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July 1, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:03 AM)

Good morning everyone! Early deadline today -- 1:07 p.m. ET is Monday's first scheduled game -- so let's get right to your questions...

Chris (Richmond)

Matt Joyce has really fallen off in the last month. Is he going to rebound or should I drop him for Schierholtz, Quentin or Stubbs? This is a keep 12 league, if that makes a difference.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:04 AM)

Joyce, at least in mixed leagues, is one of those "ride the streak" types, good for short spurts but never, to this point of his career, for the full six months. I'm perfectly fine shedding him for Nate Schierholtz, who has hit well and has a similar kind of profile. Understand, though, you'll probably end up swapping Schierholtz out, too, at some point.

Ray (Boston)

You rolling Dickey out there today?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:05 AM)

Give me one moment to check a pertinent stat...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

Ok, just as I suspected. In R.A. Dickey's past three starts, he has thrown 28, 26 and 21 knuckleballers clocked 78 mph or faster, which is the velocity at which he thrived in 2012. So I'd say there's evidence here that the Dickey of 2012 is "back," and he's coming off that brilliant shutout, both facts alleviating some of the matchups concern. I'd give him a go, unless I'm facing some sort of serious starts-cap crunch (shallowest of leagues, effectively).

Brian (nj)

what are the chances Longoria ends up on the DL? should he be benched in a weekly league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

He <i>says</i> he won't go on the DL, but players are notorious for having the most optimistic outlooks. I'd prepare for 1-2 missed games out of the Rays' scheduled seven, which still puts him in the "start" class. But you're right to ask, because it's a risk you shall be taking.

RicH (NYC)

Does roberto Hernandez make 1 or 2 starts this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

One. David Price's anticipated return on Tuesday pushes Hernandez back to Wednesday. And as I noted in the Forecaster, his matchup at Houston isn't as favorable as it sounds. The Astros' strength offensively is specifically against pitchers of his style (sinker/change types).

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

With the early start this week, and having just referenced it, let's toss in that Forecaster link: <a href="http://espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/story/_/page/mlbforecaster130628/start-sit-advice-two-start-pitchers-rankings-week-14-2013-fantasy-baseball-season" target="_new">Week 14 Forecaster</a>.

Jimbo (GB, Mass)

Are you adding Cingrani with Cueto heading to the DL for the next few weeks?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

Yes, but I remain firm in my assessment of Tony Cingrani, which you could read in most any of my past "Sixty Feet Six Inches": He's inevitably going to hit an adjustment period, due to his heavy reliance upon his fastball as well as deception to overpower hitters. His secondary pitches need work. Period. So take it matchup by matchup.

Colby (Carlisle Pa.)

I know Jarrod Parker is throwing a bullpen tomorrow, but my lineup deadline is today... You sending him out there on the chance he misses his start? Jhoulys Chacin is my replacement option.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:13 AM)

Risk/reward balance for me is thus: Parker at home against the Cubs, even if he's at less than 100 percent, is a potential top-25 pitching performance of the week, that's the upside. So I'm going to stick with that, keeping in mind the Chacin game is at Coors against a Dodgers team that has hit well lately. Downside for Chacin is pretty steep, so I'd almost rather risk going with a zero than a start that hurts you.

Brian (Dallas)

Do you think Francisco Liriano keeps it up or is he trade high candidate?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

I'd sell high, but that's me. I don't trust Liriano and haven't for years. Lacks the command to keep up this kind of run for five months.That said, we're talking "sell high" at the value of a top-40 fantasy starter. Anything less and you might as well keep him around and hope.

John (NY)

Hey Tristan, meant to call you out on twitter but didn't get around to is so figured I'd do it here. BFBC as the 62nd ranked SP in 60ft 6inches? In a weekly ranking guide, don't you think that's low for what he's been doing? Or is he due for that huge regression second half that both we and you all seem to be fearing for?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

The "Call me out" feature runs tomorrow and I'm still fielding questions, but understand that it's more of a research/details angle than the quick-hitting one like in these chats.Reminder: Feel free to ask me any rankings-related question via Twitter (@SultanofStat), I'll post the best questions in tomorrow's column.As for the Colon quick hit, the guy -- at least the one at this advanced age -- has never come close to showing us six consecutive productive months. And at his age and physical build, I'd be stunned if he could sustain this. Heck, I might be amazed if he can even exceed 30 starts, let alone the stats in said starts.

Nick (The 203)

Should I start Harper in his first game back or give him a game or two to get into the swing of things?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

I'd start him in his first game back, but I generally activate any elite fantasy hitter immediately upon his return from the DL.

Tom (NJ)

I'm trying to trade pitching for a power. Is Strasburg for someone like Bruce fair value? or could i get more?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

I think that's about right. I might push for a hitter slightly better, but we're talking a negligible difference in my rankings.

Ray (Boston)

In need of saves. Take a flier on Blake Parker?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

It depends upon the depth of your league. I'll put it this way: In Tout Wars -- 12-team NL-only where pretty much everyone is owned -- he was a preferred pickup of mine this week (lost the bid, granted). Let's say "interesting NL-only speculative grab."

Mike (Baltimore)

Please tell me there'll be good day ahead for Zack Wheeler in 2013.... or tell me the truth!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Adjustment period, adjustment period. I've written it several times in the past years, I'm almost always going to use the premium prospect in his big-league debut, then I'm going to shy for the next 10 starts or so, until I see evidence that he has cleared that rocky phase of his career.That's not to say that <i>every</i> prospect will fall into this judgment of mine, it's generalizing, but it's something to keep in mind.

Mitch (NC)

Thoughts on Carlos Gomez ROS? Thanks

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

I buy. Can't really say much more than that.

sam (dallas)

Cole Hammels seems to be the "better luck next time" pitcher. Who could i look to trade him for, Waivers has R.A. Dickey, C.J. Wilson, Jarrod Parker, Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler for the rest of the season. Or should i just be patient with Cole Hammels

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

I'd be patient with him, but Dickey and Parker are extremely interesting pickups. I'd understand your lack of patience; the Phillies' lineup doesn't seem likely to provide all that much more run support than it has to date, so maybe nothing <i>will</i> change with Hamels.

Kevin (NJ)

In the forcaster you rated Stults an 8 in Boston? I was going to bench Stults, please explain.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

Well, consider that before the Marlins stinker -- that came after the stats run that generates the rankings (though it wouldn't significantly change things anyway, because of the sample size of one start) -- Stults had been beyond phenomenal. Frankly, looking at his command numbers (like K/BB), he was on par with Cliff Lee. Being clear here, I am not remotely saying Stults <i>is</i> Cliff Lee. But quality command alleviates the matchups panic.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

I'd ask: Who would you sit Stults <i>for</i>?

Dan (Concord, NH)

Your thoughts on Brad Miller ROS in an AL-Only league? Thanks for these chats!!!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

Definitely add, with a somewhat aggressive bid at that (double-digit bid in $100 FAAB cap league). I said on Friday's Fantasy Focus that he's a power/speed combo type who was capable enough in average. I rate him beneath Nick Franklin, but he might be a "lite" version of him.

Max (DC)

Kyle Gibson - thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

No better time to trade the guy; reference back to the Zack Wheeler response.That said, the Yankees' offense is a mess right now, so a home game against them is not at all a bad matchup. You can feel free to wait for another turn if you wish, but I cannot see how Gibson is a lot more than a matchups guy in general for 2013.

Ryan Howard (Philly)

Am I done? Should anyone even own me anymore?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

I hate to backtrack on my "buy low on Ryan Howard" stance, but his injuries don't appear to be getting much better and he might have slipped into the Aramis Ramirez class of players who need to be closely maintained by sitting a few days every now and then. I still believe Howard's best stats might be coming -- strong second-half track record -- but I can't see how he'll be a top-10 fantasy first baseman from today forward. No way.

Darren (Omaha)

Does s a "Wandy line" strategy for Catchers in a one catcher league make sense? Arter the top 5 or so, seems like one could scroll waiver wire and go with the best matchupsor the hot hand and not really worry too much about it if the guy you dropped gets picked up.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

I approve. Someone once mentioned to me their use of that strategy and it makes sense, considering the landscape at the position this year.

Steven (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Thoughts on Hosmer and his recent resurgence? How sustainable is it?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

I haven't examined the ground-ball stats/pull rates vs. the shift in the past couple weeks, so it's difficult for me to give you a detailed answer, but Hosmer's skill set says he's surely capable of keeping this up. I know he at least was improving in those areas last I checked -- mid-June -- so I'm willing to buy.

Robert (Storrs)

When is ESPN planning to do a mid-season add to rosters, MiLB not on original ESPN fantasy baseball list and/or possible players drafted in this years draft?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

My understanding is that players in the most recent draft get added during the offseason. I use placeholders in my keeper league for those. Not that difficult to do, just post them as notes on your league's front page/message board.

Rick (Denver)

What range of SP would you be targeting in exchange for the newly healthy (knock on wood) Jose Reyes? I'd be the one selling Reyes. Top 20? 30? 40?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

Top 20 for sure, and yes, I'd be aggressively shopping Reyes if I could afford to be without him. His injury history terrifies me with him playing on the turf in Toronto every day.

Brian (NH)

Machado finally hit a HR last night. Do you think all those doubles could result in more HRs in the second half, or is that something we can expect a year or two down the line? Watching him play, are most if his doubles the fly ball types or the line drive types?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

They <i>could</i>, but be aware that Manny Machado isn't necessary at the age where that kind of development is common. (He's 20. It's usually in the 22-25 range.) From the games of Machado's I've watched, most of his doubles are the line-drive type, not the big-power, fly ball types. And the stats support it: 23 line drive doubles, 8 on grounders, 7 on fly balls.

Jeff (NY)

Time to bring Betancourt off the DL, who to drop: Koji, Henderson, or Perez?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

At this point I'd cut Jim Henderson, because it sounds like the Brewers are perfectly content going the mix-and-match route.

Billy (Rockaway)

Grab Marcum off waivers and start him with his 2 start week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

He's <i>scheduled</i> for two starts but understand that it's pouring in the New York area right now, has been all day, and a rainout could alter the Mets' schedule. They could always skip someone if they wish.

Matt (Boston)

Any idea when the keeper rankings will come out?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

Usually All-Star break range. I haven't forgotten it.

Alex (New York)

Are you concerned about Bryce Harper's injury history and would you try to trade him when he comes off of the DL?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

My only concern is similar to one I share about Brett Lawrie: All-out, max-effort play <i>can</i> occasionally lead to a greater risk of injury. Another example in support: Yoenis Cespedes' max-effort swing.That said, Harper is <i>so</i> good, I'd just deal with it and keep him around.

MW (NJ)

RAUL IBANEZ!!! 19 hrs to date, final total???

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

I'm OK with 30, if you want to be generous. He's a HR/FB% manipulation player, and I could just as easily see him finishing with 26 as 36. I say sell, sell, sell.

Matt (Cleveland, OH)

Thoughts on a Starlin Castro turnaround?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

The three multi-hit games in his past five are promising, and I've always felt Castro is simply way too talented to not be a top-10 fantasy shortstop. That said, I still wonder whether we were all just way too high on him this year; probably between 6-10 rather than 1-5.

Yu Darvish (Back to the Future)

I'll be the No. 1 ranked pitcher next year, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

I think it might be Clayton Kershaw.

Demetrios (NY)

Brian Roberts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

Enjoy it while he's healthy, but he might be No. 1 on the "players most likely to get hurt this week" list. As he'd be any day of the entire year.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:48 AM)

And when I say "enjoy it," I mean deep mixed and AL-only at best. With much of that value propped up by his team (runs/RBIs boost).

Alex (OH)

What do you expect from Josh Reddick ROS? I could drop Joyce for him, good move?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Promising power potential, and I'd say that's a good swap. Perhaps capable of 10-15 more homers, 35 RBIs?

Jim (VT)

Is there an innings cap on Harvey? If so, would you sell high now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

My opinion is that I don't see him breezing past 200 innings pitched, and he's on pace to exceed that by a substantial amount. I might sell ... but only for a top-15 starter's value, and I'd be shooting for top 10.

Daniel (Chicago)

PUIG!!!!!ROS projection please!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

Legitimately unprojectable player. Puig continues to amaze everyone on the planet -- probably himself included -- and while I could say .280 average, 12 homers, 15 steals, I'm guessing. Could be way better, for all I know.

Rob (State College)

Castro follow up? Are you comfortable enough with him that you'd trade Hanley Ramirez to get another piece?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

If I'm getting a top-50 <i>overall</i> player -- and I'd argue your aim should be top 25 -- then sure, I'm game.

Jeff (MA)

JJ Putz will produce how many saves for the ROS with what kind of ERA and WHIP?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

I think Putz is very much a 3.00-ERA, 1.15-WHIP type pitcher in his healthy games, and if he stays healthy there's no reason he can't save 15-18. That said, easily one of the highest-risk closers in baseball the rest of the way.

Barry (FL)

Will Everth Cabrera pick up where he left off when activated this week?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

My opinion is yes. It's a hamstring injury and he's speedster; it's not the best of combinations for sure. That said, my take was always that the DL move was the Padres taking every precaution with him, rather than it being a dire situation.

Matt (Detroit, MI)

Any chance that Marco Scutaro cracks your rankings? I just traded Jhonny Peralta and have Scutaro to replace him.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:57 AM)

The only reason Scutaro fell out of my rankings in the first place was my concern for his finger injury, which had those reports of a two-month absence. Perhaps I overreacted.

Chris (Mass.)

Should I be kicking myself for unloading Puig after his first week? This guy ever going to regress?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

No to the first question. How could you know? Anyone who says he or she saw this coming is lying, there is no disputing that.And yes, he <i>will</i> regress. That's not an opinion, that's fact, because if he didn't regress, he's going to have the greatest season by anyone perhaps in history. That said, regression could still mean "top-25 overall player" going forward. It's not unthinkable.

Paul (Boston)

Prado for Kuroda?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

Done, <i>but</i> ... understand that a lot of Kuroda's value last year was rooted in wins, and wins are far from secure for Yankees pitchers going forward. Don't mistake him for a top-20 starter, because he's not one.

John (LA)

If I move Puig in a Dynasty format what should I get back?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

At this point, about the only thing you wouldn't have a right to try is offering him for Mike Trout, Bryce Harper or Miguel Cabrera. You shouldn't be offending anyone -- and if you do your trade counterpart is merely overreacting -- trying for anyone else. And I'd say I might just stand pat unless I get a player back ranked in my top 50 keepers (when that comes out soon).

Brian (San Diego)

Nickk Franklin weems to be getting forgotten abouwith Puig coming up at the same time but has looked very good. Could he be a Pedroia type player?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

They're not the same type. I've always felt Franklin's value was rooted more in power than anything else; the steals are a welcome addition and sustainable. But I see no way Franklin ever produces a higher batting average than Pedroia did at comparable ages.

John (LA)

How early is too early to stash Buxton in a Dynasty? My OF is Adam Jones, Puig and Carlos Gomez - the possibilities of adding Buxton are tantalizing haha

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

Let's just say I'd be thinking about it, if your league affords you the luxury of carrying over a good number of players (preferably as non-penalty minor league spots). He's owned in my 12-team keeper league (keep 12 per team, plus five "farm team" players which is where Buxton is stashed), and has been all year.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

Ok, time to wrap things up for today. Take care everyone, please remember that you have about an hour before the first game today, and best of luck to you this week!Everyone also have a happy and safe Independence Day! Enjoy...