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May 20, 11:57 AM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/Tristan Cockcroft

  (11:03 AM)

Tristan will be here shortly to take your questions. He's running just a few minutes behind.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

Hello everyone! Sorry for the delay today, but no worries, I've got you covered now. Let's roll right into your questions, and tackle plenty of 'em!

Tardiness (Unacceptable)

Do you have any more information on Votto? What's your speculation? He was killing the ball. When does he come back? Will he continue to rake?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

Wow, so unforgiving. At any rate, I'm actually a bit worried about Votto. Just seems like a sketchy combination of ailments, and I don't like that he continues to attempt to come back and then suffers a setback. I don't mean to strike fear into Joey Votto owners, because I'm a fan and think he's due for a fine career, but I hear the problems he has and start thinking back to Aaron Hill in 2008. Of course, that does offer encouragement: Hill is on quite the tear in his 2009 comeback.

Tom (SoCal)

Start Cecil tonight?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

A lefty at Boston? Not a chance.

Dave (Virginia)

How was the Sox game last night? Wakey pitched a gem.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

Good, quick game. All Tim Wakefield, not that it's surprising, because the guy has a way of mounting these kinds of hot streaks when he has his knuckler working as effectively as it was on Tuesday. I'd keep riding this streak. Mets coming to town this weekend? Pish posh!

Greg (Ellicott City)

Better end of the deal: Greinke and Atkins for Gallardo and Kemp.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

Very interesting deal there and you know, I will take the latter half. But I love Kemp's category-filling ways and I don't see Zack Greinke-to-Yovani Gallardo as an especially big drop-off. Both talented, young right-handers on teams that aren't necessarily playoff locks, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if their numbers are identical from today forward. (That said, sure, Greinke gets the edge, but you get the idea.)

Shalon (MN)

Hey Tristan! I have Nick Swisher, someone in my league dropped Rick Ankiel Is it a leap to drop Swish for Ankiel? Has the hot start Nick was on died out?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

Having watched Swish play quite a bit, it seems like opposing pitchers have caught onto the fact that he's up to his old patient, wait-for-his-pitch ways, and therefore are challenging him more. He seems a bit off his rhythm the past week or two as a result, not something I think lasts the entire year. I'm more a Swisher fan than I am of Rick Ankiel, I'll say that.

Frank (Chicago)

What should we expect out of Gerardo "Rico Suave" Parra? Worth owning in a 10 Team mixed?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

No, but definitely belongs on a watch list. The problem is that in spite of Parra's hot streak, I think he might fall into the same kind of category as the aforementioned Swisher, where pitchers catch on to his strengths and challenge him more. I'd ride the hot streak, probably not in your format, but wouldn't expect it to last.

Jeff (San Diego)

Any chance we see Kyle Blanks as a DH during interleague play?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

I don't think so but I like the creative thinking. I can't help but feel like Blanks might wind up a DH someday, but for now the plan in San Diego is to get him adapted to left field so that by next year, both he and Adrian Gonzalez can be in the everyday lineup.

Jim (VA)

Hey T - Empty DL spot I can stash Kelvim Escobar or Anibal Sanchez on. Which will be productive when returning in June, if either?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

I'm a little more tempted by Escobar at this point, though both of those guys are high-risk propositions. It's more that Escobar has shown us what he can do in the past; Sanchez is still getting comfortable at the major league level, really.

Grady Sizemore (Dazed and Confused):

What are my stats for the rest of the season? Should i be traded for some other struggling Top players? And who would you try to trade me for?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Grady, you've been traded so many times on our commercial! Seriously though, I'm a Sizemore fan, and still see him with between 20/20 and 25/25 potential from today forward. Problem is, he'll probably bat .270 from today forward, and you'll have to put up with the remainder of this dreadful slump he's in. Guys like this tend to turn these things around with time, barring there being a hidden injury we don't know about, and I don't think that's the case with him. But if I'm a seller -- and I'll make it clear you're selling him about as low as you could right now -- I wouldn't accept anything less than a top-20 player in exchange. Like a Josh Hamilton or Ian Kinsler.

Michael, (Milwaukee, WI)

what do you think, is Kim going to die saving Jack's life and send him on a rampage next season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

I had wondered that, Michael. From the second she appeared and we heard all about the "risks," I had been thinking that.

Grant (Chicago)

Uggla or Weeks at 2B (not Jemile) in a keeper moving forward? I've got both now, and I'm already looking forward to 2010.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Ugg. That's kind of my reaction, because the obvious choice here is Dan Uggla because he's the one without the massive health risk, but I just don't like him at all as a keeper candidate. Everything in Uggla's profile is trending downward, and he'll be 30 next year, not typically the time in a career a player enjoys a significant breakthrough. I hate picking either guy because it sounds like an endorsement, but choosing from those two I'd take the shot that Rickie Weeks' solid start suggests there's more to come from him.

Carlos Marmol (Windy City)

Seriously, that man I hold for is doing horrible. He got destroyed by those 'Stros last week (a team in which I struck out the side against an inning before). When do I get that closer role?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I'm with the camp that thinks Marmol might not get many saves at all this year, and it boils down to this: In the setup role he can be deployed at any moment in any situation in any game. As the closer, Lou Piniella would be more locked into traditional roles. Look at how Cleveland did things with Joe Borowski and Rafael Betancourt that big year of theirs. Borowski was "horrible," but got what, 40 saves with a five ERA? It's not like this is without precedent.

Scott (Texas)

Re: Sizemore. You say you wouldnt trade him for less than top 20 talent but also predict 20/20 with a .270 avg from here on out? I'm not trying to be critical necessarily, but those don't sound like top 20 #'s to me...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

I understand, Scott, but I said "between 20/20 and 25/25" and if you scale 30/30 numbers to the amount of remaining games that's exactly what you're going to get. If it's a clearer statement, I will say "Sizemore will maintain a 30/30 full-season pace over the number of games left on his schedule."

Johnny (Harlem)

THC, I need a hug, I've had it with Scott Baker! Drop him for any of these: Wang, Dempster, Buehrle, Nolasco, Manny Parra, Ubaldo, de la Rosa, or Maholm? I guess it could be worse...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

I think Ricky Nolasco has been about as unlucky as any pitcher could possibly be to date. Look at Monday: He was pitching great and then rain washed away his stats. That's just bum luck. I'd also keep my eye on Ubaldo Jimenez. I'm a fan, and when he's on, he can be nasty.

Branyan, Russ Seattle

This is real isn't it? It's not like I haven't been around.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

The power is legit but the .310 batting average is unquestionably not. Branyan has had similar hot streaks in the past (maybe not <i>quite</I> to this level), but the reason you own him this year is that he's guaranteed regular playing time and has bona fide 30-homer power. Just be prepared for him to bat .240 the rest of the way, that's all.


H2H ? I only have one closer. Broxton he is beast but I can not compete with him alone. Punt saves and try to move him for a starting pitcher(what type of value does broxton have)or are you against giving up a category every week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

I don't ever endorse punting a category in a categorical head-to-head league. It's a losing strategy. And that goes double if the category is saves, because that's the easiest one in which to find value off the waiver wire during the season. If you work hard you'll be able to find other candidates. Just look at what guys like Ryan Franklin and LaTroy Hawkins have done so far!

Steve (Toronto)

Big fan of the earlier 24 seasons and wanted to give this season a chance but it's lost me. Anyhow, I've given up on C. Young but the replacements at CF are thin: S. Harriston, Winn, F. Lewis, Ankiel, Melky and Gutierrez top the list. Thoughts? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

I admit, I liked the season for quite a while, but I do think it was a tad more predictable than usual and the final quarter disappointed me. As for outfield replacements, I'm a Randy Winn fan, have been for awhile. He won't come close to Young's power expectations of the preseason, but is a guy who can bat .290 and manage double digits in power and speed for you, maybe 12 homers, 20 steals in fact. Guys like him are perennially underappreciated. My next two choices: Rick Ankiel (for the power potential alone but I'm not a big fan), then Melky Cabrera (ballpark advantage).

Joe (Iowa)

Start Kazmir tonight?? I'm scared....

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

My stats in support of him in the Daily Notes tell you all you need to know. He owns Oakland. Even this year.


Jered Weaver has 5 QS in his last 6 starts and an ERA well under 3.00. You believe?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

In his current pace? No, not quite, but I do think he's young enough and has shown me the kind of gains in his command (career-best 3.23:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio) that have me thinking this might be a career year for him. Weaver could crack the top 20 starters, he has that kind of upside, but I wouldn't call him a top-10 candidate. Not yet.

Joe (New Jersey)

H2H can be frustrating. I have a high ranked guy at every position (according to ESPN) and yet I am still struggling on offense. Not really anything I can do except wait it our, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

I understand, Joe, and my best advice to H2H owners is <i>know your scoring system</i>. I've had countless H2H owners come to me asking about Player A versus Player B, and some of these owners are in categorical H2H and others are in points-based H2H, and there's a <i>huge</i> difference between the two. For example: A guy in one of my H2H points leagues thought Ichiro was a top-20 player overall entering the season, when the truth is that the points offered for steals and runs were weak enough that he was lucky to be top-50.

Jesus Guzman (SF Giants' Savior)

When I come up this weekend I will prove that I deserve to play 1B for the Giants.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

You know, that's a great point. There is a report out of San Francisco that Guzman might be the Giants' DH in their games in Seattle this weekend, and I'm a huge fan of his as a sleeper in deep leagues. Guzman raked in the spring and now he's doing the same in the minors; his stats are silly they're so good. If I'm in an NL-only or deep-mixed league and have the bench room, Guzman is a guy I'd stash just in case he gets the call on Friday.

Doug (NY)

Lannan a worthy ?streaming? starter today vs. the Pirates? He's great at home and the Pirates well, you know what, vs. LHP

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

Yup. (My Notes can tell you the rest.)

Ben (SF)

Rich Hill had a nice first start and now get the Nationals, what say you?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

I was on the Hill bandwagon as a sleeper in the preseason, so I'd say in deeper leagues he's worth a look. The only caution I can throw you: Washington's offense isn't as bad as people seem to think it is. It's more middling to below-average, as opposed to Oakland-bad (is that a word?).

yo! (MO)

Should I even hesitate trading Figgins for Cole Hamels?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

Better hit the "accept" button before it's too late...

Justin (NY)

We had a trade of Hamilton for Burrell and Bannister. Two guys have cried a foul that it should be overturned. Can you please explain why vetoing trades is not right? These guys are not listening.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

Vetoing trades is such a tricky topic. I'm not a fan, but that's why I don't join many leagues with a veto process. I like to pick the leagues where I trust the owners. That said, if you agree to it, you have to live with it. My personal stance is that vetoes should <i>only</i> happen when there's clear evidence of funny business going on. Like two brothers dealing one stud for five pieces of trash. But in no way should the veto process be used to protect stupid owners from themselves. Just my take.

Hamilton Trade

Let the trade through. Kick the guy out of the league next year that traded Hamilton!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

Good point made there. This happened in a league I was in last year, too. Guy got the boot for a bad trade.

Ryan Zimmerman (Our Nation's Capital)

What kind a starter could I pull in? Maybe a Rich Harden? Brandon Webb?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

The first guy that comes to mind is the type I know I think is shooting for the stars, but might actually work very well: James Shields. I feel like he's underappreciated.

Jason (Ellicott City, MD)

But when a deal stacks someones team to give them an unfair advantage, something has to be done, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

Again, it's a complicated issue, and I advise a strong stance on how your league deals with trades before you get the season started. That's the best way to tackle it, everyone decide the league's stance in advance. But I stand firm in my belief that stupid owners should not be protected from themselves; it's cheating that must be reined in.

Ryan (Boston)

I'm in a league that has an games started cap of 154, however there is an IP category. In a league like this does the value of Middle Relievers sky rocket since they can provide you with free innings. And if so, are there any MR's that you would target who might also have a chance to steal some saves?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Yes, that is absolutely the case in those formats, and once you hit the cap in starts, you should probably dish off <i>all</i> your starters for quality relievers (and do it before the rest of your league does so there's still quality to be had). I'm not saying go nuts and blow your cap, but make sure you've measured your usage and made the necessary trades at the right time, instead of waiting until the end and saying "oh no, I'm ahead of pace" when it's too late. As for candidates, hmmm. Andrew Bailey, Rafael Soriano, Ramon Troncoso...

Stupid Owners (my league)

Yeah...those of us with experience WANT stupid owners in their leagues. And their entry fees.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

I'll be perfectly honest with you: I don't. But I also cherish the challenge, and I completely respect that some owners want some dead weight in their leagues.

Dan (Vermont)

No real roll of the dice to start Dice-K right away, is there? Also, in a deeeeeep AL Only League, who?s the better SS option: Macier Izturis or Elvis? As Andrus might say, thankyouverymuch!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

I tend not to chance pitchers fresh off the DL, especially not against offenses like that of the Mets, but Dice-K has had a long enough rehab process and pitched effectively enough during it that I'd activate him outside of the most shallow leagues (or those with starts/innings caps). And I'd go Elvis Andrus, because of his speed potential.

Bob (DC)

I've been trying to get your thoughts on Randy Johnson using a variety of different questions, but no luck so far. The K/9 is nice, but the ratios are killers. Will he get better, or cut him loose?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

Well, the Dodgers and Mets, two of the three teams that clobbered him, kill left-handers (.838-plus team OPS against that side), and the other stinker was a Coors Field game. That screams "matchups type." I do think Johnson's command numbers portend good things, but I do think you're going to need to sit him against elite offenses the rest of the way. At 45 he'll be understandably erratic.

Ross Detwiler (Washington, DC)

Am I worth keeping in deep mixed leagues? Do you see any more starts like Monday's out of me?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

I think you're only up because you're on the 40-man roster and most of the Nationals' other candidates (do they <i>have</i> other candidates?) aren't. I don't think it's because of great talent, so I guess I'm saying no, Detwiler doesn't belong on fantasy rosters.

Grey Squirrel (NY)

I can smell what the Sheff is cooking, and I'm curious enough to sit outside the window! What are your feelings on Sheffield since he is batting between Beltran and Wright....

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

If people are going to poke fun at Milton Bradley, saying no way he can stay healthy manning the outfield on an everyday basis, I don't see how they can't be making the same comments about Gary Sheffield. It's a nice spot for him to be in, and helps build the potential for a decent hot streak to exploit, but I'd be selling the instant he's looking like a hot pickup. I see no way he stays healthy if he plays as often as he has the past couple of weeks.

big trade help

teixera, thome, dlowe FENCE sizemore, c davis, danks. Which side are you on?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

Mark Teixeira's side, because I think you get a stronger balance of categories, with the exception of stolen bases, of course. And the pitching might not even be a drop-off, though I'm a John Danks fan.

Chuck (Hershey, PA)

Thoughts on Happ? Good start tonight?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

Chuck, the reports I have have J.A. Happ entering the rotation in Chan Ho Park's spot, meaning he'll throw Saturday at Yankee Stadium, not tonight in place of Jamie Moyer in Cincy. Considering Happ's pitch count probably won't be at a full starter's level on Saturday and he'll be facing a loaded Yankee lineup in a hitter-friendly ballpark, I won't go near him for that particular matchup. Though in NL-only formats, I do think he's roster-worthy. Decent prospect, long-term No. 3/4 starter potential, probably. Matchups type for 2009.

Cameron in Atlanta, GA

If Randy Johnson is matchups only, how in the world is he ranked so high in 60'6" and the 250? I picked him up last week and got burned. Needless to say, he is a free agent.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 PM)

OK, well, to clarify when I said "sit against elite offenses," that means you're going to pick out the times he draws the Mets, or Phillies, or probably Dodgers, as opponents, or his Coors Field starts. But that's a small, select number. I'm not damning him to "eh, matchups, use him only against the A's" status, that was not my intention.

Old Guys Rule

...and Moyer's ERA hasn't been under FIVE all year, yet somehow he's 3-3.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:06 PM)

Jamie Moyer is no fantasy option right now, let me make that clear, but a guy with his guile and experience, I do think there's a stretch coming at some point that's going to have some use. I'm not saying go get him, but I wouldn't write him off forever and then laugh and ignore him the first time he goes seven innings allowing two runs for a win. I'd be adding him, in the proper (deep) format.

John (NY)

I had heard there was a way to check projected batting lineups hours before a game somewhere on espn. Can you direct us to where that is?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:07 PM)

They're generally available on the MLB Scoreboard page in the preview section, from my experience.

Greg (Savannah, GA)

Hey Tristan. I know the Daily Notes for Wednesday say don't start Maholm tonight at Washington... but it's the Nationals. Is this a definite sit for Maholm?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:08 PM)

Shocking statistics: Washington is fourth in the majors and first in the National League in team OPS (.812), and 10th in baseball in runs (204). Didn't expect that, didja?

Grubbs (Mississippi)

Name Game: Yearly format- Byrnes or Rasmus? Kim Bauer or Renee Walker?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:09 PM)

Eric Byrnes, but that's more because I think he has a clearer path (long term) to the at-bats he'll need to help you. And Renee ... gotta account for the total package.

Todd (Philly)

pick 2 - Uggla, Kendrick, Lopez

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:10 PM)

Jeez. Dan Uggla and Jose Lopez have struggled so much. I'm going with the latter two. I still think Lopez has greater across-the-board upside for 2009 than Uggla does.

Mark (Raleigh)

Dave Bush, useful from here out ? (12 team mixed H2H).

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:11 PM)

I'd say so, but that's another guy who slips into that clouded category I call the "matchups play." And with Bush, the reason for that is that he has a shaky road history, and therefore I'd be very cautious to roll him out there in a road start against any sort of threatening offense. (Think: At Philly.)

Cafeteria Lady (Bristol)

What'll it be? Oh yeah, is Soto going to turn it around? He's killing me in the cooks league!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:13 PM)

Got that chicken parm sub going today? Mmmm... And I admit I'm genuinely starting to worry about Geovany Soto, though in his defense, he's batting .296 with an .819 OPS in his past eight games. Maybe he's turning the corner, though he'll be hard-pressed to repeat last year's performance now.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:13 PM)

OK folks, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. We'll be back in the afternoon to chat with you again, though, so take care and see you then!