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Chat: Derek Carty

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday January 10, 2012 1:00 PM ET chat session with Derek Carty.


Derek Carty: Hey guys! Iím getting excited for the start of the season, and I hope you are too. We should have some exciting things in store at BP this year, and I look forward to helping you all on your quest for a fantasy championship. Iíll be around for at least an hour today, probably more if we get a lot of questions. Just make sure that, if youíre asking me a question specifically about your league, you give me the league setup (number of teams, depth, etc.) and, if itís a keeper question, your keeper rules (how many keepers, how many years they can be kept for, etc.). Letís get started!

yankeesbg13 (Indianapolis): What's with the holdout by Boras and Prince Fielder. Where's the big man going to sign?

Derek Carty: There's just no market for him... at least the kind he wants. Just about every big market team either already has a good/expensive first baseman or is rebuilding. You run down the list: Yanks-Teixeira, Red Sox-A-Gon, Angels-Pujols, Phillies-Howard, etc. It seems he could easily get a two or three year deal from a team like the Cubs with a high average annual value, but he wants a long-term deal with a slightly lower AAV. If the Rangers don't sign Darvish-which seems unlikely-then Fielder likely goes to Texas. Otherwise, I have a hard time seeing anyone who's going to give him the kind of deal he wants, so he may wind up signing a short-term deal with a team like the Nats, Cubs, or Mariners. The Nats say that they're set at first base, but I'm sure they're seeing all of this too, so it could easily just be a ploy so that they don't have to give him more than three or four years-just enough to beat a team like the Cubs or M's. If Boras manages to pull off a long-term deal here, he'll deserve serious props.

Andrew (Las Vegas): Can keep up to 8 in 13-team Mixed: $18 Granderson, $15 Bautista, $17 Bourn, $17 Gardner, $17 Sandoval, $15 Ortiz, $11 Cuddyer, $7 CJ Wilson, $6 Bard, $5 Beachy?

Derek Carty: $18 Granderson, $15 Bautista are no brainers. I think throwing back Bard is also probably a good call. If you really like him, I imagine you'll be able to pay a comparable price on draft day, or at least get a similar pitcher. $11 Cuddyer in Coors is too good to pass up. After that, deciding who to keep and who to throw away is a little tougher. Bourn and Gardner are similar, but Bourn is better, so he stays, and I think Gardner is the throw-away. He's talented, but on the Yankees, he's never going to post those huge run totals batting ninth, and the PFM says he was only worth about $18 in a league like that last year. The rest of the guys all over more excess value than that, I think. Beachy is a tough one and could be thrown away in a league of this depth, but while I don't think he'll maintain a 10+ K/9, I do really like him.

Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Derek. How much higher, if at all, is Carlos Santana's ceiling compared with Devin Mesoraco, considering offense and defense?

Derek Carty: It's definitely higher. Neither is Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate (neither is Mike Piazza either) and Santana's ceiling with the bat is much higher (not to say Mesoraco won't be good, though). Santana has the kind of elite catcher bat potential that would still play very well at another position.

DanDaMan (SeaCliff): Derek, I play in a standard 5x5 12 team league and had a few offers of Miguel Cabrera for my Kershaw. Couldn't afford to deal away pitching down the stretch, but would think about it in the off-season as I don't normally keep pitchers. Where do you fall on the Cabrera for Kershaw trade?

Derek Carty: Unless your league is absolutely crazy about keeping pitchers and options will be severely limited during the draft, I think you need to take Cabrera. The one thing that might sway my decision here is how long you get to keep players for. If it's for life, then I'd reconsider, but if it's 3 years or something, then it's Cabrera. Let me know and I'll give you a better answer.

Francois (Toronto): Rapid Fire: Ten fantasy rookies who will make impacts in 2012 (5 pitchers, 5 batters): _______? Go!

Derek Carty: Okay, rapid fire...
P: Yu Darvish, Matt Moore, Addison Reed, Julio Teheran, Brad Peacock
H: Jesus Montero, Yoennis Cespedes, Mike Trout, Devin Mesoraco, Tyler Pastornicky
There are certainly others that will have impacts too. I actually have an article about fantasy-worthy rookies in the Fantasy Baseball Index magazine that will hit newsstands this preseason, if you're interested in my take on other guys.

Matt S. (NYC): Do you think Joe Nathan holds the job

Derek Carty: Yes. Research I did at CardRunners Fantasy last year shows that the guy who starts with the job is almost always the favorite to finish with the most saves on his team. Even a pitcher with bad skills who starts with the job should be expected to finish with at least 25 or 30. http://www.crfantasybaseball.com/2011/08/12/how-well-can-we-predict-saves/

Plus, Nathan is still a pretty good pitcher.

kddean (Loop): NL only, 5x5, 6 player keeper league. Already lost Pujols, might lose Prince as well. Will keep Cliff Lee, Kemp, Upton. Questions surround the following, or rank them, or whatever: I. Kennedy, M. Morse, Strasburg, Berkman, Goldschmidt, Beachy, Axford, A. Craig. Leaning towards Kennedy and Morse and then Goldshmidt.

Derek Carty: How long do you get to keep players for? Assuming 2012 only, I'll go (naturally) Prince (assuming he signs in the NL), M. Morse, I. Kennedy, Strasburg, Beachy, Axford, Goldschmidt, Berkman, A. Craig. Whether you want/need that much pitching is another matter. Axford's placement is also contingent upon your league's preferences in regard to closers. If a lot are available during the draft, he drops. Strasburg is only not ahead of Kennedy as a matter of health concerns, so keep that in mind. If you let me know how your keeper system works, I could give you a more concrete answer.

HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): Is there a chance that by waiting for Texas to sign Yu Darvish, Scott Boras is losing the momentum that had us all sure Prince Fielder would join the Nationals? He certainly got many of us Nats fans excited and ready, but as we wait, there has been more time for reflection that perhaps can contend a little later but longer without him. If Texas drops out, doesn't he lose most of his leverage, as well? +1/2St.

Derek Carty: It seems that no one is offering the kind of deal Fielder wants right now, even if Boras is trying to use the Rangers as leverage ("if they don't sign Darvish, they're getting Fielder guys!"), so his best route may just be to let Darvish play out. If Darvish doesn't sign, then there's another team in the Fielder bidding. If he does, well, then Texas might at least make a modest offer, but worst case is that he's basically where he is now. As far as Washington potentially backing out, it's certainly possible (they do have LaRoche), but as I said in a previous response, I think it could just be posturing. For the kind of deal Fielder seems likely to have to settle for, I imagine Washington would still make a competitive bid. Of course, I'm not a beat writer, but that's the impression I get.

Bringon2012 (Kansas): Thanks for the chat as I'm ready to get amped up for the 2012 season. Rotation Q's for a deeper league: Do Tyson Ross and Kris Medlen have chances of carving out rolls with those rotations currently influx?

Derek Carty: Absolutely not to Medlen. He's good, but he'll need to prove he's recovered from TJ, and the Braves just have soooooo many options merely vying for the fifth spot (Minor, Teheran, Delgado, Vizcaino, etc.), most of which are now younger and more talented than Medlen. Medlen's probably 10th on their SP depth chart. Not a bad problem to have for a team, but for a Medlen owner it is. Ross has a slightly higher a chance, but the A's also brought in quite the haul of starter candidates this winter between Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock, and Tom Milone, plus mainstays (while healthy) of Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden, Brandon McCarthy, and (to a lesser extent) Guillermo Moscoso. Then you have the usual Ross-esque fill-ins like Graham Godfrey and Josh Outman, so it'll be tough.

faztradamus (in transit): You seem bullish on Cespedes. I know he possesses sick tools, but I see them as raw; I am unconvinced. You name him as an impact rookie for 2012, I think it'll take a bit of transitioning. Agree, or convince me otherwise.

Derek Carty: No, I wouldn't say bullish. I actually posted a full article about him earlier this off-season after talking with some scouts and talent evaluators, and there are some very legitimate concerns. However, he does have ridiculous tools and is likely to play full-time wherever he goes, so as a rookie, that should give him the inside track to making an impact. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15649

Joey (Omaha): Gordon Beckham seems to have very low value at this point. Should I buy, or is he a bust?

Derek Carty: Beckham has the pedigree to eventually be a quality player, but I'm not banking on it at this point. Only if he comes cheap in an AL-only league would I consider him.

Matt S. (NYC): Ramon Hernandez or Salvador Perez this seaon

Derek Carty: Hernandez. Power upside is greater, can still hit for some average too.

samsdad (Toronto): When can we hope to see PFM up and running?

Derek Carty: The easiest answer there is when PECOTA's ready and when we put together 2012 depth charts. Generally, that's been late February, but our tech guys are hoping for it to be earlier this year. We want to run enough checks to make sure that everything is working the way it should and that what we're putting out is the best product possible. We'll keep you posted :)

bringon2012 (Kansas): 5 (OBP, not BA) x 5 $260 AL only keeper league. With 3B position scarcity, is Betemit a keeper at $10? What kind of AB's and overall numbers do you see for him this season?

Derek Carty: His value is going to be determined in large part by who he signs with. I have a hard time seeing him getting a full-time job, but he could be given the good half of a platoon given his L/R splits. I'd put him down for 300 at-bats for now and adjust from there depending upon where he goes. In that time, maybe .270 BA, 10 HR? Assuming he signs with an AL team, I could see $10 being a reasonable enough price for him, assuming your league sees some inflation.

Rodney (Tinley Park, IL): What can we expect Zack Cozart to become this season? Down the road?

Derek Carty: Cozart is a better real-life player than fantasy because his best tool is his glove, but he has above average power and speed and could develop into a 25-25 player down the road. 15-15 this year wouldn't surprise me at all. Scouts don't like his approach at the plate or skill with the bat a whole lot (though his strikeouts rates are manageable), so the batting average upside could be a bit limited.

smallflowers (boston): There are very few people in the public eye that I respect more than KG (and BP in general) when it comes to the scouting side of MLB. Before last season, he referred to Ricky Romero (as well as B.Cecil and Snelling Eye Chart, now with St.Louis) as "third-fifth" starters. I keep many of his comments in my notes when managing my Scoresheet teams, and when watching the game in general, and this was one that really influenced me to avoid a player, despite the fact that his stats said the opposite. Far from calling KG wrong here, my question is more along the lines of: what did we learn? How did Romero grow into what appears to be an AL East ace? What leap did he take? What was he able to overcome that KG (and presumably others) identified as a less than 1-2 starter?

Derek Carty: Well, I wasn't scouting myself back then or talking with scouts, so I might not be the best person to ask this question, but reading back at what Kevin said in his Top 11s, control and command seem to be things he once struggled with. Statistically speaking, he hadn't posted a better BB% than he did in 2010-2011 at any level since 2006. He's also proven that his stuff is good enough to post above-average strikeouts, which I imagine was less certain back then. In 2008, KG only called his change-up above average, and it's clearly at least plus now, probably plus-plus. A good change is something that a lot of young players struggle to develop, and it's not always certain that they will. Also, I should point out that I don't think we can call him a 1-2 starter right now. Obviously these distinctions are very arbitrary, and I don't really like using them, but generally speaking, I think he's a three. He's much more the pitcher his 2010 ERA indicates than his 2011-good, but not great.

bateman19 (st. louis): 12 team mixed, 11 keepers each...need to settle on my 11th keeper. Is there any justification for keeping Lorenzo Cain over Brandon Belt (keep for the next 3 years?) Belt is the better prospect but his 2011 failure and inconsistant playing time worry me. Thanks!

Derek Carty: No, I think I'd have to go for Belt, especially if you're looking to compete more in 2013 than 2012. Cain's a nice player, but Belt's upside is higher. The PT is worrisome, but he played well at Triple-A last year, and I'd have to think he gets a real shot this season.

moehk21 (NYC): Any "sophomores" you like to break out this season

Derek Carty: I like Ben Revere, Eric Thames, Lucas Duda, Cory Luebke, Danny Duffy, Henderson Alvarez all to various degrees.

LoyalRoyal (Kansas): Keeper league sneaky keeper shortlist... Someone who will significantly outperform last season's draft value who failed to do so last year...

Derek Carty: Mitch Moreland, assuming Prince doesn't wind up in Texas.

Tony (Virginia): What is your opinion of Daniel Bard moving to the Boston rotation? What should we look for from him?

Derek Carty: I like him. He has good stuff and three quality pitches, which isn't necessarily required but is a plus. They probably won't give him a full workload in 2012, but I think he'll be pretty good in terms of rates. 3.75 ERA, K/9 a bit under 8?

charles (nyc): Is Larry Walker Hall-worthy? Is he a 'suspect' as well (Bagwell, etc.)?

Derek Carty: More a question for Jay Jaffe, but his JAWS system puts him a bit short (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15763). Not because of the quality of Walker's at-bats, but because he couldn't stay on the field enough to get the quantity he'd likely need. It seems everyone in that era is going to be a suspect, but I think it's kind of ridiculous to use a "guilty until proven innocent" schema. If I had a vote and he made the cut based on his production, I'd put him in.

kddean (Loop): Thanks Derek. We can keep guys forever, or they go to the AL. I am very hesitant to hold pitchers and feel that power is a valuable commodity. Closers are good to have, but I can get some in the draft.

Derek Carty: Yeah, then I think you have to keep Strasburg in your group of three. I can understand the hesitance to hold pitchers, but Strasburg has the talent to be among the game's very best for years and years to come.

Honey Badger (NYC): Do you think Dustin Ackley and Mike Moustakas will have effective enough traditional 5 category numbers to be solid starters at their positions in a deep 11 team keeper league? Very encouraging late 2011 numbers by both guys.

Derek Carty: Honey Badger don't give a shat... Ok, out of my system... If that's a mixed league, they might be solid enough, but they're not guys I'd be thrilled to have starting for me in 2012 in a 5x5, 11-team mixed league. I'd rather have Moustakas than Ackley for 2012, though.

faztradamus (in transit): Consider the log jam at 1B/DH/OF for the Angels. How do you see it playing out, specifically when it comes to where Bourjos and Trout will play.

Derek Carty: Uggh, that is the most convoluted PT situation in baseball this year. Unless the Angels manage to trade a guy like Abreu or even Bourjos, I think Trout starts at Triple-A. I don't see how they do it otherwise. I'm just glad you didn't ask me about Kendry and Trumbo...

kddean (Loop): Sorry for multiple questions, but Stras will have an innings limit, no? Does that not worry you? Note, I did win this league 2 of the last 3 years.

Derek Carty: Yes, he will, but the team seems to be a little flexible about it if he looks good in spring. Even if he only gets 160 IP like they gave Zimmermann post TJ, that would be enough, and if you get to keep him forever, he's just too good to toss back for someone like Goldschmidt. It is a bit of a risk, but it's one I'd have to think I would take if it were my team.

benharris (Denver): What do you make of Alex Gordon going forward?

Derek Carty: I like him, and I buy into a lot of his 2011 season. He made some mechanical adjustments, certainly had the pedigree for this kind of performance, and had shown flashes of this kind of ability before. I buy him as a 20 HR hitter, and the Royals seem to love to run now, so double-digit steals seem likely if that continues. His BABIP was too high, but a .270-.280 average seems about right.

moehk21 (NYC): Thoughts on Corey Hart this season

Derek Carty: Same old, same old. The team has said he'll stay in the OF this season (there was talk of his shifting to 1B to replace Prince), and I think another 25-30 HR, .280 season is in the making.

Andrew (Las Vegas): Ryan Braun is still going in the 3rd round in NFBC drafts despite the likely 50 game suspension. Too early? Or worth it if you plug in a capable replacement-level player while he's out?

Derek Carty: You nailed it right on the head. That replacement level player is the lynchpin of his value. Rob McQuown drafted him relatively early in the USA Today mock draft we both participated in for that reason, and I actually have an article in Fantasy Baseball Index talking about this concept in more depth, in regard to Braun specifically.

George (CT): Does Fielder's new home ballpark/team affect his fantasy value in 2012 or does he remain a top 4-5-6 ranked 1B?

Derek Carty: It certainly will affect his value, but enough to drop him out of that tier, no I don't think it will, especially not in any of the places he's being rumored to go. Seattle would be the worst, but he'd still be on the cusp of that 6 spot, I'd have to think.

faztradamus (the office): So about Kendrys and Trumbo... kidding. I meant in my prior question, how do you see that OF situation playing long-term? Trout and Bourjos are both plus to plus-plus defenders so neither will DH and only one can roam CF (assuming they won't platoon for the next decade). Someone has to move to a corner (who?), or be traded (Bourjos).

Derek Carty: Ah, ok. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bourjos moved at some point, but if he stays, I think he'll stay in center. He's fantastic, and while Trout may be too, he's a big guy that might be better off in a corner long-term since some see him slowing down (of course, as an 80 runner, there's only one place to go). Word is his arm is merely average or a tick below, so possibly LF.

samsdad (Toronto): What do we know about recovery from sports hernia surgery? And specifically, what do you expect from Youkilis this season?

Derek Carty: I'm just going to point you to our resident injury expert, who happened to tackle the issue of sports hernias on Monday :) http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15806

Matt S. (NYC): 16 team league. 6 SP 3 RP league. I have Felix, Scherzer, D. Hudson, Jimenez, Floyd, and Harrison/Volstad/DeLaRosa. I also have Crow for the RP spot. Should I call up Duffy for the 6th spot or keep him in the minors for another season?? Thanks

Derek Carty: I'd probably hold tight there, since you have a lot of pitching. I like Duffy, but if holding him in the minors means you get to keep him an extra year, I would with that pitching staff. Worst case, you can call him up mid-season, right?

DanDaMan (SeaCliff): Derek, it may be a little early for keeper questions, but I'm jonesing for some baseball. Finished a close 2nd last year with a very good roster (thanks again for your help). I can keep any 4 players with no conditions. I have Braun (lets assume he gets 50 games), CarG0, JUpton, Bruce, Zorilla and Jesus Montero. I also have Kershaw, Haren, Hamels and Gallardo. My strategy isn't always to keep the best 4, but sometimes to sell high on a guy who may be overvalued (for picks) and keep a guy who is undervalued that I'd hate to see on another team. Thoughts? Thanks.

Derek Carty: What's the league format? If it's shallow (say, 15-team mixed or shallower), I think you go Braun, Upton, Kershaw, and CarGo and deal the rest for picks. You could also consider Haren over CarGo if you wanted to go heavier on pitching, say if a lot of SPs get kept, or if you could get a better return for CarGo than Haren. I don't see Braun, Upton, or Kershaw as overrated.

faztradamus (In Transit): I have Cozart at SS, Delmon at LF, and the #1 pick in my dynasty. To save space I'll just say that the remainder of my offense is stacked with elite under-23 guys, and my SP is looking really good. I need RP, but it's not dire. Do I draft a SS prospect (Machado, Segura, Profar, Bogaerts), and LF prospect (any out there?), or SP (Darvish, Bundy, Bauer, Cole, Hultzen, Paxton)? Someone else (Rendon?)

Derek Carty: With a crop like that, I think you wait on a RP. I'd probably go Darvish, but it'd certainly be tempting to grab a guy like Bauer or a longer-term option like Profar. You could also get creative and try to trade the pick and Delmon/Cozart for an elite young upgrade.

Jay (Madison): Thoughts on a few guys I have for a buck or two in an AL only league: J. Kipnis, D. Viciedo, A. Avila?

Derek Carty: Congratulations about sums it up. All worth well more than a buck or two.

Sara (Tacoma): I'm doing my first ever auction league this year: 20-team, mixed, 7x7 (OBP/XBH, HLD/QS), H2H. It uses rosters of 25, uses LF/CF/RF over OF, no CI or MI, one C and one DH, 5 SP & 6 RP slots, and 5 bench spots. It's also a dynasty league (regular season FAAB and remaining draft $ carry over). Any strategy tips for the draft itself?

Derek Carty: The biggest tip I can give you for something like that is to be prepared. It sounds simple, but that's a very quirky league, and unless your leaguemates are extremely smart, hardcore fantasy guys, I'd imagine a few of them (if not all) aren't accounting for the league parameters properly. Our PFM should help with that, so at the very least, input your settings and take a gander.

Also, since it's your first year, I imagine your team isn't very good right now. Build for 2013 or (perhaps more likely) 2014, meaning spend your money on mostly young, high upside guys. Don't be afraid to grab a couple of older stars, though, as you can leverage them into cheap young talent at the trade deadline to teams desperate for a championship this year. Also don't be afraid to hold onto some money for next year if you run out of appealing options. Don't sped it just to spend it. I also imagine you'll want to save a lot of FAAB, especially if it can carry over to next year's draft. If that's the case, I might save all of it.

Hope that helps!

sgrcuts (NYC): Have the #1 waiver wire slot in my dynasty league- do I use it on Darvish or Cespadas?

Derek Carty: Darvish, no questions asked.

Marissa (LA): In my keeper league, I've been offered Matt Kemp for Brett Lawrie. I would be crazy not to accept this trade offer right?

Derek Carty: Indeed you would. I'm assuming you can keep players forever, but even still, that's a trade you take unless you're not looking to compete for another year or two. And even if you aren't, it still might be worth it to take the trade and re-deal Kemp mid-season for a greater return than Lawrie.

John (Mississippi): What do you think Jason Kipnis will do this season?

Derek Carty: .270-15-10 with upside

Jay (Madison): Ok. Here's a different question. Who do you like more for 2012 in a standard AL only 5x5: Viciedo or Moustakas?

Derek Carty: Very close. I might go Moustakas. His position helps a bit.

jaymoff (Salem, OR): What's a "most likely" and "best-case" line for Kipnis?

Derek Carty: Well, I just gave the most likely -- .270/15/10. Best case? .300-25-20

George (CT): Does Madison Bumgarner have #1 (stud) upside?

Derek Carty: #1 is such an arbitrary distinction, and everyone seems to define it differently, but yes, I think he does, in the sense that his 3.21 ERA from this year will be repeatable in subsequent seasons. Maybe not best to bank on a complete repeat for 2012, but he's certainly capable of it.

jaymoff (Salem, OR): If Boujos does in fact stick with the Angels all season, what is a middle of the road line we can expect?

Derek Carty: It'd be nice to see him lead off from a fantasy perspective, but it seems unlikely, which limits his runs value. Let's say .260-.270 BA, 10-15 HR, 25-30 SB, and 70-80 runs. Plus very good defense.

kddean (loop): David Freese, keeper in an NL only league? Is 3B the most shallow position out there?

Derek Carty: No, you're still looking at catcher there, assuming a 2-C league (or even if it's 1-C, really)

jaymoff (Salem, OR): Assuming Yu signs in Texas, any idea how the rest of the rotation shakes out? Is Ogando, Harrison, or Lewis the odd man out? Is the odd man out worth targeting as guys like Feliz and Yu may have their innings curtailed a bit?

Derek Carty: Not Lewis, unless he gets traded (which doesn't seem very likely). Moving Ogando back to the bullpen is the most logical thing, but word is that they'll approach the situation like they did with Napoli last year. Depth isn't a bad thing, and they'll work it out during Spring Training. At this point, though, either Ogando or Harrison to the bullpen makes the most sense. Rarely will a team make it through the year with the same five starters, so they'll hang onto the depth and plug guys in as need be. So yes, the odd man out is probably worth speculating on unless, say, they move Ogando to the bullpen and tell us that they won't want to move him and back forth and will use him as a starter even if an opening arises (maybe using Scott Feldman as their sixth).

stewbies (Rochester, NY): I'm taking over a team in a 15 team mixed league, 5 x 5, snake draft. We can keep 4 guys for as long as we want. Most teams keep hitters, not pitchers. I have Longoria, Jennings and Teixeira. Who should my fourth be: Heyward, Price, Greinke or Bumgarner?

Derek Carty: Take Greinke. He's the oldest, but also the best. In a league with only four keepers, you don't need to gamble on a guy like Bumgarner turning into the next Greinke by making him one of your four keepers. Chances are, you'll wind up drafting another version of Bumgarner by the time Greinke is no longer worth it.

kddean (loop): That's funny, I never even think of C as a position since I've never, ever had a good C before.

Derek Carty: That might be a mistake. Catcher is the most scarce and definitely needs to be paid attention to. Their stats count just as much as anyone else's. Would you rather have Brian McCann and Placido Polanco or Pablo Sandoval and George Kottaras?

jaymoff (Salem, OR): Who's the better choice for $5: Sal Perez, Bourjos, or Kipnis?

Derek Carty: Kipnis

Honey Badger (NYC): IM BACK! Back to Ackley: who do you prefer for 2012 and long term (fantasy-wise), Ackley or Kipnis?

Derek Carty: Kipnis for 2012, and while it's tempting to say Ackley long-term, I might go Kipnis just because his skills are better suited for fantasy and he's less projection than Ackley.

Ian (SC): Keep five 5x5 roto league where keepers can be kept indefinitely and appreciate at two rounds per year: Hosmer (12), Shields (23), Starlin Castro (19), A. Cabrera (19), Napoli (14), Trout (12), Ike Davis (19), Hanson (12). I'll let Stanton, McCutchen, and Longoria go and get them back in the draft, as no one else has a top three pick. Leaning Hosmer, Castro, Cabrera, and Shields. What do you think, and who for the fifth?

Derek Carty: Great options there. Shields and Castro are musts. I think I also go Asdrubal (and trade him right away - or better yet, trade him before keeper selections are due if possible). Even if you can't trade him, still probably worth it there. Then I go Napoli and Davis. I like Hosmer, but not as much as the other guys at that price.

stewbies (Rochester, NY): Thoughts on Reimold and Valencia for 2012?

Derek Carty: Rumor is Reimold could be the bad-half of a LF platoon with Endy Chavez, but the DH spot is open for the time being. If he plays, I like him and think he could be an AL-only value. Valencia is ok, but I don't really see him improving a whole lot this year.

jaymoff (Salem, OR): Closer (or I should say, "Potential" closer) question here: Is De Los Santos eventually the guy in Oakland and when do you see Reed closing in Chicago?

Derek Carty: In terms of who they have now, yeah, I think de los Santos is the long-term guy. It might be Balfour to start this year, but DLS was once a great SP prospect - path derailed by injuries - and he has terrific stuff. Reed could be the favorite to close as soon as this April in Chicago. Robin Ventura is a big a wild card as they get - a manager with no prior coaching experience at all - so we'll have to listen closely.

NL2003 (DC): It seems to me that the Fielder thinking is that Nats or similar will take him for 3 years if Rangers don't take him for 5+. But if the Rangers are the only team willing to go 5 years, then wouldn't the Rangers just consider a 3 year deal? Then that's got to be tempting for the Rangers since they are so good right now.

Derek Carty: Yes, that's certainly a possibility. It's a very tricky situation and one that may be more about feeling things out than it will be giving the most you're willing to give. If the Rangers get the sense Fielder wants to come to them, they very well could say "We just signed Darvish, we can only give you three years with an option". If he wants to be a Ranger and contend for a championship, the same deal as everyone else could get it done.

kddean (loop): honestly? Panda and Kattaras. I end up with guys like Hanigan, Buck, John Baker. McCann gets saved every year just like all the other good catchers. Once kept, they never go back to the pool until they suck.

Derek Carty: Well, fill in the blanks based on your league, I just meant that as a crude example of how you should be thinking about things re: replacement level. Value is relative to position. Every time you pick a player, the opportunity cost of that pick is *not* picking someone else. Even if you're not scraping the very bottom of the barrel and you get Hanigan and Buck for $4, there's still opportunity cost there.

CharlieWerner (York, PA): Dynasty League 8x8, 28 man rosters. I have the first 2 picks in the Free Agent draft. All things being equal, who are you taking between Anthony Rendon, Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, and Gerrit Cole? Thanks

Derek Carty: First question: are you competing this year? If so, Darvish is automatic first pick. Then it's tricky, but I probably go Machado or Cole and probably land on Cole. If Machado's moves to third, he loses value, and Cole is a potential ace.

CharlieWerner (York, PA): Sorry, Cespedes is also available to go with Gerrit Cole, Yu Darvish, Anthony Rendon, and Manny Machado. Dynasty League, all things being equal, who do you take if you could pick 2?

Derek Carty: If you're looking to win this year, Cespedes after Darvish. Otherwise, I might pass him up for Machado/Cole.

froston (Canada!): Who are some breakout closers you have in mind for 2012? Not just save collectors, guys that could be elite. Kimbrel was a a draft day jewel for lots of people last year, no doubt.

Derek Carty: Rafael Betancourt, Jason Motte, Addison Reed, Grant Balfour. Betancourt and Motte have already shown elite skills and will likely start the year with the jobs. Reed's riskier but could be elite too (also might not get the job), Balfour's a tier below but still good (and too might not get the job).

jaymoff (Salem, OR): Is Howie Kendrick worth using at 1B (for $17) if I already have Pedroia and Kipnis?

Derek Carty: Not in mixed. In AL-only, it's borderline. Your league would need to have some inflation going on. You'd probably be better off dealing him, though. He'll be worth more to someone else as a 2B than to you as a 1B.

CharlieWerner (York, PA): Thanks, I am actually borderline competing for this season but ultimately am building for 2013

Derek Carty: Yeah, then I think you have to go Darvish for sure and maybe even Cespedes. His tools are off the charts and he has the upside of the middle of the order bopper, but there are concerns about how he'll make the transition. He's closer to MLB-ready than Machado or Cole, though, which might be appealing.

jaymoff (Salem, OR): Is keeping Salvador Perez for $5 at C worth pluging Carlos Santana in at 1B?

Derek Carty: Same as Kendrick -- you're best dealing one of them. If you only have one catcher spot, then keep Santana and let Perez go.

Andrew (Las Vegas): As pitching continues to improve on a league-wide basis, should we spend more and more at auction on offense?

Derek Carty: I don't think we necessarily need to. As long as the number of pitcher/hitter slots and the categories remain the same, the relative value of a pitcher to a hitter shouldn't change based on league average, assuming all hitters and all pitchers are affected equally. The change in environment should show up in the projections we use.

Derek Carty: Alright guys, that's going to do it for me today. Over two hours and over 60 questions. I'll be sure to hold some more chats as draft day approaches, but you can always catch me on Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail. Thanks for stopping by!

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