Chat with Tristan H. Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Hey Tristan. Ryan Zimmerman is on a tear once again and is putting together a very solid season. Perhaps it's the fact that he plays in Washington, but I haven't heard a whole lot of praise for the young 3b. What are your thoughts on Zim and does he keep this up for the remainder of the season, and what about next? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
I'm a huge Ryan Zimmerman fan. At the time he came up -- and I know I'm reaching for the stars here -- I felt a lot like he could be a Brooks Robinson type to the franchise. Whether he'll meet that projection, OK, I doubt it, but I think he has a legitimate shot of getting close. Say, a .300-25-100 annual type. I very much think what we've seen of him this year is for real, and you might be looking at your last chance to get him at an affordable rate right now.
Buchholz and Matusz, what's the deal?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
I honestly don't know with Clay Buchholz, James. Exceptional talent, wholly inconsistent between this and last year. I remain optimistic he has a fine career ahead of him, and this is just a longer learning curve for him, which happens. Look at how long it took Johan Santana to "figure it out"! As for Brian Matusz, two big-league starts isn't enough to evaluate a guy. I think he was rushed, I think he's a great talent, but he faces an uphill climb as a contributor this year. Just how it goes with young arms; they're by definition unpredictable.
What is Masterson capable of?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
In past chats I've placed his upside in the ballpark of your Derek Lowe, Fausto Carmona and Chien-Ming Wang types, and I think that's a fair estimation. It accounts for their ability to be fringe Cy Young contenders, while recognizing that when they're not generating ground balls consistently, they can really stink. I'm a Justin Masterson fan. Big time. Though I did prefer his more immediate potential in Boston. Keeper leaguers should take a shot, but he'll probably be around the cut-off as an actual keeper into 2010.
Bond (James Bond)
I have asked this question for several chats now. I know these guys are all good keepers, but I am having a hard time ranking them in a standard 5X5 roto league where we keep 5 players with no restrictions on years. Will you PLEASE rank these for the next 3 years: Beltran, Sizemore, Crawford, J. Upton, Longoria, Heyward, Beckham, Kinsler. Thank you.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
"Joker? You were supposed to take these out of the deck." Anyway, getting serious, I'll rank them: Evan Longoria, Justin Upton, Grady Sizemore, Carl Crawford, Ian Kinsler, Carlos Beltran (his value might fluctuate most of the bunch so naturally he's a bit lower in these ranks), Gordon Beckham, Jason Heyward (and I could easily flip-flop those last two).
Best spot star today Garland, Hunter, Niemann, or Norris?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
Who did I rank highest in my Daily Notes? Sorry, but a plug's necessary there. That's the best place to answer such Wednesday questions.
Uggla or Aaron Hill in a dynasty league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
I don't even hesitate to pick Hill, because I see a lot more staying power and consistency with him. Though I might be a tad biased because I'm a sim player who recognizes his defensive contributions, and that's why it makes it an easy call for me. Dan Uggla does have the steeper downside, though, and that speaks volumes from a keeper angle.
Hey THC, thoughts on Oeltjen? Think he might get steady-ish PT even after Upton comes back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
If Justin Upton comes back. I know the reports are positive, that he might be back before the Sept. 1 roster expansion, but the Diamondbacks aren't going anywhere so there's no need to push him in the slightest. I'm not a long-term buyer of Trent Oeltjen, but I'd ride this hot streak, sure. I could see him being a fairly regular outfielder for the team the rest of the way, and I never have any shame riding the streak and cutting for the next big thing when it arrives.
TRADE DEADLINE HELP!! I give Zobrist, I get Lind. Is this a good deal for me??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Yes, trades very important right now, being that the trade deadline in standard leagues is just about here. I think you give up position flexibility and get the slightly greater offensive potential. I'll let you decide which of those things is of greater importance to you, as I know a lot of teams have more of a need for one thing or the other. My gut instinct overall? It's Adam Lind you want.
Eugenio Velez is on fire. Is he for real? Good deep league pickup?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Sure, so long as you recognize his potential for streakiness, and that the main reason you own him is for his speed. Guy is a steals contributor, and the rest is gravy.
Morning THC! Do you think Derek Holland can continue to pitch effectively? or will the heat wear him done, or Texas put him on innings count?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Well, he has 95 innings between the majors and minors to date, and last year he threw 150 2/3. I don't think there's any innings-cap concern here, though I like your thinking about the hot Texas sun. A Holland fan, I am, but it's a little more from a matchups perspective right now, and that very factor will have me choosy about when I use him.
Are we gonna Travis Snider or not? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
If Randy Ruiz got promoted instead, started Tuesday and homered, it seems to suggest to me that the Blue Jays are trying to wait until the Sept. 1 roster expansion. Though, when you've got Joe Inglett starting in right field, when Snider gets promoted it means he's not going to be a kid who takes a seat. Just means you might only get a month's worth of production out of him, that's all.
Brandon (Bellingham, WA)
i came back from a 10 day vacation to find three teams that have made trades to combine their powers into one team, ala voltron. this seems very unfair, how do you approach this or do you have to let it slide?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
That's one of the few times I endorse a trade-voting system. Also why I made sure I picked up a mobile phone with full Web access so that I can at the bare minimum check each night at the goings-on in my leagues. Might be too late, Brandon, but I'd take the issue up with my commissioner.
Difference between Everth Cabrera and Nyjer Morgan is...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Hmmm, probably experience and little more. Morgan has been red hot since joining the Nationals, but I don't think he's the hitter he has shown, but more of a steals guy great in NL-only formats but more limited in mixed.
Is Sandoval a top 6 3B next year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Sure, why not? Once you get past the obvious, Longoria, A-Rod and David Wright, then the debate begins. I think of Aramis, Zimmerman and Reynolds and think, Pablo Sandoval compares favorably to those three guys overall, right?
Tristan, how you doing? Do you know why Hanley Ramirez is starting to steal so much all of a sudden? Do you expect this kind of steal-production to continue?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
It sure is nice, isn't it Jacob? Ten steals in his past 26 games, though his power numbers aren't quite where I'd like them to be. The one thing I could speculate is that Ramirez has started 25 of the Marlins' past 26 games and appeared as a pinch hitter in the other, so maybe he's feeling a lot healthier today. I'd take it as a very promising sign, and that he could swipe another 10-plus bags from this point forward.
James (St Pete)
Blanton or de la Rosa... who do you trust most?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Who do I trust? Joe Blanton. He has sure shown me something of late, with a 2.46 ERA in his past 13 starts and a very healthy K rate during that time (74 in 87 2/3 innings). Both have the ballpark factor working somewhat against them, but I'll tell you what I told another owner in one of my leagues with Jorge De La Rosa: Coors Field tends to be at its most hitting-friendly levels in the month of September. That matters in this debate.
AFter Ervin's solid performance last night, I'm debating whether to keep him next year. Can only keep two between him, Ubaldo, and Wandy, who you got?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
I own Ervin Santana in my biggest keeper league and face this extremely difficult decision myself, so I've been thinking long and hard about it. One start doesn't alleviate my concerns; Ervin is going to have to earn the keeper spot with the remainder of his 2009 starts. That's the bottom line. After last night's performance I'd say I bet you're going to end up keeping him and Ubaldo Jimenez, projecting those three forward, but I can't tell you I'm locking that in 100 percent today. Santana still worries me, but he also has the highest (future) ceiling of the bunch.
Will I be rewarded in 2010 for my patience with Wieters or did I fall for some over-hyping last spring?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
I think you will. Matt Wieters is a special, once-in-a-generation talent when you account for the difficulty of his position, and I think it'd be foolish to write him off based on what has effectively been two months of somewhat disappointing numbers (and only in comparison to the lofty expectations I had for him initially).
Duchscherer is scheduled to come back on Friday. Any value for this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Huge risk/reward guy, and based on his talent as well as what he did in limited action last season, absolutely, pick him up. There's no way I'm starting him this weekend if he indeed gets that assignment, as I've heard as well. He made what, one rehab start? He's being rushed. I'd stash him, that's it, but absolutely stash him if I could.
What do you think of Chris Coghlan?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Runs/batting average contributor, period. I say runs because he's a top-of-the-lineup, on-base guy, and runs tend to flock to those players. Think Denard Span without the steals (maybe half the steals), but with third-base eligibility in a lot of leagues.
ben (los angeles)
Padilla or Smoltz? anything left in the Smoltz's tank?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Count me as one who thinks John Smoltz hasn't thrown his last pitch. Not that it means I expect much more from him in fantasy, but I'd still take the chance on him, based on the fact that he's the one who has had the better track record and wasn't the one who left his organization in a way that wasn't so pleasant.
Since we're talking about keepers...Figgins or Victorino for 2010, positions aside.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I'm so anti-Chone Figgins. I just can't stand keeping steals-only players (I know, I know, runs, batting average, whatever, his primary contribution by far is steals). Keep that in mind, but it leads me to preferring Shane Victorino, with his multi-category ability.
You said buy low on Aaron Harang in your column. I agree. What would be fair value to trade away in terms of current SP?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
I did? It's possible I did, I do like Harang but that might have been Christopher Harris' recent column. Not that I disagree with him. I'd probably deal any of the young guys, David Price, Johnny Cueto, Rick Porcello, Joba Chamberlain, to get him, or even a guy like Ryan Dempster. I wouldn't deal a top-25 starter, I'll tell you that.
do i dare start romero today at nyy (10-team 5x5 plus walks)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Nope, not a chance. I do like Ricky Romero. Great rookie year. But I loathe that matchup. At Yankee Stadium, against an offense that hits lefties well, and one that has been on a massive tear of late.
Would you deal a down Jarrod Washburn for Harang or anyone else? Or should I hold him and hope for a bounceback?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Sure, and I pick the question to address the Washburn issue. I'd describe Washburn's initial Tigers starts as being on the low side of his value curve the remainder of the year. That said, they do help you understand the hit he was destined to take switching the ballparks like he did. Bottom line: Comerica Park is not the pitcher-friendly venue it was in its early seasons.
Jeff (Morgantown, WV)
Come on, man! Chone is 2nd in the league in Runs. That's a category too.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I entirely understand, Jeff, and there will be places where I endorse keeping a speedster like Chone Figgins. (Deep keeper leagues, 10-plus players kept.) That said, I'm in a 12-team keeper league that keeps 12 players a team, I own Figgins, and I'm not even giving it a second thought that I'd cut him this winter. I've had this discussion many times with keeper-league owners, but there are "guys you keep" and then there are "guys you draft." The latter are the guys who mostly offer steals but no power, non-elite closers and pitchers who either don't get K's or have some matchups worries. Those are always the most plentiful in the keeper-league drafts I've been in over the years.
Jordan Zimmerman (DC)
OK so Harris thinks I might need Tommy John. Yikes!! What have you heard? Any recommendations for me in keeper leagues?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I had heard that rumor too. In which case, sorry to say, Zimmermann gets cut. It's a real shame because I really liked him looking forward.
Happ or Beckett the rest of the way
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
C'mon Brennan, Josh Beckett is one of the better big-game pitchers of the past decade, and the Red Sox need to rely on him to carry them into October. No doubt it's him. If there's any worry at all it's that maybe he skips a start or two in order to keep refreshed for the postseason, but accounting for Boston's spot in the standings, I think he'll be worked hard and be every bit as successful as he has been.
How worried are you about BJ Upton?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Enough that I just traded him in a package deal for Evan Longoria the minute it was pitched to me. (Rafael Soriano was also in the deal on my side, along with other parts on either end.) If I could even sniff a top-25, or maybe even top-50, caliber player in a deal for Upton, I'd take the deal. But then I do worry about players who come out questioning their role changes that were a direct result of recent poor performance.
Amir (Las Vegas)
Why is there no talk of the possibility that Tommy Hanson's innings be limited? He's just a young'un!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
OK, we are discussing it. Hanson threw 138 innings in the minors in 2008. He's at 140 this year. I suppose he might be shut down in the final weeks, though I don't see it being an imminent concern. Maybe he sits when he gets around 170-180, but I just think all this talk about reining in a young pitcher's innings is being taken too much to extremes these days.
How many more starts for latos? 3 or 4?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Not sure, but Mat Latos is one of those guys I'd be legitimately concerned about with an innings cap. San Diego is going nowhere; a hard cap makes every bit of sense with him. I'd say any more than your projection should be considered gravy ... and a possible black mark on his 2010.
Can you explain Rich Harden's sudden improvement (And don't tell me its the night game paradox)? Also, what is his value down the stretch? Is Lily worth stashing?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I don't think it's the night-game paradox, I think it's just a period of his season where he has been the most healthy. Rich Harden historically has been the type of guy who has had injury issues, and then other periods where he's totally fine and dominates. Doesn't surprise me in the slightest, but it's very convenient timing for the Cubs. I'm a buyer, even with the risk. And I'm skeptical Ted Lilly is much of a contributor down the stretch.
Amir (Las Vegas)
I see that you dealt Raf. Soriano. Is it because you've been concerned by his recent struggles (his fastball velocity was down to the low-80's in his latest outing)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Part of it, though I honestly didn't check too deeply into the specifics of his radar-gun readings. It was more that he has been a bit shakier in performance of late, combined with the fact that the guy has historically had some problems remaining consistently dominant for a full 162-game season in the past. Now, I said that about Jose Valverde a few years back when he broke out and turned out wrong, but I'm all about evaluating your risk/reward potential. I just saw more downside in Upton and Soriano, and more upside in Longoria, from this point forward.
Is Carlos Beltran done?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
For this year? Let's say I'd be surprised if he's much -- if any -- of a help to you.
Ryan (Undisclosed Location)
When will Lilly be back? When he does who should I drop between him, Happ, and Hanson. 10 team league I must drop one to clear up space.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
OK, a couple people have asked about my Ted Lilly comments, which were brief. He looks like he's about a week or two off, though I'm a tad skeptical he can avoid any setbacks. It's possible, and if it happens, well, there isn't a lot of season left. But I think my worry with Lilly is that he's not really your elite, top-10 kind of pitcher. It's hard for me to get that excited about a lesser guy on the comeback trail when he'll be returning for six weeks' worth of season. I probably reside on the low end of his value curve, I admit it.
Is Harens carreer year over
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
We've had some debate about Dan Haren's second half here, and fact remains his career trend of being a four-plus ERA guy after the All-Star break looks like it rings true this year, too. I think you have to take that into account, as well as the fact that the Diamondbacks just aren't that competitive a team. He'll be hard pressed to be a top-20 starter from today forward, let alone top-10, though it pains me to say that because I'm generally a fan.
why does jimmy r. have a better second half year than a first
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
It's just the kind of player Jimmy Rollins is. I can't really explain that for you. CC Sabathia just the other day said that he's the kind of guy who builds up a lot of physical endurance as the season wears on, and that's why he's more of a second-half than first-half pitcher. I suppose some players have a natural tendency to need a lot of time to get into their rhythms, and others come out with a big burst of energy and then tend to wear down quicker. Impossible for me to explain why it happens, but that is absolutely a trend you must be aware of with Jimmy Rollins. He's a noted second-half standout, period.
Drew (Hudson Valley)
Is Mitre going to be in the Yankees rotation the rest of this year? He hasn't been very impressive.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Word out of Yankees camp is that Sergio Mitre will remain the fifth starter, and now Chad Gaudin will get a start as well this weekend in Seattle as the Yankees look to both rein in Joba Chamberlain's innings and line Joba up to face the Red Sox in Boston late next week. I don't like that strategy that much, and think Mitre isn't long for the rotation, but that's the way this team is heading. For fantasy, I won't be advising Mitre, Gaudin or Russ Ortiz as Yankee starters, period. As a fan, I have a great fear we're going to see all three make at least one start apiece for the team before the season ends.
Hey Tristan, just wanted to get your thoughts. Are you concerned that these guys--Billingsley, Gallardo, Hernandez--won't get back on track? I am.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I'll say that I'm most concerned about Chad Billingsley's ability to do so, because he's the one who has collapsed recently and had a few injuries pop up during his rough spell. I'm probably least worried about Felix Hernandez, by comparison.
Fancisco Liriano (Minnesota)
I am going to strike out 12 go 8 innings and throw a shutout tonight... you heard it here first!!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
The only thing that stopped me from immediately posting this question and responding, "I would be stunned if you do," is that this is a home game against the Royals, and they don't have a great offense. And I feel like I'm reaching to say, "Oh wow, look, a home game for Liriano against a bad offense. Didn't Nick Blackburn, another great-at-home matchups candidate, just get shelled by this team at home? I'm not buying, Frankie, I'm sorry.
Can you tell me why the 4th ranked catcher on the player rater (Suzuki) is owned in less than 30% of leauges, when the 15th or so rated catcher (pudge) is only owned in about 10% less leagues? It just baffles me
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
It's either name value or a lot of owners who have stopped paying attention. Has to be. But I'm no Ivan Rodriguez fan (in fantasy), and haven't been for quite a long time.
Which side of this trade do you like in a Keeper? Ibanez or Morales? Who has the better year this year and next? Is Kendry Morales for real or will opposing pitchers "figure him out"?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I've debated the topic of Kendry Morales with a few buddies lately, and I'm obviously on the lower end of his evaluation curve. I just can't buy a massive hot streak like this over what, a two-month span at best? I think he's more of a .290-25-90 kind of hitter than this massive .300-40-120 type. But that has keeper value, and my projections alone sound more promising than Raul Ibanez's in future years. Morales is in his prime; I don't think that's a tough decision.
Brandon (Garden Grove, CA)
traded cain for lester, whats your thought?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
You probably traded the guy with the higher ceiling in-season, but I admit I am a Jon Lester fan and think he'll be another key cog in the Red Sox's playoff race. You probably made out fine, they'll finish pretty close in value, so it really goes to your gut instinct then.
Jake Arrieta big sleeper next year or over his head?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
The Orioles keep rushing their prospects to Baltimore so why not Arrieta? The only thing I can say against him, or Chris Tillman or Brian Matusz, really, is that it's pretty unlikely that a team makes good on all three of its top pitching prospects like that. Just ask the Yankees with their Joba-Hughes-Kennedy mix from 2008. I'd put Arrieta quite a bit below the other two in the prospect order.
Hunter tonight against Cleveland?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Sure. I think I expressed that opinion fairly accurately in the Daily Notes.
Gordon Beckham is on the waiver wire in my league is he worth the pickup for the of the season
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Certainly. At the very least a safe batting-average contributor.
McCutchen is a top ___ player next year.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
I think he's probably going to reside somewhere in the ballpark of 30th among outfielders, but understand I'm guesstimating. It means I see him as keeper-capable, but I don't think he's a lock to be a top-20 guy.
Quality Buzzer Beater!!!!!!!!!!!!Are you expecting Morneau to experience his typically Post All-Star Break slump? Thanks to guys like Haren and Rollins, we've seen that first and second-half splits have plenty of merit.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
I'll call it a factor, but the guy has a .911 OPS since the All-Star break and that lineup has about as much support for him as it has had his entire career. I wouldn't be making any radical roster decisions based upon his past trends. Stress "radical."
Adam Kennedy (Oakland)
how valuable am I, really?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
Matchups option. I can't trust you any more than that. What's your OPS against lefties, .600? (Wow, I guessed that and then looked it up, and it's .593.)
Your Belly (Growling)
Feed me!!! What's for lunch?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
You are growling a bit. Not sure, will have to see what's in the fridge. I think I've got some of those fantastic chicken burritos waiting. But they shall wait for at least one more question!
PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Keeper league, pick 2 out of these 5: reyes, kinsler, hamilton, Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz. thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
OK, well, Jose Reyes is littered with risk this year, might not play in another game and therefore will enter 2010 surrounded by questions for our purposes. That said, he's among the speediest players in the game, he'll be in what should still be a solid lineup leading off, and he plays shortstop, which is tough to fill. The other spot goes down to Ian Kinsler and Adam Jones. I'm so tempted on Jones, but position scarcity says Kinsler is smarter for 2010.
I asked AJ about shallow keeper leagues yesterday. He said take top tier guys over guys who've gained a ton of value. With my league rules, that means taking Miggy (1st round) and Johan (2nd) over M Reynolds / A Hill (projected 14-17th rounds). What do you think? Trade deadlines coming up...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
I agree with AJ's assessment. That's the right general strategy. That said, one cannot make every decision in absolutes, and I could build you a case that Aaron Hill is a more valuable keeper than Miguel Cabrera (has to do with the draft-pick values and position scarcity). So if my answer helps steer you to shopping Cabrera for something comparably interesting, so be it. I don't think it's a bad idea to at least explore.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
OK, one more...
Bartlett worth considering as a kepper? how do you see his next couple of seasons playing out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:12 PM)
I'm going to say no because a lot of my statements are assumed as blanket statements so I have to condition the answers to standard, average, traditional keeper systems. I just don't think Jason Bartlett is going to offer enough over the long haul to make the cut-off in a somewhat more shallow system. Just how it goes. That said, if a .290-.300-hitting, 30-steal shortstop with, say, 80-90 run appeal has value in your system, and in deeper leagues it does, then by all means I endorse keeping him.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:13 PM)
OK, time to call things to a close today, unfortunately. I've had fun, hope you have too, and thank you for all your questions! Wish I could tackle 'em all, but you know, numbers game in the time we have and all. Take care everyone!