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Fantasy Chat Stew

This week's compilation of interesting fantasy bits was first compiled listening to Van Halen I.  When I realized I had left off the guys from Baseball Prospectus, Great White's "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and Guns N Roses' "Welcome To The Jungle" provided the backdrop.

Jason (Bryan Ohio): Can you give me five prospects that you think will make a big leap into the top 40 next year

John Manuel: Cole Rohrbough, lhp, Braves; Dominic Brown, of, Phillies; Chris Carter, LH-batter's box, Athletics; Brad Holt, rhp, Mets; Michael Main, rhp, Rangers.

Ian (Keyser, WI): Can Escobar hit enough to be a regular anyway? Seems to have 0 power and is allergic to a walk. Can he really ever develop into any kind of hitter?

Keith Law: Defense is good enough that he'll be a regular. High-contact, low-power guy, can run, should hit for average.

Scott (Boston): 1) You think the Royals have a chance at winning 85. 2) You would be surprised if anyone in the Central wins 88. With a little bit of luck, do the Royals have a shot? For real?

Rob Neyer: No, and no. Not unless Alex Gordon and Billy Butler suddenly become the hitters we've been waiting for. If they do, all bets are off.

Tommy (Houston): Outside of Wieters and Price, which rookie would you want on your 2009 Roto team (given you already had solid starters for their respective positions) - pick two please: Maybin, LaPorta, Gamel, Snider, or Rasmus?

Brendan Roberts: With rookies, it's all about opportunities, Tommy. As such, as it looks now, Maybin and Snider would probably have to be the guys. And unless something happens to them, they'd have to remain the guys. (As in, even if Rasmus earns at least a platoon job, I'd stick with those two.)

Tim (Houston): Does Pence take a leap forward this year and would your rather have him or Conor Jackson?

Eric Karabell : Not a huge fan of either taking big steps up, but Pence runs and has more power than Jackson, so he's my pick. Jackson might not hit 20 homers, ever. Good hitter, can hit .300, and drive in runs depending on where he hits, but not a big power guy and he's not showing any signs of being one. Pence can be 25-80-15.

Neil (VA): Draft this weekend, where does AROID go? 5th Round? Stashing him on the DL immediately would add value. Best case scenario, he returns June 1 and gets 30 HR, 100 RBIs. Rehab with Yuri could add value as well... Any thoughts?

Brendan Roberts: Yeah, I suppose is the question everybody wants to know. Yeah, fifth rounds sounds about right, but probably a little higher (better) if your league has DL slots. Remember that 3B is a deep position, and because he plays there, you can still find a one- or two-month replacement to get you to his elite performance. If the league has a DL slot, I'd still take him probably early in the 4th, or maybe even late 3rd. You don't want to sink your team by spending an early pick on him, but he still should be considered reliable once he returns.

Steve (Jacksonville): AJ, how do you rank Span, Kubel, and Nelson Cruz?

AJ Mass: It's an interesting question because this is a case where if I were selecting in a one season only league, I'd probably go Kubel, Span, Cruz... but in a keeper, I'd flip it entirely and go Cruz, Span, Kubel. On potential, it's clearly Cruz. On "safety" it's Kubel.

Pgh, PA: Steve, A little help for a long time fan? I am going to keep two of these three players. Alexei Ramirez(SS), Chris Davis, Joey Votto. Which two would you keep in a standard 5 by 5 league?

Steve Gardner: Definitely keep Ramirez. Although we only have one season's worth of stats on him, he really seemed to get comfortable in the second half of last season. Power from a middle infield spot is a nice bonus -- as is his eligibility at short in addition to second once the season begins. I like Davis a little bit better than Votto, but both of them are pretty solid. Davis ranked 62nd in our Sports Weekly Top 200 and Votto was 72nd, so you can see how close they are. I think the Rangers' offense is a little better than the Reds, so that's probably the difference.

Ron Shandler: Lots of questions in queue this morning, so answers may be a bit shorter so I can get to more of them. Not much of a track record for any of this trio, just high speculative upside. Assuming these are your only three and no others are being kept, you'd want the scarce IF in Ramirez and probably Votto over Davis, if only because Votto has more experience vs MLB pitching.

Hank (Miami): Cody Ross = 2009's Ludwick?

Marc Normandin: I like Cody Ross a lot, and PECOTA does too, though his forecast (under 500 PA) doesn't make it look like that so much. I'm not sure if he's going to explode the same way Ludwick did, but both fantasy owners and the Marlins should be pleased that he's now been set free.

dianagramr (NYC): Any chance Carl Pavano is reading about A-Rod's hip labrum and thinking "dang .... that's one I hadn't thought of"

Jay Jaffe: ROFL.