Fantasy Baseball w/Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Would you trade Greinke for Gallardo considering Greinke has nowhere to go but down and Gallardo has been pretty dominating at times but has had a couple bad starts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Nope, not a chance. It's as simple as this: Similar talents, future Cy Young candidates, but Yovani Gallardo is the one with more health questions from the past year-plus. It's as simple as that ... though for the record, I ranked Greinke higher in the preseason and obviously I'm going to stand behind that now.
If I were to be traded (selling high) what kind of players should I be fetching as the return?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Let's get the Greinke questions out of the way and allow me to reiterate, I would not deal him. I'm a believer. I recently traded Jake Peavy for Nick Markakis in an important keeper league of mine; I'd say Markakis is the absolute least hitter I would accept in exchange for Greinke, too. And I'd push for more.
kevin: san jose and ca
shud i start manny parra this week against the reds?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
I wouldn't. He has a 7.25 career ERA against Cincinnati, so obviously the Reds handle him well.
Kimberly (Raleigh, NC)
Hi Tristan, are you worried about CC Sabathia? I had him last year too...do you expect the same type of season (bad April, awesome May, June, July, etc)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Couple things about Sabathia ... one, he's generally a better second- than first-half pitcher, with an ERA more than a half-run lower after the All-Star break than before it for his career. Also, his March/April ERA is 4.54. That's significantly higher than his number in any other month but July (4.61), and be aware that his August and September numbers are stellar. The one worry I have: He has thrown 52 more pitches in his first six starts of 2009 than he did in his first six of 2008, and unlike last year, when he breezed past a pitch count of 110 once during that span, he has done it three times already this year. I don't think Joe Girardi is especially great at managing his workload, so that's the only worry I'd have, that he might be more susceptible to wearing out or breaking down than he was a year ago. Risk/reward, ya know?
Zack (Arlington, Texas)
Any reason I should still have Joel Hanrahan on my roster?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Nah. I cut him in most of my leagues, but in deep NL-only with enough bench spots, sure, keep him around. I'd say most owners can't afford it, and that's even with the Nats lacking a clear long-term replacement at closer.
When you have a team that you can reasonably sense doesn't have what it takes to win a championship - do you blow it up and do your best to acquire a top player, or do you hold pat against waiver wire pickups?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
I don't think there's a hard-and-fast answer to that, Todd. What I can tell those owners who feel like you do is that trust your instincts, but understand that accepting your team isn't championship-caliber just means you have more work to do than the average owner. That's the main way I look at it. It's not just draft day, not just trades, not just waiver-wire pickups, that win you a title. But one thing I'd caution: Don't "blow it up." That's usually a losing strategy, unless you were just asleep at the draft table this year.
Brett Cecil. Thoughts? Do you think he's earned the chance at another start this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Sure he has. In fact, I don't see why the Jays wouldn't keep him in there for as long as he keeps it up. Now, I'll say this: I think Cecil's MLB debut was the high end of his per-start expectation. His command was superb, and he struck out hitters at a rate similar to his minor league rates. I think he's in for a rocky ride this rookie season, but sure, add him in AL-only and deep mixed. But I admit I'm not sold, because again, "rocky ride."
If you can get someone like Lincecum for Greinke...do you do it?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Yes. But I'm a Tim Lincecum fan, big-time, at least for this year. (And might be longer, it just depends on how Bochy manages his workload this season.)
Alberto Callaspo (KC)
You know you got a man crush on me right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I do? I don't seem to remember that. Acceptable AL-only player, but "man crush"? Um, nah.
Jake (Stevens Point, WI)
Cecil or Romero?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I actually think Ricky Romero stands the better chance at the successful rookie season. And that's a total gut instinct, and from the limited bits I've seen of Romero so far.
clint(st. paul, mn)
when does carrasco get called up and what kind of impact do u think he'll have? who is the next big hitter to come up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
I'm as much of a believer that Carlos Carrasco will make his big-league debut this year as anyone, but I have to believe the Phillies want him to get in a good 10 starts in Triple-A before he's a serious consideration. So, June. As for "next big hitter," hmmm. Could very well be Mat Gamel, if Bill Hall's injury issues are long-term!
Why am I only owned in 29% of leagues?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Because like in each of the past two seasons, you're on pace for a ho-hum 14 homers and seven steals, and I just fell asleep typing that. OK, now to be fair, I actually do like Escobar and think he should be owned in more leagues like that. He's a guy I'd love to have as my middle infielder. I just don't see superstar-caliber upside, that's all. He's a can't-hurt-you type I'm happy to slot in week after week.
Should I try to move James Shields? His K-rate has been going down, and his primary value used to come from the fact that 1) His WHIP was very low and 2) He'd accumulate wins on a good Rays squad.. Many consider him to be a top-10 pitcher, however, even the "60ft-6"" guys...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I'm curious what about Shields' stat line is bothering you? He's not all that far off his 2008 pace, you know. And by the way, he's lights-out in his home games and only two of his four starts thus far have come at home. I'd keep the faith. For the record, he was just outside my top 10. I'm still happy to slot him there, in that 10-15 range.
Jason (Parker, CO)
What is your take on Matt Capps? Is "minor elbow discomfort" concerning to you? Should I swap him for Fuentes, Mike Gonzalez, Rodney, or Lindstrom? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Sure, especially for a guy who had racked up 161 games and 159 2/3 innings combined from 2006-07. Maybe that hefty workload is coming back to haunt him? Considering how hard he has been hit thus far, yes, I'm a bit worried about Capps, and adding John Grabow in most of my deeper leagues. In your case I'd swap him out for Brian Fuentes, but I had Fuentes ranked higher in the first place anyway.
Dave (Long Island)
Justin Smoak's ETA is....
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
September. If it's this year. Very good chance his MLB debut comes on Opening Day 2010.
Billy Mays (Infomercial, USA)
WHEN IS IT TIME TO STASH TOMMY HANSEN? SORRY FOR THE CAPS, I JUST CAN'T SEEM TO EVER STOP YELLING!!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
You scare me, Billy. And I'd be stashing Hanson right now, if I had the bench room to afford the luxury.
Matt Garza (Tampa Bay)
What is my value right now? Am I a top 20 pitcher the rest of the way? Top 15?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I'm still a Garza fan, and believed he could be top-25 for the entire season. I still think he can, and if you look at his game logs, he has faced a positively vicious schedule. But the one thing that worries me about Garza, and has me tempted to start selling him high, is that his BABIP is .186, and it's beneath the league average (and noticeably so) if you break it down by batted-ball types. It makes me wonder whether he's a bit of a mirage, though getting out of the division portion of his schedule might help keep him this productive.
THC, what are Lind's final stats for this year, keeper worthy? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I think Adam Lind is absolutely legit, but I've been a fan of his for some time now. Has the skills to bat .300-plus, and I see a 25-homer season coming. I know his BABIP is a tad high, but I break it down further and don't see a lot that makes me think he'll go into the tank. And yes, keeper-worthy, so long as you're a deep league, say 100 players kept or more.
clay buccholz.... when does he get a shot? more no hitters to come? and who replaces perez in the met rotation, anyone worth interest??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
I think the Red Sox A) need to sour on Brad Penny and B) have to determine that John Smoltz won't be healthy enough to help them before there's a serious buzz surrounding Buchholz. He should get a shot right around now. But I have this sneaking suspicion that, barring a desperate spot for the team, it might be July before we see him. As for Oliver Perez, Ken Takahaski will take his rotation spot for now, and no, I'm not all that intrigued.
Do you like Matt Palmer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
He sure looked good on Saturday, though no, I'm not a believer. Did you that through five big-league starts, he has 18 walks compared to six strikeouts? That's not the kind of command that is going to play well in the long haul. He's 30; I don't see much more than swingman upside, if he's even that much.
Miller (Charlotte, NC)
Any chance Happ gets moved into the rotation anytime soon? Worth a speculative add?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
I think he's getting the next chance before Carlos Carrasco, once the Phillies realize that Chan Ho Park is more suited to middle-relief work. So NL-only owners with deep benches, sure, I'd take a shot.
Either/Or name game: Either stick with a platooning John Baker or make the switch to Ianetta?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
That's as cut-and-dry as this: Baker is an awesome spot-start, daily-league catcher. Love guys like that in the format, when I can pick and choose his individual games. For the overall value, it's Chris Iannetta, not a doubt in my mind.
Chris Watertown, CT
Does David Price's AAA stats concern you or is he just bored?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
All that bothers me about David Price's Triple-A numbers are his pitch counts, which seem consistently in the 75 range. I don't think his stats have anything to do with his prospects of a promotion. It's all arbitration/contract/future-free-agency related, and it means he's down until June, easily.
Is Howie Kendrick the Yunel Escobar of the American League? Won't hurt you (unless he gets hurt) but nothing to get excitged about?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
I get what you're trying to say, Ben, but they're really not the same kind of player. The reason Kendrick doesn't overwhelm you with his numbers is that he's hurt too often to boost his counting numbers. On a per-game basis I prefer him, but he's clearly riskier over the long haul.
Daniel (New York)
Do you care about Brett Favre? Because I sure don't.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Hear hear. Sick of his nonsense.
Tony Almeida (DC)
Am I gonna get what's coming to me next week? Also, do you think now would be a good time to pick up E. Santana for next week's callup? What's your RealTime status update on him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
Not spoiling anyone with that when I say that I'm not at all a believer Almeida's going to "get what's coming to him." A hunch, nothing more. I think he escapes. As for Ervin, big fan before the injury, and I think he absolutely should be stashed in any format (except those with no DL spots and extremely limited benches). Seems to me that Ervin might make only one more rehab start before being activated, but I will say this: There isn't a chance I'm activating him until I see a solid major-league start from him to prove his health. I think it'll be June 1 before he's ready to make an impact ... and even after that he'll be at risk for setbacks. Very risk/reward.
Is it worth it to still own George Sherrill?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Yes, but I'd have him benched. I don't think he has been entirely ruled out of the closer mix in Baltimore, but I'll say that Chris Ray must be added in anything but the most shallow leagues, and I think even Jim Johnson warrants an add in AL-only.
What do you recommend doing about Brett Myers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I don't think you have much of a choice but to be patient with him, because the way he has looked, you're not going to get close to market value for him. Maybe he's just a second-half type, as he showed last year. Best I can advise you, unfortunately, but I admit I'm worried enough that I wouldn't be starting him right now.
Errict (Tampa, FL)
What do you make of Mad Max's start last night? When can I trust him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
I like this stat: Of any pitcher with a 3.50 ERA or less, Max Scherzer has the most starts without a win to begin his big-league career, 12. He has been that unlucky in the category, and it goes back to why I hate wins as a fantasy category, especially in the 21st-century game. But to knock on Scherzer a little, I don't think he's efficient enough with his pitches, durable enough to last deep into games to put himself in position to win. Good talent, but I think a tad overrated compared to the expectations.
Your partner in crime, Mr. Mass, said yesterday that Ibanez wasn't necessarily a "sell high" as he'll come close to keep up his torrid pace. You agree?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Sure. Now, I'll tell you this: There's no way Raul Ibanez is hitting 54 homers with 142 RBIs, as is his current pace, period. Not a chance. But Ibanez is that guy who no one seems to ever trust, yet come year's end he's that consistent, safe, .290-25-100 hitter. And now he's in Philly's bandbox, instead of spacious Safeco. A .300-30-100 campaign is not at all out of the question.
Padilla looked pretty good last night. Believer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Nope. I said in today's "Out of the Box" that he's a product of his schedule.
Are you more confident in Hughes or Hanson than your less than ringing endorsed Mad Max?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Let's say that for 2009 impact, I'd say Tommy Hanson and Max Scherzer are right in the same ballpark, though Hanson has a higher ceiling of the two (but might take a few more weeks to make his debut).
Hot CDC Dr helping Jack (Washington, D.C.)
I have to admit - i have a crush on Jack Bauer - because of that, i have found a cure...Now, if i could only find a cure for Chris Young's inability to find a hit - any chance he can steal 1st base?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
You know, what bothers me about that character is that if memory serves, that's Sunny Macer, who Jack should really remember from Season 3. I know I remembered her, yet it seems like the script writers have made no link this year that that's the same character. Just odd. Anyway, I said the other day Young is this kind of guy, very streaky. As poorly as he has played on the road, you can't use him in road games in any format whatsoever right now. But I still have a feeling he'll improve, though not to top-50 overall status.
Is the headache that is Milton Bradley worth holding on to in order to reap the benefits of his hot streaks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
I'm a very big Milton Bradley fan, as most people know, and even I have serious doubts about him as terrible (and nicked up) as he has looked to date. Seems like that's a guy I'm going to be completely wrong about, and that the masses are going to be dead on about. That said, I think if you own him, you really have no choice but to stick by him, unless you see something on waivers that's valuable enough to swap in for him (and in most of my leagues, ha, yeah right, they're too deep for that).
Ricky Nolasco (Miami)
Tristan, what am I doing wrong and when will I start pitching like I did in 2008?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I like what BP wrote about Nolasco this week, I've examined him closer myself and call him a huge buy-low candidate and I've even made two trade offers for him in leagues of mine (and sadly was shot down in both). I think it's foolish to give up on Nolasco.
Justin (Queens, NY)
MASTERSON V. CLEVELAND. yay or nay?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Home game. So yay.
I know he's terrific, but Longoria IS sporting a ridiculous BABIP of .481. Does this make him a sell high candidate?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
No. It just means he's not going to finish with his currently projected full-year stat line of .365-49-209. More likely, it's more like .290-35-120. With potential for .300-40-130.
Nick (Princeton, NJ)
Tristan, please offer me some advice before you go to lunch. Would you deal Mauer/Abreu/Lowe for CC/Quentin if you need power and have Sandoval (catcher eligible) on the bench?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Yes, and much of the reason for that is that I see there being higher ceilings in the two guys you're getting than the three you are giving up. You can afford to replace Joe Mauer adequately, Carlos Quentin, much as I'm not a huge fan of his, has more potential than Bobby Abreu and CC Sabathia is clearly a higher-upside guy than Derek Lowe. I'd make the deal.
Shane (Lewiston, ID)
what are your thoughts on Uggla? Is he just in a slump and I need to be patient or is there casue to be worried?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I think they should nickname Dan Uggla "Mr. Slump," because he has done things like this his entire career. So no, I'm not that worried, no more than I'd typically be about him. Owning Uggla means putting up with this, unfortunately. It's why he's not ranked atop the second base list, but rather is further down the top 10.
What are your thoughts on Ryan Theriot?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Totally lucky. He has a 12.0 home run/fly ball percentage, high for a hitter like him, and his BABIP is .354, 34 points higher than his career number. Theriot's best asset is his on-base ability, and what it means for his steals chances and runs-scored potential. That's good for fantasy, but it doesn't back up him maintaining this pace.
Do you start pitchers immediately off the DL? I usually don't, but someone like Lackey is an immediate must-start?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
It depends who the pitcher is, what the injury was, how much time he missed and how he looked during his rehab stints and what the team has said about him during that rehab. It's a lot of factors, and generally, I advise caution for the first start fresh off the DL, especially since almost all of my leagues don't force you to activate the guy until the Monday following his return. Though for the record, last year I said sit John Lackey for his first start off the DL and I was dead wrong. It's up to you how much risk you are willing to accept; I wasn't willing then nor am I likely to accept it now. (For a good example of the other extreme, look at Scott Baker's first start of this year. Yuck.)
THC! What's for lunch? Would you use JGuillen for Holiday, until Matt figures out AL pitching? Good day for a BLT w/roasted red peppers/onions. thx for thoughts!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
Chicken and sausage calzone. Mmmm. Can't wait. And no, I'd stick with Matt Holliday. Homered yesterday and has three in his past six games; maybe that's the start of an extended hot streak! Your buy-low window is just about closed.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
And with that, time to go grab that lunch. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours today. We'll be back in the afternoon to chat with you again, and until then, take care!