Chat with Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your fantasy baseball questions. I'm sure our midseason rankings will be a big discussion topic -- one thing I can say, don't forget if you're just wondering about my thoughts on "Player A vs. Player B," check there first. Looking to tackle more broad questions, specific things, today! Let's get started...
Who are your top 3 buy low candidates for the second half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
The first name that comes to mind is Stephen Drew. Second is Jose Lopez. I keep talking about them, and hopefully it inspires them to great second halves like they had in 2008. And a third? Hmmm. I don't think enough people are buying into Ryan Ludwick's recent turnaround. If his second half is at the pace of his full 2008, I won't be at all surprised.
rollins for sandoval - fair trade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Fair, yes, and though that's something you could just see in my personal rankings, I don't think it's crazy to want Pablo Sandoval depending on your team's needs, both categorical and positional. Hence my tackling the question!
Jon (Over Here)
Say the Red Sox find a way to keep Buccholz in the rotation for a while, what's his value compared to Porcello or Romero?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
I like Ricky Romero quite a bit. His command has been extraordinary all year, and while I do think he'll have a few blips on the radar screen, he'd be the one I trust most. I've got workload concerns with Rick Porcello -- look at how the Tigers just bumped his rotation turns back recently. I'd probably put Clay Buchholz in between the two if I knew he was up for good. But I don't believe he is; I think this is a one-shot deal.
Joe (Milwaukee, WI)
Pineiro or Lohse for my last SP spot for the rest of the year? Do you trust Lohse to stay healthy or hope that Piniero pitching to contact works?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
I liked Joel Pineiro as a deep sleeper in the preseason, and I'm sticking by it. Contract-year player, good coaching helping keep him consistent, favorable home ballpark. The only complaint people are dead on about with him is that he doesn't get strikeouts. So what? He's been pretty darned productive all year, and I trust him both from a consistency and health perspective more.
I have Joba on my bench. Should I drop him or is there any upside to him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
I'm as worried about Joba Chamberlain as anyone, but a guy with his talent really doesn't belong on the free-agent list. Such a move might not be far off if he continues to struggle -- think two more awful starts this month -- but I'd be patient for now. (Note: I'd be patient with him on my bench.)
You Buying Juan Rivera?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Well, if anything's going to stop him from a great second half, it's going to be an injury. That's traditionally the best way to snap a hot streak from Juan Rivera. Other than that? I'm optimistic. Should be a must-start until the day he's hurt, and at this point I can't tell you I think a long-term injury is a high probability.
Ervin Santana not in the top 250 at all....is it finally time to cut bait with him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
Yup. I like Santana a lot from a raw talent perspective, but the health concerns make him a high-risk proposition the remainder of the year. I'll pick and choose some of the matchups -- I'm tempted to use him tomorrow -- but overall he's one of those "streamer" types, that's it.
Doug (New York, Neeeeew York)
Hey TC- Clayton Kershaw has (surprisingly) had a relatively low key, but extremely productive month in which he's got his ERA down in the low 3's. Do you think he keeps it up and vaults into 'elite' status by the end of the season? Or is this just a tease?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
I like what I've seen from Kershaw thus far, and he's at about the right experience point in his career for a breakthrough. If you've been watching his past couple of starts you see the breakout potential people talked about in the past with him. I'd be a buyer.
Sell high on Blackburn or is he real deal??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
I know people don't like to hear us say this, but "everyone has a price" is the proper immediate response to that question. If you're asking whether Nick Blackburn is probably at his high value point for the year and that he might fetch more than he should on the trade market, then yes, I'd agree with that. But if what you're asking is really, "Do I think Blackburn tanks in the second half?" Then, no, not really. I still see him being a start-at-home, pick-and-choose-on-the-road guy, and that has a pretty decent amount of value.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
Are you still upset over my comments last week? Any who....do you expect Ibanez to return to magic and trading Hamels for him is a no brainer, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Jason, to be honest, I don't remember which ones you mean! No question upsets me; the debates we all have here are a heck of a lot of fun. And everyone has his own opinion; I strongly endorse you having your own and sticking by it. Remember, it's your team! My opinion: Yes, I do think Raul Ibanez comes back as his usual self. It wasn't all that troublesome an injury, and I'd be amazed if he couldn't bat at least .290 with 15 homers looking forward. Seems fair to me. No-brainer? Probably not, but certainly fair.
Luke Scott (Baltimore)
Why no love for me?? I'm on a pace to smash over 30HRs!!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I've been on Scott's bandwagon for years, saying the only thing I didn't like about him was that he couldn't hit lefties. Well, this year, he has eight homers and a 1.110 OPS against that side, so it's entirely silly if the Orioles ever look at him again as a platoon type. I guess you can read between the lines that I love the guy.
can you believe how hot garret jones has been since he came up? (h hr, 7 rbis, 3 sb, .310 avg in 42 abs) does he have any chance of keeping this up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Nope. But understand that at his current pace, Jones would have MVP-caliber numbers if you scaled them to 150-plus games. Who honestly believes he can keep that up? Pitchers will adjust to him and cool him off, but the guy can hit. He did it in the minors and I'd say NL-only owners would be foolish to ignore him. Definitely a hot-streak guy in most formats right now, who can probably stay NL-only worthy for much of the second half.
Jimmy (Baltimore, MD)
Realistically, what's the difference between Scott and Dye other than history? They shouldn't be ranked so far apart.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I ranked them about what, 30 spots apart? And 30 spots when you get into the Nos. 100-125 range can often mean something as minimal as three home runs.
Joe (New Jersey)
With a big lead in K's, is it time to start trading pitching for some better offensive pieces?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Anyone who hoards a category and finishes first in it by a substantial margin is a fool, and wasting valuable resources that could be used to populate the other categories to help you win. The only exceptions are if it's a keeper league and you need the players for next year, or if you're just so far ahead across the board that a trade would be irrelevant. And those instances are just so rare.
Chuck (Wilmington, DE)
Hey, We're in Delaware!I trade Teixeira and Granderson for Braun and Konerko a fair deal?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
You should've called yourself "Wayne" or "Garth." And while that's fair, I lean more towards the former side. Mark Teixeira is a monster second-half player, and the Tigers are not going away. Can't say I'm quite so optimistic Paul Konerko keeps this up.
I made a stupid trade by trading Ryan Ludwick away for Stephen Drew a couple of weeks ago, and now I want to drop him but feel like I can't out of principle. What should I do?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
I don't think that was a "stupid trade," but I'd never stand by something "out of principle." If Drew somehow stopped producing, or worse, got hurt, why would you stand behind that out of principle? It'd be foolish. It's the same kind of thinking that has people offering trades going off draft-day values or rankings on May 15. By then the preseason ranks are entirely irrelevant. That said, I think you'll be a-OK with Drew.
Thoughts on Dallas Braden? He's continually left off of 60'6" and other rankings yet he seems more consistent than many on them.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
A reader e-mailed me a question recently about pitchers' adjustment periods and in a past column, I had noted how a pitcher tends to seem to "figure it out" around the 40th start of his big-league career ... which is around where Braden is. Now, no two pitchers are exactly alike, but I don't think the fact that Braden has been productive enough of late and that he's around that threshold should be ignored. There could be some deep-league sleeper value in him. I don't trust him entirely, but I think he shouldn't be dismissed outright.
Did Brad Hawpe kick your dog or something? Why is he getting no love across the board? Should we be worried?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
Well, he's in my top 100. I think that was pretty fair to him. But I'll admit that my gut instinct is that he's a very good player who just falls short of MVP-caliber status, so I tend to keep him in that range, have historically. Just a little too streaky for my tastes, but remember, I consider top-100 status a very generous rank.
Hey TC, with defensive metrics rapidly advancing in sophistication and acceptance, do you foresee fielding ever becoming a widely used part of the fantasy game?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I play a lot of simulation baseball, Diamond Mind especially, and that very much takes defense into account. Frankly, I see a lot of standard Rotisserie that seems out-of-date, so yes, I would hope that the game advances with the times. But understand these things do take awhile.
Busty Blonde Behind Homeplate (St. Louis)
THC do you think next season you can post the FF before Monday on All-Star week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I'm assuming you mean the Forecaster, in which case, I will take it into advisement and I do appreciate the feedback. A couple things I do want to mention with regard to that: One, pitching rotations are rarely ever settled by the usual Friday publish date, so the column would be useless if the entire grid said "TBD" for starting pitchers. I move that column to where it is so that it's the best planner you can get. Two, I would strongly recommend you prod your league's commish to move any and all lineup deadlines during All-Star break to Wednesdays, at the very earliest. If your league doesn't do it, sorry, but my opinion is you're behind the times.
Whats for lunch? Ever consider wings? What are your thoughts on Alex Gordon for the reast of 2009?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I actually am very much considering wings, though for full disclosure, I've got some of those veggie-substitute wings that are actually pretty darned good. And not quite so bad for you. Dunno, I might call an audible last second. As for Gordon, I was big on him in the preseason and I think I'm going to remain that way, though his injury does have me tempering his expectations a bit. I'd sure grab him if he was available though.
Markakis... what is the deal with this guy.... Should we expect a big 2nd half or a Busted Year????
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
Nick Markakis is another guy who always steps up in the second half. Did you hear me Nick? Don't you let me down now.
Realistically, what kind of impact do you see Pedro Martinez making for the Phillies?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
So-so, or at least a decent share beneath what the overall fantasy baseball population seems to think it'll be. A good buddy Phillies fan of mine would probably very much agree with that assessment. Pedro hasn't pitched much at all not just this year, but the past few, and he was hardly effective in those recent years when he did pitch. And his park is just awful for a pitcher with question marks. I'm not investing much.
Unbiased...I am loading up on Yankees hitters for the second half and foresee record breaking numbers. Am I crazy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Record-breaking? Doubt that's going to happen, but if you've seen my Baseball Challenge lineup, you know I'm pro-Mark Teixeira and pro-Alex Rodriguez. And the ballpark favors hitters.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
If Clay Bucholz throws a gem on Friday, are the Red Sox still going to send him back to Pawtucket?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Impossible to say. It'd have to be a six-man rotation if he did, so it'd still be 50/50. But that's still a heck of a lot better chance than he has today, before the possible gem.
I frequent the chats while I am at work, and this isn't a ploy to get my question answered because I really don't have one, but you seem to give the best advice and seem to be the most personable and down to earth. But anyway if I have to ask one. Do you think Joba is going to end back up in the pen? I feel like I am the only Yankee fan left that wants to keep him in the rotation.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Unless the Yankees trade for a more proven starter -- forget the Roy Halladay rumors, Jarrod Washburn might seem more realistic -- I can't see how the Yankees could shift Joba to the 'pen, other than to prep him for such a role in the postseason. And you're right, you might be one of the few left; I have been saying all year I prefer him in the 'pen. I won't stray from that.
Brett T. (Boston)
T-Rex whats up Buddy. I figured i'd chime in today.. First let me cast my vote for Wings for lunch you can never go wrong! Anyway, Do you think Big Papi can continue his recent surge and reach 30 Homers this season ? I think he can, but as you know i am very biased.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I do think the David Ortiz we've seen for the past month-plus is very much the one we should expect down the stretch. That means the kind of guy who should bat .275ish with 30 homers, but scale it to remaining games. It means he probably falls short of the 30 homer total for the full season, but he'll be in the mid-20s. And you'll be happy with him for fantasy.
Matt Latos's line after his weekend start? A must-add in keepers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Well, I like the Rockies for this weekend set, period. So that means I'm skeptical on Latos. I like him as a prospect for the long haul, and he's absolutely an add in a keeper league, but I do think of this move as the Padres rushing the kid. I don't see a heck of a lot coming from this year, though outside of Kevin Correia, he might be the most talented arm they've got in that rotation. (Scary thought.)
So I could ask about your lunch, or complement your down-to-earthness, but really I just want your opinion on Danks for Liriano and Swisher...am I crazy for thinking Danks is the much better side of that deal?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
A lunch question or a compliment is no guarantee to get your question answered, I just like the interesting baseball-related questions where a definite answer comes right to mind! (Only a few seconds to formulate a response, remember.) I think people just ask those things because they're having fun; and for me, I'm human, I don't mind talking such topics. All in the name of fun. But with your trade, I am a huge John Danks fan, so that'd lead me to say no, not crazy. I think Francisco Liriano could fall within range of him in value, but I'd endorse the idea of you going with your opinion there. You wouldn't be getting ripped off, I will say that.
Michael (Los Angeles)
Tristan -- who would you rather have in a 12-team, H2H mixed league, Pedro Martinez or Clay Buchholz? Will Buchholz stay in the rotation?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
Yikes, can I say neither? Well, if I had to pick, I'm going the young guy, even though I see no guarantees.
Can you provide a little insight to your low mid-season ranking of Scott Baker? Hasn't he turned things around enough to be higher? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Check out "Called Out." I described my feelings pretty well there, better than I could in the time allotted for the chat. Link's on our fantasy baseball page.
Zeke THE Outrageous! (Brooklyn)
It's time for me to focus on 2010 TC! A little prospect talk - por favor. Posey got the big leap promotion. Think he is the full-time backstop in SF next year and is a viable mixed team option? Brandon Wood, does he stick at SS wherever he ends up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Let's just say this: I bought Buster Posey as the final catcher off the board in Tout Wars this spring, and that's a yearly league. (It's 13-team NL-only, so 26 catchers were bought. Do the math.) So I'm obviously very optimistic about the kid. Remember, he started where he did because of early-season weather concerns, not because of talent questions. I do think Posey will be one of 2010's more exciting prospects. As for Wood, I strangely am intrigued by the guy, but I think he needs to get out of L.A. to make any significant impact.
What can we expect from Milton Bradley going forward? Isn't your 250th rank of him a little harsh?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
To think, he was out of my rankings before Jay Bruce got hurt! Those who know my work know I'm a huge Milton Bradley fan -- fantasy baseball, people, fantasy baseball! So I'm hopeful he can offer you something, and I could see him ranging as high as, say No. 125-150 or so, looking forward. But with the health risk he has, that brutal first two months and the fact that he's already been nicked up quite a bit, I think you need to approach him with a heck of a lot of caution. Huge boom/bust guy. But I think the Cubs do get better as an overall offense, which helps.
Thoughts on Phil Hughs for the rest of the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Love the work he has done in the setup role, and I do think this means the eighth inning is his for the remainder of the year. Don't fix what ain't broke. Unfortunately it's not what fantasy owners want to hear ... other than deep AL-only owners.
TC, any chance Joe Mauer keeps up the .600 slugging pct.? Good talking with ya!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I really doubt it, but then he's a catcher and that's a demanding position physically. That said I don't see Mauer being at risk for a noticeable decline in performance. I think he remains the top catcher with ease, and an elite fantasy option.
Thoughts on Matt Wieters. Has he been somewhat of a disapointment to you so far and what do you expect from him in thed 2nd half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Has he? Sure, he's not the top fantasy catcher, but I've seen enough in his performance that hints at huge things looking forward. So maybe he won't challenge for the top spot, or be a top-five backstop in the second half, but I'd be pretty happy to own him. I think he'll be a top-10 option at his position.
Does your skepticism over Latos mean that Stauffer is better waiver wire claim?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I don't see how that follows?
Phil Hughes is going to be the next mariano rivera, setup man at first just like mo was.Trade advice please: J Johnson and Cruz for Crawford and Kershaw. Fair? (my league doesn't have categories, it's just h2h w/ keepers, most points each week wins)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
You know, John, I wouldn't be at all shocked if you're right on Hughes. He looks very good in a short-relief role. Though the gut still says next year he's starting, Joba's being groomed to replace Mo. As for the trade, I'd call that fair, absolutely, and I'd actually be very happy to make it if it's a keeper league. Much more long-term safety, I think, on the side you'd be getting (the Kershaw end).
I need help Tristan...I had an argument that the upgrade of Cano over Hudson is not that big. I have to throw Jenks in to get him. Is it worth it?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Rob, I'll tell you this: O-Dog has actually had health concerns on more than one occasion down the stretch. That's absolutely relevant, because Robinson Cano is historically a second-half standout. I think your side of the argument is a little stronger, and while I do respect Bobby Jenks enough to say "get a decent throw-in," I don't think the offer is a crazy one.
Mike (Erie PA)
Who are a few guys who you think with climb the most from your current rankings, to next years preseason ranks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Good question, Mike. Let me scroll the list very quickly. Stephen Drew and Clayton Kershaw are two obvious ones. Also Tommy Hanson. And Max Scherzer, Ubaldo Jimenez, Dexter Fowler, and David Price especially. Pretty much if you're young, I'm going to feel better about you in future ranks than I might today (because I have to take into account a shorter time span).
MIKE (TAMPA, FL)
Buying Hairston in Oakland?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Love Scott Hairston. Tremendously underrated, mashes lefties and can hold his own against righties. And if Matt Holliday gets traded, he's guaranteed regular at-bats in a prime lineup spot. Even if Holliday stays I think his prospects are great. No MVP numbers, but a top-200 ranking for him was an extremely easy call.
Would you trade Podsednik and Capps for Rios?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
In a heartbeat, but I've never in his entire career trusted Scott Podsednik over the long haul of a season, nor do I think the Pirates are going to provide Matt Capps with enough save chances to be all that upset to have dealt him.
David Wright (NY)
More of the same from me in the second half?? Do I regain my power stroke?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
In that ballpark? Ha! That said, 10 home runs seems an absurdly low pace. I could see 15. But it's still a number that was killed by a canyon-esque ballpark.
Speaking of the future of the game, do you foresee a time when we'll, as managers, be able to remove players (particularly pitchers) in real time? It just kills me every time a pitcher inadvisedly gets sent out for another inning and then gives up a boat load of runs.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
No. I think that just gets way too complicated. And there are limits to how much you should be allowed to pick and choose your matchups. That's just too far.
Why isnt Martin Prado in the rankings? What can I expect from him the second half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Mainly because he's empty batting average, and there's always the threat that a Kelly Johnson comes back and steals enough at-bats from him to minimize the impact of his batting-average contribution. I do like Prado as a nice NL-only stopgap, but I don't see big staying power in larger formats.
nat fan (wash dc)
rank jordan zimmerman and strasburg if he signs versus kershaw and max scherzer for next year and beyond
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Hard to say. I might be about the least optimistic about Strasburg of anyone out there, but I also think he's going to take a lot of time to sign and then might need a bit of an adjustment period. Let's just say that in 2011, sure, he could be a top-25 starter. But I like shorter terms, and if I'm ranking from precisely today through the end of 2011, I'm likely going Clayton Kershaw, then Jordan Zimmermann, then Strasburg, then Max Scherzer.
Veggie Wings with Ranch! That is all.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
A very fine choice, I must say! Sounds like I should go have some. Thanks to everyone for your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Take care everyone!