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May 13, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

ESPN Fantasy
  (10:44 AM)

Tristan Cockcroft's chat will start around 11:30 a.m. today due to travel delays. We thank you for your patience.

ESPN Fantasy
  (11:06 AM)

The chat has been rescheduled to 3:00 p.m. due to travel complications for Tristan. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:01 PM)

Good afternoon everyone! Thanks for your patience this a.m., and let's get right to your fantasy baseball questions...

Kevin (Lincoln, NE)

Jean Segura, how good is this guy? Sell high or hold?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:04 PM)

Well, he's not <i>this</i> good. But a top-10 fantasy shortstop, even from this date forward? The batting average -- and a little bit the power -- is a little over his head; I think of him as more of a .285-.290 hitting, 12-15 homer type (scaled to remaining games). But isn't that effectively a little more useful player than, say, Elvis Andrus?

Rob (State College)

Hey Tristan - to replace Austin Jackson on my roster, would you pick up Aoki, BJ Upton, Soriano, or McClouth? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:05 PM)

B.J. Upton has no business being on a free agent list in any league. Period. That said, I understand the strategy that has you stashing Upton away on the bench until he shows promising signs, with Alfonso Soriano the short-, short-term plug-in.

Sean (LA)

Do you see V-Mart turning it around? Am I dreaming bi hoping for a .285-15-90 still?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:06 PM)

I'm starting to wonder whether Victor Martinez is even a .280 hitter, or a 12 homer hitter, from this date forward. If you feel as strongly about your projections as you do, I don't think you're way off mine, but I'm probably no longer as optimistic.

Jeff (NY)

Can Brandon League keep the closer job?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:08 PM)

I've said since the day that he has signed that I don't think he's close to Kenley Jansen's equal in terms of "closer talent" (if such a thing even exists). That said, League's contract buys him one thing: Don Mattingly's patience. Heck, he'd have lost the job already if not for that salary. And if I'm speculating, the Dodgers are my go-to bullpen for cheap saves -- see if Jansen's out there, because we're probably one more League blown save away from a switch.

Ricardo (El Paso)

carlos gomez is hitting .371 right now. its' widely assumed that he'd end up the season in the .260 - .280 range. this fact alone has to make him a sell-high right now, doesn't it? i mean that'd be hitting maybe .230 the rest of the season, and with that chances for steals and homers go down. Your take?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:12 PM)

In Gomez's defense, the improvement that no one seems to be talking about is his contact rate: His 21.7 percent strikeout rate of 2012, which at the time represented a gain in the department, is 19.5 percent this year. There's reason to believe that he is <i>not</i> going to bat even as low as .250 going forward. Let's say a proper valuation has him at around .270 -- and that's very much a breakout player I'm not selling.

Rob (in the dark)

Tristan, Can you give your thoughts on Brandon Beachy. Is he a good DL stash in a 10 team mixed H2H league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:13 PM)

Yes. Being a 10-team standard mixed, I could see him being on the borderline -- some much better players currently on the DL -- but if I could keep Beachy stashed, I would.

Angus Archer (Toronto)

It seems Jay Bruce is on everybody's buy low list. Yet so far he has a K% 7 points higher than his career average, while his .258 batting average is actually being buoyed by some notable lucky bounces -- a BABIP of .365. Why is there not more concern than optimism here?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:16 PM)

I haven't ignored the concerns that you have raised, but it's not like Bruce's strikeout rate -- be it 26, 28, 30 percent or whatever -- makes much of a difference considering how high it is. He's effectively hitting fewer fly balls, and I can't overlook the home run/fly ball percentages: 15.2% in 2010, 15.8% in 2011, 17.8% in 2012, 8.3% this year. When that corrects, he'll explode in those HR-RBI categories.

Ricardo (El Paso)

Just realized Austin Jackson hit the DL. Who bats leadoff for the Tigers now? Who's worth the add for those two weeks to take advantage of Miggy and Prince's RBIs?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:17 PM)

If I were the Tigers, I'd just mix and match with guys like Andy Dirks and Matt Tuiasosopo.

John Gast (St. Louis)

I'm going to be really good in the bigs, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:19 PM)

So-so command numbers -- usually K/BB ratios ranging between 2 and 2.25 -- and FIPs that hover around 4.00 ... I'd say no, not much to see here. NL-only owners can toss him on a bench and track, but I'm not even ready to recommend him for matchups.

Peter (West Orange, NJ)

Another Tigers/Austin Jackson related question. Thoughts on the Avisail Garcia's call up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:20 PM)

I like Garcia as a prospect -- decent speed, should develop more power in time -- but his plate discipline, specifically his walk and strikeout rates, were ominous in the minors. He's another wait-and-see guy, but worth an add in AL-only.

Zach Wheeler (Flushing)

I'm pitching well in Las Vegas. The Mets, aside from Harvey, aren't. When do I get the call?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:21 PM)

First week of June is a fair guess. That's around the time that major league teams believe they're beyond the "Super Two" cutoff for arbitration.

nando (Boston)

Which 2 of these Atlanta pitchers are you keeping: Minor, Maholm or Medlen?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:22 PM)

If I <i>must</i> keep only two, I guess it's Mike Minor and Kris Medlen, because they're the ones I'm going to have ranked highest this week. That said, I'll have Maholm and Medlen close...

Aaron (Spokane, WA)

With Curtis Granderson set to come off the DL this week, what are your projections for him ROS? Is he the type of player I should activate right away or give him some time to get acclimated to major league pitching?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:23 PM)

The way he's hitting during his rehab, I'd toss him right back in there, especially since he'll be eased back in with Yankee Stadium games -- that's the ideal venue for his swing. Let's say a .250 batting average and, hmmm, 28 homers?

Randy (Miami)

Masterson was great again today. T/F: He needs to be owned in all leagues now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:25 PM)

True, I guess? It's a tad unfair a question; Masterson is not the kind of player whom you can lock in with total safety for 162. But for now, go for it.

Todd (CA)

Dropped Ike Davis for Loney. Smart? Davis looks lost at the plate.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:27 PM)

If you've got confidence, knowing your league mates' tendencies to chase streaks and leave players slumping to the extent that Davis has out there as free agents forever, sure, ride the streak. But there's no way I'm investing in three-quarters of a season of James Loney over Ike Davis. Loney is all BABIP-driven; Davis is much more likely to have the better numbers from today forward.

On the Hook (Marlins Stadium)

Yelich,Deitrich and Lomo! Anyone of these a good add,ROS, in daily H2H?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:29 PM)

I just added Derek Dietrich in NL Tout Wars -- for reference, that is a 12-team NL-only league where pretty much everyone is owned -- and I drafted Christian Yelich and actually started him this week (lacked enough roster spots to field an alternative and thought, hey, maybe this is the week).Most relevant point here: I believe Dietrich has a little pop, if you're in a pinch, and I'd highly advise that those who want to take a chance on Yelich, now's the time. I bet we see him up within 2-3 weeks.

Tim (STL)

Would you not throw Myers in with Yelich, Deitruch, and Lomo?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:29 PM)

Wil Myers > the bunch. Wrote him up in my last "Hit Parade" -- check my archive.

Andrew (MI)

I know you covered miller in your last 60 feet 6 inches column, but rankings wise is he a top 30 SP the rest of the way?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:29 PM)

Yes. Might not go much higher than that, though, but he's absolutely headed there this week.

Jim (Dport)

Flashback to 2005. Kazmir and Liriano looked really good in their last starts. Should they be owned yet. In a 12 team Roto. 28 man rosters.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:31 PM)

I'm going to assume here that 28-man rosters equals four bench spots? Scott Kazmir should be, Francisco Liriano is right on the fence (and my worries about his long-term prospects have me saying no, not yet). And let's be clear: All this Kazmir "good chatter" is based upon an eight game sample, Liriano's one. Both tiny, but Liriano's is positively minuscule, and it came against the Mets.

Wyatt (Atlanta)

Is it time to start stashing Buxton or Sano? With the success of Trout and Machado, Minny might rush these two future stars to help their anemic offense and I have bench spots available - your thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:32 PM)

I see very little chance either reaches the majors this year. Think less than five percent, and I'm tempted to say near-zero.That said, I like both in long-term dynasty leagues, especially Sano. He'll probably be on my long-term forecasting squad that I usually write midsummer.

Beech (IL)

Cingrani gets sent down right THC?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:33 PM)

Shouldn't but sure might. And I've been warning Tony Cingrani's owners of this for weeks. It was up to you whether you wanted to listen.

Al (Bundy)

Thoughts on Bell ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:33 PM)

Heath Bell? David Hernandez overtakes him as Diamondbacks closer by June 2.

Kenny (OH)

Thoughts on Will Venable? Been playing on fire for the past week. Could he be a Carlos Gomez 2012 candidate?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:34 PM)

I like your thinking and agree that Venable is underrated, but the Gomez comparison doesn't exactly fit because Venable has that platoon split that locks him in as a brilliant daily-league player, and someone you need to manage a little more closely in weekly. Very nice guy to round out even a 10-team mixed roster, but not a future stud.

Kevin (Boston)

Yu Darvish is on pace for 350 Ks. He'd be the 1st pitcher to crack 300 Ks since Randy Johnson. Why is this not talked about more?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:35 PM)

It's been said now. Also, Curt Schilling did in the year Randy Johnson last did it.

Big Ed (Miami)

Trying to find value down the road on the DL. Got Stanton for Texeira and Maholm- Did I do good?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:36 PM)

Yup, I'm game. Even if Giancarlo Stanton's return date is Memorial Day, that's plenty remaining season for him to hit 30 homers -- one of the very few players for whom you can say that from that date forward.

Ricardo (El Paso)

Speaking of Darvish - does he get into the 2nd round talk next Spring? in the Verlander-Kershaw conversation? has to be top 20 overall consideration, yes?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:37 PM)

Yes, he's on that track.

Danny c (Ronkonkoma, ny )

I drafted Eric hosmer and Brett Lawrie with back to back picks in a round far earlier than I'd like to admit publicly. Both provide a little power and speed at corner infield spots but have been soooo disappointing. Which would you rather have ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:37 PM)

Brett Lawrie, and I openly admit that most of that is just the positional value.

C.Zambrano (Destination Unknown)

Big Zback in news! If NL only he worth an add at all?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:39 PM)

I'll remind that Carlos Zambrano had what, 5-8 "acceptable" starts to begin last season, in a situation that was well suited to him, and then he fell apart. I wouldn't expect a lot more, certainly not much in terms of staying power.

Jack Bauer (classified)

I am coming back!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:39 PM)

Best news of the day. Well, unless you're a Justin Masterson owner.

Martin Prado ('zona)

Will I ever hit again?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:41 PM)

Here's what's amazing: Prado has effectively the same rate of hard contact this season to last and his line drive rate is 22 percent. His BABIP is .233 and I therefore have to imagine that he's the victim of some seriously bad fortune on balls in play. Be patient.

Brint (Wichita)

Do you sell high on Machado or is he a legitimate stud this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:42 PM)

Is it a redraft league in which you're being offered <i>at worst</i> top 50 hitter value? That's the only way I'm selling. I think he's got at least a .280 batting average and another 15 homers in that bat, and that's aiming low.

Matty (St. Louis)

Will Travis Wood finish the season with an ERA/WHIP under 3.50/1.20?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:44 PM)

<i>Finish</i>, maybe, because of the percentage of season in the books, but what's really important here is that I'd project his ERA near 4.00 and WHIP near 1.25 from today forward. And those are both solid ratios if you consider Wood's track record, but they're not 10-team mixed worthy beyond the streamer's angle.

Josh (Chicago)

Donaldson. Bonafide ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:44 PM)

A .260 batting average and maybe 15-18 more homers? Yeah, I'd call that bona fide.

Jack (STL)

Is the combo of Machado/Strasburg greater than Trout in a keeper league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:45 PM)

Wow is that close. If that's absolutely everything that's in the deal, I'm slightly leaning Trout. It's so difficult to get an annual 25/40 contender at Trout's young age.

Jeff S. (Vermont)

Paul Konerko, has he finally hit the brick wall?... are there underlying numbers to say a turnaround is coming?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:47 PM)

Striking out more, walking less, though at least he's hitting a good rate of fly balls. I cautioned that Paul Konerko was showing some career decline entering this year, and while I think this step is somewhat more extreme than I expected, I wasn't counting on more than, say, a .270 average and 25 homers or so.

Chris (Richmond)

Drop Haren, Niese or McAllister for Lohse?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:51 PM)

I'd let McAllister go -- Niese is edging ever closer.

Trevor Bauer (CLE)

Am I worth owning in a 12 Team Mixed?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:52 PM)

With the promise of a permanent rotation spot, yes, but I see no such promise. Bauer has to do better than this seven-walks-in-five-innings kind of pattern if he's going to earn it. But I do think given 20 starts, he could give you a 3.25-3.50 ERA, plenty of K's (125?), but an awful WHIP (maybe 1.40).


Chris Carpenter - worth taking a flyer on? Sounds like he might be back soon.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

In an NL-only league of 10 teams or larger, but understand that you might be speculating on a reliever's upside. There's chatter that'll be his role.

Jack Bauer (CTU)

I can pitch better than my brother Trevor!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

Certainly you've got better control...No, wait, I'm not so sure about that...


Cubs get a steal with the Rizzo extension. Could he have a 35 HR season this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:54 PM)

That's a nice high-end projection, I'd be on board with that. I said in the preseason I expected something in the .260-.270 range in terms of batting average with 28 homers.

John (OH)

I noticed you have Chris Carter ranked fairly well in your hit parade. Is he really worth the BA risk? Does he hold any more value in OBP leagues?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:55 PM)

His power is legit -- easily capable of as many as 30 homers. And yes, he's more valuable in on-base percentage leagues because of his capability to walk 10 percent or so of the time, but let's remember that's still maybe a .333 OBP.

Chris (Richmond)

12-team, keep 12. Which lineup would you prefer? A: 1B - Ike Davis/Loney, 2B - Pedroia or B: 1B - Encarnacion, 2B - Kelly Johnson/Gyorko? B also has Sabathia.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:57 PM)

I'm not sure I can evaluate this based upon the CC Sabathia inclusion. I'm scratching that from the question and stating that I prefer the <i>1B and 2B</i> from Team B.

Jason (The ATL)

TC, You say stash Upton, but if it was Werth or Dunn or Hart who was currently THE WORST hitter in their respective leagues you'd likely recommend dropping them. I'm a frustrated Upton owner. Why NOT cut him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:58 PM)

Neither Werth, Dunn nor Hart is capable of the combination of homer/steal ability that B.J. Upton possesses. It's as simple as that. But you might be right that I'm leaning too hard on my "go down with the ship" opinion on Upton. I just believe streaky players are streaky players.

Zach (Pitt)

Why no love for marte in your rankings yet?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:59 PM)

A 5.5 percent walk rate riding a .413 BABIP. There's just no way that's sustainable. Starling Marte might bat .260 the rest of the year, for all we know.

John (Chicago)

Can you ever have too much offense?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:59 PM)

Never win a category by 40. If you take first by 40 homers, unless you won all the others, you wasted resources.

Paul (PA)

M.Estrada safe to start tonight vs PIT?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:00 PM)

"Safe," no, but I'd take a look in NL-only or 14-plus team mixed. At least he's got some strikeout upside.

Jay (DC)

Any worries about Matt Moore and his walks?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:01 PM)

The only bothersome part is how it pertains to pitch efficiency -- lowering the innings-per-start average -- but the guy has never been great in that department as a pro. He's throwing fine, no reason to sweat it.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:02 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 have a great week!