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May 20, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

Good morning everyone! Busy morning -- there's a 12:05 p.m. ET game today, so we're running up against the lineup deadline. Get 'em set! Who's got a question?

Mick (Newburgh, NY)

How long does Profar stay, and when do we see Gausman? Thanks -

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

Let's get to the Jurickson Profar question right off the bat -- not that this means a ban on all Profar questions hereafter -- but he's well worth a pickup in all leagues, I might not go further than a quarter of my FAAB budget if that's your pickup method, and I think he's only up for as long as Ian Kinsler is out. What you're buying is the <i>chance</i> at a .280 average, 12 HR, 24 SB, except scaled to games played -- which might be only two weeks' worth. And I'd say the low end is .260-10-20.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

As for Kevin Gausman, I feel like he's going to get the Dylan Bundy treatment; late-season look, brief cup of coffee, but he's certainly an appealing keeper-league candidate even if he's not that useful in redraft.

Kev (MA)

David Freese or Mitch Moreland?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

I believe more in Freese's at-bats, so from the long-range perspective he's the one I'm picking, but I have positively no problem with going Moreland here for the short term. Remember, in our 10-team mixed, it makes a heck of a lot more sense to pick the short-term play when long-range values are this close, because there's always another short-term play available to get you through.

Nick (NY)

Looks like Phelps has some serious value going forward, no?...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

"Serious," no, but underrated, yes. My concern with David Phelps is that he lacks a committed, full-season rotation spot, but injuries are presenting an opportunity that pleases me. He's more a wins-K's kind of asset, and primarily in AL-only and 14-plus-team mixed, but don't underrate the dude. Should be owned in a larger percentage of ESPN leagues.

Colby (Carlisle PA)

Espinosa or Dee Gordon? Espinosa has been really bad.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Both of them are pretty bad <i>players</i> -- we need to separate the notion of "fantasy" and "real life" players in examples like these -- but if I'm investing in fantasy, I'd prefer the higher ceiling of Dee Gordon's stolen bases.

Chris (NJ)

Your thoughts on Grandal? M Montero and Lucroy are killing me at catcher.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

Ok, sorry for delay, but wanted to confirm what I had suspected: Nick Hundley is a .050 hitter in May (somewhat predictably). There were whispers that the Padres might split the playing time evenly between the two, and maybe for the first week that'll be true, but I cannot see how Yasmani Grandal doesn't make more sense for the Padres in five-plus out of every seven weekly games. You'll need to stash here -- and it's Jonathan Lucroy who goes if you <i>must</i> -- but I like him as a fallback for you. (Try to drop a player elsewhere so you can wait for Grandal.)

Fernando (Boston, MA)

Follow up catcher question: I am beyond frustrated with VMart, would you drop him for McCann, Arencibia, or Lucroy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

Yes.

Shawn (MO)

Dou you think it's still too early to panic about the standings? With Pujols,Hamilton Bruce, Morse, Prado underperforming I'm in last place and last in 4 categories and 9th in two others.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

It is absolutely time to panic about the standings. It was discussed in detail in my weekly columns about two weeks ago that this is about the time; check my archive.

Josh (Iowa City, IA)

How good is Goldschmidt? I think everyone is saying he's top 5, but votto, Edwin, posey and fielder ranked ahead of him... Any reason to suggest he won't surpass them? Or MVP candidate?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

He's an MVP candidate thus far, sure, but I'm not convinced he's a .300-plus hitter. I said more like .280 with 30-plus-homer power in the preseason, and if I'm to adjust, I'd say .290 and up to 40. That's probably not a better player than Prince Fielder or Joey Votto, and it's on par with Edwin Encarnacion.

Tim (LA)

Would you try to buy low on Matt Cain?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:16 AM)

Yes, if the price is just that: Low. The point being that Cain's one statistical outlier is his home run/fly ball percentage, which with some correction would put him back on par with his past three years' value points. If you're picking him up as, say, the price of the No. 20 starter, go for it. I'd be careful paying ADP prices, though.

Evan (Concord)

How long to hold onto Cingrani in 20 team ML? Has the ship on Rondon already sailed?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

Is it keeper? How deep is the bench? In a 20-team league I'd be making every effort to keep Tony Cingrani around, though not Bruce Rondon. (Or is that intended to be Anthony Rendon?) Though I'll stress that Cingrani only gets another look now if a Reds starter gets hurt, or Mike Leake turns into a total disaster, neither of which is fair to predict in the immediate future. Could be <i>months</i>, for all we know.

Dan (Vermont)

Your Friday-podcast-partner-in-crime Eric Karabell said in Friday?s Closer Report that Tanner Scheppers will save games this season. Do you agree? What do you think his ROS stat line will look like, and please include Holds in that stat line. Please feel free to elaborate (or chat, if you will) about Scheppers. Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

Extremely underrated relief arm who was long projected to possess closer makeup during his minor league days. I'm on board with that, because Joe Nathan, at his age and with his 2012 history of needing additional rest, might need nights off or could miss time.Let's say 2.50 ERA, maybe 17 more holds, 5 saves.By the way, if you want a National League equivalent -- meaning an uber-deep-guy-who-<i>could</i>-be-a-sneaky-saves/holds-getter -- take a look at Paco Rodriguez of the Dodgers.

Chris (NYC)

Are you buying Jiminez recent resurgence? I'm leery of giving him a start this week vs Detroit.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Not really. He's back in the matchups class, sure, but his fastball velocity is actually lower this year than it was last -- when it was substantially down -- and he has always been a pitcher who needed velocity to challenge for elite, every-start status. There's no way I'm using him against Detroit.

Chris (Richmond)

Ike Davis thinks he has a month to turn it around before being demoted. Should I give him that long? Wouldn't any flavor-of-the-week player be better than having him on my bench?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Well, that's a lot later in the year than when the whispers cropped up last season, which was about a week ago. Yes, I think you should give him that long, based upon his monstrous four-month finish to 2012, but that's the strongest case I can build for you, that "well, he did it last year." You can see that feeling reflected in my low rank -- generous considering his year-to-date contribution but also somewhat skeptical.

Bruce (DFW)

Thoughts on a couple of other recent rebounders - Justin Masterson and Brandon McCarthy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

McCarthy's resurgence shouldn't be totally shocking; a pretty talented pitcher albeit one who has been capitalizing upon some soft matchups of late. My question with him has always been health.As for Masterson, I'd like to take a more in-depth look at him, and might well do so for tomorrow's "Sixty Feet Six Inches." My quick-glance analysis was that he's getting many more K's than I expected and somehow he has corrected a major career issue of his: He's getting lefties out. If that's a skills change, that's <i>huge</i>.

Joe (CT)

What is your gameplan for BJ Upton?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

Bench-and-wait, unless by some miracle you're being offered a top-100 player overall in exchange. For a price point: I just traded Adam LaRoche and David Hernandez for him in my keeper league; I wasn't paying a dime more than that and to be clear, Hernandez had no utility on my team (strong in relief). And if I was asked to trade back, I most certainly wouldn't.

Kelli (New Jersey)

Read your weekly forecaster and got the feeling you would use Patrick Corbin at Coors. How are you feeling today?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

See, I'm extremely torn on that, and there's no way to quantify my concerns for Corbin in a way that's fair to all league formats. So here are some examples: I own him in Tout Wars (12-team NL-only), and I'm going to start him, not just because I kind of <i>have</i> to, but also because replacement values are so far beneath even his worst-case scenario. In 10-team mixed with starts caps? I'm probably avoiding Corbin, because there's a very real possibility he's going to offer a 5 1/3-inning, 4-run so-so game.And if that does happen, by the way, I don't want to hear all the cries of "regression." Regression is going to strike him in time, but this is just a tough matchup.

Ben (NH)

Josh Lindblom starts today against OAK. Stream him and hope for 6 IP 1 ER 5 Ks?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

I'm not going anywhere near Lindblom, who was a homer-prone reliever a year ago at this time. It's a home game, so it's not like it's a great matchup.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

That said, I'll be keeping watch on Lindblom's performance, but that's a bench-and-evaluate.

Josh (Chicago)

With Profar up, any news on Wil Myers? Still an early June arrival? I've been stashing him all season. Guess there's no point in cutting him now, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

I was pretty clear about my Wil Myers assessment in one of my more recent "Hit Parades" -- believe it was the May 8 one -- and said that I project him up the first week to 10 days of June, because that's what major league teams apparently believe is the "safe" time for players to avoid Super-Two arbitration status.Yes, keep him around.Yes, if he's out there in your league and you've got bench room to spare, scoop him up now so you're not paying Profar prices in FAAB when he's actually summoned.

Billy (NYC)

One more prospect to touch on...Adam Eaton worth the stash?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

Yes, absolutely. Working his way back and an activation is probably not far off. Nice speed potential with minimal batting average risk, too.

Rebeka (Canada)

In the last 2 weeks Chapman has a 6.750 era and 2.0000 WHIP, any concerns or just a hiccup?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

I think most any reliever is going to endure a cold spell such as this, and I watched Chapman's outing yesterday; velocity was fine but location was off. I think that's fixable. No real worries here.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

...beyond that this is a prime time for someone to sneak in and try to steal Chapman away from you at a discount price, that is!

Mark (Boston)

Thoughts on Jair Jurrjens as a back-end AL-Only arm? Looked pretty solid in AAA and decent in his first start up with the O's. Still only 27.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

Performance in Triple-A plus the spot-start effort has me taking a look, but he's a matchups guy -- groundballer who relies on command to succeed -- in a division that minimizes the volume of favorable matchups. Unless you're in an AL-only league or streaming, I don't see a lot.

Alex (Mass)

Tristan, Who has more saves this week Andrew Bailey or K Gregg?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

That's a "guess" situation, but I'll state that while Bailey is due to be activated Monday and the Red Sox play seven games to the Cubs' six, John Farrell has said he might ease Bailey's workload a bit in the initial few days he's back. That about evens their potential number of appearances, so I actually think I'd go Gregg here as far as fantasy starts are concerned.

the kaz (va)

IS Kazmir worth starting this week as he has two starts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

I like the Mariners matchup and loathe the Red Sox matchup, meaning I'm relegating him to AL-only and 14-plus mixed if I can, and I'm avoiding him outright if I've got a strict starts cap.

Scott (Cin)

Any chance they skip Orodozzi &#x26; Cobb gets 2 starts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

It's always possible -- what if Odorizzi gets hit hard on Monday, then demoted -- but Joe Maddon has said that Odorizzi is his choice for the length of David Price's DL stint. I think that's a lock-in 2-3 starts and the Rays don't manipulate their rotation around off days.

Vernon Wells (NY)

Can I keep this up all season long?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

Check out Friday's Fantasy Focus podcast. Short answer is no, no way, I can't see the at-bats or him continuing this, but we went <i>way</i> in detail about Wells' prospects on the show.

Dave (MA)

Thoughts on Heyward now that he's back?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:45 AM)

Patience, patience, but by June he should be back to the levels of his preseason projections, scaled to four months of remaining season.

CJ (NY)

Trevor Cahill looked like a pretty standard innings-eater his prior two seasons. Any noticeable reason for his improvement this year? No one seems to be talking about him.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

One thing that's scarcely mentioned about Cahill is that his breaking stuff is legitimately swing-and-miss worthy. He's using it slightly more this year -- about 7 percent more often -- and it's helping improve the effectiveness of the rest of his pitches. I'm a believer.

Adam (PA)

Maholm has cooled off a bit. Do you think that was a result of some tough matchups or is it a sign of things to come?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

A little of both. Maholm's first-three-starts performance was unsustainable, but I also think he's a top-40 capable starter. I'd just be more mindful to avoid the worst matchups -- things like Coors, Tigers, etc. -- going forward.

Brian (PDX)

Speaking of @ Coors. Are you touching Kennedy tomorrow (in 10-team a QS, K/9 league)? What's for lunch today?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Kennedy pitched at Coors on April 19 and had a 6/3 quality-start minimum game, and I'd call that the baseline for this matchup as well. It puts you at a 50/50 shot at your QS at best, so if you've got a starts cap, I'd avoid it.I think it's a turkey sandwich day.

Jeff (MI)

How bad is this keeper league trade...Braun/A.Reed for Trumbo/Grimm/Latos...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

It's pretty awful. Not completely overturnable, but I'd much prefer the Braun side.

Julianna (Miami)

TC! Thoughts on Chris Carpenter? Potential ROS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

If you can find a way to sneak him onto your roster and into a DL spot -- meaning you'd need a league with larger benches and perhaps unlimited DL -- I'd do so. Carpenter now has an opportunity to start -- I think Jaime Garcia's year is done -- and he might be about a month away from activation. Hey, why not?

Rick (Pittsburgh)

Segura/Scherzer of Dickey/ Harper in a points league

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

I'll take the former, thanks, remembering that replacement levels at shortstop are awfully poor.

Matt (Cleveland, OH)

Which underachiever is better tomorrow? Niese or Parker?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

Jarrod Parker pitches Wednesday, FYI. But there is zero chance I'm starting him at Texas, not the way he has pitched year-to-date.Jonathon Niese at least gets my attention in NL-only leagues, not that I like the matchup that much. Pitching at home, though, at least provides an edge.

Dudely (Boston)

Do I start McCutchen and Harper in weekly leagues given they were both just out a game (or two for Harper)? Gotta set that lineup!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:00 PM)

I would. Unfortunately, I have no information on either beyond day-to-day, as well as the Washington Post's report that the Nationals hope to have Bryce Harper back on Monday. This isn't enough to warrant benching either player, talented as they are.

Craig (PA)

Any Gerrit Cole news? I see no news anywhere and I need some pitching

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

He was hit hard in his last outing and has a mediocre strikeout-to-walk ratio (beneath 2). The Pirates can afford to be patient, what with James McDonald on the mend, so don't count on Cole before mid-June, at the earliest.

Tom (Calif)

Streaming 2 start AL pitchers, pick two for this week: Lindblom, Odorizzi and Doubront?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

Lindblom sits.

Paul (Denver)

Do you look at who your opponents have pitching for the week and base some of your starts/sits?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

Nope.

Bill (Williamsburg)

Would you trade Cano/Kennedy for Harper/Profar in a keeper league? I'm out of it for this year and looking to build for the future.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

Yes, absolutely. What a young core you'd build for yourself.

Jimmy W (Worcester)

How about Yelich? He's been on fire. Shocked the Marlins haven't reeled him in yet. Do you think they're waiting for the deadline?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

I wonder whether they're also waiting until that June guess of being safe from Super-Two status.

Jim (DC)

Any chance the Nats send Espinosa to the minors or put him on the DL? He's been awful.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

He's playing with an injured shoulder (non-throwing), so they'd have a justification for DL status. I cautioned in the preseason not to draft Danny Espinosa and remain firm; he's a major risk.

jay (st louis)

marlins closer thoughts? dunn worth holding?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

I'd add Dunn in NL-only and 14-plus mixed, but he's going to sit on my bench for this week. Certainly he could get some additional looks in the ninth.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:05 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 enjoy the day baseball!