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April 29, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

ESPN Fantasy
  (11:11 AM)

Tristan Cockcroft will be here in just a few more minutes. He was on the road this morning.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

Good morning everyone! Apologies for the delay; much traffic today. But let's get those fantasy baseball lineups set, shall we? Who's got a question?

Drew ((NY) )

Are you worried about the Tulo Injury?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

Only in that I think it's going to cost him a couple of games -- and by that I mean at least two -- so I'd prepare accordingly this week if I'm a Troy Tulowitzki owner. (Shoulder issue as a result of a slide into home, for those who missed.) As the Rockies are scheduled to face a healthy dose of left-handed pitching, plus the position is thin, it's probably worth keeping him in there.

Jay (DC)

Are you worried about Dickey?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

Only in that his command isn't quite what it was last year, and his velocity on his hard knuckler has wavered more than usual. But didn't we all expect some degree of regression? I said in the preseason Dickey belonged in the teens, not the top 10, and I couldn't adjust my expectations down further than the top 25 starters. I think he'll work this out.

Andrew (Lincoln)

Does Cingrani stay in the starting rotation when Cueto returns?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

At the pace he's going, he <i>has</i> to. His handful of starts have certainly earned him the fifth starter's job ahead of Mike Leake. But we shall see; I do see an adjustment period coming at some point. Question is whether it's in May or July/August...

Todd (CA)

Are you rolling with Gallardo and his 2 start week or looking elsewhere?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

I think he'll toss a stinker, then a quality start. It's up to you what that means in your league. My two-start strategies are generally rooted in points-based leagues in which Gallardo would still make my cut. But if it's 10-team shallow mixed, or a league with a starts cap, I might sit him.

Nick (NY)

Same question on Straily/Anderson?...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

It sounds like a flat-out spot start, and that Brett Anderson will take the second turn of that rotation spot next weekend. Prepare accordingly.

David Phelps (NY)

With the injury to Nova, am I in the rotation to stay?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

"To stay" is taking a big leap; Phelps might have the skills but he lacks the long-term results to lock him in as a regular before he even throws start No. 1 in Nova's place. This is a nice strikeouts bargain pickup -- I added him in at least three leagues -- and he could earn a more permanent role a la Cingrani if he pitches well.

John (Boston)

Is Jake Arrietta, one of your "flag" players, still worth hanging on to? What happened to his command?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

I've already cut him in my mixed leagues; he's only worth the bench stash in an AL-only league or a mixed of 14 or more teams and, say, eight bench spots. I'm not going to hit every "flag" pick. Impossible for anyone to do that.As for his command, difficult to say, but you're right that it's worse than it was in 2012, when the case I built around him was terrible, terrible luck in the peripheral categories.

DAN (TORONTO)

Carl Crawfords value from here on out? top 20 OF?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

If he stays healthy, absolutely he has that kind of potential. He has made substantial gains in terms of his selectivity at the plate; I believe it was a 14 percent reduction to his chase rate (swings at pitches outside the strike zone), if I read Mark Simon's ESPN Stats &#x26; Information note correctly...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

Side note: I'm not about to bet on Crawford <i>staying</I> healthy for every remaining Dodger game, so you can be sure he won't be among my top 20 outfielders in this week's rankings. But health concerns are the only reason why.

Gary (Alabama)

Carlos Gomez or Carl Crawford?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

Crawford offers much more stability in terms of batting average. There's no way that Gomez can compete with that.

Matt (Staten island)

Where does Arenado rank now among 3rd basemen

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

In the teens. I said 15th yesterday, around Manny Machado. Seems like a nice National League comparable, though at this stage of their careers I'll say that I think Machado has a little more pop, Arenado a little more batting-average potential.

Adam (La)

Arenado or Machado for the future?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Machado. Actually not that close.

Tom (New York)

Best pickup? Straily, Cingrani, Corbin, J. Johnson

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

I'm stunned that any of the latter three remain out there. If you can afford to stash Josh Johnson as a bench project, go for it. I still believe.If the player <i>must</i> directly go active, I'm taking Patrick Corbin.

Ryan (TN)

Any concerns with Votto's slow start?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

He's got 26 walks and four homers. Is that really a "slow start"? I'd argue otherwise. No concern.

John (Philly)

Best Catcher ROS John Buck, Ruiz, Or Lucroy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

I think it's Jonathan Lucroy, but Carlos Ruiz might give him a nice run for Player Rater supremacy.

Chad (Macon)

Talk to me about Josh Donaldson. Is he a legit top 10 3b? Top 15?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

I think more like top 15 capable, and I like what I've seen thus far. But I also said in the preseason that I thought he was a 20-homer capable hitter who could bat .260.

Larry (NH)

Should I put Lowrie in at SS seeing Tulo might have a tough week ahead?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

That's up to you. How disappointed will you be if Tulowitzki plays five of the Rockies' six games at traditional Tulo production?I like to play these things conservatively, and I would use Jed Lowrie if I had a backup shortstop as valuable as him.

TJ (Eagan, MN)

Just this week - Rickie Weeks or Matt Carpenter? Thank you.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

I'd go Carpenter. A week of seven games against right-handed starting pitchers is a plus for him. Not that Weeks' schedule (three against lefty starters) makes him a poor choice (for his other owners).

Adam (Richmond, VA)

Any worries with starting Ian Kennedy vs the Giants. He has been pretty up and down so far.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Nope. He has had one bad outing all year. Start him.

Matt (FL)

What are the chances Chris Davis has flipped a switch and becomes a legit .275+ 35 HR guy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Pretty good. Maybe 50/50. And I say that with the clear thought that a .260-hitting, 40-homer guy is the rough equivalent of your projections; I don't think you'd have any right to complain if he hit my numbers. Davis already made these adjustments <i>last</i> year, so he's really just continuing that growth.

Ben (DC)

Any news on the Boston closer situation? Who would you rather own?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

Nope. The only news I've got is the lack of news; John Farrell hasn't promised Joel Hanrahan back the closer job right away, and Hanrahan appears ready to be activated today. Considering how Andrew Bailey has pitched, I don't see why Hanrahan <i>should</i> get to close.For our planning purposes: Keep Bailey in there (though temper expectations, think about the No. 25 reliever), and keep Hanrahan benched until that situation resolves itself.

Jack (St. Louis)

Trout/Grienke or Cano/Wainwright? Which side do you prefer?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

The latter, but I'm a huge, huge Adam Wainwright believer this year.

Bob (NJ)

Sell high on A. Sanchez? Is he a top 15 SP the rest of the way?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

I'd say more like top-25 capable. Remember, the move to Detroit already gave him a boost in win potential, which corrected one of his primary weaknesses in Rotisserie scoring. And I do believe in the added K potential.

Matt (CA)

Need HR &#x26; RBI...ROS Pick one: Dunn, Duda, or Alvarez?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

If I'm picking the player from today through October, it's going to be Pedro Alvarez. Though feel free to mix and match your streaks if you wish.

Mike (San Diego)

When you're setting that last spot for your lineup, what are the main factors you consider? I always seem to come down to choosing between Machado and Matt Carpenter and more often than not, I have chose poorly.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

Things I think about: Who has more total games for the week? Who faces the larger number of starting pitchers on the strong side of his platoon? How many of his games are in hitters' parks? Have they been performing substantially differently -- say one has been hot, the other cold -- recently?You're not always going to get the best result, but if you do your homework (answering these questions), you have made the right <i>decision</i> regardless of result.

Hank (texas)

Nat McLouth for real?? I need speed THC...I NEEDDD SPEED!!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

I honestly have no explanation for what Nate McLouth has done in Baltimore. It's unreal how much he has revived his career. But I'd certainly buy on the lower tiers in a 12-team mixed league.

Jerald (DET)

Valverde with another 1-2-3 outing last night, this time with two inherited runners. Time to drop Benoit as his handcuff?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

You can, as I'd say that Jose Valverde surely has the job for the foreseeable future now, and even if he endures the struggles I predict a little down the road, you'll have time to recapture his handcuff if you wish.By the way, check Valverde's stats, if you're curious my doubts: He's averaging about one mph slower with his fastball this year than last -- velocity was a concern I pointed out during the winter -- and he has thrown fastballs for all but two of his 38 pitches so far.

Jeff (NY)

Henderson or League - who holds their job longer?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

I think Brandon League will. Hard to say why; what the Dodgers are paying him, though, surely will influence their patience.

Matt Moore (Tampa Bay)

Is my start legit? If some regression happens, where do you see me finishing out the year in the rankings and in stats?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

I'd say it's legit. Moore seemed to endure his career adjustment period in the first half of last year, before correcting much of that in the second half. He's got tremendous strikeout potential, and while I agree, some regression is inevitable, I see no reason he can't finish with around a 2.75-2.90 ERA and 1.20-1.25 WHIP.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

As for the ranking, that's a top-20 starter for sure.

Stu (NM)

Would you cut or hold Bonifacio?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

In our standard leagues, he's in cut consideration. Every time I've watched him he looks lost at the plate, and the Blue Jays can't seem to find him a regular, committed place to play because of his so-so defense.

Phil (Madison)

In a 14t h2h, how freely would you mix-and-match hitters from waivers (essentially the hitter version of Matthew Berry's "Wandy Line")? I'm debating dropping Andrelton Simmons to ride Marwin Gonzalez while he's hot, and then move on to the next streak.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

I wouldn't. I haven't thoroughly researched this, but hitters seem to more predictably follow hot/cold patterns -- you just can't always tell when either is coming. I most certainly wouldn't want Gonzalez over Simmons, not for any stage of the year.

AL ONLY LEAGUE (With Two Catchers)

Romine or Stewart to replace Cervelli? The two Tampa Bay catchers are also available. Thanks!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

I'd take a chance on Austin Romine, but that's only because we don't know yet what he's going to be as a big-league hitter. I might make a case that Chris Stewart offers the most power potential -- though that's still probably only 15 over a 500 at-bat year -- but I'm going with the unknown here.

Tom (Lockport)

Pic 2 of the 4 in an 11 team dynasty league with QS:Scherzer, Zimmermann, Minor or Moore

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

That's a tough, tough call between Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann and Matt Moore. I think I'm going Moore -- I see Cy Youngs in his future -- and Zimmermann -- he looks like the safest long-term bet in terms of quality starts.

Paul (Fairfax, VA)

Would you start Jose Fernandez this week? Two bad starts in a row now.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

Deep mixed and NL-only and that's it. I also wouldn't call the most recent "bad," more middling/disappointing. Let's all save the "bad" label for games in which the pitcher surrenders more runs than innings.

Billy (Texas)

Would you start Hanley this week in a weekly league??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

I believe in activating hitters immediately upon their corresponding DL activation. So I'd give him a start.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

Note: I'd make absolutely sure he has been activated before you do that, though. It's a 7 p.m. ET start time tonight, so we should know in time.

Dwezile (Monday monday....)

Thoughts on K. Gregg? He appears to be taking control in the windy city....15 team 5x5 viable option?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

Yes. And I can't believe that I'm saying that, but he's less volatile on a game-by-game basis than Carlos Marmol and he's the hot hand in that bullpen. Don't get cozy, but people need to believe in this in the short term.

Nathan (Dayton)

Worried about Paul Maholm at all?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

Nope. Tigers matchup. It's quickly developing into a must-avoid for all but the game's very best.

Mike (San Diego)

I dropped Gattis for Chooch. Mistake?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Nope.

Joe (Richmond)

Sell high on Shelby Miller in s H2H league? Gotta be worried about the innings limit...he could be worthless come fantasy playoffs...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

If you could sell him for a top-40 caliber starter, then yes, I'd move him. In addition to your valid concern, I'd also point out that he's pre-adjustment period; and I see him being at some WHIP risk once hitters begin to catch up with him.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

To be clear: Long-term I think Shelby Miller is a No. 2 big-league starter, if not ace-caliber. So please don't bail in dynasty!

Brad (Cedar Rapids)

My starters- Darvish, Moore, Harvey, Cobb, Miller have been lights out. But what about August/Sept in the playoffs? Innings limit? Trade for a 200+ IP guy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

The only pitchers in that list who remotely concern me in terms of innings limits are Matt Harvey and Shelby Miller, and we shouldn't be panicking that it's in the 160, Stephen Strasburg last year, range. I see no reason either wouldn't go to 180.

Jon (KC)

Are you worried about Matt Cain or is he a buy low?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

Not worried. It's an issue of location for him, and if I'm going to list the pitchers most likely to correct something like that, a veteran, consistent starter like Matt Cain would be among my first picks.

Jerry Manuel (Queens)

What are the warning signs that Buck will regress?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

Aren't we already seeing them? He's a .143 hitter in his past 10 games. Buck tends to regress when he falls back into his high-strikeout ways, which is what he's been doing for over a week now.

Scott (Seattle)

Who do you like more Duda or McLouth?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

Lucas Duda.

Brendan (New Bedford)

Jay Bruce is striking out a ton and still not driving the ball. Time to worry? Sell low?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

I wouldn't. But then I recall the May in which he went on a monstrous home run tear, something that he's been characteristic of during his career. Even if you're starting to worry, the smartest time to sell and purge yourself of the streak-related headache is after the kind of week Bruce can offer: 4-5 homers in a seven-day span. Wait for it.

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. Best of luck to everyone in your matchups this week, and take care!