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April 16, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning everyone! I trust you all have your lineups set, since we've got a game underway here in a couple minutes. But I'm here to help with your fantasy baseball questions nevertheless, so here we go...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:01 AM)

Quick question before we start: Who's up for some in-game updates? I bet some of you are at work and can't watch. Too bad, giving 'em anyway. It's like Twitter in a chat! Haha.

Andre Ethier (Chavez Ravine, CA)

I'm playing for a contract. Think I can top 25 / 100 /100 / .300 for the season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

If you can stay healthy you can. If, if, <i>IF</i>. I capitalized the last one for emphasis; Ethier's injury history the past two seasons is disconcerting and I consider it the primary obstacle. Which is why if he's still near pace by mid-May, I'm shopping him.

Johnny Damon (Cleveland)

Am I on the field this week? What can owners expect this year from the Caveman Lawyer?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

Maybe late in the week; I think it'll take a good week to 10 days for Damon to get up to full speed. After all, he's "frightened and confused" by these "baseball men."As for Damon's appeal, think on-base percentage leagues, runs scored, steals, and from the matchups angle in daily more than as a weekly play. He might play only against righties. In standard Roto I think he's AL-only material, little more.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

And we're underway in Boston. Daniel Bard's first pitch is a strike.

John (NY)

TC....Wainwright/Greinke...concerned?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

Adam Wainwright: I always was, my opinion is plastered all over ESPN Fantasy's pages. He's a second-half target in my opinion. He's only helping give buy-low owners ammo.Zack Greinke: No. Can't say it simpler.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

Quick K of Desmond Jennings by Bard. Bard lookin' good (tiny, tiny sample), Jennings ... less so.

Nick (Atlanta)

Will we see Bauer called up soon with Collmenter struggles?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

Best guess: It happens around mid-May. I think that's the proper value estimation target date for Trevor Bauer's debut. Could be later than that, by a few weeks, but if you're waiting beyond that point I think you're doing yourself a disservice.

John (Boston)

Best Brian Wilson replacemente?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

This was a weekend topic, especially on Twitter, and I think people have misinterpreted my take on the Giants, post-Wilson. If you want details, check out my "30 Questions" in our Draft Kit. My opinion is unchanged since then, really, in terms of the individuals' skills. Sergio Romo looks like a closer, and many people seem to like him. Yes, I'd add him. But I've said this: I think Santiago Casilla is also a worthy add, and a real <i>value</I> to go get. Might be cheaper to get, and I think smarter in the long term.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

Red Sox out of the first. Rays coming up.

John (Denver, CO)

How worried are you about Kevin Youklis?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Not. In fact, thank you very much, Bobby Valentine, for only adding fuel to the "Kevin Youkilis is a buy-low target" fire.

Stephen (NC)

What do we do with Brandon Belt?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

It depends upon the league. Patience is necessary if the league parameters dictate long-term value: This means keeper and deeper NL-only. Considering both his early struggles and the Giants' shying from him in some games, I do think he's a cut candidate in shallow, certainly in ESPN standard. Guys like this are just those you keep on a watch list, prepare to pounce, if they warm up.

Josh (CA)

How are feeling about Hanley Ramirez now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

Um, good? I've been pretty pro-Hanley Ramirez since I got a good look at him on numerous occasions during the Grapefruit League. Another "30 Questions" that details how I was warming to him weeks ago. Nothing's really changed.

Anthony (CAL)

Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are sitting on waivers. Who would be the best one to stash?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

Trout, and also Trout. Raking in the minors so far, he'd be in the majors today if there was an open position for him, and besides, Harper has shown early struggles in the high minors and he's so young, I think he'll need a little time to adapt in the majors initially. You know, kinda like Trout did.

micah (atlanta)

Would you be comfortable rolling Delgado or Bass out on the mound tomorrow?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

Anthony Bass at Coors Field? No way.Randall Delgado at home versus the Mets gets my OK. Not an elite player/matchup, but if you're playing the streaming strategy in a somewhat larger league, sure, go for it.

Jamey (Toronto)

Many fantasy analysts were predicting that, of all first rounders, Bautista had the greatest "Bust" potential. Do you agree, TC?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

This is an unfair question because Jacoby Ellsbury is now hurt. Bias enters.

Pat (Bronx)

Tristan, do you think that Bryan LaHair and JD Martinez can continue to be useful fantasy pieces throughout the year? Which is more likely?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

I believe a lot more in Martinez than I do LaHair, but these are mostly NL-only options, not shallow mixed. Martinez's appeal is tied into playing time and respectable hitting skills that could lead to decent numbers in batting average, runs and RBIs. LaHair is a lottery ticket on power. And I think Anthony Rizzo might factor by mid-to-late summer.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

Through one, scoreless. 1-2-3 on both sides.

Shai (Morristown, NJ)

What do we do with Greg Holland?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

I still think Greg Holland leads the Royals in saves, so take that for what it's worth. Jonathan Broxton might be only another 1-2 ugly outings away from Holland getting a shot. That said, I've seen even the bad closers often need a couple weeks to accumulate enough stinkers for a change to actually happen.

Tom (Florida)

Alex Rios worth holding onto in an AL only league no bench?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

How deep? That is the question. But I'm awfully anti-Rios, have been for a long, long time. I'm not going to quibble with such a decision. He can ruin you in batting average without doing a lot in terms of counting numbers, the frustration here being that his stats come in streaks, and you never know when they'll come.

Kevin (Rye)

Who;s pitching for the Rays?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

James Shields.

Josh (Hyattsville)

do you think pujols might finally be on the way down?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Absolutely not. Somewhere on the site I've cited the statistics about players coming to a new league and how sometimes they need time to adapt (to the point their numbers match those in their past) -- I think this was in the Prince Fielder-to-Tigers spin (do a Google search to find it) -- and I think it'd be a monstrous mistake for anyone not to afford Albert Pujols <i>at least</i> the 30-game "adjustment period" mulligan that I cited.

Gus (NV)

Tristan, I know you had JUpton ranked higher in your last rankings, but in a keeper league, how much advantage in Jupton over Votto?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

It's not a substantial advantage but I consider it an advantage. Age, position depth, categorical contributions each slightly favor Justin Upton.

Jeff S. (Vermont)

How bout that ryan raburn spring flowing right over into the regular season?? haha... you bailing on him as hard as those on espn have if you picked him up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Ryan Raburn and Francisco Liriano might be <i>the</i> top examples of why you should never exaggerate spring statistics. In a standard ESPN league, yes, I completely understand shedding Raburn. That said, in my AL-only league, Raburn was a late, late-round pick to fill middle infield, and he's still worth keeping around over the trash left on waivers. So in a deeper league, a little patience please.

JF (MA)

re:Pujols That's like askin' if Miggy Cabrera is all done after his horrible weekend!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Let's just say I've read enough comments, and I mean even from people I'd be surprised would say them, to suggest Pujols' struggles are actually bothering people. They aren't bothering me in the slightest.

Robert (DC)

Drop Worley for DrabeK?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

No. Creative, and I like Kyle Drabek as a lower-end pickup, but I don't think their skills -- at least for 2012 over the long haul -- are equal.

Phil (The D)

Matt Kemp!!!!! That is all.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

Well said.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Nice catch by Ryan Sweeney to get Daniel Bard out of a jam. He had hit a batter and walked another, but he's out of trouble in the second. Scoreless, Red Sox coming up.

Dan (Vermont)

Happy Patriot's Day - love the 11am start in Boston! Speaking of, I shouldn't worry about Evan Longoria, should I? (I kid, I kid!!) But seriously: H.Alverez or P.Humber - who do you like better for an AL Only league this year? Next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

Bleagh, who wants Evan Longoria's stats so far? Awful. So disappointing.But seriously, Henderson Alvarez for both, if only because the median expectation is matchups play in the format, but Alvarez's ceiling is noticeably higher, both for this and next.

Robert (Texas)

How about a 60' 6" preview? Rank Zito, Duffy, Arrieta and Niemann?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

I don't do previews, because the time and research that goes into that column cannot be replicated in this space. This is quick-hitting, top-of-the-head.So understand that's where I'm coming from when I rank these guys, even if I change my mind in tomorrow's column (which would be as a direct result of a research finding): Jeff Niemann, Jake Arrieta, Danny Duffy, Barry Zito.

Michael (Milwaukee)

Brian Matusz, time to give up on him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

ESPN standard or shallow mixed, where there are viable alternatives on waivers? Yes.Matusz is and was always a lottery ticket type, and from that aspect, you're shuffling your tickets on your bench. I'm trying to keep him on my rosters as I can, but I wouldn't lose sleep if I lost him.

skinny cat (co)

Has Youk smashed a helmet yet today?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

He's off today.

Joey (Seattle)

When do we stop saying "slow start" and start saying "he's no longer good"?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

There's no cut-and-dry answer to that, but by May, even May 1, I'd begin to be concerned with a struggling player. That said, I am always going to seek an explanation for a player's struggles rather than give up on him blindly. Adam Dunn's issues last year were easily revealed by examining pitch data, splits and peripherals. And I'd do that for any of 2012's examples.

Chicken (Parm)

Better Lottery ticket Matusz or Duffy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

At this point, Duffy.

Dave (OP, KS)

When is it ok to get worried about your team? Sitting next to last place in a 14 team roto, and I'm 100 points from the top. History in my league says you start strong, you'll be in the top 3 or so all year.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

Your league might be different than mine. I'm not going to say this happens often, but I was in dead last in a very competitive league of mine on Memorial Day, and come October I was that league's champion. Again, your odds aren't exceptional if you're in that spot, but it is most certainly not <i>impossible</i>. And I would argue that the team in first place on May 1 really doesn't have that much greater a chance of being there on Oct. 1 than the team in, say, fifth place on that day.

Robert (Texas)

So, how long would Zito have to keep up his current form for you to start buying into him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

I'll bite from the Jamie Moyer perspective, which means matchups or singular-league consideration, and be aware I mean the Moyer of a decade ago, not the 49-year-old. The comparison has been made by others than I, and I think it's apt. But that's as far as I am going or will go all year, unless he shows some sort of absurd, unexpected strikeout bump.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

Incidentally, Red Sox got a man to third in the second, but with two outs. Didn't score, and we're going to the third.

Eric (Chicago) [via mobile]

Tristan you starting Colby tomorrow?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

Not in a standard ESPN mixed. In the shallow formats risks to that degree are practically never worth it. AL-only, deep mixed (12+ teams), we can talk. But I'm not expecting a masterpiece.

Jeremy Spoke In (Class Today)

True or False: Tom Wilhelmsen and Bryan Shaw are the new Luke Gregerson and Mike Adams?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

False.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

Sean Rodriguez becomes Daniel Bard's second strikeout. Rodriguez has looked awful this year. Then again, he has faced a ton of righties, and he historically hasn't been able to hit them.

David (Trenton, NJ)

Does Joe Nathan lose the closer role?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

Considering what the Rangers are paying him, I understand why they're just calling what they did with him this past week "a break." Nathan's leash is a little longer than this, but if I'm making a list of current closers -- <i>clear</i> closers -- he'd be in the top three most likely to lose his gig.

matt (seattle)

Question about RBI and runs - do you think there is a skill in terms of run production? Example, most would say that Sandoval and Zimmerman were about equally valued on draft day as .280+ 3B who could hit 25 HR and provide middle-of-the-order draft production. But when I looked deeper, I saw that, for his career, Sandoval is averaging about 79 runs and 85 RBI per 162 games, versus about 93 runs and 96 RBI for Zim. This struck me as strange, as I assumed that Pablo - who has normally hit in the #3 hole - would be almost as good as Zim in terms of run production, but that is clearly not the case. What say you?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

My quick reaction to this is that Pablo Sandoval's supporting cast has ranked among <i>the</i> worst in all of baseball during his career in the majors. That suppresses runs/RBI numbers. And about the runs, I can't do the research to prove this right here, takes too long, but I have a hunch Sandoval might have been yanked for a pinch runner late in games more often than the average player, and that also impacts the run column.

Alex (Toronto)

Thinking of pulling the trigger, can you see a reason not too? Jay Bruce and Madison Bumgarner for Ichiro and King Felix

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

Desmond Jennings doing the things I most like: Drawing a walk, then swiping second.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

By the way, I <i>so</i> approve of the Rays batting Carlos Pena second. He's patient, and that's exactly what you want hitting behind your guy if you're a Jennings owner.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

Anyway, to that trade. That's a heck of a trade. I lean slightly toward the King Felix side, but much of the reason is that I regard him the best player in the deal. I could legitimately make a case for either side, and when that happens, I advise "needs." If pitching is your need, go for it. If it's power/RBIs, you want the Bruce side for sure.

dee gordon (la,ca)

I can steal 100 bags>

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Absolutely you can. But can you walk 50-plus times? Or bat higher than .240?

Jonathon Niese (New York)

Better SP going forward ROS--Niese OR Lance Lynn? DROP Brett Myers (my #4 Closer in H2H) for either one of these potential breakout SPs?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

Those who read my stuff know how pro-Jonathon Niese I've been all year. I'm going to raise the stakes: I'm warming to the idea that Niese is going to enjoy a major breakout year. In the range of the top 25 starters on our Player Rater. Seriously, what I see is the seeds of a pitcher who could yet do it. You know what to do.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

Bard with whiffs of Carlos Pena, then Longoria, to escape the third.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

Also, Bard clocking in the mid-90s, easily 95 mph, with the fastball.

Alex (Erie, PA)

How much more do you look at Sabremetric stats now compared to say a few years ago?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

A noticeable amount, though to be honest with you, that's more because of how readily available they are than it is personal interest. Most of the stats we get today are things I was looking for back in 2002. It's just that so few people had them.

Craig Stuart (Victoria )

Who are a few other breakout pitchers that are outside your top 50?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

OK, this is something I'll take a couple minutes to check my list and toss you some names... One sec.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

OK, that's a bit crazy a stat: The Rays now have as many stolen bases as a <i>team</i> this season as Raul Ibanez (2).

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

Back to that question about pitching values. Rules here will be out of my top 50 in the latest "60 Feet 6 Inches," yet <i>could</I> in the best-case go, say, top-40...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

Working backwards: Jake Arrieta, Henderson Alvarez, Ivan Nova, Juan Nicasio, Mike Minor, Niese, Bud Norris.

Stephen (Long Island)

What do I do with Heath Bell?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

You wait. I have no more legitimate advice for a Heath Bell owner than that, sorry to say. If you bought Bell you paid a premium, he's not close to a cut candidate right now and I think you'd get robbed if you tried to trade him.

Jon (Bmore)

Someone offered me Yu Darvish for Chris Sale- I'm obligated to accept, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

That's a heck of an interesting trade, because it's swapping guys I thought might have started hot, but lost value the deeper we got into the season. I ranked Darvish higher of the two, though, as he's much more likely to lead in innings. And that's key, and it's not even getting to his considerable skills, which trump Sale's.

Chris (Richmond)

Who is this pretending to be Omar Infante?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

At this exact moment on this date last season, Jorge Posada had five home runs and Pat Burrell four. Just saying...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

Realized I hadn't updated the game in a bit, it's scoreless top four.

James (Pittsburgh)

Crystal Ball Question: Will Brett Myers stay a closer for the year or will someone trade for him and make him a starter again?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

My opinion is that the moment Myers got locked into a relief role to begin this season, that became highly likely his role for the course of 2012. It's not easy for a pitcher to go from the kind of role he's in today to being a starter; that's more of an offseason shift.As for whether he'd close elsewhere, I don't like his odds. You could toss the Red Sox in there as an obvious destination where he might stay a closer, but remember they could have Andrew Bailey back by around the trade deadline. I'd tread carefully if I was a Myers owner.

dougward (my desk)

Give my students homework or a break on Monday?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

Now that I have a kid at "homework age," I can say as a parent that I can see a point at which there is such a thing as "too much homework." I'm not spending three hours standing over my son so he does all of his homework. Just sharing my thoughts...

Ron (England )

With a hot start has cozart shown you promise of more than Originally expected and can you see him in the top 12 ss

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

I was pro-Cozart on the lower end and remain mostly there. Thinking that the "good" Cozart bats around .270, hits 15 bombs, steals in double digits. And you should be pleased with that line.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 PM)

Wow. Daniel Bard just induced an easy double-play grounder back to the mound, but he bounced the throw to second. Good play by Mike Aviles to convert it, turn the two. To bottom four we go!

Rick Porcello (Detroit)

What about me being on the above "outside the Top 50" list of SPs? I've been lights out my first 2 starts! &#x26; With that Offense behind me, I'm still REALLY young, heck, I may even jump Scherzer

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:06 PM)

Hey, you <i>could</i> make the top 40, but the point is I'm not investing at that level. How about striking some hitters out, would ya?

Mack (Philly)

Is jumping Scherzer really saying much?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:07 PM)

If Rick Porcello finishes higher on our Player Rater than Max Scherzer this season, and I mean outside of the obvious possibility that Scherzer gets hurt, yes, I would be very surprised. I would trade Porcello for Scherzer in an instant.

Shai (Morristown, NJ)

What do we do with Ryan Doumit?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:07 PM)

Deep mixed or AL-only, be patient, but do so with him on your bench if at all possible. I'll toss this out: League adjustment. Could be a factor.

Ney (My Basement)

No one cares about the Boston game!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:08 PM)

You're in a fantasy baseball chat, it's the only game on right now and you <i>don't</i> want to hear about it? Ummm...

Jeff S. (Vermont)

Tristan, it was a decision by the Tigers staff for Porcello to attempt to induce more grounders than get strikeouts... Something tells me they aren't changing course with his success so far as a youngster.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:09 PM)

But that doesn't suit him considering the defensive limitations of his team. And that's my point about why I'm not a believer in a Porcello breakthrough.

Rick (Boston)

I care. Kemp or Braun?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:10 PM)

Both top-five players overall. I had Ryan Braun higher in the preseason, and I'll say that judging by what I've personally witnessed of them so far, I was wrong. Matt Kemp should've been higher. And I'm not upset about that, because jeez, I said both were awesome in the preseason.

Rob (Philly)

You working OT, THC, or are you chatting for the duration of the Sox game?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:11 PM)

OT. Need to write in a bit so can't stick around the entire game, but I'll take at least a few more questions.

Chris (Knoxville, TN)

I was offered Jennings for Ellsbury....I'm worried this year might be like 2010 for Jacoby thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:13 PM)

I'd at least give it some consideration, and your concerns are valid. It's a 6-8 week injury, typically, but then we don't even know how quickly he'll recapture his form after that. Eight weeks, incidentally, is sometime in June. We're talking about a good third of the season. Player Rater formula, assuming eight lost weeks, probably has these guys ranked similarly. So I'd make the decision based upon needs/outfield depth. As in, if you need the productive player now to get you through, I do the deal. If you're super-deep, however, I'd wait.

The Simpsons (Springfield, OR)

How safe is Balfour's job? Over/Under 28 Saves.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:14 PM)

Grant Balfour is a player I was wrong on, and expect to remain wrong on. Skills support him keeping the job, and my doubts in the preseason were whether he'd <i>get</i> the job, simple as that. Well, he has it. Believe.

Dave (New York, NY)

Thoughts on Andy Pettite this season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:14 PM)

All positives so far with his "spring training," so I see a decent share of AL-only value and matchups/streaks appeal for sure in deeper mixed. Think a guy whose ERA might range in the high-threes, and needs merely to be avoided against the loaded lineups.

jwf (ma)

Think Guerra gets 40 Saves?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:15 PM)

He's capable of it, sure. And this is coming from a huge Kenley Jansen fan. Best arm doesn't always have to close.

Drew (Chicago)

Who you streaming today??? Bedard or Saunders?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:15 PM)

I can't believe Erik Bedard is only regarded a streaming candidate. So clearly him.

Bob (KC)

would you trade Granderson or Choo for Ellsbury right now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:16 PM)

No way.

Justin (IA)

Ike Davis, was Sunday a sign of things to come?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:16 PM)

Yes.

Deeply Concerned (New York)

Brendan Morrow was supposed to buoy my SO count for my FA team. I was willing to even accept a hit an ERA for his 10+ SO/9. Yet he he is sitting somewhere in the 4K/9IP range, which is bad. He has lost velocity off his fast ball. Should I be concerned?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:18 PM)

His velocity went from 91.8 mph on fastballs in his first start to 93.4 in his second. I don't think it's enough to worry about yet. See my "60 Feet 6 Inches," it discussed velocity concerns.

Mike Sciosia (LA)

What do you do with Trumbo?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:19 PM)

Sell high when you can. Monstrous power, yes, but I still say an incomplete player who doesn't have a firm place to play every day.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:19 PM)

Outside of the two pitchers, Desmond Jennings having a day here. Double on a bad Bard pitch, he's on second, top five, two outs, scoreless.

Cory Luebke (Colorado)

I'm nervous about my start today. What do you think?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:21 PM)

I would be too. Think the quality-start cutoff, in the 6-and-3 range. If you expect anything more than that, you're setting yourself up for potential disappointment. Which means in standard ESPN, again, I'd take the conservative approach.

Grandpa Joe (Bed)

Bard going to be in the rotation all year in your opinion?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:23 PM)

"All year," no, probably not, because that physically requires the stamina to throw 200 innings and he's used to about 70 in a season. But if what you're asking is whether I think he'll remain a starter as opposed to being shifted to the bullpen <i>soon</i> to address that weakness, yes, I think he's remaining a starter for awhile. Think an Alexi Ogando-in-2011-like approach to his role.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:24 PM)

Daniel Bard a little shaky with his command today, issued his fourth walk (in 4 2/3 innings to this point) to Carlos Pena.

Gwen (DE)

Should everyone sit Brandon McCarthy today vs. LAA?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:25 PM)

No. Unless you have some sort of embarrassment of riches in terms of alternatives.

Frank the Tank (Jacksonville)

The Reds have to put Aroldis Chapman in the rotation sooner rather than later, right? 15 Ks and zero walks in 8IP, he has more strikeouts than Verlander, Halladay and Kershaw!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:26 PM)

All that matters to the Reds right now is that Homer Bailey pitched fine his last time out. So I don't see this happening anytime soon, and I'm growing exponentially concerned that it'll ever happen (in 2012).

Jared (SF)

What do we do about Tim Lincecum tonight?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:27 PM)

He deserves one more "must-start" declaration but his velocity needs be closely watched. After that point we can talk.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:27 PM)

Big whiff there of Evan Longoria by Bard. He has now whiffed Longoria with a man in scoring position to end two separate innings (third, fifth). To bottom five we go, scoreless.

Evan Longoria (TB)

Buy low on me!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:28 PM)

How could anyone conceivably buy low on a player batting .306/.405/.500?

Jason (VA)

Niese/Werth/Bourn/Fowler for Strasburg/Rizzo/Stanton/Soriano(cubs) Who you got?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:29 PM)

It's <i>barely</i> the former, but most of that is tied up to the fact that it's a monstrous shift in stolen bases between the sides.

Jay (NYC)

You're watching Bard...what do you think. Hold onto him or grab Drabek or Chen for my last SP? Bard's whip scares me and it sounds like he's no more in control today. I don't want to miss out on early season trends. I like Drabek and Chen but Bard's potential is enticing. Thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:31 PM)

My opinion is that Bard needs a bit of a long leash. Sketchy command should be expected; he's got a heater but he has never had to lean on his secondary stuff to the extent that he will as a starter. So I think it'll improve in time. I'd rank these guys Bard, Kyle Drabek, Wei-Yin Chen.

Michael (NY)

Juan Pierre gets 35 steals this year.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:31 PM)

And 250 ABs.

Steve (NYC)

You buying Nova so far? Ks are up and peripherals look really nice...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:32 PM)

Too many hits allowed, not the best ballpark or division for him, and all that caps his upside. But, yes, K's are up. I'll give him that. And he'll win games (ugh, I feel dirty saying that), because of the team he's on.

Erik (PA)

Werth or Heyward for the year in a points league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:32 PM)

What's the points system? Do strikeouts count against? It's difficult for me to imagine a lot of scoring systems where Jayson Werth wouldn't be the correct answer.

Bob (Ft Lauderdale)

TC...you gave us our money's worth today my friend.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:34 PM)

Thanks Bob. Boy, I hope I do that most days. I've always felt that I love what I do, the chats are one of the best parts of the gig and I'd talk baseball every waking minute of the day if I could.

matt (woodinville)

Nova's problem is that he doesn't miss any bats at all - just 6.6% strike swinging for his career.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:34 PM)

I'd say "he sure did last night" but I will point out that I recall multiple called third strikes. I'm not going to quibble, though can't confirm your stat in the time alloted.

Mike (NJ)

Edwin Jackson a top 50 SP???

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:35 PM)

I don't trust Edwin Jackson. Sorry it's a simple statement such as that, but it's a valid one.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:35 PM)

We're through five in Boston, and it's scoreless. Two hits apiece for the teams. Good day to be a Shields, Jennings or Bard owner.

Jmeekor (Toronto)

Once upon a time Chad Billingsly in your "60 feet, 6 inches" column (a column shout-out you have to post my question now!) was a top 10 ranked SP. He has had a history of solid performances. Is he on the rise or a typical April mirage?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:37 PM)

I think he's feasting upon tasty, tasty matchups. I'm going to re-examine again tomorrow when the column next runs, but that's my general take right now.

Chris (Richmond)

Austin Jackson going to keep hitting this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:39 PM)

His walk rate is more than double what it was a year ago, he's chasing fewer pitches and making more contact than he did in 2011. If he can maintain those gains -- and I'd even make the case for whether he keeps his walk rate in double digits -- yes, he really could keep hitting. Not to this level, no, but in the .290-.300 range? Sure.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:40 PM)

Little bloop by Luke Scott has the Rays with a man on to begin the sixth. That's the first time all day they've had the leadoff man on.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:40 PM)

Heck, it's the first leadoff man on base for <i>either</I> team.

Brian (Boston, MA)

You worried about Jhoulys Chacin? His control wasnt there in the Spring and isnt now. Should I look to cut bait?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:41 PM)

I am legitimately concerned about Jhoulys Chacin, yes, and understand I purchased him in both experts leagues, so I'd be following him closely. Another "30 Questions" to review; the follow-up note I can provide today is that the questions and concerns I outlined there remain present today. That is not a good thing.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:42 PM)

Blip on my TV feed but it appears Ben Zobrist just whiffed, giving Bard 6 K's for the day.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:42 PM)

And a double play gets Bard out of the sixth. Looks like 87 pitches thrown, and he's got six shutout with 6 K's, seven baserunners allowed.

Keith (Boston)

Do any of you ESPN-ers ever get ideas for stories from these chats?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:43 PM)

I can and sometimes do, yes. I am always happy to hear your thoughts, players you want to know more about, etc., whether you mention them here, on Twitter, Facebook, in my mailbag...

Drew (Chicago)

What about Jimenez? He didn't look himself yesterday and I only have so many slots to keep rostered.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:44 PM)

Velocity was up at least, 94.0 mph fastball on average, so that's a plus. I still say the general opinion was a tad too high on him in the preseason, and that he's in the high-30s among starting pitchers (40th in 60F6I), but that's not a guy to cut ... yet.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:45 PM)

OK, going to take a few more, take us through the sixth inning of the game, then will wrap up.

Mat Gamel (Milwaukee)

Hey THC, I dropped myself for the red hot JD Martinez in a H2H League. Will I end up regretting that move ROS? Is there much difference in our potential upsides for 2012 in your opinion?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:46 PM)

Position flexibility, plus a tad more power potential, might be the primary differences between the two. You could claim runs/RBI, except that I think the Astros' offensive team limitations put their heart-of-order hitters in the ballpark of a lower hitter in the Brewers' order.

Dave (NYC)

Do you think Chapman gets the closer job this year? I just picked him up.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:47 PM)

His stuff says "yes," but the Reds' potential need for him on a multiple-inning basis could keep them thinking he's smarter middle-inning material. I love what Chapman has done this year and if you're speculating, by all means I say there's something there. But I don't want you surprised if he spends the entire year in the 7th-8th, throws 90 innings and gets 135 K's, but never does anything in terms of saves.

Sal (NJ)

Just picked up L. Lynn? Your take on him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:48 PM)

Good skills, impressive spring, I like what I see. The negatives would involve durability; I'm not sure he's prepared to go 200 frames without hiccups. So enjoy it now, consider floating as a sell-high before long, always have a contingency.

Adam (PA)

Beachy, Minor, Nicasio, Szmarjda...right order?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:49 PM)

Yes.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:50 PM)

OK, we're through six scoreless. Time for me to wrap things for the day, but thanks to everyone for stopping by, asking questions and enjoying the game with me. It's been fun, and best of luck to you in your matchups this week. Take care everyone, and don't forget, I hope to see many of you in my Vokle chat with AJ Mass tomorrow!