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July 21, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:01 AM)

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

Mark (Wheeling,IL)

Hello Tristan.Long time reader, first time asker. Can you name 2 pitchers outside of the rankings that can have breakout second halves?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

Wow, <i>outside</i> my top 100 starting pitchers? I like a challenge right off the bat. Mark Buehrle narrowly missed the cut; I see some streaming potential there and certainly in AL-only leagues he matters more than I've given him credit. But the uber-deep name I'd track: Anthony Swarzak. Solid in a pair of recent spot starts and the Twins have had their share of pitching injuries recently.

Tom (NYC)

Tristan, I was leading my Roto league by 12 points last week and now only by 1.... and nobody wants to trade with me since I won Last year! Any words of advice???

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

Persistence. I wish I could give you more of a "cure" than that, but that's the correct answer. As someone who shares your frustration at greater difficulty making deals in his own leagues, I'll tell you that I have been more creative this season, been more willing to take chances. Some of my moves haven't panned out. But if you're in this spot? You kinda have to. Complacency is not a winning strategy.

Nate (STL)

Who gets sent down when Oswalt returns to the rotation?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

Kyle Kendrick, though "sent down" refers to the bullpen. Vance Worley has pitched too well to get bumped.

jcwaveslider (Ca)

I'm guessing that this will be answered later on Relief Efforts but what % do you think H BEll has to remain a 9th inning guy.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

Heath Bell is the A-number-one topic in today's "Relief Efforts" so there's much, much more information there than what I could provide in this space, but there is a reason he has slipped the number of spots that he did in the rankings. It is that the percentage answer you're looking for is beneath 90 percent. It might be 75-80? And I wouldn't act too brashly just based on that number. To be clear: 75-80 percent of Bell's chances remaining a closer wherever he winds up is a rock-solid, he's-gonna-be-one-of-the-best chance. You give that up if you sell too low.And to also be clear: I am completely guessing here, as one must do when preparing for July deals.

Johnnyboy Muir- Bar Exam applicant (Bloomington, Illinois)

james mcdonald back on your hey, okay list?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

I've been on the McDonald bandwagon all season; the ranking I have given him consistently properly advises you the level of caution you should have with him. Let's say that his ceiling is that he makes the top 50 starters for the final two months; but I've been pro-McDonald all along.

Mark (NY)

Parnell - drop him or wait until to see if Izzy gets traded. I believe he is getting showcased by the Mets. If Izzy gets traded is the closers job Parnell's?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Check out today's "Relief Efforts." It's a plug, yes, but I wrote an extensive amount of words on the Padres', Marlins', Mariners' and Mets' bullpens in it and that's the info that's more likely to help you. I'd prefer not to get too tied up in those bullpens in today's chat; the info is really all right there.

Jon (Twin Cities)

What are the chances that Jurickson Profar is Fantasy Relevant in 2012?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

Slim to none, much as I think he's got a promising future. He won't even turn 20 years old until February of <i>2013</i>.

RP (L.I.)

Javy Guerra better than the potential options for the NYM or FLA?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

At this point I must reply "yes." I'm a Kenley Jansen backer, and still see sleeper potential present (read: don't forget that name, and don't stop tracking him), but it sure looks like Guerra is locked in now, and I've ranked him accordingly.

Ricky Nolasco (Loserville)

had this horrible nightmare the Padres light me up for 9 runs in 1.1 innings. of all teams, the Padres. HA!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

It needs to be said: Have there been many more frustrating players to own in fantasy this season than Nolasco? Adam Dunn, sure, but Nolasco has to be in the top 10. Before this outing he had five consecutive quality starts and a couple of them were fantastic. I can't chalk this up to anything more than inconsistency; that's a word that's fair to use to describe him. It's pretty much the one thing I see keeping him from the top 25 at his position.

Power (Joey Votto)

Where did I go?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

Let me throw Votto's HR/FB rates from the past three seasons (2009-11) at you: 14.5%, 24.7%, 14.8%. Last year he was a bit fortunate, this year a bit unfortunate. I do think his true value lies in between and that he's got better power ahead.

Joe (my desk)

If complacency isn't a winning strategy, what would you call still sitting on Jason Heyward because no one wants to trade for him hoping to get something out of him in August and September in a 10 team league with 3 bench spots?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

If no one wants to trade for him, and you simply <i>cannot</i> afford to burn the bench spot on him in this format, a drop discussion is fair. I'd resist it as much as I could, but Heyward has really struggled and in that format you can't sit back forever.

Dean (DC)

David Hernandez has been an awesome fill in for me and the D-Backs. How much longer does he close?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

Ha, didn't say I wouldn't discuss <i>other</i> relevant bullpens, did I? Good question here, was asked this by a buddy of mine as well. I told him this: It's J.J. Putz's job when Putz is healthy, and that could come within the week. It might, of course, be preceded by his working 2-3 outings in setup, a la Ryan Madson. So there's a chance Hernandez has more than another week to go as closer, because the longer he's in the role, the more he impresses ... but I wouldn't get my hopes up. One week from today there is a chance he's worthless again in shallow mixed. And it's a good chance, from the reports I've read.

Patrick (Ft. Lauderdale) [via mobile]

Hey, Tristian, what are your favorite league parameters for fantasy football? I'm setting up a league with a ton of different opinions, and just want to have league rules/set up that's most exciting for everyone. We have 10 guys now but could easily get 12.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

Let's sneak a football question in here...My favorite (personal) league is my 12-team keeper league, but just because it's keeper doesn't mean that the format isn't great for redraft. We're standard head-to-head, 13 weeks regular season, six playoffs, top two seeds (one division) get byes in Week 14. In the playoffs, you get a five-point start for <i>each</i> win you had more than your opponent during the regular season. So, say, you were 12-1, and you're playing a 9-4 team, you're up 15-0 before the game even starts. In addition, the highest active seed in any playoff week picks his/her opponent. So, if the No. 1 seed is playing, and so are the 2, 3 and 5, that No. 1 seed can pick whoever he/she wants to play. That includes the No. 2 seed (and in this league, the No. 1 seed has picked the No. 2 in <i>all four</i> seasons of the league's existence, in the semifinal round, oddly enough).The No. 1 seed has won the league championship in all four seasons. That, to me, says it's a pretty solid format, because those one-seeds were awfully good teams and it diminished the "fluke" factor.

Mike (Boston)

got a link to Relief Efforts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

It'll be out shortly, keep an eye out...

Johnny (St Louis)

You know whose frustrating to own? JAY BRUCE!!! One good month and thats it! What gives???

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

That is the life of the free-swinging slugger, they're going to be inevitably streaky. It's a tad more frustrating a slump than I had expected but I do think he's got one more torrid spell in that bat. Be patient.

Ouch (Work)

Just lost S Drew. Who's the better replacement? Bloomquist, Betancourt, Keppinger, Alcides or Casilla?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

You're lucky, Ouch. (Well, except for your unfortunate name.) In my league Brandon Wood ranks among the top five options available to replace Stephen Drew ... and yes, I owned Drew. Sigh. I'd take Alcides Escobar of that bunch.

Billy Jack (Portland)

Haren's last two starts have put the "ug" in ugly. Bumps in the road or is he starting to break down?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Everyone is going to pour on the comments that "Dan Haren is a poor second-half player," and to those I say, don't be ridiculous. He was fine the second half of last year, and frankly, not many of his comparatively down second halves were "poor" by my definition.What I see is this: Since Haren skipped that start in late June due to injury, he has a 4.30 ERA. It makes me wonder, and that is a far more valid argument against than the second-half thing. It's why he remains in the teens in my rankings, rather than the top-10 type he was in the season's early stages.

Ricky (Boston)

Ya killed me with Beachy!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

You cannot possibly win every poker hand. All you can do is play the proper odds <i>every</i> time, and hope for the best. I'm merely here to maximize your odds; wish I could but I can't offer guarantees.If it makes you feel better, he ruined me this week too. My money was where my mouth was on that one.

Tim (NY)

Travis Snider, what's his ceiling ROTW?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

Stress: Ceiling. I'd say a .280 average, 12 homers. But let's please remember that the basement is very, very ugly with Snider, so don't go nuts hearing those numbers and overrating him.I am warming to him, though.

lou rodney (canada)

Is John Danks a top 30 pitcher going forward?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

No, but he's not far from it. We're splitting hairs here, but I say top 40 or so. Good first outing back, and I'm a noted Danks-backer. So I recommend investing.

Joe (FL)

Believer in Ellsbury's value for next year? Wondering if this is a slightly overperforming year or just a fluke.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

I've never doubted Jacoby Ellsbury's skills in any regard save for the lengthy period of time that he was hurt last season. Anything that worries me is 100 percent tied to that; I firmly believe that, yes, on skill alone he is absolutely legit.

Goose (Chicago)

As a fellow Stephen Drew owner, isn't this injury finally a nice excuse to bench the guy? He was awful this year.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Ugh, Goose, you know, I really hated that that was one of my first reactions to the news. I don't ever like rooting for injuries, ever ever ever. But it did dawn upon me that I had <i>just</i> written a critical blurb about him calling him overrated.

Lou (AK)

Any concerns about Texeira's recent woes?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

How about the batting average decline in recent seasons? That's the bigger story: .308 to .292 to .256 to .242. I'm starting to think, watching Mark Teixeira regularly, that he's an all-power, no-longer-average slugger. The only reason we all still rank him so highly is that he's a middle-of-the-order hitter in one of the game's deepest lineups, so the counting numbers should remain outstanding. I think it's fair to say he's dropped into that "streaky" class, though.

Goose (Chicago)

Danny Duffy, top 40 starter in 2012?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

<i>Very</i> sneaky sleeper. By all rights it could happen. His ceiling -- on skills alone -- is that, yes.

ben (toronto)

wow, the jays are in a bad relief situation. they're out of contention but they have inquired about heath bell? what's the likelyhook that they are buying some relief before the trade deadline.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

Zero. I think they're more likely to sell than buy relievers.

Suzanne (NJ)

In a Vanilla League which side: Shaun Marcum for Carlos Beltran?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

I really love the "Vanilla League" designation; though maybe that's because it makes me think of ice cream. Anyway, Beltran. Marcum scares me a bit right now.

Howard (MD)

What to do with Derek Holland?In a keeper league where everyone plays (no benches), is his future potential worth absorbing these awful starts when not facing the Ms or As?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

Maddening player to own, sure, but I think the proper analysis here is that those outstanding performances offer a mere glimpse of Holland's long-term upside, rather than a hint that he's a matchups play forever. I'm going to reach here, because I want to emphasize how good I think Holland could become: Look at Tom Glavine's early years. I feel like that's a good example of how pitchers like this need time to fully develop. (No, for the record, I don't see Holland's career as = to Glavine's. But 70-75 percent of it? Sure. And that'd be an outstanding career.)

Javier Vazquez (Florida)

Does my juicy-looking spot start against SD tonight become less juicy after last night's Nolasco destruction?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)


Dan Uggla (Hot)

Can i hit .270 with 10 hrs from here on out?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

I'm a little hesitant to project that batting average or better, but I'm confident, very confident, in that power projection. You're evaluating yourself properly, Dan.

Pedro Alvarez (Not in Pitt)

DO I see the big club this year and worth a fantasy starting spot?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

He's hitting .340/.424/.500 in his first 14 games in Triple-A, but has 15 K's in 50 at-bats.My stance on Alvarez remains this: The 2012 season is the much more likely breakout time for him now, and I don't think a call-up is imminent. But at the pace he's on, yes, he might get another shot in which case he'd warrant NL-only and deep mixed consideration.

old haus (hall of fame)

Why isn't Alex Presley owned in every league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

If I had to guess it's that A) He was a relative unknown practically up to the day of his promotion, and B) the Pirates are rumored to be targeting outfield help, in which case, where will the at-bats come from? I think Presley is underrated, but the at-bats concern is legit.

rick (michigan)

were you saying that b wood would be your choice to replace s drew?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Oh, no, no, no. That was merely to illustrate how awful the options at shortstop, and how difficult to replace Drew off the waiver wire. I'm trying to make a trade in that league.

C. Kotchman (TB)

Haters been calling BABIP on me all year long... can I hit .315 rest of the way?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

The BABIP claim is a fair one if only because Kotchman's line-drive rate is under 20 and ground-ball rate is over 50, making it tough for him to maintain a .370-plus number in the category. That said? He's hit .318 since June 1, with a .357 BABIP, albeit a fairly empty .318. Why can't he remain, say, a .300 (or around that) hitter from today forward, and be a help to AL-only owners?

avey (corvallis) moving back to overrated Longoria status?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

My "Evan Longoria is overrated" status referred to redraft leagues and was a note that he is not the top-10 overall player that you believe he is, but that a top-25 rating for him is the right one. He's very good, just not outstanding, this year.

Robert (Phoenixville, PA)

Speaking of BABIP, absolutely nobody has mentioned that D

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

Touche! Maybe Casey meant all the hecklers in the stands along the first-base line have been saying it.

norm (bay ridge)

Why no Chris Capuano in your top 100 SPs? I can think of at least 4 guys on that list I'd take him over.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

I'm simultaneously tempted yet terrified of Capuano. I'll tell you this: If he wasn't a Met with Citi Field backing him, I wouldn't want any part of him. Be selective, and I'd ride that bandwagon.

Jonny Cueto (Cincinnati)

Am I a top 15 starter next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

Doubt he'll rank that high for me, as things stand today, but this is a fair discussion. Huge progress this year, and I'm a fan for sure.

Rick (Robbinsdale)

Is Wandy getting dealt? Will this increase his value?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

Had this week's "60 Feet 6 Inches" dealt with the trade angle as well, Wandy Rodriguez would surely have been one of the names I'd have noted would be helped by any possible move. Most anywhere he'd wind up would mean a potential wins boost. (And I feel dirty offering any advice that has to do with evaluating the wins category, but it's true in this specific instance.)

Jake Peavy (Chicago)

who am I really?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

You are who I thought you were.

Coco (Coco)

What to think of Vargas?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

One point in defense of Jason Vargas: The Mariners' schedule has been treacherous lately. This is part regression, part the schedule, so don't bail yet.

Nate (MN)

Can you give me your reasoning behind ranking Wilson 1 overall in this weeks Relief Efforts? Rivera's ratios are amazingly better. Kimbrel's are also better and his K rate is almost double. I realize the projections are from this day forward, and that this is also nitpicking some as top 3 is top 3 and I'd want to own any of them, but the only thing I see Wilson having over those two is entertainment value. Just curious what measure you use that puts him on top.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

His beard called me this morning and said, "If you don't rank Brian No. 1, I'll come over there and beat you up." Fear that beard.In all seriousness, I see those three as 1, 1A and 1B types. I don't think I'd sweat a one-spot difference, and in Wilson's case, I just see that being a rock-solid pitching situation for him, an even stronger rotation than that of the Yankees with slightly more potential to generate save chances.

Sean (Hoboken)

Do I dare start Fister today against the Blue Jays?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

It's a bad matchup. You've been warned.

Al (PA)

I was borderline shocked that Choo made the top 125 in Hit Parade yesterday. I am out of it in a 10 team mixed auction draft keeper as was wondering if he Choo was droppable for a better keeper like Belt. Comments?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

I wouldn't cut Shin-Soo Choo for Brandon Belt in a keeper league unless there was some sort of tremendous long-term advantage to doing so (like, you have a five-year contract on Belt, but Choo's only handy for 2012 and he's pricier). As for why Choo made it, every week that passes brings him closer to activation, and I felt he should not be forgotten at this point.

J (Boston)

Is Shields a must start? Concerned with him tonight vs NYY. Should I be?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

Nope. They've been low-scoring enough games, these Rays-Yankees affairs, this week. Too talented to sit.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

"it's a bad matchup, you've been warned" Says the guy that says start Nolasco against the Padres.....

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

If I could make you a guarantee I would. There isn't a person on the planet who would've sat Ricky Nolasco yesterday. If they did, they were just guessing and got lucky. Just play the odds; over time that is your best shot at victory.

Jordan Walden (LA)

Whats the deal ive been great lately why no love?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

I have a tad bit of hesitation because the Angels have been rumored in the relief pitching market. What if they (gasp) got Heath Bell? I'm sorry, but Bell should close over Jordan Walden.For the record, I'm a Walden fan on skills; I just think right now a little hesitation is warranted.

Nate (MN)

Thanks for the response. Wilson's beard reminds me of the Simpsons Halloween episode where Snake's hair crawls around and jumps on people, taking control of their minds. I bet there's a way to make some money off another story like that.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

Ha! Though that was an awful episode. Really haven't liked the Halloween episodes for more than a decade now...

Cameron Maybin (SD)

Have I done enough lately for you to SHOW ME SOME LOVE?!?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

Love for Cameron! He does deserve it. And I admit that part of the reason I don't buy in more is that ballpark is so bad for him, and that lineup so light, his counting-number potential is poor (comparative to if he was on almost any other team).

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

OK, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Take care everyone!