Fantasy sports w/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)
Hi folks. Well, I'm totally stoked today. Sure, it's Valentine's Day -- don't forget about that -- but it's also that key day I wait for all winter, SPRING TRAINING BEGINS! That's right, it's here, it's finally here! I'm sure you're as excited as I am, and have oodles of questions, so let's get the ball rolling, pardon the cliche...
Mike - Chicago
....and death is not an option, better starting rotation this year, Marlins or Nationals?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Laugh if you want, but I actually see some sleeper value in the Nats' pitching staff, while I don't see as much of that coming from the Marlins. Shawn Hill, Jason Bergmann, heck, even John Patterson, I think you're going to have to know these names, at least in NL-only. So no, I don't choose death. I choose the Nats.
brad (harrisburg, pa)
plain and simple: assuming Rollins, who would you take btw Papi and Vlad? H2H, non-keeper. Thx.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
I have David Ortiz ranked higher. Similar players, so that should give you your answer.
My baseball league reserves one keeper slot for players who were rookies in the past season. Who do I keep out of Gallardo, Pence, or J. Upton?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
I really like the upside Yovani Gallardo provides you for this season. No knock on Hunter Pence, but I'd go for the possible top-10 ace. Yes, the upside is THAT high, that in the best-case scenario he gets there.
Turtle (bloomington, il)
My NL only auction league added a 12th team this year. What impact on auction prices should I expect? Do the top players get more expensive? Does position scarcity come into play more in deep leagues?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
As a guy who absolutely loves the deep AL- and NL-only auction formats, I can attest to the fact that position scarcity absolutely does take effect the deeper you get. Not that I think you should get carried away with it; I remember a year when all the middle infielders in an NL-only league went for like $30-plus, and it was what, 7-8 of them? I was floored. But that's the most dramatic difference, I'd say. It's also much, much harder to sneak a name past an owner in a 12-team NL-only format. You gotta know your stuff, and be prepared for the idea that a $1 player is a $1 player for a reason. It's because he's a total long shot. My advice: Make a list of, say, a dozen players you'd love to roster, and then if you can land, say, 4-5 of them, I'd say you did well.
Rob (Cranford NJ)
Hey Tristan, baseball trade here: give up Hamels and Kemp, get Nathan and Swisher. Thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Well, I'm not a big Matt Kemp fan, thinking that he's the guy who could be most hurt by the deep Dodger outfield (a shame, really), but I still like the kid's raw talent. I don't think you do that deal.
How good is the Cubs lineup? Aram-Lee-Soriano is about as good as a 1-2-3 punch as you'll find.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
I'd say it's pretty good, though it was pretty good a year ago. A lot changes if Brian Roberts comes to town. Then Alfonso Soriano could slide down into a run-producing spot, which really his skill set is more suited for. By the way, Geovany Soto the catcher, Ryan Theriot the shortstop, those are underrated fantasy players, don't forget about them late (applies more to NL-only).
What round should I draft Clemens?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
Mixed league? I wouldn't at all. Frankly, I'd be stunned if Roger Clemens came back and contended with the certain media circus he'd face. I know I'm not going to bother, except maybe for a reserve pick in AL- or NL-only.
Just offered Atkins and Webb for Crawford, thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Too much. I'd rather have Garrett Atkins and Brandon Webb's side, not that I know your league's details. In a one-keeper league, well, Carl Crawford is the best player in the deal, so yeah, go for it then. But one-player keeper leagues are rare.
Bill - NE
Votto over/under 500 AB's this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Under, and it's a, hmmm, can't pick an adjective that's, um, family friendly here, but let's say some sort of shame. I do take Dusty Baker's penchant for rolling out veterans into account here, but to me, the more troubling thing in Cincy is that Scott Hatteberg remains on the roster AND Craig Wilson is in town to be a possible platoon mate. I'd say Joey Votto plays well enough to warrant the Opening Day role and everyday at-bats, but there's at least a 1-in-3 chance it's a Hatteberg/Wilson platoon instead, just because Dusty wants it. So the safe money? Bid on Votto in the 400-AB range today. Could easily change.
More details on the crawford deal, we keep 5, already keeping, Hanley, Grady, Teix and Bedard, does that change your mind at all?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Sure, then go for it. You'd have a positively ridiculous keeper list. And to all, use examples like this to understand why sometimes, a 2-for-1 deal that might look terrible on paper can often be explained by the league/format/individual team circumstances.
Is pettite safe to draft this year, or is this whole steroids things going to affect his play
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
I think he might be distracted, and as a result I'd be shaving a round or two or a buck or two off his draft price, but then I think most of us were realistic that he wasn't a top-25 fantasy starting pitcher anyway. Andy Pettitte is a gamer, I've watched him pitch regularly almost his entire career, and I'm not that worried about it. I'm actually more worried he might just choose to retire out of the blue, though even then, that's a long shot. No need to panic, not right now.
Should I steer clear of every Cinci pitcher. Not only are they not very good but its a near lock their arms will be worn out by midseason thanks to Dusty. Homer Bailey just got his career ruined.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Hey, I'm investing in Aaron Harang, and still call him a top-10 starter, but Levin makes an excellent point about Dusty Baker that I felt needed to be highlighted. Dusty does have a history of abusing pitchers, so take that into account, too. In other words, while I believe in Harang for 2008, there's a very, very good chance this is the final year I trust him. Just like last year was for me with Carlos Zambrano.
Tristan, are you for or against league members vetoing trades?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Against, but then I absolutely understand and respect the opinions of the people who do feel a veto process is necessary. I just choose to play in leagues where I have a high level of respect for my fellow opponents, knowing they have a great deal of respect for the competitive nature of the league. That's a very important thing to have. And if you do opt for a veto system, may I recommend one of my leagues' systems, which is actually pretty fair: At the draft table, we all write three names of owners in the league on secret ballot, the three owners who total the most votes are on a trade committee to rule on questionable deals. Two votes needed to overturn, but the vote must be challenged by any two owners in the league first before it's put to the committee. We RARELY exercise the system, too.
Thank you for answering my joke question seriously. Ha.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Hey, it's a legitimate question to some. Seriously, SOMEONE will take the chance.
If (BIG if) Kevin Mench wins a spot in TX and plays 150 games, what do you think his numbers will look like?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
That IS a big if. I can't see Mench being anything more than a platoon specialist on the weak side, meaning mostly AL-only matchups value, that's it. Assuming what you're saying? Maybe .270ish batting average, 25 homers. But that's a huge if, probably huger than you think.
Where do you see Jacoby Ellsberry going in the draft. And how much of a bump does he get if they trade Crisp?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I love Ellsbury and take a lot of heat for it, because I know some Red Sox fans (or at least I think they are) who doubt his ability to hit double-digit homers this year. If Coco Crisp goes, though, Ellsbury absolutely could be a top-25 fantasy outfielder. His raw talent is that good, even if it's driven most by batting average, runs and stolen bases. With Crisp on board? Let's say Ellsbury's a No. 40 outfielder or so, and that's a late-round mixed pick. Good sleeper, get him late.
Tristan, in your Oakland A's team preview, Rich Harden has a "NR" next to where his draft round would be. Do you think you wouldn't draft him? If you would, what is the earliest round you'd pull the trigger?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Harden gets an "NR" because in a typical 25-round mixed league, our rankings have him beneath the cutoff. He'd be a reserve pick. Now, I was pretty big on Mr. Harden coming off that great spring a year ago, and he burned me, so let it be a lesson to you if he does it again. He's so high-risk, high-reward that I wouldn't trust him as anything more than, say, a 22nd-round mixed-league pick. Ballpark number. No way he's going over the 20th round, not a chance. But I wouldn't forget about him entirely, either.
I have been offered Kinsler for Delmon Young. 10 player keeper league. What's your take. Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Position scarcity, ballpark and the proximity to the player being in his prime has me saying Ian Kinsler is the better side of that deal. For 2008, of course.
What do you think of Rajai Davis? Where should he be drafted in a 12-team 25 round draft?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Cheap, underrated steals, but I'd have to know he's playing every day before I'd trust him. What's that outfield right now, Aaron Rowand in center, Randy Winn in right, Dave Roberts in left? I'd estimate, say. 300-350 at-bats for Davis, then, and cheap steals, especially for NL-only owners. Don't go nuts, though. He's reserve-worthy in your format, but I don't see more unless it's clear he'll play once March rolls around.
T: What are your thoughts on Hafner? Are you drafting him or are you scared of who the real hafner is?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
I'm not that scared of Travis Hafner, always been a big fan. Sure, he let me down last year, but I think he's better than that, and should bounce back with, let's say, a top-40 type fantasy season overall. Just don't go for him in the second round, as you could easily have done the past couple years.
Tristan, where do you rank Kazmir overall in terms of elite SP's in mixed leagues? Where would you rank him relative to Felix?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
I think I love Scott Kazmir more than anyone else on our staff; he had a monster second half that showed me a lot about his development. For me, he's JUST outside my top 10 starting pitchers, and in my top 75 overall. So that's a guy who's going before the eighth round ends, probably, and I'd say he's absolutely worth it. Think, say, 10 spots ahead of Felix Hernandez overall in a draft, and only because I have that ever-so-slight worry about his health (check out Stephania Bell's take on him to see what I mean).
JJ (Liberty Twp, OH)
NL only league...Is Pedro Feliz and his power worth the OBP hit?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Well, someone's gonna have to take him, but I'm going to hope it's not me. I hate those batting-average killers whose best real asset is MAYBE they hit 25 homers.
With pedro not pitching #1 for the Mets, does that make his value rise because he wont face #1s regularly.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
The whole notion of "he won't face No. 1s regularly" is hogwash -- sorry Mike, nothing personal -- as rotations shuffle and pitchers don't stay on track with those on other teams after, say, a week or two of the season. I like what Pedro Martinez's No. 2 status on the Mets means in terms of less pressure for him to lead, but I also don't like that he's not durable and won't go deep into games. That makes him one of the weaker wins candidates among starters I see being called top-25 types at the position. I actually think Martinez is a bit overrated, but I do like him more than I did a month ago, and still say he's top-40 worthy at the position, at least.
Do you think Johan Santana trade was really bad?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Yup, sorry Zach, but if Jacoby Ellsbury or Phil Hughes was actually on the table at any point, the Twins botched that one. If I'm dealing Johan, I'm getting a prospect with a real shot at being a star, and soon. None of the guys they got has a real shot at that, at least not in the near future (Deolis Guerra is pretty far off).
Thoughts on Nate Mclouth? Will he get enough ABs to make him draftable in a mixed league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I've actually had a few people in the chat today post up questions asking for late-round steals bargains, and you know what, Adam? You've tabbed one of the names I'd put high on that list. McLouth is terribly underappreciated, not just because he can run, but because he's not a slouch with the bat, either. Good fifth outfielder for a mixed-league owner to have, if that owner is hurting in steals late.
Paul T. (Cincinnati)
All of our keepers have been finalized and here are the best 3 pitchers available - Haren, Kazmir, and Dice-K. How would you rank them in a points league? (Not roto - not H2H - just accumulate points all year)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
Well, without the specific points system, I have to assume it's fairly standard, and I usually go a little by gut when these guys are so close. I'm ranking them Dan Haren (wins potential), Scott Kazmir and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Keeping Rios (lose 8th round pick), Bedard (9), Martin (17)... which 2 would you keep out of Cabrera (1), Fielder (3), and Markakis (18)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Well, Miguel Cabrera is certainly worth a first-round pick, so I'd evaluate that based on where you pick in the round and the chance you'll get him back. Most likely I'd go Prince Fielder and Nick Markakis, because I think those are the better bargains compared to the draft round. But this is one of those cases where I say do your homework, and estimate what you'll get with the first-rounder if you toss Cabrera back. If you can get him or a comparable guy, it's a no-brainer.
So when do you think the Marlins will trade Hanley?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Once he nears a hefty arbitration payday, so a little time, still. And I don't mean his first shot at arbitration, necessarily.
Todd, San Diego
I really like Zach Grienke this year. Especially with the SP/RP eligibility. Am I as crazy as he is?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
I can't speak for Greinke being "crazy," but this is a nice late-round bargain to keep tucked away. I like to draft on potential, especially when it comes to starting pitchers.
Dave (Phoenixville, PA)
Back to pitchers for a second, where would you draft pitchers who are a notch below Santana and Peavy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Well, Dave, I almost never GET those pitchers in that tier, those top-10 caliber types who aren't the elite, first-round type studs. So I'm the kind who will say wait a round past their ADP (average draft position). It means you won't get them. But if you want approximate draft rank, I'm saying a Brandon Webb/Erik Bedard/John Lackey/C.C. Sabathia/Josh Beckett is maybe a fourth/fifth round pick. COULD be late third for Webb.
livan hernandez, minny
how did i get 5 million dollars?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Hey, if there were rumors earlier this winter Kyle Lohse might get $9 million per season...
Give me your biggest sleeper pick this year for a hitter and a pitcher
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Hmmm ... I'm going to throw out a new name after all my Jeremy Hermida love lately ... Kevin Kouzmanoff. And as for pitchers, let's say ... Hmmm ... Ian Snell. (Mixed-wise, this is, guys after the 10th round.)
5x5 Roto League...Would you rather keep Tejada or Markakis?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Nick Markakis. He's at least as talented as his 2007 numbers show, and I'm not convinced he's done growing as a hitter. Too much upside to leave on the table, not that I dislike Miguel Tejada (as so many seem to).
Ernie: (Bloomsburg, PA)
Am I crazy for keeping 2 catchers (Martin and McCann)? I can keep up tp 12 guys in my 12 man league
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
I've never been a fan of keeping two catchers in any keeper format, but if you do it, those are two of the ones I'd say make a case that you should. If it's me, though, to be honest, I'd be shopping one of them for help elsewhere.
Please rank for H2H: Rios, Markakis, Granderson. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Well, again, without the system it's tough, as I've seen some formats that positively kill stolen base contributions. So, taking an "across-the-board" approach here, I'm going Nick Markakis, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rios. The latter two are oh-so-close, too.
What do you think about Ryan Braun?? Is his power for real? or you think he is a one season wonder?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
He's for real. Well, not quite to identical levels of his 2007, but I'd be stunned if he was any worse than .280-35-100-12. And that's about THE most conservative projection I could toss you. There's a high likelihood he's noticeably above that, I'm just saying that that's his WORST-case scenario.
Snell over Tom Gorzelanny?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
Yup. No knock on Tom Gorzelanny, but I'll take the guy with the K's, with the ability to explode and dominate hitters out of the blue. It's upside vs. safety, really, and I want the upside in a close race.
Dontrelle Willis had a bad year last year, but do you think he will get back to his old self in Detroit?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
"Old self"? Cy Young form you mean? Nah. I think he's hurting from all that early-career work, but hey, at least the Tigers will score runs for him, help him in the wins category, and that'll make him look a heck of a lot better than he did in 2007. He's draftable for mixed, just late, because the ERA could certainly be over 4.00, and that's not great.
Given those numbers for Braun, shouldn't he be a slam dunk first rounder?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Perhaps. I've got him in my second round, but I do that mainly because I reserve the first round for elite, mainly risk-free players, and the second for the guys who COULD be first rounders, but might have a slight, slight question surrounding them. I wouldn't laugh at anyone for taking Braun in the late first, though. He absolutely could make the pick worth it.
Why would Bedard go that much farther behind Santana? Bedard's numbers across the board are equal or better to Santana's last year. I understand people expect Santana to dominate the NL, and he probably will, but why so late on Bedard? Injury scares?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I think people are just so unnecessarily concerned about Erik Bedard's injury history. I know, I know, he was hurt late last year, but it wasn't arm related, and I really doubt he'd have passed his physical when traded if he wasn't fully 100 percent. To me, Bedard is a top-three fantasy pitcher, bottom line. I love the guy.
Trade offer.....would get Halladay,Broxton, and edwin..give up Aramis,Chris young(OF), and Bourn. We have holds and my other OFs would be Duncan, granderson,kemp,markakis, Dunn,victorino
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
That's just not going to do you a whole lot of good, Corbin. I think you're giving up too much. Aramis Ramirez and Chris Young (the outfielder) are surefire keepers in my mind. On the other side, Roy Halladay is the only one who qualifies as that to me. And as I always say, build on hitting. You can't give up two certain keeper hitters for one certain keeper pitcher, deep outfield or not. Hold out for more.
What pitchers do you have winning 20 games this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
I'd say the best bets, in order, are Johan Santana, Brandon Webb, Justin Verlander and John Lackey. And Santana and Webb are the only ones I'd say have better than a 50/50 shot, because it's so tough to do these days.
How high would you draft Sabathia top five or top ten or lower
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
I worry a little bit about the massive number of innings he threw last year (playoffs included) and the Indians' tendency to keep him out there for all those complete games, but the worry isn't enough to bump him from my top 10 starting pitchers. I have him sixth, behind Johan, Peavy, Webb, Bedard and Lackey.
brad (harrisburg, pa)
plain and simple: will your man love for josh hamilton reach hermida levels by the end of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
I might be the only guy on earth without "man love" for Josh Hamilton. The guy -- and let's put aside the personal issues he's faced as a pro -- has a shaky injury history dating back almost to the day he was drafted, counting merely the times he was on a roster and not suspended. It happened last year, too. So while I do agree with the masses that Hamilton CAN be that monster, top-50 caliber player overall, I am not about to count on more than 450 plate appearances for him. Seriously, you count on more and you're taking a chance. For the record, though, I do have Hamilton ranked higher than Hermida.
What's your projections this season for Clay Buchholz
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Pitches 175 innings -- really, I think he SHOULD get that big a role -- manages a low-to-mid threes ERA, WHIP in the high 1.1s, maybe nets K's in the 160s? That's a pretty good, and underrated pitcher. The Curt Schilling news, in my mind, helps no one more than Buchholz.
Charles (Weaverville NC)
Speaking of catchers, I am looking at trying to steal one late for next year. Towels, Soto, Suzuki, Salty or Weiters? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I'm not a big Kurt Suzuki fan, as I don't see a lot to like in his minor league numbers and don't remember scouts really raving about him. Of that bunch, somehow, J.R. Towles' name stands out as a guy you can get oh-so-very late, but who could REALLY surprise you in 2009. With his talent, he deserves more buzz, and could easily be the best bargain (not best player, best bargain this is) of this bunch for your purposes.
Would you trade Berkman and Beckett for Utley in a 5x5 roto league? If so, would you rather keep Markakis or trade a draft pick for Abreu and keep him instead?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
It's another case where without the specific makeup of your roster, it's tough to say, so I'll address these as straight value, and individually. I think you're dealing up for Chase Utley, and he's a first-rounder, so while that's a hefty price tag, I think it's a smart move. Consolidation of keepers is usually a smarter move than the deal looks on the surface, don't forget that. As for the outfielders, I actually have Nick Markakis ranked higher of the two, and that speaks volumes.
Tyler (Kalamazoo, MI)
Is Todd Jones worth getting???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Hey, someone has to draft him. They're ugly saves, but saves nonetheless, and there's not a ton of great, immediate competition for his job. As a mid-to-late rounder, Jones isn't bad.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Not a big fan. Something about the stuff I read tells me to split the difference between Bobby Abreu's and Melky Cabrera's stats. And that's not an elite, top-100 fantasy player, not in my mind.
What about Crede? Will he be the starting 3b for another team and will he be heathly enough to start?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Well, his injury takes a lot of work to recover from, so he's among the most notable names to monitor regularly in the spring. I keep hearing the Giants all but have a deal worked out for him once they see he's healthy, which makes sense since they let Pedro Feliz go, passed on every other free agent and really have nothing else on the roster that's terribly viable for third base. To me, today, Joe Crede is, say, 25th at his position for fantasy, and yes, I do think he's healthy and a starter but not for the ChiSox.
Stumped on who to keep between Hafner, A. Ramirez, and Webb. I always prefer keeping hitters but i'm not quite sure in this situation. Thanks for the help.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Probably just a little smarter to keep Brandon Webb here, especially if you already have some better bats on your keeper list.
Keeper Help... I am keeping Howard, Berkman, Tulo and Phillips! Who do I choose as my 5th... Chipper, Nathan or Felix?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
I'd probably take the chance on Felix Hernandez there. Your hitters are strong enough, and you could use a starting pitcher who could by all rights wind up a top-10 at his position, risk or not.
Joe (San Diego)
I'm going to treat the Catcher position the same way I treat Kickers in FFL - I'll be the last to take one, and I wont even bother much with it during the season. I did this last year and won the league fairly easily. I'll let someone else overpay for subpar overall stats
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
You know what, Joe? I've utilized that very strategy for years with great success at times. As I always say, catchers don't get the at-bats guys at other positions do. It's a definite factor. But make sure you load up your offense elsewhere if you do it, that's all. You MUST do that to make it work.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Well, that's all for today, but there's good news! I'll be back again tomorrow morning to chat with you again. Plus, we chat again this afternoon at 3. Hope to see you then!