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...
Do you have faith in me or am I bound to come down to Earth soon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
See, that's a toughie, because all of those command metrics I spew all over these pages in the preseason are entirely pro-Millwood. It's a scary reality, but knowing his recent track record and the ballpark, I have to take the more cautious approach. I'm declaring Millwood a matchups/hot streaks pitcher, but that's still better than most figured he'd be heading into the season. Nope, no Mike Mussina-2008 out-of-nowhere stat lines here.
Hey THC. I'm considering picking up Brian Tallat of the WW. He's looked pretty good(especially K's) so far this year and has two nice matchups next week. What are your thoughts for the week and year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Tallet has actually been a staple of mine on a very deep sim-league team for the past four years, so I have a decent handle on the guy and from all I've seen I'm more concerned he might lack the stamina to hold up as a durable starter for 20-plus turns than I am that he'll be useful on a start-to-start basis. I do think he warrants a pickup in AL-only formats, and some deep mixed, too. But I'd be declaring him a permanent sell-high candidate, because I just think he was more suited for that relief role in which he was most successful the past couple years. It'd minimize any future health risk, for one thing.
Fantasy Forecaster question...What happened to the cutoff for two-start pitchers where you would start going with one start options?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
PJ, you know, I hadn't even considered that when I was working on the 2009 upgrades. If that's a feature that people would like, by all means, please do speak up, between here or my mailbox. I'm all about the feedback, what the readers would like, when it comes to the Forecaster. But when putting that together, I suppose I figured that different leagues required different cut-off points, and the "no thank yous" was an adequate enough one in a typical league.
The Jays are going to tear Zack Greinke apart tonight. Just thought you might want to know this.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
I can't help but laugh.
What's the deal with the Nats closer situation? Hanrahan's out. Are we really stuck with a Wells/Tavarez CBC? Is Garrett Mock worth a look?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Yes, it's a scary "CBC" (closer-by-committee), but that's the unfortunate reality. I have a deep league in which I added both of those guys and Joe Beimel (immediately placed on an open DL spot I had). Beimel is the guy I'd trust most, but he won't be back for another week. As for Mock, from all I've heard, he has been demoted in the pecking order. Maybe with a hot streak he'd become a candidate, but he's no closer to the role than Joel Hanrahan right now.
Start Garza against Boston tomorrow?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
It's a home game, so yes. I'm not sitting any of the "big three" Rays starters at Tropicana Field. Don't care who the opponent is.
Adam LaRoche (Pittsburgh)
I believe by season's end that I'll be a top 10 first baseman. Okay, towards the end of the top 10. But still. You agree?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I'm not about to call that a crazy statement, considering LaRoche is off to the hottest start in his entire career and he has always improved his performance the deeper he has gotten into a season. But then I was pretty pro-LaRoche in the preseason. I think I have him on three teams, and I picked him assuming a batting average between .270 and .280 and 25-plus homers. And I'm more optimistic about him today.
should i drop joba for hueghs and why?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
No way, but that's more because Joba Chamberlain in no way is exiting that rotation when Chien-Ming Wang returns to action unless Phil Hughes is as dominant in his next two turns as he was last night. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I'm not adjusting my team based upon that possibility ... yet. (And I know what I wrote in today's "Out of the Box," but today, Wednesday, it's more an angle of my proposal to better that team than that I believe it's destined to happen.)
Tristan, thanks for being the go-to guy for DEEEP league advice. Do you like Martis or Blanton more going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
We've got quite a few people willing to go deeeeep for fantasy owners -- all you need do is ask! I like Joe Blanton more. Generally speaking the deeper I go, the more I want a guy on a winning team. Blanton's downside is simply put lesser than Shairon Martis'.
Shane (Edison, NJ)
12 team mixed. Edwin Jackson. Go!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Very streaky, and that kind of guy terrifies me in that format. I play in a lot of those leagues and my immediate reaction is: Great talent, and I have no idea when to comfortably advise you to start him. It's not a ringing endorsement.
what are your thoughts on Felipe Paulino?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Well, I know he was considered a pretty decent prospect when he was rising the minor league ranks, but he has had some significant health issues since then. Usually with pitchers like that I'm OK with them on a short-term basis, but it takes a lot of them proving themselves to me before I'm ready to put in any hefty, long-term investment. Think NL-only and matchups appeal right now, but that's better than nada. And better than Russ Ortiz's fantasy appeal, for sure.
Mitch Kramer (the Moontower)
TC, time to buy low on Peavy or is he seriously in trouble? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
I'm not. I sold Jake Peavy for Nick Markakis two weeks ago and don't plan to look back. I don't want to tell you I think Peavy will be an out-of-the-top-100 pitcher, not by any means, but he's a top-10 valued pitcher right now and I think if you could get that kind of value, or even close to it, you should do it. That's not a buy-low candidate to me.
So what does the ESPN braintrust think of Liriano last night? His numbers were better, but did you see better pitch selection? Back on the road to success or a blip on a downward spiral?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Check out my "Out of the Box," which has some good data on Mr. Liriano. His fastball percentage actually increased with last night's start. He's not the same pitcher he was before Tommy John surgery, just not, right now. Not saying he can't get closer to it, but today, he is not what he was in that great breakout year.
True or False: Wandy Rodriguez should be owned in ALL leagues? Drop Derrek Lee for him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Ta-RUUUUUUUUUE! (I don't think I could rave more about Wandy than I have for the past three months.) Doubt I'd drop D-Lee for him, much as I'm not at all a D-Lee guy, but if Wandy's out there, you need a more competitive league, my friend.
Eric Karabell (Philly)
Hello colleague, What do you think about my Phillies and Brett Myers as a spot start against the Nats today?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Impostor! Eric would never call me "colleague," he'd probably call me "Hey, guy who just ate my sandwich." But I'll play along, "Eric," I do like your boys and Mr. Myers. Myers dominated the Nats in 2008, and that overall was not a good year by his standards, remember.
Mike (New York)
When will Texas going to let Derek Holland become a starter?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Maybe by the All-Star break. It's not like it's a bad way for the team to break him in, with a little relief action first. They're "Roy Oswalt-ing" him -- go back and look how Oswalt's career started -- and that's absolutely the kind of career Holland might have in the best-case scenario.
Need major help. Deep, deep, deep, deep 20 team keeper. Which prospect do you like more both for this year and beyond? Carp, Blanks, or Ka'aihue? Please help!!!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I actually think Carp has a better chance at helping this year, because there's just no way Kyle Blanks is bumping a healthy Adrian Gonzalez. I do like Blanks' potential in the long haul worlds better than the other two.
Lonestar (Planet Spaceball)
When will then be now for Weiters?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
Brad (NJ) [via mobile]
Tristan, should I get rid of David Wright for Grady and Qualls,,,, I could really use another closer
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
I don't see that being a bad trade for you. There's a lot of chatter about how CitiField is going to limit Mets hitters' home-run potential, and Grady Sizemore is a first-round talent just like David Wright is. And I'm a Chad Qualls fan. Underrated closer.
Two questions - Does that mean Derek Holland will get 10 RP appearances? Is Mark Melancon going to see some hold opportunities in the near future?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
I'd say there's a decent chance Holland gets to that point. But I picked the question because of the Melancon part. Underrated prospect, and while I'm not the kind of guy who trusts minor league relief prospects -- their track record as a whole is spotty -- I do think he deserves a long look in that bullpen. It's wide open for holds, and with a few red-hot outings I absolutely could see him as a holds sleeper. Might take a couple weeks, though, and there's no guarantee his minor league success converts to major league domination. Toss him on a watch list.
Dexter Fowler - what kind of line do you see him putting up in a few years, particularly in the HR dept? Trying to guage his value in a keeper league - thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
What if he's the Jacoby Ellsbury of the National League? Maybe a few more homers and a few less steals than that, but I could see his long-term value falling somewhere in the ballpark of that.
Dan (Bridgewater, NJ)
Is this something we'll see lots from Maholm? Little K's and lots of balls in play?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Yes, and lots of trouble against very right-handed lineups. He's lights-out against lefties, and only above-average against righties. So that's a streaky type subject to the performance of his defense. It's not intended as a severe knock on the guy, but no, he's not this year's Cliff Lee. He's just a matchups, NL-only type.
Hey Tristan, I'll try a more general question: When should we adjust our yearly projections? If we are considering a player who typically is a slow starter who is off to a hot start should we increase his projected totals? (Take Cano for instance)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
I tend to find that the second three weeks of the season -- in other words, Weeks 4, 5 and 6, which follow the "first three weeks" of Weeks 1, 2 and 3 -- are the ones more representative of a player's true full-year value. So what you're seeing this, next and the week after should serve to help you adjust those projections. I'd be bumping Cano up a tad, though, yes.
Mike Jacobs > Derrek Lee?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Not necessarily, but if it happens I won't be in the least bit surprised. In other words I'm saying you're talking a negligible difference. And I'll take a moment to allow you Derrek Lee fans to now cringe.
Glenn Stroudsburg, Pa
hey tristan great chat can use your input. a guy in my league put matt hooliday on the block, is he a buy low and also do you think he gets traded ( to which team if so). thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Thanks Glenn! Yes, I absolutely would call Holliday a buy-low candidate, though he might only improve as one in the coming weeks as he continues to adjust to the new set of pitchers in the American League. (Miguel Cabrera's 2008 -- great comparison for that.) As for a trade, I guess it could happen, but I'm not convinced anyone is going to run away with that division. If Oakland can hang in that race then there's no reason he'll be dealt.
Nolasco- Panic or patience?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
His walk rate is slightly higher than it was last season, which is a little troubling because he has a bit of health risk, but for the most part I'd preach patience. It's the prospects of a DL stint that concern me with Ricky Nolasco, that's it.
TC, I have 4 Yankees hitters (once Arod comes back), I usually hate having so many guys from one team but with the new Yankee stadium looking like Coors East should I hang tight and enjoy the ride or should I diversify via trade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Depends who they are, but if I'm to sell high on Yankees, it's surely going to be a couple weeks after A-Rod's return, when he has helped boost that offense into an even more appealing stratosphere.
Hi TC, safe to drop Hanrahan in a 14 team mixed league? I don't have much in the way of closers (only Marmol) so I'm hesitant to drop him if you think he'll have value later in the season. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
The main reason to keep Joel Hanrahan around is that the alternatives to close in Washington aren't any more promising. I'd base it on how deep my bench was. If it was, say, more than six spots, I'd probably hold onto him. But I'm not optimistic he's going to get straightened out in the near future, no.
James (Victoria BC)
Any word on how Nady is doing?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Last report I had was that he'll test out the elbow in a few weeks, and might be back around the end of May. I wouldn't hold my breath; it's not going to be easy for him to make a remarkable recovery.
Jeff (Wayne, NJ)
I was at Citi Field last night, if the wind blows in every night like last night, right handers will have a hard time hitting it out of left field...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
Thoughts from Jeff. Thoughts from me: Maybe the Mets can borrow some of the wind from the Yankees' ballpark?
Drop Beltre for Russel Branyan or Chase Headley?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Owning Adrian Beltre is a difficult proposition, because he's a historically poor early-season hitter. With guys like that I always stress that you must be patient with them, hard as it may be. And it's why I prefer leagues with deep enough benches that I can roster them, but bench them for a hotter hand until they begin to heat up. If I have that opportunity it's going to be Branyan for now.
Better pickup nyjer morgan, russell branyan, chris young or dexter fowler?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
It's going to be Young or Fowler, and because I like Fowler's ballpark, I'd make it him right now.
Mr. Redlegs (Cincy)
Hey Tristan, can you rank these starters for me, and which would be fair value in return for Shane Victorino: Vazquez, Shields, Bedard, Billingsley, Galarraga. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I'd rank them Chad Billingsley, Erik Bedard, James Shields, Javier Vazquez, Armando Galarraga, and I'd have a hard time suggesting you could get anyone but Galarraga in exchange for Victorino (and I wouldn't deal him straight up for Galarraga). You could try to swap Victorino straight up for Shields or Vazquez, but might need to toss in a little sweetener to the deal.
Brad Penny ( Boston )
Hey tristan! Who is the better pitcher, me or Nick Swisher?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Nick Swisher pitching jokes are soooooo April 19! Seriously, though, Penny has no business in that rotation if he strings together another couple stinkers like his last one. Mark it down: If the Red Sox think he gives them a greater chance to win in their rotation than Justin Masterson once Daisuke Matsuzaka is ready to return, they're fools.
So should I drop Hanrahan outright for Kip Wells?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
No, because we don't know that Wells is "the guy." I'd only be making rash judgments once one of these guys has a save and a strong outing doing it (barring it coming on, say, May 10 after three or four stinkers leading up to it).
Hey Tristain!! BIG Trade question, I was offered Reyes and Billingsly for JHam and Furcal. Am I giving up too much? I do have Adam Jones to replace JHam in the OF.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
"JHam"? Um, OK. I think it's a bit of a stretch as nicknames go. But yes, I'd be all over that deal, unless that's Anthony Reyes.
Dave (Minneapolis, MN)
If Sandoval qualifies at catcher, does he leapfrog Napoli and Iannetta in the rankings?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Yes, especially because he's the safest of the bunch in the batting-average category. And I'm encouraged by his two starts behind the plate, which suggest to me he's going to get in the 10 games he'd need to qualify behind the plate in a lot of leagues.
How about a guy who is available in most leagues but could win owners a title - Andruw Jones. He is hitting well - can he keep it up and garner a starters ABs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
If (cringe) "JHam" (and that's Josh Hamilton, for those of you asking since I posted the other question) goes on the DL as rumored, it'd be a big boost to Andruw Jones' value. Amazing things that ballpark can do for a hitter. I'd be adding him in all AL-only formats and deep mixed, and I'd invest more if (cringe) "JHam" does sit out a few weeks.
HEY TRISTAN!!!!!I have the opportunity to aquire Hamels or Lester for Jermaine Dye. Which pitcher do you think is the best bet? A little worried about Hamels.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I'd be a little worried, too, as that's some painfully bad luck Hamels has had thus far, and the negative impact of it is that it's throwing him off his usual throwing schedule and therefore making it harder for him to get back into his groove. I'd go harder after Jon Lester in that trade, even though I preferred Hamels in the preseason. Things change quick.
IM SICK OF THROWING AT BEER CANS
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
Then throw more strikes and beg your manager to let you ramp up your minor league pitch counts so that you'll be ready for the Rays' rotation in a couple of weeks!
More likely- Hamels wins 10 games, or get struck by lightning?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Well, he is 6-foot-3, and skinny, kind of lightning-rod-esque ... and though I just "trashed" Hamels in the previous question, it's not that I hate him, just that he's been frustrating to own because of how much his incredible misfortune has sidetracked his season. I do think he's a buy-low, I just wouldn't be paying preseason prices on him. Pay more like top-20/25 potential starter, instead of top-10.
Buchholz worth stashing in a 12 team league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
Sure, especially because John Smoltz isn't ready to join the Boston rotation, Brad Penny stinks and despite my previous comment that Justin Masterson deserves to be in the rotation over Penny, I'm not convinced the Red Sox agree with me. For the record, I have no problem with them trying Clay Buchholz over Penny, either. I just don't think Penny belongs in there over a Masterson or Buchholz. Big Buchholz fan right here. Still a later-in-the-year sleeper.
Is Danks still a 2 start pitcher this week??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
I don't have any official word on that Phil, unfortunately, but I can say that the reason that Bartolo Colon hopped "ahead" of John Danks in the rotation for Tuesday's doubleheader is that Ozzie Guillen felt the shadows evident in the twilight would benefit Colon more than Danks. I don't take that as a great endorsement that Colon needs to start more and sooner in the rotation than Danks, so I'd still anticipate Danks is on track for Sunday.
What's for lunch? And quick: take a chance on Hughes and drop Weaver in a 10 team mixed non-keeper?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
Got a hankering for a roast beef sub, after having my fill of burgers, pizza and chicken parm earlier in the week. Gotta stay on rotation! And I wouldn't drop Jered Weaver for Phil Hughes, no, not with Hughes' rotation spot not totally guaranteed yet and Weaver pitching reasonably well.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
OK folks, time to wrap this up. Actually lost track of the time until someone mentioned the lunch question! Hey, we had fun, and you know what they say about how time flies. Take care everyone, and thanks for all your questions!
SportsNation on Facebook
THIS WEEK'S CHATS
- 12:00 PMNCAA FB with Jake Trotter
- 1:00 PMCubs with Jesse Rogers
- 1:00 PMNCAA FB with Schlabach
- 1:00 PMNHL with Craig Custance
- 1:30 PMPTI co-host Michael Wilbon
- 1:30 PMESPNChicago Bears Chat
- 2:00 PMBoxing with Brian Campbell
- 3:00 PMFantasy's Stephania Bell
- 3:00 PMNBA with Michael Wallace
- 3:00 PMNHL with Barry Melrose
- 11:00 AMFantasy's Eric Karabell
- 12:00 PMNFL with Matt Williamson
- 12:00 PMNCAA FB with Ivan Maisel
- 1:00 PMMMA with Brett Okamoto
- 1:00 PMNBA Insider Chad Ford
- 1:00 PMCowboys with Taylor
- 2:00 PMRavens with Hensley
- 2:00 PMNCAA FB with Kevin Gemmell
- 3:00 PMFantasy's Chris Harris
- 3:00 PMNHL with Katie Strang
- 4:00 PMNFL columnist Ashley Fox
- 4:00 PMNCAA FB with Chatmon
- 5:00 PMWeAreSC's Garry Paskwietz
- 11:00 AMFantasy Sports' AJ Mass
- 11:00 AMPatriots with Mike Reiss
- 12:00 PMNCAA FB with Rittenberg
- 12:00 PM'Hawks with Scott Powers
- 1:00 PMNCAA FB with Chris Low
- 1:00 PMNHL with Scott Burnside
- 1:30 PMNFL Insider Mike Sando
- 2:00 PM49ers with Bill Williamson
- 2:00 PMFootball guru Mel Kiper
- 3:00 PMNCAA FB with Ted Miller
- 3:00 PMNBA Insider Amin Elhassan
- 4:00 PMKC Joyner on Fantasy NFL
- 4:00 PMNCAA FB with Matt Fortuna
- 4:00 PMTitans with Paul Kuharsky