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July 16, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy MLB with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:00 AM)

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

Chris (Indiana)

Tristan, love your work. If (when) Brett Myers is traded, who takes over the 9th? Lopez? Lyon? thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:01 AM)

It's highly likely to be one of those two, yes, and it's anyone's guess which. On sheer skills, I'd give Wilton Lopez a slight edge. But in many cases, managers prefer "experience" from a closer, and that favors Brandon Lyon.If I'm making the call, I'm taking Lyon. At least for today, I say he's a stash in NL-only leagues with the luxury of bench space, as Myers is a pretty good bet to be dealt.

Greg (New Braunfels)

Hey! You mentioned in a??Forecastera? on Friday that youa??d have a Monday update for those leagues that split last week and this week into separate weeks. Is it still the plan to have that update available today? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:02 AM)

Yes, that is correct. I'll also tweet a link when it's published.

B (NYC)

Trade Alfonso Soriano for Gallardo?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

Absolutely, but I say that because I think Yovani Gallardo's stock is only going to keep rising, while Soriano's value is probably at its peak. There's chatter of a Soriano trade in the coming weeks, but I'm not so sure that's a good thing for him; Wrigley is a favorable place to hit.

Joseph (Seattle)

You mention prospects like Myers in your Top-250 rankings. What's a fair trade look like (major leaguers) for him in a 12 team dynasty league? What about Profar?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:07 AM)

I take a quick scroll down our updated top 250 and the first name who stands out to me as a guy I'd consider dealing for Wil Myers is Lance Berkman, whom the group ranked 141st. Almost anyone from there down is a no-brainer for a rebuilding team. Even a guy like Angel Pagan (139) is a candidate.As for Jurickson Profar, remember, I'm high on the guy from the long-term perspective, but actual "value" isn't likely to come before 2014. This is a 2015-and-beyond stud, in my opinion, who by all rights should be adapting during any big-league time in 2013 or 2014. That means I'm less apt to deal any of those players for him, though I'd surely consider it if I was a cellar-dwellar in a keeper league. Think something like an Alfonso Soriano (203rd).

George (NJ)

Do you think Lester gets a second start this week or will they stick with a six man rotation for now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

The plan is a six-man rotation for now, so no, I would not assume two starts for Lester.

Jim (NJ)

Any idea of Halladay's pitch count? Would you be starting him? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

I haven't heard a specific number, but there's zero chance I'm starting Roy Halladay tomorrow unless it's a <i>really</i> deep, Tout Wars-esque NL-only league. It'll be the topic of my "Sixty Feet Six Inches" tomorrow; I'm renowned for being conservative with using pitchers in their first starts fresh off the DL, especially ones who have missed as much time as Halladay.

Jeff (SE, WI)

Trust Beckett against TOR? How bout Bartolo Colon with 2 starts at home against TEX and NYY

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

I don't trust either one, and as you'll soon see, neither one cracked my top 75 in the updated Forecaster ranks. They're all treacherous matchups, period.

Zachary (Indiana)

Are you buying into Ben Sheets?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

Yes, at least to the point where he'd be a pickup in any league format out there. I saw a good chunk of Sheets' game and he reminded me of the Sheets of old; velocity slightly down from 2009-10, but command was every bit as good as during his prime. This is a guy I'd put in the Jake Peavy class -- and that's a reference to Peavy's start-of-season outlook -- in that I trust him for so long as he stays healthy, but we can't be positive he <i>will</i> stay healthy. And we see what Peavy has done; why can't Sheets be so fortunate as to stay healthy as Peavy? It's a chance well worth taking.

Josh Kay - @Rays_Nut1292 (Tarpon Springs )

Tristan, happened to catch a couple of Carlos Santana's AB yesterday. is the fact that no pitcher will throw him a fastball and him not being able to hit breaking pitches a chronic problem in his player development profile? Or is it something he is likely to overcome with age and experience? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

Without taking a closer look -- impossible to do mid-chat -- I'll draw back to the analysis I did of Carlos Santana pre-break, and that's a pretty accurate summation of his problems. He's simply getting more breaking stuff, more stuff out of the zone, and he's being less patient when he's seeing that. In other words, a lot of bad habits, and my feeling is that he hasn't quite been himself since the concussion. I'm cutting him a break from a long-range perspective -- keeper leagues -- but this isn't an overnight fix. Believe long term. For now, questions are legit.

Alex (NY)

Hold on to Trevor Bauer?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

I would, and not merely because of the outstanding pre-break outing. That contributes, yes, from the standpoint of that had he struggled, dropping him would be up for discussion. But I think with a kid like Bauer, patience is warranted, at least a good five starts into his career. The Diamondbacks are being patient and hoping his considerable talent wins out; I recommend the same.

JJ (A Corn Field in Iowa)

Hey Podcast Cousin,Do you think Jay Bruce will ever be able to sustain a decent BA, say .270 or .280? Who would you rather have going forward, Bruce or Stanton?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

"<i>Ever</i>"? To say "no" to that would be damning analysis. I think -- and have thought for a very long time now -- that Bruce's single-year peak might be something in the .280-290 range for batting average, that power over average would always be his strength; in his best year he'll get some lucky bounces but generally make enough quality contact to hit that high. He is <i>not</i>, however, a solid .300-hitting bet.I'd say that the proper estimation of Bruce's skills is a .270 hitter in most of his prime years, with 35-homer power. I give him a slight edge over Giancarlo Stanton, but they're somewhat similar in my opinion.

Avon Barksdale (B-More)

King Felix is on many people's radar to fall from grace this season, although his last several stars have been great. People are discussing this drop in velocity as the main reason for a late collapse. Do you subscribe to this theory? Or perhaps he's a 26 year old stud with all the talent in the world who will simply learn to be effective even with a drop in said velocity?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Well, I don't necessarily think Felix Hernandez is a "velocity guy"; his changeup drives his value and so long as the speed differential is significant enough -- it was, last I examined -- between it and his fastball, I wouldn't doubt him just because he's throwing 91 instead of 93. No real questions here, but my rankings have long demonstrated that I don't have any.

Steve (IL)

THC, what is your outlook for Berkman now that he's back? If he can stay healthy, are you expecting big things?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

So the Cardinals now have Lance Berkman, Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran to wedge into their lineup between three positions? Bleagh. I'm least pro-Berkman, think he's a .270-hitting, 20-25 homer type, and scale those to remaining games (so 10-12 homers). Guess that means I'm not expecting big things, and it's because I'm not.

Bud (Memphis)

Is Ben Revere's recent performance sustainable? Does he have the tools to morph into a top-50 fantasy player, or is he just having a good month?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

His peak performance should be top-50 worthy, kind of in a Juan Pierre mode where it's batting average-runs scored-stolen bases driven. I don't think he's Pierre's skills equal; he's a little better drawing walks and not quite the speed demon that Pierre once was. But Revere gets on base -- partly because batting average drives that, as he's a .290-capable hitter -- and I think he'll be an annual threat for 35 steals. I'd call it sustainable.

Taz (NY)

Vacuum: Kershaw or Desmond Jennings strictly for keepers? I'm out of contention anyway so it's purely for the future. I know pitching is plentiful, but Kershaw is elite. Worth getting the OF or the top SP?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

The top starting pitcher.

RSS (Detrua (oit))

Lincecum....what do I do? Keep, try to trade?...what about Waingwiright for Lincecum?...Matt Moore?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

If you have Tim Lincecum and could get either of those two for him, I'd make the deal as quickly as possible. Lincecum for Adam Wainwright is highway robbery.

Tim (Memphis)

Tristan, need to drop 1 in AL only league. Brantley, Cain, Revere.Thanks

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

That's Michael Brantley or Lorenzo Cain, and I'd say we have a fairly good sense of who Brantley is, whereas we're not quite so sure Cain's future prospects. I'd let Brantley go; the reason that might sound odd is that, hot as he has been, he'll get scooped up quickly. But I think his ceiling for the second half is lowest of the group.

Tony d. (Manhasset, NY)

Out of these 3, who if any could return to vintage form in the second half? Crawford, A-Gone (Not sure why we still call him "A-Gone" by the way...) and Howard? Are you high on any of them by chance...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

Maybe he's called "A-Gone" because that describes his production so far in 2012.Seriously, I'd go for him first, and then a big drop-off to Carl Crawford, then Ryan Howard.

Ryan (LA)

Who closes for Marlins?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

I'd bet on Steve Cishek for now, I'm not convinced we've seen the last of Heath Bell in the role this season (though his return there isn't imminent), and I could see the Marlins considering a deal for a better option if they fancy themselves wild-card contenders (though I'm pretty sure they don't). Oh, and Juan Oviedo fans, he now has elbow pain that casts a gloomy shadow over his 2012 future. Seems like Cishek to me, but I state all this stuff because it's from the "don't-get-cozy" angle.

Mike (San Diego)

Someone offered me Trevor Plouffe and Cuddyer for Holliday in a dynasty league. Reject it, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Well, I wouldn't be insulted to receive that offer, but I can't imagine that the second player you received (Plouffe) is a significant upgrade over something you currently have. I'd reject this; but I also advise you funnel all your resources into individual stars when making long-term keeper plans.

Pat (Bronx)

Do you think we'll see an increase in power from Alex Gordon in the second half? Is 10 homers possible?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

I doubt it, and would call that about the best possible expectation. Gordon really isn't a power hitter; he hit 23 last year, after all, which paces to about 10 over remaining Royals games. And he's not really driving the ball this year. I'd say he's more like a .280-.290 hitting, 8-homer type.

Matt (Cleveland, OH)

You were on of the only guys not to rank Chris Young in your the top 250. Please explain.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

(This is, I have to assume, about the outfielder.)Young is maddeningly streaky, he's not stealing bases recently -- and that's a huge part of his fantasy game -- and he has fallen into a lot of bad habits at the plate since returning from the DL. I just see at least as many questions as promising signs, and I felt like ranking him in a hopeful manner would be doing fantasy owners a disservice.

Brian (NYC)

Casilla converted a save and blew a save over the weekend, I have been stashing Romo for a few weeks, hold or move on?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

I've been saying for weeks that, so long as you see no value in Sergio Romo as a ratio helper (and that's mostly in deep NL-only leagues), it's been time to move on.

Madchef (NY)

Are you high on Colby Rasmus ROY, more than Berkman, Delmon Young.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

Yes. Improvements hitting breaking pitches signals a skills bump.

Jeph (Nashua)

Ok to drop Ichiro? 10 team league - have Colvin starting over him now until Gardner gets back

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

I'd actually be OK with that, knowing that you have Brett Gardner as a future safety net. I'm pro-Tyler Colvin, see second half sleeper value, and I just don't think Ichiro profiles as more than a .280-hitting, 15-steal type the rest of the way. Not saying he's entirely lacking in value, it's just, he's no longer "Ichiro." He's more of a back-of-your-roster type in standard ESPN mixed.

Chris (Home)

So what's for lunch? Who would you rather have ROS Sheets or Fiers?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

Chicken caesar wrap. And I'd rather have Ben Sheets. Ceiling higher, period.

Ken (CT)

Darvish @LAA or Lincicum @ Phil

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

Bottom line: I am making Tim Lincecum prove to me that he can succeed facing a tougher matchup -- and based upon his 2012 track record, merely making a road start represents "tougher" -- before I'm going to endorse him. So if I must, it's Yu Darvish.

Mike (Fort Worth, TX)

You seemed to like Jair Jurjjens in your forecaster rankings this week. Do you see him more then a streaming option in a 12 team league? I dropped Colon for him.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

I do not, I just like Giants at home as a matchup for him. Plus, at Washington isn't an awful one, either.

Tony (Seattle)

I see you guys ranked Hanley as the #1 SS and #20 overall. Is this happening any time soon? Right now he provides virtually nothing other than dropping the team batting avg.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

He's pacing at 22 homers and 22 steals, and his BABIP is about .270. I know it's frustrating to own Hanley Ramirez right now, but it's difficult to ignore his power/speed combination even during his struggles, and that BABIP says he's got a lot of room for improvement looking forward. I ranked the guy 30th overall and that was second-lowest in the group; it means I've got concerns, yet I see tons of second-half upside.

Clark (Toronto)

Wondering why you ranked Hellickson so low? He's now available on the wire and considering picking him up.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

Needs more K's, and he's in the AL East, so without said K's, he cannot fit anywhere else but in the matchups bin. It's as simple as that.

Tom (NY)

Tristan - A lot of love is given to CarGo, and rightly so given his age, talent, and collective numbers. For fantasy, it doesn't really matter, but looking at his splits over his career, they are quite astonishing. Is he simply a product of Coors Field?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

I think he'd be an above-average to All-Star caliber outfielder anywhere, but yes, Coors is helping fuel some of his statistical performance. But does this really matter? He's going to stay in Colorado for awhile so the numbers will keep rolling in.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Updated Forecaster is now available, incidentally: <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=mlbforecaster120716" target="new">Week 14 update</a>.

Rob (State College)

Tristan - I traded for Shields several weeks ago and he's been abysmal. Do you see anything in his peripherals to give me hope?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

Let's throw out said peripherals: 3.92 FIP, 3.47 xFIP, which fall in range of his 2007-09 performances; 68.8 LOB%, oddly low; 15.4 HR/FB%, which is a career high; .344 BABIP, even higher during his frustrating 2010. Those all show there's regression possible, but considering Shields' history of volatility in those "luck" categories, I can't say I expect he'll return to top-20 status. I'd say more like top-30.

Ricky Romero (Toronto)

Do you see me turning around my dreadful 1st Half performance going forward ROS? Can my owners trust me once again?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

I can see it, but in order to <i>believe</i> it, I need to see more than one solid outing at home against the Indians, as well as better K/BB numbers than Romero has issued his past three turns. Little has changed for me.

Thor (SF)

What is your take on dynasty league trades? Do you try and get the elite of the elite at the expense of this year? If you were challenging for the title and could trade Braun for an upgrade at 3 spots (but getting a worse keeper and losing Braun for life), would you do it?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

That's asking for a black-and-white answer to a gray question. I don't typically recommend trading a superstar-caliber player at the expense of damage to your keeper list or for only mild upgrades at multiple spots. Stars carry contending teams. So I'm likely to tell you "no way." But if you're dealing Braun to pretty much solidify every remaining position on your roster, so there are zero holes? OK, we can talk.Best move for keeper-league contenders: Let go of your obsession with youngsters and prospects (Bauer types), and trade 'em for the reliable pieces you need now. Worry about comprising your keeper list for 2013 while you're polishing your 2012 trophy.

Pete (orland)

HELP HELP Which side Moustakis/Street or JZimmermann/arod

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

Latter duo.

Justin (NC)

Who should i be expecting in return for stephen strasburg in a trade?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

I get asked that a lot and I can promise you that there's no way I'm trading him for less than a top-15 starting pitcher, a top-five closer or a hitter I'll rank in my top 40 or so in this week's "Hit Parade." Innings cap or not, Strasburg could stretch 175 innings for the season into mid-September, so he's got a <i>lot</i> left to offer you.

Dan (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Trying to sell high on Dickey and Sale in a keeper - is aiming for Josh Johnson and Mad Bum being too greedy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

Absolutely not. Seems fair to me.

Mack (NYC)

King Felix (and 2 throw ins) for Weaver/Trumbo/R. Soriano in a dynasty league. Great follow up to Thor's question. Would you do this deal?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

Yup. Assuming those are truly "throw-ins." Felix-to-Weaver is a negligible downgrade, so the rest is gravy.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 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, and best of luck to you in your matchups this week!