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August 20, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (10:59 AM)

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

danny (ronkonkoma, ny)

Matt Moore finally pitching like his ADP, 3 months later. What do you project for him next season - drafted as top 15 pitcher? top 20? What has changed the last 2 months?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:02 AM)

He has been steadily climbing -- after having fallen during the season's first half -- my "Sixty Feet Six Inches" rankings (new ones due in tomorrow), and I'd make the case for him being a top-20 starter next season so long as he continues on the current path. Moore has ace-starter, Cy Young upside. No question about it. And I'll attribute, at least for now, the lower strikeout rate to the league adjustment. This is the hardest jump for a prospect to make, after all. So what is it that I see that's different? Command, period, and that makes sense for a young pitcher getting his feet wet. That's not simple K's and walks. It's how he commands the ball <i>within</i> the zone. If you've got time, check my "Sixty Feet" columns in my archive, do a search for Matt Moore. I've talked a little about this over the course of the year, but he seems to now know where to throw. In the early weeks? He spotted the ball all over the place, with no discernable pattern.

Jeff S. (Vermont)

Hey Tristan, any chance you start Liriano vs the Yankees in a HTH league where losses and HRA are categories tomorrow night?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:02 AM)

No.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

From a lengthy answer to a short one, that's how the chat goes! Haha

danny (ronkonkoma, ny)

How surprised were you by Kris Medlen's CG? Longest outing this season was 6 innings and he's coming off a major injury, do you expect him to provide at least enough length going forward to provide some Quality Starts, assuming he keeps his spot in the rototation?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

You probably aren't going to believe me if I say "not at all," but I am also a Medlen fan who highly recommended that matchup. Home game against the Padres? Yes, please, if the pitcher was already trending upward with true skills to back the performances. By the way: 88 pitches in the Mets game, then 104 in the Padres masterpiece. It's not like he was being abused, I would call that smart "ramping up," which is something I firmly believe in with pitchers. (It's, in fact, why I'm a member of the camp who says you can't just shut down Strasburg, then re-start him for the playoffs.)I do think Medlen <i>can</i> help you in your format, and I think he <i>should</i> remain in the Braves' rotation. I don't make that choice, but I think he'll make his best case and I think, with the exception of the most treacherous matchups, you're going to be happy.

Ryu (Shoryuken U.)

Brett Anderson tomorrow! 6 man rotation now for the A's?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

Yeah, I saw that, but I'm also traveling today and haven't yet been able to confirm that beyond just the one source (CSNBayArea.com). I'm guessing it's true, in which case, ugh, that might be another six-man rotation. Otherwise, double ugh, it means I lose Dan Straily's "Streamer's Delight" pick for Tuesday.<i>Do not start</i> Anderson under any circumstances. This is a bench-and-watch. But please do watch. His future is extremely fantasy-relevant and perhaps he'll have a Tim Hudson/Jordan Zimmerman-like late season value.

Jacob (Lancaster)

So, are Melky's numbers a PED mirage, or will he have value next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Excellent question. I honestly do not know because I cannot discern when he was using, and to what extent they elevated his performance. My guess? It explains somewhat his phenomenal run in 2011-12. And the Melky before that, to me, was more of a .280-hitting, barely scrapes double digit homers, type. I think that, today, that's the Melky I'd expect come 2013.

scott (NY)

Chacin ROS??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:11 AM)

I don't care for the four-man rotation but if the Rockies shed it, Jhoulys Chacin (Yo-LEASE Cha-SEEN) could be a handy helper in NL-only leagues, or for streaming purposes in deeper mixed. (Think: Petco starts, for instance.) Keep him on a watch list. But unlike the aforementioned Brett Anderson, in standard ESPN I'd likely do so with him on waivers than on the actual roster.

Blake (Michigan)

You worried about Ryan Vogelsong?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

Only the standard regression angle. And you can set that kind of baseline upon his 2011 second half, which was more human, but still useful.

danny (ronkonkoma, ny)

How much love will the buzzsaw Chad Billingsley get in the next 60f60i? Seems Nate and Matthew always bash him on the podcast, he's been lights out the last month or so. Top 25 SP going forward?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

I completely understand why they do, because Billingsley was once heralded a future Cy Young winner, but his career hasn't really gotten into that territory. I liken him to the guy who has ups and downs, at his best he approaches the top 20, at his worse he barely cracks the top 60. And if you do the math, that's a guy who really doesn't belong inside the top 40 ... unless he's actually <i>at</i> 40. Ask more and you'll be disappointed.

Conor (NoVA)

I know you wrote about him last week, but after J. Garcia's performance last night, what do you expect ROS? Above "Wandy Line"?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

Actually he'll be a headliner in this week's "Sixty Feet." I want to take a bit deeper statistical analysis of his Sunday start -- saw it in person and was impressed by what I witnessed -- so I'll suggest you check back then. For now, absolutely in the start-worthy conversation, usual injury risk caveats apply.

Bryan (Cincy)

Of course James McDonald throws a gem right after I drop him... Is he back to being a must start, or was this just a teaser?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

He's making some adjustments that could keep him in the "useful" conversation, but I watch a lot of James McDonald starts. He looks like a guy who's leaning a little too much on his secondary pitches just so he can hang in there long enough to complete the string. Not saying that's bad, but even with that game I think his best is still behind him. Call him matchup-management material for now. Like ranked in the 45-60 range.

Anthony (Cali)

Heard anything about an ETA on Profar? If he gets called up soon, would you rather have him or Alexei Ramirez?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

I simply don't see where the Rangers would play Profar regularly. Feels like an Olt thing, and I don't want to overrate kids who aren't getting regular time at their natural positions.

Tim (Mpls)

It sounds like Tyler Skaggs is getting the call to start Weds...Is he up to stay? Is he worth being picked up over Chacin?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

I haven't heard confirmation on that, and I specifically did research that one as I put in Monday's Forecaster update. I do believe that once the Diamondbacks promote Skaggs, that's it, he's here to stay so long as his performance supports it.But I'll say this: I've noticed since that update that Skaggs was scratched from his Monday start in Triple-A. If he's announced officially the starter minutes from now, it won't shock me. Snatch him up if you've got a Monday lineup deadline and a bench spot to spare in NL-only/deep mixed.

scott (chicago)

Why is Romero ranked so high this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

Volume of starts, and I'll be honest, that's the best argument I have for him. I might've overranked him by 10-15 spots, I admit that, but two-start pitchers bring added value in the majority of leagues, period. He's in the "yeah, I guess he's fine because he's got two starts" two start category. Decent outing against the Yankees recently that I watched, and was impressed enough by, so that's a plus.

Harry (Seattle)

Hi Tristan--do you think Ludwick has another 10-12 HRs in him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

At this stage of the season, 10-12 is really a lot of home runs. That's effectively a 40-homer hitter in the bank. So I'd say no, but he's a bit underrated. Dusty loves the guy and the ballpark supports his power well enough. Can we agree on 7-8?

Dan (WI)

Where do you rank Greg Holland among closers for the rest of the year and would you trade him for a "Mediocre Melky" in a keeper league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Why would you ever trade for Melky Cabrera in a keeper league right now? Look, I don't want to pour it on the guy, but he wasn't really stud-worthy, top-50-overall material to me <i>before</i> he got suspended. Now that there's some question about his future -- and that also pertains to where the heck he's going to play in 2013 -- I just call it unadvisable.

Tom (Too many on DL)

Any word if season is over for Crawford and M. Cuddyer?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Very real chances that we've seen them both play their final games of 2012. I've been cautioning the entire calendar year about the health risks involved in owning Carl Crawford. If you've got any chance to get yourself off the hook -- and that's more about acquiring your contingency plan right now than trying to trade him, which doesn't feel "right" to me -- I'd do it.

Brian (San Diego)

Where do you fall with trading high upside prospects like Bauer or Myers in a keeper for someone that will help this year but isn't a keeper?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

Frankly I think if you're trading a certain keeper to your counterpart, to a noticeable degree you're entitled to a "blank check." I'm completely fine with a contender and non-contender making a deal where the former gets an ineligible-to-be-kept rental and the latter a definite-keeper prospect.And if you've got a shot to win, you shouldn't be afraid to do this. I'd deal Bauer first of the two.

Chris (Texas)

So THC, you said you watch a lot of McDonald starts...are you a Pirates fan? And what about Jordy Mercer long-term?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

I own him in a critical league of mine and am fascinated by the skills curve he's been on this year. Keep in mind I watch a lot of baseball, all teams, I just feel like I catch a lot of the McDonald starts. Maybe 15 of them, or parts of that many, at least.I'm not greatly familiar with Mercer beyond that he profiles as more of a utility type, a little pop, but not a ton to offer in fantasy. Doesn't seem like a keeper prospect to me.

scott (chicago)

Based on your Romero response, would you prefer Feldman (or the O's Gonzalez) to him? Both are available on our waiver wire.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

I can absolutely formulate you a case where Feldman > Romero, despite the fact that I had Romero 11 spots higher in the rankings. I've always advised that fantasy owners use my advice but make their own decisions, not just follow my ranks blindly. And the only reason I didn't actually rank Feldman higher is the ballpark. If Rangers Ballpark doesn't worry you, then you've made your case right there.

josh (rockville, md)

Will Smith, KC, discuss:

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

No, I'm not falling for the layup of Will Smith joke. Serious answer only. (Sorry!)Matchups guy, little more, in my opinion, primarily because his K/BB doesn't overwhelm me. But where I'd usually say, "Royals starter, run away, run away," in Smith's case, that I said "matchups guy" is an endorsement.

danny (ronkonkoma, ny)

posey a lock for #1 catcher next year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

Yes, as things stand. Phenomenal hitter.

Matt (CA)

THC, Running out of moves...In a vacuum, Alexie or Aybar ROS...Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

Erick Aybar. When the moves cap approaches, I'm going conservative, with the least frightening statistical floor.Oh, and Aybar's ceiling is higher anyway.

kenneth (ro town)

Mark Rogers, discuss:

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

K/BB impresses me more than does Smith's, but I can't go further than matchups appeal -- and I'm not even sure I'll have <i>either</i> in the "Sixty Feet" top 100, that's how limited that label -- being that I have durability questions about him.

Justin (Delaware)

Any update on Cargo this week? Should he return in time to be useful in weekly leagues?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

Bereavement is a minimum of a Tuesday return, no sooner, or a maximum of seven days. Let's agree on Wednesday as the measuring stick as for whether he warrants starting ... and for me that makes him a start.

Chris (Dallas)

Does Corbin stay in rotation if Skaggs moves up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

They're talking (ugh) six-man. Oh, how I hate the six-man rotation.

josh (rockville, md)

for the record, i was asking about will smith in the context of a 16 team h2h league where just about all pitchers are ownable...but it seems you would suggest I stand pat with Nolasco as my 10th SP instead of picking up Smith

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

As crazy as this might have sounded even 2-3 weeks ago, that's actually a move I'd make. I haven't trusted Nolasco in years now.

Adam (NYC)

Matt Harvey, Jaime Garcia, Miguel Gonzalez...which two you keeping ROS and throughout fantasy playoffs

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

Garcia by far, then Harvey.

Rebeka (Canada)

Medlen, Hanson, or Sheets this week and ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

That order for this week, Hanson > Medlen > Sheets for the rest of the season.

Andrew (Philly)

Any updates on Todd Frazier? he will be sticking around the starting lineup when votto comes back right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

I'd be floored if the Reds benched Todd Frazier even following Joey Votto's return, but Dusty Baker has been known to make me very familiar with said floor in the past.

Eric (DC)

Goldschmidt is doing what Hosmer was supposed to do. You see 30hr 20sb in his future?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

I think the stolen bases is a generous long-range projection -- annual over/unders of 10 are more appropriate -- but his power might actually be greater than that. Oh, I also don't think he's going to be this reliable in batting average, not over the long range of his career.

Kevin (Frank Church Wilderness)

In an innings capped league, should I avoid stetching them out through the final week of the season to avoid teams that have clinched and teams that are out of it who might juggle things around a bit too much?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

I'm not sure I follow the question. You've got a seasonal innings cap applied to a weekly head-to-head format? Weekly leagues should have weekly caps.As for pacing questions -- a few of them in today's chat -- my suggestion is to closely watch your categories. It's OK to spend your starts, say, in a starts-cap league if you've already built up a hefty bounty in the quantitative categories (W's, K's). What you can do once you max out is then drop your starters for ERA/WHIP-helping relievers, who can toss in some W's and SV's. I've experienced success doing that, but I usually max out around the second week of September or so.Also, remember that on the day you go over your cap in an ESPN league, you're allowed to go beyond it so long as those starts/innings were all accrued on that final day you went beyond it. It's not like you're locked out right at 1,000 innings; you can get to, say, 1,025 if you load your lineup on the day you know you're going over.

Jordan (Wisconsin)

Sup Tristan? Word is we're going to see Brandon Morrow back this week. What can owners expect from him ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

Another name prominently featured in "Sixty Feet" this week, so I'd also suggest to check back then. I'm optimistic.

Ryan (Lunch)

Do you trust Wandy starting tonight (I know it's at PetCo) following his relief outing last night?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

He's not going to start tonight, unless news of that broke since the chat started. Not really sure when he'll next pitch now.

andy (ohio)

the best pitcher in the minors right now is _______?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Dylan Bundy.

Michael (Atlanta)

Hanson is overrated, Medlen is simply the better pitcher.....just sayin.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

You'd scarcely get an argument from me, as you're sure to see in the "Sixty Feet" ranks. If I'm asked for a call between two pitchers, I must make it, even if in the end the pitchers wind up, say, 41 and 42 in my range (which to me is effectively even).

Jereemy Hellickson (Tampa)

do you trust me tonight vs. the royals?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

Yes I do. Go get 'em, tiger!

Mike (San Diego)

Drew Stubbs ROS: Drop or keep him and just bench him until he gets hot? Classic ride the streak guy.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

"Classic ride the streak guy."Couldn't have said it better myself. The truth is that a very exclusive class warrants this label, but Drew Stubbs might be the class president.

Josh (Cleveland)

FOOTBALL - Any advice on best draft spot in a 10 team league? Snake draft. I can choose 4, 7, 8, 9, or 10. Thoughts? Standard scoring.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

If the four is available, I'm taking the four.

Ed (Alabama)

Do you trust Chris Young again? Looked good in Houston but then again it was Houston

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

"Again"? Unfair characterization. I haven't trusted Chris Young in a very, very long time. Certainly for even longer than you might think. (As in, well back in his Padres days.)He's matchups/streaming material, period, and requires the highest level of roster management.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Why the vast difference between Hunter Pence &#x26; Nelson Cruz? I'm assuming Pence playing SF and struggling is the cause.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Correct.

Brian (NY)

Any word on De Aza's or E Young's injury status for weekly leagues?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

Quick hits here:Alejandro De Aza has no official ETA on his return, with his oblique/rib injury likely to cost him additional time this week. I'd take a very conservative approach (and bench him).I have no update on Eric Young's rib injury, unfortunately, just that he left Sunday's game. This usually means the player is being reevaluated Monday, so if you've got an alternative, I'd probably use it as he's not an elite fantasy option when healthy.

Ed (Alabama)

That was Chris Young the hitter in ARI

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Oh, multiple Chris Youngs, how you vex me so!What I said about Drew Stubbs earlier applies to Young as well. If Stubbs is the president, Young is the vice president. Starting to wonder whether Ervin Santana is considering running for treasurer.

Jeff S. (Vermont)

Any chance Romo actually racks up some saves?... since him being declared co-closer, he has exactly ZERO saves...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

They have to be situational. "Situational" is a terribly limiting label for a right-handed reliever.

Conor (NoVA)

Rather than asking your ranking questions, where can we find your latest keeper rankings? I googled it and I'm online seeing your first one in Feb. Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

These were my midseason keeper top 250 rankings: <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?id=8156676" target="new">http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?id=8156676</a>.They have a July 12 date stamp, and I do these twice a year (March, July). Just so you keep in mind potential changes in rank, like, say, Manny Machado's.

Benji (NYC)

Is Verlander a good return for McCutchen?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

Sure.

Hek (Wilmington (DE))

Chris Carter has been a pleasant surprise - Any chance he is worth holding onto for next year. Coming into the golden years... 30Hrs possible?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

Possible, sure. I do fear that Carter is going to carve a "streaks" career for himself. Three-true-outcomes players tend to fall prey to that.

Daniel (NY)

For Melky in keeper leagues, if you are out of the race and could grab a low-price Melky from someone who had been relying on him, seems like a good gamble to me.... why not?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

All I ask is: Why would you give up anything that is critical to the 2012 cause? A "speculative" type trade is perfectly OK. But I wouldn't do anything remotely damaging to the current-year cause.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

OK, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks to everyone for your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, best of luck in your matchups this week, and I hope to see some of you at tonight's 101ESPN Fantasy Football Training Camp at Patrick's at Westport tonight!