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April 23, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy MLB with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:01 AM)

Good morning everyone! Rain sure wreaked havoc with our Week 3 fantasy baseball plans, so I'm here to help with any of your lineup questions -- along with any general inquiries. Let's get started...

Michael (New Jersey)

What do I do with Pineda? Felt obligated to have a Yankee on my team and I am regretting it. Other starters Kershaw, CJ Wilson, J Zimmerman, Latos, and Luebke.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

It's a horrendous idea to obligate yourself with a player from a specific team, especially the hometown team. You set yourself up to overpay, and be disappointed.Specifically addressing Michael Pineda, at this point it's decision time for people in leagues with strict roster guidelines. He's a much, much less attractive DL-spot stash, if you've got a cap on those. And he's not worth a bench spot in a standard ESPN league, where you're afforded three reserves. It's time to seriously consider letting him go.

corey (arizona)

when do we see trevor bauer called up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

See my injured pitchers spin on the site for detail on that, but I think he <i>should</i> debut sometime in May. It doesn't mean he <i>will</i>, but I like to arrange my fantasy teams around the most sensible scenarios, so I'd plan accordingly. Range I throw out for evaluation: May 10-15.

Christian (Boise, ID)

Tristan, I can't understand why Colon is ranked so low today? It seems like both pitchers are a good play today, what gives?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

I don't know. Every columnist has his own opinion, but I'd be starting Bartolo Colon.

rozenz (WC)

Raburn is killing me in everything in an AL 5x5 league! Should I drop him for Jamey Carrol or hang on to him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

It's an understandable swap from the standpoint that if you cannot stomach the hit to your batting average during Ryan Raburn's rough spells, Jamey Carroll is at least less likely to hurt you in the category. The makeup of your team should dictate such a decision. But overall, Carroll offers little more than the "can't hurt you" angle, and Raburn's potential in the counting number categories is easily greater. If it's my team, I'm sticking with Raburn.

Mike (No hit No No)

I streamed Humber Saturday, but dropped him. Got credit for the no hitter. What is his outlook?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

I completely understand such a decision and in fact, am in the midst of a research projected related to Philip Humber and his perfect game. What I'm trying to determine: How valid the streaming strategy when it comes to pitchers who performed so well in a singular start that they <i>look like</i> they warrant keeping around.My hunch -- haven't completed the research -- is that there's no reason to expect any significant bump in long-term performance for Humber, going by historical trends.

Tom (NYC)

Pronk is back! They say he's healthy. What is his absolute best case scenario this year? #'s look great right now and he's playing everyday.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

I've seen this kind of hot spell from him before, and I've also seen unexpected injuries strike him that either A) land him on the DL for an extended period, or B) impact his on-field performance. In other words, he's a "ride the streak" player that you should enjoy, because I can't see it continuing for all 162.

Rick (Toronto)

When do I pick up Trout and sit on him before the rest of the crowd does?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

Mike Trout's fantasy prognosis is weaker than the aforementioned Trevor Bauer's, if only because there isn't as evident a major league opportunity for Trout as there is for Bauer. I think Trout should be called up by June 1, because if he keeps hitting like this the Angels cannot possibly ignore it. But nothing's automatic with that offense.

micah (go braves)

Hey Tristan - I've got C.C. and Holland, you starting both today? I'm leaning towards 'yes'...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

As am I.

JD (Ontario)

Who would you rather have ROS, Jarrod Parker or Danny Duffy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

Duffy, if only because when faced with two promising youngsters, I'll usually side with the one with greater big-league experience.

Lou (Miami)

Do you have any concerns about Pujos for the ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

No. Let's leave it at "league adjustment" and hope that nothing more disconcerting shows up in the statistics. I remind Albert Pujols owners of Miguel Cabrera's first month as a member of the American League.

corey (arizona)

is sergio romo worth holding onto in a 12 team mixed league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

For ERA and WHIP help, maybe, and even then I've got my doubts because of the Giants' tendency to treat him somewhat like a "ROOGY." Gut call? No, it's time to cut him.

Stan (Memphis)

Tristan, I'm in dire need of a second closer in my 15-team roto. Jon Rauch is available - what do you think - pick him up hoping he gets the opportunity or wait for someone else? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

It's difficult to ignore thus far that Jon Rauch has pitched well, and Frank Francisco has not. I didn't believe in Rauch in the slightest entering the year, and felt more strongly about Francisco. But things change, and quickly, in a bullpen headed by pitchers like these. If you're speculating, Rauch could be worth the short-term add, but don't get cozy.

Jordan (Boulder)

I may not be an expert, but I am assuming it is not a good thing to have 22K strikeouts and only 6 hits. Keep waiting for those 30+ HR from Mark Reynolds or pull the plug in a 12 team mixer?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

That's Mark Reynolds in a nutshell. He's going to drive you crazy during his slumps, just as any player would in a stretch like his. There will be good times ahead; gut says that you should be a little more patient but I also don't know what kind of plug-ins are available on the wire.

Rob (Philly)

Odds Bard makes his start on Friday? If he comes in the 8th today and goes 1-2-3 that's about it for his SP future this year, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

People are overreacting about Daniel Bard, period. The Red Sox are simply skipping his spot in the rotation and considering using him in the bullpen, but as things stand as of this moment, he's scheduled to start on Friday.I'm not dismissing the idea that if he does what you say that the Red Sox might dabble further with him as a reliever. It's possible. But people are really jumping on this as if he's now a full-time reliever with a straight path to closership. That's overreacting.Bottom line: Monitor closely. But the way Bard has pitched as a starter, I think it's foolish to make such a sudden shift today.

Rob (Philly)

How's A.J. Burnett looking ROS? His last time in the NL he got 200Ks and around a 3.50 ERA...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

Burnett is absolutely worth an add, but the caution I toss out is that he has had some promising starts to recent seasons with the Yankees before returning to the frustrating, inconsistent, lacking-in-command Burnett during the hot summer months. So those projections are a tad optimistic. Possible, but it's a big leap.

Chris (Richmond)

What has happened to Masterson?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

Slider numbers have taken a hit, the velocity on his sinker is down, left-handed hitters are getting to him, the latter being a primary concern of his historically because he lacks a truly dominant pitch to use against them.My reaction is that it's more a blip than trend, but when Justin Masterson is in a funk like this, the fact that he's an "incomplete" pitcher (for the LHB note I referenced) means he belongs on your bench until he gets himself straightened out.

Nuke LaLoosh (Durham)

DROP Masterson for Matt Harrison, Ivan Nova, OR Jake Peavy who are available in my league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

OR ... you could do that, in which case I'd drop him for Nova, among these options.

Daniel (NY)

Being that its the same exact two pitchers, is there any reason to think the Mets closing situation will be just as ugly as it was in Toronto last year.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

Absolutely it could. It's exactly what I was concerned about at the onset of spring training, and I wrote as much in the spin the day that the Mets signed them both, I think in December. (You can do a site search to find my thoughts about it from that day.)The thing that surprises me: I really believed Ramon Ramirez might be the deep sleeper in that 'pen. So far, it looks like Bobby Parnell might be.

jay (sd)

i dropped sale, and I am regretting it. His command is shaky, what is your opinion?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Please explain how his command is "shaky"? His walks-per-nine is in line with during his relief days, which frankly I consider impressive considering the drastic change in expected workload, and both his pitches-in-strike-zone and strike rates are right there with the major league averages. You made a mistake, sorry to say.

Scott (Concord, NH)

Another good start (Quality Start, actually) for Wei-Yin Chen. Thoughts on him? Will he crack the 60' 6" list this week? Thoughts on him as trade bait in AL Only - sell high, or hold? Thanks for chatting!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

He's on my "Streamer's Delight" list for later this week, so Chen's on my radar. Might make the top 100, near the back end, we'll see (haven't done the rankings yet). I'd have similar concerns for any import: Do they hold up over the long, hot summer, with a longer schedule?

Kev (NYC)

Any word on Beltre being in tonight's lineup?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Last I heard he sounded doubtful for the entire series. The Texas Rangers are one of the few teams that can get away with taking a conservative approach with any of their hitters; they can use Michael Young at the hot corner all series, and scarcely notice Beltre's absence. Plan accordingly, you might get only three games' production out of him if you're in a weekly-lineup league.

Matt (Astoria)

I have the opportunity to get Morneau for Duda. I should do that, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I consider that shifting assets during short-term periods, and that's fine. But Justin Morneau will break your heart later in the season, and if you're not returning to, say, my late-June chat with a question about a trade where you give Morneau and get someone else at least as interesting as Duda, I think you're making a mistake. Just plan accordingly over the long haul.

derrick (tampa)

How about Youk? Any word on him missing tonights game?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I own him so I specifically checked pre-chat; he was supposedly set to play Sunday had the game not been rained out. I say go for it. I did!

James (Boston)

You buying Francisco Cordero closing for Toronto or does he relinquish the gig?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

It's all about performance, but he's got that gig while Sergio Santos is out. I've said before that I don't trust Cordero's skill set over the course of the full year, so consider it a short-term saves opportunity.

Elliot (Philadelphia)

What about Eduardo Nunez on NYY? Hitting .455, he plays everywhere, great speed &#x26; he's always being squeezed into that lineup somewhere...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

Good AL-only back-of-lineup plug-in, especially considering the Yankees don't consider anyone else on their active roster a viable backup in center field. It means they'll experiment with Nunez more often than before Brett Gardner got hurt, get him a few extra at-bats per week and maybe he'll earn another eligible position before long. I can't go further than that unless an infield starter gets hurt and clears a regular space for him, however.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

By the way, speaking as a fan, I'm completely unimpressed by Nunez's defense. He has a lot to learn in that regard.

Reagan (Houston)

You starting J. Upton this week or sit him for Bonifacio?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

I'm starting Upton. I might find another player to bump for Emilio Bonifacio, but Upton did play this weekend and I'm not going to sit him anytime he's healthy.

Matt (Astoria)

When using a nickname of a lesser known player like Travis Hafner, most of us have no idea that he's referred to as "pronk." I had to google it to figure out who he was.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Sorry Matt, and I usually write the player's full name in my response to be sure (also to help if you're doing a search in chat archives). Funny, because "Pronk" is one of the most familiar nicknames to me. Might be because I had him on a couple championship teams, I suppose. Great, great player during his prime.

nando (boston)

is Bryce Harper a must own once he gets the call to the bigs?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

No. You'll notice by my keeper top 250 from the preseason that I'm a huge fan of Harper's in dynasty leagues, but in redraft formats I don't expect much from him this season. First of all, I'm not sure he'll be up before the second half of the season, and even after he's recalled, I think he'll require an adjustment period.

Joe (NY)

When Crawford returns are you a believer if he stays healthy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

Well, of course, but the one thing I'll caution a Carl Crawford owner is that this injury did lead -- statistically speaking -- to some of his issues at the plate in 2011. So "if he stays healthy" is a bit of a leap, to me. Just be careful not to exaggerate your expectations, because with a "name brand" player like this I've heard way too many people loving Crawford too much.

Luke (Missouri)

Ok so Jordan Schaffer continues to amaze me. What can I expect the rest of the way?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

Speed, not a heck of a lot else, and a sizable share of at-bats whenever he's healthy because the Astros really don't have a viable alternative. We're talking about more of an NL-only asset whose ESPN standard appeal is in the "streaks" category -- like the one he's in now.

Pat (Bronx)

Need 5 game to be eligible - think there's anyway Adam Dunn gets OF eligibility during interleague?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

Nope. And even if he gets it, are you going to be terribly excited? Flawed player.

Jon (Philly)

Rios or Boesch?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

Alex Rios, but as with Morneau in the previous question, remember that he is a player who <i>will</i> break your heart over the long haul. You have been warned.

Eric (Oxford, MA)

What are your thoughts on Mike Minor for the entire season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

I'm a believer in Minor; today let's say solid top-40 SP fantasy value. And in my opinion, that's being somewhat liberal, but I like everything I've seen from him so far -- seen about 2-3 of his starts counting the spring.

Mark (Bellefonte, PA)

Can you please predict the future? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

I see baseball games being played tonight, Venus being rather bright in the western sky again this evening, and a tasty piece of chicken parm on the menu shortly.

Ernie Boch Jr (The AutoMile)

Thoughts on Lohse rest of the year? He started out hot last year too...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

Exactly.

Eric (CO)

Thoughts on Detwiler?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

Eric, I have to be completely honest with you, I haven't had an opportunity to examine the pitch data on Ross Detwiler yet. So based on his numbers -- haven't seen a single one of his starts yet -- I'd say he's NL-only worthy, and on the watch list even in mixed. That's as far as I'll go. As is, the Nationals still hint at Chien-Ming Wang threatening his rotation spot given time, so that means his leash isn't lengthy yet.

Ernie Boch Jr (The AutoMile)

So not good?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Statistical reference available in my Twitter feed (@SultanofStat), if you want it. But the facts were that Lohse was outstanding through the end of May last year, then he became pretty much a league-average pitcher from June 1 forward.

Mac (South Bend, IN)

Henry Rodriquez or Sean Marshall?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

Marshall, though I do like what I've seen from Rodriguez thus far. Frankly, I'm stunned that the Nationals still entertain the idea of Brad Lidge as their co-closer.

Ian (LA)

No opinion on Timmy?? He's being floated in my league, should I make a below value offer??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

I'm more concerned than most -- I dropped Tim Lincecum into the teens in my latest 60F6I rankings -- but I'm willing to give him a bit of a break, for now. Let's say if the "buy low" is noticeably low, go for it, but I wouldn't be treating him like the former Cy Young winner he was in a trade, that's for sure.

Alex (Little Rock, AR)

How many leagues are you in?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

Seven fantasy, two sim, this season.

Searching for closers (the wilderness)

What say ye of the Boston bullpen? Thanks for all your hard work and great material!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

Today I still say it is Alfredo Aceves' job, he has a decent length leash, Vicente Padilla being most likely the next in line if one is needed, but returning to the Bard comment from before, there's a hint of desperation on that pitching staff right now. I might change my mind by 24 hours from now, and I admit Bard <i>could</i> be 2-3 steps away from closing, if only because desperate teams do sometimes take desperate measures.But that is the <i>only</i> way in which I buy the Bard chatter as of 11:50 a.m. ET today.

Jonathan (IN)

Forgive my ignorance, what is a "sim" league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Diamond Mind Baseball.

Matt (Worcester, MA)

you buying Drew Smyly?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

I buy the strikeouts. I'm still carefully sniffing the matchups -- activated him in my key mixed points league this week only because I preferred him to James McDonald -- but I'm quite iffy about that Yankees matchup this week.

Augustus (Rome)

Henry Rodriguez or Frank Francisco this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

Wow, that's a toughie. Leaning Francisco, if only because of A) Lidge's presence, and B) the Mets' substantial advantage of eight games to the Nationals' six. Greater prospect of save chances, simple as that.

Jeff S. (Vermont)

how bout latos? you feel he can turn it around?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Yes, if only because a quick look at his pitch data shows similar velocity to the past, but a somewhat greater reliance upon the changeup. Fastball a little more hittable, but seems like he's dabbling a little, using the change to neutralize lefties more. So I'm comfortable writing off his slow start to his making adjustments. For now I am, at least. Buy low.

Kevin (Philly)

Would you trade Lincecum for Greinke straight up, or sit tight on Timmy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

I would. I'll take Greinke please.

Jordan (Boulder)

How much chicken parm do you eat in a given week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

Many might be surprised by this, but usually once a week on average, if it's not less than that. I do enjoy variety.

Jake Westbrook (St. Louis)

Talk about me and my under 2 ERA, now

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

Impressive start, worthy of NL-only and matchups consideration. We'll see whether it's sustainable over a long period; I'm not so sure.

Matt Moore (Tampa Bay)

What's up with my command? Early jitters? Anything to worry about here?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

There isn't enough career data to make any viable comparisons with Moore. From what I've seen, his fastball velocity seems slightly less, and he's not quite as capable of commanding it. So again, I'd call it adjustments, but I say that mostly because he's a rookie and the big jump from the minors to the majors. I think you need be patient.

Sean (Madison)

Can I trust Jake Peavy this week with his two starts? Should the start vs. Boston worry me?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

I'm game. I ranked him 20th, after all. If there's any time to roll the dice on a Red Sox matchup, it's right now, kicking them while they're down.

mike (Philly)

Reimold prediction ros...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

I still don't think of Nolan Reimold as a lot more than a fourth-outfielder/platoon candidate type, maybe bordering on the third best player in a single team's outfield. So like a .280 average and 20 homers on the high end, and remember that when I toss out numbers like that, I mean projected over a 162-game schedule, scaling to remaining games played at those rates.

Daniel (NY)

The red sox are down, but its not like you want to start a pitcher who will win 15 - 9.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

Um, yeah, but why would you have started Freddy Garcia, anyway? That was an obvious no-go.In defense of "pitchers in a 15-9 game," Felix Doubront had a pretty darned good stat line. The final score doesn't always tell the full story.

Dave (New York)

what do you think of Cespedes ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

"Streaks" player, and I am firmly convinced of that. He's going to have quite a career in my opinion, but there's going to be a patch in there where everyone's running from him like crazy in fantasy.

DJ Lance Rock (Gabbaland)

Extra time is AWESOME! Will any of my minor leaguers help me this season? Jacob Turner, Skaggs or Hak-Ju Lee?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 PM)

Muno: Gumby meets Twizzler?In terms of fantasy usefulness, I'd go Turner, Skaggs, Lee. I still think Skaggs -- and Lee, frankly -- is more of a late-year, cup-of-coffee type. But he's in the discussion right now because of the Diamondbacks' rotation questions.

Daniel (NY)

Cespedes will look like Carlos Pena perhaps?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:06 PM)

Not at all, because Carlos Pena walks a ton, and I'm not so sure that Cespedes always will.I'm thinking more like Alfonso Soriano, at peak.

Wayne (Happy Valley)

Thoughts on Dillon Gee. Worth it this week with 2 starts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:07 PM)

The second one is at Coors. I leave it to you to decide how much that bothers you, and to determine how much a potentially poor outing in the second start might hurt in your scoring system. You can see I'm OK with him in my Forecaster rankings.

Patrick (Cambridge MA)

One last try....What do you think of this Parker kid in Oak? I'm in a keeper league, but I haven't heard much about him...thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:08 PM)

Good prospect, middle-of-the-rotation type in my opinion, in a good situation to succeed right out of the gate. I'd be picky, because he's the exact kind of prospect that I see needing a noticeable adjustment period in the majors. Given a choice, it's clearly Bauer for me over Parker. But Parker could be worth a look if he gets that Wednesday assignment. It's a good matchup, just don't be shocked if it's something like 5 1/3 innings of decent stats, like 6 H, 2 ER.

Dave (New York)

Cespedes like Soriano at peak?? So a first rounder sometime soon? Isn't that aggressive after 2 weeks of ball?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:10 PM)

Peaks take time, and it's why I loathe making player comparisons. People usually overreact to them. I remember getting my first look at Soriano in what, 1998-99? And he broke out in fantasy in 2002? So if Cespedes becomes Soriano in 2015-16, are you going to be shocked? I could see it. He's got a ton of power, he can steal a base, but I see his plate discipline being flawed. He'll whiff a lot, be streaky, batting average an issue...

Mike (Dallas, TX)

Can Jeter keep performing this well in the long term or should I be looking to trade him for whatever I can get?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:11 PM)

I can't believe I'm saying that I believe in Derek Jeter. Seriously, he looks like he thinks it's 1999 again. By all means, sell if you can get that kind of value -- that was in the discussion for the top Player Rater spot at his position -- but I wouldn't be racing to move him otherwise.

Tony (Rochester)

Any concern about starting Ryan Zimmerman this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:13 PM)

Washington Post says that Zimmerman is expected to play Tuesday, so let that drive your decision-making. One counterpoint I'll make: They're Petco games to begin the week, so it's not like they're outstanding matchups. If you've got an embarrassment of riches at your infield corners, it's worth considering an alternative, but I'd frankly be surprised if many people have a player that good to put in over Zimmerman.

Mike Moustakas (Kansas City)

What do you think of Moustakas ROS he's starting to HEAT Up? He does have the pedigree...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:14 PM)

I'm a fan of Moustakas' from the aspect that he <i>could</i> bat about .280 with 20-homer power. I think he's that kind of player, though not necessarily more. Underrated, perhaps.

Bob (Toronto, Ontario)

I've been offered Carlos Santana for Adam Wainwright in a keeper league...I need to do that right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:14 PM)

Yes.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:15 PM)

OK, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, best of luck to you in your matchups this week and, don't forget, I'll be here to chat with you on Vokle tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. ET! Hope to see you then...