Fantasy Baseball w/Tristan Cockcroft
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft in The Show on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Need an in-depth answer to your question? Want your roster or trade offers reviewed? Get a personalized response from an ESPN expert with The Answer Guys. All questions answered within 24 hours, guaranteed. Ask your question .
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Based on this Yankee bandbox talk, are you aquiring or selling high on Yankee hitters right now?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
I'm buying, because besides the ballpark, there's also the fact that Alex Rodriguez is due back in a matter of days (OK, maybe a week or two, but that's still "days"), which will bolster the offense. That said, I don't know that I could acquire any Yankees on the cheap. They're so discussed I think people know their true value. So I'd more stick with the ones I had and keep smiling.
Dave (Villanova, PA)
Hi Tristan, is Wood going to get some playing time in LA?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
I don't think so because the Angels just shifted Darren Oliver back to the bullpen, meaning they have rotation openings on both Thursday and Saturday, and no one on the roster who could legitimately step in for either game. With two minor leaguers needing recalls for those starts, most likely, I have to think Brandon Wood might only be around for a few days. But if you asked me should he get playing time, my answer would be yes, most certainly. And that alone makes him an AL-only pickup.
Richard (New York)
Hi Tristan, what's your take on Derrek Lee? Is it time to trade him and get something for him while I still can or will he rebound? Thank you.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
My take on Derrek Lee is the same as my take on him in the preseason, I'm not enamored with him. He was outside my top 10 first basemen then, and he still is today. The reason being that he's now 33 years old, has been showing signs of that gradual career decline in recent seasons, and I've got a stat line to scare you too. In the past calendar year, Lee has batted .274 with 14 home runs and 82 RBIs in 148 games, very Lyle Overbay-esque if you ask me. And as his great April 2008 continues to sneak out of that data range, it's only going to go down if he doesn't pick up his play. Yes, I'd sell, if I could.
Ryan (Santa Barbara)
Good Morning Tristan. Thoughts on Chris Duncan? He is hitting lefties well. Hot streak or good upside grab?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
I'm a Duncan fan. The guy is a .270-25 capable hitter given a full season where he sits somewhat often against left-handers, and so far he's the team's best of a deep outfield, so I don't see him sitting anytime soon. If there's any doubt I have in him retaining value, it's that he's a health risk. What he's coming off is a pretty serious injury, so I wouldn't put an investment into him that would jeopardize my team's long-term prognosis, but yes, I'm buying this.
Better Fantasy season in a 5X5 League: Ellsbury or Crawford?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
I suppose the smart answer is Carl Crawford, but he's another of those guys everyone seems to love and I do not. And it's not that I think he's a bad player, it's that he's grossly overrated. Tell me the last time he earned a noticeable profit on his draft-day price tag please? It was probably his first full year in the majors a half-decade back, because since then he has been regarded as first-round material and he hasn't really been any overwhelming force. Certainly not to clear first-round levels. Anyway, what worries me about Crawford is that the injuries he suffered the past couple seasons were all leg-related. Not a good thing for a guy who makes his living primarily with his legs, stealing all those bases. It makes me think Jacoby Ellsbury, because I trust him more in the steals category.
Matt (New York, NY)
HELP! I just lost Doumit for the next 2-3 months. Any chance the O's call up Wieters within a couple weeks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Matt Wieters is currently sidelined with a mild hamstring strain, and the Orioles aren't going to take any chances with a talent like him. So I'd say no, I still see June 1 as the best target date for his big-league debut. And if this injury lingers or pops up again, it'll be time to push that date back. But I like your thinking in terms of a suitable long-term replacement statistically speaking. You just might need a month-and-a-half stopgap, that's all.
Myles ( 1977 island)
woudl drop sexy alexi for ian stewart? is stewart goign to play everyday? please help
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Uhhhh no. Now, I picked the question for a reason. Those who read my "Diamond Debate" know I was more anti-Alexei Ramirez than most, but truth is I don't think he's a terrible player. He just happens to be demonstrating the exact traits that had me not calling him top-50-overall material: He'll be streaky, free swinging as he is. If you picked Ramirez, you must be patient. This is just the kind of player he is. And it's why I said in past chats "he might hit .290 or he might belt 25-plus homers but he will not do both." Well, seems he might have a better chance at the homer total, having hurt his average as he has early. It's what streaky players do!
It seems everyday I get updates on how my boys Mat Gamel and Gordon Beckham are straight raking in the minors. Thoughts on a realistic major league arrival time?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
I have a feeling Gamel is only going to get a recall if Bill Hall suffers a long-term injury, which isn't out of the realm of possibility. I know I made a Ryan Braun comparison in today's "Out of the Box," and I don't think it's out of line, but I also think the Braun case in his rookie year was a very special one. It represents Gamel's best-case scenario, being up in under a month and then tearing it up for the Brewers. As for Beckham, I bet the White Sox want him to get in a half-season's experience in the minors before promoting him, but with their middle infield not wowing anyone, I absolutely could see him being up after that. He is a heck of a prospect, from the limited time I have watched him play.
You don't hear too much about Phil Hughes, but I have to think that Wang's rotation spot could be his soon, no? As a Yankee fan what are your thoughts on stashing Hughes, and when do you think he'll be up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I still think the Yankees are better off with Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen, giving them the ability to deploy him at any point in any game they want, instead of every five days. I know it's a dicey topic to bring up, but that's how I feel, at least for 2009. Phil Hughes could have been just as good in Joba's rotation spot given the chance, strong as he looked in the spring. And I think you're onto something, that Hughes would be next in line if Chien-Ming Wang can't figure things out. The way the Yankees are dealing with the Wang situation, it sounds very much to me like they might give him another start for them next week, and if he's no better, then he's going to go on the DL and head to Tampa to work on his mechanics. So yes, then it'd be Hughes time, meaning he's worth stashing in deeper leagues.
Scott Bakula (Chuck and Christine)
Oh boy. Lucked in to getting Ian Kinsler AND Chase Utley in a 12-team mixed H2H. SInce I have Utley, is it time to sell high on Kinsler? Will he do his typical second-half fizzle?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Hey, some "Quantum Leap" love! Shame how they ended that show. Really disappointing it got canceled. Anyway, sure, if you can deal Ian Kinsler at top-20 overall value, of course it makes sense if you need help elsewhere. But it doesn't mean I'd race to do it. Both of them are great second basemen, and I think Kinsler's real problem last year was health, not a lack of production, late in the year. I'd advise seeing what you can get, but if you're using both as active players, I'd have to wonder why you'd want to shed one at all?
The Royals turned 6 double plays? Are you kidding? Outside of helping a pitcher's stats, can you briefly talk about the importance of defense in light of fantasy sports?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Defense can get a guy into the lineup more than the brutal defender challenging him for at-bats, and defense can help boost a pitcher in the ERA and WHIP department. You know all that talk about BABIP? Well, defense comes into play there, which is why I won't tell you to look at a BABIP, take it at face value and use it to say "he was lucky" or "he was unlucky." There are other factors that must be considered. Beyond that, though, defense unfortunately is pretty overlooked in our game.
Are there any worries about Kevin Slowey?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Not entirely because his command numbers -- walks and strikeouts -- are in line with his career trends. That suggests this isn't an injury-related issue, and it's something he can probably work on with his pitching coach. I'm faithful.
Bernard (Princeton, NJ)
Enough with you ESPN fantasy guys and Joba in the bullpen. He is more useful as a starter for the Yankees. Not my question though... what's the word on BJ Upton?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
To each his own opinion. I have been firm in mine and I will remain firm in mine, and I think that's the best you can ask from a guy who watches that team regularly. As for Upton, word from the team's Web site is that he was available to pinch hit last night and should be back in the lineup today.
Michael (Cape Elizabeth, ME)
Fukudome: breakout year or sell-high before the fall?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
I'm going to say sell high, and the main thing I can say in defense of that is that if you look at Ichiro's career numbers, he has tended to cool off the second half of the year most seasons. I can't help but wonder whether the longer, more trying U.S. baseball season wears them down a little bit. It sure seemed to in Kosuke Fukudome's first year in the States.
Brighter future: Longoria or Markakis?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Evan Longoria, but can we really complain about either? That's more my thinking he's the kind of guy I see having several .290-40, MVP-caliber years in his future, while Nick Markakis strikes me as more of a .300-30-100 type for the long haul. It's really just a difference of slightly higher power upside.
Tristan, is there a more frustrating and unreliable fantasy player than Oliver Perez? On any given night he can be lights out, or light up.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Welcome to the wild, wild world of Oliver Perez, Chris.
Big T (The Chi)
What is defensive indifference and why is it costing me steals?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
"Defensive indifference" is when a runner who reaches base is deemed irrelevant to the game's outcome -- typically in the ninth inning when a team has a handy lead -- "steals" a base but does so without the other team even attempting to throw him out. It's a scorer's decision, and the right one, because otherwise you'd have speedsters just looking to pad their totals all the time.
Hi Tristan, What do the Red Sox plan to do with their rotation in the short term? Will Masterson get a 2nd start this week? Also, does Scutaro have any trade value in your opinion, if so, what type of P should I be looking for? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
The rainout really complicates things, and I think it means Justin Masterson almost has to pitch on Sunday against the Yankees, which by the way isn't a great matchup since he's so-so versus lefties and that's a lefty-heavy lineup. At least it's a home game, though, and Fenway has that spacious right field. Personally I think Masterson deserves a shot to start, since Boston's bullpen is deep enough as it is, but that Terry Francona keeps waiting until the very last second to announce Masterson's starts suggests the team really prefers him pitching in relief. I'm a fan, but I can't throw a hefty investment his way because of the way it seems his role is. Clay Buchholz continues to look like a smarter long-term investment. (I like him too.) As for Scutaro, doubt you can get a lot for him. If I could swap him for a promising sleeper like Kyle Davies, I probably would.
I've been eyeing Aaron Hill, who's a FA in my league. Can you discuss him? He's a tricky guy to project.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
A fan and a believer right here. It was concussion problems that derailed his 2008, but he seems perfectly fine today, and that's why I throw that season right out the window. A .290-hitting, 20-homer season seems very much within his reach, and I see some upside from that.
Ryan Spilborghs - wow, talk about a disappointment after his great spring. Does Fowler start every day now?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I'm getting a lot of Spilborghs questions today, and I did say I was a fan. He's off to a sluggish start, and sure, Dexter Fowler could start cutting into his playing time, especially since the rookie really needs to be playing fairly regularly somewhere. But I do see Spilborghs continuing to get chances somehow, especially with Seth Smith off to a comparably poor start. Hard to imagine Ian Stewart playing every day in left field, after all.
Doumit replacements (Rank 'em): Y. Molina, Shoppach, Iannetta, Napoli
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
I'd go Mike Napoli, Kelly Shoppach, Chris Iannetta, Yadier Molina, and all of them would be suitable replacements for most.
Hey tristan, i got liriano and am starting to wonder if he is a home only starter. i mean i want to start him today against the red sox but his first two away starts he looked horrible and his only home start he got no run support. what do i do with him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Well, I wouldn't start him today, I'll say that straight out. But one thing I think you should think about: If you combine his majors and minors stats from 2008, he got off to a so-so start and then tore it up I believe around May 15. What if he's just the kind of guy who needs a month to put it together? With his talent I'd be banking on that, and not labeling him a matchups type.
Is Nelson Cruz for real? What do you see as hit stat line at the end of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Apparently. Now, I was wrong on Cruz in the preseason, but I did also say "boom or bust" type, and evidently he's more the former than latter. But I'll tell you this: A slump not unlike Alexei Ramirez's thus far is coming. Cruz might hit 30-35 homers, but he's also going to bat around .260. Maybe lower than that, in fact. If you own him you're just going to have to stomach the bad spells.
David (LA, CA)
Do I drop Milton Bradley...is he ever going to be productive or just keep injuring himself...I almost can't see the upside anymore :-(
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Like with the Oliver Perez question, welcome to the ouch, ouch world of Milton Bradley, David. I might be one of the biggest Bradley fans for fantasy out there, and even I say that any game you get from him past 100 for the season has to be considered gravy. He'll have his incredible hot stretches, but it's going to be painfully frustrating to own him the rest of the time. Just a bummer that it's happening so early in the year.
Matt (Lewes, DE)
Hi Tristan, you were relatively down on Lilly for todays start based on how he performed last year vs. Cin. Would you start him in a 16 team league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Probably. My words were more for caution than a "must-sit" advisement. I think it's important to tell people when the downside is greater in a matchup than it might be in one of his typical turns. But in your format, you probably couldn't do a lot better, so I'd be OK with it.
NOLASCO>>Sit or Start today?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I'd start but if memory serves, that's a "Streak for the Cash" game pick and I had such a hard time selecting it because I see that as a potentially low-scoring pitchers' duel. I like Paul Maholm at home every bit as much, and I'd probably lean more towards him than Nolasco!
Testing Tristan (Professor MLB)
Howie Kendrick or Aaron Hill? Defend your selection, please.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
If we dismiss Hill's 2008, as I explained earlier, then he's a 150-plus-game, .290-hitting, 20-homer guy who can exceed those numbers. If we dismiss Howie Kendrick's ... no, wait, we can't really dismiss any of Kendrick's injury issues. The guy has yet to play 100 games in a big-league season! And even when healthy, he hasn't matched Hill's power potential.
Russ Ohlendorff (Pitt)
What do you think of me now Yankee fan!!??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I think you've made three decent starts. Kudos to you! But you weren't going to make it in New York, being a fourth/fifth starter type in the long haul. It's just an unfortunate reality, the expectations were just higher from those spots in New York. And I'm not convinced you keep this up.
I know you're a yankess fan, so you're Joba to the pen desire comes from a fan perspective and not a fantasy perspective. That being said, who do you like more; Matthew Berry's man crush Shin Soo Choo or penial code favoreite Elijah Dukes?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Bingo, Jody! If I'm looking at Joba from a fantasy perspective alone, I am thrilled to death he is a starting pitcher. Great upside in the role for our purposes. And I side with Matthew on the outfielders. Choo is very underrated, and I don't attribute his home runs this past weekend to the ballpark. I was at the 22-4 game and that one he smoked was opposite-field, and an impressive stroke.
Help, Tristan! I'm about to die and the only cure is you answering my question! Drop Orlando Cabrera for Elvis Andrus?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Dude, call your daughter. Seriously. I'm not even a Kim Bauer fan -- Elisha's fine but the character annoys me historically -- but c'mon. (And no, this has not spoiled anyone. It's all stuff you've seen in weeks past.) Unless I was in dire need of steals, no, I wouldn't make that swap. Needs decision though, bottom line.
Who turns it around sooner, Jimmy Rollins or Matt Holliday?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Rollins. And you want to know why? He's the one who doesn't have a league change and a new set of pitchers to learn. Look at Miguel Cabrera in 2008. It took him time to adapt to the American League, too. I'm not shocked by this, and I remain faithful that Holliday will earn back his draft price.
Hi Tristan... Besides Marmol, who in your opinion are the most reliable Holds producers out there?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
I have said in past chats I'm not a big fan of the holds category by nature of its definition, but I'll advise you this: I like what Brian Bruney is doing, I like what Jose Arredondo is doing and I like what Juan Cruz is doing. And I hope that helps those of you trying to dig a little deeper than Mr. Marmol for help padding those stats.
Brad Bergesen (Balt., MD)
My start last night: Lucky day or a sign of things to come?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I'll be totally frank with you. I haven't closely examined Bergesen in the past, nor did I entering that start. But I do know a little about him: Good minor league numbers, the team is impressed by his potential, but I see him as a put-the-ball-in-play type and that terrifies me for a pitcher calling Camden Yards and the AL East his home. I don't think you dismiss the guy, maybe he's got matchups value in AL-only leagues, but I'd be careful expecting much more. Strikes me as a third- or fourth-starter type long term.
jose valverde (houston)
worried about me getting hit in the leg? do i miss significant time?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
I'm a little troubled by Valverde's injury issues thus far, but I haven't heard much to suggest he's DL-bound. Besides, he's going to keep getting chances to close so long as he's healthy. Who else is there, really, LaTroy Hawkins? Sure, Hawkins is the guy to go get if Valverde has any setbacks, but no, my answer is I'm not that worried.
JOE PGH PLEASE!!!!!!!!!
start baker today? he is good in day games and did well vs the sox. Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Nah. I just don't think Scott Baker is quite himself yet. And if I'm not totally sold I can't use that pitcher in a road game against the Red Sox.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for the day. Thank you for all of your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. So many rolling in these days! Don't forget, we'll be back later in the afternoon, so until then, take care everyone!