Fantasy Baseball with Tristan H. Cockcroft
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft in The Show on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Pedro starting a rehab stint...4 or 5 starts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Probably about that, yes. The reports seem to be glowing, from what I've read. I won't be surprised if, barring a setback, he's ready around Aug. 1. At this point, it's absolutely time to begin talking about Pedro Martinez, though remember, the Mets' primary goal here is to get him up to full speed for the playoffs. He might need two or three big-league starts before becoming useful, and then not be much more than NL-only or mixed matchups useful. Don't go crazy.
do you think the brewers are the real deal this season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
I think they're one key playoff-tested veteran away from being a serious contender for the NL title. Playoff appearance? Sure, I could see it. It's a good, young team. But I think the Brewers' youth and playoff inexperience could pop up in October.
Adam (Racine WI)
What are your thoughts on Smoltz shoulder discomfort? Cause for alarm?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Anything that plagues John Smoltz, at his age, has to be cause for concern, but let's not get alarmist here, either. I remember so many instances of bumps and bruises like this in the past couple seasons with him, and he turned out fine in the end. Smoltz is a gamer; if there's any way he can pitch through this, he's absolutely going to. What WOULD worry me, is any kind of development that serves as a setback. Be mindful of that. Missing another start after the break, THAT'S when you begin to fret.
Is Glover really the best pick up to replace Reyes in TB?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Gary Glover is the first one who will get a shot, but he hasn't pitched great this year. No one really has in that Tampa Bay bullpen, at least of the men on the active roster. Pick up Glover in deep leagues, sure, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. I see a big mess in the late innings for Tampa Bay until Reyes returns.
Can I expect a story today about how Rich Harden suffered a setback and now there is no time-table for his return? Good news is always followed by heartache with this guy.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
You did? Because I just read one, within the past 30 minutes, from one of the local papers in Oakland that said he's starting on Saturday because he feels fine. If an out-of-nowhere story like the one you read pops up, believe me, I won't be at all shocked. That's Rich Harden for you, he's high-risk, high-reward. But with the information I have, things are actually looking good for him for once. I say enjoy it for as long as it lasts, because it won't last long.
Mike (Hoboken, NJ)
Carpenter lasted only 1.1 IP on Tuesday in his rehab start. Is he still worth holding on to as I also have Myers and Harden just taking up space as well. I could drop Carp and add another SP...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
It is a long, long road back for a pitcher coming off what Chris Carpenter has battled this year. Keep in mind he only threw 32 pitches on Tuesday, so even at his best he'd have gone what, MAYBE three innings? It's all baby steps. Still early in his rehab, but I'd say Chris Carpenter has a shot at being useful by Aug. 1, in a Pedro Martinez kinda way. I don't know the SP alternatives you have out there, but if anyone trustworthy is already owned, I'd just play the waiting game.
What happened to josh johnson last night? is he done for the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Setback and back on the DL. At this point, yes, I would worry that Johnson is done for the season. There's a good chance that his setback leads to surgery, because the Marlins keep trying to work him around that but eventually, if you keep taking steps backward, the knife becomes inevitable.
What do you think of Dye? He looks horrible this year...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
He does look horrible this year, and so do his White Sox. A trade could help rejuvenate him, but I don't think we can all assume that's an automatic. Dye at his best is in no way what he was in 2006. I'd say that was an aberration. He's more a .280-hitting, 30-homer candidate. Scale that down and that'd be his best-case scenario if he lands in a good situation. I'll take the conservative approach, though, and say he hits in the .260s with maybe 12 more homers.
PLAYING FROM BEHIND!!!! start arroyo and Gorzelanny tonight? also start cuddyer or Helton?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I wouldn't mind either pitcher, even though the Brewers do handle left-handed pitching pretty well. Remember that Bronson Arroyo is facing the Giants, hardly a great offense. Hitter point is moot. Todd Helton is off. I do think Michael Cuddyer's matchup is good, though.
Hi Tristan. Gallardo - would you keep him expecting starts for this year? And better here out - Germano or McGowan?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Another one where I don't know the specs of your league. If you're a shallow league, you probably don't have the luxury. Value wise, I'd likely keep Yovani Gallardo around, because the Brewers will call upon him as soon as a rotation spot opens. As for the others, Justin Germano has the better situation, Dustin McGowan the better talent, at least I think. I tend to lean towards the talent in these cases, though in the short term, with McGowan I believe facing the Red Sox and Yankees soon, Germano is your better pick. I say McGowan for the full second half, though.
How will you predict Rios' second half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope he doesn't foul another ball off his leg, which was largely the reason he declined the second half of last year. I see no reason Alex Rios doesn't maintain his current pace, 15 more homers, 10 more steals, solid other numbers.
I'm in 2nd and my best trade partner would be the team in 1st. Is this taboo in a non-keeper league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
It's silly to restrict yourself from trading with any one team in your league. Just be careful not to help your closest competitor too much!
Garland - Real or Fake?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
I'd say real, or at least real in the sense that he's close to this in ERA/WHIP, but don't count on the wins coming, not on that mediocre team.
Chris (Ottawa, ON)
What can we expect from Andruw Jones the rest of the way? He can't hit .200 forever, can he?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I'm not entirely convinced he's 100 percent healthy. What if his back is a bigger problem than we realize, and he's not talking it up so as to not hurt his market value as a free agent? I just can't believe Andruw Jones has fallen this far off the table for no reason whatsoever. Hardly an automatic, I'd say. Risk/reward, and I'd say .250 batting average, 15 homers is a safe projection.
Would you spot start either of these two? D. Bush @WAS or Cliff Lee @TOR
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
You'll see the full writeups in my Daily Notes for Friday, but suffice to say I'm avoiding Cliff Lee against the righty-heavy Blue Jays, and going strong after Dave Bush at RFK.
What are your thoughts on Bedard's comments admitting he's going through a 'dead arm' period? Cause for concern? Time to sell?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Dead arm periods happen. Let's just hope it's not pain, as opposed to a dead arm. If it's as he said, it could make the guy a brief buy-low candidate. I fully believe that's the case.
Can the Red Sox hold off the yankees for the division
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Ha! Really, um, trying to be fair about it, I can't help but react like that. Division's over.
Matt (Grand Rapids, MI)
Speaking of Dave Bush what do you expect from him the rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
About the same we have the past year and a half. Nice WHIP, in the 1.1s, but the ERA could be in the high threes, or low fours, thanks to the occasional shaky outing against a solid offense. He's good enough to own, for sure, but don't ask for a big step up. I'll say 3.75 ERA, 1.10 WHIP.
Im a Shaun Marcum believer..are you jumping on yet?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I only believe in him in that I am not afraid to exploit his favorable matchups. In no way am I ready to say "start Shaun Marcum every time" yet.
Would you rather stash street on your dl or pick up fuentes in hopes he returns to the closer role?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I'd rather have Brian Fuentes. One good week gets him right back in the closer's role, a spot in which he was SO good to begin the season. With Huston Street, you have to worry that one more noticeable setback means season-ending surgery, though right now it sounds like late July is his anticipated return time.
Vinny (Providence, RI)
With the division bein g over, whats next for the next 5-7 years, who looks more promising, yanks or sox?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
That's a tough one because each of them is going to hit a point where the current stars they have are getting to the steep decline phases of their careers. I'm going to have to say the Yanks have a slight edge over that timetable, if only because they've got that new park coming in 2009 and will surely keep the wallet open to try to remain a contender for that long. I don't think the Yankees know the definition of the word "rebuilding."
Who is still a closer after the break? Embree, Dempster, Lidge
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
It's scary to think that Alan Embree could remain a closer the entire second half. Really, it's not as ludicrous as it seems. But I'd say for fantasy, you need to bank most on Ryan Dempster. He's good enough to keep the job and get it done decently.
Do you have a timetable for a Brett Myers return? What can we expect when he gets back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Sounds like he should be back not too long after the All-Star break. But as I say with any injury that costs a guy more than a month, when you're more than a week away from his return, setbacks are absolutely possible. Be prepared. As for his role, I say he gets three-five middle relief outings to build up stamina, then he's the closer again. High-risk, but if Myers is up to the task, he could be, say, No. 12-15 among closers in the season's second half.
Jason (Scarsdale NY)
With Kendrick at 2b, should I deal Cano for either Billingsly or Cain? and if I could only get Billingsly, is that a deal worth doing? I need SP badly!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
It's now time to start investing in Chad Billingsley -- remember, I said a couple weeks ago, you have to expect he needs time to build stamina. Both those trades seem a-OK to me. I'd rather have Matt Cain, but Chad Billingsley now seems like a fine starter in my book.
With holds as a category...would you rather have Neshek or Turnbow?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Pat Neshek is positively filthy. You gotta ride that hot streak, especially considering it has lasted for a year.
eno (jersey city)
I've got Carp, Schill and the Unit clogging up my short bench in a 16 team h2h. Drop the Unit??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
I'd drop Chris Carpenter before I dropped Randy Johnson. Can't help but feel that Carpenter's too far away to be letting go guys who could be fine not long after the All-Star break. Carpenter, while I'm encouraged at least, I can't say you should expect more than eight useful starts from him or so.
Nick Swisher's stats at the end of the year will be _______?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Hmmm ... .274-26-86.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
No, you know what, make it 96 RBIs.
Andy Petitte? Does he turn it around and have another lights out 2nd half? Better option than Dave Bush for 5th SP slot?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
With the exception of that bad recent start of his, Andy Pettitte has pitched so much better than his record indicates. On a team like the Yankees, struggles or not, I have to think that means more wins looking forward, and I think the ERA/WHIP numbers he has right now are about where he should finish. I'll take that over Bush.
You don't think the phils switch myers back to the rotation? Especially given all the injuries?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Nope. They keep maintaining the bullpen is his destination. At this point, it does make a bit of sense; it'd take Myers more time and more rehab to build up the stamina to return to starting, at least THIS season.
Damon's projections for the rest of the way? he was just dropped in my league
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
If he succumbs to the DL to rest his injuries, I think he could bounce back after that with a .285 batting average, maybe 6-8 homers, 15 steals in two months' time. If he doesn't, and plays through it, I'd say .260 batting average, 5 homers, 12-15 steals. Runs scored would likely be his best category either way, but I still say he could really use a two-week rest.
Drop Lester for immediate help: Bush, Lowry, McGowan, Glavine, Chuck James or Miller?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I'll rank those Dave Bush, Andrew Miller, Tom Glavine, Dustin McGowan, Noah Lowry, Chuck James.
Livan Hernandez has 13 quality starts...but only 4 or 5 wins..will things start turning around for him soon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
The Diamondbacks are a weak offense, primarily because they're so young and inexperienced as a team. I can't see that changing much in the second half, so no, don't get your hopes up for wins from Livan Hernandez. NL-only or mixed-matchups type.
Rob (shelby twp, MI)
Tristen, if you were in a mid-season league, who are your top five to ten picks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
We'll actually have some midseason rankings up pretty soon, but I'm thinking not much different from the last time we ranked guys a few weeks ago. A-Rod, Johan Santana, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Ryan Howard, Vladimir Guerrero, they're all going to be way up there.
Do you think matt cain can get 10 wins this year? what do you project him to do the rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
The way he has pitched so far and as good as he was the second half of last season, I HAVE to think he'll have better luck in the wins department from this point forward. Maybe he won't win 10, that's asking a lot, but keeping up his ratios, I can't see him winning fewer than 6-7.
Paul T. (Cincinnati)
Best option at CI for the rest of the year - Chad Tracy, Alex Gordon, Akinori Iwamura?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I'll still take Tracy, because he's a solid hitter who kills right-handers and hits in a pretty favorable spot in the lineup. No reason he can't bat .290, drive in 45-50 runs, hit 10 homers, the rest of the year.
I understand that patience is a virtue (especially in fantasy roto leagues) but Jason Bay is killing me...What is your take on his slump? Will he be able to bounce back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
A TON of people asking about Bay today. He's a streaky type, sadly; I remember that period where he had what, eight homers in 10 days last year? Guys like that, the final numbers look good but the slumps really hurt. I still say he's too valuable to sit, and a .280-hitting, 30-homer type, and if you scale that down to a half-season he gets 15 more homers and finishes around .275-28-97.
Start Dontrelle in LA tomorrow (he gets killed in LA)? Ever again?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Actually, he gets killed in San Francisco/Oakland, and in L.A., he's only so-so. I'd still start him, that Dodgers outfield and first base, that's four spots that are all left-handed.
Need a short term replacement for Hanley Ramirez! Should I grab Lugo or Bartlett off the wire?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
Julio Lugo has been about as bad as a player could have been for the past month. WHAT a slump. For the full second half I'd take him ahead of Jason Bartlett, but right now I want no part of the struggling Lugo. He's not even playing regularly.
Brian (NY, NY)
Ellsbury played left yesterday. Think he stays up or goes back down?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I think he's headed back to the minors in a matter of days. Jacoby Ellsbury could be the Red Sox's starting center fielder and a Rookie of the Year favorite in 2008, but I wouldn't count on much from him this year.
James (Calgary, AB)
In a 5x5 is a trade of Andruw Jones, for Braun, and Rich Hill a fair deal?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
At this point, on paper that looks like a terrible deal. Still, I'm pretty liberal on letting trades go through, unless there's clear funny business going on. If someone wants to believe Jones is fine and primed for a typical .265-hitting, 20-to-25-homer second half, then the deal's decent enough. But I'd much rather have Ryan Braun and Rich Hill.
Frankie (St. Louis)
Any idea on when Rick Ankiel gets the call up to the bigs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
I've actually had more people than I'd expect ask me that in the past week or two. Ankiel sure has good numbers at Triple-A Memphis, .266-24-61 and an .885 OPS, but he's a free swinger looking closer at the stats, so it's no lock he makes any impact in the majors. I'd say he gets a September call-up, then a look for a roster spot next spring, very much the kind of opportunity Josh Hamilton got for the Reds this spring. That doesn't mean I see a Hamilton 2007 for Ankiel in 2008, but it demonstrates the likelihood of there being future value there...
Chad (Winona, MN)
I hate all of the closer options in my league, and want to know if its ok to plug in Neshek or Okajima until Reyes gets back. Do you have a preference?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
It depends on your needs. If saves are the object, Hideki Okajima is your better option. Otherwise, if you're a-OK with strong value in ERA/WHIP/K's alone, go Pat Neshek.
for 2nd half, who do you want, bay or victorino?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Jason Bay. Too good a hitter not to have a better second half than first. Shane Victorino's main appeal is steals/runs scored.
Sean (Boulder, CO)
When can we expect Ian Kinsler back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I'd say prepare for a month's lost time. He comes back Aug. 1, that's a pretty good expectation.
Atkins--second half--more like '06 or more like '05...?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
HAS to be in between. Those are too ridiculous extremes for the guy in terms of second halves. In fact, I'd say almost EXACTLY the midway point of the two.
Jim (Rochester NY)
Hey Tristan...There is NO way that the Red Sox maintian their current pace. The Yankees will catch them and win the division. Thats a guarentee and if it doesn't happen then I will write each day saying how you are the best...now for the my question in a keeper league would you trade Ortiz and Helms for Sheilds, Gomes (TB), Teehan and Derosa. I Don't have to give up 2 other players since I have so many on the DL
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
You're pretty hopeful, Jim, but I watch the Yankees a lot and I don't see the kind of comeback it would take in this particular team. It would take a LOT in my mind. But we'll see! That's the fun of baseball. As for your trade, I think you're giving up the best player in the deal (David Ortiz), and I don't think quite enough of James Shields, Jonny Gomes or Mark Teahen to want to do it. It's only a deal I'd do if you're so desperate that you need those guys to plug holes because the alternative are terrible, terrible hitters.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Well, that's all for today, but the good news is, our next chat comes this afternoon! Thanks for all your questions...