Derek has a special fantasy baseball Valentine chat waiting just for you!
Derek Carty: Happy Valentineís Day everyone! Hopefully you have someone special to spend it with. If not, at least you have me to answer your fantasy questions today :)
If you havenít already, be sure to check out the yearís first Preseason Value Picks column today, plus the debut article from the newest member of the BP Fantasy team, Eriq Gardner.
Thereís a big lineup of questions already, so Iíll get to as many as I can. Letís get started!
Xavier (Texas): Who do you think will end up closing for the A's?
Derek Carty: As of right now, Iíd give Grant Balfour the edge, but Fautino De Los Santos and Joey Devine will be in the mix as well. De Los Santos figures to be the long-term option there, especially if he can harness his control/command a bit more.
Tony (Chicago's Southside): How quickly does Addison Reed get the closer gig for the Sox, mid-May?
Derek Carty: If Matt Thornton starts the year with the job, as Ventura has suggested, the best money is on 2013. Obviously it could happen sooner than that--closers lose their jobs every year--but a quality pitcher starting the year with the closer's role should be expected to keep it for the majority of the season. Of course Ventura is a huge wild card being a first-time manager with zero coaching experience, but I wouldn't bet on Reed getting it by mid-May. The best bets for him are either right out of the gate in April or, failing that, April of 2013.
Andrew (Toronto): Any chance Santos can get 35 saves this season?
Derek Carty: Of course. He's a favorite for at least 30, and 35 is well within the realm of possibility.
bkopman (Toronto): Which of the following comeback kids will offer the best value, Crawford, Dunn or Rios?
Derek Carty: Based on where I've seen him go in mock drafts, Dunn. I grabbed him in round 25 or so of one draft. That's just pure profit. Crawford may still go in the second or third round.
Kevin (Davenport): AL ROTY: Matt Moore v. Yu Darvish (v. the field?)- who you got?
Derek Carty: Darvish. Mooreís good, and I'd put him down for second, but I think Darvish will be better this year. I am disappointed to see him going so high in mock drafts, though. I was hoping all of the failed Japanese guys and Dice-K comparisons would lower his value enough where I could conceivably draft him, but his Japanese numbers and the hype just seems to be so overwhelming.
Also, for what it's worth, it's interesting to note just how many quality rookies are in the AL this year compared to the NL. There are more than a handful of legit ROY candidates in the AL while no clear-cut favorite in the senior circuit.
Abe Froman (Chicago): Endy Chavez going to get 400 abs this year?
Derek Carty: Iíll give him 300, but not 400. With Wilson Betemit signing in Baltimore this off-season, it seems more likely that Nolan Reimold gets a lot of the LF time, also spending some time at DH with Betemit and giving Endy some starts in LF on those days. If Chris Davis happens to crash and burn or get injured, itís possible Betemit plays first/third, Reimold DHs, and Endy plays close to full-time, though.
chiefsalsa (Utah): I usually wait until after the 15th round to take a catcher. Please give me a great post-15th round guy to focus on this year behind the plate.
Derek Carty: If I take a catcher late in a draft, I'm almost always going for a high power guy unless someone slips or I particularly like someone else. Very few will give you a good BA anyway, especially that late, that I'll take the cheap power and compensate for the average elsewhere. In this vein, I might take Arencibia, Ramon Hernandez, Olivo, or Doumit. Wilson Ramos doesn't necessarily fit this mold, but I do like him and could consider him late as well.
DanDaMan (SeaCliff): Derek- I have to decide on keeping Braun or not. Assuming he gets the 50 game suspension (which I think he will), would you consider trading him for any pick you could get and keeping Bruce, Hamels or Haren instead?
Derek Carty: No, not any pick I could. It would definitely depend on the pick. How deep is the league? In a shallow league, he may actually have more value than those kinds of guys, plus I imagine thereís the added benefit of getting to keep him beyond 2012.
Mitch (cubicle 3s): Daniel Bard, Neftali Feliz, and Chris Sale are all moving from the 'pen to the rotation this season. Optimistic on the triumvirate, or should I have concerns (own them all in a keeper)?
Derek Carty: I'm actually fairly high on all three, especially if you have them cheap in a keeper league. They all have excellent numbers in relief (excepting Feliz's 2011) and could easily withstand the traditional 17% drop (as per Tom Tango's rule of thumb) of moving to the rotation. I also think each is well-equipped enough to make such a transition, each with at least three pitches to show batters. None should be counted on for high inning totals, but in terms of performance, I think they'll do about as well as you'd expect.
JR (New Hampshire): Who would you pick for your final keeper in a standard NL-only league? BBelt $16, AVizcaino $3, JMayberry $7, or NSchierholtz $8.
Derek Carty: I'll go Mayberry there. That's a good price on him, and he should find his way to a lot of ABs this year.
Cory (Vancouver): Straight up, JJ Hardy or Howie Kendrick?
Derek Carty: In a redraft league, Hardy.
Jim (NY): So apparently Yoenis Cespedes becomes a free agent after 4 years. I assume there's going to be a clause in his contract where the A's are required to non-tender him. Do you think this kind of stipulation could become more standard for young players, allowing them to hit free agency earlier?
Derek Carty: Alright, it's Cespedes time. Lots of questions on him, so I'll try to bunch them all together. For my original write-up of him, check out this article: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15649. Kevin Goldstein has also written about him at length, mostly recently yesterday following the signing: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16026
I think the Cespedes deal is a special situation since heís a young, international player. Most young players donít have the kind of leverage he had. Where he started out as a free agent and had multiple suitors, young domestic players belong to the team that drafted them for a certain number of years no matter what. Thereís nothing stopping a team from offering one of their own young player such a deal, maybe if they agree to play a portion of their arbitration years dirt cheap, but I donít really see it happening as that sort of thing wouldnít make a lot of sense. There's just no incentive for teams to give their own players early free agency.
faztradamus (work): With Cespedes signed before players have begun reporting, he's set to get a full schedule of ABs during spring training. Oakland figures to give him a big league job starting opening day. What kind of triple-slash and power/speed numbers should we expect?
Derek Carty: There is going to be an adjustment period with Cespedes, and Oakland's ballpark is going to do no favors to a guy whose best tool is power. I'd say we're probably looking at something like a .250 average with 20 HR and 10-15 SB over 600 AB in his first year. There's definitely upside on that, though, especially once we get into 2013 and beyond.
RJ (Tinley Park): Cespedes- what can we expect?
Derek Carty: See above.
JT (Michigan): In a dynasty league, is Cespedes a more valuable target or commodity than a high Rule IV draftee like Bundy or Bauer? He (and Yu and Soler) all get tossed in with draftees in our league's draft.
Derek Carty: No. He's older and not as good of a prospect as Bundy or Bauer. He's closer to major league ready, obviously, but if you're playing for the long-term, go with Bundy.
jtanker33 (Dayton): Hi Derek - two very random Deep Dynasty AL-only league questions for you. 1) Is Cespedes worth a #1 waiver claim spot? 2) Would you rather have Toronto C Travis D'Arnaud or Cespedes?
Derek Carty: 1) It all depends on who else is available with that claim. It seems like he would be, though, unless there are some top prospects available or some good, established MLBers. 2) It's somewhat close, but I'll take D'Arnaud in a dynasty league.
LoyalRoyal (Home of Big House): I've seen wide ranging projections for Mitch Moreland. At the price I have him at, I can't go wrong keeping him but am having a hard time figuring what kind of a line to expect from him. Thoughts???
Derek Carty: Shhhhh, this is just between you and me, but I like Moreland. My only concern is his wrist surgery potentially hampering his power a bit, but honestly, .260-.270 with 20-25 HR wouldn't surprise me in the least if he gets a full season.
dianagram (VORGville): Are there pitchers you are more/less enthusiastic about strictly due to the defense behind them?
Derek Carty: Sure. You hear a lot of about defense-independent stats, and they're important, but once you isolate the pitcher's talent, you do need to account for the defense he'll have when you're playing fantasy. Any Tampa Bay pitcher, for example, is more. They had something like a .280 team BABIP last year and should be excellent again.
LoyalRoyal (Kansas): What do you think Carlos Marmol will go for in a standard 5x5, $260 league? High risk/reward pick at that price? Have had him and love the K's, but... Thanks...
Derek Carty: He actually seems to be undervalued, from what I've seen in mocks thus far. I don't know, maybe he'll go for $12? That would be a pretty good price for a closer like him.
Rodney (San Fran): Who do you like better for fantasy purposes (long term): Willin Rosario, or Travis D'Arnaud?
Derek Carty: No question, D'Arnaud. Great bat, will play in a great park. Hands down.
Trevor Bauer (The High Desert): Can I put up video game numbers, or am I Jonathan Sanchez?
Derek Carty: Expecting anyone to put up video game numbers is just asking for trouble. That said, you are very good and certainly have a higher ceiling than Sanchez-level.
LoyalRoyal (LV, KS): Trying to work a deal for David Price ($13). Would you trade Chris Young ($17) for him in a 5x5 (OBP, not BA) Roto $260 league?
Derek Carty: Young is more valuable in an OBP league than a BA one, but I still deal him for a cheaper David Price.
GhostofDickCheney (The Ether): Is Bundy's ceiling "that" high? Everyone seems to rank him higher than Cole, Bauer, etc. He's still a teenager!
Derek Carty: Yes, it really is. Kevin Goldstein had him #6 on his Top 101, and from what I've seen and heard of him, he deserves it. He sits in the mid-90s and touches 100. He throws three other pitches that project to be average at the very least. He has near-plus command, his mechanics are relatively clean, he has a good frame. There's just so much to like about the kid.
JT (Exhibition Stadium): What are your predictions for Dom Brown moving forward, both 2012 and beyond?
Derek Carty: GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said he'd like Brown to spend most of 2012 at Triple-A, which is smart, since he had little upper-level experience heading into 2011 and was pushed to the majors too soon. Still has good upside, but 2012 will be a telling year.
LindInMoskva (DC): Will Chris Carter get 500 At bats a year sometime in the future, or is it likely that he will have a Sam Horn type career?
Derek Carty: A couple of months ago it was looking like he could get there this season. Now with the A's bringing in 17 outfielders, who knows? He can also play first or DH, but the A's just have so many options it's hard to see him cracking the majors to start the year unless Brandon Allen gets dealt or he has a great spring. I like his power and I think he can be a quality player, especially for fantasy purposes. Whether he gets the chance to play everyday and when that will happen is up in the air at the moment. There are likely teams that would give him that chance, but in Oakland there's just so much competition. Their glut at 1B and OF is unmatched by any other team in baseball.
Jack Sparrow (Caribbean): Pedro Alvarez, worth keeping?? What is too high?
Derek Carty: Are we talking dollars or draft picks? What kind of league is it? How deep? How does the keeper system work?
bumphillips (My house): All salaries equal in a 4x4 league who would your rather have Carlos Beltran or Uggla? What are the odds Beltran makes a full year?
Derek Carty: Uggla. 40 percent?
dave (ann arbor): i've got kipnis and j. weeks in a 12-team keeper league, both worth a final round pick. obviously i only want to actually keep one. my other keepers are likely to be pujols, longoria, posey, and matt moore. which 2b do you keep? why?
Derek Carty: Kipnis, unless you really want speed. Better hitter, better power, better upside.
LoyalRoyal (Doin' Time in Leavenworth): What's your take on Grady Sizemore? If he ends up hurt again by the end of spring training, is Ezequiel Carrera a fantasy asset?
Derek Carty: He's just so risky. Unless you get him late in a draft, I wouldn't bother. I don't see him ever staying healthy for a full year. Carrera could very well be a fantasy asset, especially with his speed, although the Indians do have other options. They could put Brantley in CF again and put a guy like Shelly Duncan in LF (though I don't think Brantley is a good CF). They have Ryan Spilborghs and Aaron Cunningham too, but I think Carrera has the inside track on those two. The interesting thing with him is how often they batted him leadoff when he was filling in last season.
JT (Exhibition Stadium): Who's the closer in Seattle?
Derek Carty: Brandon League. He seems underrated this year.
Gabby (Montreal): Who's stock would you rather buy right now, Kate Upton or Brooklyn Decker?
Derek Carty: You can't go wrong either way, but I'll take Kate Upton.
Sam (SoFlo): Thanks for the chat, on this most unholy of day of Hallmark celebrations. Can you throw a quick comp on these guys: Cole, Hultzen, Bauer, Bundy?
Derek Carty: You're very welcome :) Throwing comps on guys, though, (especially guys that young) just gets you into trouble and can give a false impression.
Francois (Toronto): Will Bryce Harper be my valentine?: How many ABs does the wunderkind get this season in the MLB? What does he do with those ABs (proj.)?
Derek Carty: Harper is obviously a phenominal talent, but I'm not convinced he's major league ready yet. He hasn't played at Triple-A and put up sub-par numbers at Double-A. The Nats keep saying they want him to break camp with the team, but I'll believe it when I see it. And if he does, I'm keeping my expectations in check. I can't imagine I'm outbidding anyone for his services this year.
laramie (washington): When you stream pitchers, what factors are you looking at, with what priorities?
Any tricks to streaming you'd pass on?
Would you stream in a 5x5 15-team mixed with 9 pitchers and a 1250 IP limit?
When you stream, how many pitcher slots are you streaming?
Derek Carty: The two most important things are the pitcher's own talent level and the quality of the team he's facing. The difference between facing an elite offense and a poor one is huge (I wrote about it here: http://www.fanduel.com/insider/2011/04/15/the-benefits-of-facing-a-poor-offense-for-fantasy-pitchers/). Those are the two big ones. Ballpark is important too, weather (wind) can be taken into account, followed by smaller considerations that can be ignored for back-of-the-envelope calculations. And, of course, things, that you always account for with a pitcher regardless of matchup, like defensive and offensive support.
Yes, I would stream SPs in a league like that, but be selective about it. In leagues like that, I actually like keeping a roster spot or two and streaming hitters on Monday/Thursday for extra counting stats and then top middle relievers the other five days (with the occasional SP with a great matchup thrown in). In a league with an innings cap, those middle reliever innings can be very valuable.
bkopman (Toronto): Derek, if you had a choice, which pick would you want in an NL only straight-draft?
Derek Carty: #1. I'm actually in such a league this year and have drawn the #8 pick, which I'm not super pleased about. I'd take the first pick and Matt Kemp, given my druthers.
want scroll (clueville): Please, please, please have your webmonkeys lose the autofocus on the player search box. This makes us have to click a second time to scoll the page down.
Derek Carty: Thanks for the feedback. I'll pass it along to our tech guys.
Long Tim (Alaska): Alex Rios have a 20-20 season in him?
Derek Carty: In him, sure. The most likely scenario? No. He's been losing power recently, not hitting the ball nearly as far as he used to, and his HR power was strictly pull this past year.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): Standard 5x5 keeper league. Is David Freese a drastic overpay for Jason Motte? (Both players have the same salaries for this year, next year, etc.) I'm concerned Freese can't stay healthy enough to play more than 100 games.
Derek Carty: I've talked with BP's in-house injury expert, Corey Dawkins, about Freese in the past, and he doesn't believe that Freese is that typical injury-prone sort--just unlucky. That said, it really depends on who your other 3B options are and how badly you need a closer. Are there a lot of other closers out there to be drafted this year? Motte is talented, but closers are largely interchangeable, so while I'm not in love with Freese, I wouldn't pay him if you can get someone comparable without giving him up. In a vacuum, in a 12-team mixed league, I'll take Motte based purely on value.
JT (Michigan): Off the top of your head, other than Adam Dunn in the 25th, who are some other great buy lows?
Derek Carty: Ryan Ludwick has been going even later than that, undrafted in a lot of mixed leagues. Switching from a career of pitcher or (at best) neutral parks to a hitter's one gets me a little excited to see what he'll do. I may actually end up writing about Ludwick a bit on Thursday, so keep your eyes peeled.
Matt (Saranac Lake, NY): In an auction league, what pitcher would you be most likely to go after - Hamels, Greinke, CC, Halladay, Gallardo or Dan Hudson?
Derek Carty: It all depends on what price they come at. I think Greinke has the potential to come at the greatest value, especially in a weak league.
dianagram (VORGville): Brandon Beachy ... for real?
Derek Carty: I was asked about him last chat too, so I'll copy and paste a lot out of there. To an extent, yes. I really like him. I loved him coming into the year. You can look back and find tweets where I argued with basically everyone that the Braves made a good decision by making him the 5th starter over Minor. That said, he's not a 10 K/9 kind of guy. Think 7-8 K/9. Deep repertoire will quality offerings.
Pico (Brazil): Last keeper in AL only....Colby Lewis ($1 in last year of deal), or McCarthy ($1 possible 2 more years)?
Derek Carty: For this year I might like Lewis a bit more, but if you get McCarthy an extra two years at a price like that, you have to take him.
Jack Sparrow (Caribbean): I suppose lack of info. $10, NL only, 11 teams, 3 yr contracts.
Derek Carty: Yeah, I'd keep him if you have unlimited keepers. That's a decent price, and there's upside on it, especially if you can hang onto him for a couple more years.
chiefsalsa (Utah): How many spots/rounds would you bump up Felix and other pitchers on bad batting teams with quality starts as a stat?
Derek Carty: With quality starts as a stat instead of wins, as a rule of thumb, you can almost just ignore QS and count ERA twice, giving guys with higher expected IP more consideration (you could also use our PFM for a more precise evaluation :). Felix probably finds himself in the CC Sabathia class of pitchers in a league like this.
JT (Michigan): In my mixed dynasty league (12 teams, 2 UTIL players, 1 C), is it wasteful to own both McCann and Carlos Sanatana? 'Cuz, like, I do, and junk.
Derek Carty: Yes indeed it is. One of them would have more value to you in trade than as a UT unless you're playing in a really tight league with little trading.
Dusty Baker (Queen City): Who should be the five man rotation for me? It seems like we are going for it, so what are the chances we get a deal done for Oswalt?
Derek Carty: Well, if you're treating it like a fantasy league, Bronson Arroyo gets kicked to the curb and you go Latos, Cueto, Leake, Bailey, Chapman. Obviously that's unrealistic, so assuming Arroyo stays... umm... well... ummÖ.
In all seriousness, Chapman is probably the odd man out as it stands, going back to the bullpen or starting at Triple-A, and while there's been talk of Oswalt going to Cincy, I have a hard time seeing it happening and them adding a seventh starter to that mix (unless they trade a guy or two away). Going with their five and Chapman at Triple-A gives Chapman time to work as a starter and when someone gets injured, he moves into the rotation. Teams never make it through the year with just five pitchers, but even still, if you add Oswalt, thereís the matter of how you start the year. Maybe Bailey or Leake back at Triple-A too? I see an Oswalt add as more of a long-shot.
Jen (Vancouver): 16-team roto league, unlimited keepers but must add $5 to last year's price to hold on to them. Lucky Jen here has Ryan Howard and would have to pay $36 to keep him. What to do? What to do?
Derek Carty: I think you have to throw him back at that price, unfortunately, unless your league tends to see a lot of inflation and the elite guys going for $50-60 and up on draft day.
JR (New Hampshire): What numbers would you expect Randall Delgado to produce this year?
Derek Carty: At Triple-A? The Braves rotation is so crowded right now, Delgado is probably seventh on the SP depth chart, so I wouldn't hold out for too much this year.
laramie (washington): Do you yet see a 2B that shows a potential profit in a 15 tm 5x5 mixed auction league, given mock drafts so far?
Who are your targets there?
Derek Carty: Kelly Johnson and Aaron Hill seem to be going very cheaply in mocks.
Jacob (Springfield): Any favorite multi-position guys for 2012? I love positional versatility in my fantasy players so any suggestions would be great.
Derek Carty: In a deep league, Tyler Greene is an interesting choice this year if he gets the starting 2B job.
Bravos (The A): Tyler Pastornicky in an NL only keeper league. Does he start the year in the majors and what chance does he have of staying around?
Derek Carty: Yes, he does start the year in the majors and he stands a good chance of staying around. He answered some of the questions about his bat this year, and given the lack of other options for the Braves, he'll be given a lot of rope. Good speed sleeper.
chiefsalsa (Logan, Utah): Of the nomral roto stats, are wins farely useless to chase? I am trying to talk my league into getting rid of wins (and runs) and I am voted down 9-1 every year.
Derek Carty: It's all a matter of personal preference. For me, I don't mind Wins that much. Quality Starts certainly have less random variance to them, so it's a matter of how much random variance is acceptable to you. As far as saying they're fairly useless to chase, that's not necessarily true. A lot of analysts will say that, but I disagree. They should absolutely be built into your valuation of a player. I wrote an article about it here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=14336
Basically, while there is a lot of random variation, Wins aren't completely random. Proper projections might bunch pitchers closer together in Wins than they would be in another stat, but those differences between pitchers still matter.
chiefsalsa (Logan, Utah): Make an argument in a 10 team normal draft league for or against taking two pitchers with the 10th-11th picks.
Derek Carty: There's just so much pitching this year that you can get good guys even in the early teen rounds in a league like that. Even if you really want pitching early, you can still wait until the 5th or 6th round and get a guy who could win up as a Top 5 SP. Guys like Haren, Hamels, Greinke. There's no need to buy a Kershaw or Verlander or Halladay that early.
John (Indy): With the move to SD, do you think Edinson Volquez will be a viable fantasy starter again (NL)? He seemed to show flashes at times last year and he is out of GABP.
Derek Carty: Yes I do. As an NL-only pick, Volquez is a good guy to get. The park shift will be big, and as you said, he's shown flashes of being a good pitcher in the past. As long as he comes relatively cheap, that's a good gamble to take.
Blake (Chicago): Has Ben Zobrist reached a point where he is going for too much $/too high of pick on average to make him a bargain?
Derek Carty: Yeah, it's doubtful he'll come at much of a bargain, though he won't necessarily be overvalued either.
Eric (DC): What hurts Rickie Weeks' production more, injuries or the lose of Prince and Braun (suspension)?
Derek Carty: Injuries. With a guy who could be lost for the season at the drop of a hat, that kind of risk is big. Losing Fielder and Braun (for part of the season) will hurt, but losing Weeks himself for the year would kill.
JR (New Hampshire): Would you rather have a $3 AVizcaino or $3 RDelgado as a keeper this year ($8 next year, etc) in an NL-only league?
Derek Carty: I'll take Delgado. Vizcaino might have more value this year since he could spend the year in the bullpen, but there are plenty of great relievers (better ones, even) who will come for $3 in NL-only, and Delgado gets the long-term edge. Plus, Delgado would have more value if he winds a way into Atlanta's rotation this season.
Closing the future (bullpen): Excellent chat and read. Sleeper picks for cheap saves in the NL, Brothers or Frieri?
Derek Carty: Thank you :)
You must be talking a really deep league here. Neither are going to be more than 5% to get the role this year, and even that's probably optimistic. That said, I'll take Brothers first if we're talking saves. Less competition for the backup role, less experienced closer ahead of him.
Liam (NY, NY): In my auction league, I need a SS. At the draft are Tulo, Jeter, Drew, Scutaro, Lowrie, Reyes. My offense is solid and I need several pitchers and have a good amount of money to spend. So I go cheap at short or spend on Tulo or Reyes?
Derek Carty: I think I might go cheap at short (Drew, Scutaro, or Lowrie) and then buy some pitching, if that's where you're weaknesses are. There's upside in Drew and Scutaro should be solid, at the very least. Lowrie is risky but has some interesting upside in Minute Maid, if he's very cheap.
chiefsalsa (Utah): Carlos Santana: I just don't see it. Explain it to me like I'm a 6 year old.
Derek Carty: He's catcher eligible but will play more games than most catchers because he can also play 1B and DH, so he'll accrue more counting stats. He has great power for a catcher and has batting average upside. He's the rare catcher who will bat in the middle of the lineup (and a decent one at that).
Kyran (Whippleville, NY): In an auction league, which hitter could return the greatest value - Tulo, Braun, Votto, Dunn, Pedroia, Hart, Mauer, Crawford or Nellie Cruz?
Derek Carty: As long as the league is shallow enough, Braun, because you can pick up a solid guy to fill in while he's out. Also, see an earlier question, but probably Adam Dunn. He has such a great track record that if he comes dirt cheap, as he has in many mocks, he's just pure profit.
Derek Carty: Alright, guys, that's going to wrap it up. I'll be back again soon to field more of your questions as draft day approaches. Have a great Valentine's Day!