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 (11:00 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your fantasy baseball questions...
Dave from Staunton,Va
With the KC/Minn game postponed today, will this push back the KC rotation to where Meche will be a 2 start pitcher next week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Sorry, Dave, but no. Gil Meche would merely be pushed back from Saturday's game to Sunday's, still against the Yankees. Brian Bannister is your Week 19 two-start Royals pitcher, as Jorge de la Rosa, who was originally slated to pitch Sunday, landed on the DL. The Royals can simply shuffle and pitch Bannister on Monday on four days' rest.
Rick (Dallas, TX)
It's nice that you guys like Joaquin Benoit so much but he's not the closer in TEX. It's CJ Wilson.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Well, Rick, I did note the situational-save possibility with C.J. Wilson, and you know, his first save the Indians had two stronger guys from the left side (Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner) due up. If you look closer at the box score last night, the Indians had two right-handers due up to start the night, then Hafner, and when Benoit allowed those two hits, the Rangers decided with the tying run at the plate in Kenny Lofton due up, exploit the lefty-on-lefty matchup. These things do happen, and I still think Benoit is a decent bet for saves, but there's something to be said for the hot-hand idea at closer. Wilson should be picked up in AL-only leagues, deep, deep mixed, too. It's not unthinkable he could have a little Alan Embree/Jamie Walker run, but I'm not ready to give up on Benoit just yet.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Which catcher has move value from August through September, Salty or McCann?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
I still think it's Brian McCann, because he's more experienced, he was a second-half monster last year, he can read into the Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade that it's a commitment to him as the team's long-term catcher, and the lineup is simply deeper. I like Saltalamacchia, but let's not go crazy here.
Michael (Portland, ME)
Who's more hopeless in this matchup, Anthony Reyes or the Pirates he's facing today?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
I think it's the Pirates he's facing today. Good matchups all around for Reyes coming up; I'm fairly sure, if memory serves, that he faces the Nationals next.
Paul (White Rock, BC, Canada)
Adam Jones, will he be a part time player or see regular AB's?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
You don't call up a kid like Jones and then sit him on the bench. It's a stupid idea, and can stunt his development. The Mariners apparently are recalling him on Friday, and I think he'll get regular at-bats once they do, with DH Jose Vidro the most likely to lose at-bats as a result. Of course, the Mariners could just shuffle between Vidro, Richie Sexson and Ben Broussard at first base to squeeze Jose Guillen in at DH and Jones into right field. Pick Jones up in all AL-only and larger mixed leagues. He has monstrous numbers in Triple-A.
brad (harrisbug, pa)
Plain and simple: Tony Pena unseats Valverde in the next month?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
No. Has to be health related or a disastrous collapse -- like Brian Fuentes' last month -- for there to be any chance.
Desperate (Charlotte, NC)
Gotta drop one, please rank in order Gorzelany, J. Shields, Jered Weaver, Bush, Malholm
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Paul Maholm is the one of these who's "not like the others." He won't get wins, and he's too susceptible to the untimely home run. Plus, right-handed hitters can handle him, and there are tons of them in the game. Rankings? I'll go Tom Gorzelanny, Weaver, Dave Bush and James Shields, and they're all very close.
Carlos Quentin DL bound? Does that mean JUSTIN UPTON coming????
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
That's a very popular rumor today, and if Quentin does land on the DL, it's absolutely a possibility. If you have extra bench spots, I'd think about adding Upton, but I'll continue to maintain that I think September is a more realistic timetable for his promotion.
Mitch (Penobscot, ME)
So, should I grab Adam Jones as a 4th OF over Swisher or Nelson Cruz? Thanks for the help!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Not over Nick Swisher but yes over Cruz.
Tristan, enjoyed the AL/NL columns this week. So let me ask you: Cuddyer's been cleared to play tomorrow - start him or wait to see what he looks like (I have James Loney playing 1B in the interim.) Also, Xavier Nady's hammy: small potatoes or cause for concern? I'm fighting my way into 3rd and eyeing 2nd in my league so any help is good help. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Thanks, Steve, those were fun to write. I'd wait to see what Michael Cuddyer looks like, as hand injuries can often cause a player to take some time to get their swings back, even after their activation. I believe in him, but it's a good idea to take a day or two to see how he looks. As for Nady, I keep hearing he'll return sometime this weekend, but then again, hamstring injuries are rather unpredictable.
Lee (Dallas, TX)
Evan Longoria a September call-up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Depends how he does in Triple-A ball this month, but based on his talent, I think he'll perform well enough there that he'll warrant a September cup of coffee to audition for the third-base job in 2008. In fact, I'd be a little surprised if we DON'T see Longoria this year.
Is Sheff toast for the year? He's going to see a Dr.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
No, but at his age, you have to be concerned. Keep an eye on the news, and if you have Gary Sheffield, it's not a bad idea to see how high you can sell on him.
Im sitting Garland and Capuano today? Good idea?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Yes, but more because neither of them has been pitching particularly well of late than their matchups specifically. They're not good matchups, I'll not that. But combine that with poor performance and yes, it's risky.
Is Chad Billingsley worth grabbing off the waiver wire with my number one waiver priority?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Unless you can nab Mark Teixeira with that spot, sure, I'd say Billingsley is No. 1-waiver-pick worthy.
Skinny Mike (New York, New York)
In the beginning of the year noone wanted anything to do with Cano. Now he is one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball and lead the ML in hits for July. With Utley down, is Cano the best fantasy 2B right now?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
One hot streak doesn't make me elevate Robinson Cano ahead of Brandon Phillips, but he's certainly top-five at the very worst the remainder of the year, I'd say. I keep getting offers for Cano in one of my mixed leagues and continue to decline them; he looks like the second-half stud he was in 2006.
Joba worth #1 priority when he gets the call in a keeper? I already have upton in my prospect stable.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Well, Joba Chamberlain is only going to pitch in setup relief when he's promoted, which I do think will happen in the very near future, but I wouldn't get too excited about that. In a keeper league, sure, he's worth it, because he could easily be a rotation candidate next spring. This year, though? Don't expect much from him other than ERA/WHIP help, and he's a tad risky even in those categories based on his inexperience. Nothing is an automatic with a rookie.
Good morning Tristan, start Saunders tonight against OAK? What do you see from him for the rest of the year??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I would. The Athletics aren't that strong an offense, and Joe Saunders has pitched nicely since making his MLB debut. I'd say he gets 10-12 more starts, wins 6-7 of them, has maybe a four ERA even. In other words, good AL-only or mixed-matchups value.
Tristan, B rob is way better than Cano.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Hence the "top-five" comment. I put Brian Roberts pretty high on my list, too. And if B.J. Upton qualifies at second base in your league, as he should in most, he's absolutely up there too.
Mike (San Diego)
THC, I'm worried about Sheff as well - are we talking "sell high" or "panic sell" here?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
We're talking "sell high." We're NOT talking "sell, sell, SELL!" in a panic move. After all, it seems to me that if the Tigers were THAT concerned about Gary Sheffield, they might have picked up another bat at the deadline. It's a worry, but it's not a HUGE worry. He could easily play through all this and merely take a slim drop-off in production the next two months.
How many saves for Al Reyes rest of the year? How many for Wheeler?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
It's hard to tell which, if not both, of these relievers might sneak through waivers this month, so let's assume for a moment that both remain in Tampa Bay. I'm thinking the Devil Rays have only about 10 more saves in them, and Reyes is the favorite for them all. Maybe Dan Wheeler sneaks in one or two, but I wouldn't count on it.
Who do you like better for the rest of the season Adrian Gonzalez or Adam LaRoche?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I still believe in Gonzalez, and would take him for the next two months. Hey, at least the Padres get two more road games than they do Petco contests the rest of the year.
Mike (Pittsburgh, PA)
You're wrong on Paul Maholm. This year and last, he was one of the most consistent pitchers in the 2nd half. Check out the split stats. In his last 7 starts of June and July he has given up more than 2-3 runs just one (four runs).
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I own Maholm in a deep, deep keeper league, so believe me, Mike, I can say for certain that he was pretty bad last year. Tons of walks, too many home runs allowed and he was incredibly hittable from the right-handed side. I'm not trying to discard him outright THIS season. He has made some real strides in WHIP, his walk rate and even his performance against righties. But I still can't say I trust Maholm just yet, especially not on a team that doesn't provide the run support. He's not an ace, he's a good mid-to-back-of-the-rotation type, and those are the ones I can't help but feel need a better lineup backing them. He'll keep his team in games, but will the team step up while he does that? I doubt it.
Is Chris B. Young a must own in even shallow leagues? His July numbers were great.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
For now, sure, but don't sit pretty on him the entire remainder of the year. Young is still too strikeout prone to be a trustworthy every-game kind of player. I see some more streakiness coming; he could just as easily bat .280 as .200 in August. I love the talent, the upside, but you have to be prepared for the cold spells with Young.
Mike (Montvale, NJ)
TC, both Berry and Shandler say Bedard is almost Johan-esque. What's your take on Bedard? 2nd best pitcher in fantasy baseball???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Hmmm, second best? No, I still think I'd prefer Jake Peavy to Erik Bedard. But I'm in Berry's and Shandler's camps with regard to Bedard. I like the guy, and could easily see him being top-five the remainder of the year.
Start both Hughes (vs. KC Saturday) and Schilling (vs. LAA Monday) right off the bat or wait and see what they do in their first starts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
I'd say yes, though in shallow leagues where you're preserving starts or have a plethora of options, I'd consider each very carefully. The pitch count might not be as high as a regular starter's, and each might have a tad bit of command issues initially, particularly the inexperienced Phil Hughes. I like Hughes' matchup, and Schilling is Schilling, after all, but there is a little risk in each, absolutely.
Do you think its ok to start Aaron Cook against the poor poor righty hitting PIT and WAS even though hes pitching on the road?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Yup, but didn't those matchups already pass, if memory serves? Cook, as I continue to stress, is an ideal matchups option, a "streaming starter" type, no more. I pick him mostly in road games against weak offenses, and that's about it.
In a vacuum for the remainder of the year, pick one; Francis, D. Cabrera or Petit. Thanks!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Jeff Francis, and go ahead and call me crazy. I am just getting increasingly concerned that Daniel Cabrera will never solve his command problems. Two years with Leo Mazzone? Come on... Mazzone has worked wonders with Erik Bedard and Jeremy Guthrie!
Is it time to drop Sexson yet? If so, who would you rather pick up, Salty, C. Patterson, or Chris B. Young? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
I think you have to consider it at this point, as Richie Sexson is officially losing at-bats against right-handers to Ben Broussard, and Adam Jones' promotion is probably going to hurt him in some way, meaning he'll be pretty much a glorified pinch hitter for now, and less likely to have another stellar second half. Sure, I'd drop him for Young at this point.
What's the book on Jonny Gomes? Is he the typical "boom or bust" type HR guy, or is he a legit player w/ plate discipline and defensive range?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I think he's a little closer to the "boom or bust" description, but I'd also say that he's a disciplined enough hitter to nail down a starting role for several seasons. Maybe a .260s hitter, 30 homers, though I won't say he's much on defense. DH is a better role for him.
Better 2008 keeper: Homer or Joba?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Today, I'd say Homer Bailey. Such things can change very, very quickly, but I see better opportunity for Bailey in the immediate future. Much more likely he's a committed starter to begin 2008.
Natsirt (Bizarro World)
I will make a prediction on Bartolo Colon's numbers in Aug/Sep if/when he returns from the DL and it is...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
If I were in the bizarro world answering this, wouldn't I then say the OPPOSITE of the real answer? In that case, I'll say he's great, and healthy, and trustworthy! OK, maybe I'm being harsh, suggesting he'll be a total risk, but I bet the ERA is in the fours (and that's being serious). I think health is a real concern for him.
Aw c'mon TC, tell me about Eric Chavez and his back. I'll vacuum your office...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
You know, it could really use a vacuuming, now that I think about it ... Chavez is definitely a DL candidate, I think, no matter what the Athletics tell you. I'd be conservative with my expectations from him the rest of the way; back problems can rob a guy's power, and he's not all that productive in the first place.
Is Shelley Duncan worth adding in a 14-team mixed league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
I'd say no, because the Yankees' offense is too deep for him to squeeze into the lineup regularly, especially with Jason Giambi on the mend. Remember, Duncan is pretty much a first base/DH type, and the Yankees have enough of those on the roster. I like the kid, and a little more than the Shane Spencer comparables people keep throwing about, but he's not useful outside of deep AL-only leagues, I'd say.
Nigel (Cincinnati, OH)
If I say Dumatrait, you say?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
No thanks. Good prospect, one of those "you-never-know" guys I suppose, but I see NL-only matchups value as his best bet for this season. Hey, at least he has a chance to nail down a rotation spot in the season's final two months.
Great advice, Tristan! Can you help me a Melky question. Diehard Mets fan here, but Melky is looking strong. Will he lose at-bats to Giambi?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I like Melky Cabrera the pure baseball player, but for fantasy, I'm really not a fan. He just doesn't have enough in the power or speed departments to make an impact; think something like what Mark Kotsay used to be. Maybe even a "lite" version of that. Those are the kinds of players I generally only trust when I need someone to plug in for an injured or slumping player. And yes, I'd say he loses a handful of at-bats, as Johnny Damon is going to HAVE to play some center field ahead of him once Giambi returns.
any chance johnny damon gets traded?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
With that contract? I'd say no. He'll probably clear waivers to be trade-eligible this month, but I don't see how the Yankees move him unless they eat a large portion of that contract. It's not that I don't like his talent, it's more that I think his playing through his injuries this year has his stock too far down.
Start Zito tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I'd say no. The Dodgers hit left-handers pretty well, it's a road game and Barry Zito has been a bit shaky lately.
Jon (Grand Rapids, MI)
Justin Upton was officially called up. Flying out of mobile today.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
There is indeed a report out of the Mobile Register (Ala.) that says Justin Upton is headed to the Diamondbacks today. If that indeed is true, and we should know for sure very shortly, I'd say he's an instant pickup in NL-only, larger mixed and keeper leagues.
Buzzer beater: Hermidia or Botts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Jeremy Hermida has been hitting nicely of late, but I have this feeling about Jason Botts. He has much better pure power, and I think that he DHed and batted cleanup the other day is a sign the Rangers are committed to him in a big role the next two months.
Buzzer beater: D-Wright over/under 25 HR ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Over. Expect a strong finish.
Troy (Buffalo, NY)
Buzzer Beater: In a Keeper: Webb or Bedard?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I feel a little better about Brandon Webb's long-term future, but for 2008, I think Erik Bedard is going to be your better bet.
Start Gallardo tomorrow against the hard hittin Phils? With that question, is he must start no matter the match up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Yes, and yes, he sure is.
One more Buzzer beater: Kinsler or Theriot?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I'll take Ian Kinsler, who is another player who should get a good share of playing time as the Rangers look towards 2008 the next two months.
eno (jersey city)
Doumit or Barrett the rest of this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Michael Barrett. Ryan Doumit has been slumping of late and a little less than 100 percent to boot.
Aidan (Tampa, FL)
Can you expand on the long term future of Bedard?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Briefly, he has had some health issues in his past, and with him racking up so many innings this and last year while not having endured so much that workload in his past, I think that puts him at a but more risk in a couple years. Maybe it becomes an issue in 2009-10, not in the near future, but I bet there's going to be a notable problem for him sometime down the road.
Buzzer beater: Felix, Snell, or Lincecum rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
I'm going to say Felix Hernandez, if only because I think he'll rival the others in the ratios, get a good strikeout rate and his team will support him the best of the bunch. It's close though!
Tony (Cedar Falls, IA)
2008 numbers for Chris B. Young?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I'm guessing, and usually I like do a projection for the upcoming season from some sort of mathematical system, but I'd say maybe he hits .265, belts 25 homers, steals 20? A little upside from there in power, too.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Well, that's all for today. Thanks for all your questions, and don't forget, we're back again this afternoon with our next fantasy baseball chat! See you then.