Master of Fantasy and Baseball Documentary Critic Derek Carty takes your questions and gives you some very hairy answers.
Derek Carty: Hey everyone! Welcome to my final chat of the regular season. I hope you're all doing well in your leagues and are on the verge of winning a championship, and hopefully BP Fantasy has helped you in doing so. I'll be here for a while to answer whatever questions you might have for me. Let's get started!
Andrew (Las Vegas): This season's 1st round by ADP: Pujols, Hanley, Miggy, Longoria, Tulo, CarGo, Votto, Wright, AGon, Cano, Teixeira, and Braun. Who falls out next season? Who are candidates to enter the 1st round?
Derek Carty: I'm surprised Matt Kemp didn't make that list this year, and he'll definitely be on it next year. I think we also see Jose Bautista join the ranks as people finally buy into him. Jacoby Ellsbury seems fairly likely, and you might be able to make a case for Curtis Granderson. I think the best bets to fall out to make room include Wright, Teixeira, Longoria, and maybe a CarGo or Hanley.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): In NL-only, standard 5x5 dynasty league with $260 salary cap/budget - would I be crazy to keep Braun for $43 next year? (My other 7 keepers would come in at a total of about $60.)
Derek Carty: No, I don't think it's crazy at all. He went for $37 in LABR NL this year, and that was without keeper inflation that your league will see next year. He posted another great year and is relatively young (giving him a boost in keeper leagues), so I don't think that's a bad price at all.
Steve N (Delaware): Is the new Melky Cabrera for real or an illusion?
Derek Carty: As good as he's been, I just can't buy into him, at least not completely. I think the BA settles in around .275-.280 while the power drops off to 15 or so over a full season (though it should be noted that he was hitting his homers farther this year than he did last year--when his power was basically non-existant--and more like what he was doing in 2009 with the Yankees when he had a similar HR/FB).
I don't think I'm buying him as a 20 SB guy either. Tango's Fan Scouting Report says that his foot speed has fell off dramatically over the past two seasons to below average levels. Still, he stole 7 last year under Fredi Gonzalez, who is one of the worst managers for letting his players run. I think 12-15 SB sounds about right. That makes him a fairly valuable player capable of contributing a bit in all five categories without doing anything extremely well. Those kinds of guys tend to be undervalued, anecdotally speaking, especially if they've had a reputation for being bad and come out of nowhere to post a good season.
Matt (Malone, NY): Max Scherzer drives me nuts. What is your take on how he'll fare in 2012?
Derek Carty: Yeah, he's been doing that to fantasy owners. I think he was a bit too overhyped this season, but I still like him and think he will deliver a better season next year than he did in 2011. His stuff is still there (aside from a fastball that's been rising a bit less, according to PITCHf/x) and he harnessed his control a bit better this season, so I don't see any reason why a 3.75 ERA isn't attainable next year with 15 Wins a 1.30 WHIP. I think a small bounceback in strikeouts is also a good bet; he's not a sub-8.0 K/9 guy.
ORWahoo (Oregon): What do you see in Scott Sizemore? Iím weighing keeping him as one of my 15 MLB keepers in a 14 team H2H points league. This is not the most exciting keeper choice in the world but I donít want to be stuck drafting the likes of Brandon Inge again or wasting an early pick on a below average player. 3B is such an ugly position to fill if you donít have an elite player.
Do you see him being materially better than his career line to date (.236/.325/.372, 13 HRs in 156 games)? If not, then heís just a replacement-level player in my league as the top 3B available in this yearís draft were players like Betemit, Tejada, Encarnacion, Peralta, Freese, Polanco, etc.. Because of his youth, perhaps heíll continue to improve? Where do you see his near-term ceiling while I wait for the likes of Will Middlebrooks and Cheslor Cuthbert to mature?
FWIW, he's battling players like Sands, JD Martinez, Altuve, Brandon Allen and Guerra for that last keeper slot.
Derek Carty: I like Sizemore, but only in deeper leagues. He just doesn't have enough power or speed to really be an asset in mixed leagues. I think double digit homers and maybe a small handful of steals, but I don't see 20 HR or 10 SB from him next year. And he strikes out a lot, which will cause him to rely on a high BABIP to post a good average, which will be difficult to maintain without great speed. I think decent power without a good average or speed makes him a tough guy to endorse for anything other than an AL-only league play.
Chris (lunch): So if you don't buy into Melky, how about Francoeur or Gordon? Both out of nowhere too...
Derek Carty: Francoeur I see as similar to Melky. A guy that doesn't have great speed but somehow got 20 steals. Yost likes to steal more than Melky and Frenchy's previous managers did, but my study earlier this year only put him at 6% above average, unless he's making a concerted effort to up that this year. I do buy into Francoeur's power a bit more than Melky's since he's hitting the ball farther this year than in the past and think he too is a .280 kind of BA guy.
I'm loving the power improvement I'm seeing from Gordon this year. I drafted him in CardRunners this season and discussed why here (http://www.crfantasybaseball.com/2011/09/15/the-reasoning-behind-my-breakouts-part-2/), and I like what he's done this year. The BABIP is too high, so a .285 average seems more likely, and maybe 10-12 SB instead of 17.
These SB regressions could very well be too harsh, though. Yost said in Spring Training that he wanted to run more, so I think it's very possible that he'll continue to do so and these guys will repeat their 15-20 SB seasons.
Andrew (Las Vegas): The ESPN Player Rater weighs the contribution of each player's statistical output as the percentage of that of the entire MLB player pool. Do you think this in effect gives too much weight to stolen bases? For instance, Michael Bourn ranks 16th overall. Or are stolen bases truly that valuable?
Derek Carty: While I've never actually checked the numbers, I would guess that it does. It would be much better if they used a theoretical player pool for the league depth. Since steals are more scarce than, say, home runs, my guess is that the vast majority of players who contribute steals get owned in a large percentage of leagues. While a guy like Nyjer Morgan might be owned in a lot of leagues, a guy like Miguel Olivo or Raul Ibanez whose primary contribution is home runs might not be. This means that the MLB player pool is more representative of the fantasy player pool for SB than it is for HR. The ESPN Rater would be acting as if more HRs are in play than there actually are, reducing their value and raising value of SB correspondingly.
NatsTown (NatsTown!): Lawrie, Moore, or Montero for next year? Assume Lawrie is 3B only, Montero is a C, and all of them come at an equal cost.
Derek Carty: Well, I certainly like what I see of Moore thus far, but it's hard to pick a rookie pitcher from this group. I think I'll take Lawrie, especially if Montero doesn't have C-eligibility.
David (DC): Assuming Jesus Montero does not have catcher eligibility next year, how highly would you rank him?
Derek Carty: If he doesn't have catcher eligibility and assuming he's the full-time DH, I still think he's a late round mixed league pick. I like him and I like his potential, but I don't think he's ready to become a star next year. I think the best case scenario is he winds up as $15 player in a 12-team mixed league next year, sans catcher eligibility.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): The pool of available fantasy shortstops (especailly in the NL with HanRam and Drew hurt), is horribly shallow. Any thoughts on sleeper, breakout, under-the-radar guys for next year's auction?
Derek Carty: I haven't started digging too deep yet, but I like the potential of Trevor Plouffe in Minnesota, and I have a hard time believing his teammate Nishioka is this bad. Even Casilla is a decent deep play. In the NL, Chase D'Arnaud is interesting if he gets a chance to start, particularly for his speed. Dee Gordon is an even better play but is more well-known.
Derek Carty: That's going to wrap it up for today guys. Thanks for joining me, and if you have anymore questions, feel free to get in touch with me via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.
Enjoy the final days of the regular season!