Fantasy Baseball with Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Just a brief note before we get started, as the Monday morning chat is traditionally a set-your-lineup type of thing: Don't forget to check out my Forecaster for help setting your lineup. Many questions can be answered there, particularly this-pitcher-versus-this one. Not that you can't ask here, of course, but if I miss yours, be sure to check that column! Anyway, let's get started...
Last place in pitching categories, and need to make a trade before games start today. I offered Zimmerman for Wainwright. Do I need to give more to make this happen?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
I think you do, but at the same time I don't consider that an insulting offer. Ryan Zimmerman is an excellent hitter, a strong finisher historically, so it might only require an interesting Wainwright-plug-in type arm tossed into the deal to make it happen.
When do you expect Jeremy Hellickson to get called up and what role do you see him playing?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Something I've mentioned in passing in previous chats/columns, that Wade Davis is probably looking over his shoulder at this point. A couple things working against Hellickson: The Rays are typically super-patient with moving their prospects along. Just look at Desmond Jennings. Also, they're a top playoff contender, so they're probably going to rely on the most experienced players they can get anyway. If I'm predicting, I think Hellickson's debut is around Aug. 1. That's a safe over/under to pick. It means I like him, but I'm also hesitant to put a lot of stock in him.
Tristan, any word on who is replacing David Huff?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
It looks like Aaron Laffey, and I will spare you the inevitable, resulting pun.
Alex (Long Island)
Help me THC, you're my only hope! I have Porcello in a keeper league (he was one of my keepers) and he's now playing in the minors....should I stay patient and assume he'll work out his kinks or drop him post haste?!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
The very first thing I thought about when I heard the news about Rick Porcello's demotion was that Max Scherzer was demoted to work with the team's minor league instructors when he was struggling earlier in the year, and it seemed like they instantly got him back on track. And I think we can all agree that Porcello's long-term potential is at least as good as Scherzer's. In other words, that provides hope, but it's a big project for the Tigers. In a keeper league I'd keep Porcello around, but if you desperately need the roster spot, I can't criticize dropping him. Though if I'm in your shoes and do need that spot, I'd be spending this entire afternoon racing to find someone to make a trade to take a chance on him. At this point there should be non-contenders willing to take a chance.
is c. santana this good? move over vmart!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Sure looks like it so far, doesn't it? No denying that Carlos Santana is a top-10 fantasy catcher right now, but I will be shocked if there isn't at all an adjustment period (read: a brief slump you have to be patient through) coming.
Who will win win the AL Cy Young Award?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
That is an excellent question. I'm going Jon Lester.
Is it too much to expect Aubrey Huff hit 30hrs & 100 RBI's?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
At this point, no. He's certainly capable accounting for his hot start plus track record. I do think he falls a bit short of those numbers in that park and lineup, but piper, consider yourself paid.
Traded Justin Upton for Pedroia. Did I walk away a winner?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Not in a keeper league, but if that's redraft, seems fairly close. I'll take Upton but that's as fair a trade as I think you could ask.
What is up with Johan Santana? Will he ever be an elite SP again?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
He lacks the velocity he once had which diminishes the differential between his fastball and change, which therefore makes his changeup, once one of the game's best pitches, a bit more ordinary than it once was. Hey, Johan's been fine in fantasy, just not the top-10 starter a lot of people thought he was. I didn't in the preseason, and I still don't. I say he'll make the top 25, but that's not what people have come to expect from the guy over the years.
Elected to hold on to my 35 dollar Wandy Rodriguez for one more week. Does he get blown up by SF?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I got offered Wandy Rodriguez in my keeper league for what was a better price than that and I turned it down (OK, actually just mulled the offer for about eight hours and was unexcited by it until someone else took the chance). In other words, I'd worry. I'm not choosing the words "blown up," not by that offense and not in what's a home start for Wandy, but the Giants do hit lefties quite a bit better than righties. You won't get any glowing endorsement from me.
I can't believe it's come to this, but is Nolasco worth a waiver claim in a keeper league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Gut instinct is to say "yes," but until I get a read on why his strikeout rate is down, I cannot possibly predict a return to his 2008 form. I do think there's a stronger second half coming, per my "60 Feet 6 Inches" column, so I'd pick him up (or trade for him), but don't expect any Cy Youngs here.
Is Rodney now the closer in LA?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Well, my understanding is that Mike Scioscia have Brian Fuentes a (dreaded) vote of confidence after his most recent disaster, though reading Scioscia's words I'm a tad stunned by his logic. I stand by my Fuentes comments from earlier in the year, that I think his best use today is as a situational (i.e. LOOGY) left-hander. Fernando Rodney belongs in the ninth inning for the Angels, and if I'm planning ahead in fantasy, I would be adding him if I have the roster room, yes.
Are you starting AJ Burnett tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Aggressive Diamondbacks offense, OK, but I haven't been at all impressed by Burnett of late, and especially not in road starts this season. And I watch a lot of his starts. I'm leaning towards no, except in deep formats.
Whos going to be better to own for the next 5 years...Longoria,Kemp,or Heyward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
I choose this question to tease my column coming out later today: The "All-2014 Team." Make sure you check it out, but to give away one of the worst-kept secrets, it's Evan Longoria of this bunch. Think it's fairly obvious, in fact.
Big Tony (Philly)
Is Markakis droppable at this point? I need starting ppitching help and need to make some room.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
"Droppable"! OK, so the power isn't there but the guy's batting .302 for the season and .290 this month. That's still a guy who's going to be in almost any lineup of mine, that's for sure. Besides, he's historically a strong finisher. I'd be patient.
Nobody is asking about Houston call-up 3b Chris Johnson. I know it's the Stros, but is he worth a pick up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
In an NL-only or deep mixed league, sure. Pedro Feliz has performed horribly all year, so the Astros would be smart to give Johnson some at-bats to see just what they have. But let's hope this isn't a Dayan Viciedo situation, where he's called up just to see his manager trust the veteran at the hot corner.
You buying Niese??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
Yeah, as a helper in most leagues, yes. Great command the kid has, and the ballpark plays quite well in his favor.
Have we seen the best of Cueto this year, or would you drop Lackey for him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I think that we have seen the best of Johnny Cueto this year. Understand that doesn't mean he's devoid of value from this point forward, but the best stretch he has offered is probably in his rearview. John Lackey, with his track record and the support his offense provides him, is the smarter long-term bet.
Sean (Madison, WI)
Can you discuss Mat latos long term value?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Ace-caliber starter, right ballpark in which to break in. It's a little hard to tell how he's going to hold up physically, and that's not a team I see winning all that often, which might keep him just outside the top-10 starters or shy of a Cy Young, but he'll make a run at it.
Greg (New Braunfels)
Lots of talk about Edinson Volquez. 97 MPH and July 7. What do you see for the rest of the year for him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I'm stunned at how quickly he has progressed. To make it back on July 7, after Tommy John surgery last August, is rather impressive. You know what they say with pitchers coming off that operation: Velocity back first, command second, and command is a bit of a question with him. Expect inconsistency, but that's half a season's worth of potential stats. I'd be picking him up in NL-only leagues or if I had a spare DL spot. Let's say the ERA might be in the high threes, near four, but if he K's near a batter a frame I won't be shocked.
Cahill or Scherzer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
Ride Trevor Cahill's hot streak. I talk a lot about hot streaks, I know, but that's one I see lasting for quite a bit.
rollins back tomorrow?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
Sounds like it's better than 50/50, and if not Tuesday, certainly a day or two after that. As I typically advise with fresh-off-the-DL players like this, I say wait a week, see how healthy he looks.
Give us a prediction for Gio Gonzalez tonight.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
I feel like something in the ballpark of 6 IP, 6 H's, 3 ERs, 6-7 K's is coming. Good enough to use but hardly elite. The Reds do whiff a little more than your average team and are only so-so in terms of walks.
Jusitn (St Paul)
C Santana or Montero for this season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
I want the experience. I'm taking a healthy Miguel Montero.
Tristan, can you rank these MI options for the rest of the year: Castro, M. Izturis, N. Walker? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Reverse the order and I think it'd be correct. That said, streaks might shuffle the order from week to week, but in terms of rest-of-year, that's the way I'm going.
Justin Masterson has got a decent K/9 going so far this year. What's your take on him for the rest of the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
My take on Masterson remains unchanged: Like his talent, but his biggest flaw is he lacks an out pitch versus left-handers. In a sense, the worst-case scenario he's what Cla Meredith would be if he was converted into a starter. Best-case? Probably a Tim Hudson or Chien-Ming Wang (when he was healthy) type. I have a feeling Masterson might be more a matchups/ride-the-streak type in the long haul. Not exciting, I know.
Its been a few weeks now...when is the next perfect game coming?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
It's almost as if this is 1990 again, with all those no-hitters, right?
Hearing anything on De La Rosa?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Last report I had, he was supposed to return on the same date as Edinson Volquez: July 7.
Will (The OC)
Trade Braun for Big Tex?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Interesting trade that'd be. Seems fair, can't fault either side for taking the deal. For me it's still Ryan Braun, but Mark Teixeira's owners should be aware that he looks like he's heating up.
Hanson ranked 48 in Forecaster this week? Why so low?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
OK, let's take a couple minutes to talk Forecaster, because I understand a lot of people have their share of frustrations with the ratings and rankings. Understand that column has to take into account a broad scope of leagues; rankings change -- often a lot -- depending upon your league type. I have a mixed points league where you'd be a fool not to stack your lineup with two-start pitchers. They'd all move up, a lot of them substantially. To address Tommy Hanson's rank: Perhaps it's a bit too low, but a No. 48 pitcher is still going to be active in ALL of my leagues. That's a great ranking, and the main reason he wasn't, say, 25th was that in the past month or so he hasn't been pitching QUITE as deep into starts or looking as much the Cy Young bet as I was expecting. If you feel strongly he should be ranked higher, by all means he's going to be even more guaranteed starter status for you, right? That's what counts.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
As for the ratings ... remember that those are not personal ratings made by me, they are ratings calculated by the pitcher's career and recent performance, as well as the matchup, accounting for the opposing offense and the venue of the game. A guy could get a "10" and I might think it's a joke; but the numbers when calculated are going to say what they say. John Ely, for example, had great numbers in a very brief amount of big-league time, and that skews a rating.
Do you think Jake Peavy has finally turned a corner? He's pitched great his last few starts.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
My stance on Jake Peavy has gone unchanged. I still think if he's a top-25 starting pitcher then he's 25th. And I've dropped him in my rankings since I initially said that. If he's a K-per-inning pitcher with a 4.25 ERA at year's end, you should be very happy with him, because he might be maddeningly inconsistent all year.
What is Hamilton's value in a dynasty league? He's an elite talent, but injuries knock him down...if you were trading him what kind of SP would you want?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
I just traded Josh Hamilton in a dynasty league for Dan Haren, straight up. And my primary competition for the title in that league was enraged by the deal; thinks I got a steal. I don't think it's that so much, but I will say I was pleased. I was afraid I might have to settle for a Tim Hudson type, and I wasn't about to do that. Good time to sell on Hamilton in a keeper league; you might actually get a top-20 starting pitcher right now. I'd shoot for the moon, and work backwards from there if necessary.
How are you feeling about Greinke's next start? Start or sit?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
I would start him, but I also look back at his game log and don't see all that many disastrous outings in there. He's going to be active for me most any turn.
LeMarcus (Virginia Beach)
Any updates on Jordan Zimmermann? What kind of an impact can he make this year and next for my Nats?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
The last I had, he had resumed throwing, and was facing Nationals hitters during a batting practice session during the past week. I've got a feeling the Nats won't rush him back, not at his age and coming off such a significant operation, so don't expect much, if anything, before 2011. That said, he should not be forgotten in next spring's drafts; could be quite the sleeper.
Why is Fausto only owned in 31% of leagues? I'm in a 12 team mixed and I drafted him and haven't really seen a reason to take him out of my line up yet.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Beats me, Brandon. But one thing I can say is that streaming is a popular strategy in ESPN formats, because of the wide array of matchups options in a 10-team league with only three bench spots. Turnover is huge, and it's often OK to just spot in three brand new starters each day instead of investing in a full staff on an every-game basis.
What is wrong with Tim Hudson?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Not really sure what you mean. He has 11 quality starts in his past 12 outings. Oh, if you mean with regard to the Josh Hamilton question, more that I see Haren as more of a long-term keeper than I do Hudson, who still does have to rely on his defense (tougher to predict than command ratios over the long haul). Nothing against Hudson's performance this year; I love the guy, make no secret of it.
Keeper Points League, I was offered Reynolds and Jay Bruce for my (underperforming) Justin Upton. I was right to refuse, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Yes. Ohhhhhh yes.
What, no Strasburg questions? How large of a gap between him and Jamie Garcia?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I'm not sure what else I could say about Stephen Strasburg that warrants answering, though. I'll have rankings in my next 60F6I on Wednesday; if I recall I had maybe a 15-20 differential in ranks between the two. Seems about right to me. I'm a little more confident Strasburg's numbers stay where they are than I am Garcia's, both this year and in the future.
When Bruce came up he was more hyped than Justin Upton. What's Bruce's ceiling?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I'll be perfectly honest with you, Calvin: I cannot recall the difference in "hype" between those two at the times of their big-league debuts. Off the top of my head, I'd dispute that Bruce was "more hyped"; I bet they were similar, and probably the main reason Upton wasn't considerably more hyped was because he made the leap awfully quickly, before the hype could simmer in the minors. Had he stayed there until the following spring, I bet the hype would've been huge. Anyway, back to your question: I'd say Bruce's ceiling is as a big-power, sketchy-average type: Kind of a "lite" Adrian Gonzalez. Think a .270 hitter with 30-35 homer power.
What is wrong with Matt Kemp? Worst first rounder drafted this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Yeah, I suppose he's been the most disappointing of the top 10 so far, but it's not like he has been horrible. Had Mark Teixeira been in that group, he'd be the clear pick (so far). Kemp's issues are that he's a bit too free-swinging, with an inflated K rate. His BABIP is also a tad low, so I'd be expecting better from him looking forward.
Tristan, how about a deep league chat once a week? These All-Star leagues annoy me...challenge yourself people.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I'm open to any question at any depth in competition. Always am. Thing is, a lot of the questions about big names affect the largest number of people, which is why they get addressed (the other reason being that the big names are often the ones asked about a lot in a chat).
You still have A-Rod ranked #7 overall in Hit Parade. I guess you still believe in him? He's not even ranked in the top 10 at his position on the player rater. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Hard not to believe in a guy with his track record. Plus, one thing people need to understand is that the Yankees have an astonishingly good history of performance during the final three months of the regular season. I can't dig up the specific numbers in the time I have to answer the question, but I bet if you take their win-loss record and runs per game from July 1 through regular season's end in the past five seasons, I imagine they'd be first in both categories, perhaps by a lot.
Worth dropping Pedro Alvarez for Smoak?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
I've said this a few times on the podcast, and probably also in my columns in several places, but with rookies you pretty much have to take a patient approach ... otherwise you cannot possibly dabble in the prospect business. Youngsters are about as great a risk for streakiness as anyone in the game. Either you're OK with that and are willing to wait or you are not. If you're not, then you should be waiting until you see the player prove himself at the big-league level. So when I see this question, my reaction is, neither one is trustworthy. Which do I want? I want Alvarez. His ceiling is higher. But maybe neither one helps you this year.
Do you do SFTC? I got my streak up to 7 and need to know if you'd take the Nats over the Royals tonight. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
I do. Fun game indeed. And yes, I'd take the Nats. Significantly better home than road team, seems like they've got this buzz going with the fans, perhaps thanks to Strasburg's arrival, and I'm no Bruce Chen fan at all. He doesn't last deep into games, he's ordinary in the innings he pitches and I think that Royals bullpen is sketchy.
Depth q: is Jesse Litsch going to be useful going forward? He did have a streak of like 30 IP without a walk in 2008.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
Good depth question. I've rostered Litsch in a couple deep leagues of mine, because the ceiling is actually somewhat high. He's going to be rather up-and-down, though, demonstrated by his night-and-day performances in his first two starts of 2010. Still, that might mean he's a matchups play, and that's a valuable thing in a deep league. A chance I'd take, yes.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
OK, let's take three more...
Who is Demel on Arizona? Was offered him for Lidge?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
Sam Demel is the prospect the Diamondbacks got in the Conor Jackson trade, and he's a speculative saves guy if only because he's a relief prospect who's now in a paper-thin bullpen. That's a bad trade. Brad Lidge at least has his manager's trust in the closer role, and in his healthy games he has actually looked decent.
Jholys Chacin bumped on July 7th?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
Guess so. Jason Hammel is pitching too well to go, so maybe Chacin gets the bump because he has the least experience of the lot.
Do you think Corey Hart acheives 35 HR, 270+ avg.?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:12 PM)
It's possible, sure, but I can't shake the memory of that 2008 campaign in which he had an .831 first-half OPS but a .659 OPS in the second half. He's historically a stronger player earlier than late, so I'd call him a sell-high candidate.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:12 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and don't forget to check back for the All-2014 Team later today. Best of luck to all of you this week! Take care...