Fantasy Baseball with Tristan Cockcroft
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday morning, ESPN.com fantasy expert Tristan Cockcroft will drop by to take your questions and analyze all the latest baseball news from a fantasy perspective.
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:00 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Should Andrew McCutchen owners be worried about his minor ankle sprain last night?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
This is a very popular question today and the best I can tell you is that the Pirates' official Web site says it's a minor sprain and that McCutchen is day to day. One thing working in his favor: He played three more innings with it, so it probably isn't a long, long-term thing. But if I'm overloaded with outfielders, especially in a daily league, I might spot in a guy for the next couple days.
Josh (Lancaster, PA)
Hello Tristan. Thanks for the tip on not starting Brett Anderson last week. Should I sit Joe Mauer this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Ouch, didn't I tell you to use Joel Pineiro instead? Sorry about that, really expected better from the ground-baller. Might have been better to just leave Anderson active with no stats! Anyway, I would unquestionably sit Joe Mauer. When I hear "week-to-week" being thrown around about a player's status, I think a DL stint is coming.
Chacin was impressive for the Rocks yesterday. You buying?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Absolutely, and since it's shameless plug time, check out the podcast today with Matthew and PodVader. We played a little name game with Chacin that tells a lot about how much I like him.
rob (myrtle beach)
Hey Tristan,I'm sitting here eating meatloaf for lunch.10 team H2H points league.Headley is a FA and I have Figgins.Stay with Figgy or get Headley.Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Lunch at 11 a.m., I like! Pass me some of that meatloaf, please. Anyway, you're really asking about two different types of players. Let's face it, Chase Headley isn't going to steal upwards of 40 bases. He's just not. Figgins is (if healthy). I'm still pro-Figgins, but if I'm in your shoes I'm finding a way I can squeeze Headley into my outfield too. These guys both should be starting for everyone.
Hey Tristan, What's for lunch? Who would you rather have in your utility spot, Rios or Adam Jones?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Good question. I think I still have some leftover chicken parm from the other night. Anything from the parm family is fantastic as leftovers. And I'd go Rios here, not that I'd necessarily rank him higher over the course of the year, but there's a lot to be said for players performing at higher levels in the short term. Rios looks about what he should at his peak level, and right now that's just better than the struggling Jones.
Try to shop Cano?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Anyone's tradeable. Anyone. But I ranked Robinson Cano ballpark 25th the entire winter, still have him right in that range at the bare minimum, and have to ask you, do you really think you're getting a first-round talent in exchange for him? I'm not convinced. If I'm a Cano owner -- and I am in a few leagues -- I'm not dealing him. Could you imagine his final numbers if he keeps up his strong second-half trend?
at what point do you bench one of your top players like Prince Fielder. Do you play it like football where you always play your stars? any advice?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
I've commonly benched struggling studs if I had the bench room and could pick up a short-term fill-in until the guy heats up. I won't laugh at anyone who has Nick Swisher active at first base with Fielder on the bench. I WILL laugh at anyone who's ready to cut or trade Fielder at a discount price.
think the yankees skip javy this week???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Yes. It makes too much sense not to, though I had to list him as a projected starter in the Forecaster in the absence of evidence he'd be skipped.
Doug Fister... this year's Pineiro?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Interesting question hence why it gets posted. The key differences here being the strength of team (think wins category), and that Joel Pineiro was a little more dominant ground-baller, though Fister's rate is over 50 percent with those. I do think he's more legit than people are giving credit, but to Pineiro's 2009 numbers? I won't quite go that far. More an AL-only find than the mixed gem Pineiro was.
what's your take on austin jackson? sell high?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Without question. That strikeout rate is astronomical and I can't help but think pitchers begin to exploit him in the coming weeks. The proverbial "second time around the league" might be a rough one.
start Ervin santana tomorrow?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Too risky a matchup.
Hey Sultan of Stat! Frank Francisco clears waivers tomorrow: would you drop 1 of these for him: Frasor, Meek, Hawkins.... Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Jason Frasor could be cut in any format except the deepest AL-only formats. Incidentally, Evan Meek, NL-only sleeper. Keep that name tucked away, and try to squeeze him on your bench in that format if you can.
Chris (The Cheese House)
Colby Lewis - fluky start or possible fantasy break out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I'm answering a question with a question, but it's appropriate here: If Colby Lewis finishes with an ERA of 4.00 but with somewhere just shy of 200 K's, would you complain? Your answer to that is the same as "is this a fluky start?"
Start Blanton today? Drop Latos for your liking of Chacin? You like Chacin more so than Pineiro?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
The Joe Blanton part is the key to address here, and he and Chacin were two podcast questions. The details, you'll just have to listen. But if I'm picking ONLY today's matchup, no, I'm avoiding it. It's at home, versus the Cardinals, and it's not like he was Cy Young during his rehab stint. It's start No. 2 versus the Braves I want him for in this two-start week.
Alfredo Simon (Baltimore)
Two saves!! Am I baltimores new closer?????
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Yup. But I say that without any noticeable level of excitement. Could be the ugliest closer role in baseball over the 162-game course of 2010.
Jeff (Cedar Rapids)
Start Jaime Garcia today vs the Phillies or is it too risky?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Ride the hot streak. You can't sit a pitcher in the kind of roll Garcia is in, matchups be damned.
Kyle Blanks (SD)
Even I don't think I'm rosterable. Disagree?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Sigh. A fan I am, Kyle, but what a disappointing start. That strikeout rate is astronomical, the Padres do have other options and I fear talk of a demotion might not be far off. Remember, I was a Blanks fan in the preseason, but maybe I was a year too early.
Are you taking Furcal or Andrus rest of the year? Thanks for your time....
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
Elvis Andrus, but part of that is given comparable choices, go for the one closer to his prime. I just can't see Rafael Furcal keeping up this steals pace, while I can with Andrus.
Edwin Jackson (Arizona)
Am I really this bad, or just off to a rocky start?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
You're not THIS bad, but for the definition of "bad" that 90 percent of people in the chat today surely have, yes, you're bad, not just off to a rocky start.
Brad Penny - He took the loss but didn't look bad doing it. Keep riding this train?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
The walks were a little troublesome (5), but nothing I was terribly concerned about. You can't dominate every time out.
Stewart or Frees from this point on? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I see Ian Stewart's ceiling as a little higher of the two, so he's the one I'd pick. Much as David Freese is a strong Week 5 play.
I wish I was playing soccer
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Ouch. Gordon Beckham is definitely off to a disappointing start, but I think it's something you should ride out. From your bench, of course.
Do I bother hanging onto Smoak if he cant crack my lineup?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Consider trading him, as I am in a league where I'm not using him. I do think Justin Smoak belongs on rosters in all formats.
Tristan, need your help buddy. Which side would you rather have Lincecum/Sandoval/Wade Davis or A Rod/Verlander/J. Sanchez?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Former side, though that's a pretty fair deal.
What's up THC - you starting Peavy against KC tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
That's the one of his two starts that actually earns him the favorable ranking he received. I'm no Jake Peavy fan -- think he's overrated -- but I'd start him tonight, no doubt.
Jack Bauer (Wanted)
Would you start Scherzer today? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
I would attempt not to, obviously speaking to ESPN standard formats, as he looked shaky in his most recent start against the Twins and now he's facing them again on the road. And Jack, you better finish up this season strong, or I'm going to be most displeased.
Tony (San Fran)
Tristan, what are your thoughts on the surging Alfonso Soriano? And also, when everyone EVERYWHERE says sell high on AJax, it makes it impossible... if no one in your keeper league is buying, what do you do? Just enjoy the ride and then get stuck with him right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Both are sell highs and I continue to stress that the trade market is all about perception. If no one's biting on Austin Jackson, then he's not a sell-high. But I find it hard to believe anyone wants him; remember that when I (or anyone, really) call him a "sell high," it hardly means, "ooh, you might get a top-50 player for this guy!" It might merely mean a guy who was barely draftable in the preseason is now, say, a top-150 player. Nothing wrong with that.
Some clarification on your Cano trade answer. Are you saying that you don't think people would give up first rd talent in a trade for Cano? Meaning that if you could get first round talent, then that would be the appropriate level to be selling him high right now?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
I'm tossing names out here, and recognize that's a dangerous thing to do, but if I'm offering up Robinson Cano and being offered back, say, Matt Kemp or Ryan Braun or Tim Lincecum, fantastic, sure. After that? It's going to be a serious debate. Obviously forgetting a few names, but I'd need to be impressed by the offer.
Mike Stanton is going bonkers (505 OBP, 12 HRs, 866 SLG). How long can the Marlins really leave Coghlan out there?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Carl, you're onto something here, but I'd be a little more on the Mike Stanton bandwagon if not for the fact that A) he initially struggled in Double-A ball last year, which might portend struggles in the majors initially, and B) that he's doing this in Double-A, which is still two levels away. Now, Miguel Cabrera did make that jump in 2003 and batted .268 with 12 homers and 62 RBI the final four months of that year. Stanton's ceiling might be in that range, though maybe with a lower average and more power. But those aren't MVP-caliber numbers. Let's not get carried away.
Are you concerned that Nyjer Morgan keeps getting thrown out? Would you drop him for Bret Gardener?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Not terribly, no. And these guys are actually very similar fantasy talents at this point. Thinking somewhere in the just-outside-the-top-100 range, or maybe just within it, overall. Pretty much about where Nyjer Morgan's ADP was. Think batting averages in the .290 range, 40-50 steals, 100-run candidates.
Lidge falters and ________ steps in.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Jeff Parrett. Kidding. The right answer might be "another-one-of-the-ugliest-closer-jobs-in-baseball." It sounds like Jose Contreras might get a save chance or two this week, but I think Brad Lidge will lead the team in opportunities. And be better than last year. Though hardly what he was in 2008.
THC! Love the chats. Start Rasmus today against Lefty Hamels?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
If I have the luxury of sitting Colby Rasmus versus a left-hander on any given day, I'm taking it.
Tristan -- what's going on with the reliever situation in Texas? I have both Feliz and Francisco, and I have to drop one of them or Dotel before lineups lock for the week this weekend? Who should I go with? Or should I hold on to both of them and make the pirate walk the plank?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Here's how I view the Texas bullpen: You want Neftali Feliz for his ERA/WHIP/K's help over the long haul, even if perhaps he falls just short of double-digit saves from today forward. Is that valuable to you in your format? By all means keep him and let Octavio Dotel go then. But I see Frank Francisco as "the guy" -- using the common definition here of "guy who leads that team in saves" -- so that means if saves are all you care about, I'd feel more comfortable with Francisco and Dotel.
Are you in on Andruw? Looks like there might really be something to him "being back in baseball shape & 33 yrs old"
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
He's also not playing every single day, and looking a heck of a lot like a lefty masher, which is precisely what I thought he might be in the preseason. There's value in that, especially in AL-only formats, but if the question is relating to him being close to his prime self, no, I'm not in on Andruw Jones. He's a sell-high.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Good point made in the Colby Rasmus question: That will happen on Tuesday, not today. Cole Hamels was pushed back by a day to let Joe Blanton return tonight.
Hoffman back and got a save. Should I still be using precious bench spots on Hawkins/Villanueva/Coffey/Parra?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Fantasy owners can't be this fickle. Either you felt you needed (and were able to afford based upon your roster constraints) a handcuff to Trevor Hoffman or you didn't. One save doesn't change that. I don't think any of those guys are roster-worthy in standard ESPN, it's just too shallow a format. But I'm not about to endorse Hoffman as "cured." Three days ago people seemed ready to crucify him.
still worried about Wright?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I never was. I just outlined my reasoning for him falling short of the first-round value I was hoping in the preseason. What I noted about him is still a very fair projection, and very valuable.
Back to the Gardner/Morgan question...if it was your team, which would you want?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
It's almost a flip of the coin, but I look at the depth of the Yankees' lineup and think "higher run potential," which makes ever-so-slight a difference between the two.
Thoughts on Cliff Pennington?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Valuable enough AL-only guy. Won't hurt you in any category, but might not help you a heck of a lot in any one other than possibly steals. The kind of guy you want as your middle infielder, and might have to shuffle based upon streaks.
drop 1 save blower - morales, hoffman, dotelor edloss jacksonto add blanton?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Edwin Jackson is a "save blower"? Joe Blanton is more valuable in fantasy, period.
Jim (San Fran)
Eric Young Jr projections and is he worthwhile to pick up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I'm impressed that he has started four of the past five Rockies games, but I'm not yet convinced that everyday at-bats are guaranteed over the long haul. I see Young as a short-term fill-in for most fantasy teams, capable of a .280 batting average (maybe slightly beneath) and steals in the 30s if he were to play every day. Just don't get too cozy .. yet.
Would you trade Kendry Morales to a worried Texeira owner?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I'll take Mark Teixeira over Kendry Morales any day of the week.
Mid level starter on really bad team that will get traded to a contender before July 31 is ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Saying "really bad" limits the options, and I'm adjusting that to "non-contender." Because Bronson Arroyo is absolutely a candidate for this.
Phil Hughes is a top ___ pitcher for the rest of the year...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
I will tease one podcast statement of mine: I said the number "25" when this name was brought up. I could see it. He looks that good. In fact, if I have any doubts about him finishing in that group, it'd be injury concerns, not talent.
John Denver (Denver)
Serious question. Bout to make a move. Drew Storen is going to save _____ games this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Jim (San Fran)
Will Venable projections?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
Thinking he bats .265, hits just shy of 20 homers, and is an NL-only value plus a daily-leagues matchup play. Which is still a lot better than anyone expected he'd be in the preseason.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions and for stopping by, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to you in Week 5!