Fantasy Baseball with Tristan H. Cockcroft
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft in The Show on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:01 PM)
Good afternoon everyone! One hour to go to the trade deadline ... What an exciting day! Let's get right to those fantasy baseball questions of yours on this busy, busy day...
What should I do about Gagne? I need his saves. Soria is available . . . .
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:02 PM)
Well, if Eric Gagne approves the trade to Boston, I can't conceivably see a way he shoots ahead of Jonathan Papelbon on the depth chart, so if you own Gagne strictly for the saves, "handcuff" value is about the best you should expect. Of course, don't cut him until that deal becomes official, but I'd go for Joakim Soria, who is now officially a closer in Kansas City. A sleeper? Think Joaquin Benoit in Texas, who steps in while Akinori Otsuka's forearm heals.
Mike (Los Angeles)
Who would you rate higher as potential new closers -- Rauch or Benoit?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:03 PM)
Neither one is official, and as of this moment, a change in Texas appears more likely. But if both get jobs? I'm going to pick Jon Rauch. He's a tall guy working on a higher plane -- think the Chris Young kind of advantage -- and in that ballpark, I bet he'll be a solid second-tier NL-only, third-tier mixed, closer. In Texas, I think it's Otsuka's job as soon as he heals, not that that's a guarantee.
If the Dotel deal with Atlanta is finalized, would you drop R. Soriano for one of Rauch or Benoit?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:05 PM)
Depends on whether you need any of these guys for ERA/WHIP. Relievers are so tough to gauge in fantasy, because the league format makes the categories they impact so different. Seriously, I know saves really matter to most formats, but there are some where a Pat Neshek-type reliever is AWFULLY valuable. I even have a mixed league like that. Given the choice, I have a feeling you're going to be better off with Jon Rauch than Rafael Soriano or Joaquin Benoit, but again, this is ONLY if a Chad Cordero trade happens. Soriano's a pretty nice ERA/WHIP guy, after all.
How does the Tex deal help or hurt M. Young? I'm guessing fewer runs, but more RBI's. Will he bat 3rd?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:07 PM)
I think less lineup protection and the weaker offense means no better potential in runs OR RBI no matter his lineup spot. If I were Ron Washington, sure, I'd drop Young to third in the lineup, but with guys like Marlon Byrd and perhaps Brad Wilkerson or Frank Catalanotto hitting ahead of him, I doubt the shortstop sees the boost you're expecting. I say similar value to before the Mark Teixeira deal.
Start Bedard tonight? He has a career 5.44 ERA against Boston and a 9.87 ERA in Fenway
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:07 PM)
Erik Bedard is the kind of pitcher you don't sit. Ever.
Bill - Providence, RI
non deadline question...with the Giants more than likely to rest Lincecum come September....who would be the better option for the rest of the year...Lincecum or Oliver Perez.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:08 PM)
Well, the Tim Lincecum getting shut down factor is absolutely a concern, but not until September, I'd think. I want the Giant if I'm aiming for good ratios (ERA/WHIP), but overall, Oliver Perez is probably a bit safer. If you can do it, I'd go Lincecum in August, Perez in September, but again, take the Met if you HAVE to make the two-month choice today and can afford the WHIP risk.
Will Schilling be back next week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:09 PM)
That's what I'm hearing, and I'd think that the Red Sox aren't seriously pursuing another starting pitcher suggests Curt Schilling shouldn't be a serious risk to miss much more time.
Is Dotel the clear closer in ATL? Is Wickman on his way out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:11 PM)
"Clear"? No. A Bob Wickman trade is the only thing that guarantees that. Still, could there be a deeper bullpen in baseball in terms of strong closer candidates, throwing Rafael Soriano into this mix? That's a handcuff parade for fantasy, seriously. I've watched Wickman pitch quite a bit in games this year, and I don't see too much I like. If I have him in any format, I'm making sure I get Octavio Dotel as his handcuff, because I think that deal was made with him as closer insurance in mind.
Johjima or Salty in a keeper league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:12 PM)
Though I'm pretty big on Kenji Johjima, saying he's a solid catcher for the next several seasons, the ceiling on Jarrod Saltalamacchia is pretty high, and he'll get a chance to play regularly now. I think you need to go for upside here, but then I freely admit that I don't spend too heavily on catchers and therefore am willing to roll the dice waiting on a future stud than going for the now. If you NEED the now, it's Johjima, no question.
Theo Ashland, Mass
2 weeks ago my closers were Chris Ray and Gagne now what do you suggest?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:13 PM)
I can't keep stressing it enough, if I have the bench space, I'm racing to nab Joakim Soria, Joaquin Benoit and Jon Rauch, who could all be closing by day's end.
jeff sherman oaks, ca
any updates on victorino and bourne?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:14 PM)
Shane Victorino is headed for an MRI, but I haven't heard anything new on Michael Bourn. Keep tabs on the transactions today; if the Phillies add another outfielder to the roster, it's a sign that Victorino owners should be concerned, I think.
Joe (Squarejaw, NY)
What happens to Dye's value if he goes to the Sawx?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:15 PM)
I'd say nothing. He'd be in a loaded lineup, making up for any possible drop-off in playing time against tough right-handers or the departure from a rather homer-friendly home ballpark in Chicago. I hear the Dye-to-Red Sox deal is dead, though, but you never know.
Boof and Morneau for C. Pena and Lackey, pick a side. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:16 PM)
Needs, needs, needs, and I am sorry if that sounds like a cop-out. A guy who needs hitting takes the Justin Morneau side, a guy who needs the pitching takes John Lackey's side. Overall? I lean towards hitters in all cases, it's just safer to project in the long haul, so I'd want the Morneau side.
Who has more value the rest of the season, Teix or Braun?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:17 PM)
Interesting question and I do think this is going to be an awfully close race. After all, while I doubt Mark Teixeira's value drops much, there IS the factor of him leaving a favorable home ballpark and having to learn a whole new set of pitchers in the NL. It's another case where, given the choice, I think I'd prefer Ryan Braun in August, Mark Teixeira in September, when he has a month's NL experience and is helping his Braves fight it out for a playoff spot. Overall? I'm going slight edge to Teix, if only thanks to his strong second-half trends and his experience.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:18 PM)
Buster Olney reports that Morgan Ensberg has been traded to the San Diego Padres, and I can't help but note that there might not have been a worse destination for Ensberg for fantasy.
Have you heard any news about when Ben Sheets might return?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:19 PM)
The last I heard, and it was a couple of days ago, had Ben Sheets right on track for his original timetable, and that was four to six weeks missed.
Victoria - CT
Is Mike Mussina the "kind of pitcher that you sit" at home against the White Sox tonight? He's usually a strong second half pitcher, what are your projections? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:21 PM)
I watch Mussina pitch a lot, and frankly, I have not been impressed in the slightest of late. Even in his good on-paper starts, he didn't look as strong in the actual outing. Bottom line: Mussina is the kind of guy only useful when he has his best stuff on a given night, and that is simply impossible to predict until you actually SEE him pitching in the game. I like the matchup, and I'd start him at home against a weak offense like Chicago's, but there is absolutely risk for him, now and the rest of the year. He's a pick-and-choose guy based on the opponent and recent performance.
Jim (Seattle, WA)
Better for his vaule than triple A
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:21 PM)
I'm assuming that's with regard to Morgan Ensberg, and yes, you are absolutely correct. Still, could the Padres have more third-base candidates now? Kevin Kouzmanoff, Rob Mackowiak ...
playoff hopeful (anytown, USA)
Win or die this year, have to drop one: Joe Saunders, Yusmeiro Petit, or Shaun Marcum
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:23 PM)
If you MUST drop one, I think it should be Petit. I like the kid's talent, but I think he's least ready to pitch consistently at the MLB level of the bunch. Saunders and Marcum have already shown me enough this season to suggest there's strong matchups potential in each. I can't say I totally trust Petit even in that kind of fantasy role just yet.
Rex - MD
Any news on a Blanton trade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:23 PM)
Dodgers and A's are still talking, and they've got a little more than 30 minutes left!
who's the better keeper for '08: c. jackson, s. drew, or cain?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:24 PM)
I'd say first base is too deep to make it Conor Jackson, Stephen Drew has shown enough holes in his game that he's no lock for keeper status just yet, and that leaves Matt Cain, who, despite his recent struggles, has incredible ability and is not far off at all from a major, major breakout. Keep the pitcher here.
Will all trades that happen before the deadline be announced shortly after? Do teans ever wait more than a few hours to release trade news?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:25 PM)
I've seen trade reports trickle in as much as two hours after the official deadline, so don't assume that all you've read at 4 p.m. ET is it. If by, say, 10 you haven't heard your guy got dealt, I'd say it's a pretty good bet the player isn't being traded.
How much would it help Blanton going to the Dodgers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:26 PM)
I'd say it'd help Joe Blanton's value quite a bit, as a pitch-to-contact kind of guy whose strikeout rate bumped up this year, that he'd be headed to the more pitching-rich National League, into a division with a few really pitching-friendly ballparks. Of course, Wade, I freely admit that I haven't yet had a chance to look that closely at Blanton's splits to see HOW much of a bump he'd get. I'd say a quarter to half run in ERA, but that's off the top of my head.
Brian (Newmarket, NH)
Will Ensberg start over Kouz?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:28 PM)
Tough to say, though really, he should, considering Kevin Kouzmanoff has .233/.701 rates so far this season, and his defense isn't good. If I'm the Padres, I platoon Morgan Ensberg and Rob Mackowiak at third base, and no, that's not a good situation for fantasy, especially not factoring in the ballpark.
Jim (Seattle, WA)
I'd love to hear your opinion on Betemit going to the Yankees.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:29 PM)
Good insurance play for the Yankees in the event A-Rod departs after the season, but I think it kills any chance Wilson Betemit had at making much of an impact this season. He'd have to quickly adapt to first base, and if Johnny Damon couldn't do it, why assume Betemit can? Don't bother in AL-only leagues.
Johjima or Ramon Hernandez?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:29 PM)
Kenji Johjima but I do think Hernandez is an underrated fantasy choice for the season's final two months.
with Utley down and the type of injury it is, did Bradon phillips just become the best 2b in fantasy for 07 and 08?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:31 PM)
For the rest of 2007? Sure, absolutely. For 2008? No, it's still Chase Utley, since his injury isn't a serious concern for his future. I do think Phillips' value remains pretty stable if the Reds stand pat, as they appear to be doing with the deadline approaching.
Out of the following catchers who would you rather have for this year and for years to come? Mauer, V-Mart, McCann? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:32 PM)
This year? Victor Martinez. Years to come? Still Joe Mauer. Granted, Mauer could be shifted from catcher with time, but then I think Martinez is at GREATER risk for a shift, probably to first base, due to his so-so defense and inability to nail opposing baserunners.
Wow...crazy deadline when all the experst said no deals. Praying Quentin gest dealt for Cordero so DBacks finally give Justin Upton a shot. Thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:33 PM)
I like that Upton kid an awful lot and held out for the best I possibly could in my keeper league -- going for it all this year -- simply because I think he'll be ready to make an impact no later than the 2008 All-Star break. There's a very good chance he gets a look by Sept. 1 of this year, though keep in mind that it's going to be tough for the Diamondbacks to slip guys through waivers to clear an outfield spot in August.
i forget who but another Chat Host said Utley would go to his 08 bust board b/c of the type of injury it was..
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:35 PM)
To each his own opinion, and I freely admit, sure, there's a chance of setbacks. Still, I'm not going to get worried because a guy broke a bone in his hand getting hit by a pitch. Didn't Travis Hafner have that happen to him once, then he roared back with a monster season the next year?
Aaron Cook has put up a very decent year...any reason to not pick him up in a deep mixed league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:36 PM)
The strikeout rate concerns me, as those guys who pitch to contact, they can be risky, especially when they face a potent offense or call Coors Field home. Cook is a matchups type, pure and simple, in my mind. Play the good ones, avoid the bad ones.
When are all of these pending deals finalized (i.e., when is it safe to dump Teixera and Dotel in my AL-Only league?)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:37 PM)
I am told the Mark Teixeira and Octavio Dotel trades are official, so if you can't keep their stats in the NL, feel free to drop them now to get some replacement talent.
Whats the deal with Otsuka's injury? I thought it I heard it was goin to be minimum timed missed...If thats true, Otsuka is the go-to guy without a doubt, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:38 PM)
There are actually rumors out there that he might require Tommy John surgery, and I hate to note that if only because everyone tends to panic when they hear those three words. Last reports I've read say Otsuka doesn't have a timetable for his return set just yet, so I'd say it's going to be a little time. He'd be the guy, clearly in my mind, but there's absolutely risk surrounding him.
Who is my best waiver wire replacement for Utley? Lugo, Polanco, Iguchi
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:39 PM)
If what you need are homers/RBIs to plug in for Chase Utley, I'd say you're going to simply HAVE to go for Tadahito Iguchi, who at least has a little potential in that bandbox ballpark. Overall value? If you can live without the power categories, I'd say Julio Lugo has the best overall value of the three while Utley is out. Good schedule upcoming for the Red Sox.
Wow, apparently my question has stumped you all since I've been asking for a month! Keeper league, name 5 guys who were not 1st or 2nd round picks this year that will be in the next year or two (excluding Braun)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:42 PM)
Well, you got your question in today. And this is totally off the top of my head, so I'm prepared to miss a guy. Beyond the top 20-25 players picked in THIS preseason, I'd say Prince Fielder, Hanley Ramirez, Jake Peavy, Alex Rios and Delmon Young have pretty strong shots at first/second round consideration by 2009.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:43 PM)
Buster Olney reports the Eric Gagne-to-the-Red Sox deal is official, so go and grab Joaquin Benoit now, before it's too late...
Please take a question about holds! I don't see you answering many questions about holds; is that because not many leagues count them? They are somewhat insignificant, but I choose my non-closer relievers largely based off of ERA and how likely they are to get holds, which seem like pretty cheap and easy stats to me. I have Franklin and Soriano doing the dirty work for me now, but with Dotel arriving in Atlanta, do I look elsewhere? Rauch, Lyon, and Linebrink are still available in my league.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:45 PM)
Not many leagues count them, but for those of you who do, take a look at my recent piece on middle relievers: http://insider.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=ootb726
I'd say Octavio Dotel is someone you are going to need to go get, incidentally. Scott Linebrink should be a solid bet in Milwaukee, too.
In what round do you see Hunter Pence going next year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:46 PM)
His injury, especially if he comes back from it any slower than he did heading into his DL stint, probably keeps him from being a hugely sought-after hitter in 2008. I'd say he probably slides in there around No. 100 overall? Somewhere in that range, so like 10th round or so, maybe a round or two sooner?
would you rather pick up Soria or Benoit? or drop Jamie Walker and pick up both?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:47 PM)
I'd rather have Joakim Soria, then Jamie Walker, then Joaquin Benoit. Going strictly by how well each has pitched of late.
Yeah, loved that middle reliever article! My question though is if I need to lower my ERA & WHIP am I better off starting lower tier SP (Billingsley, McGowan) or higher tier RP (Neshek, Shields, Rauch)? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:49 PM)
Remember that the more innings your team has accumulated to date, the less a middle reliever is going to impact your ERA/WHIP. What I usually do in daily leagues is slide in those solid middle men on days where my starters are off or I don't like their matchups. I tend to think the middle men become safest when you're PROTECTING an ERA/WHIP standing, not when you're trying to IMPROVE one. You need to be a selective fantasy owner in what pitchers you use when you want to move up in the standings, instead of going into preservation mode.
Michael (Portland, ME)
Who's Julio Mateo?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:50 PM)
Decent reliever from a couple years back who has had some off-the-field troubles this season. A fresh start on a new team could help him, not bad depth for the Philiies to add, but he's not fantasy worthy.
matt (sioux falls, sd)
If Benoit can't handle the job, who's next in line before Otsuka returns?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:50 PM)
C.J. Wilson, maybe? Could nab some lefty-specialist saves, like Jamie Walker has done on occasion recently.
what round do u see braun? if wright is a first how cant braun?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:51 PM)
I bet he slides in as a second-/third-rounder for 2008. Sure, he's almost David Wright worthy, and it's all in how strong he finishes this season. If he finishes it like he has performed the past two months, sure, I'd say he makes a good case for being picked no later than 20th overall in any format. He's looking THAT good.
Can you rank these OF for me, rest of the season? Teahen, Crisp, Burrell, DeJesus, Gonzo, Milledge? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:52 PM)
Top of my head, I'll go Coco Crisp, Mark Teahen, Luis Gonzalez, David DeJesus, Lastings Milledge, Pat Burrell. My advice: Ride hot streaks, play favorable weekly/daily matchups best you can.
Tristan, here's your chance to help repay me for all the times I've saved the country. A blockbuster deal in our office fantasy keeper league (7 keepers, 1st year of a 4 year league) has my team's fate hanging in the balance. I am 3 games behind Morris' team and going all-out this year, while Chloe, my trading partner, is in last and playing for the future. I get ARod, Tim Hudson and Mig. Batista and give up Lackey, AGon, McCann, Garland and Corpas. I would pick up Salty to replace McCann. I also have Johan and other solid young pitching to make up for losing Lackey. Who wins in this deal and which side would you rather have?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:54 PM)
Jack! You're quite missed between seasons, but please, come back with a strong Season 7! As for the trade, seems fair, I see the purpose on either side. I think the catcher strategy you're using is the only part I'd question for you, but it's not the worst decision if you must do that to get the deal done. You get the best player in the deal (A-Rod), and I think a top contender needs to make that kind of deal to put itself over the top. Good luck!
Mike (Montvale, NJ)
Back to Pence, will he be back this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:55 PM)
I don't see there being any rush for the Astros to get Hunter Pence back into the lineup, though the four to six week timetable should have him ready around the first week of September. He should have a little value yet.
Eric (Fort COllins CO)
Trade deadline approaching! Should i sent Johan Santana and Gaudin for Oliver Perez and Zambrano?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:56 PM)
I wouldn't. Honestly, taking into account Johan Santana's monstrous second-half history, about the only time I'd suggest trading him is if you need a top slugger in a 1-for-1 deal, or you get positively blown away with an offer. I'm not quite so blown away by that offer.
Drop Fuentes for Benoit or wait out the injury?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:57 PM)
Play for the now if you don't have the DL spaces to stash Brian Fuentes. After all, Manny Corpas has looked decent enough to hold that job a little longer.
Tristan - can you explain the thought process behind trading two SPs for two SPs???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:58 PM)
Shaking things up, shifting categories or merely building depth by trading one stud and a throw-in for two useful starters who aren't as strong as the stud. Not the kind of move I like making, though. It's usually not in your best interest unless you're getting the best pitcher in the deal.
What are your thoughts on carmona?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:59 PM)
I like him because he pounds the ball into the ground so much. That reduces the risk, and really, outside of a couple bad outings, he has been pretty darned solid this year. I expect he'll remain close to that the next two months.
Any last minute trades???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:59 PM)
Not yet, but I'm sure a few last-minute ones might trickle in, even if they're not big ones!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:00 PM)
Well, that's all for today, but keep your eyes on those news wires for any last-minute deals that might have slipped through! Thanks for all your questions, and talk to you all again soon...
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