Marc Normandin may have a fantasy focus, but he'd like to talk to you about all sorts of things, many or most of them baseball-related.
Marc Normandin: Afternoon everyone, glad to be here at a time when baseball games are being played. I'll be happier when they count for something, but these are the necessary baby steps of the spring.
You know how it is--baseball, video games, music, whatever really. Just load up the question queue and let's go.
lemppi (Ankeny, IA): Would you support drafting 3B, SS, and 2B's early to get the best quality and build your outfield later due to depth? Or do you draft "best available player" in the early rounds? Thank you.
Marc Normandin: While that's a workable strategy, I'm very much context based in my drafts, so it depends a lot on what other people are doing. Best available talent is a good idea early if you know how to adjust your strategy on the fly.
Auction is a different story of course, as you have a bit more freedom to participate when you want to, until you run out of money anyways.
biglou115 (Arkansas): OK, so some sight that shall remain nameless rated Elvis Andrus as a better fantasy SS than Yunel Escobar. Is that that the most rediculous ranking you've seen? Or is there another that really blew you away?
Marc Normandin: I can see why they would do it--they probably expect more power from Andrus than last year, and with his stolen bases and the Rangers lineup you can argue he'll add to a few categories, but I like Yunel more, so I don't buy that argument.
There has to be something more ridiculous out there though, since I can justify that whether I agree with it or not.
Aaron (YYZ): Marc, I'm still pining away for Diablo 3, but it's ETA remains indeterminate. What are some PC titles I should look forward to that can tide me over until its release?
Marc Normandin: I am so disconnected from PC gaming that...I probably shouldn't be admitting this, given I'm an editor at a gaming website.
Let's just say I let our PC guys direct the PC content more so than our console guys do. If you like shooters though, go pick up Battlefield: Bad Company 2, because DICE rocks and so does Battlefield.
GBSimons (Lunch): Marc, I'm in an 8-team, NL-only, 5x5 keeper league. I have both Steven Strasburg and J.A. Happ at $8 each. Would you hold onto either? Both?
Marc Normandin: $8 for Happ doesn't seem bad. I see him putting up a 4.30 ERA or so this year once everything regresses itself to where it belongs, but hey, maybe he improves his components a bit and deserves a better ERA (just not, you know, a sub-3 one). As for Strasburg, he's starting in the minors, but you may as well keep him for $8 so you don't have to overpay for him next year at auction. I like the prices more than the players for 2010, if that makes any sense.
Milby (San Francisco): Hi Marc - I always look forward to your marathon chats. That said, I feel like Jason Bay's status in fantasy has fallen substantially, primarily based on his move to the Mets. Yet, how can his status now be considered worse than when he was on the Pirates - amongst a weak lineup in a ballpark not particularly hitter friendly. Yes, he should be downgraded based on the move from Boston, but it seems to me like he's being miscast as a 3rd tier OFer in contrast to his semi-elite status when he was with the Pirates. Thoughts?
Marc Normandin: Well, I ranked him in the four-star tier, right? I'm a little less enthusiastic about him than I would be were he still in Boston, but he's still pretty important.
I think people are too ready to lash out at him in 2010 for his eventually bad performance.
Jquinton82 (NY): Why doesn't Padres ownership sign Gonzalez to an extension.... are they retarded?
Marc Normandin: I think signing him to a new deal now that overwrites his current, amazing deal, would be the goofy move. Why not let it run out or at least wait until the last year? The Padres financial situation will also be more sorted out by then, and they will have a better sense of how long they have until they compete as well.
TheFlyingBernard (Acton, MA): Atlantic Monthly recently had an article on video game preservation. It's a topic I had never thought of before, but I can see the concern. 20 years from now, what will remain of the wonderful video games from the 20th century?
Marc Normandin: Good question! Prices are already incredibly high for many older games on ebay and the like. I think the key is to utilize digital distribution, and make these classics available for download in a more permanent form. All three consoles this generation are doing that already to a degree.
derek (dc): Who do you like for the bigger year: Granderson, Justin Upton, or Crawford?
Marc Normandin: Well, my combined outfielders list is going up today or tomorrow, depending on how long I chat here. Right now I have it as Crawford/Upton/Granderson (though Granderson is four-star), but I can see Upton going crazy enough to leapfrog over Crawford. Just not a big enough possibility of that for me to rank them that way to begin with.
Aaron (YYZ): Not a shooters guy... I can barely be called a gamer these days (a little DS occasionally). Civ V piqued my interest, although that might be a bad idea since the last time I played Civ IV resulted in an all-nighter and its immediate removal from my machine before I became a permanent member of the unemployed. Maybe its time to dig back through the classics and hit up some NWN or Baldur's Gate?
Marc Normandin: Dragon Age: Origins! If you've already played that, the expansion is releasing this month.
codymomo (hawaii): will ervin santana be a top of the rotation guy this year or perform like last year?
Marc Normandin: Somewhere in between, I think. I was organizing the AL starters this morning for the rankings, and PECOTA thinks the same way. Not great, but not bad either.
stewbies (rochester): How can Branyan not be in your tiers? Based on the news he has the inside track to be the everyday 1b, where would you put him now? Plus, what about Velez at 2b?
Marc Normandin: Well, he was signed the day I was organizing my list, and I submitted my article before they claimed he had the inside track. It was still LaPorta at that point. When I do a final rankings list with everyone on it, I'll put Branyan on.
By the way, I'm listening to Dethklok. What's everyone else got on?
erghammer (DC): Please suggest some fantasy breakout rookies who few know about (like Andrew McCutcheon and Nyjer Morgan last year). Even guys who might only see a part season's worth of action. Thanks for the chat.
Marc Normandin: Jason Heyward! Buy now while supplies last!
Scott (NJ): In a 12-team draft, in what round do you start to look at more risky players? Obviously you don't want to take too many chances early on, but when do you start looking to grab some of the high-risk, high-reward guys, if at all?
Marc Normandin: More towards the middle, once I have a good sense of what my core looks like. Then I know where I need to take chances and where I can afford to.
dianagramr (NYC): I've got Phils/Yanks on MLB.tv, WITHOUT Michael Kay (win!)
Marc Normandin: I need to get MLB.tv, because I plan on watching games wherever with my Netbook.
Zooey (LA): MLB 10: The Show best baseball game ever made?
Marc Normandin: In somewhat related news, I have two MLB 10: The Show related surprises for you guys in the next week or so. You'll have to wait because I'm not spoiling the surprise, but you'll be able to read about it here.
Christopher (Nashville): Which Matt Wieters do you think we'll see this year? The May through August version, or the September version? And please don't tell me "somewhere in between."
Marc Normandin: Well what do you expect me to say when you ask, "Where do you think he will end up, unlikely extreme #1 or unlikely extreme #2?"
I still think his PECOTA forecast for the year is high, but I can see him hitting that well in the second half. He's definitely going to have a better season than 2009, but hitting like PECOTA says for the whole year? Probably not.
hhbliss (san francisco ): Can you help me choose a one keepers from this list: Jason Bay $12, Josh Hamilton $6, Rafael Soriano $4, Julio Borbon $4. Thanks.
Marc Normandin: How did you get all of those guys at those prices? $12 is a steal for Bay. Hamilton's price is also awesome, but if he doesn't bounce back you'll regret not taking Bay.
MJ (Edmonton): Werth's spring training beard: Awesome, or Very Awesome?
Marc Normandin: I feel like spring training beards, like the games themselves, count for squat. Let's see him keep that thing going until Opening Day.
Christopher (Nashville): I want you to tell me "I expect Wieters to challenge Mauer for the MVP."
Marc Normandin: You probably don't want to ask myself or Colin Wyers about that then :-)
Functionary (Grey Cubicle, DC): "Fantasy baseball" is kind of an unfortunate name for our hobby. Especially the shorthand "fantasy": I imagine that, to the uninitiated, we sound like cosplay people or something. Not that there's anything wrong with that. We're geeks, too. But if you could rename our hobby, would you? And, if so, what would you call it?
Marc Normandin: I would rename it solely so there could be names for fantasy blogs and columns that didn't have the word fantasy in them. Anyone have any ideas what you would rename it?
GBSimons (After lunch): How much was Raul Ibanez's sports hernia responsible for his horrendous second half in '09? What do you see from him this season?
Marc Normandin: Honestly, I have no idea how much of it was from his hernia. But I didn't (and don't) expect the first half from him again. More likely, he'll hit like Raul Ibanez is supposed to, which is unexciting but has its uses.
Ben F. (California): Thanks for the chat..and thanks for more fantasy content.
Based on the drafts that you are participating in or seeing, can you give us a couple names that are either going too high or too low in your opinion?
Marc Normandin: No problem! I'm very excited to have all of the extra authors on board. Craig Brown is debuting tomorrow, and I hope all of the Heater guys are starting up next week.
I've only done auction so far, so I don't have a good answer for that. But I can tell you that Ricky Nolasco has not been a bargain, at least in my leagues. I'm sure he still is in many though.
Larry (Bridgewater, NJ): For this month, Resonance of Fate or Final Fantasy XIII?
Marc Normandin: I don't know a lot about Resonance of Fate yet--it's still in my "maybe" pile. FFXIII I'm going to play because I'm probably reviewing it, but I'm hopeful it's a step up from FFXII, aka the only FF I actively dislike.
fieldofdreams (chapel hill, nc): I pick 5th in a Scoresheet, AL/NL, 16 team partial keeper league: How would you order: Sizemore, Zimmerman, B. Anderson, Markakis, Shields, Youk?
Marc Normandin: When's your draft? Craig Brown's debut piece tomorrow is on that very subject--he had the first pick in his Scoresheet league.
Gary (SC): It is worth the extra $50 to get the larger PS3? In practical terms, what does that extra memory allow me to do? Also, as a novice gamer what are a few titles I should pick up right away that won't get me frustrated with the complexity or game play?
Marc Normandin: I assume you are talking about the two different sized PS3 Slims? There's plenty of memory on the basic one. I have a 40GB and I've run out of room once, and only because I forgot to delete old mandatory installs for games I don't own anymore.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. If you like that, pickup the sequel. Dragon Age is awesome and should give you 40 hours on the first playthrough. LittleBigPlanet is a fun platformer. I'm still working on Heavy Rain, so I can't tell you how much I love it yet, but it's been good so far.
mike (chicago): I have Happ and Randy Wells in a keeper league where I can keep 1 for $2. Both seem to be regression candidates, is it more than a coinflip or do you think one is surely better than the other?
Marc Normandin: Wells seems like he had a better year, but I think Happ may improve some in 2010 and have a better adjusted ERA. I'd go with Happ, especially since the Phils > Cubs.
Bill (New Mexico): Are you aware of any fantasy-baseball-like games out there that give defense its due? One reason why I have a hard time getting interested in fantasy is that it seems to chronically undervalue guys like Franklin Gutierrez, Yadier Molina (and the other Molinas to some extent), etc., whose gloves are what make them stars. Are there leagues and systems that might scratch that itch?
Marc Normandin: I haven't seen any leagues with good defensive statistics, just the basic kind I would never use in analysis. I did play in Ball on a Budget at Beyond the Box Score last year, and that used WAR, so defense was included.
Rob (Brighton, MA): RE: Jayson Werth. Does he still look like the wrestler Edge? Back when he was rocking the long hair and the trim beard the resemblance was uncanny. We kept wanting him to spear the catcher whenever there was a play at the plate.
Marc Normandin: As far as I know he does. I was talking about that during the playoffs last year on Twitter. I'm pretty positive it's the same person, ages and schedules be damned.
Rob (Brighton, MA): Continuing the cheap beer discussion from yesterday...I'm thinking of throwing a fantasy draft day party for those of us that are in Bean Town. Which of these should I provide: Rolling Rock, PBR, Coors Light, Miller Genuine Draft, Corona, or other? I don't make much money, so if it's other it needs to be cheap. I have thirsty friends.
Marc Normandin: I am not the right person to ask about that. I think the least expensive beer I drink is Sam Adams.
Larry (Bridgewater, NJ): Justin Upton's new deal, good or bad? The Diamondbacks appear to be reading your fantasy ratings.
Marc Normandin: The Upton brothers are going to get dual restraining orders to keep me from ever being near either of them. I like the deal a lot, especially since he's a free agent again before he's 30, which means they can sign him again.
By the way, I have a present for all for you guys: Combined Outfielder Rankings
JKiersky (Memphis): Deathklok? Really? Put high on fires first album on and smile large! Also, if Lemmy= God does Matt Pike= Jesus? What do you expect from Niese and John Maine this year in terms of counting stats?
Marc Normandin: Oh High on Fire. So loud, so fast. Dethklok is good for a laugh, c'mon. Murmaider! Or, more correctly, MurmaiderMurmaiderMurmaiderMurmaiderMurmaider...
Matt Pike is pretty good, but let's not say things we can't take back. Sleep is either a good Black Sabbath/Kyuss ripoff or awful, depending on the song.
John Maine should be a solid middle-guy if he's healthy. I don't think he has the stuff to dominate the NL, at least not for long stretches of time.
Aaron (YYZ): I'm woefully behind on my DS games, but what (if any) should I keep an eye out for in the coming months?
Marc Normandin: Infinite Space is coming out this month. DS RPG, made by PlatinumGames (formerly Clover [Okami, God Hand, Viewtiful Joe] who have made MadWorld and Bayonetta, both fantastic games).
Bellis (Oakand, CA): Everybody is justifiably high on Brett Anderson this year. Any of the A's other young guys bust out? Who has the best shot among Gonzalez, Mazzaro, Cahill, Outman and Braden?
Marc Normandin: I'm not that thrilled with their rotation honestly. Ben Sheets was a necessary addition. I do like their other guys, just don't feel like 2010 is the year. Cahill needs more K's if it's going to be him.
Rob (Brighton, MA): RE: names for fantasy baseball. Just call it iBall. I'm sure there's an app for that. And plus, then you can sell it to yuppies and make a fortune.
Marc Normandin: I know you actually live in Brighton because of the above.
Ben F. (California): For Rob-Hit the Trader Joes in Newton and get some Simpler Times. It's the cheapest beer I can find, and better than others in it's price range.
Marc Normandin: There you go, Rob. Though the Trader Joes in Allston/Brighton may be closer and provide the same. Also, I have Harpoon Celtic Ale in the fridge right now, I don't think that's too expensive.
Maggie (DC): Where is Starcraft II? Also, should I make my boyfriend sleep outside if he doens't pay attention to me after it's released?
Marc Normandin: Starcraft really isn't my thing (ducks) but yes, start preparing that bed now. Just make sure he has wi-fi access and an extension cord so he can keep playing while he's out there.
Ken (Pittsburgh): Can Aaron Harang produce anything close to his 06'-07' value this year?
Marc Normandin: I think that ship has sailed. He was doing well last year, outside of his record. More of that is in the cards.
Victor (San Diego): Where do you think Felipe Lopez will hit in the Cards lineup? Thoughts on what kind of numbers he'll post?
Marc Normandin: I try not to guess where TLR is going to put people in his lineup. .280/.350/.410, lots o'runs.
ScotMartin (TX): On your combined OF list, you have Chris Young listed twice in your 3-star players (I think the extra one is the one at the end).
Marc Normandin: I knew I'd miss one guy no matter how many times I looked over it.
David (IL): RE: incorporating defense into fantasy. In fantasy football you draft a team defense. I wonder if that would be workable in fantasy baseball as well?
Marc Normandin: That's a good idea! But the problem is they would probably just use basic stats like Fielding% and put outs.
Cale27 (Kansas City): I'm not a big believer in Scott Podsednik, you think he'll post as good a numbers fantasy-wise this year, as last?
Marc Normandin: I have him near the bottom of my one-star outfielders, so I think that's a big no. There are much better versions of Podsednik available that aren't as batting average reliant.
Aaron (YYZ): Fantasy Starter most likely to get you 200 K's and have you question whether the rest of the baggage was worth it?
Marc Normandin: A.J. Burnett. His PECOTA forecast makes him look like a three-star guy but I'm popping him in with the fours as of right now.
Cam (Sarasota): I also have a Scoresheet going on right now. Who do you like better Brendan Ryan or Pedro Feliz?
Marc Normandin: Brendan Ryan. Leaving the Phils kind of damages Feliz' value a bit, because the Astros are not going to drive him in as often. Plus, SS is awful, and Ryan isn't half-bad.
Shane (Miami): In a 5x5 roto I'm trying to decide between Uggla and Beckham, who do you take?
Marc Normandin: Oh boy. I put Beckham at the top of my four-star tier at 2B, and Uggla a few spots beneath. I think Beckham may be a bit more balanced, but Uggla will dominate HR for you. Beckham is also eligible at 3B, so there's that.
biglou115 (Arkansas): Re: defense in fantasy ball. How about assigning each player a defensive number. Each league would come to that number differently, I'm sure there are sabr minded leagues out there that would use UZR or Plus/Minus, kind of like different scoring systems. The composite for the entire team would create a handicap that lowered or raised that teams offensive production.
Marc Normandin: If only that were mainstream!
GBSimons (Waiting for Day's End): What is the likelihood Francisco Cordero gets dealt this year to a team where he lose his closer role?
Marc Normandin: I haven't heard any rumblings--that may be a question better suited for June, though it would be more useful to have an answer now.
Jimmy (DC): I have eight keepers for this season in a 12-team league. Without me telling you everyone, I have kept only one pitcher (Tim Lincecum) and one outfielder (Justin Upton). We start five outfielders. I also have managed to trade for the top pick in the draft. Am I stupid to lock up Stephen Strasburg, despite him not making an immediate impact, or would you go with Adam Jones, potential "fantasy monster" as you describe him? These are the only two guys I'm debating on for the pick.
Marc Normandin: I *love* Adam Jones. And so does PECOTA. Strasburg will be easier to acquire outside of keepers than Jones, IMO. I'd keep Jones.
Hooper (High Plains): I'm in a keeper league and it looks like I might go into the draft keeping only one position player (Kemp) and five or six pitchers (Lincecum, Kershaw, Billingsley being the best). Is this a bad idea? Should I try to make a trade for some more balance?
Marc Normandin: I would probably try to make one deal, if only to have more than one hitter. If it's a keeper league, your chances of acquiring another impact bat outside of a trade are much lower.
Kemp's a pretty great one to have if you're stuck with just one though.
Jack (Boston): What did you cut off your fingertip with? I feel this is a reflection of your character. Heavy Rain worth a buy?
Marc Normandin: ...What?
I'm enjoying it so far, but I'm really not far in it at all, so I can't tell you how the story goes. Reviews seem to praise it highly, but I haven't played enough to make a decision yet.
Scrapper (USA): 10 team 5x5 NL keeper league: keep Blanton ($1) or J. Sanchez ($2)?; also Fowler ($9) or Blanks ($5)? Thanks
Marc Normandin: Sanchez's ceiling is higher, but I like Blanton at $1 given he's on the Phils. If you have room for upside go Sanchez.
Depends on what you need. Steals? Fowler. Power? Blanks. Blanks was my first t-shirt purchase of 2010!
Scrapper (USA): Do you go into your drafts with the idea of spending a certain percentage of your auction budget on pitching? 70/30 or something else?
Marc Normandin: I have this bad habit of treating most of my leagues as experiments, so that number changes all of the time. In the ones I'm taking seriously (or I should say, playing the way I think I should) it's probably close to that. Maybe 65/35 if I can find some can't-pass-up opportunities.
Steve (Detroit): Thoughts on Latos and Felipe Paulino? I view them both as sleepers for this year and beyond. Obviously Latos has more upside but I feel Paulino's surface stats are worse than they should have been due to bad luck...
Marc Normandin: I spent $9 on Latos even though I shouldn't have because I'm convinced he'll be San Diego's best starter once he's in the rotation. Love Latos.
Listening to Megadeth, "Rust in Peace". It's a metal kind of day.
Serge (Tampa): How do you rank the following personally as a fantasy option in a 5x5: Damon, Span, Bourn and Morgan
Marc Normandin: Span, Morgan, Bourn, Damon. Damon's production is available from so many other outfielders, and he's lost some value leaving NY. I'm big on Morgan, and I think Span's power and SB are both going up this year.
TheSportsIdiot (ATL): Do you love Latos this year more than Wade Davis, Matusz and Baumgartner?
Marc Normandin: I'm still not 100% on how much Latos is going to pitch. I'd take Wade Davis for 2010 over all of them, Latos #2. If they all threw 180 innings, I'd go with Latos.
Jasper the Cat (Lying in the sunshine): If you had to choose from among Kouzmanov, Encarnacion and Beltre which two would you prefer?
Marc Normandin: Kouzmanoff, Beltre, Encarnacion, in that order.
Vandelay Industries (New York): Gun to your head and no third option: Would you rather finish first twice in a five year period and finish at the bottom in the other years in a 10 team league or finish second or third every year?
Marc Normandin: Money league: First twice. Otherwise, the latter.
bctowns (Chicago (IL)): Marc, thanks for chatting.
In a fairly deep 14 team league where other owners tend to overrate starting pitching, how wise is it to load up on offense through the first seven or eight rounds? PFM says take offense only through about the first sixty picks for my league settings, but I'm worried about ending up with subpar pitching. Thoughts?
Marc Normandin: There's far more pitching late in the draft than hitting if you know where to look. You just need things to break your way. I would load up on offense and try to build your pitching through the options they haven't noticed or picked yet, then make a deal if you have to when there is an offense starved club.
Silv (NY, NY): Really? Kouz and his 'feh' offense over Enky (in a pretty good lineup) and Beltre (in cozy Fenway)? Wow, totally disagree - what's the basis?
Marc Normandin: Kouzmanoff is better than people think (thanks Petco!). Encarnacion I like, but I don't like him anymore than Kouzmanoff. Beltre I like for a rebound, but I'm not entirely sold on the idea that 2009 was some freak accident that can be stricken from the record.
matt (pa): I'm in a fantasy league where i have andrew mccutchen for a minimum salary for 4 years right now, or if i wait til mid-season to promote him from my "minors" i get him for an additional year? should i wait til june and buy myself another year of his prime?
Marc Normandin: Is your club going to be fine without him? I would probably just promote him now if you're in contention, but if you don't think you will be, leave him there until mid-season.
Carson (Charlotte, NC): Marc, as always appreciate your fantasy insights. For you, who has a better year, this year between the following: Matusz, Tillman and Holland? Also, how do you rate them moving forward?
Marc Normandin: I hate to do this to you, but I would rather wait until I do the pitcher rankings this weekend because I'm not entirely locked in on the rankings yet. Promise you won't have to wait long though!
wangdaddy (SF, CA): Marc, read in KG's all-decade prospects article (i think) that some scouts think Tommy Hanson has already already reached his peak as a 17-18 game winner as opposed to 'true ace' potential. You buying that assessment?
Marc Normandin: I think he has some room to grow, but I'm also not a scout. This years should give us a pretty good indication of which it is.
B J Upton (Tampa): THIS is my year, right?
Marc Normandin: It better be. I'll draft you again Bossman, don't worry. I have faith.
Cashman (NY): Hughes or Chamberlain for the next three years? Can Hughes still be an ace?
Marc Normandin: Chamberlain. I think Hughes can be pretty good, but maybe not an ace ace. It's tough to tell when you just stick him in a bullpen and don't let me judge his starter stuff.
Frank Bullitt (San Francisco): Your thoughts on M. Baumgardner? Will he reach 150+ Ks this season?
Marc Normandin: PECOTA says no, but it also has him at 145 IP. I have a hard time getting excited about first-year starters.
Charles Bukowski (Ham on Rye): Why do you like the Padres so much?
Marc Normandin: My mom lived in San Diego, so I grew up listening to her talking about the Padres and Tony Gwynn. I've been a two-team guy pretty much since I started paying attention to baseball.
John Danks (The South Side of Chicago): Do I have any fantasy relevence?
Marc Normandin: Aw, Johnny, of course you do. You're not an ace because your park magnifies your weaknesses, but still, you're pretty good to have around.
NeilEdwards6 (Athens, GA): Tough choosing a third basemen this year, after Longoria, who are your next three in order (standard 5x5)? Thanks, have loved the position projections!
Marc Normandin: Assuming Wright is already off the board, A-Rod, Zimmerman, Sandoval. And thank you! I like the new format a lot.
bctowns (Chicago): Due to the weird keeper rules in our league, I can keep Wade Davis in the 18th round this year, then two rounds ahead of that until he gets tossed back into the draft nine years from now, if I wish. My alternative keeper in that spot is Jason Kubel. That's a no brainer, right?
Marc Normandin: Kubel can be replaced very easily. Having a starter who has Davis' ceiling around is much better than Kubel, especially if you can keep Davis as long as you say.
Justin (Normal, IL): Really weird question I know, but what are some good places to play fantasy baseball with other strangers? Most of my friends don't play or don't get that into it.
Marc Normandin: Yahoo! was always good for that--you can choose "competitive" or "casual" when you sign up.
Jasper the Cat (Suuuuuunshine is good): When will the BP Blogs be up and running? You'll have one, won't you?
Marc Normandin: Some of them are up already, sort of: http://baseballprospectus.com/blog
Right now we're all mixed together, but when we overhaul the user-interface, we'll have individual landing pages you can visit. I will be heading up the fantasy blog, so you'll see a lot more of me in the future than you do now. Apologies to those who just cringed at the thought.
stewbies (rochester): do you lose any sleep deciding between nathan, rivera or papelbon? also, I think you're too harsh on Rasmus and Montero in your rankings.
Marc Normandin: Miguel Montero? I said he was *at least* as good as his projection, and if he weren't splitting time with Snyder he'd be worth more. I do love Montero.
Rasmus isn't bad, there's just a lot more to choose from, and he hasn't shown me enough to get excited yet. I'm more interested in his 2011 than his 2010.
Mike Fast (email@example.com): Marc, you could recommend to Justin from Illinois that he go to Rotojunkie.com to find a very good community of fantasy players, and from there it will not be that hard to find a league.
Marc Normandin: Hey there Mike, glad to see you drop by. Justin from Illinois, Mike Fast has come to your rescue.
Aaron (YYZ): How much of a 'meh' outfielder is Kubel as your third OF if the alternatives are BJ Upton, Chris B. Young, Julio Borbon, and maybe Jason Heyward if he lights the world on fire.
Marc Normandin: B.J. UPTON! There is no other choice. Upton's a four-star guy who, if he rebounds as much as I think he can, could be potentially a fiver.
cbelford (Chicago): Hi Marc, thanks for the chat. I can keep 2 of these 3 guys (draft round I give up in parentheses): Kemp (6th), Adam Jones (15th), Jason Heyward (16th). I'm leaning towards Jones/Heyward. Your thoughts?
Marc Normandin: Kemp in the 6th is a steal, dude's a first rounder easy. Maybe Heyward just because he's going to be hard to get back if you dump him, but I'm a huge Jones fan too. Kemp needs to be kept though.
steve (Boston): Thoughts on Adam Lind? Seems to me he is peak Jason Bay without steals no?
Marc Normandin: That sounds right to me. He's got a great, great bat, but sans steals.
EGO (Pittsfield, MA): Yesterday Callis chatted that Smoak would overtake Davis by June 1st. If that is a fact what type of fantasy production do you expect from Smoak out of the gate?
Marc Normandin: PECOTA isn't that thrilled with Smoak for 2010--.246/.357/.402. I'm a bit more optimistic than that, but not so much that I would go for him in a one-year league.
Matt (Bloomington): If it's a metal kind of day, I urge you to listen to Brain Drill. One of the craziest bands I have ever heard.
Do you think the White Sox will be able to pull off a deal for Adrian Gonzalez without Beckham (maybe Flowers and Mitchell)?
Marc Normandin: I hope not, but I'm a Pads fan. I expect a king's ransom in return for Gonzalez, though honestly I think I just want the Padres to keep him. Power hitters who can hit at Petco are a rarity.
mhixpgh (PNC Park): How many games do you see at Fenway each year?
Marc Normandin: Zero, unless someone offers me tickets. I hate the lottery for tickets and haven't bought tickets since they instituted it.
Adam (Rochester): In a 12 team NL only league with up to 12 keepers a team, do you think Velez gets enough PT to get around 20 sbs? do you take velez at 5 or gerut at 3, or just throw both back?
Marc Normandin: I liked Velez for 2010 before they picked up DeRosa and crowded the outfield some more. I don't know if he's going to get the PT to justify selection--I didn't even rank him in the OF, and I went 60 deep at each position. Gerut might not get the PT either, sadly, despite a neat projection.
Brecken (Chicago): Hansen or Nolasco for 2010? League weights more to Ks
Marc Normandin: Huge Nolasco fan. I'd go with him. Aren't going to find many guys with his K/BB rates around.
Will (DC): What is the one team you would absolutely not want to be a fan of for the next few years? Astros? Jays?
Marc Normandin: At least the Astros might accidentally back into a decent record. The Jays, though they will be better at the end of this long road, are going to be tough to watch for a bit. The AL East is not a kind mistress.
Tony Kornheiser (The Woodshed): Who is the hottest BP Staffer? C'mon....
Marc Normandin: Presented without commentary.
Aaron (YYZ): What do you do with Ryan Franklin this year if you have him in a keeper league (and no reason not to keep him)? Try to trade him? Ride him? Cut him anyway?
Marc Normandin: Trade! Trade him!
Aaron (YYZ): Sure, but what is Ryan Franklin worth in trade in a dynasty league? A couple of curly fries?
Marc Normandin: Mmm...curly fries.
Frank (Boston): Thoughts on CarGo's ceiling this year? He seems to be getting underrated in various projection systems due to playing time concerns. Sure seems to me like Tracy loves him and will be putting him out there every day.
Marc Normandin: I put him atop the third tier, and said he was capable of moving into the fourth due to his ceiling, so I'm pretty high on him.
LBC (The LBC): One has to take Wade Davis over Harden or Sheets, right?
Marc Normandin: Over Sheets? Yes. Harden, maybe not. Harden might kill you on innings a little, but he'll pitch a full season's worth of K's in that span.
mhixpgh (Pgh): Where do you see live baseball?
Marc Normandin: Nowhere since I moved out to western MA, but I get to some Sox games occasionally.
Steve (Detroit): Isn't the Top 10 a little too early to take Wright? Sediman's article about him seemed to provide little explanation for his power outage. Am I crazy for considering Wright at #6 in a mixed league?
Marc Normandin: I still have him #1 at third base. I have a hard time bailing on him after one difficult campaign where he was still productive.
Sully (Los Angeles, CA): What's wrong with calling it Roto Baseball? That's what we called it before fantasy football slapped the ugly fantasy label on all sports...
Marc Normandin: *shakes fist at fantasy football*
I hate to bail everyone, but I'll need to go sometime soon.
Sully (Los Angeles, CA): Kendrick in a 10 team, AL-only keeper league.
A. One year @ $8
B. Two years @ $13
C. Three years @ $18
What do you think?
Marc Normandin: I like Kendrick a lot more than his projection. If it was mixed I'd so bail, so AL-only he may be worth those prices.
Aaron (YYZ): You could always visit Toronto to catch a live game.. the seats are cheap and plentiful.
Marc Normandin: And eight hours away.
Raymond Carver (California): I want to pick up Beltre but would have to drop either J. Masterson or J. Bonderman. Which SP should I drop?
Marc Normandin: Bonderman. No contest. I like Masterson, and so does PECOTA, and he'll pitch all season.
Jquinton82 (NY): Marc... anything to Bumgarner velocity still being low starting spring training? Whats your stock rating: buy, sell or hold?
Marc Normandin: Until we hear word that it means something, I would buy or hold. Sell seems premature at this stage.
ted (the cubicle): Any good platoon names this season? Anything that can top "Menchkins"?
Marc Normandin: I don't know if anything will ever top Menchkins, but let's hear some platoons and see what we can come up with.
Rob (Alaska): Gut feeling on Delmon Young?
Marc Normandin: The feeling in my gut regarding him requires a Pepcid tablet.
don (lansing): Free Seth Smith?
Marc Normandin: My rankings hope so. Dude can hit.
Ragnhild (Blue Record): Listening to Baroness.
Dexter Fowler values seem to be all over the place. Why such a disparity?
Marc Normandin: Different interpretations of his growth for 2010. I expect 2010 to be a more productive version of 2009 without a huge step forward, so I like him but I'm not obsessed.
Flynnbot (Ill.): Strikeouts is a category for hitters in my league. Does that make BJ Upton potentially less attractive, even considering his upside?
Marc Normandin: I guess that hurts him a little, but we're talking about a guy who may go 30/30 in a stronger-than-it-looks Rays lineup too.
biglou115 (Arkansas): Diabrera sounds like a good platoon name to me.
Marc Normandin: Solid. Anyone else?
strupp (Madison): Am I silly for thinking of buying tix to a Pirates game at Miller Park just to watch The Cutch play CF?
Marc Normandin: No, if I get some free time I might find a way to a game somewhere with Cutch at it. Maybe that way I can get a shirt of his that won't cost me $40 (hate you mlb.com)
Mike W (Chicago): What are your thoughts on opportunity cost? For instance, I have Holliday at $24, and I feel like I should keep him (FBM says $26 with my league setup), but then I'm missing out on $24 to maybe buy some bigger bargains. How do you think about that?
Marc Normandin: I have the same problem. I have Jeter at $24 on a team I took over for, and am debating if I should keep him (SS sucks, after all) or get rid of him and wing it while hoping for another bargain. I guess it depends on how much else you're holding onto--Holliday's pretty great.
cbelford (Chicago): Thanks for the Kemp recommendation. Full disclosure: I can keep Pujols (1st-I pick 7th), A-Rod (3rd!) and Sandoval (8th) also. Want to know if Kemp is still top of the list of Kemp/Jnes/Heyward...Love the new fantasy format on BP, by the way.
Marc Normandin: Yup, Kemp's a beast. You'll have three first-rounders on your team, which should set you up very nicely.
dianagramr (NYC): The cure for Diabrera would be Pepto Dismal.
Marc Normandin: Wonderful.
Mike (Niles, IL): Marc do others at BP share your optimism on BJ Upton?
Marc Normandin: Honestly, I don't know. I still have a job, so someone else must like him.
Ben (NC): What's the best video game to be playing in between draft picks this fantasy season?
Marc Normandin: Good question. March is so loaded with releases. I've been playing a lot of Borderlands lately because of the DLC releases, so I'll probably still be picking at that come draft day.
Scott (NJ): In an article last year, you spoke about the strategy of punting the save category. What kind of success have you had with this strategy? If you invoke it, do you basically have to load up on strikeout pitchers?
Marc Normandin: It worked out well for me in one league last year, not so much in the other, but I think that had more to do with the rest of the team. I'm trying it again this year (in an experts league, gulp) so I'll report back.
That's basically what I do--I just make sure I shore up on the kinds of starters that aren't going to make me regret losing relief innings, and I tend to be hitting heavy overall.
Jasper the Cat (Still in the sunshine): Who are some guys you just don't like and/or have no faith in fantasy-wise? A few guys who will NEVER be on Team Normandin.
Marc Normandin: Vernon Wells. Keep him away from me, please.
Lightning round, folks! I've apparently answered 107 questions.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Some of the guys who are "in" Deathklok are incredible musicians like Mike Keneally and Bryan Beller. Former Zappa associates. You think Adam Dunn can ever get his first base fielding good enough to not be awful? He has been quoted saying he doesn't want to DH, and seems better at first than in the OF. It's not like he's unathletic...
Marc Normandin: He just admitted that he's learning the position now, so I have hope, just not a lot of it. He's not in the shape he used to be when he was still a former QB, sadly.
Sammy (Tuscan): If I don't draft Chris Young (the hitter) this season, will he go 30/30?
Marc Normandin: Of course he will. And if I draft Mark Reynolds, he'll hit .230 with 15 homers and strike out 300 times. That's just how it works :-(
mhixpgh (Pgh): Are you now living in that big Victorian house with Goldstein? The two of you just sitting around all day fighting about music and playing video games...
Marc Normandin: Why would we fight? We both think The Beatles are overrated and enjoy the Pixies.
Marc Normandin: I hate to leave, but I have some other things I need to get to sadly. Hopefully I get another chance to pop in before opening day. As always, you know where to find me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. Enjoy the spring!