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June 20, 2:07 PM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/Tristan H. Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...

Eric (Miami, FL)

Will Eric Gagne reclaim the closer role this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:01 AM)

From what I've heard, he'll be activated into a setup role, and remember, in that spot a year ago, he was nothing short of disastrous. In other words, I'm not optimistic. There could be some saves in Gagne's future, but I don't see enough to get all that excited about.

Suzanne (Oak Park, IL)

I?m currently carrying Shoppach as my lone catcher in a deep 6x6 (ops, L) league. Should I drop him and pick up Salty, Clement, or K. Suzuki at this point? If so, which?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:01 AM)

I'd probably pick up Jarrod Saltalamacchia. High upside, good home ballpark, and he'll play regularly with Gerald Laird on the DL.

Mark (Canada)

Cockcroft! you made the right call for me on galaragga over campillo, and I need your help again. between rasner, r. johnson, slowey, lohse, and maddux, I need two consistent pitchers for the rest of the year. help please!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

"Consistent"? I'm going with that the operative word. Greg Maddux No. 1. That's a perfect word to describe him, even if the win potential isn't great. I'd go Randy Johnson as the No. 2. There's health risk, but I like the overall package.

Brian (KC)

Does the Floyd start today look too good to be true?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

I don't know if I'd call it "too good to be true." I'd call it "yes, start, solid enough."

Josh (Dayton)

Quick one. Should I drop Y. Escobar for Robinson Cano?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

If I'm in your shoes I find a way to get both these guys on my roster, for middle-infield depth and so that once Cano heats up, you've got him before anyone else does. Straight-up move? Tough to do that today. Can't say that I would, though I'd be addressing the question every single day looking forward, because the day Cano has an explosive offensive game, that's probably Day 1 I say yes.

George (DC)

You like Jarrod Saltalamacchia better then Chris Snyder?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

No I do not. Well, not for this year, at least. Could be close, though, but Snyder's safer.

Jordan (Toronto)

T.S. What are your thoughts on Jonathan Sanchez? 7 of past 8 have been quality starts plus a lofty K total.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

I think a lot of people who know my opinion on this know I'm not a Sanchez fan. Now, I'm not going to trash the guy. There's value there. He gets K's, can match up well, has hot streaks. Problem is, he is not, and I repeat, <i>not</i>, a top-25 potential pitcher for the rest of the year. Win potential isn't there, and I'd like a lower WHIP in a guy like this. In a way, he's kind of like what Oliver Perez was in 2007, with less win potential. I know, I know, saying Perez's name today strikes fear, but that's good. I <i>want</i> to strike a little fear in Sanchez owners, lest they overrate him!

Steve (MA via East Hartford)

Who do you like better long term, Clement or Soto?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

Long term? Geovany Soto. Period. Better power potential.

Josh Willingham (MLB, FLA)

What do you expect from me the rest of the year/numbers as well?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

Typical Josh Willingham numbers, what is that, .270s batting average, 25 homers, scale 'em down to what's left? I suppose he's a little safer in batting average than you might think, since he'll sit against tougher righties with Luis Gonzalez around. So that helps, at least. Solid, not a superstar.

clement

what did i do to tick you off?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

Ha! Well put, Jeff. You didn't tick me off, I just wanted to be definitive. Problem is, I think you're kind of a "lite" Joe Mauer, and so far, Mauer hasn't excited me nearly as much as what was expected of him way back when. Oh, and like Mauer, I think you'll be dogged for years by talk you'll shift to first base or DH. That hurts your value a tad.

Steiny (NYC)

Mike Gonzalez or Mike Aviles?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Gonzalez. Highest ceiling in that bullpen, even if I still see the Braves seeking help at the trade deadline (if they're still in the race). That said, Aviles does have a little short-term AL-only value.

Mike (Boston)

Tristan, are you worried about Lincecum's innings and an early shut down similar to last season ex. just in time for fantasy playoffs?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

Not necessarily. Maybe he'll cap out at 200, but his current pace is 212, so what is that, maybe a missed start or two? He tossed 177 1/3 frames a year ago, so it's not like a bump of 25 innings is a big problem for him.

joe (nc)

who will be #1 in the 08 Darft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

Well, um, that passed, Joe. If you meant 2009, Hanley Ramirez.

Joe(Boston)

Start Banks tomorrow vs. Minny?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

I would, unless wins are your object. Josh Banks battles Scott Baker, that could be a surprisingly low-scoring game. I like Baker better, but both have value.

brad (harrisburg, pa)

your top 5 "closers in waiting"?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

Well, as the summer rolls on, I think it becomes less and less likely you'll find any huge wonders on the "closers in waiting" market. Let's not go nuts. This is totally off the top of my head, five guys I could see getting saves before year's end, in no particular order: Heath Bell, Santiago Casilla, Joel Zumaya (think very, very late in the year), Carlos Marmol, Dennis Sarfate.

Todd (kansas city)

I acquired Rich Harden when he came off the DL. Should I trade him now before he goes back on it?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

I'm in the camp that says yes. Can't say anything better than that. I keep saying don't give Harden away, no panic moves, but yes, I'd surely be shopping him.

Scott (Rochester)

Hey Tristan, love your insight. Start Lilly against Baltimore or Oswalt against the Rangers?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

Thanks, Scott. I'd say yes to Ted Lilly, pitching at better, and the Cubs play great baseball at home besides. I'd say yes to Roy Oswalt too, though I'm less wild about the matchup. Let's say NL-only, but I'd steer clear in mixed.

Kevin Bailey Round Rock TX

All things equal would you take Peavy for Fielder?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

That boils down to hitter versus pitcher, all opinion. I want the hitter. Too much health risk with Jake Peavy -- not saying there's a ton, but <i>any</i> makes him a concern -- to do that, I'd say.

Charlie (DC)

Elijah Dukes - 2 for his first 32 ABs. Since then, .314/.416/.486 in over 100 ABs. Starting OF worthy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

Streaky player. Ride the hot streak, but he's shown us plenty to demonstrate he can kill a fantasy team's batting average when he's off. Can't see him being this consistent all year, so be prepared to hop off that bandwagon with time.

Pork & Beans (Toms River, NJ)

I remember our battle for #1 in BBC just a few weeks ago. Now with my anemic offense, I'm down to #357. Will I make a comeback? lol

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

Hey Geoff, been checking to see how you've been ranking of late! We're both slumping.

DC (NY)

is sheffield truly back?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

To think, I just told a buddy of mine in my keeper league that I felt like Gary Sheffield was just about done. And you know, I'll stand by that statement. He has such a hard time staying healthy, that's where all my doubt lies.

Stu (Atlanta)

Thanks for all the great chats Tristan. I can't get anything for Harang right now so I'm stuck with him. Would you start him tonight in a tough matchup vs. Halladay?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Well, I benched him in my 14-team mixed league that uses five starting pitchers. It was a difficult decision, very borderline in the format. That should tell you a lot about where I see his value.

Bryan (Cambridge)

Tulo is something like 3-for-20 since coming off the DL, a continuation of an already dissapointing year. Should we be worried or is he going to heat up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

I continue to not be a Troy Tulowitzski fan for 2008 -- you can go back for months and see that -- but I also advise you don't assume his first few games off such a long absence are a great representation of his ability. He's better than this, certainly. But not as good as last year. I'd put him a little more on the scale leaning towards last year than this terrible recent slump. But not much.

Josh (ATL)

Matt Cain or Mark Buerhle the rest of the year given Buerhle's recent run?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

I prefer Cain. Given the choice between better win potential and better K potential, I'm taking better K potential every time.

Justin (Chicago)

Jim. Edmonds. Comments.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Old. Matchups-worthy. Streaky. Seriously, though, Edmonds is capitalizing, like the rest of the Cubs, on good home matchups. He'll cool, but keep picking and choosing. And in NL-only, ride this hot streak for the short term. But don't get your feet wet for too long.

AJ Burnett (Great White North)

We cool now? Or do we still have "trust" issues?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

Did I ever have "trust" issues? I seem to remember a certain "buy-low" column... if I said otherwise it was most certainly for the short, short-term.

Glenn (Arlington, MA)

Which side of this trade would you rather be on in a 14 team mixed Gavin Floyd &#x26; Carlos Gomez or Adam Dunn &#x26; Edwin Encarnacion?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

Seems fair enough. I'd say needs trade, but in terms of raw value and consistency, I'd prefer the two Reds.

Stephen (Iowa)

Folks seem to have forgotten about J.Cueto, but he's been looking good. Good things ahead?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

He's looking good at home, absolutely. And showing slight improvements on the road, too. I continue to call Johnny Cueto a home matchups type, but I'd say the recent stretch is a fair enough representation.

Malik (Tucson, AZ)

In a suffocating vacuum, Lind, Kubel, Buscher, and Barmes...pick two.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

Jason Kubel, Clint Barmes. I think Barmes plays more than Adam Lind looking forward.

Andy (Fountain Valley, CA)

Kyle Lohse? Is he for real or is he riding an extended hot streak?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

Looking forward, I say matchups pitcher. Good at home or against weak offenses. Avoid all the rest. And that includes the home starts against elite offenses (hello Phillies!).

Paul Vaughn (Cleveland, TN)

Tristan, given the fact that your head is filled with fantasy knowledge and mine is filled with Accounting jargon, what knowledge do you have on Rich Hill? Is he even ownable in a 10-Team NL Only league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

I'll take some of that accounting knowledge! As for Hill, I'm in a nine-team NL-only and seriously, seriously considering dropping him. It's a seven-team bench and he looks awful in the minors, particularly in the command department. If you must let him go to take a chance on a higher-upside player, I wouldn't laugh at the move.

Ray Ray

Start Shields tonight @ Fla? Joba @ Pit?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

Yes and yes!

Josh (Natick, MA)

Under the radar OPS help at 1B????

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

It's not a great position for "under-the-radar" types. Off the top of my head, Ryan Garko is better than this, Lyle Overbay is underappreciated and Mark Teahen has been hitting better lately.

Dave, Boston

AL only... Swisher and Bedard for Markakis and Garza. Which side do you like?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

Latter half. A lot more safety on that side, for one thing.

Andrew (Hawaii)

Doumit is a monster. Is there any chance he moves to the outfield this year? What kind of OF hitter do you think I can get for him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

I don't see there being any chance of that, to be honest. He's the Pirates' starting catcher, at least when healthy. If I were to deal him straight up for an outfielder, I'd aim high, probably go for maybe a Shane Victorino, Jeremy Hermida or Ryan Ludwick.

Justin (NH)

Any news on Carmona, I have been able to get by with Beckett, E Santana and Voquez but I am starting to get to the point where having a 4th starter is needed

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

He suffered a recent setback, and won't resume throwing for another couple days. Not a significant setback, but it's looking increasingly likely he might be held out until around the All-Star break.

Brad - Las Vegas

Start galaraga againt lohse?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

Yes. Cardinals aren't scoring an especially impressive number of runs without Albert Pujols, that is, except when they're facing fresh-off-the-DL (Dice-K) or older-than-time (Kenny Rogers) types. Armando Galarraga is on quite a roll, and should shut these boys down. Sit Kyle Lohse, too.

Ryan Ludwick (St.Louis)

When exactly is my deal with the prince of darkness going to expire? All Star Break? End of '08? Never?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

Isn't it already? Ludwick is hitting .235 with a .737 OPS in the month of June. I think he's better than that, capable of batting in the .270s with 20-homer power, scaled down, again, to what's left. It's a useful player, not the stud he appeared earlier in the year, though.

Brian (NYC)

Tristan, pretty please answer my question with a cherry on top... Which pitcher do you like more from this point on, Hamels or Volquez?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

Cole Hamels. I see more stability on the team, that might be all the difference there is between the two.

Mike (Indy)

Do you think the Volquez's innings will be capped this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

Not really. He threw around 180 last year, and he's only on pace for 192. I wouldn't call that a big concern.

Chris B. Young (arizona)

I've been awful and am an 0-4 waiting to happen, am I worth owning going forward to an owner who's set in HR's and doesn't need the speed potential?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

Well, he's not running, that's the problem. Even 25 steals looks like a long shot today. I see a nice career for Young ahead, but he's going through a dreadful funk today, and perhaps overrated. Worth owning, but certainly not an elite player, not right now. I'd bench him in shallow mixed until he picks up the pace.

Jon (Chicago)

I would get Bedard and Berkman for Haren and Jose Guillen. Should I do it?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Well, you'd be taking on the bigger risk of the pitchers. But Erik Bedard isn't nearly as big a drop-off from Dan Haren in my mind than Guillen is from Lance Berkman. So yes, I'd take that chance.

Luke(NY)

*NATS CLOSERS* What do you make of the Nats saying Cordero is there closer once he's healthy. Should i try and deal for him i wonder? Maybe they trade Rauch.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

I hadn't heard the official quote saying as such, but if Manny Acta did say that, I don't buy it. Jon Rauch has pitched well enough to retain the role, and I'd think Cordero needs to prove himself in a setup role first before it'd happen. Let's say this is a longer shot than it might seem. You'd probably need sell on Rauch too low than it'd be worth. Stand pat.

Scott, Groton CT

could my infield be any better? Howard, Kinsler, Han-Ram, Figgins (I have b. phillips holding down the Util spot too!!!) 12 team mixed league

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

Sure it could. You could have A-Rod at third base! But that's nice balance, I'd say. No need to be concerned.

Joe (Detroit)

Hamilton, Bradley, Matsui - do any of them play tonight?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

I'm not a doctor, can't say for sure. I lean towards no based on what I read today. Oh, and I can say almost for certain that Milton Bradley sits. Game at NL park, the Rangers won't risk using him in the field. Maybe he's back on Friday?

Dave ((STL))

Who is more talented? Kyle Lohse or Andy Pettite?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Talented? Pettitte.

Mike (Nashville)

Who is one player who's value may be a little down at the moment that you think finishes the season strong?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Robinson Cano is the poster child for this.

Catch22 (LA)

name game...in a deep 6x6 ops league. at C Barajas or Clement?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

Jeff Clement. At least he has the batting-average upside of the two.

Bored (At Work)

Which 2 have the best second half out of Alexi Casilla, Luis Castillo, Clint Barmes, Jose Lopez, Jeff Keppinger, and Jeff Kent? Also, did I get taken when I traded Pedroia for Sherrill this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

I think it's Barmes and Kent, and Kent is easily tops of this bunch. A lot of people tell me they think he's done, but he started last year similarly slow and came on strong around now. I see it happening again. As for your deal, I'd have made that. Good one for you, even with the risk George Sherrill might be dealt next month and dropped to a setup role.

Ryan Doumit (Pittsburgh)

Who's better than me when I'm healthy other than McCann?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

When healthy? Joe Mauer and Russell Martin, that's about it. And the key words here are "when I'm healthy," because as I stress to people, Doumit is a great hitter when healthy, but you simply cannot assume full health from him for 125-plus games. Doesn't happen. High-risk, high-reward.

Dave ((STL))

Who At Closer? Huston Street or Bobby Jenks?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Jenks. And that's accounting for the chance Street gets a deal to a contending team, because you know what, the A's have been contending themselves up to now, so no reason to expect a bump up in value.

Jamaal (Washington Twp, NJ)

Barmes and Kent over Jose Lopez the rest of the way? Come on T, you gotta be kidding me! Lopez is unspectacular, but also very underappreciated. Care to elaborate on your thinking?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

I was awfully tempted, but no power, no speed. That's the bottom line. Plus, the Mariners are a bad team, and I could see either parts getting dealt off, hurting his RBI total, or the funk rubbing off on him.

Frenchy (ATL)

Will my new contact lens help my production? I'm hitting .210 during night games.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

I'd take the chance it does, because the bottom line is that Jeff Francoeur is better than this. I think of him as a .270-hitting, 25-homer candidate, so I'd look for him to pick up the pace in the second half. That's not a top player, but a top-25 capable outfielder looking forward.

Mike (DC)

Rapid fire: Pick one: Hermida, Church, Fred Lewis, or Francisco?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

I still like Jeremy Hermida. Ryan Church makes a fine choice too, though. Very close there.

Nick(DC)

Whats the most points you ever seen made up by an owner in a standard 12 team league in the second half? Im down 31!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

I saw a guy in my keeper league make up more than 20 points in a week in May, so never rule yourself out, barring, say, a 30-point deficit a month or two from now. Even then, I make my best effort to do as well as I can. Good story: I was once in last place in a 12-team mixed league deep into June, and rallied to win. So keep the faith!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

Well, that's all for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Don't forget, Jason Grey will be here at 3 p.m. ET to chat with you. Take care everyone!