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July 30, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy MLB with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

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

Chris (Cincy)

Rizzo has been very impressive given the small sample size

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

Yes, yes he has. But in his defense, Anthony Rizzo always had this kind of talent -- perhaps not quite the batting average, but the power's legit -- and it's a vastly different circumstance to call Wrigley Field rather than Petco Park his home. I'm not so quick to say "sell," and I'm a position where I might be tempted, rich in power in Tout Wars (13-team NL-only), with other needs where it might make sense. Frankly, I believe he doesn't regress much.

Dustin (NC)

Thoughts on Chris Sale...Is he a safe start this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

No. Here's the panic-potential stage: Sale is being pushed back in the rotation as a kind of "battery recharge" strategy, and it's one that I historically can't stand. Look back: Latos, Hughes, Zach Britton ... mess with a youngster's routine and it's usually not good news.That's not to say "panic" means dump at 20 cents on the dollar, to be clear. But I would <i>not</I> start him this week nor would I be nearly as optimistic looking forward.

James (San Diego)

What's the deal with Chris Carter? He has been on fire lately! What do you see going forward? Is he worth an add in a mixed league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Streaky player. I'll say "yes" to his being an add, perhaps more in the larger (12+ team) mixed than standard ESPN, but his power's legit. The problem is he strikes out a ton -- "three true outcome" player, K's, walks, homers -- so there's going to be a cold spell in there. <i>Going</i> to. Beware the batting average is all I'd caution.

Sean (Cincy)

James Mcd 4 uglies in a row!Still to 50? 75?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

Agreed, he hasn't looked good at all. Saw part of his outing yesterday, and the walks have not gone unnoticed. It's a <i>big</i> change from the James McDonald we saw pre-All Star break, and you should adjust your expectations accordingly. Hard to detail the extent -- a guess is top-50 candidate merely -- but he'll be discussed in "Sixty Feet Six Inches" tomorrow.

Jimmy (NYC)

Why are you so high on Pomeranz this week in Coors?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

AJ Mass wrote this week's "Forecaster," and a big thank you to AJ for filling in; that's his ranking of Drew Pomeranz's two-start week. I understand it, being that it's two starts (volume) plus one against the Giants, which is a favorable matchup, not to mention Pomeranz has been passable in NL-only leagues in recent weeks. I'd endorse the Giants matchup; iffier on the Cardinals one. In a standard ESPN league, I wouldn't start him. But AJ's made many a bold call before that has been dead on; cannot say I doubt his call, he's got a good reason I'm sure.

Ted (AZ)

since pitching seems to be the hot topic, thoughts on Matt Harvey?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

Great first game, but I'll lean on the scouts who say Harvey's arsenal isn't exactly elite big-league quality. I've done studies of players who had their best rookie performance in big-league start No. 1, so my instinct is to say this is one; he took advantage of a team that had never seen him before, perhaps. A pickup in NL-only only. In mixed, I will say no, I need more.

Joe (FL)

You picked Marco Estrada as your streamer today, and ranked him as 27th best pitcher this week. What do you think about him ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

Matchups option over the long haul, and that's as far as I'll go. Not my pick -- AJ's "Forecaster" -- but without closely examining the ownership percentages of each of the other Monday starters, I would say absolutely Estrada is a streamer for Monday, he'd perhaps also be my pick.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Will also endorse Mike Leake, Erik Bedard, Jose Quintana, as Monday streaming candidates. For some reason, I can't quickly access the ownership percentages, so I can't make a specific call for the little "game" of "Streamer's Delight" -- rule is 25 percent owned in ESPN at maximum -- but I'd go for any of the four. Leake home versus San Diego stands out, though. Bet he's under 25.

Phil (Philly)

Since Most leagues without Daily Trannies do moves on Mon or Sunday. Why not Do 60f6oInches closer to the weekend for better timelieness? Example Right Now (Last Tuesday) you (AJ) had James Mcdonald @ 23. He got shelled Monday Night &#x26; Sat. Just a Thought

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

You could say that about any of the "big three" columns, "Hit Parade" or "Relief Efforts" included, and what about Forecaster then? Hey, I gotta sleep sometime...

Rob (Philly)

Carlos Gomez just streaking? What kind of numbers can he finish with?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Yes. Yes he is just streaking. Enjoy it while you can, because the moment it dries up everyone will have a right to say "told you so." The guy's still got a .306 on-base percentage since the beginning of July, and only four walks in the month. Bleagh.

Matt (MPLS)

What are you doing with Plouffe? Did he ever get beyond the streaky player? Is he a must hold onto?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

I bought the power a couple weeks back, but it's not like it has vaulted him into the game's elite. The shortstop eligibility drives a chunk of his value; I have a hard time saying he's a must-keep during his injury. You can shed him if you've got stronger options, and you might well.

Chris (LA)

Hanley Ramirez has looked great since the trade, thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Great player, change of scenery. Not much really shifted in terms of his value as a result of that deal, in my opinion, but accounting for those two things, it shouldn't surprise.

Mitch (MN)

Thoughts on Ben Sheets. I have him in a 10 team mixed but don't know how to value him

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

I've previously put Sheets in the category that contained Jake Peavy in the month of April. Largely the same situation -- good arm but huge health risk -- and Peavy's success this season exemplifies the ceiling of such an arm. Plan accordingly, but do not proceed assuming anything is truly "safe."

Kyle (Houston)

Sergio Romo's chances at closing this season? You wrote about him before.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

The Giants don't seem to want him to close, and that's a significant factor in evaluating his rest-of-year fantasy value. What I wrote was that he <i>should</i> be given a chance; I also made it very clear that he might not be. It's all speculation.

Judd (DSM)

Of the young A's pitchers, who do you think like the most? Milone, Griffin, Straily, Parker?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

I don't know, I've never met any of them. Hard to say how they think.I'll say that I <i>like</i> Jarrod Parker the best, making the assumption that that's what you were seeking?

Andy (NYC)

Mike Minor turned the corner? Will he finally realize his big-time prospect hype?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I like what I've seen and, yes, I'd buy. Strikeout potential is greater than the average prospect's, and that makes a difference to me.

Kyle (NY)

With Hanley in Dodger Blue, what do you see for the future of Dee Gordon ROS and next season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

I don't know that either player is especially cut out for shortstop, but Hanley's defense there at least looked passable to me the past couple years. I'm anti-Gordon so it's easy for me to remain so; I don't think he's a huge factor the rest of the way. With his speed, though, the Dodgers will probably find him a place in 2013, maybe shifting Hanley again, or Dee himself.

Mike (San Diego)

In honor of Phil in Philly's question, can we just agree to never refer to transactions as "trannies" from here on out? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

I know a <i>lot</i> of people who use that. Many of them have been playing for decades.

Chris (Pittsburgh)

Are you as low on Scherzer this week as AJ.. He had a good start at CLE last week and his May start at BOS was good as well?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

No, but I understand why he is. The Red Sox matchup terrifies me, too, if only because of Scherzer's history against their individual bats as well as his own history of being wildly inconsistent at inexplicable times. He's a maddening dude to own. This soooooo looks like a "so-so," 5-runs-in-5-innings, Monday game, followed by a pretty decent one (3 in 7?) in start No. 2 against the Indians. Plan accordingly.

MM (Ridgewood)

do you think Strialy makes an impact this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

Wow, you know, counting this as well as Twitter/e-mail/questions from friends, I can't remember a prospect on the lower ranking tiers who has generated as much buzz as Dan Straily has this month. Seriously, I get asked about him constantly. It makes sense; great strikeout potential. Gaudy stats in the PCL.I will say, yes, I think he's up this year, yes, I think he could offer 4-5 useful fantasy starts, but that's hedging. The clear call needs to be either the A's move someone (hello Bartolo Colon) and give Straily a shot, in which case Straily's appeal is much more than that ... or the A's, contenders they are, wait until the September roster expansion and then perhaps have him around as an extra man then. (In which case he'll have minimal impact.)Sorry it's a hedge, but that, to me, is the correct call. I lean more towards the latter, for the record.

Pete (Virginia)

Have you ever played in a league where there is no review/veto process for trades? In this league I'm in, if a trade is accepted it goes through instantly. Have you ever heard anything like it or is this more common than I think? Thanks

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

I have played in many leagues that have done that. Maybe about 50 percent of my leagues historically, in fact. But I will be clear: I am very particular about who is in those leagues if I agree to play in them; I have a lot of respect for the knowledge and integrity of the people who are in them. They're going to make fair deals anyway.

Alex (St. Petersburg)

I would love to hear your opinion on this. I'm leading Saves and needed QS/K so I gave of Papelbon/Cook for Sabathia. I feel like I got the upper hand but I keep second guessing myself.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

I think that is a fine trade. Well done.

Daniel (AL)

Start one: Edwin Jackson vs. PHI or Jeremy Hellickson vs. BAL?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

Hellickson.

Joe (Seattle)

Matt Moore going forward?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

Matt Moore is a "Cockcroft Goes Down With the Ship" pick of 2012, so I've scarcely shifted in opinion on the guy. Jeez, was 50th the lowest I had him ranked all year? Seems to be turning the corner, and I always say youngsters face adjustment periods, so if he has truly escaped his, I see top-25 starter potential. Might not rank him as that tomorrow, but I'll be sorely tempted. Ceiling is easily within that group.

Daniel (NY)

Who closes if Broxton gets traded, and do you expect him to be traded?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

I do expect him to be traded, and I'm not so sure he's going to close wherever he winds up. (Giants?) My pick for who closes: Greg Holland. Closer Chart reflects that!

Mike (San Diego)

Are you taking the same stance on Eric Hosmer that you are on Matt Moore?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

I have all year, so it's difficult for me to say I'd change my mind now. Honestly though, I haven't deeply examined his peripherals in over a week, so maybe I'll see something now I don't like as I prepare the next "Hit Parade." I buy the kid's talent, though. Not going to totally bail now.

Jake (Joliet)

Can keep one for next season - Encarnacion, Cano or Bourn?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

Cano, not close.

Rusty (Chicago)

Are you starting Beckett against Detroit tomorrow?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

No. Heck, he might not even make that start. (Trade rumors.)

George (Keeper War Room)

You talked about Rizzo Before, where do you see his keeper value?? Worth Keeping in a 12 team mixed for next year???

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Yes. So long as you're keeping a healthy number of players, like, hmmm, six or more in your format.

Eliott (Tucson)

Guy just offered me Crawford for Jim Johnson. Should I run, not walk to accept this?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

If you can absorb the lost saves, yes, you should take that deal.

Daniel (NY)

What are your thoughts on Mike Fiers and do you know if it is pronounced more like Fires or Fears?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

It is pronounced "Fires," and my thoughts are that he is an underappreciated prospect with impressive command ratios on a team that now has space to keep him in the rotation for the long haul. This is an unsustainable pace, but the pace that <i>is</i> sustainable still has, at the very least, NL-only and mixed-league matchups appeal.

Chris (Pittsburgh)

Do you have any thoughts on Kris Medlen this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

Dangerous fantasy play. Yes, "two start pitcher." <i>But</i> ... he'll probably be on a pitch count, if not in the second turn than certainly the first. And what of Ryan Dempster (or someone else) trade rumors? Medlen probably loses the second turn if the Braves land a starter.On skills I like Medlen quite a bit. He belongs in a big league rotation, can K more than his 2012 year-to-date rate shows, and I think he can matter even in ESPN's standard mixed format. But I'm not starting him this week. It's a speculative bench stash. Keep your fingers crossed the Braves stand pat.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

One sec everyone...

Ben (work)

Hellickson for Craig, which side do you like? H2H 10 team.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:06 PM)

Craig.

Daniel (NY)

1....2....3....4.....5.... More than one sec Tristan! ... If you own Broxton, would you drop Frank Francisco for Greg Holland, or watch twitter closely and hope you are the first one to the wire for Holland?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:08 PM)

Technicalities, technicalities...I always watch Twitter, and recommend you do the same, especially in this instance where that's probably your smartest move. Though I'm tempted to just make that move to protect myself, considering the alternative is the very real possibility is that a week from now, Frank Francisco might be your only "closer."

PJ (VA)

Fran Cordero is the only "closer" on my wire....he recently blew back to back saves...(although it was vs his former team the reds which i think shouldnt go unnoticed)...is he worth the pick up or let him be someone elses is problem?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:09 PM)

Hey, saves have value in <i>any</i> fantasy format. (Well, the ones that count it as a category, obviously.) But I'd say that I'm not inspired to invest anything meaningful in Francisco Cordero outside of 12+ team NL-only leagues. They're ugly saves and there might not be that many of them besides.

Richard (Long Beach)

Trade etiquette:I typically throw out pretty bad trade requests to start conversations. basically saying "hey... i want that guy, counter me". recently, i sent over one of these trades. youkilis was starting to heat up after the move, and i tried to see what kind of value i could get. so i offered youk for king felix. and the trade was accepted, the owner thought youk was going to turn it around and since he was so far up in all pitching categories, he was fine with it, and i was shocked. obviously, people protested. but the trade went through... should i feel guilty at all?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:10 PM)

Nope. Not in the slightest.

Carl (PA)

Thoughts on Bud Norris this week? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:13 PM)

I have an extremely difficult time being down on Norris pretty much because of one bad outing in Arizona. For the most part he's been a solid source of K's, decent in ERA. Though remember that I'm coming from the perspective where guessing at a "W" doesn't matter that much to me, and play in a lot of 12-team mixed or NL-only leagues. And in those formats, I'm starting him. Period.

Troy (NH)

Does Liriano start tonight?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:14 PM)

Last I checked, he was scheduled for Tuesday. And, yes, a quick search has him pitching then, against his old team. I'd give him a go, as the Twins seem like the exact kind of team that might have trouble against him.

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, and best of luck to you in your matchups this week!