Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 15, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

ESPN Fantasy
  (10:53 AM)

Today's chat will begin a few minutes after 11 a.m. ET. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

Good morning everyone! Sorry for the delay this a.m., but we've got morning baseball and the weekly chat! Let's get started...

Craig (PA)

Would you drop Boggs for Mujica or hold onto to Boggs and hope he turns things around.?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

I think that bullpen is a total toss-up right now, where if I'm speculating upon the pitcher with the greatest raw talent (read: upside for 2013), I'd actually take Trevor Rosenthal. So I could make the case to add any of these three. If I'm ranking relievers today, I'd go Rosenthal, Boggs, Mujica ... but it'd be awfully close, and in a shallow mixed league (like our 10-team mixed with three bench) grabbing Mujica is probably the right thing to do.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

Good comparison point: I've got a 13-team mixed points league where we actually have relief pitcher slots, and I cut John Axford in that one. Bottom line: If a dude isn't closing, he's probably not worth the wasted bench spot in a mixed league.

Evan (Concord)

Is Cingrani a) worth picking up in a deep 20 ML b) worth starting this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

Ah, the Tony Cingrani question. I expect a lot of these today. As an attempt to outline the answer to all: I'd add Cingrani in just about everything except the 10-team mixed with three bench ... but I stress that I've seen a lot of people with players on said bench in that format that warrant cutting for Cingrani. So take a look, don't cut anything too meaningful for him (over the long haul, that is), but I'd make every effort to add.As for starting him, unless it's 12-team NL-only, nope, I'm not doing it. He'll be pitching on three days' rest and it's his first start in the bigs, so I'd consider it a bench-and-evaluate situation.

John (Nashville)

Is Dexter Fowler the real deal?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

I think so. Well, at least the <i>overall value</i>. Fowler's power is presumably unsustainable, but I see no reason he can't approach 20 homers, and frankly, that offsets any regression he'd have been due in BABIP from his 2012 stat line. My advice to all is to expect a near-repeat -- or a slight increase -- of Fowler's 2012 Player Rater ranking.

Dustin Ackley ((Doghouse))

Can you show me some love? I hit too good in the minors to be doing this. Should I be owned?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

Please explain how I should love a player who ranked one of the worst regulars in baseball the second half of last season, and one currently batting .122 without an extra-base hit? I was quite clear about my Ackley skepticism in the preseason, and you'll probably recall that at the time of his big-league debut I was a fan who thought he might develop by about this point. I don't see a lot to like right now, haven't for about a calendar year.

Nick (ATL)

Pedro Alvarez. Ouch. I know his power is real, but is he worht waiting around for or time to cut bait? He can't really get much worse, can he?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

Streaky player, period. Fairest judgment I could give for this kind of skill set at this early stage of the year. I said this is a week where the schedule/matchups does support Alvarez's candidacy for a bounce-back.

Randy (Miami)

What's up with Jarrod Parker? Time to cut him loose?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

Best summation: Poor location, and I say that because a buddy asked me this very question late last night and I looked a little at the next-level numbers. Velocity is scarcely unchanged, he's not affording all that much more hard contact, but the walks are up and he's leaving a few extra pitches over the meaty part of the plate.That said, that's not a terrible thing to be right now. That there's no clear sign of an injury, I think it's something he can fix. Be patient.

Brandon (Cincinnati)

Better player to keep on the DL, Luebke or Pineda?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

Cory Luebke. We just have no idea what Michael Pineda is going to be following major surgery, and there's a huge ballpark advantage in Luebke's favor besides.

Brett (Austin, Tx)

Thoughts on Gattis for the rest of the year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

I think he has carved himself out a nice little utilityman role even after Brian McCann returns, and I made the comparison on Twitter to Craig Wilson for the 2001 Pirates. Set that as your baseline, but maybe three starts a week, most against lefties, either at catcher, first or the corner outfield spots, will still have value as a No. 2 catcher in NL-only or deep mixed.And for now, you better have Gattis in there. At least until McCann returns.

Ruben Speers (San Francisco )

Will BJ Upton finish the year top in the 75-50 or better? He has already been dropper in my league.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

I'd be stunned if he didn't, if only because of his ability to clear 20 homers with 35 steals, numbers that make it extremely difficult for a player <i>not</I> to reside in the top 50-75. Upton is another streaky performer; be patient.

Chris (Boston)

You starting Capuano against SD tomorrow? How about Westbrook over the Buccos?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

If it's an NL-only league or, say, a deeper-than-14-team mixed, sure, I'd give Chris Capuano a look. It's a nice matchup. But I'd hesitate as an across-the-board call if only because his pitch counts have been in the 30s in relief at best, so I really wonder whether he could push 100 this week.I'd start Jake Westbrook.

Joe (Philadelphia, PA)

"Jean Segura is this year's Jose Altuve" seems to be an early 2013 season favorite of fantasy writers -- what's your take?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Possible. From a value-point perspective, I'm game for that, though I think comparisons set up the danger that people overrate the player. And I'd say that I'd nitpick the batting average; I don't think Segura comes that close to Altuve's past batting averages.

Jared (Iowa)

Tristan, Salvador Perez is now available in my league.. really thinking about picking him up and dropping Lucroy to do so. Good move?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Yes. I'm pro-Perez <i>and</i> pro-Lucroy, but was always higher on Perez this preseason.

Scott (Ann Arbor)

In a points league with weekly transactions and a big bench, would you rather keep extra hitters or extra pitchers? A bench player isn't starting so he's in once or twice a week, while a pitcher will pitch every week. But the lack of depth in the lineup with this strategy is a little scary...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Let strength of offense drive it. When I've got an offense that projects to rate among the top, say, two or three in the league, I'm not as bothered to have zero hitters on my bench.Similarly, let pitching depth drive it. I've got teams where streaming is a must, in which case all of those bench spots are saved for my relievers who I can spot in anytime I don't like my starters' assignments.The key here: Have a plan.

Matt (CT)

Garlos Gomez. Yikes. Got him in round 13 and felt it was a steal at the time. Think he will pull it together?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

Another streaky player. The guy is just not going to hit for a high batting average and he has occasionally sketchy plate discipline. That results in some cold spells like this. I'd be patient.

Evan (Concord)

So re Cingrani...are you assuming he sticks with the rotation for a while? If he pitches well, Leake's gotta go, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I think Cingrani is auditioning for a long-term role, yes. His ceiling is higher than Mike Leake's, and the Reds have made no secret that they're entirely comfortable dropping Leake back to the No. 6 starter/long-man "insurance" role.That's the primary reason I'm as intrigued by Cingrani as a pickup as I am.

Marcos (TX)

Was just offered Carlos Gonzalez for Bryce Harper? Would you pull the trigger?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I would.

Jon (KC)

What to do with Giancarlo Stanton? I wish I never drafted him...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

It sure sounds like a between-DL-stint-and-several-days'-absence injury, and last report I had was that Stanton isn't playing on Monday. It's not the easiest week schedule-wise, Stanton has a sketchy April history and he was off to a cold start as is. I'd bench him if I at all could (and in most of my leagues, unfortunately, I can't).

Ben (UK)

How long do you think Bourn is sidelined?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

I think it'll be about a week and I could see a short DL stint. I'd reserve him if I could.

Brian (NYC)

When Will Shelby Miller - Stl Gain SP eligibility?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

He would need three starts in the current season, meaning he'll capture it with his next turn.

David (Orlando)

Zito or Haren for the rest of the season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

Dan Haren, if only because I trust a little more stability in terms of WHIP. I just don't buy this whole Barry Zito thing. It is not the first time he has had a crazy hot streak to kick off his year.

Mike (Minneapolis)

I can't figure out Detroit's closer situation. Leyland names Benoit the closer, and on the next day pitches 1 and 2/3 innings. I have him and Holland, and can't decide if I should drop either to add either Andrew Bailey, Mujica, or use my #1 waiver claim for Boggs (just dropped)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

Well, let's address the Joaquin Benoit comment first. So he pitched 1 2/3 innings, so what? He's still apparently "the guy" ... for now. That said, as I mentioned on the podcast on Friday, why should we believe anything Jim Leyland says about his closer? He hasn't given us anything concrete enough to warrant it yet this year.Meaning I'd give some serious thought to cutting Benoit for Bailey. But remember, I'm anti-Joel Hanrahan, and Bailey does look good so far this year.

Al (N Carolina)

Thoughts about Halladay's performance against the Fish???

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

I haven't watched it yet -- want to catch it in the next 24 hours or so for future scouting -- but closer stat analysis showed a fair share of fly balls, he kept the ball up in the zone a little more often usual, velocity was unchanged from his previous two regular-season starts and he got only two K's. I can't read much into it with the evidence I have. As many readers have pointed out, it was a Quadruple-A lineup he was facing.

Thom (Chicago)

Hey, Tristan, what's for lunch today?? Who do you see finishing highest on the player rater: Cain, Eaton or Myers?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

I'm hoping it's a chicken parm day! Can't remember if that's Monday or Tuesday, though, so we shall see soon.I project Wil Myers to finish highest on the Player Rater, but remember that I think the Rays have a weak enough lineup that they're going to need him in the fairly near future.

Ben (DC)

Vernon Wells -- you buying? Take him over Reddick or an injured Kubel? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

Wells is a perfectly appropriate short-term plug-in while you stash Jason Kubel on your bench. I cannot advise any larger investment than that, though.

Ron (Illinois)

Lincecum just hit the waiver wire in my fantasy league, and I'd like to know whether you think he's worth adding. It's a 12-team, mixed, head-to-head league, in which wins and quality starts are worth 5 points each, losses are worth -5, and pitchers get 1 point for strike outs. I think my four worst pitchers are James McDonald, Ivan Nova, Dillon Gee, and Chris Tillman. Should I drop one of these guys to add Lincecum? And if so, what's the maximum bid from a $100 FAAB budget you'd recommend?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

I think based upon what you're cutting, stashing Tim Lincecum is a worthwhile move. To be fair, though, I'm not a fan for 2013. He hasn't yet made the necessary adjustments to thrive with diminished stuff (and he absolutely has lesser stuff today than he did three years ago).So let's say you make a more conservative FAAB bid, perhaps in the high single digits, and shed Dillon Gee. Worst-case, someone else overpays and you just move on without him. Which isn't so bad.

Brook (Bear, Delaware)

So....Adam LaRoche....when does he start putting the bat to the ball?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

Boy, I don't know, and being perfectly frank, I'm getting concerned as well. It's not like he raked during the spring, either. Plus, I don't tend to think of him as the streaky type like some of our earlier candidates.I'd be a bit more patient, but we're not going into May before I'd be at an all-out panic point.

Brian (Texas)

It seems like Morrow is becoming more of a pitch-to-contact pitcher (only 4 swinging strikes yesterday), does this hurt his value at all?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

No, I actually think it's good for him. He was making some necessary adjustments last season, and the only bothersome part is that "adjustment periods" typically don't help you in fantasy -- and he might still be in one.I remain pretty pro-Brandon Morrow. Problem is, maybe I'm going to be a year too early on the huge breakthrough.

UR Crazy (amsterdam)

Cargo for Bryce? Give me Bryce anytime!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

Hey, I totally understand the Bryce Harper obsession. I'm not going to tell the guy getting Harper he's getting taken. Not at all. But Carlos Gonzalez is a first-round talent. Period. There is no way you could tell me that's a crazy trade. No way.

Matt Adams (St Louis)

Hey THC! Are the Cardinals going to give me enough ABs to fantasy relevant this season? Thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

Allen Craig could just move back to the outfield...The way Adams is hitting, there's no doubt he's going to force himself into the lineup. This is just what Craig did himself a year ago, remember, and <i>he</i> found his way into regular at-bats. I might make the case today that Adams is already one of the 25 best first basemen in fantasy, and he's not even a regular yet.

Sam (Cincy)

Speculative saves: Bailey or Mujica?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

Andrew Bailey. Based on the way his team outlined his role entering the year, I think he stands the greater chance of capturing a closer gig and keeping it for an extended period.

John (Brisbane)

I'm thinking of offering Hamilton and getting Price. I'm deep in OF and need SP. What do you think, Oh My Guru (OMG!)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

If your roster affords you to make such a move, I would make it. I think it's nice value for Hamilton.

Matt (CA)

Kipnis....Worried about his elbow? Would you rather have him or Segura? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

Yes, at least from the Week 3 lineup planning (in weekly leagues) angle I'm concerned about Jason Kipnis. It's an elbow injury without a clear statement of a return date. I'd bench him if I could; Segura is a perfectly adequate sub.

Rob (Philly)

Can Brandon McCarthy turn things around? He's usually very consistent when healthy. Thought move to the NL would get him off to a fast start.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

So did I. One fear is that it's not the best home ballpark in which to pitch; he also called a similarly hitter-friendly venue his home in the past (Texas). And I'm not that patient with McCarthy, because he has shown a propensity for injuries in the past that probably caps him at beneath 25 starts.

Kevin (Boston)

Tristan- Got a 12 team, 25 man keeper league that just started this year. Been keeping my eye on Nolan Arenado of the Rockies. How long before you think he is called up. Should I pick him up off waivers now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

Well, we're still within that 20-day window to keep a guy in the minors to suppress a year of free agency, so I could see the conversation beginning by the end of April. Arenado is off to a hot start in the minors, nearly broke camp with the team in the first place, and I'd be amazed if he's not the Rockies' regular come Memorial Day. Let's set May 15 as a reasonable over/under.

brad (st pete)

Price for Harvey trade proposal is on the table. Am i crazy rejecting the trade and keeping Harvey? That's crazy talk, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

In my opinion it is, but Matt Harvey has been crazy-good so far in the bigs, so I'm sure he'll have his fans who disagree. I keep stressing: <i>Some</i> degree of adjustment period will come.

Jared (Charleston, SC)

Joined an established dynasty league this year and need to rebuild the team. Which 2 of these three prospects would you want to hold on to most long term (need to move one to improve today's roster) Meyers, Puig, Taveras (STL) ? Thanks THC

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Yasiel Puig would be the one I'd trade first, and there isn't a doubt in my mind about that. If I <i>had</i> to pick between the other two, I actually think I'd go Oscar Taveras (as the one I'd keep around).

matt (phoenix)

What is your final stat projection for Hamilton? .280/30 still attainable?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

I think he's a .270 hitter with about 30-homer upside. In that lineup, that might be a 110-RBI player, mind you, which is what's driving my still-lofty ranking in Hit Parade. But that's not exactly what Hamilton's past owners thought he was.

Ernie (Boston)

Thoughts on Everth Cabrera? Looking for a Reyes fill in

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

Very nice fill-in. Draws walks, is really fast. Nice combo for a speedster.

Anthony (Milwaukee)

Hey Tristan, should Jose Fernandez be owned in all leagues now? A start at Cinci has to be a bit more scary than his first two matchups. Is this the real test?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

I think he <i>should</i>, but it's another "adjustment period upcoming" situation. I'll point out that depth of outing hasn't been a strength of Fernandez's thus far, that's a signal that he'll hit a rocky stretch at some point.I'm starting him for the Cincy game. Still feels too early for there to be a book on him. I might be selling by the fifth start or so, however.

Dave (NH)

ROY Avila or Ruiz when he comes back from suspension

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

I think it's Carlos Ruiz, but I really liked what I saw of him last season, he's at a phase of his career where a bit better offensive potential should be expected.

Sam (Cincy)

I have to cut one of Nova or Haren to pick up a CI. Which way would you go?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

I'd cut Ivan Nova. If the Yankees are still bumping him around in the rotation, it sure sends a message that he's not a lock to stick for all 162 games.

Brett (Lafayette. LA)

Jed Lowrie for Elvis Andrus? Am I selling high on Lowrie? Worried about another possible injury filled season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

Yes, you are, but all you are doing is purging the risk of injury. I don't think Lowrie is doing all that much more with the bat than he'd be capable of if he stayed out there for all 162; you'd be purging risk, plain and simple. And that's fine in terms of a value standpoint.

Jeff S. (Vermont)

Cobb vs your NYY or WChen @ Oakland?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)


Re: Fernandez (Kentucky)

Re: you like him over a guy like Estrada or prospects like S. Miller and Cingrani?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

Miller > Estrada > Fernandez > Cingrani. Top of my head. I'll have the first two guys pretty close in "Sixty Feet Six Inches," so I reserve the right to flip-flop 'em.

David (Peru)

In a league that has a sv + h category, would you rather have david robertson? or rosenthal?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

In saves plus holds I tend to prefer the primary setup man locked into the "holds" gig, to be honest with you, David. So it'd be Robertson. There isn't any added benefit for aiming for the "closer upside" player in the format.

Joey Bats (Toronto)

Do i gain 3B eligibility soon? And if so, that helps my fantasy value given the weak 3B position

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

It's certainly possible. Bautista got in some starts there over the weekend, so I'd be hopeful he'll reach the 10-game minimum. My guess: Yes, he makes it there.

A (Cali)

Hey Tristan! Which recently dropped pitcher would you grab right now in a 10 team h2h? Jarrod Parker, Lincecum, Hellickson or Haren?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

I'd go after Parker and Jeremy Hellickson first, in that order.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

OK, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks to all for your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Remember, you can always hunt me down on Twitter! (@SultanofStat for those of you unfamiliar.) Take care everyone, and have a great week.