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August 19, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Tristan H. Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:02 AM)

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

Hugh (Memphis)

So I am going to go on and make Brett Favre my starting pitcher. Thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

Good lord. I really can't escape the name "Brett Favre" for more than a few seconds, can I?

Danny (Queens)

Have you ever heard of a rule where if a traded player gets injured within a few days of a trade, that the person gets equal compensation for that injured player? I think the commish is making this rule up to benefit himself.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

I don't see how something like that could be written into a rulebook, but I'll tell you this: It had better be specifically detailed in that rulebook. That's something that's so impacted by your opinion of "equal compensation," though I can't say I haven't heard of leagues that allow you to retract a deal within a specified period if the players get hurt. Not to say I like the idea.

Jeremy (Waterville)

Drop Garza for Harden or Ubaldo?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

All three have some value down the stretch, but it's the AL East factor that has me starting to doubt Matt Garza's ability to top this list. On raw talent, I'm pretty excited -- and convinced -- in Ubaldo Jimenez.

Billy Butler (KC)

Why am I owned in less than 20% od ESPN standard leagues?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

Because you play first base and you're not an elite power source, and in many people's eyes that's a bad combination. Not to trash the guy, but Butler is just not a top-10 fantasy first baseman, not by a long shot. He's a great matchups candidate, though. Love what he does versus lefties.

Large (Chicago)

Could of the Cubs at least picked a closer we could at least use (Grabow or Guzman). You wouldn't touch Marmol with a 12 foot pole right? Or I just bitter because the few ninth innings that we are winning will consist of 30 balls and 2 HBP.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

Of course I would, but as we say in fantasy, "saves are saves." Besides, Carlos Marmol is a virtually certain K-plus-per-inning pitcher, so WHIP is the only severe worry with him due to the walks. I think you're a little bitter, Large, but I understand it shaky as Marmol looked earlier in the year. He hasn't been all that bad in the past month, though.

Bob (Boston)

Missed no DAILY NOTES yesterday. 38 over on my IP. Have Halladay, Verlander, and Kershaw going today. Start them all? Quality Start league. Thanks

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

They're <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=mlbnotes090819">here</a>, Bob! But yes, I would absolutely start them all. None of those matchups scare me and those guys are quality-start machines.

Linc (CA)

Is Joe Mauer a 1st round pick next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

That's a fabulous debate, and my gut instinct is no way, never a catcher. That said, I just wrote in today's "Out of the Box" how Mauer is in the midst of a season for the ages. A very compelling case can be built. I might be tempted to regard him at round's end, though I bet he's more of a second-rounder when I'm pressed to pick next spring.

Rafa (Puerto Rico)

Good morning Tristan! Who do you like best between these three Texas starters: Holland, Feldman, or Hunter? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

I'm going to say a couple of things about these Rangers starters: One, they're all fantasy-worthy to some degree, for sure. Two, I have a hard time classifying any one as more of a matchups type. Three, Derek Holland has by far the most keeper-league appeal. Things to think about: Scott Feldman is a good road choice, 8-1. Tommy Hunter had some good minor league numbers, so don't discard him without a closer look. If I'm picking, I'd probably say Feldman for this year, but not by much.

TK (NYC)

Good afternoon, Tristan! Have you heard anything about the Braves limiting Hanson's innings down the stretch?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

No, I have not heard anything specific, but then I think we had a chat question in a recent week where I was speculating I could see him shutting it down the final two weeks of the year. I wouldn't make any big decisions assuming he misses a lot of the remainder of the year.

Hugh (Memphis)

Tristan: Is Justin Upton a good "kepp" in a keeper league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

Uh, yes. Can't stress it enough. Franchise player.

Marlon (State College, PA)

Thoughts on Baker @ Texas tonight. I missed out on Baker's CG, 2-hitter. I'm scared of started him at Texas tonight. I need WHIP improvement and Ws, and I'm currently projected to go over the innings limit.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

I'm not. He dominated in Texas what, one month ago? Plus, he's the one member of the Twins' rotation currently rolling. Start him with confidence.

Jason (Ellicott City)

Any chance Feliz closes for the rangers?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

I doubt it, but then the guy seems to have closer stuff. Stranger things have happened, but the team sure does seem to have a lot of faith in Frank Francisco, and with good reason.

Justin (PA)

Tristan, I'm going for the win and I think I will attack one of these categories and punt the other - SAVES or HOLDS? which should I punt?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

I actually think it's tougher to target holds than it is saves, even though there are more of them to go around, because it's a little more clear who the closers are and therefore, who will be getting you the saves. Besides, if you "punt" holds, you really could just trade all your guys, scoop up a few decent middle men off the waiver wire to replace them, and actually not punt at all. Sneaky strategy, really, but I've seen it done.

Brian (Chicago)

I thought Nolasco was going to implode then throws a gem. You touching Bucholz tonight? He's been somewhat better of late.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

I need a few good outings strung together to trust Clay Buchholz, much as I like his long-term future. It's a road start against a team that can hit, so I'd be cautious.

Nick (Tampa)

If Smoltz signs with St. Louis will he be a starter or reliever and given the presence of Duncan as a pitching coach, do you think he will turn around his season there?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that John Smoltz <i>will</i> sign with the Cardinals and he'll do so as the fifth starter, so ... so much for talk that he'll be a middle reliever. I'm not that optimistic he has all that much left, but in a deeeeeeep league, I wouldn't ignore him outright. After all, he's back in the NL, in a pitchers' park and yes, Dave Duncan deserves a lot of credit for rescuing guys off the scrap heap (Joel Pineiro).

Sean (Boston)

Can you rank your top 5 prospects to make a splash in 2010?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

That is extremely difficult to do as a straight ranking list off the top of my head, but I'll throw you five names in whom I have a heck of a lot of confidence next season: Justin Smoak, Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg, Brett Wallace and Jason Heyward. I do think they all play a sizable chunk of the year in the bigs and make an immediate impact.

Charlie (New Jersey)

Why is YoGa ranked so low in your Daily Notes? Seems to have a favorable matchup at Pitt

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Funny, first thing that pops into my head with "YoGa" is "Yo Gabba Gabba" ... too much kids TV on the tube lately, I suppose. But, Yovani Gallardo, I know what you're asking, don't worry. And he's only ranked where he is because of his recent cold spell, nothing more. I do think I'd play him in most leagues.

Birdman (Boston)

Is M Bumgarner #6?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

He was a consideration, and for all I know could be a top five if I made those official rankings.

Josh Hamilton (TX)

I'm I trustworthy again or is this a blip on the radar in a dismal season and my owners should sell me while they can?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

No, I think you're trustworthy and I do believe in the Rangers hanging in this race right until the end (or very close to it). The September schedule is soft, with a lot of hitter-friendly matchups, and heck, even the rest of this month's schedule isn't as bad from a hitting standpoint as people think. I just wish Hamilton was hitting for a tad more power during this streak, because that's the main reason people are a bit hesitant to buy in.

Jack (Seattle)

Are you starting Haren today against the Phils and Cliff Lee?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

There isn't a team I manage that would afford me the luxury of sitting Dan Haren, much as I outlined my doubts in the Daily Notes, and I've got 12 different leagues! Still, they're all deep enough that you're talking about starting a Jeff Niemann instead, and I just can't do that. My advice against buying into Haren -- and I do not believe he wins this game -- applies most to those with starts/innings caps. Time to be conservative if you're ahead of pace!

CB (Virginia)

Tulo a top 3 SS next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I think so, or he'd be right after that at the bare minimum. Hanley Ramirez for sure, and I still believe a healthy Jose Reyes is No. 2. Then I'm hard pressed to confidently pick anyone else over Troy Tulowitzki.

Sean (St. Louis)

Wieters or Posey in 2010? Also, Matusz or Norris in 2010? Thanks!!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, but I will almost always buy the higher ceiling given the choice. The catcher one is the intriguing debate, and I side with Wieters more because I think he's a little further along the development path, not to mention is a virtual guarantee to be in the Opening Day 2010 lineup. With Posey ... well, you know all about the "super two" thing with other teams.

Brick (Georgia)

Mike Napoli continues to get no love anywhere, thanks to his every-other-day playing time, but he's currently the 4th ranked catcher on the player rater despite the low ABs. He hits .300, has huge power, decent peripherals, and I see experts saying to pick up Iannetta, B. Molina, Montero, Weiters, etc. over Napoli time and time again. Can he get some respect? Isn't he a better fantasy player than any of these guys?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

Really? I don't remember being asked this and I don't have any problem picking Mike Napoli given these alternatives. But I also pay for the per-game player; it's a lot of the reason I don't casually discard a Rich Harden like a lot of people seem to do.

Ryan (Newark, NJ)

Of those 5 prospects, 6 including Bumgarner- Which are up this September?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Good question. I think Brett Wallace gets a look, and Justin Smoak too, though Smoak has a little less appeal mainly because his team is in contention and might not want to risk using an untested rookie. Buster Posey won't be in San Fran in September, we do know that. Bumgarner, I'm skeptical, unless he gets one of those "come sit on our bench just to see what big-league life is like" calls. Heyward, I could see him getting a brief shot, though I'm 50/50 on that. Strasburg? I said in the spring "not a chance" and I stand by it ... but I think he absolutely should be in the Opening Day 2010 rotation.

Ben (Watertown)

Is Julio Borbon going to continue to get regular PT?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

If he keeps playing like this he kind of has to, especially with the speed he provides the team, but that's a deep outfield. One cold spell might relegate him to a bench role once more. Ride the hot streak, but I wouldn't put a hefty investment behind him.

Nick (Milwaukee)

cut Steven Drew for Theriot or Kendrick? both available

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

No, but then I'm a believer in Drew's talent, and think he's got a decent finish in store for us. Heck, he did it a year ago, why not now?

Eliot (KC)

how do you see Miguel Cabrera finishing the year it's a bit ofa down year for him (a lot of the players ahead of him just hitting themselves in limiting RBI chances)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

Well, it is (and has been) a team that isn't much in specializing in on-base ability (.327 team OBP, 21st in baseball), so Cabrera's RBI chances were bound to fall short of a league-leading total in the first place. He did roll down the stretch last year and the Tigers are going to contend until the end, so I'm optimistic he's a top-25 guy the rest of the way. Won't be the No. 1 player though. I think you're going to be happy.

Rob (NJ)

I see Latos is not ranked very high on the Daily Notes. WOuld you avoid him in fear of a blow-up game?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

I just think he's a matchups pitcher -- his best games have come against ordinary offenses -- and one who doesn't last deep into the game when he faces a more loaded lineup. Not to say the Cubs present one of the game's top-five lineups, but it's a better one than the season totals suggest. I advise caution.

Brennan (Toronto)

Peralta - hot or not?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

A .352 batting average and 24 RBIs in his past 22 games. You tell me!

Tyger (D-Port, IA)

Luke Scott going to see reg time @ 1B now with huff gone? better option than huff or blalock if he gets his eligibility?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

I do think he'll see regular at-bats and should receive regular at-bats, though I don't really see them coming at first base, but rather as an everyday DH. Ty Wigginton is going to play most of the time at first, and I think the Michael Aubrey promotion is meant to serve to give Wigginton his occasional days off. I'd say Scott provides just a hair more upside than those two, yes.

Jeff (Boston)

Thoughts on Carlos Gonzalez (Col)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

Hitting well lately, and I'd exploit the home matchups. There remains a decent chunk of Coors Field contests on the Rockies' schedule and in the past several years Coors has been a heck of a hitting environment in September -- certainly more so than in the earlier months of the season.

Nick (Milwaukee)

Start Brett Anderson Against the Yankees tonight? Anymore blow-up outings for the rest of the year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

Not a chance, but I just choose to avoid unnecessary risk at this stage of the season. The Yankees hit lefties pretty darned well.

Todd (Philly)

Tristan - your gut feeling - do you think Zobrist is due for a resurgance, or is time finally catching up with him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

I think he's a little closer to his true self in the past month than the three preceding it, but I also will tell you I think he's on the low end of a cold spell right now. He's a .260 hitter with a .733 OPS since the All-Star break and I'd expect more like .280/.820 numbers from this date forward. Very good player, but not top-50 overall.

Travis (DC)

Kyle Blanks 30 HR's in 2010? Can he cut down on his K rate?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

It's hard for a player to cut down on his strikeout rate if that's the kind of hitter he is. Blanks has a big swing and monstrous power; you just have to live with the fact he's going to be a big-power, lower-average type. I could absolutely see 30 homers. However, I could also see a .250 batting average. And I wouldn't pay for 30 homers and certainly not for more than that for a guy who calls Petco Park his home.

Gersh (NYC)

I have both Haren and Lee on my team. Start them both or play it safe with just Lee since he seems more likely to win? I am one of those owners ahead of the innings cap.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

I don't know how far over you are. Let's say this: I'm not about to sit Dan Haren today and start Kyle Lohse on Friday just because I don't think Haren will win his game but Lohse probably will. Haren is going to give you the better ratio and strikeout numbers, and I will <i>always</i> pay for those over speculating for the "W". I bet most people are going to be better off using both pitchers ... but if you can afford to be this choosy, well, I've made my case for sitting Haren earlier.

Punleu (Boston, MA)

Is it advisable to drop Rafael Soriano for Marmol? Also, Blake v. Butler.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

I'm actually worried enough about Soriano's health that, yes, I would make that switch. Fact remains I can't give you a full, unscathed season to stand behind in his past history. He's a guy who has a lot of trouble staying healthy for 162 games. As for the hitters, gut instinct says Billy Butler has the greater number of useful daily matchups remaining.

Jeff (Morgantown, WV)

Where do you draft Ryan Zimmerman next year? Keeper in a 12 team, 3 keeper?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

I have a feeling he's not going to make much of a case for top-25 status, but he's a surefire top-100 player, and I'd bet when I officially rank he's going to be right around that No. 50 spot. Which means he's a borderline keeper in your format, but very close.

Jack (Seattle)

Are we going to see Peavy in 2009?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Sure looks like it. But for the record, I was very discouraged by Jake Peavy's immediate chances at the time the White Sox acquired him. The ballpark switch is brutal -- he's going from the game's best pitchers' park to one of the most homer-friendly parks in the game. He's also coming back from a lengthy absence and even admitted after his rehab start Tuesday that he's not that close to his normal self. There are so many warning signs here. I bet we see him, yes, but our reaction to his performance is, "eh, ho-hum."

Dan (MO)

What do you think we can expect fro Andrus next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

A little better batting average, leading therefore to a handful more steals. I could see the scenario by which Elvis Andrus absolutely finishes a top-10 fantasy shortstop.

Jim (CO)

Feliz or Tillman for next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

Roles play a part in answering this question, but I'd think the Rangers want to shift Neftali Feliz to the rotation in 2010, because that's the best way to use him. It's like Texas' version of the Joba Chamberlain debate. Having seen Feliz's nasty stuff, I think he's got a higher ceiling. He's my pick.

Ryan (Milwaukee)

Morrow returning to Seattle before Sep. 1st?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

Doubt that soon, but shortly thereafter, yes, without a doubt he'll be up and in the rotation. I think there's some sleeper potential in the guy yet.

Nathan (NYC)

What's for lunch?...choose one for the last keeper spot - Justin upton, carlos Lee, Elsbury, Beckham, Tommy hanson, carpenter...Thx

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

Gotta be Upton. Again, highest ceiling. As for lunch, let's say I'm hoping it's a chicken parm day over at lunch-lady land...

Chuck (Hershey)

You expect Tim Hudson to be usable in September?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

I still wonder where he fits into this deep rotation. And no, I do not think that Derek Lowe's job is in jeopardy after last night. Only way I see Hudson making a serious case is if the aforementioned Tommy Hanson does sit out some of September. Maybe Hudson gets the starts the final two weeks, I could see that, but I've said many times I'm expecting next to nothing from the guy this year.

Patrick (MN)

Matt Latos vs. Clay Buckholz for 2009......

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

That's an easy Buchholz pick accounting for all remaining weeks only from the aspect that I sincerely believe Latos' innings get closely monitored the rest of the way, mainly because they <i>should</i> be.

Gabe (NJ)

Should i ever look at who my opponents are starting in a H2H league and make any adjustments based on his lineup?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

Let's just say I'm in a H2H league, have the second-best record and am playing the team with the best record this week, and I did look at that owner's lineup, or at least gave it the old cautionary glance. The reason being that I know by per-week average he's coming in on about a 20- to 25-point advantage (a good week is 400 points or so), so I know that when I'm making my close decisions, I might need to play a few more upside options than in a typical weeks. Anything more than that is overdoing it.

Brandon (Toronto)

Good Morning. After Mauer, McCann, Pablo, and V-mart, who are the next top 3 catchers for the rest of the year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

Probably Napoli, Posada and then maybe Bengie Molina.

Doug (Mound, Mn)

Please help. Trade deadline coming quick. Need some advice. In a keeper league would you trade Pujols for Hamilton, Kemp, and either Greinke or Halladay? Thanks for the Help

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

Uh, yeah, especially if it's Roy Halladay. Of course, I'm not sure how shallow your league is to compare the players you'd be replacing. I have a hunch that unless you're in, say, a six-team league, the upgrades will make it more than worth it.

Rob (Stamford)

Wainwright vs Kershaw tonight. Start them both? Both are great, but so are both offenses.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

Yup, as stated in the Daily Notes.

John (Doe)

You don't see Iannetta or Soto turning it aroung

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 PM)

I do believe in them, and would probably rank them top-10. To me that's a generous rank. Prefer Chris Iannetta given the choice.

Waylon Smithers (Springfield, USA)

Name Game: NL-only, 10-team, 5x5 league: Mountain Dew or Crab Juice?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 PM)

Ewwwww, bleagh, ugggghh ... I'll take a Crab Juice.

chris (minnesota)

will mauer lead the twins to the world series?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 PM)

No, because the pitching just isn't there this season. Injuries have been a big problem lately.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:06 PM)

OK everyone, time to call things to a close for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours! Take care everyone...