Fantasy 411 Q&A: March 11, 2009


Who said the World Baseball Classic wouldn’t be a must watch?  Some great games so far, especially USA vs Canada and of course the two Netherlands vs Dominican Republic games.  What a disaster for the D.R.  A team full of MLB All-Stars falls once again, their offense silenced.

Anyway, how does this relate to fantasy?  I view this upset as good news for owners of Reyes, Hanley, Cano and company.  Now they get to go back to their respective teams and focus on the season.  I never like the idea of my fantasy stud playing all out in an exhibition (no matter how intense it is) in the middle of Spring Training.  I just think it throws their preparation off and could lead to an early injury.

Lastly, I wanted to formally announce that Pitch or Ditch will be found exclusively on the blog this season.  In addition to the daily posts, you’ll find a Pitch or Ditch post each afternoon.  I’ll list my picks and Mike, Cory, and others can chime in and say how much they disagree with me:-)

Let’s get to your questions.



Hey guys, I’m trying to get a read on Matt Wieters. Is this guy for real or over-hyped this season?


Curtis, I think Wieters is a top 10 catcher heading into this season, but he’ll be so overvalued that I’d stay away. He’s everyone’s “sleeper” which in turn artificially inflates his price tag.  Wieters may
turn out to be top five by year’s end, but I’m not willing to
spend a single digit round pick to find out.



Hey Guys,

Really appreciated the discussion about which draft pick you like best yesterday. Both of you said you like being near the turn. Could you explain why? I tend to like being in the middle. Also does league size make a difference (10, 12 or 15 team)?


Finley, Mike and Cory like the turn but I personally prefer closer to the middle. I hate the long waits and often find myself reaching for guys I really want who could probably last until the next round. I just wouldn’t be willing to take the chance that they get scooped up. For this year, give me the fourth, fifth, or sixth spot and I’ll be thrilled.


Hey guys, I’m in a keeper league where we can keep unlimited minor leaguers as long as they dont meet ROY Qualifications (we have 3 person MILB Bench). Now I can keep an unlimited amount and they get drafted 5 rounds past their ADP. I’m really looking to use the minor league bench for guys to be studs in 2010 and use a few of my reserve spots for minor league guys for 2009. I have the following choose from: Buster Posey, Chris Getz, Mike Moustakas, Tim Beckham, Alcides Escobar, Jayson Heyward, Kenshin Kawakami, Brian Matusz, and Jarrod Parker. I’m thinking of keeping Posey, Moustakas, and Heyward for my MILB Bench and then keeping Kawakami and Parker to sit on my reserve bench. Do you agree with my selections or is there anyone else in this list I should keep as well or keep in place of my others. Thanks as always for the help.

I personally like drafting at the turn because you can throw people off their draft strategies with your picks. Two years ago I had the first pick and in rounds 4 and 5 I took two closers. Everyone panicked and closers went much earlier than they usually do. I don’t even mind waiting all that time till I’m up again. It gives me plenty of time to figure out what I need the most, either positionally or stat wise. Just my opinion.

Zach – is your answer to the Weiters question different if it’s a keeper league? I agree he’ll be overvalued in redraft leagues, but is it worth risking a higher pick in a keeper league? In hindsight Longoria sure seemed like a good pick in a keeper league last year despite being “overhyped.”

Greg in Iowa

Yeah, I don’t have a problem reaching for him in a keeper league. Just don’t pass up better keeper possibilities at other offensive positions to do so. If the choice is close, I’d personally lean away from Wieters due to the wear and tear a catcher goes through, but my original answer would definitely change to a degree.


Stats – You said yesterday you would want one of the top 6 picks and being happy with Sizemore at 6th. After Hanley, Pujols, Reyes, Wright, who was your ideal 5 spot before Sizemore at 6?

I have the 5th pick and am going to take Sizemore there.

Thanks – Ed in Chi

Heading toward my pick in round 5 of a slow online draft. My picks so far have been David Wright, Ian Kinsler, Carlos Beltran and Cole Hamels.

How would you rank the following available players (keeping in mind the roster I have drafted so far): Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, Alexis Rios, Russell Martin, David Ortiz & Adrian Gonzalez?

Thanks guys!
Eric in Cincy

If you use the composite projections that you guys supplied us with a week ago and sort the 5×5 stats by catchers only, Wieters comes up tied for 4th in AVG, 4th in HR, tied for 5th in R, 7th in RBI. This is with a projected 406 AB’s. If catchers such as Doumit and Iannetta are being drafted in rounds 10-12, does it make sense to look at Wieters there given the composite projections say he will straight up out produce them?
Based on the 411 projections using the same method, Wieters ends up 6th in AVG, 10th in runs, 4th in HR and tied for 6th in RBI.
Let’s just say these projections hit right on the money, Wieters actually out produces Bengie Molina in every category. Out produces Chris Iannetta except for a tie in RBI, and 18 fewer R. He also out produces V-Mart in 4 categories and is only 13 R short.
I guess I am just trying to make sense of the fact that a bunch of projection sources say that Wieters will have equal or better raw numbers than catchers with similar ADP’s. Am I looking at this the wrong way?
You guys rock.

Is the fantasy preview show up yet?
I am not seeing it but I may be doing something wrong.

I need a fresh pair of eyes to help me make a decision.

14 team weekly head to head points league with the following categories

Single – 1 point win – 10 points
Double – 2 points IP – 2 points
Triple – 3 points K – 1 point
HR – 4 points CG – 5 points
Run – 1 point Shutout – 5 points
RBI – 1 point BB – Minus .5
SB – 2 points Hit – Minus .5
ER – Minus 1
Save – 8 points

I have the 13th pick this year. Normally I don’t take starting pitching until the 5th round which has worked out well. Last year pitching went real early. In fact 7 teams had pitchers after the 2nd round and 11 had them after the third round. Another thing I noticed is hitters overall points were down. Only 1 player (Wright) had over 700 points while 3 pitchers (Sabathia,Halliday and Lincecum) had over 700 compared to the previous year where no pitchers scored over 700.

I am thinking of going with Rollins if he makes it to me and Lincecum in the 2nd. I would then wait to take another pitcher until the 6th or 7th round.

Or would I be better off going Rollins and then Kinsler. If I do that I am figuring that about 10 or 11 pitchers will be gone before I pick again which would leave me with a Lackey,Billinglsey,Oswalt type pitcher.

Or if you have better advice what would it be?


Howdy gents.

I love the WBC. Watching Nederlands man up against the DR for 9 innings was awesome. I’m looking forward to watching the final game live in LA from my nosebleed seats.

Quick fantasy question. I’m in a 4×4 NL only league auction league $260 cap (no Ks or Runs). I thinking of trading

Dan Uggla $15 (1 year left on contract)
Kevin Gregg $10 (1 year left on contract)
Carlos Delgado $20 (2 years left on contract)


Kaz Matsui $5 (2 years left on contract)
Prince Fielder $25 (2 years left on contract)

Basically, the deal with contract years is that I can keep the player for the years left on their contract at the specified price or drop them at my option. When their contract is up, I can extend contract for $5 higher salary.

The thought here is I get a better keeper in Prince, dump some salary at 2B (where I already have Brandon Phillips) to go after a 3B like D Wright, and didn’t plan on keeping Gregg anyways.


Hey guys, just looking for a bit of advice. I’ve got a draft on Saturday and am torn between keeping Johan or Hamels as my pitcher. I’ve got 1 year left out of either, and noticed that Johan is looking to start tomorrow. What do you think I need to see out of him tomorrow to keep him over Hamels?

Eric, Kemp will go first in most scratch drafts and I’ll give him the slight edge over Martin. Simply put, Kemp has the highest ceiling. That said, power might be a bit of a problem with this keeper group as there are no stone cold 30+ HR locks…just something to keep in mind going forward.


The fantasy preview show should be up on iTunes within the next day or so. From what I know, it’s all done and sent out but iTunes hasn’t updated their shop gallery yet. Siano can clarify later.


Chad, unless Johan experiences some sort of health setback, I’d stick with him. If he gets through that start pain free, chances are he’s on the mound on opening day. Sounds like he should be OK, and while Hamels is hard to let go, I’m a bit concerned that the number of innings he threw last year might come back to haunt him late in the season.


Patrick, I’d do that deal in a second. $10 for Gregg, a guy that likely won’t even get you 10 saves, is a bit much, and Delgado at 20 is scary. Fielder’s a significant upgrade over Delgado, even at five more bucks, and considering that you’re actually dumping more salary than you’re taking on, go for it!


What kind of value am I getting with Soriano in the 29th overall pick? It’s either him or I can most likely swipe Bay, but i feel even that’s a reach. Based on where I feel everyone else will be drafted up til that point, this is my projected 3 first picks from the 5 spot, 12 team.

Ill have Sizemore, Quentin or Manny, Soriano to lock up my OF. Worked for me last year, so ill stick with my OF OF OF strategy.

Ed in Chi

seems everyone is so afraid of players getting hurt during the wbc .
so while many are returning to the vastly more important early spring training games , it should not go without notice that the most severe injury has occurred to a player who returns to his team seemingly in the best of physical shape .

carlos marmol CHOKED . and that will haunt him for a long , long time .
so , if gregg is not going to even get you 10 saves (?) , what are the chisox going to do ? punt the category ??

maybe gregg will be forced to play a bigger role than you expect .

I put the over-under on Gregg’s saves at right about 10, maybe a couple more but that’s it. I fully expect Marmol to be the lead guy.


Hi Guys,
just watched your podcast for March 10 . Love the show but you said it was all coming together on i-tunes. great if you live in the US. But any where else and you cannot access i-tunes store for MLB Product when is this going to change for people in different countries like myself in the UK.


Does the Fantasy 411 guys compete at Rotohog ( or have you guys ventured into that realm of fantasy baseball play?

Hey guys,

What are your projections for pitchers coming off injuries, like Smoltz, Penny and Carpenter? What would be a good round to take a flyer on them?

Brian in NH

Just sat down to watch the 2009 sleepers and busts preview – great stuff, guys!

I still don’t know where to get the sleepers and bust previews. I’m checking itunes and I can’t find it. I’m not computer illiterate either.

Hey folks, it’s been a few days since I responded to any comments here so I’m gonna take a little time this morning and really kick out the jams… trust me though I’ve been whipping up some good stuff in the 411 laboratory and will have a big post soon to help you out with all your drafting needs! Comments comin’ up…


Brian in NH — I put them in this order: Smoltz, Carpenter, Penny. None of them is worth more than a very late-round flier in any vanilla mixed league: 20th or later. Any earlier than that and they have to perform to justify the pick.

Wes in CHI — I don’t compete at Rotohog and I’m not sure if any of the other guys do. I’m in NFBC, of course we do the 411 listener league, and the 411 is represented in all three Tout Wars leagues, but other than that it’s mostly friends leagues.

Ed in CHI — I’m on record as not being a big Soriano fan, but I think 29th pick is very fair value for him. If he stays healthy he’ll blow that away, and even if he doesn’t he can put up decent enough numbers that you’re not getting robbed. Plus he says he wants to steal 30 bags this year, and while we hear a lot of talk like that each spring, the difference is that Soriano has actually done it before… it’s not like Matt Kemp saying he’s going 40-40.🙂



Olin — I’ve done some research on this and found that pitchers who appeared in the WBC in 2006 did decline somewhat compared to 2005, but not as much as all other MLB pitchers in general… in other words, statistically, having a pitcher in the WBC is not a big concern for me. The psychological issue you point out with Marmol is a cause for concern, as I’ve become more and more convinced over the years that there is a little something extra to being a closer, but then again, we don’t have any reason to think he CAN’T do it. Bottom line is, he is a far, far superior pitcher to Gregg, so while you might have to worry about Marmol’s head a little bit for now, his arm makes him a major favorite for saves in Wrigleyville.


Patrick, I agree with Zach, I like that trade a lot. $5 for Matsui is a very good price for a 2B who will bat leadoff in front of a top-heavy order… he’s no star but that’s a genuine discount for a useful player.

J, I still like the idea of going with two bats to start this draft, even three. Note that a lot of pitcher value comes from CG’s and SHO’s, which only Halladay and Sabathia seem to get much these days. And even if you end up with more pitchers over 700 points than hitters, the problem is, you might not pick the right pitchers… you KNOW hitters like Pujols, Wright, Hanley, etc. are going to give you sick numbers. Stick with the bats.


Charlie, I’m still tweaking my projections but it appears that even with conservative numbers, Wieters will easily be a top-10 catcher this year, possibly even top 5 or 6. It’s all about playing time… if he’s up by May or so, then he’s worth picking in the V-Mart/Iannetta/Doumit tier, maybe even above it. Plus, if you pick Wieters you can immediately park him on your bench and grab a replacement player for the first 5-6 weeks, and while catcher is of course a scary thin position, who knows, you might find this year’s Doumit! Remember also that Wieters draws a ton of walks so he’s going to have higher runs totals than many other catchers, which is a very hidden part of his value. I’m warming up to taking him in the 7th-8th round in a vanilla league, maybe a little higher.

BTW, I am also very bullish on Iannetta this year, much more so than Doumit.


Eric in Cincy… is this a 10-team league? Getting Beltran in the 3rd, and having all of those other options available in the 5th, certainly makes me think so. But if it’s a 12-team league can I can I please get an invite next year?🙂

Much as I love Martin, you have to take Kemp here as Zach said. I don’t think Kemp will go 40-40 this year like he says he thinks he can, but even a repeat of last year’s numbers –without any growth at all — makes him a solid 3rd round pick, if not a late 2nd. I worry also that if Martin hits 2nd in front of Manny, he won’t run as much, and while his runs scored will go up, that’s not worth as much as the SB’s.

Beyond Kemp I rank them: Martin, Crawford, Ellsbury, Rios, Gonzalez, Ortiz. That’s a pretty good bunch to be choosing from in the 5th round.


Last answer on this thread before I had off to the next one…

Ed, taking Sizemore at 6 was ideal when A-Rod was in the top 5… now Grady becomes the ideal 5th pick. With A-Rod out of the mix I think the basic lineup will be:

1. Hanley
2. Pujols
3. Reyes
4. Wright (some may take him over Reyes)
5. Grady
6. Braun
7. Cabrera

So the #8 pick is where it gets interesting. That’s why I’d rather have 10 or 11 than 8 or 9… you still get a great player, but you’re closer to the wheel so you get a better chance to “stack” picks.


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