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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday April 10, 2013 8:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.


Ask Mike all your early-season fantasy questions.

Mike Gianella: Hey everyone. Week and a half into the season, and I'm still psyched that baseball is BACK! Let's get started before John Buck hits another home run.

tony (Minnesota): Hello, a fantasy baseball trade question for ya. I was offered Trevor Cahill for Trevor Rosenthal. Both are cheap, so both could be keepers and I need SP help but Rosenthal could be a 40 save stud this year. Thoughts? Thanks

Mike Gianella: Hi Tony.

Cahill is definitely a steadier/more reliable producer but Rosenthal definitely is more talented/has a higher ceiling, particularly for fantasy/Roto. For this year, I like Cahill better because I'm more certain of his role, but in the long term I like Rosenthal. I think this trade's OK to make if you need a starter, but given the keeper dynamic of some leagues I could also see holding on and trying to do better for Rosenthal later. My instinct tells me not to pull the trigger...even though Rosenthal might not close this year.

brukru (Pittsford): Hosmer, I really want to believe, but watching him he seems like he is trying to hit everything to left field, and has a hard time pulling the ball!? Am I wrong? Please say yes!

Mike Gianella: Hi brukru.

I haven't seen the Royals yet this year, so I can't comment specifically on Hosmer's approach. Looking at the batted ball data, it does look like Hosmer is hitting a lot of ground balls and isn't getting a lot of lift. I still have faith in Hosmer, and there are some good signs. The LD rate is high; he's stinging the ball and it's resulting in a good batting average. I think the power will come, and Hosmer should be closer to what he did in 2011 than what he did last year. Keep the faith. He's going to be a Top 10 first baseman at some point.

BJ (Boston): Mike, thanks for hosting the chat. What are your thoughts on Jesus Montero? I'm not one to overanalyze a slow start, especially only one week, but I'm concerned that with Zunino waiting in the wings, the Mariners may have a tough choice to make sooner rather than later. Montero was touted by a few fantasy pundits as a candidate to take a step forward this season, but right now his stock is falling, and the Mariners can't ignore Zunino forever. Considering that Montero's numbers drop significantly when he's used at DH, what do you think will happen to him when/if the Mariners bring up Zunino?

Mike Gianella: Montero looks like one of those players who will probably be a very good power hitter but might never be a complete hitter. I could see him being a .250-.260 hitter with 25-30 home run power at his peak. That doesn't sound great, but it's nothing to sneeze at. If/when Mike Zunino comes up, he would definitely move Montero off the dish. It's hard to say at that point what would happen to Montero's numbers. His numbers have been bad as a DH, but we're talking about 351 at bats from a 22-year-old. A move off the plate could help Montero's numbers if he doesn't have to concentrate on the tools of ignorance.

MattWinks (Madison): 30 team dynasty league, offered Domonic Brown for Ogando, same contracts for the next 3 years. Do I need more for Ogando?

Mike Gianella: Hey Matt. That's probably fair, though I'm not the biggest Ogando fan. Brown's reworked swing looks like it can and will lead to some better results and while he might never be an elite hitter he could be a good one. I don't see Ogando as a future ace (though I know some would disagree) so you could make this trade.

rewissick (Trout-ville): One of my favorite features of the ThinkTank was the weekly review of FAAB bids in your home leagues. Any chance we see something like that here?

Mike Gianella: Hi rewissick.

For readers who are just getting introduced to me, rewissick is talking about the blog I ran before I came here.

The answer is probably not. Jason Collette did a Tout Wars FAAB recap for a few weeks last year that was dropped because interest was low. I will be posting the raw bids at my old blog but without the analysis. Like a lot of things at Baseball Prospectus, if there's enough feedback requesting something like this, I could see revisiting the idea in the future.

coach53 (Ct): MG What's going on? In a yahoo league rotisserie standard 8 team league. I really need to make a couple of adjustments. Need to add another pitcher and solid bar to this line up. This league is tough with trades! Who should we ditch and is there anyone we should be tracking or picking up? Here is the squad, 1. (6) Albert Pujols 1B 2. (11) Joe Mauer C,1B 3. (22) Jacoby Ellsbury OF 4. (27) Evan Longoria 3B 5. (38) Matt Holliday OF 6. (43) Cliff Lee SP 7. (54) Shin-Soo Choo OF 8. (59) Jose Altuve 2B 9. (70) Jimmy Rollins SS 10. (75) Roy Halladay SP 11. (86) Huston Street RP 12. (91) Addison Reed RP 13. (102) Anthony Rizzo 1B 14. (107) Jason Grilli RP 15. (118) Tim Lincecum SP 16. (123) Alex Gordon OF 17. (134) Carlos Marmol RP 18. (139) Dan Haren SP 19. (150) Kenley Jansen RP 20. (155) Rickie Weeks 2B 21. (166) Alejandro De Aza OF 22. (171) J.P. Arencibia C Guys who are available. FYI Materson, ziti, e Santana, pettitte Crisp, wells, m Saunders, carpenter, werth

Mike Gianella: Hey Coach

Without knowing what the rules are regarding how deep your reserve lists are and what your free agent pool looks like it's difficult to offer specific advice. Your roster looks strong, but 8-team mixed probably has a lot of rosters that look like this. Dan Haren and Tim Lincecum seem like players that you should be upgrading on. Feel free to drop Carlos Marmol, and as much as I love Kenley Jansen if there's a closer out there, get him; in an 8-team league you shouldn't be speculating on future saves but getting saves here and now. The free agents you list don't look particularly great which - again - makes me wonder how deep your reserve lists are.

Donald Loria (Milwaukee): What is ur feeling on Tillman? First start was bad, but a step forward was expected. Wait & see, or don't start again until he shows something. Lost Weaver, any other low end starters to help out in a deep league.

Mike Gianella: Like a lot of the BP staff, I was high on Chris Tillman coming into this year. He was limited in Spring Training and then went on the DL due to an abdominal injury. There's probably some rust here. If Tillman's available in your deep league and you need to replace Jered Weaver, he's probably going to be one of your better choices.

Alex (Anaheim): Is it worth hanging onto Hafner in a 12-team mixed league for now?

Mike Gianella: Hi Alex.

I'd say no. In a 12-team mixed, you want 14 players that are going to get 550-600 plate appearances each. Hafner is going to produce when he plays, but he is highly unlikely to play a full season. You should be able to do better in this format.

Mr. Slate (Bedrock): Couple of trade questions: My team: Rosario, Howard, Altuve, Frazier, Rollins, Cuddyer, A. Jones, B.Upton, De Aza. Bench: Carpenter, Rutledge, Hicks, Olt, Puig, Soler, Baez Rotation:Wainwright, Burnett, Harvey, E. Jackson, Jose Fernandez Bench: Cole, Hultzen, Gausman, Hammel I give up: Rollins and Altuve I get: Chase Headley(Trying to get Taveras included) I give up: Rollins, Mariano Rivera, Olt I get: Matt Wieters, Wil Myers Which trade if any do I move on? I would move Rutledge into the SS position, then I would move Carpenter into 2B. If I make either move.

Mike Gianella: Hi Slate:

I don't like the first trade at all. Headley is ahead of his timetable and could be back in a couple of weeks, but even if Headley does what he did in 2012, Jimmy Rollins OR Jose Altuve aren't that much worse and you're giving up both. Oscar Taveras obviously helps, but unless you're playing for 2014 or unless you know you can flip him for another player if you're gunning for it, this is a risky move. The second trade has some of the same problems. Rollins is probably better than Wieters and you're giving up Mariano as well. I don't know what your "dump" culture is like: that is to say, how players like Myers and Taveras are valued by teams playing for next year. If you think you can flip Taveras or Myers later for more in this year talent to push yourself to victory, then do it. If you can't and you're just making this trade for stats, hold off.

stewbies (Rochester, NY): 20 team league, 4 x 4, no K's. Should I cut Lackey for one of Tepesch, Bedard, Wood or Guthrie, or go with the dead spot for a week or two? Or cut Gentry or Pollock for one of the SP's and go with a dead hitting spot?

Mike Gianella: Hey stewbies

I'd drop John Lackey and go with either Jeremy Guthrie or Travis Wood. I don't know what the rest of your team looks like and without knowing that I can't say whether or not it's a good idea or not to go with a dead hitting spot.

TheCoupons (FL): What is Pujols' value in a keeper league? Is he still a top 10 value for the next 3 years or should I be concerned about the Anahiem park factors and declining numbers and looks to move him for younger players?

Mike Gianella: There are two conflicting factors when it comes to a player like Albert Pujols. The first is that he is going to decline as he gets older, and the decline has already started. The other side of the coin is that elite players like Pujols are at such a high level to begin with that their declines still can lead to some pretty strong numbers even if they're not elite. My guess is that Pujols can earn in the Top 10 but Top 20-25 might be a safer bet for his Age 33-35 seasons. If you can move Pujols for a Giancarlo Stanton or a Bryce Harper do it, but in recent years more fantasy players gravitate toward the younger stars and this is obviously easier said than done.

Lincecum's Fastball (High and Right): Any wisdom from the mechanics crowd about the freak's inability to command the fastball? During the start last night, he could throw the off-speed stuff reasonably well hence the decent K rate. But he couldn't hit the side of a barn with the FB, and by the end of the start was even ditching it for a slider when he needed a strike. Has this ever been seen before (pitcher can command off speed, but not the fastball)? And what's the cause? He's always missing high and right... Trying to reach back for too much velo, or just consistently wrong release point?

Mike Gianella: Based on your name, you should know the answer!

I did read a lot of pieces today about Tim Lincecum, but there weren't any good answers to what he might or might not be doing wrong. The velocity on the fastball is also lower than it was in 2011 and earlier. It's possible that Lincecum is trying to compensate for his diminished velo and missing his spots, but it's also possible that the decreased velo is leading to the missing on the fastball. I don't really know. I do think that in a mixed format he's a bad bet right now and you should probably bench him until he and/or the coaching staff finds the cure to what ails him.

boatman44 (Liverpool): What did you think of Nick Tepesch's outing for fantasy purpose's, had him in 3 league.s last night, seems to be a Westbrook type groundballer,perfect for Arlington,do you think he can stick around awhile?

Mike Gianella: Like a lot of fantasy experts, I had no idea who this guy was until the Rangers announced that he was going to be the team's fifth starter. I was skeptical that the Rangers were pushing him because they didn't want to get sucked into the Kyle Lohse sweepstakes, but a number of Rangers' watchers - most notably Adam Morris of Lone Star Ball - were impressed with Tepesch's improved composure and presence on the mound. He's a rookie pitcher and certainly will take his lumps, but his debut gives him the opportunity to stick around and possibly not get demoted once Matt Harrison comes back. Tepesich could be a #3-4 starter at his peak.

Eric (Costa Rica): So I've got both Weaver and Halladay. That's a bummer man. With Weaver going on the DL who would you pick up between Fister and B. McCarthy? 10 Team Mixed, 5x5 adding in CG, and QS.

Mike Gianella: Hi Eric:

That is a bummer. Of the two I'd pick up Doug Fister. Brandon McCarthy has struggled, and while I generally recommend NL pitchers over AL pitchers, Fister is in a better park and is more likely to get you quality starts than McCarthy.

gavstone (UK): I have Miguel Cabrera. What would constitute a good value trade if I was to offload him? Or would I be a complete idiot for doing so...

Mike Gianella: One-for-one or multiplayer? One-for-one you don't want to move Cabrera unless it's a dynasty league and you can get a Bryce Harper or Mike Trout in return. In a multiplayer deal, a lot depends on where your holes are and how deep your free agent pool is. In an AL-only, I could see taking back 2-3 players if you're filling dead spots and saddling your opponent with those dead spots. In a mixed league, it's difficult to trade Cabrera since the replacement level talent in the free agent pool is going to be close to the players you get back.

tB (Auburn): Should I give Kipnis/Burnett for Gyorko/Hosmer?? Thanks! Great Stuff!

Mike Gianella: Hi tB.

If you can afford to trade the speed and have a pitcher in reserve to fill in for A.J. Burnett, make the trade. Eric Hosmer is better than Jason Kipnis as a pure talent and while A.J. Burnett might be better than Jedd Gyorko this year, you're getting a much younger player for a player at or near the end of the line.

Mark (Lexington KY): Is Joey Votto TOO disciminating as a hitter? He has the uncanny ability to lay off pitches that are an inch off the plate, but in fantasy don't you want your sluggers to, well, slug instead of taking walks? Is it possible he's great in real life but overrated in fantasy? Thanks

Mike Gianella: I haven't studied this in depth, but glancing at the swing % data, I don't see a strong corollary one way or the other on swing percentages and high power/low power hitters. Something I did notice is that in Votto's big HR season his HR/FB% was much higher than in any other year and that Votto doesn't hit a high percentage of fly balls. I don't know if he's overrated, since RBI and batting average also count, but I would agree that expecting 35-40 HR from Votto might be wishcasting.

Kevin (Boston): Walt Wiess is apparently going to be using Eric Young a lot more this year. Is he good for 30 SB's if he gets over 400 PA's? Thanks

Mike Gianella: Hi Kevin:

If Young gets 400 plate appearances, he could steal 30 bases easily. That being said, I'm not sure how likely it is Young gets there. He's a fine deep league play though if you need speed.

DanMizer (Boston, MA): You hear anything about the rumor of Hultzen getting called up and Maurer sent down?

Mike Gianella: Hi Dan:

I saw Geoff Baker's article today at his blog at the Seattle Times. It sounds like Baker was just speculating, though I agree with his reasoning that Brandon Maurer is making a pretty big jump and the team might change course quickly if things aren't working out. The article mentioned Jeremy Bonderman as well as Danny Hultzen as a possible replacement.

Kevin (Boston): So, who do you have finishing the season with the most saves for the Cubs, Cards and Brewers? thanks

Mike Gianella: For the Cubs, I would have to guess Kyuji Fujikawa. Carlos Marmol might get the job again, but he would probably be put in there to showcase him for a trade. Trevor Rosenthal isn't the closer now in St. Louis, but Mitchell Boggs has already struggled so if I'm going to guess, I'm going to guess the guy with the skills and the stuff. Milwaukee is a mystery to me. I thought John Axford would lose the job but had no idea it would happen so quickly. I would guess Jim Henderson, but he has some of the same control/command issues that Ax does/did. My sleeper in this pen is Brandon Kintzler, but I don't see Kintzler as having a path to the job at the moment.

rjblakel (Australia): Until Brian McCann returns, should I stick with vanilla Ryan Doumit or take a chance on Buck, Gattis, Arencibia or Pierzynski? (non-keeper points league) Thanks.

Mike Gianella: If your add/drop rules are liberal, you can certainly ride John Buck's hot hand. But Ryan Doumit is fine, and A.J. Pierzynski really isn't much worse/is about the same.

Garcia (Uttica): Do you think the Mets will give Jordany Valdespin more PT as the year progesses? There looks to be some potential there.

Mike Gianella: Hey Garcia

It's possible they might, though right now the Mets seem to be trying everyone in the outfield and seeing what sticks. I see Valdespin as more of a super utility player than a regular. With his power/speed combo that still could be good, but I wouldn't expect anything spectacular from Jordany. He looks more like a utility guy than a regular to me long term, though he could definitely be a deep league asset.

coach53 (Ct): My yahoo league is an 8 team rotisserie league. We carry 22 players, starting all starting positions and a utility player. Pitching we start 2 sp, 2 rp, and 3 pitchers (closer or starter). What do you mean by depth? We need to upgrade a pitcher and maybe a bat... Melky Cabrera is available

Mike Gianella: I'm surprised that your free agent pool is that week (based on the names you threw out) given that this is an eight team league with such relatively limited reserves. Melky Cabrera is one of the better players you mentioned earlier, but I'm still not necessarily convinced he's better than what you have. Your priority should definitely be upgrading your pitching. Haren, Lincecum, and Marmol are weak options for your format.

Mike Gianella: Thanks so much everyone who joined. Time to watch some baseball and root for all the teams in my many, many leagues. Good night folks.

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