Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

June 14, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Baseball with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:00 AM)

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

Steve (Middlefield, CT)

Drop Qualls and add Hielman?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:02 AM)

It doesn't sound, judging by A.J. Hinch's comments, that that swap has officially been made, but then it doesn't sound like it HASN'T been made, either. Hinch alluded to Chad Qualls being dropped from the closer role, and that decision makes sense. If you're willing to be mindful of Diamondbacks games and your league's waiver wire, I'd say this is worth a shot. But it means more work. The job could change a heck of a lot this week, let alone this year.

Knish (NYC)

Just sent Konerko for Lester? How did i do?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

Very well. Almost to the point I'd term it highway robbery, but I'm also a big Jon Lester fan.

Gerfy (NYC)

Are you buying in on Brett Cecil?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

To the point where he's a must-add in all formats, yes. I worry a little with the young Blue Jays starters because command is a big thing with them -- same with Ricky Romero -- but these are absolutely legitimate hot streaks. Enjoy the ride, not that I'm promising you they last another four months.

Mike (Boston)

Does Toronto skip Litsch and Cecil get 2 starts? Do you like F. Paulino this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

I don't think they will, because it seems kind of silly to A) condemn Jesse Litsch for a challenging matchup at Coors, and B) skip Litsch and throw off his rehabilitation schedule. I think Brett Cecil only gets the one turn, but it's a great matchup at Petco. As for Paulino, yes, at least in deeper formats. I like the Royals matchup and at least the Rangers one is a home game, but that second one is still a tough one because of the Texas offense.

Mike Stanton (FL)

Am I a top 20 OF going into 2011?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

Those who read my "Hit Parade" of the past week know my opinion on Stanton. Don't like him that much this year, though I have pointed out that the upside is immense. For 2010, he's the ultimate high-risk, medium-to-high-reward slugger. For 2011? That's his ceiling, yes. I bet he ranks closer to 25-30 than top 20, but it's not unthinkable a kid this talented will begin to settle in around that point, which would be 100 career games or so.

Sean (Columbus, OH)

Josh hamilton is a top ____ OF going forward?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

Twenty? Fifteen? Somewhere in there. Risk/reward guy. Health has always been his primary obstacle, and it's the one thing I'd sweat if I owned him.

Rick Porcello (Detroit)

One of my owners just released me and picked up Justin Masterson. Am I really that bad?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

Yeah, sadly. The concern with Porcello is that his command numbers have actually regressed, which is tough to do when your rookie-year K-per-9 ratio was under five. A stat to throw at you: Since May 11, Porcello has 13 K's ... and 15 walks!

Alan (Augusta Ga)

How many games do you think Vlad plays this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

If Ron Washington's plan is to play him in the field but not on consecutive days, then Vladimir Guerrero cannot possibly play more than three games -- as a starter, this is -- this week. I bet he pinch hits in every game he doesn't start, though, so he'll technically "play" in six. Maybe he'll get four starts, or enough to matter in all but shallow mixed, but I wouldn't expect a full slate of at-bats.

Strausburg (DC)

can anyone touch my fastball?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

I won't make the inevitable misspelling joke, we all know you're talking about Stephen Strasburg and there's no joking about his stuff. But what, his fastball? Just his fastball? What about that filthy curve? Heck, all of his offerings are to a degree unhittable. And the command yesterday doesn't worry me one bit. If you watched the game, you know his displeasure with the condition of the mound in Cleveland. You could see how his landing affected his delivery. Nothing to sweat.

Joe (FL)

Is it safe to add Gavin Floyd now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

I've made my stance on Gavin Floyd crystal clear all season, and that's not to be argumentative, it's just to point out that my opinion has not wavered and will not now. I said that last year, Memorial Day was about the time he got on track. This year? Seems like he's doing about the same. So yes, I'd add him. I did say you could've cut him in April and just tracked him, and Joe, you've been doing your homework and tracking and becoming aware that it's time to hop back aboard.

Pete (NC)

Is Phil Hughes that good, or is it because his offense is that good?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

He is that good. If I'm going to criticize Phil Hughes at all, it's going to be workload related. As in he has never had a 200-inning season and the Yankees are sure to start "Joba-ing" him by August. Well, maybe that's overstating it, but you can count on a couple missed turns to keep his innings total in check. After all, the Yanks are probably playoff bound so that means even MORE innings on his arm.

Miguel Cabrera (DET)

Will I take home the AL MVP award this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

I could completely see it, but I've thought Cabrera an annual MVP candidate for years now. He has the talent, for sure.

Big Z (Chicago, IL)

You starting me and my two starts this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

Yes, because they're both home starts and one is against the Athletics.

Steve (Blacksburg, VA)

Colby Lewis had his 4th 10K outing this year.. If you were to trade him, what would you expect in return?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

More than anyone is going to be willing to offer you in exchange. The last offer I received for Lewis -- who is on almost every one of my teams -- was Chad Qualls. That would've worked out well. I gave a quick no. If I could get, say, a clear-cut starting hitter, a guy with top-100 overall aspirations (say, top 60 or so on my HP rankings) then I'd consider it. But don't count on it.

John (NY)

better in a keeper league: Stanton or Santana?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

It depends upon the long-term keeper rules. The closer you are to a league with a lengthy keeper list with unlimited years retaining the player, the more I gravitate to Mike Stanton. The power -- long-term this is -- is hard to resist. But I have a feeling the majority of keeper leagues will make the position scarcity more valuable. Carlos Santana here.

Brendan (DC)

In weekly head-to-head leagues, do you consider your opponent's lineup before finishing yours?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

My first instinct is to say "absolutely not," but I admit that I will look at my opponent's lineup in the playoffs, at least to ensure he/she isn't stacking a lineup with 10 two-start pitchers (or 20 starts). In that case I have to adjust a little for quantity in order to remain competitive. Beyond that? Irrelevant.

Mark (CA)

can ubaldo jimenez keep this up? jimenez finishes with ____ wins

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

"This"? No, but this full-year pace is absurd. I'll be shocked if Ubaldo doesn't remain a top-10 pitcher looking forward, though, and a 20-game winner for sure. He's got a legitimate shot at 22, which is crazy these days.

Brandon Phillips (Ohio)

Is there a need to worry about my hamstring injury? Just when I started to really heat up, too!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

Yes, if only because the MRI is today, meaning results probably won't come in before your lineup deadline. I'd be surprised if that's a zero-games-missed injury. A DL stint? Unclear. I could see it happening. Plan accordingly.

Ethan (Maine)

Sorry for the lon-winded question, but please settle a dispute that got a little ugly!In a dynasty format, I offerd Braden for Chacin - fair deal? Both have risks (Chacin and his walks, ballbark but does have upside; Braden and his WHIP, lack of K's, limited upside but not old and a proven starter). Other owner countered with Chacin for Latos which I rejected outright feeling he intentionally low-balled me. He claims his deal is as close as the one I proposed. I disagree, but If I'm in the wrong, I'd like to know.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

People shouldn't get upset and/or offended by trade offers. Just keep that in mind. I don't think either of you was being unfair with your offers. Yours could be too little, his too much. You just have to give and take until you find what you like, and you know, sometimes you are just not going to agree. If you really like Chacin, though, and insistent upon getting him, then you're going to have to work hard to ante up, even if it means paying a little too much. Mat Latos is a bit too much in my eyes, but not outrageous.

Mike (San Diego)

How do you compare values of hitters vs. pitchers? Is there a good rule of thumb to use like "Pitcher's value = Hit Parade ranking -25"?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

That's impossible to put into words. What I can tell you is that people are WAY too attached to preseason rankings, even this deep into the season. And when I say that, I mean primarily the fact that people still seem to believe that only maybe five starting pitchers make a top-50 overall list. Why isn't a top pitcher about even with a top hitter? I think one is. Ubaldo for a first-rounder? That seems appropriate to me.

Daniel (Rome, GA)

Any word on Nelson Cruz? Coming back or set-back this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

Setback, unfortunately. He won't play this week. Which is why I'm more pro-Vladimir Guerrero, from the earlier question.

Tim (Wilmington, DE)

Hi Tristan...what WAS for breakfast? And what's your take on this trade - I give A-Gon/Nolasco and get Bay/Gallardo? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

Egg and cheese sandwich, but not fast food; made it myself. I much prefer them that way. Then I know they're not Egg Beaters. As for the trade, that seems pretty fair. If you need the pitching push, I'd make that deal.

Jason (Phoenix)

Picked up Jose Tabata for some SB's. How many can I reasonable expect this year? Does 25 seem crazy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

Twenty-five from today through season's end seems overzealous to me. Double digits? Certainly. For a full-year pace scaled to remaining games (a little less than two-thirds of the schedule), I'd say 25 is fine, so, say, 15. But Tabata owners should be aware I'm a little wary of his patience at the plate. Didn't walk a lot during his minor league career, so some slumps should be expected.

Brian (NY)

Think Alvarez is up tomorrow?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

Can I just say I think he'll be up this week? It seems like every time a team hints that its top prospect will get promoted "soon," it winds up happening within the week. And those reports began over the weekend, so seems right on schedule. Yes, I would add Pedro Alvarez, because that kid can sure hit.

Kelly (Brooklyn)

Who's closing for the O's this week? Hernandez or Simon? Who do you want to own? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Juan Samuel's comments make it seem like either A) Alfredo Simon will work in a setup role for his first couple outings behind closer David Hernandez, or B) the two might be co-closers. In other words, avoid the Orioles closers this week. Heck, you might want to most weeks; that's a bad team. I'd give the slight edge to Hernandez for now. And I don't really want to own either if I could help it.

Joe (Ann Arbor)

What fantasy hitter would you compare Pedro Alvarez to?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

I feel like long-term he could be another Adrian Gonzalez.

Peter (Landenberg, PA)

About where do you see Strasburg ranking in a non-keeper league among pitchers? I was offered Greinke and either Manny Ramirez or Ryan Franklin for Strasburg and as much as I am looking forward to it, ESPN's rankings would indicate I should jump at this one.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

A couple people asking about deals with Greinke and Strasburg as primary pieces, and I think that's fair, but I'd prefer Greinke because he's the one of the two without the innings cap. Also, I don't speculate on wins, I go for ERA/WHIP/K's. Good performance there tends to fuel the wins category.

Rick (DC)

Wright seems to have found his swing again - ride the wave, or sell high?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

Ride the wave. Killing the fastball again, meaning this is a clear shift in approach. I'm optimistic it's him correcting some of his earlier problems more than it being just a short-term hot spell.

Mark Buehrle (Chicago)

Would you trade Brandon Webb for me?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

Neither pitcher excites me. At least Buehrle is pitching right now -- and likely to make another 15-20 starts -- so there's that. Him.

Mike (TB)

What players would you target right now if you were to trade E. Longoria?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

OK, let's put aside the possible deals where you need multiple players to plug holes in exchange for Evan Longoria. People shouldn't want to do that if they can help it. So this is just straight one-for-one, in which case the list is short: Miguel Cabrera, Roy Halladay, Carl Crawford, Ubaldo Jimenez, Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, Hanley Ramirez. And I really hope I'm not forgetting someone, but remember these questions are quick-hitting. If it's anyone else, chances are I'm giving you a flat "no."

Madison Bumgarner (SF)

When do you think I'll finally get called up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

Soon. That outburst probably is the only reason you're not up today. But I think it's coming this month.

Mike (PA)

What about short term (this year) for Alvarez?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

I searched my brain for someone and the name Lyle Overbay didn't seem quite as exciting or right in line in terms of talent. Let's just say I could see Pedro Alvarez batting about .270 and hitting 15-18 homers. I think the power is greater than Overbay's.

Rick (PA)

Could you rank the Rays rotation from here on out?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

I'll have rankings that are more detailed/researched in my next "60 Feet 6 Inches," but top of my head, David Price, Matt Garza, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis.

mendel (fl)

Is ted lily worth a pickup? Even discounting his near no hitter last nigt, he was still on a hot run over the last 4 games.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

Ted Lilly is available as a free agent? Wow.

Phil (Madison)

Montero or Olivo the rest of the way?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Miguel Montero. I do believe Miguel Olivo can be a roster-worthy fantasy catcher in the long haul, but Montero is oh-so-much safer in the batting-average department. Makes a huge difference.

Dan (Tex)

Will Lincecum and Youkilis land Longoria?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Sure. But that's a 2-for-1 deal and we'd spend the entire day formulating combinations.

Will (WV)

Will Chris Young keep up this pace? 30/30 perhaps?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

He'll be a fringe candidate, yes, and I do believe he'll maintain good fantasy value all year. Great in the spring, great early in the year. The only knock on Young is that his high strikeout rate guarantees some painful slumps and a batting average no higher than .280. You have to be patient through the rough spells.

Marc (CT)

Is cahill worth a pickup - he has played great recently but his k's are weak?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

Yes. And as for the K's, so what? Tim Hudson's K's are weak but isn't he pitching great? Guys like this with heavy sinkers who induce countless ground balls -- by the way, Justin Masterson at his best is like that -- can be plenty reliable even without whiffing everyone.

Peter (Seattle)

Start one for this week: Jon Lester at home against Arizona (Rodrigo Lopez) / Chris Carpenter at home against Oakland (Ben Sheets)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

I'm shocked you can't get both of those guys into your lineup in the same week. It means you must make a trade because you have WAY too much pitching depth. Carpenter for me. But both were top-10 starters in my Week 11 ranks.

John (NY)

Who to start this week: ARod or Bobby Abreu?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

It sounds like Alex Rodriguez's chances of playing on Tuesday (the Yanks' next game) are better than 50/50. If it's my lineup he's the one starting, but it's up to you how much risk you're prepared to take.

Bill (BAL)

What do you think about the three young SP over here in BAL?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

AL East rivals should be a little worried ... in 2012-13. I think quite a bit of Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta in the long haul. Chris Tillman? Not a huge fan.

Jim (NY)

Is League on Seattle worth owning? Rumors have Aardsma getting traded soon?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

I've heard those rumors as well but they sounded more from the angle of "what closers might be available" than any specific teams inquiring with offers. If I've got a deep bench in a deeper league I'd think about Brandon League, but to give you a specific example, in my AL-only league I was considering adds and I just barely passed on League this morning. I might add him shortly, but right now he's only right on the cusp for me.

Brian (PDX)

Ugh...Wieters or Santana? In a keeper league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

I still believe that Matt Wieters is going to be a special talent who ranks annually a top-five catcher in fantasy, and once it happens you're going to be very happy you were patient.

John (Denver)

Seth Smith, worth a pickup to replace Pence? Numbers are pretty similar when you boil it down.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

I like Smith in NL-only and deep mixed leagues, but it needs to be asked: Why cut Hunter Pence? I wouldn't make this swap.

Joe (FL)

Which Rockies SP is most valuable after U-baller? Hammel, Chacin or De la Rosa?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

I think, when healthy, it's Jorge de la Rosa. But for the most part, accounting for health and projected numbers from today forward, Ubaldo is substantially ahead at No. 1, then it's Jhoulys Chacin, then Jorge de la Rosa, then Jeff Francis, then Jason Hammel. And those four are very close and can easily shuffle in order with a few trends shifting.

Butch (PA)

Can F. Paulino keep it up or are we due for some correction? Projected full year k's?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

Correction to what? He has a .307 BABIP, 64.3-percent strand rate and his FIP is 3.28. If you want to talk "correction," then his ERA/WHIP should actually improve slightly looking forward. But my opinion is that Paulino's year-to-date numbers seem just right. Let's say 180 K's, if he can stay healthy for that long.

Sami (Atlanta)

Chacin or masterson?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)


Grant (Maine)

Are you still a Ty Wigginton fan?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

Not really, except for the fact that I like his second-base eligibility. So once he heats up with a mini-streak, which I absolutely see happening, he'll be starter-worthy again. A good example of the ride-streaks (meaning add and drop, too, if you need) in shallow formats.

Logan (Casey)

Speaking of Jorge de la Rosa, when will he be back and who leaves the rotation?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

He's throwing again, and from the sound of it, the best-case scenario has him returning at the end of the month. More likely? He's back fresh out of the All-Star break.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

As for who leaves the rotation, tough call, it's whoever is in the biggest slump. I could see Jason Hammel getting the boot.

Butch (PA)

So, do you take Paulino over Cahill or Chacin?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

Paulino over Cahill, but not over Chacin.

Paul (Tex)

When will H. Street regain the closer roll? This week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

From what I last heard, he needs three more rehab appearances, so it sounds like the best-case scenario has him back this weekend. And I could see him making his first 2-3 big-league appearances in a setup role before taking over. My advice: Wait until next week to activate him.

Bryce (DC)

Am I worth a 2nd round pick in dynasty leagues?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

I think anyone who nabs Harper in a dynasty league is going to be waiting quite a long time for him to make an impact. Let's talk Jason Heyward for a second. He was 17 when he was picked in the first round in 2007, and he's 20 now in his debut year. So if Harper follows that path, which seems about right in the best-case, it'd be 2013 before he'll help you.

Carlos Santana (Cleveland)

So are you saying I won't be a top-5 catcher every year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 PM)

Should've known that'd be what people infer from my comment. Santana sure could be; I just see his ceiling slightly lower of the two. Let's say I have confidence he'll be top 10 every year, but top five? That's a pretty exclusive class on an EVERY-YEAR basis.

Nick (College Park)

If you're save speculating, would you rather have Hernandez (to pair with Simon), or take a chance on Heilman?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:07 PM)

Aaron Heilman. One strong save outing from David Hernandez is good enough for everyone to hop on board? Jeez. Heilman at least has pitched decently over a longer stretch.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:07 PM)

OK, let's tackle two more...

Larry (Toronto)

When does Adam Lind snap out of this funk?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:08 PM)

He has a lot of adjustments yet to do, so I'm not going to give you any glowing recommendation. Maybe at the break. Maybe.

Nick (NJ)

Michael Bourn or Rajaj Davis?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:09 PM)

Interesting question, because similar in value. I'd go Bourn. He's been a little more consistent over the past year and a half.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:09 PM)

OK, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to you in Week 11!