Chat with Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Nick Todaro (Madison, WI)
Dear Tristan,I know the fantasy baseball season is long and it is much too early to worry, but over a two day span, my team went 0 for 31 the first day and 2 for 28 the second. Is that some sort of record for futility? Also, how safe is Freddy Freeman's job and how long will he be in an adjustment period?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
An 0-for-31 day is remarkably misfortunate, unless, of course, you're playing in a "bizarro" fantasy league where the goal is to stink. I know "it's early" isn't what you want to hear, but I wouldn't get too worked up about it yet. As for Freeman, I think his job is pretty secure at this point, though I still regard him as a .270-hitting, 15-homer kind of candidate initially, with some slumps sprinkled in.
Would you trade Jeter straight up for Castro at this point?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
No, unless it's a keeper league, in which case there's no question the answer is yes. Of course, that also means these guys are closer in value than you think, even in yearly leagues. I just don't see Starlin Castro's power -- despite the spring outburst -- being any greater than Derek Jeter's, and I still think Jeter's something like a .290-.300 hitter even with his career declining, while Castro's best probably isn't greater than that. Jeter will score more runs, probably drive in more, so Castro would have to blow him away in terms of steals to be the more valuable for 2011. I bet he gets 22 or so, Jeter 15.
Brian (NY, NY)
What are your thoughts on Ogando? Will he wind up back in the pen?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Promising 2011 debut, matchups potential, the workload is a concern however. A go get 'im kind of arm, but I do think he's going to suffer the sort of workload maintenance that a Mat Latos, Jaime Garcia or Phil Hughes did in 2010. Not to say Ogando's potential is equal to theirs; just that once he reaches 140 innings or so, I could see the Rangers bumping him to the 'pen to gear him up for that role in the postseason. Plan accordingly.
myers today in cinci, start or sit him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Start him, but then I was impressed with his effort in Philly in the opener, so why sweat the ballpark factor?
Mets 2B in June is?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
I'm going down with the ship on Brad Emaus. And I don't say that to sing his praises, as if he's a megastud in the making. It's just that the Mets have given every indication they don't want to lose the Rule 5 pick to the Blue Jays, so they'll give him every opportunity. And considering he's good enough in on-base ability, power and speed, I think he'll hang in there until June.
Who is the next "non-closer" that is likely to take over the 9th inning full time, much like Jordan Walden?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Sorry to tease, Scotty, but you're just going to have to read today's "Relief Efforts." That's the precise topic.
Brian Roberts and Jordan Walden on the waiver wire. FAAB league with $500 budget. How much should I bid for each? I already have Uggla and Prado, but could trade to upgrade another spot.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
In my experience, and I'll point out I have a 14-team mixed points league with $300 FAAB budgets, closers almost always fetch the highest prices. Walden sold for $9 the first weekend, before he was ever named the closer, but if he had sold this weekend, I can guarantee he'd have been $75 easy, which in your format would be something like $125. I'd be prepared to pay at least that much if I wanted the guy, though I'll point out I've never played in your specific league. Go back to last year's transaction report and see if the market for saves is the same. As for Roberts, I'd say he's a $40 player or so. I wouldn't spend 10 percent or more of my budget on him, accounting for his injury history, but he's a buy for sure.
Ben (Princeton, NJ)
Good morning Tristan; are Danny Espinoza and Sean Rodriguez carbon copies of each other or will one have more value at 2B in 2011?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Espinosa is faster and has a clearer path to regular at-bats.
Peter (West Orange, NJ)
Hey Tristan. What's going on with Manny? He's 1 for 17 and has disappeared twice now due to "personal matters". Cause for concern?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
It's cause for concern, yes, as there was a bit too much draft buzz surrounding Manny late in the spring, in my opinion. He has a checkered health history, is getting up there in years and hasn't been close to the same megastud slugger he was since his return from suspension. He's got value, but it's not close to "every-week-starter." For now, he needs to sit on your bench until he shows you something.
After a rocky 1st outing and with a "difficult" matchup would you start Liriano today?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
No, though I'll point out that it's cloudy and has been somewhat rainy, so I wonder whether the ball will be flying out of Yankee Stadium as much as it was during the weekend. Considering the so-so 2011 debut, I'd sit Francisco Liriano if I could.
jean (new york)
your toughts on esmil rogers today?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
The one thing to like about him is the matchup (he faces the Pirates). But he didn't impress me during the spring, and he struggles against lefties; the Pirates do have Lyle Overbay, Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones, Ryan Doumit... Rogers is a stash-him, wait-and-see guy, not one to use today.
Bizarro fantasy league sounds kind of fun actually. People would be falling all over themselves trying to draft Josh Wilson and Zach Duke.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I've always enjoyed bizarro leagues, but I like creative league formats. Really gets you thinking.
willie bloomquist. are you buying?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Nope. Feel no different than I did Monday.
Why such the big drop for Tommy Hanson in your rankings?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
One thing I'd like to point out about my rankings: The "Previous rank" was the consensus ESPN group ranking of the player, not my personal ranking. As I do the in-season rankings in "Hit Parade," "60 Feet 6 Inches" and "Relief Efforts," my opinion is going to shift some of those rankings in unexpected ways. (For example, I am and always have been a lot higher on Miguel Cabrera than most of our group.) I still see Hanson as a top-20 type starter, but right now he's not looking quite ace (top-10) worthy to me, so that's the only reason he dropped back a few spots.
Does Yunel Escobar play today? Where do you see him ranking SS wise, can he be top 10?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
He's not in the lineup and I don't think he'll play, even as a pinch hitter. As for full-season, top-10 is a possibility considering how weak the shortstop pool as a whole. He'd need to capitalize upon Rogers Centre's homer-happy confines to get there, though. And I said entering 2010 I saw untapped power potential but it never came, so let's say I'm not leaping at the chance to do it again. I think he winds up in the 12-15 range.
Neil Walker has had a great start. What sort of numbers does he finish with?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I projected a .270s batting average, 15-20 homer power, if memory serves. The 20 homers feels legit, and there could be upside for a bit more. The power is the reason you buy him.
are you starting lester today @ cle... or are you benching until he (and the sox) figure things out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
If anyone can get the Red Sox off the schneid, it's Jon Lester. Incidentally, great first-half pitcher last season. Matchup overwhelmingly favorable. Go for it.
You buying Kyle McLellan??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Yes. Could be the Dave Duncan out-of-nowhere masterpiece of the 2011 season.
What year does Heyward have an ADP in the top 10? if any.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
ADP sometimes winds up slightly behind the curve, so 2012 is jumping ahead of ourselves, but I'll say 2013 with a good deal of confidence.
Scherzer struggled all spring and in his 1st regular season start. Stick with him tomorrow v. KC?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I'm going against the grain and using Max Scherzer in every format; few better bounce-back opportunities among matchups than K.C. I do have concerns about the mediocre spring and poor 2011 debut, however.
How many k's for chacin this year ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I'd project a solid 180 or so. That's Jhoulys Chacin, incidentally, not Gustavo.
You like Edwin Jackson vs. the Rays today?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Yes. He no-hit the Rays last year, that's his former team so motivation could be a factor, and frankly, the Rays have looked awful so far this season. A lot of "plus" factors in that matchup.
Ben Francsico (PHI)
Pick me up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Yes, because the promising start could lead to everyday at-bats even after Domonic Brown heals, and that might mean a .270-20 caliber season. Francisco's upside is easily that, accounting for the ballpark and supporting cast.
Stephen Drew was dropped in my non-keeper 12 team league. I currently have Scutaro as my SS. Is there something I should know or should I pounce?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
Drew's injury remains a concern but he pinch hit the other day, so the DL worry is a bit less. It was an out-and-out foolish move for anyone to cut him, and this is coming from a guy who has stated on these pages in the past that Drew is overrated.
How locked in is Kimbrell? Any reason to hold onto Venters? Fuentes was just dropped in my league
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Though Fredi Gonzalez claims that's a co-closership, I've been awfully tempted to declare Craig Kimbrel "the guy" in Atlanta. The way the two have been used, it certainly appears to be his job alone. He has monstrous upside, too, and certainly belongs on rosters ahead of Brian Fuentes. Make that swap now!
Alex Gordon: Is this THE year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Might be. Looked great in the spring, looks good so far. Snatch him up quick if he's available in your league.
Tom (Madison, WI)
I'm curious why you dropped Ian Kinsler from 36 to 45 in your rankings, especially after his hot start. Is it simply due to the law of averages, i.e. he's marginally closer to the disabled list?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Excellent question, Tom, and this points back to my comment from earlier about these being my rankings comparative to the Draft Kit rankings. I've gotten a lot of questions about why Kinsler "dropped," except that he actually moved up in my personal rankings. I'm historically anti-Kinsler; I think he's one of the most overrated players in fantasy baseball, because for all the power/speed potential, the batting average is usually disappointing and he's a major health risk. If you feel you can trust the guy in the health department, by all means go for it. If I knew Kinsler would play all 162 games, he'd be in my top 20. But I think he'll miss a good 40 games, like he always does, so that must be accounted for in the ranks.
Hey Tristan, Would you start Marcum today against Atlanta? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
No. It's time to worry about Shaun Marcum, and I need to see a positive outing before he's going to get a strong recommendation from me again. This doesn't mean to cut him, just, right now I'm worried about his health.
Are we going to see Peralta in your relief efforts? It seems like he will be the 9th inning guy to start the year...Mcghee is piching much earlier.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Joel Peralta was a sleeper of mine in the preseason, he's in this week's "Relief Efforts" and I did snatch him in a lot of leagues. If I was to pick the Rays' first-half saves leader, it'd be him. Now, if they could only generate a save chance...
I know you said you agree with Jason Grey's positive outlook on Britton, but are you confident enough in him already to start him tomorrow against the potent TX lineup? Also, start/sit struggling Wandy v. FL? Thanks Tristan!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Confident enough in AL-only leagues, though I'd be cautious in leagues with starts/innings caps, especially the mixed formats. The positive here is that it's a home game, and I tend to think young pitchers feel more comfortable in their home environment. Of course, Texas is white hot, so if you're risk-averse, avoid it. As for Wandy Rodriguez, I'd give him the OK, except in the most shallow mixed.
Kickin' it old school with our week-after-the-season-has-started draft on Saturday. It's a keeper league and the free agent list is very top heavy. Who are the best of the $1 catchers out there? I need as much money as I can get for the studs.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
I love going $1 catchers, but what's the format, mixed? AL- or NL-only? If it's mixed, I'd recommend Nick Hundley, Ryan Doumit or Ryan Hanigan as a potential $1 No. 2 catcher. If it's NL-only, Wilson Ramos, David Ross and George Kottaras are intriguing options I've seen sell at $1, and if it's AL-only, how about Hank Conger or Brayan Pena?
hip hip (jorge)
can i possibly keep this up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
For as long as you're healthy, yes, why not? I had my doubts about Jorge Posada, but they were based upon two things: One, the adjustment to DH (smaller concern), and two, health risk (larger concern). The latter remains, but the former doesn't seem an issue anymore. Posada could easily go 25-90 if healthy. Since I think he's got a DL stint in him at his advanced age, I'd say 20-75 is more reasonable.
Tom (Grand Rapids)
Would you trade Cruz straight up for Crawford?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
What's for lunch? Still eating healthy? Also, wondering if you'd drop the likes of Scott Baker/Annibal Sanchez for the afforementioned Alexi Ogando?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Still eating healthy, yes, and undecided on lunch for once! I'd stick with Sanchez for sure, and I see Baker's potential being greater than Ogando's over the long haul. It's not an objectionable swap, I just like to play for the long haul.
Why does it look like I am swinging over the top of every ball!?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
And the ground-ball rate is high (again)...
Sox fan (Boston)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
The Red Sox fans surely recall the 2004 ALCS and yet they'd panic over five consecutive losses in April? Somehow I'm not buying... I think this is a Yankees fan in disguise.
Speaking of $1 Brayan Pena, any chance he catches more than 2 out of 5 games?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
I think this every-other-day arrangement is about right, at least until Jason Kendall returns. That's what you get out of a $1 catcher, part-time at-bats, and for me the goal is to get a guy who isn't likely to hurt you.
What do you think of Jason Vargas as a spot start tomorrow vs. CLE?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Go for it. Solid first start, more valuable than people gave him credit in 2010, matchup is favorable.
I saw in 60 ft 6 inches you're pretty low on Beckett. Do you think he's not healthy and along the same lines, are you pretty much thinking we'll never see the 'old Beckett' again?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Josh Beckett is a "name-value" player; it's a similar story with Derek Jeter. These names are so familiar you've built up trust that they'll eventually return to their past, elite numbers, except that I don't see anything in either of their current profiles to suggest it coming. Beckett looks like a shell of his former self, maybe health-related, but I'm not buying in like everyone else seemed to in the preseason. He's terribly risky.
What are your thoughts on Volquez? Can he be trusted? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Rocky spring, shaky beginnings to his two starts but some elite stuff in the latter stages of both of those outings. The seeds are there for greatness, but inconsistency is a concern. In other words, there's going to be a spell where Edinson Volquez is one of the most exciting pitchers to own in the game. But the rest of the time, he's going to frustrate you. Sum total has him outside the top 25 starters.
interesting wrinkle to the classic chicken parm formula - chicken parm personal pizzas. A place by my office makes them - fantastic and covers 2 of my favorite food groups. Pizza and chicken parm!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Chicken parm pizza is pretty fantastic, and I haven't had one in months, sadly.
Asdrubal Cabrera had a big day yesterday? What do you think about him going forward? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Not a lot of power, but underrated speed and the offensive skills to be a sound source of batting average. This was a player I was happy to take in the later rounds to fill the weak shortstop spot. Could finish in the top 12, just has to stay healthy.
have you ever noticed if Cano is a slow-starter? He looks sloppy so far at the plate. His one HR was a fly out in half the other ballparks. Curious if you've seen anything in the past...?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Before last season, Robinson Cano was an extreme second-half player. Just something to keep in mind.
Dunn's appendix just checked-raised Holliday's appendix. Is there a day when these things are removed between innings?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
I'm amazed, frankly, that the White Sox are talking about only a five-day potential absence.
Any of you jokers over at ESPN ready to put Ryan Howard back in the top 10?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Get out the makeup and dress me in purple...
Is Howie(ard) Kendrick legit? Where is this coming from? Final stat line?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
It's coming from underrated talent, what seems like an improved batting eye, perhaps a slight transformation of the 40-plus doubles turning into a few more homers. Kendrick can hit, always has. And if he finishes at .310-20, I won't be shocked. He has always had that kind of upside.
Louis Coleman (KC)
Am i going to be closing in AAA...would that be a good sign i could take over for Soria when he is gone?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Another name in today's "Relief Efforts," and I was pretty surprised Coleman didn't make the Royals' opening-day roster as a setup man, actually. He'll close in Triple-A Omaha and I do think he could be a candidate to do the same if Joakim Soria is traded.
Lightning round! Chone or Rajai?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Rajai Davis, solid spring, loaded lineup, lots of potential there. He was underrated in most of my drafts. No one seems to appreciate him.
Growl (Your Stomach)
Now that Lidge is out until the ASB, should he be dropped in a league with no DL spots??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
It needs to be a serious consideration if your league doesn't have an extensive bench, say, 7-8 spots or more. In a three-reserve format, like on ESPN, and one without a DL, you can safely drop Brad Lidge.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and best of luck to you during your weekend games! I'll see you again here Monday morning...