Your fantasy and real-world questions debated with delicacy by Derek Carty.
Derek Carty: Hey guys! Glad to be here chatting with you today. Feel free to ask as many questions as you have, and I'll get to as many as I can. Let's get started!
Bill (New Mexico): Easy, obvious one to get you started. What's your opinion on Mike Matheny as TLR replacement in St. Louis?
Derek Carty: Well, I'm not sure if any managerial choice evaluation is easy or obvious, especially for a guy who has zero prior managing experience, but I don't think Matheny is necessarily a bad choice. Yes, there's the experience thing, but he is well-liked within the organization, by fans, and by the players, which is important. He's also a former catcher with a high baseball IQ. Whether or not he'll make the kinds of moves we sabermetric types like to see from a manager is yet to be seen. Former player types generally don't tend to, but it's not as if the MLB managerial bar is set super high in this regard. Mozeliak said he'll talk with him and provide him with important data to help him make decisions, so I think Matheny will be a good enough choice. The one drawback you could maybe point to is that Albert Pujols reportedly would have preferred Oquendo, though making a managerial decision based on one player-especially one you could lose anyway-probably isn't good policy.
Joey (Queens): Reyes isn't really taking his talents to south beach, is he?
Derek Carty: It's sure looking like it, Joey. I'm a Mets fan when it doesn't get in the way of cheering for my fantasy players, but it's looking unlikely he'll be returning to Queens regardless. The Marlins are being all sorts of aggressive this off-season given their new park that's opening in 2012, and Reyes going there is a very real possibility. The hold-up might be Hanley Ramirez, who at first seemed amenable to a position change, but the most recent word is that he would not be.
Andrew (Las Vegas): Hosmer, Jennings, and Lawrie have already made the jump to the top 60 or so in drafts. Thoughts?
Derek Carty: I'm more or less okay with Jennings at that spot, but Hosmer and Lawrie seem a bit premature that high up. There's certainly great potential there, but you're going to need to hit on it just to break even if you're taking them that early. I'll take a surer thing, especially since neither really has the upside to be a first or second-round stud in 2012.
Noah Braun (San Diego): I hear that odds are Pads won't re-sign Heath Bell, but who else is giving him offers? Also, if he leaves San Diego, would that hurt his fantasy value (worse ballpark) or help (better team)?
Derek Carty: I haven't heard of any concrete offers yet, but the Red Sox sound like they're going to be in on the remaining top closers (Bell and Ryan Madson). The Jays have been linked, but it seems more likely they'll go for a cheaper option. Other teams without clear closers like the Reds and Dodgers could also get involved. The Padres might still be the favorite, though, especially if the Red Sox go a different direction (i.e. Madson, a cheaper option to compete with Bard, or a trade for someone like Joel Hanrahan).
It would likely hurt his value if he did leave, but the extent would depend on where he ends up. Being on a better team is more important for starting pitchers than relievers, since offense has a smaller impact on save chances than it does on a starter's wins. The defense will of course matter for his ratios, but as long as he's a closer, he'll be a good bet for 30-35 saves, as he would be in San Diego. It's also worth noting that Bell saw a big drop in K rate this year (20% compared to 29% in 2009-2010), and Pecto actually inflates Ks by 10 percent over a neutral park. That's going to be something we'll really need to keep an eye on next year, but it's not enough to make me shy away from him if I need a closer in my leagues and he's affordable.
SimplyFalco (Amherst): With regards to keepers do you have any tendencies for guys you prefer to keep? Pitchers to hitters? Guys with a longer tracker record versus rookies / prospects?
Derek Carty: It depends a lot on the keeper system and league settings, but in general younger guys are better than older guys. Hitters more than pitchers, but I don't discount pitchers as much as a lot of other people do. Longer track record is always preferable, but if it's a guy with good short-term numbers and great scouting reports, I don't have a problem there since he'll likely come cheaper and be younger, which is very important for keepers. It also depends on lot on whether you plan on competing next season or if you're building for the future. Obviously if you think you're in prime position to win a championship next year, you place more emphasis on the better players and surer things, even if they won't be keepable as long and have lower ceilings.
Jquinton82 (NY): Whats the outlook on Choo - bounce back in 2012 or sell now and don't look back?
Derek Carty: I'd definitely lean more towards bounceback, but there are some warning signs. His problems in 2011 were power and BABIP related, but we need to remember that he had the DUI problem plus three injuries. Obliques can be tricky and, anecdotally, can sap power. One of the biggest problems with Choo's power was that he was hitting the ball to center-the deepest part of the park-an inordinate amount of time this year compared to the past. I haven't figured out for sure why this is yet, but it's very possible that it was the oblique. If it limits his range of motion in terms of twisting his trunk, it could cause him to have trouble getting all the way around with bat, which could be a reason for the extra balls to center and fewer being pulled, where he used to live with his power. If he reverts to his usual spray pattern, I think he'll be fine in 2012. He's a guy I imagine I'll end up targeting in drafts this year on this hope.
jtanker33 (Dayton): What can we expect from Jonathan Sanchez this year? Same K's but higher ERA?
Derek Carty: It looks like you're from the midwest, so if you're a Royals fan, sorry for the news, but I think we're looking at fewer Ks and a higher ERA. I talked about Sanchez last week (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15507), but the gist is that the league change will cut a half-point of his K/9 and add a half-point to his ERA. The park change will also hurt his Ks.
bateman19 (boston): if you go into a draft keeping matt moore, pineda and anibal sanchez how much money would you alot to bolstering your staff? (ie, is one established ace sufficient, or would you look to add multiple arms?)
Derek Carty: What's the league format? That's going to be incredibly important.
Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Derek. What are the chances the Angels move Peter Bourjos to try and grab David Wright? It would leave a clear spot for Mike Trout in 2012 in the Angels' outfield.
Derek Carty: It might make some sense on it's face, but I don't really see it happening. If the Mets don't bring back Reyes (and I don't think they should for what he'll likely go for), I think trading Wright makes a lot of sense. There's whispers that the team might wait until mid-season to do so, though, possibly so that he can rebuild his value a bit in a friendlier CitiField. There's no sure bet that the Angels would even go for that deal, though it seems quite likely they'll find a way to get Trout in their 2012 outfield.
dscala (Durham, NH): How do you feel about Tommy Hanson, Michael Pineda and Aroldis Chapman in 2012? I can only freeze seven players from my 2011 roster. Hanson's injuries worry me.
Derek Carty: What's the league setup and who else do you have? I think Pineda is a definite freeze, and Chapman is a guy to let go (unless it's a very deep league and your other options aren't that intriguing). Hanson is a keep unless you have some overwhelmingly good options, because if he's healthy, he's excellent, and he'll have had a lot of time to rest up.
mattstupp (NYC): Pure team-specific fandom here: how insulted should Mets fans be by the Wilpons' handling of payroll? They originally insisted that their Madoff suit would not impact payroll. Now they're crushing payroll down below $100M for 2012 and blaming it on the fans for their decreased attendance rates. (Perhaps attendance was down because the Wilpons fielded bad teams in each of the last 3 years?) So, what they're essentially now saying is 'Mets fans, we can't afford to keep your favorite player (Reyes) because you haven't been loyal enough.' Lawsuit or not, how does anything they're doing with regard to payroll make sound business sense?
Derek Carty: It's a tough pill for Mets fans to swallow, for sure. But if you look on the bright side, the Mets are better off not overcommitting to players right now. That's what Omar Minaya did, and look where it got them. The Mets need to aim to compete in 2013 or 2014, and that means letting Reyes go and trading Wright. Spending extra money now for the sake of it won't put us in the playoffs. It'll just delay when we get back there. From a business standpoint, it could make some sense if they're taking the tact that while they're rebuilding and not winning anyway, they spend less, and then once they have some young players like Wheeler and Nimmo ready to contribute, they can spend money to put some players around them to put a contender on the field, which in turn will bring in more fans, more money, and perpetuate the cycle. They just need to get to that point.
Joey Jo Jo (Queensland, Australia): Do you anticipate the Jays making a big splash at the GM Meetings?
Derek Carty: We don't usually see a lot of moves made at the GM Meetings as GMs usually lay some groundwork as opposed to making a big splash, so probably not. Later in the off-season, though, the Jays could definitely add some impact pieces. Obviously not Pujols or Reyes caliber, but I think it's fair to assume they'll be fairly active.
Geoff (Huntsville): Is there any redeming quality with Gordon Beckham?
Derek Carty: Scouts liked his bat coming up and projected him for more than this, but he's getting older now and it isn't happening. He's not hopeless; it's possible he becomes a post-hype breakout player at a scarce position, but there are a number of guys I'm taking ahead of him.
Andrew (Las Vegas): First round of the first NFBC draft: Kemp / Tulo / Ellsbury / Pujols / Adrian / Braun / Grandy / Miggy / Upton / Bautista / Prince / Votto / Cano / Longoria / Kershaw. Thoughts?
Derek Carty: I don't think there are any real shockers in there. Pujols at 4 seems low, Ellsbury at 3 seems high. Braun at 6 seems low. I don't immediately see anyone that I say "You definitely don't belong in the first round," though. This leads into the next question...
Andrew (Las Vegas): Are you on board with Ellsbury and/or Granderson in the first round?
Derek Carty: Grandy, yes. Ellsbury, in a 12-team league, maybe not. I'm not buying him as a 30-HR guy, and he's one year removed from serious injury issues. I think he's too risky for the first round. It's cliche, but you can't win a league in the first round, but you can lose it.
Bill (New Mexico): Thanks for the Matheny answer. Flip side: who gets the Boston job?
Derek Carty: Dale Sveum looks like the favorite.
bateman19 (boston): fair enough, very deep 12 man league with 11 keepers each, 28 man rosters and 3 minors keepers...keeping moore, pineda and anibal...can i get by with adding one established arm to anchor the staff or are those three risky enough that i need to commit more? Thanks Derek
Derek Carty: I don't think you need to go crazy and spend on two aces, but I do think there's enough risk there where you need at least a couple of reliable mid-tier guys to round things out.
IP (Waterloo): How hard should I be trying to trade Holliday in a keeper league where I should be vying for the title this year? Who should I try to get for him?
Derek Carty: I don't think you need to try too hard. Holliday is a very good player and plenty capable of helping you win a title. Sure, fish around and see how people value him and what they're willing to give up, but don't feel like you have to trade him.
efeder21 (new york): eric young jr.?
Derek Carty: It's going to depend on what happens this winter, but he's looking more like a deep-mixed flier and an NL-only pickup if you don't have to overextend to buy him. He played a lot down the stretch and finished with a strong September, but his overall line wasn't very good. We know he has speed, but the bat needs to play, and he's only flashed an ability to do that. He's playing 2B in Venezuela this fall, and Mark Ellis is a Dodger now, but the team has plenty of other similar not-nearly-sure-thing options like Nelson, Pachecho, and Herrera. It's also not out of the question that the Rox deal EYJ. His speed and positional versatility give him upside, but that's all it is for now. Pay attention to what the team says about him as we get closer to the season.
Fred (Houston): Would you take Bautista over Pujols because of his 3rd / OF eligibility?
Derek Carty: It's sure tempting, isn't it? I love Bautista, and I did even coming into this season when most doubted him, but I'm taking Pujols still. Bautista's average will probably fall a bit, and I don't think he keeps up with Big Al overall, though a relatively shallow 3B field makes it closer than some might think.
Redfawn (Kentville): A-Rod is predicting another bounce back in 2012. Didnt we hear this for 2011? Are you buying what he's selling?
Derek Carty: At age 36, the 35+ HR A-Rod is gone. If he can play a full season, he could hit 25-30 with a .280+ average, but I think his ability to bounceback really depends on where you want him to bounceback to. He's a good player, but he's not a great one anymore.
bateman19 (boston): Hamilton, Holliday or McCutchen for 2012-2014?
Derek Carty: McCutchen
yetti (up north): Tell me why i'm wrong for still thinking Bautista could completely flame out? (I know i'm wrong for thinking this but i don't know why i'm wrong for it).
Derek Carty: The easiest reason is because you don't have two seasons with 40+ HRs and then flame out. He's well-suited for Toronto, so unless he moves to a park with deep LF walls or strays from pulling the ball for power, I don't see it happening. And even then, he can hit the ball 450 feet with repetition, so it's not like he's going to fall off to 5 HRs. You don't luck into that kind of raw power. I'm not convinced he's a .300 hitter -- probably more like .275 -- but he's not a fluke.
Steve (Pitt): How do you evaluate the following young 2B in terms of long-term fantasy value?: Jemile Weeks, Jason Kipnis, Dustin Ackley.
Derek Carty: Kipnis, Weeks, Ackley
Tony (Albuquerque): Without knowing the league set-up, scoring, etc. is there an argument to keep Weiters over Utley?
Derek Carty: Certainly there is. Wieters is younger and on the up-swing. Utley's own GM says he likely will never again be the player he once was. Wieters is a young catcher with power and some BA upside. Utley's an older player with health problems that have sapped some of his skills.
bateman19 (boston): What are your thoughts on Arencibia? The black hole in OBP is tough to overcome. Do you think he has the potential to get even into the .300-.310 range with 25 hrs?
Derek Carty: 25 HR, sure. .300 avg, not as much. His approach was questioned coming up, that he swings too much and has a big zone, and that has carried over to the bigs. I don't think his swing is tailored to be a .300 hitter either. I like him, but count on him for the power and take what you can from the average, and you won't find yourself disappointed.
Ken (Little Neck): " The easiest reason is because you don't have two seasons with 40+ HRs and then flame out."
The exact same reasoning led me to destroy my season when I traded for Adam Dunn three weeks in...
Derek Carty: I hear you, and it's easy to get gunshy when that happens. Dunn was almost completely unprecedented, though. He's the extreme exception, not the rule.
Andrew (Las Vegas): Like Morrison to break out? Unlucky hit rate. Pretty good skills.
Derek Carty: I don't know how you define breakout, but I like him. I think it's premature to call the BABIP unlucky, since hitters don't regress to league average in the way most pitchers do. But I think he has a good swing, the power is coming around, and he's likely a good pick, especially if the Marlins trade him or put some quality pieces around him and lose the drama.
Jake (Kalamazoo): How do you value Josh Johnson for 2012? I could potentially get him in a lifetime keeper league for something like Logan Morrison or Justin Smoak. I generally prefer hitters to pitchers, and Josh Johnson is a pretty good example of why. Is this a risk I should consider? My team is a contender and I need to add pitching (that will be the focus of my draft) as I tend to keep many more hitters than pitchers.
Derek Carty: He's elite when healthy, but the shoulder injury is obviously worrisome. Still, for the price of Justin Smoak, I think my trigger finger gets too itchy and I make the deal.
Silv (NY, NY): Is '12 the year that Justin Upton and Andrew McCutcheon take "The Leap" and reach MVP candidate levels? I have each as potential keepers in a very deep NL only league, but with salaries in the mid 30s for each (260 budget) I'm on the fence.
Derek Carty: Yes to Upton, no to McCutchen. McCutchen will still be very good, but I don't think he'll be an elite fantasy producer like Upton is/will be. That said, you're probably still looking at an even-value proposition on McCutchen at worst in a league like that, so he's likely keepable unless you don't want to commit to two guys who are that highly-priced.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): What can we expect out of Colby Rasmus in 2012?
On a similar note, I was arguing with another owner in my league that Rasmus and Alex Gordon are very similar . . . big hype, not much in the way of production except for one year (Rasmus in 2010, Gordon in 2011 - their numbers in each of those seasons are VERY similar). What do you think of the comparison between the two?
Derek Carty: I like Gordon more, and I liked Gordon's breakout chances last year better than Rasmus's this year. I didn't buy Rasmus's power in 2010, so I don't expect another near-25 HR season in 2012, though the Rogers Centre should help him a little. Overall just not that impressed with Rasmus. There's upside, but I'm letting someone else take the risk.
yetti (up north): It's November 15th, who are your early sleepers/late round picks you're excited about drafting this year?
Derek Carty: It is still very early, and off-season movement and additional research will alter this list, but off the top of my head, I like Chris Capuano, Omar Infate, Mike Leake, and Ike Davis late, in addition, I'm sure, to many others.
bateman19 (boston): do you see any reason for gaby sanchez's numbers to improve, or is he basically a safe 20hrs 80rbis with no upside?
Derek Carty: I don't see a lot of upside, but I don't think 20 HRs is safe either. The Marlins new park looks to be much more pitcher-friendly -- 20 feet deeper in left-center -- so he could drop to the 15 HR level. Who they bring in this off-season will, in part, determine his spot in the order and RBIs.
Derek Carty: That's gonna' wrap it up for today guys. We've been at this for two hours, and I need to grab something to eat. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone's questions, but I'll see if we can't schedule another chat soon to get to more of them. Thanks!