Today I give to you a special edition of the Check Your Head interview series. Eric Mack and David Gonos fantasy baseball analysts for CBSSports.com have taken time from rummaging through statistical evidence that Derek Jeter sucks to do a Q&A session with yours truly about the upcoming fantasy season. Take notes, because I plan on dominating the WSBGM's Phantasy League 2 this season just like I did last year...viva la Eaton Love Fest '08!
#1-5 Eric Mack
1. How is it that you get paid to analyze fantasy baseball? I'm obviously jealous!
It is much less glamorous as you might think. It is a lot of long, thankless hours. A hobby is much more of a hobby when it is not a job. With all that said, it is a labor of love. For instance, blogging from the sun of spring training is much better than sitting in a bored room. Oops! I meant board room. Check out my blog here: You've Got eSmack!
2. If you had to choose between Johan, Peavy, Beckett, and Sabathia, who do you choose and why?
Santana, especially after the trade to the NL and the Mets, is the No. 1 pitcher in all of Fantasy. Peavy won’t be far behind and a case could have been made for him before Santana was traded. ^Of course you could always opt for the ever reliant knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
3. What reliever(s) that is/are currently not a "closer" but could easily be cast as one sometime during the season?
Jonathan Broxton will be a popular one because he is behind the older Takashi Saito in Los Angeles. So, if others sleep on Rafael Betancourt on Draft Day, jump on him. Unlike Saito, Joe Borowski is a shaky closer with a high ERA and questionable health from year to year. Also, the Indians are one of the best teams in baseball, so there should be ample save opportunities on a consistent basis.
4. Besides offensive bombshells Howard, Utley and Rollins, which Phillie batter(s) should be picked up in my draft?
Pat Burrell is a favorite here and a free-agent-to-be, so he will be motivated to have the best year of his career. He is capable of it, especially when you look at what he did in the second half. Check out our top FAs-to-Be. Shane Victorino has outstanding value in Rotisserie leagues for his steals. He can be a 40-plus basestealer at an affordable rate. He is also entering his prime at age 27. Also, Pedro Felix and Geoff Jenkins are two overlooked power bats who will be slugging in a great ballpark and lineup. Heck, even catcher Carlos Ruiz is a potentially overlooked sophomore.
5. Can I trust injury prone stars like Eric Gagne, Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., Scott Rolen, Roy Halladay, and Pedro Martinez?
You have to take injury risks on a case-by-case basis. Downgrading players generally on injury risk could be leaving yourself out of the mix of a potential injury-risk sleeper. Chipper is the one coming off the best season, while Halladay is closest to being in his prime. You can “trust” all of the above players if you can get them at an affordable rate on Draft Day. Chipper is the one most likely to be overvalued among the group, since he is coming off a very good year at an advanced age. He might be the “riskiest” one because of the premium you will have to pay to get him.
#6-11 David Gonos
6. What are some potential flops for 2008 season? (Players destined for declines)
Eric Byrnes had a great season, but he was a power-guy in the first half and a speedster in the second half. The odds are better that he declines in both rather than combines both for a full season. Aaron Rowand is a man on an island in San Francisco, and Jorge Posada won’t come near the numbers he put up last season in a contract year.
7. What are some potential breakouts for the 2008 season? (Players destined for inclines)
Rickie Weeks battled back from a wrist injury and demotion to put up great numbers late, and he’ll continue it this season. Ryan Zimmerman should break out this season, considering he’s headed to a more hitter-friendly park and he gets back the on-base machine that is Nick Johnson in the lineup. *Abraham Nunez has the potential to put up monster numbers in Milwaukee this year, I heard they brew with HGH infused hops.
8. Will Cole Hamels win 20 games?
In a 192-game season? Yes. This year? No. A slight improvement on last year’s numbers should be expected though, so 18 wins isn’t outrageous with this lineup and his talent.
9. What baseball sites do you visit to help gather information?
The Baseball Cube, MLB.com, and Baseball Think Factory.
10. You have the #1 overall pick in the fantasy draft- who is it?
Alex Rodriguez. Period. Albert Pujols’ elbow is hanging by a thread and you never want to take a pitcher No. 1 because they are too risky (injuries) and are largely dependent on the team around them (lineup and bullpen).
11. It's the last round and your roster is already filled with quality, who do you take a flyer on?
Rocco Baldelli will explode when he finally gets healthy. Make him the last pick and you can easily cut him or place him on the DL without much of an investment. Nick Johnson is also in that category. Among pitchers, Tom Glavine chews up innings and he could have a nice summer back in Atlanta.
^Knuckleballs are awesome, unless you actual get knuckled to the balls...ouch!
*No way No-Hit Nunez is even worth a pick in a NL Central only league, not that one exists.