Fantasy Sports w/Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
If Roy Halladay reverts back to 130-140 K's that we saw in recent years doesn't his value take a hit? Not many people are commenting on that risk.
Tristan Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Certainly it'd hurt his value if that happened, but what makes you think it's likely? Halladay showed no signs of slowing down in that department over the course of the year, averaging 7.68 K's per nine after the All-Star break compared to 7.44 before ... I don't see that being a fluke hot streak kind of thing. I might draft him expecting more like 175 K's, but that still keeps him right up there among the elite.
Joshua (Iowa City)
Tristan, what are the odds Braun tops 40 HR and 120 RBIS? Do the sb stay above ten?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
I think the power and speed numbers are highly likely. To say 40-42 homers, 12 steals, for instance, is very fair. Ryan Braun is 25, in his power prime, has had a year under his belt as a left fielder and should be totally focused. If I have any question about him it's how far past 100 RBIs he'll get on a Brewers team that doesn't totally blow me away, but it's not like it's a below-average offense, either. A 110-RBI year should be reachable. Braun is my No. 1 fantasy outfielder, for the record.
Leo (Bay Area)
How on earth could someone consider Matt Holliday a current 1st round pick when you look at his historical home/road splits? He is much more mortal on the road - almost average if you ask me.
Tristan Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
This is a very popular debate this preseason, Leo, and I'm in the pro-Holliday camp. Now, I'll first admit that I'll have him ranked somewhere in the mid-second round, not the first. The move to Oakland hurts his statistical potential, no doubt about it. But I did write about the trade at the time it happened, and my point was -- and still is -- that you can't just take his road splits and project them to a full year and make those his expectations. Home-field advantage is exactly that, an advantage, for anyone in any ballpark (except maybe an extreme pitchers' park like Petco), and I think studs like Holliday can overcome the switch to a point, and perform maybe 10-15 percent better than their career road rates in their home games. I'm drafting the guy expecting a .305-.310 batting average, 25ish homers and 100 RBIs, but maybe the steals slip to around 10-12.
THC, what kind of year are you expecting from Cameron Maybin? I see him as similar to Jacoby Ellsbury, who posted a .280 50 SB 95 Run rookie year. Do you forsee, IF he gets 550 AB's, that Maybin can post similar numbers? Where would you rank Maybin in a keeper league?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
I'll go on record saying I think Maybin is a severe bust candidate. I think the Tigers rushed him a few years back, and it's an awful place for a player to break in. There's no way Maybin matches Jacoby Ellsbury in batting average if both play every day. No chance. I wouldn't draft the kid expecting any more than maybe a .250 batting average, 25-30 steals and modest power contributions. Like barely double digits. It's not an exciting player.
Keeper question: I need to keep two: Liriano ($23), Wang ($25), Santana ($6), Josh Johnson ($8), Danks ($6), Scherzer ($8). thanks.
Tristan Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Hard to evaluate Francisco Liriano's value without knowing the specific league format, but when all the pitchers make cases for keeper status in deeper leagues, I go for the deepest discounts. Whichever Santana that is -- Ervin or Johan, and I assume it's Ervin -- is a must. And I'd have a hard time letting John Danks go for that price.
Gammons recently commented on the Rangers hoping to have Justin Smoak up by Labor Day. Is that aggressive and if he does come up what kind of impact bat is he?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Well, the word "hope" really needs be taken at face value ... I'm sure the Rangers also hope they win the World Series! I'll back up Peter's statement by saying that Smoak absolutely has the talent to breeze through the minors that quickly, and I'd be surprised if we didn't see him in the majors by the midway point of 2010 at the absolute latest. But fantasy owners shouldn't get excited about his 2009 potential; he's pretty far off and the Rangers' hopes are grounded in thinking he can hit and advance quickly through the system. What kind of impact? I keep hearing Mark Teixeira comparisons, but I'm thinking a little more safety in batting average, and slightly less pop, in his prime. It's still an All-Star caliber player.
Tristan, doesn't the foul ball territory in Oakland lower Holliday's batting average by .010 - .015 by itself?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Frankly that'd be pretty damning of Mr. Holliday's ability to assume that he's going to foul pop out so many times as to do that. And by the way, he's a .319 career hitter, so with your estimate...
Help out a fellow Yankees fan THC! Name 1 guy you're targeting in dynasty leagues not named Wieters. Pretty please??
Tristan Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
The first name to come to mind -- remember, there are quick hits -- is the one I'm strongly thinking about taking with my first pick in an upcoming sim draft, Brett Wallace. The Troy Glaus news greatly advances his timetable, and that kid is going to hit no matter what position he plays. (I really hope no one else in that draft is in the chat room today, I blew my cover!)
Tom (Garland, TX)
What happens to Chris Davis in 2010 if Smoak is in the picture?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Third baseman, designated hitter ... there are options. I'm a Davis fan, that kid is going to play, and rake.
Nick (Greenwich, CT)
What was your view in the "Chris Davis" debate. Is he a one-hit wonder or can he service a lot of fantasy teams to a Championship this year?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I think I just answered that, but I look at Davis and see the possibility that if all the cards fall right, he can have some years within range of a Ryan Howard season. Now, there's a caveat: He strikes out a ton, and guys like that are riskier than prospects with better contact rates. Davis could bat .270 and belt 35-40 homers, no doubt about it ... or he could sag to beneath .250 and fall short of 30 bombs. I'm firmly in the camp that says he's much closer to the former. I believe. Oh, and by the way ... he qualifies at third base too, which matters!
Drew Erdelack (Chicago)
TC, if you had a choice between Votto and Kemp for a dynasty league who would you take?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Matt Kemp because of the all-around Rotisserie potential, but to be fair, I'm a very big fan of Joey Votto's. If he didn't play the position he did he would warrant a heck of a lot more credit. Guy could be a very consistent .300-plus, 25-30 homer guy for awhile.
Do you expect Andrew McCutchen to force his way into the opening day lineup for the Pirates and should'nt he hit 15 HR and get 30 SB's right away?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
No. I agree with Keith Law's assessment that McCutchen was rushed. And I also agree with Keith that McCutchen still has a promising career ahead of him, but I do think he has raised his probability of taking more time in Triple-A ball and then needing a noticeable adjustment period at the big-league level. If you're looking at McCutchen in this year's drafts, I'd be assuming maybe a half season from him, and once he's up, his strengths are on-base percentage and stolen bases, and very little else. Might have numbers like Rickie Weeks'.
Which Twins pitcher do you like the best fantasy wise? Any solid sleepers in that bunch? Thanks.
Tristan Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Incredibly underrated rotation, and I see great value in Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey. Slowey will go third of those, but I bet he's the one most likely to outperform his draft-day price tag.
Mike (Tampa, FL)
Who is going to be the Yanks' starting outfield?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
A mix and match, frankly. Center field is the question, I assume. I could see Melky Cabrera getting maybe 75 starts there, let's say Brett Gardner around 40, Nick Swisher 35, Johnny Damon 12. Damon plays most in left, and Xavier Nady most in right.
Tristan, I am looking at starting a rotisserie NL-only league with a few buddies. We are thinking about making it 8 members, but are unsure about how many depth issues there would be. What would you say is the "optimum" number of owners in a fantasy baseball league, considering player scarcity?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
Personally I'm not a fan of any league with fewer than 10 owners, but part of that is there's more competition and more trade partners. To be fair, I'm in an NL-only league and have been for years where there are nine teams, and never more than that. And it's a good league.
Will (St. Louis)
When would you "reach" for Wieters in a dynasty league?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
I don't think I stand a chance at drafting him, because the buzz so far this preseason has been positively unreal. After the obvious studs are off the board -- Joe Mauer, Brian McCann, Russell Martin -- he'll probably be regarded as one of the next couple catchers selected. That means maybe he'd go a little after 50 overall. I don't like building solely for the future, so I'd probably say spend the seventh-round pick on him, but anything higher is dangerous. And I'm being very generous with that estimate, because I bet he starts the year in Triple-A.
First of all do you think Joba will be in the rotation this year? Second, between him and Burnett who will have the better season....health and stats? Thanks!
Tristan Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I do, not that I think he should. (Open floodgates for the silly Joba debate. I have very specific reasons, and mostly have to do with my questioning his durability as a full-time starter.) I'm projecting 140 innings for Joba, and I will tell you this: He is going to be lights out in the innings he gets, no matter the role. If it's clear during spring training he'll be in the Opening Day rotation, I'm taking him over Burnett; the upside is too great. But they are very comparable. I wouldn't fear either for the injury risk, so long as you remind yourself that 140 for Joba, and maybe 160-170 for Burnett, seem the most realistic innings expectations.
What type of season do you see Carlos Zambrano having?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
I don't like him at all. And I've historically felt that way. All of his statistics have been consistently trending downward, and the little bumps and bruises he endured last season make me think a complete collapse is a distinct possibility. It's coming, folks.
Need a spot (Bronx NY)
What is going to happen to Hughes & Kennedy? Should I try & stash them in my reserve draft? Thanks
Tristan Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
I think Ian Kennedy is trade bait, period, and never a future member of the Yankee rotation. Well, at least not a regular one. Just a hunch, but I bet they put him in Triple-A, hope he shows something and then peddle him for midseason trade help. I do like Phil Hughes, though. From the little we have seen of him when healthy, the talent is there. The health just hasn't been. So yes, he's a fine reserve-pick sleeper, but I'll point out he has a lot of work to do in the spring. A guy you need to monitor closely in March.
Hey, if you predict it 5 years in a row, it'll hit sometime...way to go out on a limb....again.
Tristan Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Point taken. I will not deny this. And all I can tell you is I hope you weren't one of the many he burned late last season, when the title-hunt was at its peak. Outside of the no-hitter he was a disaster down the stretch.
OVERRATED...353 BABIP, 20.5% HR/fly ball, never going to maintain...I am a .250 hiter this year buddy.
Tristan Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Again, point taken. Why I like him: His power is positively unreal. That kid can hit bombs the other way like few other players I've seen ... Ryan Howard came to mind a few of the times I watched him. It's that kind of power.
Based on your Holliday's projections, do you like Markakis better?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I actually have them about dead even for 2009, and that means if it's a keeper league, I'm probably taking the guy with a little room for growth (Markakis). They're both top-five to me, among outfielders.
Do you see Ellsbury progressing to the point this year that he becomes a 3rd Rd pick (or higher) in 2010?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
You know, that really wouldn't shock me. I still think Jacoby Ellsbury is about as stable a 50-steal candidate as you can find in the game, and if he's a top-third hitter 100 runs to go along with maybe 10-12 homers and a .290 batting average seem within reach. It's not unthinkable. One of the few "one-category" types (and I argue he's really not a one-category guy) I would invest heavily in.
A lot of players read your chats, that must make you feel good. Would you take a flir on Micah Owings in an NL-only league to round out your rotation? Tough park, but...
Tristan Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Hey Goose! Yeah, it's interesting how many players ask me questions about themselves. Pretty cool, if you ask me. Anyway, yes, I would make Owings a late-round NL-only pick. The shoulder does trouble me, but I bet we'll have a firm read on that by, say, March 1, and until around the point that started acting up last year he was looking pretty darned good. Nice pickup by the Reds, and I think he shapes up as their strongest fifth-starter candidate.
David (Franklin, TX)
Top five for holliday and Markakis?!!! Since I know Braun is No.1 and I presume Sizemore is top 5 also, you have them both over guys like Hamilton, Beltran, Manny, Rios, Ichiro, Soriano?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
There is a huge first tier of outfielders this season: Braun, Sizemore, Holliday, Markakis, Hamilton, Beltran, Ichiro. Manny can easily leap into that depending on where he winds up. I'll put him in there for now, because I think he's going to be fine. And if you want to debate the merits over whether this guy or that guy is third or fourth, be my guest. I'm going in the order I just listed, but in no way will I laugh at anyone who shuffles those eight names. It's if you put someone else in there, I'd care to disagree with you then.
Roxy (West Hempstead, NY)
Commish question!!!!! What's the best way to avoid lop-sided trades in a keeper league???
Tristan Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Be a firm commish (more so than good ol' Bud), have a trade-voting system, set guidelines by which owners can deal with certain teams. I won't say any one specific one of those is the right answer. They've all been used to some degree of success in leagues I've witnessed. In my keeper league, of which I'm the commish, I put a lot of trust in the owners and I'm pretty firm about giving people a hard time about bad trades. But for the most part, I trust the owners ... very picky about getting reputable people to play. I think that's the only way you can get a system to work as a guarantee.
Nitters (Forest Hills, NY)
Doesn't Carlos Lee merit being added to that list just based on consistency and durabilty alone?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
He's high second tier. So is Alfonso Soriano. So close. Top-10 outfielders, both of them, absolutely. If they were younger and hadn't missed time in 2008, I might feel a spot or two better about each in the rankings. But they're both past 30.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but are there no really good, deep positions this year (outside of SP, perhaps)? What happened to all the good, solid, consistent players?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Well, I think first base is scary deep. Carlos Delgado had that great 2008 and I can tell you he stands zero chance at being among my top 10 first basemen. That tells it all.
Jeff (Louisville KY)
Hey Tristan, who do you like best of out of King Felix, AJ Burnette or Kazmir as a keeper this year?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
King Felix. And I'm now awaiting Mr. Hernandez posting up a comment saying how I've said that for what, five years straight now?
Matt (San Diego, CA)
I am in a keeper league and we keep 2 players I have got it down to 3 A-Rod, Grady Sizemore or Josh Hamiltion. Who do you think I should go with?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
I'd call it a pretty rough spot to have to let a guy like Josh Hamilton go. But you do. A-Rod and Sizemore are certain first rounders. Can't say it any more succinctly than that.
I'm stuck with Teixeira and Cabrera in a keeper points league and both are only 1B eligible. Instead of starting one at DH, which comparable non-1B would you target assuming you can't get Reyes, Han-Ram, A-Rod or Wright?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
"Stuck with"? Not a tough situation to be in if you ask me. I'd be happy with those two. But if it makes you feel better to deal one to fill another spot, I'd shop Mark Teixeira for maybe a Markakis, Hamilton or Braun. I would not accept anything less than a top-25 overall player, though. You'd be better off just dealing with filling DH with one.
You been saying that for what, five years now? Thoughts on Oswalt this year? Is it safe to count on him for your #1 pitcher? Keep him, Burnett, or Joba (Since you said he will be starting and will dominate!!) Thanks!
Tristan Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Ha! Thanks, Felix. As for Roy Oswalt, consistent guy, safe, elite starting pitcher. I'd keep him. I know what I said about Joba, but the important number was the 140 innings. Two hundred-plus for Oswalt is going to beat 140 of Joba.
Doug (Wilmington, NC)
Tristaroonie, I traded away Evan Longoria and want to make myself feel better about it. Do you think a sophomore slump (.235, 19, 65) is a possibility? Yes? Yes?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I don't know what you got, so I can't cheer you up. Sorry, Doug. I believe in Longoria. If I've got any knock at all on the guy, it's that he seemed to give up batting average for power in the postseason, and that might be a mistake if he carries it over into 2009. But it's a very, very small concern. I have Longoria at least matching his 2008 totals, sorry to say. He's going to be a top-50 player overall, at the bare minimum. (Not that I'd take him in the first 25 picks!)
Justin, Bristol, CT
Mr. Cockcroft, please help! Choose 5 of these 6 to keep (no limit, 6x6 roto): Teixeira, Utley, Sizemore, Hanley, Johan, Wright. Thanks!
Tristan Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
What is this, Justin, a two-team league? Jeez, that's a ridiculous keeper list. I guess you'd have to let Chase Utley go, and only because he's the one who might not be in the Opening Day lineup.
thoughts on on some starting pitching diamonds in the rough? Ubaldo...Wandy...?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I like Wandy Rodriguez. He qualifies, because you'll get him so late, and he showed signs he might no longer be just a use-him-at-home option. Let's see, scrolling down my list quickly, pitcher values: Matt Garza, Brett Myers, Josh Johnson, Andy Sonnanstine, Manny Parra...
Tristan, What do you expect from CC this year, after a huge contract?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I'm in the group that thinks Sabathia adapts well to New York, and does not yet suffer the effects of those hefty workloads of the past two seasons. Nice lineup backing him, ERA should go up over 3.00 (but not by a whole lot), and might be the strongest 20-win candidate in the game, because he'll throw tons of innings.
What Ed. Volquez do you believe is real? The 1.75 ERA or 4.0+ ERA?
Tristan Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
The latter version. Now, I don't want to trash the guy, because I think he has a decent career ahead of him. But I wasn't wild about his usage last year, and he wore down from it late as a result. Guys like this can jump all over the map statistically. I bet he regresses, not that I'm saying there isn't another standout season somewhere in his future.
Where would you feel comfortable drafting Youkelis this year, assuming he's available at 3B???
Tristan Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I've got him somewhere in the ballpark of No. 70 overall. Very safe batting average/RBI guy, and I like the multi-position eligibility. But I don't believe the power is all that real. Twenty homers should be his cap.
THC- Who do you see catching in Texas this year? Trying to gauge Teagarden's value at $5 in a keeper league. Thanks.
Tristan Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
The spring will tell, but my Jan. 29 prediction is that Taylor Teagarden and Max Ramirez are the catchers, Teagarden gets maybe 60 percent of the at-bats and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is traded for some pitching help. So I'd probably keep Teagarden if the league is deep enough (especially AL-only).
Rich (Solvay, NY)
Hi Tristan James Shields or Josh Johnson?
Tristan Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Shields, but I put in my 2009 predictions that Johnson was one of my big-time sleepers. I just don't put him as high on the list as Shields.
Hi Tristan, Thanks for the opportunity to talk Fantasy BB. Pablo Sandoval, is he for real? I picked him up in a keeper league last year, and am really debating to keep or not. Your opinion of him, please.
Tristan Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
My opinion is I wish I had more data about him, to be totally frank. Sandoval had limited numbers to go off in the minors. I don't like that; messes up my personal projections, no track record. Like Josh Hamilton a year ago, for instance. I do like Sandoval, but I'm not convinced he'll qualify at catcher as quickly as most do, and I'd say expecting a mid-.280s batting average and 20 homers is a very generous estimate.
Youk or Davis at 3B this year?
Tristan Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Davis. Being bold (so long as you're calculated in doing so) wins leagues. You don't win by spending all your time just accepting the middle ground.
12 team, 7x7 keeper league with obp, tb, complete games and holds as the extra categories, can keep anyone, and i need to keep 6 of the following: A-Rod, Rollins, Berkman, Hamilton, Longoria, Crawford, McCann, Webb, Peavy. HELP!
Tristan Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
Well, Alex Rodriguez, Josh Hamilton, Evan Longoria and Brandon Webb are obvious to me. I can't let Lance Berkman go, just too consistent. And for the final guy ... I'd go Jimmy Rollins over Jake Peavy! Peavy scares me a little, I'll admit.
Josh (Saratoga NY)
What are you expectations from Ziegler this year? Splits saves with Devine?
Tristan Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
I didn't like that Brad Ziegler struggled against left-handed hitters; that paints the picture of a specialist reliever, not a workhorse closer. Not to trash the guy, I just think he's a clear step behind Joey Devine in the saves pecking order. But he's a necessary handcuff, because Devine isn't the healthiest fella. Rough Ziegler projection of mine: 2.80 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, maybe 6-8 saves.
Chuck (Hershey, PA)
Which 3 you keep from Oswalt, Lester, Dempster, Ludwick, Kemp, Alexi Ramirez, and VMart? My other keepers are Wright, Kinsler, C. Lee, Markakis, Quentin, CC, and Ervin. Thanks
Tristan Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
I like your keeper choices, Chuck. And for the final three: Matt Kemp is an obvious standout of the bunch. I'd rather have him than Carlos Quentin! And I'll go Jon Lester, I believe in him even if he's not really top-10 starter material. And then Alexei Ramirez, because of the position scarcity and decent power upside.
Just a quick football question. Who's your number one pick right now? and why?
Tristan Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
Adrian Peterson. Best chance at those monster 200-yard, 2-TD games that I so love. I think it's pretty clear he's the guy across the board.
Tristan Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
You are most welcome, TZ, and happy to chat with everyone today! Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Take care everyone!
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