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Chat: Marc Normandin

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday January 21, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Marc Normandin.


Whether you want to check out a player's profile or discuss the ins and outs of the fantasy life, you'll want to check out chatting with BP's Marc Normandin.

Marc Normandin: Hello folks, we're here today to talk mostly fantasy baseball, but as always, ask about whatever is on your mind and we'll see what kind of fun we can have. I'm currently listening to Metroid Metal, because honestly, more video game soundtracks deserved to turn into metal albums.

Jed Hoyer (Beautiful Downtown San Diego): Why did I spend 5% of my tiny budget on Jerry Hairston when my starting rotation could use another full pitcher's worth of not-sucky innings?

Marc Normandin: Because replacing Wade LeBlanc or Tim Stauffer is not going to win the NL West, and a guy like Hairston has his uses. Plus, with Jerry and Scott on the same club, I hope to see some kind of super Hairston, like a Voltron Hairston that's capable of playing defense and hitting well but counts as two roster spots.

Playwright22 (Baltimore): Hi, Marc. Thanks for chatting. B.J. Upton seems the most volatile of all position players--he could win you a championship or send you tumbling down the standing stairs. What do you make of him for 2010?

Marc Normandin: I'm still on the Bossman Junior Hype Train, but there are plenty of seats left in the carriage. I'm encouraged by the fact that he played all of 2009 hurt--sure, it screwed up the fantasy seasons of loads of owners and made my rankings look exponentially worse, but at least it wasn't because he's not good.

If he's healthy in 2010--and this far after surgery he better be--I still expect him to be a source of power and speed that is hard to match in center, plus he'll pick up plenty of R or RBI. It won't matter if he hits for average in this scenario, but if could at least keep it in a decent range it would be appreciated.

Steven Goldman (The Pinstriped Bible Seminary): Marc, your rankings were very confusing to me. You neglected to include the following: Al Simmons, Indian Bob Johnson, the quieter "Nebraska"-style albums of Bruce Springsteen, Alex Rodriguez vs. New Coke, Richard Burton's films made while drunk vs. those he made while sober, and whether the left breast is superior to the right breast in most circumstances. Also, where does Evan Longoria rank among the above? Thanks for the chat!

Marc Normandin: Thank you for bringing this up, Steven, so I wouldn't have to eviscerate any readers publicly. For the love of Jebus people, I have not done the 2010 rankings yet--that's why such-and-such a player isn't on the list.

I'm finishing up the review of 2009 this week, and then moving on to this year's positional rankings using a new system with advice you fine folks gave me weekly.

Also, left > right, and Evan Longoria's value is found in between those.

Jed Hoyer (Actually, RAINY San Diego): Yeah, but: 1. They don't need to replace LeBlanc or Stauffer. They'll need every starter they can get just to get by, with Chris Young's durability issues, Latos' health, Correia's career inning spike last year.... 2. Jerry Hairston is worth bupkis to a contender in July. A starting pitcher with a half season of Petcoized numbers on his bubblegum card would be worth more.

Marc Normandin: They have six starters right now, and Aaron Poreda makes seven, though I know some people are leery of his ability to be ready for 2010. The offseason also isn't over, and the budget isn't entirely spent.

Also, the league is pretty well aware of Petco. Do the Pads really pull in all that much from dealing their non-Peavy pitchers?

Henry Rodriguez (Chicago): I'm a Web Design student who at the moment is in an audio class. I have no idea what's going on and I have a computer in front of me. Should I blow off the class and follow the chat? I mean, I don't know what's going on anyways.

Marc Normandin: You already broke the seal by submitting a question, so you may as well just stick around. We'll try to make it worth your while.

buddons42 (Detroit): Marc, if video game metal is what you seek you really need to check out the band "Powerglove". They've got covers from the Final Fantasy, Mega Man and Castlevania series among other things. Plus they may have chosen the awesomest name possible for a video game cover metal band.

Marc Normandin: I was all over the Powerglove bandwagon years ago, no lie. I have a t-shirt and have seen them live back when I lived in Boston. Those guys are great. I wish they would do a Final Fantasy only album spanning the entire series.

mattymatty2000 (Philly): 2010 Red Sox over/under: 95 wins

Marc Normandin: Over, and that's coming from someone who thinks their true talent level in 2009 was closer to 88 wins (in the same area as the Rays and Rangers) rather than their actual win total--despite the fact that their RS/RA numbers matched up.

Randy (Camden County): Who are proving to be the hardest players to evaluate or peg for 2010? Sizemore coming off the injury?

Marc Normandin: I hate evaluating players coming off of injuries, because reports are almost always conflicting and all of these players have different reactions to injuries. Generally speaking those are tough to peg.

The other area of difficulty is in players who either performed well above or well below expectations the year before, as some have legitimately fallen apart/improved or just had an off year. Sorting through it fixes that for the most part, but you're still liable to miss every now and then by not placing enough value on certain things. That's something I'm hoping to work on for 2010, and one of the reasons I did the review series for my 2009 rankings.

lemppi (Ankeny, IA): What are your thoughts on Verlander bouncing back from the big workload last year? Also your thoughts on what Porcello is likely to produce this year? Thank you!

Marc Normandin: Verlander was ridiculous in 2009, but everyone was too focused on Greinke to notice. I think his ERA may have been higher than he deserved as well, so unlike some other pitchers who have career years, he may end up turning in a better performance on that note in 2010. His poor 2008 had more to do with mucked up mechanics than it did fatigue from hitting 200 innings the year prior I believe, so I'm not too concerned in that regard in 2010. As long as his mechanics hold up, he's going to be nasty.

Ozzie Smith (HOF): Who will be more valuable this season at SS? Yunel Escobar, Alcides Escobar, or Everth Cabrera?

Marc Normandin: I wish it would be Everth Cabrera, but it's going to Yunel Escobar. I like Alcides potential quite a bit, but if we're talking 2010 then I'm going with the good Yuni.

Gregor (Bangor): Would you flip Uggla and Peavy for Verlander if you needed to get down to a keeper limit and you didn't need Uggla?

Marc Normandin: So essentially you're overpaying for Verlander because Uggla is a sunk cost that you won't be keeping anyways, and Peavy + another keeper worthy player makes the deal unattractive to you. I think I'm okay with that.

Dan (New York): Marc, Who's the better fantasy play out of the Nats' OF this year -- Willingham or Dukes? I'm looking more at a scoresheet sim league, but I'm also curious for roto purposes whether you think Dukes's upside beats Willingham's consistency.

Marc Normandin: Dukes burned me so bad last year that I can't answer this question fairly without stopping to think about it. I guess it depends on how much upside you're already relying on--if you have a lot of known quantities on your roster, Dukes is worthwhile. If you're already relying on upside, Willingham is the way to go.

strupp (madison): For Fantasy purposes, how early is too early for Wieters this year? Assume 12 team standard scoring.

Marc Normandin: His second half was promising, but not great. He didn't show me anything that makes me think he's going to morph into an elite catcher (yet) just because it's a new year. I think he's at that point where I would rather let someone else make the mistake of drafting him too early, as I could live with him breaking out earlier than expected in that scenario.

Sean Burroughs (Walmart ): Is it me or is Grady Sizemore going to be a complete steal as a mid to late 2nd round pick? Pretty sure he is the only 40/40 threat in baseball. I would take him over Kemp every day and twice on my birthday.

Marc Normandin: I'm not sure how much his stock has actually fallen, especially with people being worried about Carlos Beltran's health. People might go for Kemp first due to his having a higher AVG, along with potentially more R and more RBI though, so he may fall. Hmm.

dianagramr (NYC): True or false: Some of the fun of a new fantasy baseball season is coming up with a new name for your team? Signed, Manager - "Pedroia Own Conclusions"

Marc Normandin: True, though I typically keep the same name in one league and then try to come up with a new one in another league. One of my leagues has constantly changing names, which is hard to keep track of but entertaining.

In my football league, my team is the Boston Stranglers, and our logo is Evil Lando Calrissian:

johnklein (cubicle at lunchtime): NL-only keeper league - 3 year time period to lock in contract - Zimmerman or Reynolds?

Marc Normandin: Zimmerman. I don't trust Reynolds yet, and by his nature you would expect more volatility--for good or bad--from his performances.

Nick (Manhattan): Yanks: Over/Under 100 wins?

Marc Normandin: Under, but it would be close and I could change my mind by tomorrow. Much more confident in the over for the Red Sox from earlier.

dianagramr (NYC): In terms of fantasy league rules, do you prefer a maximum number of roster moves allowed, or a max. staff innings (or games played per position player slot)? Have you ever seen a league with BOTH?

Marc Normandin: I have not been in a league with both, but the masochistic nature of such a league has its appeal to me. I've recently played with a maximum number of moves per week, which has its positives and negatives.

patrickc (Queens): To complete your picture of the AL East, where do set the mark for the Rays?

Marc Normandin: Off the cuff, but based on their moves and my thinking that Upton will bounce back, let's put them at 93-94 wins.

mhnickerson (Cambridge, MA): Ok, since you predict the Sox over 95 wins and the Yanks under 100, why don't I just come out and ask you who you think will win the AL East, and why?

Marc Normandin: Oh, I think New York will win the division. Something like 98-99 wins for them, 96-97 for Boston, and 93-94 for Tampa. It's going to be a great season.

Joe Mauer (Minny): Give me 3 good reasons why I should stay in Minny long term instead of going to the Yankees in 2011.

Marc Normandin: 1) Big fish, small pond
2) Local hero
3) You might accidentally date Madonna by becoming the newest embattled Yankee star.

Ron (Vancouver): Over/Under: Blue Jays 70 wins

Marc Normandin: The Blue Jays are kind of funny, because they were a defense and pitching club in the past that couldn't put an offense together to put them into true contention. Now they are building themselves up as an offensive-oriented club with poor defense, which will adversely affect a rotation that also no longer has Roy Halladay in it.

I would take the over by the way. If that's a Vegas option I would put money on it.

Vern (DC): If you have too many keeper worthy guys and you can't keep them all, what's the best strategy? Throw them back into the redraft and hope to either get them back or that they will help push other good players down to you in the draft? Trade for anything like that Verlander one above even at the risk of making other teams stronger?

Marc Normandin: A little of both. I wouldn't want to make too many deals like the Verlander one, as you're right, you're helping other people out too by filling out their keeper slots, though one or two shouldn't kill you, especially if you end up with a much stronger set of keepers for your troubles.

Nick (Manhattan): Interesting point about Toronto. Likewise, it seems the Red Sox are going in the opposite direction from offense to defense. Do you think this is a typical progression for most clubs? They react to what they've done previously and go in an opposite direction? I think it would make an interesting study.

Marc Normandin: Last year was the only recent year in which Boston's defense wasn't amongst the league's best. They are shifting more towards well-rounded players though, guys who aren't as obviously good as the Manny's and Bay's of the world, yes.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have the Royals, whose way of changing is to make the same mistakes as their predecessors, only worse.

stewbies (rochester): I hope you are significantly expanding your player rankings this year...

Marc Normandin: Define "significantly"

collins (greenville nc): I've enjoyed your retrospective on roto rankings. Not that you didn't do a good job, but have you drawn any general conclusions about how the rankings can be improved? Thanks.

Marc Normandin: Like I mentioned before, I think it's just made me aware of a few things I should do or should not do in my analysis. I need to make sure I spend more time analyzing just why a player performed poorer or better than expectations in recent seasons, so certain years don't jump out and surprise me.

To be honest, I think my rankings went better than I expected--during the season I had a lot of bad feelings, but it may just be because I drafted most of my mistakes. That doesn't mean I can't make them much better though.

Workmanlike Procrastinator (Grey Cube, DC): Is Voltron Hairston under copyright? If not, may I please use it as my fantasy team's name this year?

Marc Normandin: Go forth, Workmanlike Procrastinator, and use it at your leisure.

stewbies (rochester): By significantly, I hope you will tailor the rankings for folks in 10-12 team AL or NL only leagues and not for the 10-12 team mixed leagues.

Marc Normandin: Could have just said that the first time instead of being vague. I am openly asking for what you folks want, after all.

Mark Shapiro (Cleveland): Should I still be considered one of the ten best GM's in baseball?

Marc Normandin: Let's open this one up to the people. I have an answer (and list) in mind, but let's see what everyone thinks before show and tell starts.

Jack (Boston): Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2... what else is coming to help get me through the baseball-free months?

Marc Normandin: I just played Bayonetta and loved it. I'm currently working on Darksiders, but I'm not that far in it yet. The game I'm most looking forward to the rest of this month is No More Heroes 2. February is a strong month for releases, and March is thoroughly ridiculous. What kind of stuff do you like?

Davey (Fantasyland): Keep Fowler or McCuthcheon?

Marc Normandin: Going with The McCutch on this one. He does what Fowler does, but better. My one worry would be RBI, but it shouldn't be an awful total or anything.

gluckschmerz (360-ville): Your thoughts on Dark Void?

Marc Normandin: I liked the demo I played at both Comic-Con and PAX, but based on the reviews I've been reading it seems like that demo is basically the experience of the entire game, over and over again. I would appreciate it less in that context. Significantly less.

Tommy (Queens): Biggest surprise move of the offseason?

Marc Normandin: I would have to say the Phillies deciding they would rather pay Joe Blanton than Cliff Lee in 2010 was the biggest surprise of the offseason. I don't care if they needed to restock their farm system after acquiring Halladay, or that they didn't want the payroll to reach a certain point. Dealing Lee strikes me as irresponsible to a team that needed to improve to have a better chance against the AL's giants.

Keeping him also would have put them closer to guaranteeing--as much as you can guarantee something like winning a game of chance--a third straight World Series appearance. They can still get there, but having Lee makes them closer to the favorites in any matchup.

strupp (madison): What's the latest on EASports release of Grand Slam Tennis for Xbox? Have they adapted the motion control, or will it be using the straight controls. And, more importantly, did you decide on the McCutcheon shirt? Thanks.

Marc Normandin: I didn't get a McCutchen shirt yet, but I'm still considering it. I picked up a Kyle Blanks shirt first, and there's a 1984 Padres hat with my name on it once it's in stock in my size. The McCutch (The Cutch? Which one of these works better, hmm) will be next in line though.

I haven't heard much about it yet, but the delay they gave the game makes me think they want to implement Natal technology in it. I would have to double check release dates for both the game and the Natal tech to confirm that though.

Ron (Vancouver): MLB 10: The Show, most anticipated sports game of the year?

Marc Normandin: For baseball fans, yes. I would have to say that FIFA and Madden get more love from reservations and pre-release hype though.

Bubba Brown (Roy, UT): Heyward or Upton? Which player will history call the better player?

Marc Normandin: Which Upton? I'm assuming you mean Justin, aka, Ken Griffey Jr. II. This is actually a really great question. I'm going to send it to our e-mail list now. I'm team Upton though, I'm pretty positive he's capable of being The Best Player in Baseball during his peak.

As an aside, Jason Heyward's name should be Jayson Heyward. I naturally want to type that because of the y in his last name, and I think it balances much better. Let's steal Jayson Werth's pointless y and give it to Heyward.

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Top ten GMs I can't think of ten amazing GMs out there at the moment. Shapiro has made some great moves, some ok moves, and then some horrible moves. Colon move - awesome Lee trade - not so much Casey Blake trade - highway robbery Matt Lawton - very bad Trade for Asdrubal Cabrera - a steal. Hafner deal - bad even if his shoulder didn't take a dive.

Marc Normandin: So here's one yes on Shapiro.

Randy (Ann Arbor, MI): Are we sure Shapiro even cracks the top 10 in the AL? If I'm having a GM draft, I'd take Cashman, Epstein, Friedman, the entire AL West, Williams, and probably Anthopolous before I got around to calling Shapiro's name.

Marc Normandin: I feel like we could have made your answer a "How 'bout no" bear and called it a day. This is a very strong anti-Shapiro stance.

TheFlyingBernard (Acton, MA): It would be unwise to change Heyward's name. The "y" just makes me think of Jayson Williams, to whom nobody wants to be associated at this point. Duke star Jason Williams even changed his name to "Jay" when he entered the NBA in part to avoid that association.

Marc Normandin: Solid counterpoint.

Also, I just received a chat question I don't think I should publish, but I almost fell out of my seat laughing at it. You probably know who you are.

Gregor (Bangor): Is Josh Hamilton a good target in keeper leagues as a buy low, or have we seen the end of his brief period in the first round?

Marc Normandin: I would bump him out of the first, not necessarily because he's falling back in talent or production, but because I think there may be enough talent at the front end to bump him. He was sort of a questionable first round guy anyways, I felt he was an early second last year.

Jake (LA): Does it have to do with team names?

Marc Normandin: Nope. Way off.

Jack (Boston): For your prompt response, I owe you a uburger, RPG's mostly--been thinking of grabbing Demon's Souls but I'm worried I don't have the chops anymore. Any non-JRPG or just plain accessible stuff coming down the pipe?

Marc Normandin: Demon's Souls isn't hard if you listen to what it tries to tell you. If you ignore the fact that your death and failure in the game is a lesson to be learned, you won't complete it.

Did you try Dragon Age yet? I'm not going to lie, I've put 100 hours into it over two playthroughs already and I plan on playing through once more, and that's before the expansion that releases in March.

Derek (Indy): Friend Zone, right?

Marc Normandin: Yes. I think I owe you a beer.

Randy (Ann Arbor, MI): Now that I consider my earlier post to Shapiro, I stand by it...but thinking on it further, even if he places 9th or 10th in the AL, I think that probably still puts him comfortably in the 12-14 range in MLB. Seriously, what is up with the NL?

Marc Normandin: Smart general managers don't want to spend their time running in place, doing their best to beat just the teams in their division?

Rex (LA): Who'd win a wrestling match - Lemmy or God?

Marc Normandin: There are two potential answers: One, you go with the "Trick question, Lemmy is God!" answer. Two, God, because he threatens to heal Lemmy's trademark warts halfway through a submission hold if he doesn't let go.

glenihan (nyc): In real baseball (not fantasy) which pair would you rather have - Teix/A-rod or Holiday/Pujols?

Marc Normandin: Oh boy. With their current contracts as well? Pujols > A-Rod but I would take Teix over Holliday. Hmm. I think I would have to go with Pujols/Holliday, but that has a lot more to do with Pujols than Holliday.

doog7642 (Blaine, MN): In a points dynasty league (so steals are not king), would you sell Reyes at this point?

Marc Normandin: Depends on what you can get to replace him at shortstop. Even if steals aren't king, shortstop just plain sucks, so if the cost of retaining him isn't killing you, I might want to hold on to him anyways. Unless someone else is willing to go nuts and overpay.

jbuofm (peoria): Concerning fantasy ranks, can you do a ranking that lists all outfielders, for those of us who don't play in leagues that require LF, CF, RF?

Marc Normandin: Okay everyone. I know this won't be the last time I answer this particular query, but I do a combined list of outfielders in addition to the individual positions. Clearly it's not published in a place where you all see it though--does this need to be on the front page instead of Unfiltered in the future?

Garrett (Chicago): I am curious to know why there haven't been a flood of Jose Canseco apology articles considering almost everything he was ridiculed for has turned out to be true.

Marc Normandin: Because people don't care if you're right when you're a jerk. You're still a jerk.

Bill (NYC): The Cashman doesn't get enough credit because of the $$ situation, but he makes great moves and is stealth which is always a plus. While some free agent deals don't pan out, he seems to win virtually every trade. He is top five for sure.

Marc Normandin: Conversely, how many of these stealth deals with kids can he pull off if he's not in an organization that can erase their loss with money? Just want to play devil's advocate a bit here to see what people think.

Also, normally I'm out after two hours, but today I'm feeling a third hour of the chat. There are loads of questions in the queue already and I think I'm about to pop on some new music. Perhaps some Mastodon is in order.

Garrett (Chicago): I'm a jerk? Thanks...I am not very impressed by your answer. There have been tons of jerks that people have listened to over the years. Hey, look at Pat Robertson, people listen to him.

Marc Normandin: Uh, no, Jose Canseco is the jerk in this story. Not you. "You're still a jerk" was "No one is apologizing to Canseco, because even though he's right, he's still a jerk"

My point is that we haven't seen a flood of apology articles because even though he's been right about a lot of what he discussed, no one wants to admit it publicly because they consider him a jerk. We're also talking about an industry that was well aware of what was going on at the time, but has decided instead to point the finger at everyone else involved in order to maintain their own image and make sure they remain in control of the story.

Three cheers for more chat (Boo productivity at work): The rookie or 2nd year player that you'll be sure to draft in all your leagues is ______________.

Marc Normandin: Theme of the day: Andrew McCutchen! Is there anyone who covers the game nationally who likes The Cutch more than I do? I'm going to have to find a way to like him more if that's the case.

Ron (Vancouver): Adam Lind's performance in 2009, career year or is the best yet to come?

Marc Normandin: I think 2009 is a pretty good indicator of my expectations for him. I was optimistic about him for '09, but he did what I thought he would be capable of later on already.

stewbies (rochester): I prefer you scrap the LF/CF/RF breakdown and just come out with a combined list. I vote for a top 100, released in 4 or 5 installments.

Marc Normandin: We'll see. Some of it depends on how often I can pump out this content when it's time, which is a question I don't have an answer to yet. The potential answers are "fast" and "faster" though, I just don't want to hurt the value of the analysis in order to make the singular list.

Rob (Alaska): My last slot in a deep keeper league looks like it's coming down to Dexter Fowler and Rick Porcello. I usually prefer the position player, but Porcello could be special. At the same time, both might have another year or two of development before they really get going. Preference for 2010? Long-term?

Marc Normandin: I would normally prefer the position player too, but Porcello's last two months were pretty impressive. I just wish his strikeouts would jump up, but it will happen with time. He could be a beast in the second half of 2010...

kgoodson3 (New Orleans): Don't scrap the LF, CF, RF lists. Those positions are what competitive leagues play as..still do the combined list though. Could we get an overall list too? Like 1-200?

Marc Normandin: Overall list is something I'm considering. I want to make sure I get the standard lists out in a timely fashion first, then I'll be able to do that more easily.

Freddy (Jersey): Did you contribute to BP 2010?

Marc Normandin: I did! At the very beginning and very back of the book, and there are also random sentences in player comments that came from me. I worked on it in a different capacity than I normally do.

bctowns (Chicago, IL): So, Travis Snider, does he have the year this year that everyone thought he'd have last year?

Marc Normandin: I'm guilty of thinking Lind would be the 2010 guy and Snider would be the 2009 one. Perhaps their roles have been reversed. He'll need to cut down on his strikeouts if he wants to pick things up though.

kgoodson3 (New Orleans): If you had to pick an under the radar/non-hyped guy to jump into the upper echelon of fantasy pitchers (ala Greinke last year) who would it be?

Marc Normandin: Well, to be fair, Greinke was well-hyped, it's just that his ceiling shattered as he shot through it. I think Cliff Lee may be more the comp you are looking for here, but I could be off base. I'll give this some thought and return to it.

MJ (E-town): Latos for under radar pitcher? Good stuff, ok debut last year, pitches in San Diego in a division with lots of pitcher's parks...

Marc Normandin: Agreed. I think you can get away with taking him late in a lot of leagues. I *love* the upside too.

Kranky (LA): Could LaPorta be this year's post hype sleeper break out?

Marc Normandin: He was league average in 2009, but didn't play much, so yes, I see people forgetting he exists. A .188 ISO from a rookie is pretty solid though, he just needs a higher batting average to bring everything up to speed. If he hit 20 points higher he'd be at .274/.328/.462, and people would be pretty excited.

I Got Crazy Ripped in 4 Weeks (with Hulk Hands, obviously): Conan or Leno?

Marc Normandin: Leno's humor is so safe that I'm shocked he hasn't earned himself a starring role on Two and-a-half Men yet. Conan's Tonight Show wasn't as good as Late Night, but it was still better than either of Leno's shows.

I'm hoping Conan ends up on FOX or something soon, and is able to do what he wants regardless of time slot.

mattymatty2000 (Philly): Following up on your point (a while back) about trading Lee, the Phils just announced they've signed Blanton to a three year $24M deal. A-Wha-Wha-WHA?

Marc Normandin: It's not a bad deal in a vacuum. It's just a bad deal when you realize they could have paid Lee around that for 2010 then (far) more than that yearly down the line, but been much better off production wise as well.

BR (NYC): The first Red Sox player to be selected in a non-keeper fantasy league is _____.

Marc Normandin: Jon Lester.

Rick (Chicago): Homer Baily: Post-hype sleeper?

Marc Normandin: He needs to drop the walks, but at least the homers stopped leaving in Jose Lima quantities. He's definitely in the sleeper category.

Chris (NYC): Any suggestions for where a casual fantasy player could find a spot in a keeper league, preferrably for free? Are all keeper leagues full of intense players who will eat my lunch?

Marc Normandin: Going to be honest here, I have no idea. Money is always involved in my keeper leagues, so I'm going to post this so someone else can point you in the right direction.

Stephanie (DC): How much trouble is ranking Ben Zobrist going to give you this year?

Marc Normandin: None! I know where Zorilla is going already. Spoiler alert: I'm a big fan

lyndon (Columbus): Joey Votto=Albert Pujols? Am I crazy?

Marc Normandin: Yes. Joey Votto is more like the player people think Justin Morneau is.

Berndaddy (DC): You're stuck on an Island by yourself, what three CD's must be with you?

Marc Normandin: Three? Oh boy. ...And Justice for All, Daydream Nation, and Superunknown. Or maybe Jar of Flies. I need to stop this now before I keep talking Against the Grain damnit, there I go.

George (Chicago): Will Peavy still be a fantasy ace in Chicago?

Marc Normandin: My take is still really good, but not elite between the dip in velocity and the new park/league.

Sparrow (The Big Bamboo): Re: Chris in NYC: Either make your own, of course, or try participating in a solid but not too big fantasy message board. Those guys run a lot of members only leagues.

Marc Normandin: There's an idea. In a related note folks, I'm thinking of closing up shop for the day with the lightning round, but I'm teetering. Maybe I can stay. Thoughts? Also, now I put Superunknown on because I mentioned it.

Stephanie (DC): So if you're Andrew Friedman, and you have Zorilla, Bartlett, Brignac, Sean Rodriguez, and Matt Joyce all scrapping it out for 3 spots (RF, 2B, SS). Who do you play where, who do you put on the bench, and who do you put in AAA? Where are they being assigned on your fantasy lists?

Marc Normandin: Zorilla at 2nd, Bartlett at SS for now, replace him with Brignac if necessary, Rodriguez in Z's old gig when he used to back up Aki (with occasional ABs elsewhere) and Joyce in RF.

Stan (Azkaban): Alfonso Soriano or Milton Bradley this year? Neither isn't an option.

Marc Normandin: Milton. Soriano worries me. Outside of the injury he had some legitimate concerns crop up in his ability that I need to look into more before I publish the rankings. I assume Bradley will improve simply by nature of leaving accursed Wrigley.

ScotMartin (TX): Does the improved defense mean we need to take a closer look at Rangers pitching for fantasy leagues?

Marc Normandin: To Adam Morris' credit, he told me I should pay attention to them before 2009 started.

Stephanie (DC): Stay! We can do this all day! That, or I'll harass you on twitter for the rest of the afternoon.

Marc Normandin: Alright, alright. I'm out at 5 pm though, because I need to write tomorrow's article at some point today. Can't let our new editor John Perrotto think I'm irresponsible, right? :-)

Me (Here): Shallowest position?

Marc Normandin: The battle of suck is definitely taking place between catcher and shortstop. I think shortstop may be weaker, as catcher, with a few repeat performances, can prove itself decent at least for fantasy purposes.

strupp (Madison): Marc, it's quite possible that you (a Pads/Sawx fan) and me (a Cubs fan) are more excited for McCutch than Pirates fans.

Marc Normandin: Oh, I don't know. I know some Pirates' fans that are in love with him.

Totally random question for you folks: Rock Band is coming out with a Green Day game this year, which is about as exciting as watching the weather for me. What were your pick for a new Guitar Hero/Rock Band game be if you had the call? Remember, playability is important, not just whether you dig the tunes.

Ron (Vancouver): When it's all said and done, will Joe Mauer be considered the best Catcher of all-time?

Marc Normandin: No, because I'm not sure 50 percent of his career will even be spent catching.

Fish Fan (Florida): Thanks for the chat. Do you think Cameron Maybin will finally realize his potential this year? if so, what is that potential? 10hr/50rbi/15sb reasonable to expect?

Marc Normandin: I think he's capable of being Mike Cameron once he puts things together, but I think I'm also lower on him than most. Maybe a poor man's Cameron is a good comp for the 2010 Cameron.

That sentence is confusing out of context.

Marc (San Antonio, TX): How much are you expecting from Brandon Webb this season? From a fantasy standpoint, in what round would you target him?

Marc Normandin: If his shoulder is healthy, I see no reason for him to not produce. The world seems to have forgotten he existed pretty quickly. I had him in my top 20 last year, you can safely drop him out of that as people will be going for sure things. Not positive on round yet, but I'm weird with pitchers too.

Geddy Lee (Toronto): Rock Band....RUSH!

Marc Normandin: This is probably my favorite response so far, and I got it from a few of you. Pink Floyd is another one. I have to disagree with the U2 love, but I also actively dislike them, so that was a given.

I want Guitar Hero: Megadeth, but I'm a sucker for metal songs in these games. I get bored if they aren't difficult to play.

Brecken (Chicago): Do you bid on Sheets (real life)? How high/long?

Marc Normandin: One year with heavy incentives and a vesting option for year two with a healthy amount of cash. The vesting option would have to be at a level where Sheets would (A) not be screwed by staying and (B) the team would actually want him back. Will he take it? I'm not sure. I just don't feel comfortable throwing a lot of years at him.

Hokieball (DC): I don't understand the idea of Rock Band: U2 ... how do you play three notes and filter them through a bunch of pedals with a video game system?

Marc Normandin: Rimshot.

myshkin (Santa Clara, CA): I've been resisting asking this question because of what you said about injuries, but I think I'm going to have to bite. Who has the best 2010 of Beltran, Manny, and Chipper?

Marc Normandin: I still think Beltran will have the best year, despite the injury issues. He's more well-rounded for fantasy than the other two, and as much as I love Chipper, even a rebound might not put him back at 2008 levels.

Ron (Vancouver): You are in charge of contracting 4 teams from MLB, which teams do you get rid of?

Marc Normandin: I don't want to contract any teams, I want to make more. Put another two teams in New York. See if one can work in Boston, where so many baseball fans complain they can never get to a major league game. The pool from which to pull players from continues to grow, and the quality of talent continues to rise--why would you cut teams out?

MrOrange (CA): Thanks for the chat, Marc. How much fantasy value do you foresee Gordon Beckham having this season and beyond? I'm intrigued by the move to 2B, but the lineup surrounding him doesn't inspire much confidence.

Marc Normandin: There is a lot to choose from at second already, but Beckham's good enough that he'll rank well anyways. If he can pop 20 homers in a full season in Chicago while giving you double digits in steals and pretty good R and RBI numbers, then he's worth a lot. I don't see why he couldn't.

Rex (LA): 4 words: Rock Band Iron Maiden

Marc Normandin: I'd prefer a Priest one if we're going with one of those two bands. So long as Turbo Lover isn't on it anyways.

I really, really want a Guitar Hero or Rock Band for Josh Homme. Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Desert Sessions, Them Crooked Vultures, various other side projects plus all of the bands inspired by/that inspired him.

collins (greenville nc): The Pads have 4 legacy outfielders (Hairston, Hairston, Gwynn and Venable). Bet that's never happened before!

Marc Normandin: This is a *great* question, and I don't know the answer to it. I will see what I can find for you, either now or later on Unfiltered.

glenihan (nyc): "The pool from which to pull players from continues to grow, and the quality of talent continues to rise--why would you cut teams out?" I disagree that the quality of pitching continues to rise. I'd prefer to relocate ill-placed franchises, i.e. both florida teams, to ny/ny, boston, or elsewhere with a team

Marc Normandin: I would like to hear the argument about the quality of pitching. Not that I immediately disagree, I just want to hear you out.

mhnickerson (Cambridge): Did you play through the Darkness? If so, what did you think?

Marc Normandin: I haven't, but I want to. I feel like I owe it to Mike Patton for making me oodles of awesome music to listen to (he voices the main character).

TheFlyingBernard (Acton, MA): The problem with "Rock Band Josh Homme" is, how do you market it? What famous person can they get to prance around in their underwear for that one?

Marc Normandin: Josh Homme's girlfriend. I hope.

TGisriel (Baltimore): OK you did the rest of the AL East: over/under Orioles wins at 70

Marc Normandin: I'm not even sure it's mathematically possible, but over, why not. I hope the AL East causes the central to have an under .500 division winner.

Gregjitsu (Rside): Lightning round: Pablo Sandoval in 2010: about the same as 09, better, or worse?

Marc Normandin: Honestly, about the same. Pablo Sandoval is Nomar Garciaparra to me. The good version that hit for a high average with solid power.

TGisriel (Baltimore): Who do you think is better for this year and for the future, Adam Jones or Nick Markakis?

Marc Normandin: Nick Markakis now, potentially Adam Jones down the line. I'll have a better answer for you before 2011.

Sorry about the delay everyone, I'm having some issues with my computer.

TGisriel (Baltimore): I am totally depressed at the prospect of Garrett Atkins playing first base for the Orioles. Am I wrong or right?

Marc Normandin: I don't have much faith in him getting rid of your depression.

I'm sorry again for the delay, but I'm pretty sure I need a new computer. This one hates me.

Charlie (Bethesda): Auction league with 3 year contracts on players - the commish is trying to get everyone to suffer a cap hit if the drop someone before the end of the contract. He says it's more realistic, you get hurt if you pickup someone bad. I think it's ridic, it'll stifle risk taking, and that there's no possibility to make it more realistic, because a real GM can force a guy to start or send him to the minors. Thoughts?

Marc Normandin: I don't mind the idea of a very small cap hit, but I do think that the reasoning he is using is flawed. I think I like cap hits more when you get to choose how long the contract is--when it's set, I'm not as much of a fun.

dianagramr (NYC): The 3 scariest words out there .... "Rock Band: Creed"

Marc Normandin:

Just to be clear, no, I would not buy that. Ever. Not even to destroy it afterward.

Ron (Vancouver): What happens first, the PS4 being released to the public or the Royals reaching .500?

Marc Normandin: Oh no. Pitting Sony's 10-year plan for the PS3 against The Process GM DM? This is immovable object versus unstoppable force kind of stuff.

dcoonce (bloomington indiana): Will Venable: Any reason to get excited or a small sample fluke. His minor league numbers weren't much, but he also didn't concentrate on baseball until he was older.

Marc Normandin: I like Venable. He's a good defender, and his bat is good enough when you combine it with the glove. Petco may make him look worse than he is, but I have faith he can be solid in the future.

Sacha (Fort Worth): Assuming Neftali Feliz sticks in the rotation, what kind of numbers do you expect?

Marc Normandin: I know I said I would leave at 5, but I realized I was (A) close to answering 100 questions and (B) my computer took about 20 minutes of that question time I promised from you guys.

I'm not sure what kind of inning strain they would put on him given his age, but his rates would be wonderful, at least strikeouts anyways. I'm curious to see how he does if he sticks there all year. Think of the kind of struggles/promise/limited innings of Kershaw if you want a comp.

Marc Normandin: I answered 100 questions and there are still far more than that in the queue, but I have to bid you all adieu for now. Feel free to contact me via e-mail or Twitter (@Marc_Normandin) and I'll do my best to answer what I missed.

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