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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday February 27, 2013 8:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.


Mike checks in for his inaugural fantasy chat.

Mike Gianella: How you all doing tonight? Only about a month or so away from baseball season starting, can't wait. Let's get going.

NightmareRec0n (Boston): How do you handle "extra" spots? For example, in my league we have 4 OF spots, and extra IF spot, and 2 ULT spots. Does this mean you always draft the best offensive player regardless of position if you have an open spot for them? Or do you save your extra spots?

Mike Gianella: At the top, I don't think it matters too much and I'd draft the best players possible. Once you get into the middle rounds, though, you probably want to adjust your rankings to reflect your league's unusual position requirements. OF is pretty thick in a standard mixed; the last thing you want to do is load up on 6 OF (including the UT slots) and watch as your opponents get quality OF later because you simply went for the best players on the board.

Matt (Rhode Island): Is there a way to analyze "drop off" for a draft strategy to identify value? For example the drop off between Tier 1 1st basement and Tier 2 1st basemen is less then Tier 1 2nd basemen and Tier 2 Second Basemen, so you'd be better off with a Tier 1 2nd basemen and a Tier 2 1st basemen.

Mike Gianella: Hi Matt. You probably want to start by looking at a solid valuation system (like Baseball Prospectus's own PFM), entering your league's parameters, and seeing where the fall-offs are from a valuation perspective. The shallower the league, the more likely that the "tiers" you identify exist. I'm not exactly certain where the "tiers" necessarily begin and end, but as a general rule I'd agree that two top tier 2B along with a quality 2nd tier 1B are going to help you a little bit more.

TheCoupons (FL): My current keepers are Pujols, Granderson, Wright, Teixeria, Hamilton and Machado in a 12 team H2H 6 man keeper league. Should I be looking to get younger, perhaps targeting a Bryce Harper or Giancarlo Stanton? Or am I safe playing with these players on the wrong side of 30?

Mike Gianella: Cory Schwartz of MLB Network coined a saying I emphatically agree with: "Flags Fly Forever". Your goal - first and foremost - is to win. Obviously, if you can get a Harper or a Stanton via trade, I like them better than anyone you have an your squad...with the possible exception of Pujols depending on your format. However, that's a pretty strong core that you have in a six-man keeper. Play to win now.

Dylan (Portland,ME): Assuming Cabrera, Trout, and Braun are off the board, who would you take fourth in a OPS league with 4 outfielders and a extra IF slot? Votto? Cano? Pujols? or even reach on Stanton?

Mike Gianella: Hi Dylan. PFM says Albert Pujols, but I'm really high on Joey Votto this year and in an OPS league while I wouldn't go as far to say he's a no brainer he's a strong choice for me. Unlike some of my fantasy colleagues at BP, I think Giancarlo Stanton is a reach here. The BB last year weren't high, and while he may get a few more free passes, the eye doesn't speak to a significant increase in walks.

ttt (Manhattan): In a keeper league, I have Norichika Aoki and Michael Brantley as my 3rd OF & top bench player (1B & DH spots are taken by Prince & Morneau). I have an offer to trade either one of them to upgrade my pitching staff (same trade, they're interchangeable). PECOTA prefers Aoki, but I'm worried he will regress heavily in 2013, do you have any thoughts?

Mike Gianella: Howdy, Triple-T. I'm with PECOTA here. I do see some regression for Aoki, but I don't think it will be heavy. The speed looks legitimate, and while I think he might slip in HR a little bit, the numbers overall should be similar. Brantley is the guy I'd move. The Indians offense is loaded, and while Baseball Prospectus's own Jason Martinez has Brantley and Drew Stubbs both starting, I wouldn't be surprised to see Brantley not play quite as much as he did last year. Plus, Brantley doesn't really do any one thing especially well. I think this is a no brainer. I don't know what your offer is, but I'd move Brantley.

ball four (seattle): What is Paul Sporer really like?

Mike Gianella: We've never met, unless you count talking to Paul five minutes before the two podcasts I've been on as meeting. If I get to Ron Shandler's First Pitch in Arizona in November I'll meet Paul, but hopefully our paths will cross before then.

Robert (Puerto Rico): Which 5 or 10 players you think cantop the list of the 2014 Rookie list for Fantasy, also other than Buxton and Boagarts can be an impact back.

Mike Gianella: Bret Sayre is our prospect guy on the fantasy side, but I'll try to help. The tough thing with questions like this is that players who have 2014 ETAs who excel tend to defy the timetables and wind up contributing in 2013. My five guys for 2014 would be: Jose Fernandez, Xander Bogaerts, Javier Baez, Taijuan Walker, Jameson Taillon, in that order. Baez has the best chance of the potential 2014 crop to be an impact bat.

MarcoVillaCards (New York): Any news out of camp on Trevor Crowe?

Mike Gianella: Hi Marco. Crowe signed a minor league deal with the Astros. It's doubtful he'll break camp with the club, though it doesn't take a lot of imagination to see him beating Rick Ankiel out for a spot. Crowe is organizational depth, though, and unless you're in a super deep AL-only Ultra league, I'd cross his name off of your list.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Thanks for the chat Mike! Dynasty League- looking to improve my pitching. Would you take Niese, Estrada, Lynn who could help this year, or someone like Skaggs or Gausman who could be up later in the year, but be better next year?

Mike Gianella: Hi Shawny. It depends on your chances this year, but if you think you have any kind of chance, I'd go with Niese or Lynn, in that order. I like Skaggs and Gausman a lot long-term, but rookie pitchers typically have their ups and downs. Take the guy who can help you win now if you can. Even in dynasty, pitching finds on the wire are somewhat easier to find than hitting prospects that come out of nowhere.

Alex (Anaheim): Is Teixeira a potential buy low candidate in drafts this year, or is he too big a name to get overlooked?

Mike Gianella: Hi Alex. It depends on your league, but I suspect Tex isn't going to be much of a bargain. His NFDC ADP right now is 63rd overall, and 8th among first basemen. That's not too pricey by my lights, but it's not a bargain either. My concern with Tex is that even if he's healthy and the power is there, the AVG/OBP trend has been pointing in the wrong direction for the last couple of years. If Tex is "only" hitting .260, there are a lot of first basemen in his class and he isn't anything particularly special.

Fred L (Houston): It seems like Austin Jackson is flying under radar. Do you think he can build on last year's breakout season?

Mike Gianella: Yes. I think Jackson took some real steps forward last year. The BB%/K% both improved and the ISO has jumped every year since his rookie campaign. Jackson reminds me a bit of someone like Adam Jones: a player who might never be a superstar but could be the next notch right below. A $30 season at Jackson's peak wouldn't surprise me.

Grady Sizemore (Cleveland): Is my career over?

Mike Gianella: I'm no doctor, but probably. In any event, you're not a guy who should be on anyone's fantasy radar right now, unless you're in one of those M*A*S*H leagues.

Donnie (Running Errands): Auction Draft, Dynasty League. Do you go stars/scrubs, or do you try for balance? A prospect draft will follow the MLB draft.

Mike Gianella: In a league with a long reserve list, I generally prefer stars and scrubs. You're not going to find players for your reserve list who can do what a Ryan Braun or a Miguel Cabrera can do, but you might find players who can do what Freddie Freeman and Dexter Fowler can do. Maximize the top slots on your roster; if you do a good job picking up prospects and have a deep farm system, the playing time at the bottom of your roster will come.

AJ (Phoenix): Jose Fernandez v. Taijuan Walker. Both Top 10 prospects according to BP. Which one do you like? How close is it?

Mike Gianella: I like Fernandez better. Despite the fact that Fernandez's numbers were much better in 2012, it's pretty close for me. Fernandez dominated but hasn't pitched at the higher levels of the minors yet and faced what John Sickels calls the "Double-A acid test." Walker has and didn't fare especially well, but I don't think that knocks him out of the running for ace status long-term. If you're looking for a higher ceiling guy it's Fernandez, but it's hard to see how you can go wrong with either.

cedis81 (the internets): In a 16 team 6x6 keeper league (5x5 with OPS for hitters, BB for pitchers), I can keep three players. Already sold on keeping 2 stud pitchers for really cheap 1 year deals, but want to balance that out with bats for longer contracts. The other options for my third and final keeper are Wil Myers at $1 for 2 years (2013 and 2014) and Will Middlebrooks at $1 for 2 years. Am I crazy to lean towards Myers even though he's likely to miss at least April, and possibly all of May? I like Middlebrooks a lot, but his contact issues and plate discipline do worry me a little. What are your thoughts? Thanks

Mike Gianella: For me it's Myers, and this is even before the Middlebrooks injury tonight. I think Myers is going to be up sooner rather than later and even in 5/6th of a season can earn as much as Middlebrooks. Myers has a chance to be an impact player while I think Middlebrooks is going to be more of a complimentary - albeit solid - player. I'd take Myers here.

Ed (Left Coast): Hey Mike, My keeper deadline is tomorrow, and I've got to decide between keeinng a $6 Shelby Miller for 3 years, or a $25 Yu for 3 years. What do you recommend? I would be left with either $134 or $153 of a $260 budget for 14 postitions? Thanks for the chat!

Mike Gianella: Hi Ed on the Left Coast. It depends on your league's inflation factor, but I think I'd lean Miller. Unless you're in one of those old school 4x4 leagues, Yu Darvish at $25 isn't any kind of great bargain. Miller could be and perhaps more importantly could turn into a dump chip for you mid-season. You've got a better chance of turning a profit out of Miller and a better chance of grabbing a potential ace like Darvish at auction.

Chopper (Indy): Welcome, Mike! What are your offensive expectations for Aaron Hill this year, and how about an approximate MLB ETA for Jorge Soler? Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Thanks Chopper. I think Hill is going to slip somewhat this year on the AVG side, though I think the power will be there. A reasonable expectation would be something between his 2011 and his 2012 leaning toward 2012. I think we'll see Soler sometime in mid-2014, at the earliest, though as I said earlier, predicting what prospect timetables is a fool's errand.

Randy (Boston): H2H dynasty points league, no points taken away for K's or CS, would you rather Ben Revere or Carlos Gomez? Thanks

Mike Gianella: If you're not being penalized for K/CS, I'd rather have Gomez. I'm really high on him for fantasy purposes this year and unless he hits .210 he's going to play every day. Revere is a one-trick pony. I'm not convinced any discernible power is coming so he'd have to hit .320 to even be in this discussion.

dangor (New York): In a straight draft, what's your thoughts this year on waiting until at least Round 7 for your first pitcher. Can you win with a staff of second tier starters with proper streaming?

Mike Gianella: Hey dangor. I'm not doctrinaire about when I take pitchers, but I think that can work just fine. Once you get into the middle to later rounds, everyone has different opinions about which pitchers are better than others. In a standard mixer, you can aggressively pitch-or-ditch all season long and still find a way to win. The streaming strategy does work a little better in H2H formats.

Sean T (Bethesda): Thanks for chatting. What are your expectations for Carlos Gomez going into this year in a points league? Any chance he builds on last years performance?

Mike Gianella: I'm in the minority, but I like Gomez a lot this year. He's a fundamentally flawed player and I don't think he's going to build on this year's performance, but I do see him getting a full season's worth of at bats. As a result, his value will jump accordingly even if he only produces 85-90% of what he did in 2012.

Kai John (Santa Barbara): In a Dynasty league, is trading Hosmer for Bogaerts + a high draft pick a good idea if I'm making a trade for AGonzalez as well?

Mike Gianella: Hi Kai. It obviously depends on what the trade for Gonzalez entails. I'm fine with trading Hosmer for Bogaerts and that pick in dynasty though. I think Hosmer is going to bounce back, but Bogaerts plus a presumably second blue chipper is hard to pass up in that kind of deal.

The Squid (200 West): Some tough calls in a 5x5 11-team mixed auction keeper league ($260 cap). Need to decide on contracts for E Hosmer, D Jennings, M Moore, T Bauer. Each year adds $3 to the AAV of the contract (from a base of $1). Can also non-tender and keep the player for the year at $1. Leaning towards signing each for 4yrs ($13), except for Bauer for 2yrs ($7). Thoughts? Please help!

Mike Gianella: I think that sounds right for Hosmer and Jennings. For pitchers I tend to be more conservative, and in a mixed I don't see a huge need to give guys super long deals who haven't pitched at or near an elite level yet. I'd give Moore $7 and Bauer $4.

Mikey (Near Milwaukee): If u could only choose 1 prospect for a dynasty league of T Walker, Gausman, Zimmer, A Sanchez, or Guerreiri??

Mike Gianella: Walker, though Gausman isn't a bad choice either.

Ricky (Chicago): What do you make of Cespedes this year? Is he a .290 hitter or is he more like .260? Also, how many homers/steals are we getting from this guy?

Mike Gianella: I like Yoenis Cespedes a lot. I think he builds off of last year and think that the batting average is going to stay where it was or maybe even get a little better. I'm looking at a ceiling of 30/20 for Cespedes, though I'd ink him in for less if I were projecting my team totals.

Ratcatcher (Gormenghast): Brandon Phillips - $27 stud to build a team around in a 4x4 10 team NL auction league, or chum to be thrown back into the pool to soak up other people's dollars?

Mike Gianella: Neither...he's a keep in a league with any kind of inflation but certainly not a guy I'd build my team around either.

Mike (France): Why the big love in the industry for Starlin Castro? He looks way overvalued on his ADP especially in comparison to Ian Desmond who's going way later.

Mike Gianella: He's 23 years old and has shown gradual improvement in his ISO the last three years. He's never going to be a 30 HR guy, but a 25/25 peak isn't out of the question. Desmond is solid, but his HR/FB% was really high and his AVG isn't supported by his BABIP. Desmond is OK but I expect some regression. FWIW, not EVERYONE in the industry hates Desmond; he went for $28 to Nando Di Fino of CBS Sports in yesterday's CBS Sports NL-only Analyst league auction...or the same price as Castro.

Ernie (Baltimore): Mike, Your thoughts on Jason Hammel becoming the ace that the O's really need or is he just a #2/#3 starter ? Hard for me to tell with all his years in Colorado. Your thoughts ?

Mike Gianella: I think Hammel's solid but I wouldn't call him an ace. He seems more to me like a mid-tier starter. Colorado definitely masked some of his value and I think Hammel can be a bottom end guy in a standard mixer. But I don't see him going further than that.

fatbeast (Troutville, VA): Is bryce harper worthy of a top-35 selection in H2H?

Mike Gianella: I don't think he's quite there yet. Harper could take a big step forward this year, but it's also possible that he stagnates and doesn't do more at the tender age of 20. In a keepr league, he's probably a no brainer there, but in a one-and-done I'd temper my expectations.

Craigster (KC): What kind of year do you think Jeremy Guthrie will have ? Kind of teased us Royal fans at the end of last year.

Mike Gianella: I like Guthrie. Colorado was clearly a bad fit, and while those numbers he put up for KC won't be there again, he is pitching in a positive environment for a fly ball pitcher for the first time in his career. A 3.85 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP with about 120-130 Ks are what I expect.

DanDaMan (SeaCliff): I finally get a night time chat after years of suggesting them and ironically I was off today- I'm blocked from the site at work so I can never participate live. Anyway, look forward to more pm chats. Mike- looking forward to the final position rankings. When do you think we can expect to see those? Thanks, Dan

Mike Gianella: Mine or the Baseball Prospectus' team? My dollar ranking updates will be available every Monday from now until the Monday of Opening Day. Right now the team is working on the second half of the outfielders and that should be published shortly. I'm not sure what the schedule is for starting pitchers and relief pitchers.

Guy (TX): Can Saltalamacchia raise his OBP this year? Would you rather have Rob Brantley?

Mike Gianella: It's hard to see a big leap in Jarrod Saltalamacchia's OBP given his incredibly high strikeout percentages. I'd still take Salty over Rob Brantly. We know what we'll get with Salty. Brantly - who I do like long-term - seems like a complete unknown.

Chris (California): In a dynasty league, who should I target with the #1 prospect pick? (2012 draft guys)... thinking about Zunino or Russell

Mike Gianella: Mike Zunino is probably going to be a better real life player but I'd go with Addison Russell. Catchers tend to have a longer learning curve with the bat, and I don't like sitting through 2-3 years of a catcher growth curve.

Joe (Chicago): How long would you wait on a catcher after Buster Posey is gone?

Mike Gianella: I'd probably wait until the fourth or fifth round. I don't see a particularly big impact guy after Posey, and there is a little more depth at the position than I have seen in the past. Don't reach and cheat yourself out of stats at another position.

Freddy (Fremont): I am a little newer to auction drafting. How do I go about tiering my players for my NL only draft?

Mike Gianella: Hey Freddy from Fremont. I'm not a believer in using tiers for auction formats. I like to assign bid limits to every player and use that as a starting point. The bids that I'm providing to Baseball Prospectus this year to their subscribers should give you a leg up at your auction. Thinking in the tiered mentality can lock you out of bargains at your auction if you think that you can "only" buy one player in a certain price range.

Bo (PA): Can you name some players being drafted in the first couple of rounds who you think could end up relative busts?

Mike Gianella: I don't see any busts per se, but I always look at Evan Longoria and shake my head a little bit. He's only earned over $30 once in his career and even if you take his injured seasons and prorate his AB, he still isn't a $30 player. People keep treating him like an elite, but he has almost never shown it on the field. I don't think he'll be a bust, but he's not going to live up to the stats of a first or second round pick in my mind.

Bob (St Louis): As a Philly guy, are you buying into Dom Brown's hand adjustment and RAJ finally giving him a legit chance?

Mike Gianella: Bob, I'm actually a North Jersey Mets fan transplant into this "hostile" Philly environment. I'd like to see Brown in some real live action before buying into the adjustment or - failing that - action in the last week of Spring Training when a lot of the minor league chaff isn't out there. That being said, I do think that Brown is a legitimate talent and he could be a bargain in deeper formats. He'll get at least half a season this year to prove himself in my view.

Freddy (Fremont): I am in an NL only league that is transitioning from a 4x4 to a 5x5. Is there a good way to determine how many runs and k's I need to plan on to stay top three in those categories? Do that devalue saves and steals?

Mike Gianella: I'm not sure what your format is, but I posted an article last Friday with category averages in mixed, AL, and NL-only formats http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19686. Saves and steals are both devalued in 5x5, but saves are devalued significantly more. Fernando Rodney earned $51 in 4x4 last year (according to my own valuation system) but "only" $32 in 5x5.

Donnie (Running Errands): I have 3 CF in a dynasty league that uses (LF,CF,RF), I can only play two. Out of Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Billy Hamilton, which would you keep, which would you trade? What's a fair asking price?

Mike Gianella: I'd keep McCutchen and Jones but boy oh boy that's a tough/terrible call to have to make on Hamilton right now. If his bat plays in the Majors, he could be the 10s version of Vince Coleman. I'd want a lot for Hamilton, and I think you'd be able to get it. In dynasty, people are all over his ceiling.

Robert (Puerto Rico ): Is Brian Goodwin an impact bat?

Mike Gianella: Define impact bat. Goodwin sounds like a 15-20 HR guy long term, though his speed is what could make him a solid, all around fantasy player. We're not talking Giancarlo Stanton if that's what you're asking.

Sean T (Bethesda): Josh Johnson - any chance he regains his 2011 form (pre-injury)? What kind of numbers do you expect from him?

Mike Gianella: It's possible that Johnson can bounce back. The talent has always been there and you hit the nail on the head, health is usually the only obstacle. I suppose I'm "expecting" numbers in the 2008-2009 range...but I wouldn't draft/pay for that.

Shawn (CT): What are some of your favorite peripherals for identifying potential break-out players?

Mike Gianella: For pitchers, I like to look at K% and SwStr%. Pitchers that are getting a lot of swings and misses but not necessarily getting results have a chance of taking a step forward. With hitters, I like finding guys with good FB% but low HR/FB%. The home runs often come the following season.

Freddy (Fremont): What process do you go through to determine trade value for your fantasy team in a keeper league? I find the determination of proper value the hardest part. In the end, I feel like I probably give up a little too much.

Mike Gianella: I take a player's raw bid value, calculate that against the inflation rate and determine how undervalued the player is in that context. I tend to take young players and try to grade their performance a little more generously, since in a keeper you want to try to have a couple of young stars or emerging players to dump if you're in contention.

Jason (Philadelphia ): What players to you see suffering a big regression. What players do you think surprise this year?

Mike Gianella: Torii Hunter seems like an obvious regression candidate. The BABIP was extreme and the power and speed are dwindling as he moves into his later 30s. Chris Davis is kind of a one-trick pony and if the power slips even a little his value takes a serious hit. I don't see another 30+ bombs for Davis this year. As far as surprises go, I think Ike Davis shakes off the rust of his Valley Fever and becomes a serious 40 home run threat. Tyler Colvin is a player I really like to find a way into playing time and hit 20 home runs (assuming, of course, he gets to play).

fatbeast (Troutville, VA): Should CC still be drafted as a staff ace/high-2?

Mike Gianella: Low 1 or high 2 sounds about right. He does make me a little nervous, but if he looks fine this spring you can't assume injury.

Scott (LA): Looking at the Rox for some low cost, high upside flyers. Do you like any of the following to exceed expectations? Chris Nelson, Eric Young Jr, Jordan Pacheco? Do you see any of their near ready prospects like Tim Wheeler, Charles Blackmon or Nolen Arenado making an impact this year?

Mike Gianella: Of the three Rockies you mention, I like Nelson the most. I could see a power spike simply from playing a full season in the thin air and think Nelson could be a sneaky, under the radar value play. Of the prospects you mention, I'm not sold on any of them making a significant impact this year. Arenado could be up if everything breaks right, but it's not something I'd count on.

bosox9 (Lake villa Illinois): Rank these 3-SS: Baez, Addison Russell and correa

Mike Gianella: It's Correa, Baez and Russell for me, though I think it's close enough and all three are far enough away that they could theoretically fall out in any permutation.

Mat (Fort Myers): Any underrated guys you would target in an NL Only league?

Mike Gianella: Will Venable is a guy I like. He only went for $9 in CBS but has the potential to earn $15-20 easily. David DeJesus seems like he had a down year last year but earned $14 in NL-only. Daniel Murphy is another guy who didn't do much in HR/SB but more than earned his keep.

stevenst (TX): Would you trade Josh Hamilton (4 yr contract at 30) for Oscar Taveras (10 yr of control, escalating 1-15) straight up if you were the favorite to win your league this year and would have to replace Hamilton with Ryan Ludwick?

Mike Gianella: I would, because I'd think that if I had to I could flip Taveras for more talent than Hamilton in a subsequent trade if that's what it took to win.

stevenst (TX): Is Saltalamacchia a decent catcher in a 16 team mixed league? 16 team AL only league? 16 team Red Sox only League?

Mike Gianella: He's OK in deeper mixed and obviously fine in AL-only. If you're in a 16-team Red Sox only league you're going to run out of players quickly.

Sean T (Bethesda): How long before Jansen starts taking away save opps from League?

Mike Gianella: Tough to say, but even in a best case scenario for Brandon League owners it's not hard to see Kenley Jansen saving 5-10. The simple answer is if League struggles I don't think Don Mattingly will have orders from up above to use League because he has the big contract.

Sean T. (Bethesda): Who are some players that are undervalued by Rotiserie Rankings that may be steals in a Points league draft?

Mike Gianella: For hitters, you're looking for boring vanilla guys that contribute stats across the board. Think Hunter Pence: seemingly vanilla players that contribute something across the board. For pitchers, innings munchers matter a lot. Bruce Chen isn't worth much in a Roto format but because he just keeps churning out innings he provides more value in a points format.

Andy (Chicago): Trevor Bauer worth keeping (2 pitcher keepers, 2 hitter keepers) in a 14 team mixed standard scoring league for $3 even though he's not sure to have a spot in the rotation? Other options at that price would be Skaggs and Strailey. Thanks

Mike Gianella: Of those three pitchers, Dan Straily is the guy I like most in a mixed, though quite honestly all three all borderline in that format even at such a cheap price. There is a lot of fungible talent at the bottom of the pitching pool in mixers.

Mikey (midwest usa): which pair do you prefer: S. Romo + E. Volquez or A. Reed + J. Niese??

Mike Gianella: Reed and Niese. I don't like Volquez much at all. High walk rates are fantasy poison.

SecondHandStore (Under a bunch of snow): Could you rank these guys: Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Bryce Harper

Mike Gianella: I'd go Heyward, Upton, and Harper though they're really close and I could see flipping the rankings in any direction.

bosox9 (SS ): Bogaerts see action in Boston by end of yer

Mike Gianella: It seems doubtful unless he really has a lights out year in the minors.

Matt (LA): I typically find myself idiotically having money left at the end of auctions due to shying away from spending big on guys. What "safe" high dollar players would you recommend I go after this year as I try to change my ways?

Mike Gianella: I'm not sure what your format is, but what I would recommend is taking the dollar values that I provide for Baseball Prospectus and using those as a starting point in your auction. Try to get players on my list a dollar or two under value. If players are going well over my bid limits then don't worry about spending on a high dollar player: you will wind up building a balanced squad that is well under value.

Sean T (Bethesda): Please rank these closers on ability to keep their jobs all season - League, Janssen, Street, Broxton, Cishek.

Mike Gianella: Street, Janssen, Broxton, Cishek, League, though this obviously depends on Janssen's health and how serious Dusty is about toying with moving Chapman back to the pen.

Mike (Chi-town): Romo & Holland are amongst my keepers this season - do both keep their closer jobs all year?

Mike Gianella: I'd say yes to Sergio Romo in all likelihood... keeping in mind that the Giants aren't afraid to switch roles at the earliest sign of trouble. I think Greg Holland will be OK, but Kelvin Herrera is extremely talented. If you're a believer in the skills versus roles thing, Herrera's a guy you'll want to grab in deeper formats.

mikey (midwest usa): In a deep, 20 team dynasty league. Realized early that everyone likes shiny, new toys and everyone tries to prove their prospect knowledge... boys will be boys. Do you agree with the adage: "a bird in the hand..." unless the birds in the bush is REALLY special?? Do you favor est. players or prospects when building dynasty rosters?? The published flame out rates makes the decision for me, but wonder what you think.

Mike Gianella: I'm more of a Roto guy than a Dynasty guy, but I generally prefer the birds in the hand. If I'm going to go after prospects, I want blue chippers. Top 20 ranked hitters...maybe top 30, and top 10 pitchers...maybe top 20. There is too much that can happen from year to year with prospects.

Lance (Dallas): Hey Mike. Can't decide what to do about my keepers. I'm in a standard Yahoo league (nothing too spectacular about it but the group of guys I'm in it with). I can pick three. Matt Kemp Elvis Andrus Carlos Gonzalez Felix Hernandez Gio Gonzalez I'm leaning towards either Kemp/Andrus/G. Gonzalez or Kemp/G. Gonzalez/Hernandez. What do you think?

Mike Gianella: Kemp, Gonzalez, Hernandez for me. I'm not sure it's particularly close either, unless you're in a really shallow mixed league where OF are a dime a dozen.

PGT (Louisiana): What High OBP guys are your favorite draft picks this year?

Mike Gianella: Joe Mauer is always a guy I like in AVG or OBP formats; he offers a lot of value through those categories at a tough position to fill. If he's healthy, Lance Berkman is a great OBP guy...and he's moving to a great park in a strong line-up. The health is a huge if, of course.

Jonesy (Quebec): which side of this trade you got: Eaton, Alonso and K. Lohse for Butler, Aoki, and Volquez??

Mike Gianella: I like the Butler/Aoki side. Lohse isn't even going to sign in time to pitch a full season and Eaton is an unknown in terms of what he'll do. Seems like you're flipping an unknown in Eaton for a known in Aoki, a much lower ceiling guy in Alonso for a higher ceiling guy in Butler and that even if Lohse does pitch 150 innings this year, the Lohse/Volquez gap doesn't make up for the hitting loss there.

HH (TX): Which Rangers pitcher would you rather have on your Fantasy Team, Harrison or Holland?

Mike Gianella: I'd rather have Harrison. He's boring, but every year all he does is go out and produce value. Holland probably has the higher ceiling but so far he has been a fantasy tease. Go with the certainty here, particularly since Harrison isn't exactly chopped liver.

Brett (MN): Are you buying Justin Morneau as a real bounce-back candidate?

Mike Gianella: I think Morneau will be solid again, but I have a hard time seeing him as the elite hitter that he once was if that's what you mean.

Frank (Singapore): Jose Tabata - any hope for a return to the initial promising career, or is it over?

Mike Gianella: There's probably a chance but it has to be viewed as a long shot at this point. He's buried in Pittsburgh and probably needs a trade.

BOO-URN (parts unknown): Thoughts on Morosi's prediction for PHI to finish ahead of ATL?

Mike Gianella: It seems silly, though last year at this time if you told me the Phillies were going to be a .500 team I would have thought you were huffing chemicals. Realistically, the Phillies would need a lot to go right for this to happen. If Roy Halladay returns to Cy Young form, then maybe the Phillies are an 87 win team. At that point, some combination of a breakout by Dom Brown or Darin Ruf, a full, healthy, and productive season by Ryan Howard or Chase Utley and something resembling a 2-3 win season from Delmon Young or Michael Young could make it happen. But it seems to be asking a lot for all of things to happen in 2013.

jlarsen (Chicago): In an AL-only Dynasty league and I have the 6th and 8th picks, respectively. The 1st round usually consists of new-to-AL players who were in the NL previously and draft picks who CBS didn't add until the offseason. What value do you see me getting out of the 6th pick and should I go for MLB-calibur players in the 1st or a top draftee like Joey Gallo?(Zunino and a few others have already been claimed)

Mike Gianella: Go with the MLB guys. Joey Gallo could go in so many different directions at this point. Blowing a 1st round pick on Gallo seems like buying a lottery ticket to me.

cal guy (cal): Who ends up having the better career, Machado or Bogaerts? Bundy or Cole? Taveras or anyone on this year's BP 101?

Mike Gianella: Bogaerts, Cole, and Taveras for me, though with the first two it's close and there are a lot of different trajectories. Taveras is starting to look like someone really special. I don't think he's going to be quite as good as Bryce Harper, but a number of scouting experts are starting to put them in the same paragraph, which is saying something.

Joe (St Louis): In a dynasty points league, please rank Taveras, Bundy, Myers, Medlen. Thanks Mike.

Mike Gianella: For this year Medlen, Myers, Taveras, Bundy. Long term, Taveras, Myers, Medlen, Bundy.

jlarsen (Chicago): In my AL-only Dynasty Lg, I acquired Mike Moustakas, Addison Reed, Byron Buxton and the 6th overall pick for Justin Verlander & my 10th, 11th and 12th round picks. Was this a good pick-up, considering that I have Matt Moore, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Tommy Milone as my top starters

Mike Gianella: Hard to say considering I don't know what those picks would typically fetch in your league. That seems like a lot to give up since it's an AL-only. Your staff looks deep, but this isn't a mixed. I do like Buxton a lot, but I don't like the idea of giving up Verlander without getting a top hitter back. I have been burned in the past dealing an ace pitcher for a package of players rather than one big hitter in return.

Tom (Toronto): Will Moustakas be more like his first half or second half?

Mike Gianella: Unless he makes an adjustment, probably more like his second half. Moustakas swings under a lot of pitches resulting in a very high number of infield flies. Unless he levels his swing, he's probably going to continue to put up poor batting averages with not as much power as you'd expect from a big fly ball guy. He's still young and has time to improve but I don't like what I saw last season.

stewbies (Rochester, NY): Is Lincecum a good bounce back candidate?

Mike Gianella: It depends on what you want him to bounce back to. I can see him putting up a 4.00 ERA or something in that neighborhood but it's hard to expect him to be the Timmah who won back-to-back Cy Young awards. It wasn't talked about to the same degree, but Lincecum's velo drop in 2012 reminded me of Ubaldo Jimenez's in 2011. This isn't a bet I'm going to be making this year.

Adam (Cabo San Lucas): 14 team, keep 4 guys. I have Braun, Cutch and Cano. For #4, do I go Yu, Pedroia or Bruce? it's a snake draft, and I don't have a first round pick (but I do have two 2nd rounders).

Mike Gianella: I think I'd go with Pedroia. Yes, it would give you two second basemen but it's a good position to lock up and play keep away with. I'm not as high on Bruce as others are and while I like Yu I don't like the idea of freezing pitchers in a limited format like this unless you're talking about a bonafide ace.

zissou (naples): Do you think Josh Rutledge can be a strong fantasy player this season?

Mike Gianella: He could be because of that park, but I'm extremely wary of Rutledge and am recommending staying away from him in shallower formats. Rutledge has a poor batting eye and it seems in September that pitchers finally figured this out and started throwing more stuff out of the zone. The result was a huge K% spike and a drop in Rutledge's overall stats. Maybe he figured something out over the winter and turns it around, but I think there's at least moderate risk here.

Mark (Fairbanks, AK): 14 team deep keeper league. Have to keep 15. Young team that won't win for another few years. Already keeping Myers, Taveras, Profar and Bauer. Trying to decide on last keeper: T.Walker J.Gyorko T.d'Arnaud M.Olt

Mike Gianella: Walker, particularly if you're definitely in a position that you're not going anywhere for a few years. Olt would be a better choice if you thought you might even have a snowball's chance in '13.

zissou (naples): Who are some underrated closers to target later in drafts? Do you like Casey Janssen or Jason Grilli?

Mike Gianella: Grill probably falls into the underrated category. There is a lot of noise about Mark Melancon taking Grilli's job, but Grilli's numbers were solid last year and if he's healthy he probably hangs on. Greg Holland's walk rate was high last year, but the other numbers were strong and like Grilli the noise about Holland's set-up might keep the price low. Tom Wilhelmsen is a somewhat low profile but proved himself in 2012. I like Janssen if the health is there but the health gets me nervous. At least at the moment.

Matt (Saranac Lake, NY): In an auction league with these free agent pitchers, what three arms you be apt to target if you were aiming for greatest return on investment - Price, Scherzer, Verlander, Kershaw, Latos, Cobb, Minor, Weaver, Fister, Shields, Archer, Cahill, McCarthy, Greinke, Lincecum, Lester, Sabathia? Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Are we talking raw value or profit? Raw value it would be Verlander, Kershaw and Price. If you're talking about potential bargains though, I think I'd go with Minor, Fister and Cahill. All three have the potential to earn more than their price and seem to be somewhat undervalued in drafts and auctions that I've seen play out.

Johnny T (The Hills): Any of these guys worth a look in an NL only 4x4 standard league? Trevor Rosenthal, Tony Cingrani, Arodys Vizcaino, Christian Garcia, J.J. Hoover, or Sam Lecure.

Mike Gianella: Rosenthal is definitely worth a $2-3 bid in NL-only. His stuff is legitimate and even if he's only a set-up man, his Ks mean that he could put up sneaky $10-12 value.

Chris (California): What do you thing about a Carlos Gonzalez/Alex Gordon for Jason Heyward trade in a 6x6 league? (AVG, R, HR, RBI, SB, OPS)

Mike Gianella: That seems like way too much to give up.

Bill (Trenton): A team in my 15-player keeper league is loaded with Miggy/Kemp/Hanley/Cargo/Cano/Uptons/Felix/CC etc. They've won the last 3. What's the best strategy to try to compete?

Mike Gianella: It almost seems like your league needs to adjust its rules so that situations like this don't happen. I have no idea how a team can wind up being this stacked.

zissou (naples): Do you think Tommy Hanson can get back on track with a new team?

Mike Gianella: I think it's possible, though I have the same concerns everyone else has with the potential for injury. The park can't hurt.

Johnny T (The Hills): Any of these hitters worth a flyer in an NL only standard 4x4 league? DJ LeMahieu, Adeiny Hechavarria, or Jordany Valdespin.

Mike Gianella: All three are worth fliers, we're talking NL-only. Valdespin probably has the highest ceiling if he can get playing time because of the HR/SB combo. Hechavarria should play, but yawn on the stats.

Bob (Boston): Which side of this trade do you like? Kemp/Bogaerts for Granderon/Profar/Middlebrooks (when Granderson was healthy) .. standard keeper lg.

Mike Gianella: You should add "when Middlebrooks was healthy" to that as well. I think that's a pretty fair deal, though since it's a mixer I think I like the superstar or potential superstar in Kemp and that side of the deal better.

zissou (naples): Do you think Yovani Gallardo will finally make the jump into the next tier this season or more of the same (mid-high 3 ERA, 200 Ks)?

Mike Gianella: More of the same for me. I've never been a big Gallardo fan. He's fine, but there is always this contingent that thinks he's going to magically jump into the ace stratosphere. Maybe he will, but nothing in the numbers tells me that.

Bill (Trenton): Is Geater Davis the greatest soul singer of the south?

Mike Gianella: Robert Johnson for me. The first time I heard him, I felt like someone was ripping my heart in half.

zissou (naples): Could you see Aroldis Chapman turning into a legit top fantasy starter this year? If he struggles, is Cinci tied to Broxton at closer with his contract?

Mike Gianella: He has the raw stuff, but I wouldn't bet on it happening just yet. I'm concerned that the high pitch counts are going to keep him from getting past the 6th inning and keep the WHIP up. My colleague Paul Sporer also brought up a good point on our podcast: without a refined tertiary pitch it's worth wondering what Chapman's going to do the 2nd time through the line-up. I think he'll be very good (Chapman, not Sporer). I just don't know if I'd bet on an ace.

zissou (naples): Do you think Jean Segura could be a top 10 fantasy SS? His final month last season has me intrigued.

Mike Gianella: Not this year. I see mostly speed at this point and am thinking Top 15 might be the ceiling.

zissou (naples): Does Joakim Soria have much keeper value left? When do you see him being fantasy viable again?

Mike Gianella: Soria is a 2014 play for when after Joe Nathan leaves, and even that is obviously iffy. So, no, I don't see a lot of keeper value unless you're in a "keep forever" format.

Trent (Phippsburgh, ME): In an auction (with on-base %), which bats would you target as the best value buys - Fielder, Longoria, Andrus, Tulo, Hanley, Kemp, Cargo, Beltre, Miggy, Pujols, Drew, Kinsler, Cano, Kipnis, Pedroia?

Mike Gianella: Value or bargains? Miggy, Fielder, and Pujols clearly jump out. It's hard to know bargains without knowing the format.

zissou (naples): What's your take on Marco Estrada? Last year breakout legit?

Mike Gianella: I think he's going to be a solid starter this year. It's hard to predict he'll be THAT good, but a 3.5 ERA seems like a more than realistic expectation.

Grinder (Boston): Ryan Dempster, returning to his numbers in the NL or is he more likely to resemble the mess he was in Texas ?

Mike Gianella: Closer to what he did in the NL. Texas isn't an easy place to pitch, and I suspect the program they have over there with their pitchers is easier to implement in Spring Training than it is mid-season.

amazin_mess (NY): Who do you like more this year - Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder or Matt Kemp?

Mike Gianella: Kemp, Beltre, Fielder. This obviously is predicated on Kemp's health. Fielder might be slightly ahead of Beltre without positional concerns, but the fact that Beltre's at third puts him slightly ahead.

Chris (California): Sorry, I mixed up the trade- What do you thing about a Carlos Gonzalez for Jason Heyward/Alex Gordon trade in a 6x6 league? (AVG, R, HR, RBI, SB, OPS)

Mike Gianella: I think that's solid. I'd do it.

Mike Gianella: I'm going to call it a night. Thanks so much for participating.

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