid core player or close enough. You could certainly put Martin Prado at third as well. A lot obviously depends on your auction and what the player pool looks like.

James (Boston): Do you think Homer Bailey is a top 20 SP heading into this season?

Mike Gianella: Hi James

I think Bailey is on the cusp of the top 20 but not quite there for me.

Kevin Brown (Blazing like BK): I just drafted Alexander Guererro because the spirit of BK has taken me over. I really know nothing about this guy, do you think I get anything out of him this year?

Mike Gianella: Hi Kevin.

Guerrero's numbers won't be too high, but he'll light it up on his best days. He should be a solid contributor but not a star.

Henry (Henry's house): I don't understand why some guys are supposedly better bets in rotisserie while others are better in head-to-head leagues. Can you help?

Mike Gianella: Hi Henry:

In H2H you want counting stats because appearances matter and you don't want down time. In Roto, you can take a specialist like Rajai Davis or a starting pitcher who misses a few games here and there but is great and get a lot more value. So you want a H2H team with talent across the board (or a lot of depth) whereas in Roto the depth doesn't quite matter as much.

craneplace (The Present): As someone who has just taken up blogging, was wondering if you would share any advice for balancing family, work, and writing.

Mike Gianella: Marry someone really supportive. Find a job that offers flexibility (I work from home which is a huge help). As far as the writing goes, always find some time to do it. When I started blogging way back in 2007 I made sure to write something every day. I thought I was a really good writer but I'm much better now with the practice than I was back then.

shakyhands (NJ): Thank you for answering my earlier questions. What hashtag term can you coin? The BP store is lacking MG influence.

Mike Gianella: In college, people used to throw a word after the first three letters of my name for sh**s and giggles. So #giaknucklehead?

Bob (New Hampshire): In a 10 team Roto league(6x6-walks for hitters,QS for pitchers) if you had the 10th pick in a snake draft who would you consider taking there?

Mike Gianella: A lot depends on the league, but if he's available (and he will be based off of the NFBC ratings http://stats.nesn.com/mlb/adp.asp?pos=all take Joey Votto. In a walks league, the dude's a monster.

Steve (Manitoba): If you had to draft one players contract (other than Mike Trout) in fantasy (i'm in a real life salary w/salary cap who would it be if you had FIP, K%, Shutdowns, IP and HR, wOBA, Net SB, and PA?

Mike Gianella: I think I'd still go with Bryce Harper. He's younger than Trout and despite being "disappointing" relative to Trout has put up some amazing numbers for a player his age. Harper is the non-Trout guy to build around right now.

eliyahu (Washington, DC): How good is Segura in a dynasty format? Is he a legit Top 5 SS year after year?

Mike Gianella: I don't quite see Jean Segura as that good. He could fall in to the Top 5 now and again, but I don't see it as an automatic proposition. The power ceiling might not be that high given the ground ball profile and while the steals are great in shallower leagues those are a little easier to replace.

Francois (Toronto): Andrew Cashner what kind of pitcher is he this year? Going forward. How much earnings are we talking?

Mike Gianella: Cashner will be a very good pitcher this year assuming health. He started going to his slider more in the second half and the result was a higher strikeout rate but just a harder pitcher to hit overall. I see him as a high teens bid proposition in NL-only but he could earn in the $20s if everything breaks right.

Sara (Tacoma): Shelby Miller had a huge 2013, but disappeared in the playoffs. While he's mostly a two-pitch pitcher, could we expect a repeat in 2014? Progression or Regression?

Mike Gianella: Hi Sara:

I think the Cardinals were just being cautious with Miller given the workload and his lack of experience as a reliever and I think he'll be fine. I see him as a solid option despite the two-pitch limitation; it just might mean that he's a #2 long term and not an ace. But that's till pretty good. Maybe some slight regression, but only because a 3.06 ERA is hard to maintain for nearly any pitcher.

Sara (Tacoma): Shelby Miller had a huge 2013, but disappeared in the playoffs. While he's mostly a two-pitch pitcher, could we expect a repeat in 2014? Progression or Regression?

Mike Gianella: Hi Sara:

I think the Cardinals were just being cautious with Miller given the workload and his lack of experience as a reliever and I think he'll be fine. I see him as a solid option despite the two-pitch limitation; it just might mean that he's a #2 long term and not an ace. But that's till pretty good. Maybe some slight regression, but only because a 3.06 ERA is hard to maintain for nearly any pitcher.

sbnbaseball (NJ): Hey Mike, Ray here. AL-only keeper league. How many SP do you toss back out of these: Ubaldo ($5-assuming he stays in AL), Kluber ($5), Lackey ($10), Straily ($8) or Gausman ($10). League is high inflation on ace SPs and top hitters.

Mike Gianella: Hey Ray

Of those pitchers you'd ideally like to keep all of them at those prices but Cory Kluber and Kevin Gausman are the guys I'd throw back of that group if you HAVE to throw someone back. I think you hang onto Gausman if you're in a long-term keeper though.

RussHaigis (San Diego): Mike, thanks for all the info and humor. Follow up on a Segura question. In a H2H Points Dynasty league, I can keep either Segura for $6 or Hanley for $33. Since both play SS I can only choose one. $300 Auction with no limit on how long you can keep a player, $5 inflation per year. Which one would you choose?

Mike Gianella: Hi Russ:

Hanley Ramirez is the better player but at those prices I think you have to keep Jean Segura given the significant price difference.

dohogne (Phoenix): I have Yelich, Marisnick, AND Ozuna in an inherited 10-team 40-keeper dynasty. How many of them do I keep vs redrafting? I'm not expecting to be competitive in 2014.

Mike Gianella: I would keep Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick. Marcel Ozuna could be a solid regular, but could also be on the outside looking in. The other two are good enough that you should keep them based on the skills/upside and hope for the best given your non-competitive footing.

Connor (Alaska): 16 team dynasty league, our batting cats are runs, homers, RBI, walks, K's, steals, average, and OPS, and Pitching cats are K's, QS, wins, saves, holds, era, whip, and k/bb. I got two offers for my 1-1 pick which would be tanaka. Edwin Encarnacion and the 9th pick in the draft or my 1-1 and Michael Pineda for Cano and a reliever or something. Which is the better offer?

Mike Gianella: The first offer (Encarnacion and the pick) is better. EE is pretty close to the top first basemen in the majors while that nine pick should be pretty sweet, even in a keeper. Robinson Cano is obviously really good but I feel like you're getting a 2 for 1 with the first deal and a 1-for-1 with the second one.

twtw (boulder): Verlander has a defense behind him finally. Return to historical norms in sight or start of the precipitous adding curve decline?

Mike Gianella: Justin Verlander was a lot better in the second half due to a mechanical adjustment the team made that improved his velocity. If he's healthy this year, he bounces back quite a bit. I don't see the defense improving him as much as the fact that he's just a stud/workhorse when he's on.

Team Theo (Chitown): I just traded for Bogaerts & Castellanos. Can I view them as my starting SS/3B combo, and feel good about it if studly at other positions?

Mike Gianella: I think that's solid, and if you're "studly" at other positions you shouldn't worry too much. There's always risk with rookies of course, but I think both Bogaerts and Nick Castellanos stick this year.

jim (tampa): Hello Mike With an OF J-Up Cargo Bruce who do you feel is the better for the 4 OF K,Davis or Oswaldo.? And what there upside.

Mike Gianella: Of the two I feel like Oswaldo Arcia has more reliability but Khris Davis has more upside. I think I would go with the better prospect/long term player in Arcia and hope that Davis' hot numbers in a small sample size were fluky. The exception might be in a one-and-done (redraft league).

James (Boston): Do you think Homer Bailey can be a top 20 SP next season?

Mike Gianella: I thought I answered this already but the chat room is being wonky. Bailey for me is just outside of my Top 20.

Master P (Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica): What do you think Cody Asche does this season?

Mike Gianella: I'm not a big Asche fan for this year. The Phillies are talking about moving Maikel Franco to 1B but it wouldn't surprise me to see Asche lose the job by August. If Asche does stick, you're probably looking at 12-14 HR with a .240 or .250 batting average.

higgsboson (Guelph): What's the most you've ever paid for a player in an auction draft?

Mike Gianella: I paid $57 for Pedro Martinez in a keeper league in 2001. He got hurt that year and it didn't work out but it was in the middle of his incredible, HOF-caliber run and I make no apologies. I wound up dumping him right before he got hurt and got a $1 Mark Buehrle and won the next year so it eventually worked out.

Mike (over there): Any sleepers in the OF? That's area that seems thin this season

Mike Gianella: Depends on how deep your league is. In really deep leagues, David Lough in the AL and Andrew Lambo in the NL are examples of deep, deep sleepers I'd target.

John (Chicago): Will some of Machado's doubles turn into HR this year? If not, is he a viable option at 3b in a 10 team league?

Mike Gianella: It sometimes takes a while for power to develop so while that could happen I suspect that the power climb will be gradual and not sudden. In a 10-team mixed league I would say that Manny Machado is borderline and if it's a non-keeper you might be able to do better.

shakyhands (NJ): What kind of bump do you give pitchers in a league with a transaction limit (60 moves)(auction league)? thanks!

Mike Gianella: I'd probably give them a bit of a bump since you're stuck with the pitchers you get, but on the other hand the predictability of most pitchers doesn't change. Bump up the top guys (like Clayton Kershaw) more significantly and don't change the guys in the middle or the bottom much if at all.

shakyhands (NJ): What kind of bump do you give pitchers in a league with a transaction limit (60 moves)(auction league)? thanks!

Mike Gianella: I'd probably give them a bit of a bump since you're stuck with the pitchers you get, but on the other hand the predictability of most pitchers doesn't change. Bump up the top guys (like Clayton Kershaw) more significantly and don't change the guys in the middle or the bottom much if at all.

Shawnykid23 (Snowy CT): Would you stash Holland in a dynasty league or cut bait as he might not be useful at all in 2014

Mike Gianella: He is most certainly rosterable. It's not an injury that should have a long term impact and Derek Holland could put up 60-80 really useful innings in 2014.

dzemens (Adrian, MI): In a 16 team h2h dynasty, my Michael Wacha for his George Springer? Ive got a solid rotation but my OF is counting on Swisher or BJ Upton as the third man right now so Im looking for help. What do you think of that dea?

Mike Gianella: I feel like I answered this one already, but I'd say yes to this deal.

higgsboson (Guelph): What do you think of Ryan Madson as a cheap flier in a keeper league? Lot of ifs. If he's healthy, if he gets in a situation to become closer (like returning to philly and waiting for Paplebon to be moved at the deadline.

Mike Gianella: Eh. He could become the closer but then so could a lot of guys. I'd target healthy pitchers with skills who did the job last year as opposed to a total question mark. He's certainly fine at $1 if you have the space.

Rocky Mountain High (Denver): Thoughts on D.Dahl returning to the top tier of prospects? Are the off field issues a thing of the past?

Mike Gianella: I have zero insights on Dahl's off-the-field goings on so I can't say with any confidence one way or the other. The ability is certainly there but until we see what he does on the field I wouldn't place a big bet on it. Could it happen? Sure. Will it? At the moment, your guess is as good as mine.

balticwolf (Silver Spring MD): I have the fifth pick in a 14 team mixed pts. league. (-.5 for Ks by batters, .8 for walks, -1 for GIDP). I'm looking for a CI (we give 4.2/HR) with power. Moss will be there, so will Carter. Belt might be there, IDK we keep 12. I should pick Moss, even though he's a platoon batter, right?

Mike Gianella: Of the three, I think I'd go with Brandon Belt. Belt's power has improved a little bit each year and while he's not as prodigious as Moss he could be pretty close. I like the upside pick of Belt here over Moss, who I feel is pretty much at his ceiling.

higgsboson (guelph): Do you buy low on B.J. Upton this year? And how low (say in an NL only auction 5x5)?

Mike Gianella: I'd stay away from Upton but obviously in an NL-only you can't say that. My NL-only bid on Upton is $13 at the moment.

jaymoff (Salem): What kind of numbers do you expect out of Alejandro De Aza considering he may be the odd man out of the White Sox outfield?

Mike Gianella: I still see De Aza getting a good number of at bats. I'm not a big believer in Adam Eaton and think the White Sox will find a way to play De Aza enough where he's still viable. Maybe he won't put up what he did last year, but a 10/15 year with a solid batting average wouldn't surprise. In deeper leagues, even if De Aza isn't starting, he could do what Gerardo Parra did when he was a fourth OF and provide plenty of deep league, sneaky value.

jaymoff (Salem): What kind of numbers do you expect out of Alejandro De Aza considering he may be the odd man out of the White Sox outfield?

Mike Gianella: I still see De Aza getting a good number of at bats. I'm not a big believer in Adam Eaton and think the White Sox will find a way to play De Aza enough where he's still viable. Maybe he won't put up what he did last year, but a 10/15 year with a solid batting average wouldn't surprise. In deeper leagues, even if De Aza isn't starting, he could do what Gerardo Parra did when he was a fourth OF and provide plenty of deep league, sneaky value.

AJ (Phoenix): If I decide to sell on Matt Harvey, what return should I "settle" for? If a team is middle of the road, maybe go prospect route and ask for Baez? MLB route and ask for who? Or just stay the course and wait a year for his return?

Mike Gianella: You're not going to get Javier Baez for an injured Matt Harvey in any of the leagues I play in. It seems like a bad time to trade Harvey. Teams are going to try to undercut you, and if they don't it's hard to know if you're really selling at a good time or if he'll bounce all the way back. I'd say if you can get 80% of his MLB value on a two-year keeper guy do it, but otherwise hold on tight.

higgsboson (guelph): what do you think is the most interesting position battle this spring in terms of fantasy impact.

Mike Gianella: I want to see what happens in the Marlins outfield. Brian Bogusevic really intrigues me as a deep league power/speed sleeper, and Christian Yelich might start in the minors but could also get the call. Marcell Ozuna is kind of underrated in deeper leagues as well. There are a lot of non-Giancarlo Stanton options in this outfield who could provide fantasy impact or not depending on how the battles shake out.

AJ (Phoenix): Bogaerts v. Segura in dynasty. Who do you take?

Mike Gianella: Bogaerts for me, and it's not that close. He is going to be a heck of a hitter eventually.

AJ (Phoenix): I know we'll get composite/Jason's scouting report on the Cubs this week, but what are your thought's on Javier Baez's hit tool? The bat speed is elite, and the power consistently ranks as plus-plus. But he hacks at it quite a bit. From a fantasy perspective, how would you compare him to Kris Bryant? Lastly, where do you see each of them ending up defensively?

Mike Gianella: This is more of a question for Jason Parks, but from a fantasy standpoint I like Baez better than Bryant. I think the strikeouts for Baez are always going to be an issue but a lot of hitters in today's context strike out 130-140 times and still provide plenty of value. I was asked about defense before, but I'd guess Baez winds up at third which pushes Bryant elsewhere on the diamond. First? Left field? I'm just guessing at this point, but both will eventually find a place to play.

Shawn (Couch): Stout or IPA?

Mike Gianella: Depends what I'm in the mood to drink. I lean toward a stout but they're both good under the right circumstances.

Al (Indy): Goldy at $32, or Matt Adams at $15 in a $250 keeper league?

Mike Gianella: Paul Goldschmidt. He's still potentially a bargain at that price and even if Goldy and Adams are both undervalued by $5 or so in a keeper you want to go with the better player.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Could Longoria still be e 40 HR MVP type that some still project, or is that no longer realistic?

Mike Gianella: I don't see it. He's a great player, but that's a big number to hit, and with pitching across the board better than it was five years ago that's a number that's harder to reach. Could it happen if everything broke right? Sure, but it's not a prediction I'd make.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Could Longoria still be e 40 HR MVP type that some still project, or is that no longer realistic?

Mike Gianella: I don't see it. He's a great player, but that's a big number to hit, and with pitching across the board better than it was five years ago that's a number that's harder to reach. Could it happen if everything broke right? Sure, but it's not a prediction I'd make.

Gary (Petaluma, CA.): Hi Mike! Have read MLB Buxton comps from Trout to JB Upton... Any thoughts?

Mike Gianella: Byron Buxton's legit. If he turned into Mike Trout that would be amazing, but predicting any player will be Mike Trout is like saying someone will be a generational talent. Justin Upton is more realistic, but the ceiling is higher than that.

AJ (Phoenix): Dynasty League: Shelby Miller (and push for this year), or two of the following: Stephenson, Butler, Syndergard (long shot he makes it to me), Appel, Stroman and play for next season via the draft? Team could go either way.

Mike Gianella: I disagree with you on Syndergaard; I like him a lot. In a dynasty, I'd take the futures and go with Stephenson and Syndergaard and hope you can dump one or more if you wind up contending.

Steve (AZ): Catchers are catchers, but any lying in the weeds kind of pick as a late round steal you'd suggest?

Mike Gianella: Yes, hard to see a big steal at the position given what it's like. You could try for Mike Zunino in a shallower, non-keeper league and hope people forgot about him. Ryan Hanigan might be a guy people overlook in deeper leagues who might hurt the BA but provides some sneaky power.

Russ (San Diego): Mike, I've got Brett Lawrie for $9 in a $260 Roto Auction Keeper. What's this guy's deal?? Am I silly for keeping him at this price, or does he have a chance to help in 4 to 5 categories and make him worth the risk? Also, any thoughts on Avasail Garcia? I've seen some people project 30hr. Seems like a reach to me...

Mike Gianella: He's great at $9. Keep in mind that the expectations were ridiculous for Lawrie in 2012 because of a short season success in 2011 with a BA spike. He is still a very productive player who I believe gets better but at that price you can't go wrong.

Yes, that's a reach on Avisail Garcia. 20 HR seems more realistic, and I wouldn't be surprised to see as little at 15. I don't see 30 at all (now watch him go and do that).

Gary (Petaluma, CA.): Mike, thanks again! Is it possible for Hosmer to to get MVP considerations in the next year or two? AND, is Rizzo the long term 1B solution @ 1B in Chicago?

Mike Gianella: It's possible, but Eric Hosmer would have to start putting more power together, especially given his position.

Yes, I think Anthony Rizzo is going to be fine for the Cubs, even if he is never the superstar some thought he might be.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Thoughts on Nick Franklin? Rosterable in a 10'tm dynasty?

Mike Gianella: I suppose. He needs a trade though. Shortstop is a defensive stretch of the imagination and there's this guy they picked up this winter who I hear isn't half bad.

Dave (Boston): Any AL set-up men you like to potentially get the closer job this year?

Mike Gianella: Whoever is setting up Tommy Hunter seems like a pretty good bet in Baltimore. Otherwise, Joe Smith is a good get in AL-only. Mike Scioscia showed wavering confidence with Ernesto Frieri last year and Smith could steal the job if Frieri falters.

Frankie (MN): Strategy question - a pitching staff built with Kershaw, middle relievers, & closers - can it work if you build a great offense with that to win a league?

Mike Gianella: It could work in a league with no innings requirement, but I don't like going in with a strategy where you commit to dumping two categories unless your freezes are so weak that you have no choice. You might get lucky with wins and snag 3-4 points in the category, but that's an awful lot to ask with one starter. If you're going to try this, draft 3-4 other starters, reserve them quickly and stream them in if they're working out. If not, churn and burn until you find some quality SP IP. 1 starter is really difficult to pull off.

Justinpain (Chicago): Belt or A Bradley , who do you keep in a dynasty league?

Mike Gianella: Probably Archie Bradley, but it's close for me given pitcher volatility.

Craij (shameville): Mike, people are bullying me on twitter about keeping change in my wallet. Any advice?

Mike Gianella: Stand up to the bullies and don't keep change in your wallet. Your pride will thank you later.

Jim (Tampa): What the deal with Jimmy nelson long term where do you see him?

Mike Gianella: I might not be as high on Nelson as others but I see him as a mid-tier guy. He has a good arsenal but has never shown consistent command. He isn't a big ceiling guy but could stick and become a durable innings eater - and a fantasy mainstay as a result.

Ty (Texas): Can only choose one in an AL only keeper, Salazar or Sonny Gray?

Mike Gianella: For this year only, I'd go with the safer choice in Gray.

Ty (Texas): Can only choose one in an AL only keeper, Salazar or Sonny Gray?

Mike Gianella: For this year only, I'd go with the safer choice in Gray.

tbwhite (San Diego): Zoilo Almonte vs Alfredo Marte, who has the higher ceiling, who has the better chance of being useful in 2014 ? This is more of a sim league question, I realize that neither is likely to be that interesting in most roto leagues.

Mike Gianella: You're right, that isn't that interesting in Roto leagues.

I'd go with Marte by default. With all the outfielders the Yankees have, it is going to be quite the logjam. Marte is slightly more likely for that reason alone to make an impact. Almonte might be the better player, but he's trapped in the wrong org to ever do anything there.

Jack (Chicago): Is Vogelbach strictly a trade chip for the Cubs? Also, ETA on Almora?

Mike Gianella: I'm afraid to answer any Vogelbach questions without angering my colleague Bret Sayre. These situations tend to work themselves out; remember how people used to wring their hands about Ryan Howard in Philadelphia when Jim Thome was locked in? I suppose the Cubs could move him, but it would take a lot.

My educated guess on Albert Almora would be 2015.

Mike Gianella: Thanks everyone for coming to the chat. Hope to catch you next time, and if I missed your question feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Later!


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