Chat with Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Happy to join you all for the extra chat day today; colleague Jason Grey is in Massachusetts today for the New York-Penn League All-Star Game. I'm here to pinch-hit, so let's get right to your questions. Will stress, today is going to be heavy baseball. But I'm not opposed to a good couple football questions if you have 'em!
Bobby Parnell (NY)
There have been reports today that Collins told members of the media that I'll be transitioning into to closer role. Better bet for saves ROS, me or Izzy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Several New York media outlets have that report, but what I saw was that Terry Collins is merely leaving the door open for others (besides Jason Isringhausen) to get save chances, with Pedro Beato another possibility. This has all the makings of a closer-by-committee in the short term with a leaning towards Parnell, but my opinion is that Parnell deserves a prominent look because the Mets need to know if he can close in 2012. I'm not all-in; that said I would put my stock in him if I'm going to in any Met.
Matt Kemp (Los Angeles)
My chances are 40/40 are ____ (currently 28 and 31)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Paces of 38 and 42, I'd say they're about 30-35 percent, though no one's going to quibble if Kemp falls just short.
How much does Stephen Strasburg help in September?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Shameless plug time: Check out today's "60 Feet 6 Inches"...
Michael Pineda (Seattle)
:( Turn off the lights, the party's over?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
To the extent that Pineda is now a high-maintenance fantasy option, yes, the party is indeed over. Pitching like he's gassed, and I think the best that can be said is that he might help when the matchups allow. Think mostly home starts, mostly against unfamiliar foes.
Keith (Cleveland, Ohio)
Good morning. ESPN lists you as a "Fantasy Expert." What exactly qualifies you as an experts. Before I am going to trust your advice, I need to see some credentials...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
It's a fair point, Keith, and you'll notice that I don't ever refer to myself as "expert," merely "analyst." But to answer that, my opinion is that an "expert" is willing to do the research, watch the game, make the prediction, and stand behind it with confidence. If he or she is willing to put him/herself on the line, with the facts to back it up, that qualifies.
Change your mind on Verlander being the top SP keeper over Felix?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Context. For 2012? Sure. Long term it's a fair debate, you could go either way, personal preference has me going King Felix but I made the point in those rankings that it was a five-year window I was projecting ahead.
Bill (San Antonio)
I'll buy your book about chicken parm while you're having a drink dressed as a smurf. Anyway, can you tell me...coveted Anibal all season, tried to trade for him, couldn't make it work. An owner made it easy and let him go...I've since picked him up, but should I be nervous about trotting him out there ROS? I want to, but should I really be concerned?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Well, I doubt that if I wrote a book that it'd be about chicken parm. I like chicken parm; I'm hardly a connoisseur. Also, not my bet about the Smurfs.Anibal Sanchez: It's a smart pickup even from the bare minimum that it's a speculative stash. He's got the skills to reverse this slump, but you're right to be cautious. Sometimes, however, just the simplest strong outing can restore your faith. I'd approach him accordingly. For now, pick and choose.
I will have a breakout season Tristan...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Opportunity, check. Skills? Health? Hmmm, debatable. But opportunity alone has done enough to spawn a breakout in past examples, so I won't rule it out. Certainly he's going way too late in early drafts, but I wouldn't reach before the fifth or sixth, that's for sure.
Rob (State College)
I know the rule is "start everyone against Houston," but do I pick up Casey Coleman to stream against them tomorrow?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
It's a rule of thumb, hardly a one-size-fits-all declaration. How about that Aug. 8 game against Daniel Hudson and the Diamondbacks? There's no rational case I can make for Coleman except in desperate circumstances; he's a spot starter with a mediocre track record and I don't advise those types.
Start Shields today in Boston?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
James Shields is 1-7 with a 7.71 ERA and 1.82 WHIP in eight career starts at Fenway, though to be fair, he hasn't pitched there yet this season (which has been an extraordinary season for him). This year he has a 3.60 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in his two starts against the Red Sox, both pitched at The Trop. Put 'em together and you've got reason for hesitation, and I'd sit him if I'm managing my starts/innings or can't afford ERA/WHIP risk. But that still means he's fine in AL-only leagues. I ranked him generously for the week, but it was mostly because of the cozy second matchup.
Are you worried about CJ2K yet?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I've been worried for a solid week, ballparking it. The history of holdouts isn't exceptional, and the advice I've given is that Chris Johnson shouldn't be slipping from the top five in the draft (yet), but if you can afford to do it, he might be smart to let go to a competitor, in the hopes that the drafting owner will become impatient with Johnson's potentially slow start. Holdouts often breed so-so Septembers, so Johnson's trending as more of a buy-low, in-season target type than a guy I'd race to draft. (If you can afford to treat him like that, of course.)
Larry D. (WV)
How you feeling about Niemann against the Sawx today then???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Not quite as confident as in Shields, but similar caveats apply. Great outing at home against Boston earlier in the year, that helps back the move, but bad Fenway stats in his two 2010 starts there set up the concern.
I have four starters tomorrow but can only start three: Lee vs. ARI, Cain @ ATL, Morrow @ Seattle, and Latos vs. NYM. Who do I NOT start?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Wow. I guess it's Mat Latos. The reason merely being that if wins matter, his is probably the lowest in probability.
Delmon Young (Now in Det)
Do you expect better numbers especially if I stay in the 3 hole ahead of Miggy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
My stance on the Delmon Young trade is that new surroundings could be a motivating factor, but this is hot-streak riding at its highest degree. I think the Tigers will mix and match him because that's the kind of player he is -- he's a lefty killer who has shown little more in terms of skills in his now-lengthy career -- meaning this very minute, by all rights, could be the high-water mark in terms of his fantasy trade value the rest of the year. Attempt the sell-high move.
Any pitchers that you see having a good end to the season that would be unowned? Trying to grab one for the playoffs.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Among those in the under-25-percent-owned crowd, the three I would keep the closest eye on are Brian Matusz, Phil Hughes and Homer Bailey. The skills are present for all three but the results mediocre at best to date, yet I see signs that all three are trending upward at this key time of year.
Sending me out there today? Tough matchup against a hot team, my owners are nervous...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
No. Dodge the (bad) streak.
Dan (Garnerville, NY)
Hey Tristan! Any hope for Liriano or Burnett ROS? They are sitting on the waiver wire.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Francisco Liriano is covered in "60 Feet 6 Inches" today, but regarding A.J. Burnett, if all he can do against the Royals is three runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings, I don't see much hope. Frankly, I think the Yankees are trying to convince themselves that he's better than he is because they're paying him all that money. Right now, it cannot be questioned that if the Yankees drop one of their six starters from the rotation, he's the one who should go.
Which Jeff Karstens do we see today?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
The bad one, or at least he'll be bordering more towards that than the good one we saw earlier in the year. Cardinals are a heck of a lot tougher matchup than the light-hitting Giants.
Curious to hear your thoughts on LoMo?s demotion. He hasn?t played well since the all star break, but Gaby Sanchez is hitting .209 since the break!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Building your case solely around batting average is ludicrous. That can fluctuate wildly and hardly provides the complete picture. A better case against Morrison: .273 on-base percentage, .679 OPS in 49 games since June 15. He was struggling. That said, a much more compelling case for: He still walked more than eight percent of the time and had a .200 ISO during that span, and that's awfully good for a guy going through that kind of "funk." I don't like the move. That's my stance. But most of it is that the Marlins aren't contenders anyway and they should let their young stars work through the kinks at the big-league level.Fantasy-wise, I think it leaves little hope of any value from Morrison this year, sadly.
You rolling with Matusz today vs the A's? What do you expect?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
I've advised a conservative approach. I did have to start him in my AL-only league but understand that's a deep league where the alternatives are few. Seems about right, as this is more of an evaluation matchup than one to exploit.
Starting Dempster tonight? He's been horrible on the road, but its Houston!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
He has? Back-to-back quality starts on the road at Milwaukee and St. Louis, which are about the toughest matchups in the National League? To me, this is a no-brainer. Start him.
Selling high on Delmon is a good strategy, but the trade deadline passed like two weeks ago in most leagues...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I've got several leagues with an August deadline, but if your deadline has passed, which I'm sure it has in a decent number of leagues, all it means is that you shouldn't attach yourself to Delmon Young for lengthy periods if he begins to slump or sit on the bench, as he inevitably will. There'll be another bandwagon to catch when it happens.
José (George) Constanza (ATL)
Whats your opinion of me? Would you rather have me on your team than guys like Delmon Young, Alfonso Soriano, Russel Martin or Abreu (ROS)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
I feel about the same with Constanza as I do Jason Bourgeois; value is rooted mostly in steals and runs. Both had decent walk rates in the minors and great stolen base numbers, and there's no shame in streak-riding. I'd probably take him over the former two if I needed the steals help, but not the latter two. And I wouldn't count on a single additional homer all year; he is not a power hitter.
Starting anibal at colorodo?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
No. Far too much risk for my tastes. Anibal needs a "show-me" start and Coors is hardly a place you should be expecting it to happen.Much prefer Jhoulys Chacin of the two starters in that game.
Starting Randall Delgado against the Giants tonight? Wondering if the rookie is worth taking a chance one?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
My opinion is that his command is not necessarily polished enough for him to succeed at this level (yet). If you do it, you're banking entirely upon the weakness of the Giants' lineup, and that's understandable ... but it should be restricted to NL-only and very deep mixed leagues. (Do your best to avoid.)
J.J. Von Fentonworth (Boston, MA)
ETHICS QUESTION: If it is passed the trading deadline in your league and you have a big lead in saves, should you be able to drop a closer and alert the team with the #1 waiver claim that he can pick him up - and this can take away points from your competitors.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
That doesn't pass the "taste test." It feels like out-and-out collusion, a method of steering around your league's trade rules. Doesn't seem right to me. If you could do it without it being obvious, I understand it, but cutting Craig Kimbrel right now is going to raise many an eyebrow.
Starting Niese and Gee today and tomorrow against SD?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
I fondly recall the "everybody hits, everybody hits" chant in Little League, when you were facing a team with positively miserable pitching. I have a similar rally cry in fantasy matchups-sniffing: "Everybody starts, everybody starts ... in Petco!"
When do you think trade deadlines should be set?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Approximately the three-quarter mark of the "regular season" of your league. In a Rotisserie league, that means a probable mid-August deadline (Aug. 15 seems about right), and in a head-to-head league, it means about three weeks before the playoffs begin, which is probably what, July 31-Aug. 15? I think July 31 is too early in the majority of cases, but that's just my opinion.
"If you can do it without it being obvious, I understand it, but cutting Craig Kimbrel right now is going to raise many an eyebrow." Really?? That's like saying don't take $50 from your dad's wallet because he'll notice for sure, but if you can grab a $10 spot then you might be okay. That's not an ethical response you gave, just a pragmatic one...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
The point is that if you cut Jason Isringhausen today, in that aforementioned example, because of the strategy detailed, nobody's going to notice or care. Izzy might not get a save the rest of the year. But names and extremes catch eyes, and I picked Kimbrel by design. It's extreme, it shows you how objectionable the strategy. You shouldn't be doing it, period, you're right and that was my point. But if you're doing small moves that would fall in the range of your day-to-day dealings and add/drops, no one is going to care. Bottom line: The more attention your move, the greater the likelihood someone will spot it and cry foul, whether the intent was legitimate or not.
Should Matsui be owned ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Streak riding, plain and simple, but I've seen many a Matsui streak that has lasted until year's end. Yes, he should be owned across the board right now, and enjoy it while it lasts.
Chris (Erlanger, KY)
Worried about Cole Hamels shoulder?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Yes, but not to the point of a rash move. Worst-case, this is another Tommy Hanson thing, two-week DL stint.
More on the ethics question. If you KNEW the guy with the #1 waiver spot was paying very close attention to the league and would grab him if you dropped Craig Kimbrell, would it still be unethical to drop him if you didn't say anything to anyone about it?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
OK, so this is today's splitting-hairs topic. I'll be clear, firm, if that's what's desired: In no way is this ethical (including the $10/$50 example above). The point is that if you're thinking about doing this, you're thinking incorrectly and inappropriately. There are trade rules for a reason; you should not be finding loopholes at every turn to exploit. Doing that leads to an excessive, 45-page league rulebook. Trust me, I know.
Another ethics question: player at the bottom of the league seems to be tanking to allow his brother who is in the playoff hunt to go 10-0 this week? Its fair for me to call foul right? Especially if the guy tanking is the commish?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Unethical. In the highest degree because the commissioner must always stay on the up and up. You need to find a new league next season if these shenanigans are happening.
Steve (in a box)
Venable: what do you make of him? He's been on a roll lately.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Matchups play you need to bench against the lefties, but he has speed and a bit of pop. NL-only option in general, but if you have the luxury of being picky he brings additional value.
Go ahead, say it. Say I told you so on Alexi Ogando. Say that I've been saying it all year in my 60 feet 6 inches column.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
I don't do "I told you sos." The value here is that the rankings in those columns each week are rest-of-year, not the very short window in the few weeks ahead. On May 15 I'm projecting approximately 18 more weeks of statistical returns, and maybe the immediate 3-4 are fantastic ... but the final six might be atrocious.
Should non playoff team rosters be locked once the playoffs start to prevent any collusion?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
In redraft leagues, absolutely. In keeper leagues, absolutely not.
No more Seinfeld-related Jose Constanza jokes. Please... I beg you...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
I did my one on the podcast last week, and I'm done.
ethics question again: have you ever heard of an owner "loaning" a player in a dynasty league to a contender for say a 1st round pick the following year while also getting that player back at the end of the year? what do you think about that?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
I've seen it done and I'm mostly OK with that, so long as there is a price. I don't like it, but so long as it's, say, Player A dealt for first rounder, then dealt back for, say, a fifth, in the winter, I can defend it. There has to be a price for renting, make sure it's a healthy one.
What are your thought on Mike Carp ROS? Guy's been raking!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Trend to ride, has the skills to stick and deserves at-bats. I'm thinking he's an AL-only/deep-mixed option rest of year. Not ready to invest more.
I say that Kevin's example is NOT an ethical problem. It's collusion that is wrong in fantasy league management, not exploiting loopholes and you can't collude with someone without communicating with them, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
My opinion: Colluding is either collaborating with an opponent to skew value, or attempting to do it on your own. If you are dropping Craig Kimbrel in any league, you are attempting to skew player value.
Hey THC: I have two quick questions: First, please pick one, Bedard @ TEX, Danks v TEX or Lilly @ COL. Second, Rasmus, Chipper or C. Young at U - Young has been killing me lately. Thank you in advance.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
Well, I'll scratch Erik Bedard first, and of the other two, I have much more fear of Ted Lilly at Coors than I do of John Danks in a home game. Danks it is. As for the utility spot, right now isn't a smart time to go Chris Young, not with the Diamondbacks on the road, so I'd go Chipper for the short term.
Should I keep Stephen Drew at $8?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
Don't know league context. NL-only, absolutely, there's no doubt he'll sell for more. Most likely this is a yes even in mixed; shortstop stinks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
Funny, but I don't think in any chat I've ever participated have I seem more questions regarding transactions ethics than today's. Which is fine, but boy, people get really heated about it.I'm not going to take another ethics question -- we'll do three more questions on general topics -- but I want to stress one important rule of thumb of mine: If you are attempting to find a rules loophole for your personal gain, what you are doing is unethical. That is the one rule I think every fantasy owner should live by.
THC what's for lunch? Do u like Gallardo tonite? thx!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:11 PM)
Good question; I'll say that I've had a craving for Yankee Bean soup for quite a bit this a.m., so maybe I'll go on the hunt. Sandwich, probably, otherwise. Yovani Gallardo gets a "yes." Was pitching well before that last so-so outing, and home against the Dodgers is a favorable matchup for sure.
This whole chat without discussion of the Yankees rotation? Starting Nova today with confidence?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:13 PM)
I've been recently criticized for being too Yankee-driven in my stat analysis, so tried to avoid the topic so as to cover all teams. (Funny, I once ripped the Yankees' starters in fantasy and was called some colorful names as well as a Red Sox fan.) But yes, very relevant topic, and Ivan Nova absolutely gets my approval.
What do you think of this Giovatella guy at 2B? Flash in the pan, or a decent OBP/R guy for the rest of the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:14 PM)
I look at his contact rate and overall track record of solid on-base numbers in the minors and think, yes, he can be a handy fantasy option the rest of the year. No eye-popping final-year stats, but you'll be pleased.
russ dallas [via mobile]
Do you like derek Holland tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:16 PM)
Hold on, let me go get my coin, because it might be as accurate in guessing Holland's prospects on any given night. On skills, I'll leave you with a "hmmmm ... yes," referring again to the picks in which I'm sort of confident, at least enough that I'd take the chance. But it's a chance. Holland has been all over the map, one of the most difficult to pin down. Bad outing last time in L.A., so I'd understand if you're more scared than I.
Pete (Toms River)
Do you like David Price or Zach Greinke as a keeper for 2012?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:18 PM)
Price. Yup, I'm going against the old "he pitches in the AL East" and "take the National Leaguer" arguments. Like the skills more, and Price has been a standout even against those tough division foes historically.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:18 PM)
OK, so I lied, a few more than three there, but it's time to wrap things up. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone, and I'll see you again on Thursday!