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March 7, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:01 PM)

Good afternoon everyone! Special chat time this week as I missed you all on Monday, so let's get in as many fantasy baseball questions as we can this next hour. Who's leading off?

katniss everdeen (district 12)

what oh what has become of my beloved brian matusz? is his career back on track yet? do i need to draft him, or can i scoop him up in free agency and get 14 wins out of him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:03 PM)

Katniss, eh? Not Prim this time? Ok, anything for a character played by Jennifer Lawrence, sure, why not? The Orioles sure look like they don't know what to do with Matusz this spring; they're noncommittal about him being either starter or reliever. They've also got a bevy of rotation candidates -- not that I'm saying many of them are deserving of spots -- and Matusz did look fantastic as, not to mention had the platoon splits for, a reliever. I think he'd have to have a massive spring to matter except as a final-round AL-only pick. I'd say wait, mainly because he's likely to relieve initially ... but watch closely.

Mark (Chicago)

Now that the "Free Travis Snider" movement finally has happened do you think he becomes a solid everyday RF? He was an elite prospect that has just never been given a long enough stretch to show his talent.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:05 PM)

Doesn't seem like it, might need to resume the campaign. Looks like Garrett Jones will be the first baseman against righties, with Snider in right; against lefties Jones would move to right and Snider the bench. (For the record, Snider had reverse platoon splits in 2012, last I recall.) Think late-round NL-only option, but it's a little like the Matusz thing; Pirates have a lot of similarly talented youngsters vying for playing time in the outfield.

RSS (Detrua(0it))

Max Scherzer...Cy young? Agree or not...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:06 PM)

Can. Will? Hmmm, I've got some hesitance. Most of it is related to durability/handling of workload (not saying injury, saying volume of innings), but on skills he could be a Cy Young candidate on a per-batter-faced basis. Very on board for 2013, just think he's closer to 200 than 220 innings, and the Cys usually go closer to the latter.

Iggy (UNH)

What are your thoughts on Jedd Gyorko? What would you expect from him if the Padres decide to start him at 2nd come april?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:08 PM)

I think he'd be an adequate big-league regular, but nothing outstanding; I just quoted a .265-15 stat line to a colleague and feel like the projection we have on the site is fairer -- if you're expecting him to move up/down -- than going higher than the number I list here. We're talking NL-only starter, mixed-league middle infielder, and a middling one of each of those. Not the best place to play as he adapts to the bigs.

James (San Diego)

Does ESPN have auction values for dynasty drafts? I am starting one this year and could use the help!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:10 PM)

We don't because dynasty formats tend to be of nontraditional rules, so it'd be tough to formulate a set that covers them all. My top 250 keepers should provide a valuable starting point, and I'd use that coupled with our standard auction values, bumping up the kids a couple bucks, the vets down a few.

J (Boston)

how many bench spots do you need to make Beachy a worthy stash?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:11 PM)

It's about DL spots, and I'd say you need five-to-unlimited to make it most worthwhile. He's considerably more valuable in that event; think potentially $1-3 additional auction value.

Bob (No. Va)

Any faovrite relivers to look for potential Saves in AL? Seems like Tigers and White Sox are candidates.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:13 PM)

I'm a Glen Perkins fan, as my LABR winning bid of $14 illustrates, and I'm on board with Addison Reed taking a step forward. Perhaps he belongs in the $17-18 range. As for the Tigers, Bruce Rondon is off to a miserable start, there are whispers that the team is already seeking a more established closer and the problem that I have with that bullpen is that a lot of the alternatives are equally valid choices: Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, Al Alburquerque. I'd have a tough time picking any one -- Coke has LOOGY tendencies, Benoit a hint of health risk, Dotel a penchant for homers and Alburquerque the riskiest of all in terms of injuries. One will make my "Kings of Command" tomorrow, however...

Brad (Utah)

What will the value of Shelby Miller be if he wins a rotation job in St. Louis?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:14 PM)

$7-9 NL-only? Maybe a buck short of what he'll sell for in the format, but I'd say a solid, high-upside option in the mid-to-late rounds.

brad (harrisburg, pa)

will we be seeing a THC version of Love/Hate soon? KOC?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:14 PM)

I don't do a "Love/Hate" -- Matthew's got dibs on that concept -- but my "Twenty" and "Bleagh" players are indeed on the way.

Jeff (NY)

Do you like Ogando this year in the transition back to the rotation? Was an all star last time.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:15 PM)

Love him, just fear the innings cap. I think he could be spot-on to his 2011 in the rotation, in other words, solid strikeout appeal, the only knock being that he's a tad too homer-prone to post a sub-3 ERA.

Mike (San Diego)

Wow, $17-18 for Addison Reed? Would that mean you would keep him in the 21st round over Matt Harrison in the 25th? My league forces us to keep at least one pitcher and those are my best options. BLECH!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:16 PM)

I would.

Eddie Mush (Shark Tank)

Do you keep Smoak on your roster when you could draft at the corner Berkman, Chisenhall or Moreland for similiar money?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:17 PM)

Berkman over Smoak in a heartbeat. I say Smoak is on the bench permanently with 2-3 weeks of poor in-season performance to begin the year. The Mariners have a slew of potentially better hitters they could slot in.

Mo (Boise)

Rank for (a) this year and (b) the next 5 years: Sale, Cueto, Harvey

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:18 PM)

Cueto, Sale, Harvey, and Cueto, Sale, Harvey, the tiers merely narrow in the latter set.

Dale (Little Rock)

Ryan Doumit likely to maintain or even increase his stats from last year....or expect a decline?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:19 PM)

It's all about health with Mr. Doumit, always has been. Moving to the American League, where the Twins can afford him a good chunk of DH -- "on-day, off-day" -- time, was a big plus. I think what we saw from him was about right for 2013 expectations, perhaps with $1-2 loss in auction value due to natural regression.

J (Boston)

how far are you letting Granderson/Teixiera fall in a 10-team league before scooping them up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:20 PM)

Curtis Granderson catches my eye by about the 10th round or so, and I'm not touching Mark Teixeira before, say, the 12th. And frankly, I'm probably not targeting Teixeira at all -- even as late as the 15th -- unless first basemen overall went so quickly that I <i>must</I> go there. It's so much easier to find a replacement at that position.

Bort (Springfield)

TC! How do you rate the risk in keeping J Upton ($34), Heyward ($15), Freeman ($8) AND Simmons ($2) from the Braves? 12-team league, $260 budget. Thanks, dude!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:22 PM)

I'd have no problem with those, considering the price points. Upton is the only one at book value. It's putting a lot of eggs in one basket, but when the values are right I'm more forgiving the strategy.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:22 PM)

Also, can't believe I didn't make a license plate joke about Bort.

Hoffarella (Carlisle, PA)

Who of these three would you draft at same money? Altuve, Bourn or Andrus?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:24 PM)

Michael Bourn, then Elvis Andrus, then Jose Altuve, though for the record, I price the latter two awfully close to one another.

Bob (Ft. Lauderdale)

Speaking of the Braves, would you trade Freeman at $8 for Medlen at $3 in an NL Roto league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:25 PM)

I wouldn't have a problem with it, but leaning "no" in that I think Freddie Freeman has a higher basement of the two.

Alex (TB)

Is this the year Hellboy breaks out fully? His 2nd half #'s last year were excellent and in the last couple months of the year brought his K rate up to a quality level.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:26 PM)

Two years of bucking sabermetric trends does a lot to ease one's mind about a player's future. I'm a believer that Hellickson improves, and let's point out that his strikeout rate was higher in the minors. I looked closer at his stats; I believe it was a home/road split with the strikeouts last year. Puzzling, and I'm going to believe his skills are better than this since there isn't an obvious explanation otherwise.

Mike (San Diego)

Have you ever done a value based drafting strategy for baseball? How the heck would you do it? It's pretty easy in football because all you have to figure is points, but is there some guide to doing it by position in baseball?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:27 PM)

That's effectively what value over replacement player -- statistical categories like WAR -- is. Football actually stole it from baseball. We put those into our rankings so the work's effectively done for you; that's why we don't address it in its own piece.

Brian (Rockaway, NJ)

I have the first pick in my H2H Points league and I'm taking Cabrera. How do you approach the draft when you have the turn-around picks?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:29 PM)

Don't do anything differently than you would in any other draft position other than that you're the furthest from picking again as you could possibly be -- 18 picks between yours in a 10-team league -- meaning you'll need to make a couple more reaches for players you really want. I wouldn't do anything like "must take one hitter, one pitcher, with each pair," that's for sure.

Jeff (NY)

How would the $ values of the catchers change in the Draft Kit if we used 2 catchers in a 12 team league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:31 PM)

The AL- and NL-only 12-team dollar values account for two catchers. In the mixed format, I'd probably add $2-3 to the first 8-10 backstops, $1-2 to the 11-18, then $1 until you reach the minimum 24. That's just ballparking it.

katniss everdeen (district 12)

if jedd gyorko breaks camp with the padres, are they really gonna jones poor logan forsythe out of a job? was i the only one paying attention when forsythe hit .280-22-3-12-3 last september??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:31 PM)

Yes. He'd be the utilityman, though considering he had a steep platoon split, that might be the appropriate role for him.

Josh (Maryland)

Is it crazy to consider taking Bryce Harper 3rd overall in a first year keeper league with no restrictions on keepers? Other options would be Braun/MCab

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:32 PM)

"Crazy"? No. Is it making a decision to focus more on 2014 and beyond than 2013? Yes.

Jeff (NY)

If and when Travis D'arnaud makes it to the majors do you think he could be 2nd catcher worthy in a 12 team mixed 2 catchers?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:33 PM)

Oh yes. For the record, I don't expect to see d'Arnaud before midseason. June at soonest.

John (Louisville)

Hey, Tristan! In my keeper league I just dealt Elvis Andrus and Tom Milone for Matt Moore and Neil Walker. No limit or penalty for keepers... How'd I do?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:34 PM)

I think you did fine. I'd much rather have Moors than Milone in a keeper league.

Jim ( Boston)

Does Profar's weak spring hurt his value at all?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:37 PM)

It only diminishes his chances of making the team, and let's not forget that he was a long shot of doing that in the first place.

Keith (Wisconsin)

Which positions are sneaky deep or sneaky shallow this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:37 PM)

I'd say that third base is sneaky deep and second base is sneaky shallow.

Rich (Naples)

Tristan,Jacob Turner or Erasmo Ramirez...short and long term?Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:38 PM)

Ramirez in the short term, Turner in the long term. Turner needs to recapture the K's in order to thrive, and I think that might take time; perhaps 2014 or later. Ramirez, meanwhile, at least could be useful in his home games right away.

Adam (LA)

Why are the ranking so low on Denard Span but high on Ben Revere? is there that big a talent difference between them? Isn't the chance that Revere bats 8th really harmful to value?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:39 PM)

Injury history, nothing more. Also, my opinion is that Revere has a bit more stolen base potential of the two.

Paul T. (Cincinnati, OH)

Would you take Matt Harrison or Vogelsong over Jarrod Parker or Mike Fiers? Rounding out my pitching staff and going for upside

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:42 PM)

If upside's what you want, Parker stands out from this bunch, Harrison second. I'm not a Fiers fan; I think his stuff is average at best and he's a command guy who isn't elite in that regard. His poor finish to 2012 is a major concern, and I think closer to his true value than what came before it.

Old Guy (WV)

I love the over 30s agevalue this year..Berkman, Youkilis, Papi.Are you a fan or know of any others who go cheap due to age?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:42 PM)

Ryan Howard. Chase Utley.

Rob (Philly)

What do you think Austin Jackson's runs and steals look like this year? Every year someone proclaims he'll run more, and seldom do they.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:43 PM)

If he plays every day -- remember he got hurt for a brief time last year -- I see no reason he can't score 110 and steal 25.

Rob (Philly)

I think Trout's 2012 was so unexpected, people really couldn't wrap their heads around it. Now, many are saying no way Bryce Harper does this or that. If Harper goes to #1 on the PR, how shocked would you be?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:45 PM)

I suppose not completely shocked, though that would be two "all-time-great" stories for super-young players in back-to-back seasons. I maintain that the Trout lesson did us no favors in formulating Harper's 2013 expectations; you can't use Trout's second-year outburst as your evidence that Harper will do the same. They're completely different players.

Yanks Fan (NY)

Can Youkilis return to near his old performance? We are going to need some pop from somewhwere. Where is it going to come from?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:47 PM)

Francisco Cervelli, of course. Seriously, perhaps these injuries will help Kevin Youkilis' chances of locking in as a No. 2 or 3 hitter. I could see a Jeter-Gardner (or Ichiro)-Youkilis-Cano lineup to begin the year. Youkilis is actually one of the very few Yankees I think hasn't suffered as a direct result of all the injuries, because his opportunity has increased accordingly.

john fox (bergenfield, new jersey)

what player will i jinx this year

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:49 PM)

Prince Fielder, of course. (John is in a league of mine; he drafted Hideki Matsui and Miguel Tejada in <i>those</i> years when they got hurt, snapping games-played streaks. See, there's always a bad-luck story, so don't assume you're the only one ever struck by bad luck!)

Rob (Philly)

Catcher with the most homers in 2013?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:49 PM)

Carlos Santana.

Tim (CIN)

Do you see Broxton as being able to provide quality back end closer stats? Obv dependant on Chapmans progress

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:51 PM)

I think he's fine as a real-game closer, but his strikeout rate has fallen to the point where he's well beneath the league average, meaning at best he might never elevate himself to more than, say, the No. 15 fantasy closer in any week of 2013. And you're right, there's the threat of Chapman returning to the bullpen, which I accounted in my rankings. My ranking considered all these things.

Jack (white plains)

Successfully traded Braun in one of my leagues and happy to be rid of him. Can't afford to have a #1 pick suspended for 50 games. Him and Markakis for Harper and Sandoval (allowing me to move Trumbo to 1B or OF as needed). Good trade or overreaction to a rumor?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:51 PM)

I think the trade is fine, but the reaction to suspension fears are <i>vastly</i> overstated. I need some sort of hard evidence before I'll remotely invest in that kind of chatter.

Domes (Burger King)

Do you pay top pitcher money for Dickey this year? As in Verlander or King Felix money?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

No way, but I'm fine with him in that second/third tier of fantasy starters. He ranked just outside my top 10 at the position.

Need for Speed (MD)

Do you feel safe paying up for Bonifacio for some steals? It seems ABs will be tough in Toronto.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:55 PM)

The Blue Jays have injury risks at short (Jose Reyes) and third (Brett Lawrie), a so-so second baseman (Maicer Izturis) and a center fielder who is prone to slumps (Colby Rasmus). I'm sure Emilio Bonifacio will find his at-bats all over the diamond initially, perhaps working his way into an everyday gig by May. And he might even add second base eligibility if Izturis struggles. I like him as a value pick, especially in AL-only.

Tim (CIN)

Where are your personal rankings found? On ESPN fantasy page?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:56 PM)

In the Draft Kit. Here's a direct link: <a href="http://espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/story/_/page/2013_ranks_250_thc/tristan-h-cockcroft-fantasy-baseball-rankings-2013" target="_new">Tristan's rankings</a>.

Matt (NJ)

Jose Reyes: Over/under 115 runs scored this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:57 PM)

I'd be stunned if he plays all 162 games, which he'd presumably need to in order to reach that threshold. I think any projection of greater than 140 played is foolish valuation; the turf could be brutal on his hamstrings.

Keeper League (Choices)

Place a % chance for playing at least a half season on the following players in AL only keeper league: Profar, Archer, Castellanos. Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:59 PM)

All guesses, but this kind of thing is fun. Let's say 65 percent for Jurickson Profar, 30 percent for Chris Archer, 25 percent for Nick Castellanos.

Dustin (Hawaii)

10 team standard 5x5 roto, would you rather have ellsbury, hosmer and konerko or zobrist, pence and weeks?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:00 PM)

The former set, though not by a huge amount.

Uncle Jim (The Shire)

Who of the young Astros starters has the most upside? Harrell?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:00 PM)

<i>Upside</i>? Bud Norris. I think Lucas Harrell has the highest probability of meeting his expected draft price, however. He's pretty underrated, but pitched well last year.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:01 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 those of you who have drafts this weekend!