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June 24, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:00 PM)

Good afternoon everyone! We're four hours from the week's first games, so let's help get your fantasy baseball lineups set. Who's got a question?

mitch (phoenix)

I own iwakuma and i wanted to know are you buying or selling on iwakuma for the ROS? If you are selling who do i am for?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:03 PM)

I ranked Hisashi Iwakuma my No. 25 starting pitcher in last week's "Sixty Feet Six Inches," and have made the point elsewhere (ex: Fantasy Focus podcast) that the difference between the No. 15 and 30 starter is negligible, only a couple bucks' auction value at most. In other words, he's solidly in the second tier, perhaps third, and that's a very good place to be.I say "sell" in general because I've run into a lot of people who think he's a top-10 potential starter. There's just no way I see that happening; his strand rate is astronomical and his stats on balls in play say he's going to regress, probably to a 3.00-3.25 ERA. So give it a shot, you might get yourself a heck of a hitter in exchange. Like Giancarlo Stanton, perhaps.

Nerlens (Everett)

I was offered Dickey for Gerrit Cole, turned it down. Thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:05 PM)

There are whispers that Gerrit Cole's rotation spot isn't secure with Wandy Rodriguez due back within a week or two, so keep that in mind. I've also said that Cole looks like a pitcher who has some work to do; needs to show more of his secondary pitches in order to realize his full potential. If you can afford to speculate, I'd give that deal a shot, but I understand your decision to reject it.

Justin Upton (ATL)

Should my owners start me in weekly leagues?!?!?!?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:06 PM)

It depends how deep the league. In anything other than our 10-team standard mixed (three bench), I have a hard time believing any alternative is worth it. Upton is a definite DL candidate, and he's hitting .203 with a homer in June, so there's major risk this week. Still: Only sits for me in shallow mixed.

Zach (Oklahoma)

I know you should "start your studs" but with Weaver pitching so poorly, would you bench him against the Tigers this week?(Points league)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:09 PM)

If I'm in a points league, I bet I have a reliable alternative to Jered Weaver for this week. This doesn't apply to the overwhelming majority of AL-only owners, but I'd advise any Weaver owner with the luxury to sit him this week.

Kris (Medlen)

Why are you so low on me in your rankings?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:10 PM)

Medlen dropped beneath an expected level of natural regression in the season's first two months and only recently seems to have picked up the pace. He'll rise in this week's ranks, but I have a hard time believing he's a top-30 starter. You can argue he is, but if I'm going to OK it, it's probably going to be with him <i>at</i> exactly 30.

Joe (Richmond)

Will Chase Utley be back on track with what he was doing before he hit the DL, or should he be sold?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:11 PM)

Difficult to say, and an 0-for-9 performance in two rehab games hardly casts serious doubt on his value this week. It's a concern, yes, but I'd still start Utley most anywhere I could. Having seven games is a plus; though three against lefties might have me sitting him in shallow mixed.

Phil (MN)

Trusting Jacob Turner in Miami? Was highly touted a few years back.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:12 PM)

Still no K's, so, no. I'd endorse Turner for matchups, but I need to see more swings and misses before I'm a believer in anything more.

Joe (Bronx, NY)

Phil Hughes's peripheral stats don't look that bad (K%, K/BB, batted ball, etc) but the results are terrible. Do you think he will keep a rotation spot now that Nova is back and, if so, can he redeem his season? And should we even bother to roster him while we find out? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:14 PM)

I most certainly would not start Hughes this week, not with the rotation shuffle, which by the way I agree casts doubt upon his spot long-term. Hughes is just way too homer-prone and he's in perhaps <i>the</i> worst circumstance for his pitching style (bandbox ballpark smallest to right field; that's the left-handed side of a righty's split). I wanted to believe in Hughes this year; I'm now probably not buying again until he's out of New York and in a more suitable environment for his skills.

Allie (Cape Breton)

Should Frieri owners now breathe easier with more bad news on Madsen or does last night's debacle cause sleepless nights?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:15 PM)

I might use last night's "debacle" to buy low on Ernesto Frieri, if I could. He's fine as a closer, and I felt in the preseason that he would be fine as a closer, and probably locked in long term if Madson had any issues (like he has). No change to my opinion.

Patrick Corbin (AZ)

What do I have to do to get into the top 30 of your 60ft6in rankings? Geez...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:18 PM)

Hey, I love Patrick Corbin. Have the entire year. But let's be realistic: 6.93 K's per nine ratio, 3.21 FIP that says the ERA is bound to rise a little, and a .243 BABIP that says the WHIP should as well. Don't overrate the win-loss record. Corbin is a reliable dude; he's just not an elite starter.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:19 PM)

That said, Corbin <i>might</i> reach my top 30 this week, if only because of the razor-thin value differential between 30 and 35.

Ryan (CA)

What is up with Justin Verlander? His command has been awful and he can't get past the 5th inning...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:20 PM)

Four bad starts where the matchups were as bad as you could ask. I explain <a href="http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9417884" target="_new">here</a>.

Adam (NY)

Assuming i should bench Carlos Gomez this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:21 PM)

I own Gomez in Tout Wars -- he was key to my strategy, for long-time readers -- and that's a 12-team NL-only league. Gomez will remain active for me this week. Step up the league-depth ladder and there's a greater chance I sit him; I'm going to say he sits for me in anything smaller than a 12-team mixed. I see no way he's playing the first 2-3 days of this week. Injury looked way too painful.

Doug (MT)

Tempted to drop Matt Moore. Love the guy's upside, but right now he's pretty much unstartable. Of course, I said the same thing about Scherzer at the beginning of last season, and the guy who picked him up rode him all the way to the championship game.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:24 PM)

I'm intrigued by the comp, Doug, but a closer look unravels it. At the time, Max Scherzer showed somewhat stronger peripherals, specifically a greater K-to-walk rate and a rapidly rising average fastball velocity. Moore's velocity has been slipping, albeit slightly, and his K-to-walk hasn't been quite as stellar. It's possible he could do it, but dropping him in our standard game is worth the conversation.

Darren (Lincoln)

Adam Dunn is .278/.391/.618 with 8 homers and 20 RBIs the three plus weeks of this month. Obviously this is going to end at some point. Are there any "canary in the coalmine" stats or signs you like to look at when a streaky hitter is nearing an end to a streak? Or is it too unpredictable and you have to just take the good with the bad (or, possibly, not take it at all) when it comes to up and down sluggers like him.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:26 PM)

I often look to "chase rate," or the percentage of the time the hitter swings at pitches outside the strike zone. Rationale: Hot hitter potentially getting bold on worse pitches, while opponents are working around him more.But that's such a small, small indicator; I'm saying more that I'll look out of curiosity than it's going to identify every such example. Streaky guys are just streaky guys.

Brian (NY)

Orioles DFA'd Garcia, recalled Gausman.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:28 PM)

Roch Kobatko of MASNSports.com is reporting that, indeed, though I consider it a puzzling move because Freddy Garcia's rotation spot wouldn't have arrived again until Friday. Wouldn't it have been smarter to call up a reliever, then bring up Gausman on Friday to start? Hmmm. Perhaps Gausman might be up to relieve. We'll see.For now, Gausman a speculative AL-only add -- if you dropped him, I mean -- and only to stash on the bench.

Jay Y (East Longmeadow, MA)

A-Rod rumblings....you stashing? if so what can we expect .270 and 15 HRs the rest of the season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:29 PM)

I think any expectation larger than that is unrealistic. I'm guessing 60 games, a .260 average, 11-13 home runs. And I'm not stashing in 10-team standard, there just isn't close to enough upside to warrant sitting around for several more weeks.

Roster Spot News (Atlanta)

Any word on who is going to lose the spot when Beachy comes back? Or what are the chances they go with a 6 man rotation? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:30 PM)

Well, it's probably not going to be a debate until after the All-Star break anyway, so that's three weeks for something to happen that'd naturally clear space for Beachy. Heck, maybe Beachy himself will suffer another setback. You just never know.I'd be most worried as a Paul Maholm owner. He's the one who has shown the most hints of declining performance, and that's a lot of time left for him to show he's the one who needs to go.

Tom (Calif)

Do you start Reyes right away? Start him over Peralta in a H2H if he is activated tonight?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:31 PM)

Yes, I would start Jose Reyes immediately in all formats. That said, it looks like Thursday for his return, so that's not a full week for those of you in weekly formats.

Ike Davis (Vegas)

Thoughts on my return next week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:33 PM)

I'd take a look. I haven't had the opportunity to watch any of Davis' performances in Triple-A, I'll admit, but the reports I've read have all been positive. And I've been as frequent as anyone in citing his strong second half last season. If he has truly made adjustments, there's no reason he couldn't be a top-20 first baseman going forward, and that potential is worth a stash.

Phil (New Orleans)

One FB question? In a keeper league with 3 RB and WR keeper, do I go WR or QB in 1st round?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:34 PM)

I'll take as many football questions as anyone would like. And in your situation, I'd <i>probably</i> go wide receiver, but for the most part I'm going best available in Round 1. Lean towards wideout, but I think it'll be pretty clear who best is when your turn's up.

Josh Hamilton (Loserville)

What is my best case scenario for ROS at this point?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:35 PM)

Maybe .270 average, 18-20 homers? You asked for a "best case."

justin (peoria)

What day does Reyes come back?? Starting him over a slumping Andrus this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:36 PM)

Reyes' current ETA is Thursday. If it's a weekly league with options like Elvis Andrus around, no, I am not starting him. But that's pretty much only going to happen in 10-team mixed.

Joe (WI)

THC. Nobody ask about Kyle Gibson yet?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:37 PM)

Gibson was another pitcher I discussed in the video I linked earlier, in the Justin Verlander question. Take a look for more details, but the summary was he's fine to use in the debut, but I'm picking and choosing every matchup with him this year. Matchups guy, plain and simple.

Preston (NY)

How bout a question that helps everyone?!?What underperforming pitcher will turn it around the most in the second half? Dickey? Morrow? Kennedy? Someone else??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:37 PM)

Cole Hamels.

Cash money (San Diego )

Speaking of being ranked so low. Can you explain your Andrew Cashner ranking?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:39 PM)

Lots and lots of Andrew Cashner questions today. For readers of both "Sixty Feet" and "Forecaster," comparing the rankings illustrates the Cashner predicament: I'm fully on board with most every Cashner start, but the low "Sixty Feet" ranking -- remember those are "rest of the season beginning today" rankings -- is a product of health risk. I don't buy for a second that Cashner is making it to October without missing at least one turn. It'd be foolish to assume he could.

Bud (HOU)

Eovaldi said to be throwing 97, thoughts on him?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:40 PM)

I've always felt there was a little something there with Nate Eovaldi, in the value range of a No. 3-4 big-league starter, but let's face it, the guy wasn't that good last season and he pitches for the Marlins, so there isn't much margin for error. Matchups guy on the low end, but I wouldn't just dismiss him outright like I might a Twins starter ... you know, like Kevin Correia or Mike Pelfrey.

Jay (WI)

Why such a low ranking for Garza at MIL?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:41 PM)

Actually, he soared up my rankings following his most recent outing, coupled with the Carlos Gomez injury. I put in an update around lunchtime (Eastern time).

Jon (Minnesota)

Um, you know the Twins are actually pretty decent right now, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:42 PM)

Their rotation sure isn't.

Daniel (NY)

Any update on that Carlos Gomez injury you mentioned?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:43 PM)

I've got nothing that wasn't cited worldwide either last night or this morning: He's day-to-day with a shoulder sprain. Seems awfully favorable a diagnosis, and I'd be shocked if he's not out 2-3 days at minimum. Beyond that no one but the Brewers has any idea.

Mark (Illinois)

Tyring again...drop Freeman and add Lind for this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:44 PM)

Wow. You can't cut anyone else? This is a week to use Adam Lind over Freddie Freeman -- Lind has begun hitting lefties, so not as much fear in the three lefty opponents -- but I sure wouldn't want to risk losing the entire season's second half of Freeman stats.

Josh (Chicago)

Has Anthony Rizzo figured his way out of his slump, or is he going to be one of the "streaky" guys you described in a previous question?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:46 PM)

He's a slugger much more rooted in power than batting average, so yes, I fully anticipate a career as one of the more streaky players. That said, we're not talking "Adam Dunn streakiness," but probably something closer to "Jay Bruce streakiness," keeping in mind that Bruce at Rizzo's comparable point in career wasn't the Bruce you've watched the past month.

Mike (Green Bay, WI)

Missing a start or two doesn't seem so bad. The 2013 version of Andrew Cashner seems to totally fit the Cockcroft profile: few walks, lots of ground ball out, and good K potential (emphasis on potential)

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:49 PM)

Well, let's stress that that's the <i>minimum</i> time I'd expect he'd miss. Also keep this in mind: Cashner has already thrown about 15 more innings this season than he did the entire 2012 season, and he's within 20 innings of his professional single-season high. That's a problem when you're talking about a pace that could put him in the neighborhood of 75 innings over.

Justin (St. Louis)

After a half-season of shame, I'm a little confused that Willingham is still ranked above guys like Raul Ibanez and Chris Carter. Does he have a history of second-half performance factoring into that?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:51 PM)

Ibanez another player discussed in the video linked earlier. It's all home run/fly ball percentage manipulation, every bit of it.As for Carter, he's one of those streaky guys very close to the Adam Dunn mold; you're going to be quite displeased with the rough patches.

John (FT WAYNE)

What are your thoughts on Esmil Rogers as a Starter?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:51 PM)

I'm impressed by what I see, have him solidly in my matchups class (which says a lot if you consider where he's been the past two years) and I'm quite tempted to go further.

Pepe (Boston)

I understand you're not supposed to pay for saves, but after I swung a trade to get Yu that left my bullpen with just Sergio Romo and Brothers, I traded Greinke to get Chapman. Bad move? Gut overreaction?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:52 PM)

I'm good with that. If you're paying for saves, at least pay for those that have other valuable things tacked on.

Joe (Philadelphia)

In your Rizzo to Bruce comp, were you implying that Rizzo currently projects to be better than Bruce?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:53 PM)

No, I was saying that Adam Dunn is a streaky guy likely to bat .210 in most remaining full seasons of his career, while Jay Bruce is much more likely to bat .270. Meaning Rizzo's high end for full-season batting average is probably in that .270 range.

Tim (Maine)

What type of future do you see in Arcia for the Twins?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:54 PM)

A bright one with potentially massive power potential -- we're talking maybe 30 home runs, next year -- and I'd merely hope the Twins are smart enough to give him a chance to shine every day in 2014. I'm sure that they will. Great dynasty league on-the-cheap grab.

Nick (Atlanta)

Speaking of Gerrit Cole and Wandy Rodriguez, I am hearing the Pirates are currently planning on sending Jeanmar Gomez out of the rotation into a long relief role instead of sending Cole back to the minors. T

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:55 PM)

I would <i>hope</i> that this is their strategy in the end, but I have to share what is reported. And it was reported that Cole isn't positively guaranteed to stick.

Jack (Minneapolis)

Is J. Lester in the same category as Hamels? Would you be trading for him or someone you'd stay away from? I've been offered Lester for either CJ Wilson, Holland, or Cashner.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:56 PM)

No, he's not, because his peripherals are eroding. I'd consider taking a chance on him if the price is right, but even that might be a good 10 spots beneath where I ranked him, and certainly not at a price anywhere higher than I had him last week. Lester for Holland is perfectly fine.

Kurt (NYC)

Hey T, would you roll with Moreland or Aoki at UTIL this week? Thanks.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:56 PM)

Moreland.

Chandler Bing (Friends)

THC, keeper league, would you accept a trade offer of Harvey and S. Miller for Hamels and Minor?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:57 PM)

You <i>get</i> the Harvey side? Gobble that one up quickly. And this is coming from a guy who likes both of the pitchers you're selling.

BOB (Maryland)

THC, urgent question! Drop Miley?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:58 PM)

If you need the spot, sure. He's matchups material.

Dave (Howell)

Is Aramis Ramirez gonna turn it around?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:58 PM)

I've never believed for a day that Ramirez was going to be consistently reliable in 2013. He has played limited all year and I'm not sure that's going to change before the winter's rest. (Save for a brief hot spell here or there.)

Doug (MT)

What do you think about Pedro Alvarez going forward? Huge valleys to go along with the huge peaks (such as he's putting up right now)? Equal to or greater than Dunn?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (3:59 PM)

They're awfully similar, though I'd grant Alvarez maybe 35 points of batting average between the two. That said, I'm taking Alvarez if I'm picking because he's younger and plays a more premium position.

Iwakuma (Seattle)

What kind of bat would you want for me? I'm a 1o dollar keeper

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:01 PM)

See, so many people come at me with these fantastic Iwakuma dynasty prices, and if you've got him at that, it's a totally different story. That's a great price. Unless I'm getting a great, low-priced keeper hitter -- think Freddie Freeman locked in for $8 -- I'm not moving the guy for anything less than premium talent. Win-right-now talent, I mean.

Luke (Texas)

who are you taking ROS between Howard, Hosmer, Butler and Morales? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:01 PM)

It's awfully close between Billy Butler and Ryan Howard.

Buster (Cambridge)

Seriously though: Matt Kemp?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:02 PM)

I've got concerns about Kemp, whose rehab reports aren't great and who is coming back from a hamstring injury ... that's a problem for a guy who derives a decent share of his fantasy value from his legs. It's reflected in my recent rankings.

jonmike (frisco)

Thoughts on Chien-Ming Wang? He looked pretty solid, and pitching for a pretty solid team as well. Would you rather roll the dice with him, or maybe pickup Wandy off the waiver wire?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:03 PM)

I'm taking Wandy. Wang is a matchups pitcher, I'd be stunned if he elevated his performance to any higher level, and he's in a tough division pitching half his games on a surface that isn't great for a ground-baller. Very slim margin for error.

Callen (NJ)

Is Ryan Braun still worth holding onto in my DL spot

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:03 PM)

Yes. Not even an option to cut him, in my opinion. Must-hold player.

Adam (KC)

Gibson would slide in where amongst SP in 60ft, 6in compared to last weeks? Worth an add over Miley or Kluber?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:04 PM)

Giving a quick once-over, he'd be in the 70s, which is right around where Corey Kluber is. And I'll take Kluber, given the choice.

Iwakuma (Seattle)

Thank you for answer! I'll be keeping him, Miller and Minor all for $10 next season. I'm also tied for 1st. They're all win now and win down the road guys, am I right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:05 PM)

Yes, but understand that the Cardinals are already whispering about Shelby Miller's workload, so you can be sure that's going to be a factor going forward in 2013.

Billy (KC)

LaRoche for Cole in an OBP. Fair deal?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:05 PM)

Sure.

Deuces (Parts Unknown)

McClouth or Meyers? Santiago or Frieri as RP? Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:06 PM)

Needs question in the outfield. I'll take McLouth for this week in most cases.And I'm going Frieri.

Justin (LA)

Gyorko back tomorrow? and what about AJ Burnett?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:07 PM)

Jedd Gyorko is scheduled back Tuesday, so he's fine to activate in weekly leagues.Burnett, though, is still several weeks away. Last I checked, he hasn't even resumed throwing.

Tom (NV)

How do you feel about Benoit in Detroit? Just another placeholder before an inevitable trade, or can he hold on to the job?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:09 PM)

I actually think Benoit has the skills to close, but durability concerns by the team have me wondering whether they'd ever trust him for four months of a season like this. What that means is that I'm buying in from a fantasy angle, but they're saves with a high risk of being swiped from you, if the team decides it'd be smarter to trade for a "proven closer," like Jonathan Papelbon.

Mitch (AZ)

To go with the benoit question. How do you feel about Uehera?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:10 PM)

Ditto Benoit opinion. Almost an identical thing, and frankly, I was very surprised that the Red Sox didn't first turn to Junichi Tazawa, with whom they've never openly shared durability concern.

Stephen Strasburg (Washington)

Back to normal here after my little DL stint?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:10 PM)

Yup!

Chris (Boston)

A little early, I know, but just wondering who you think would get saves for the Phils if Papelbon gets traded.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:11 PM)

Mike Adams, I guess. None of what the Phillies have in that bullpen impresses me from a speculative angle. Justin De Fratus, maybe, if he has a phenomenal next month.

Jeff (NY)

I can't put my Chicken Parm in the oven until I know.....Enough IP concerns to drop Jose Fernandez for Josh Johnson or Jarrod Parker?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:12 PM)

Then you can now safely put in your chicken parm! Ok, so here, let's not overlook the health risk with Josh Johnson, which is every bit as relevant to the discussion as Fernandez's workload. It's Fernandez for me over him, but I'd go Jarrod Parker <i>slightly</I> over the kid in redraft leagues, based upon the recent turnaround.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (4:12 PM)

Ok, time to wrap things up for today. Thank you for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to you this week!