Fantasy Sports' Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Pete (NY, NY)
15 team deep league -- better keeper Crisp at 4 or Gaby Sanchez at 9?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
The tough part there is that in terms of raw, on-paper value, Sanchez is going to be ranked higher and might even have the edge in terms of savings comparative to draft-day cost. But when it comes to keepers, I'd preserve the tougher assets -- in this case steals -- when the price is that low. A $4 near lock for 30 steals? I think that's the smarter choice, because it's tougher to replace in the auction.
Aaron (Harrisburg, PA)
12 team H2H points league. The first 9 rounds are keeper picks. Another owner would like to swap Price (I own) for Gallardo (he owns) and we would swap draft picks in the 11th, 13th, and 15th rounds (I would move up 5 picks each round). Fair?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Fair, but I personally prefer David Price, so I could go either way on a deal like that. Frankly, I'd probably stand pat, but I prefer to own the pitcher I like better over a five-spot bump in three middling rounds in the draft.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
A realization: I actually ranked Crisp higher than Sanchez -- tough to memorize one's own rankings mid-chat -- so it's even clearer a call than I thought.
Peter (Brooklyn, NY)
I'm in a 12 team league with up to six keepers. I'm fairly certain the players I want to keep are: Fielder, Cano, Stanton, Hanley, Strasburg, and Gallardo. I also have Weiters, Bumgarner, and Josh Johnson. Is my first instinct on my keepers is correct?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
I can't dispute your choices, as this is more a personal-preference angle than anything, but I'd keep Matt Wieters over Stephen Strasburg. The more I examine Wieters, the more I like him, and I'd rather keep the hitter over pitcher.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear TristianWhere could you see Price Fielder going to?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
I feel like it's going to be either the Nationals or Rangers, and neither should have an adverse impact on his fantasy value. In fact, a move to Texas would be a plus; I could make an easy case for him being a top-10 pick overall.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Random thought: First base is a heck of a lot more shallow than I believed entering the offseason. It's not bone dry -- not by a long shot -- but I don't think it's as bad an idea to target one of the top guys.
Hey Tristan, In a PPR and bonus pts for 50+ play or 100 for game, Sproles at tough 49's or Bradshaw at GB? Excludes returns, Thanx
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I'd go Darren Sproles, but it's close. In his defense, I wouldn't read terribly into the run defense matchup; the Saints should involve him a good share in the receiving game and that will keep his value pretty stable.
Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)
Hey Tristan. Happy New Year! If Tolbert doesn't return, does Mathews' value go up and can he handle the increase in carries?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Happy New Year to you too! I'm quite pro-Ryan Mathews, as I think 2012 will be his time to shine. He's got the skills to be a full-time NFL starter, a 250-carry workhorse and a top-10 fantasy asset overall. If I was to outline any questions, it'd all be about health. But in terms of upside, I'm buying ... at least today I am.
Tommy (Sunny Miami)
Looking forward to watching Reyes, Bonifacio steal 100+ bases combined --- does this mean Gaby reaches better numbers or does the new park limit his production?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
There's no way of knowing how the new ballpark will play; I look at those dimensions and think it should play at least slightly more in favor of hitters, but there's a long way to go before it'd be "hitter-friendly." So let's say I don't see any substantial changes in value. I still call Gaby Sanchez more of a teens-ranked first baseman.
Hey TC. So i am in a keeper league where we can keep 5 players. I have Braun which would normally be a no brainer to keep however with his suspension i am considering letting him go. Pick the 5 you would keep. Cabrera, Tulo , Wright, Bruan, Lincecum, Crawford, Price?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
One thing for Ryan Braun's keeper-league owners to consider: If you can lock him in for eternity, it's probably going to be worth it, barring your having an excess of riches. The guy is 28 years old, after all. So in your shoes, I can still make the case. Miguel Cabrera and Troy Tulowitzki are no-brainers. I'd go Braun and David Wright as well. And of the final three, I'd keep Tim Lincecum, but that's personal preference.
Nathan (Chuck E. Cheese)
Excited for the Rankings Summit...Who do you see being the biggest risers and fallers in your rankings from the original Top 250?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I have an update due in today that is going to make some adjustments directly related to the research I've been doing for the rankings summit. Francisco Cordero has plummeted, but I'm also growing increasingly confident in Ike Davis, and I'm iffier about the sophomores Dustin Ackley and Jason Kipnis than I originally was.
12 team H2H points league. Rank the following keeper (no round penalties) prospects: Lawrie, Hosmer, Matt Moore, Brandon Beachy
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Eric Hosmer is the standout, regardless of first-base eligibility. Then it's a toss-up; I'm going Moore, Brett Lawrie, Beachy, but I also like to rank on long-term appeal when I feel the values are somewhat close.
Rat Master (Rat's Nest)
Keeper Q for you TC. Keep 3 of Strasburg, Wainwright, Gallardo, Latos, J.Zimm. All can be kept for 2 years.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I think Yovani Gallardo and Jordan Zimmermann are the two strongest choices of that group, and then it's a close, close battle between the other three. I'm going to leave Mat Latos out if only because of the ballpark concern, so it's down to the Tommy John surgery returnees. And given the choice, I'm going with the monstrous upside: It's Stephen Strasburg.
Hey Tristan - Any update on your long-term keeper rankings? I loved the one you did last year for 2012-2014.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I generally do them twice a year -- they are difficult to do and I don't like rushing them for the sake of tossing them out there simply to have something published -- and you can be sure they will be included in the Draft Kit this spring. I haven't forgotten!
Tim (Rochester, NY)
before this season lots of people said Michael Vick's rushing TDs couldn't possibly match last season, and they were right. Any reason to believe Cam Newton has a similar drop off next year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
Yes, and in fact, that's the A-number-one worry I have about Cam Newton entering 2012. I do think he'll improve as a passer, but his rushing scores will predictably regress. Not that I'm saying I expect zero, but I think double-digits is asking a lot. Put him in your top five quarterbacks and I think you're setting yourself up for disappointment.
Who will be the starting catcher for the Halos?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Chris Iannetta. I do think Hank Conger should get a few additional at-bats, so keep that in mind if you're in an AL-only, two-catcher league.
NEVER KEEP A CATCHER!!!! THATS LIKE KEEPING A DEFENSE IN FOOTBALL!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Wow, really? A stretch, for sure. I generally don't endorse investing heavily in catchers, but the young, franchise-caliber ones make a compelling case. Certainly more so than a defense in football.
Ryan (With Nathan at Chuck E. Cheese)
I've noticed your ranks don't reflect Longoria as a Rd1 pick. I am torn because of scarcity at 3b. Thoughts on the 3b position and where they fall in tiers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I'm pro-Evan Longoria but not to the point where I'd overrate his draft value simply because third base is "weak." Isn't that what everyone said last year, and we saw where he finished in the rankings in 2011? Longoria has top-25 value for sure, and I'd target him with my second-rounder, but I'm not building you a top-10 case. Seems a stretch to me.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
As for the third-base tiers, I think there's a serious danger of people overdrafting. I've got guys like Adrian Beltre and Ryan Zimmerman in that fourth-round range or so, I think A-Rod will inevitably be overrated and the drop-off after guys like that is noticeable. I won't be grabbing Brett Lawrie in the sixth-seventh round, which might be where he goes, and probably will need to prepare to take a mid-to-late rounder if I miss out on (or see them overdrafted) the top guys.
Drew (Hudson Valley, NY)
Why so skeptical on Zobrist and Morse compared to their player rater rankings? Not even in top 100? Do you not believe?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Ben Zobrist actually moves up in today's update. To say top 100 is fair. As for Matt Moore, I positively love the guy. Complete believer. But any "naysaying" in my rankings is centered on an innings cap; I could see the Rays trying to hold him back in the 160-170 range and that caps his fantasy value.
Tristan Fan (Bristol)
Did you see Eric Karabell's ridiculous top 10 blog? Hanley Ramirez in the top 10? C'mon! Where would you rank Hanley?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Eric and I specifically discussed that before he published. I understand exactly what he's thinking; the best-case scenario for Hanley Ramirez, simply put, is that of a first-round pick. Eric believes the Hanley-to-third distraction isn't an issue, and that he'll remain healthy. I understand it, though don't agree with it. But I think that's a good thing; it underscores the kind of upside that he has, but my ranking of Hanley Ramirez merely in the top 25 shows that he might and should slide on draft day.
What are you expectations for Pence in a full season with Philly?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
I think Hunter Pence is one of the more underrated players in fantasy. He's a .300 hitter, at worst .290, could hit up to 30 bombs in Philly, and in that lineup will be a strong bet for 100 RBIs. I think of him as a .300-30-100 candidate, with a shot at 10 steals. It's why I ranked him as well as I did.
Drew (Hudson Valley, NY)
I meant Michael Morse of Nationals. 30-HR potential. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Haha, I had Matt Moore on the brain.Michael Morse actually moved up as well in my rankings. The sabermetric side of me says I should stay away, but every bit of research I do tells me that he shouldn't be much less than he was in 2011.
Cubby Charlie (Chicago)
Do you think Travis Wood makes the Cubs rotation and thrives, or is he more like his 2011 season, which is to say he's nothing special?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I think Travis Wood is your run-of-the-mill matchups pitcher, a streaming specialist, period. And he's on the Cubs, which should be a losing team. Wood could ask new rotation-mate Paul Maholm about that; Maholm spent years as a "ho-hum" fantasy option in that category because he played for awful Pirates teams.Though for the record: I'd invest in Wood before Maholm, and it's not close.
Ryan (Back of a Wedding Elephant)
More likely - Lawrie delivers Wright-esque value this year or Carlos Santana becomes Mauer-esque (in his prime)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Awkward comparisons, sorry Ryan. Carlos Santana couldn't be any more different than Joe Mauer; Mauer's value is tied into his batting-average skills, while Santana is your walks-power guy. If you're talking fantasy dollar earnings -- and I assume you are -- Santana reaches Mauer's peak more easily than Brett Lawrie reaches David Wright's. Though I do like both youngsters generally.
TC Engle (Newark Valley)
Big fan of the chats. I'm concerned about Bryce Harper's AA stats. On paper they just weren't that good last year. Is he really worth all of this hype?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Yes he is, but he's also awfully young. I'd say that if Harper makes the Nationals and we're talking redraft-league value, I won't be touching him. His ADP is almost a guarantee to be at least 2-3 rounds higher than before I'd even consider taking him; hype takes a disturbing hold with prospects like this (think Alex Gordon several years back). I think we should talk Harper a year from now, because he'll have another year's professional experience, will be a little older and might be coming off a more encouraging minor league year. Heck, I don't know that I could talk more than a .265 batting average and 18-20 homers if Harper played all of 2012 in D.C. And even that might be a stretch.
Everyone seems to be back on the Heyward bandwagon. Smart?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I think any individual hoping for a Jason Heyward rebound needs to pay intensely close attention to his spring training. His swing was effectively wrecked last year, and I have no specific evidence today that it's now fine. Heyward hit a slew of ground balls and he's going to have to adapt to hit for more power if he's going to reach his ceiling. Fortunately, he's young enough to do so, but I'd like to throw a little cold water on the Heyward buzz until we see some sort of spring promise.
You seem high on Verlander? Isn't he due for regression? Halladay has to be safer right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
I have absolutely no idea why people assume Justin Verlander is in line for regression. Frankly, I think "regression" is an inappropriate term for him; I think "statistical variance" is a better way to describe it, in that it's difficult to win as many games as he did from year to year. I've examined Verlander's batted-ball breakdowns -- and not in that "oh, let's examine the plain-ol' BABIP," I mean I looked at each type -- and I didn't see as much to indicate he was "lucky" as I think others believe. He's very likely to remain a top-three pitcher, and the ranking is partly due to what's some of the most amazing stamina in the game.
Arvydas Sabonis (Lithuania)
Love a January baseball chat. Thoughts on Curtis Granderson for 2012? He seems due to regress, but he's been doing this since August of 2010.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Another case where "statistical variance" might be a smarter descriptive word. Granderson's swing is brilliantly suited to Yankee Stadium; there's a very real chance that he's going to finish between 30 and 40 homers not only this year, but next year too. The guy pulls everything and his swing generates a lot of lift.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Oh, heads up on Granderson: Also a player due for a slight rise in today's update.
Reed Scott (Endwell)
Huge Fan Tristan!! Love the chat. I just dropped Neftali Feliz in my head to head points keeper league because I didnt want to be tempted into keeping him. What can be expected of him if they put him in the rotation?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Something Ogando-esque, probably, and I'm talking about raw fantasy impact rather than it being a direct skills comparison. Perhaps a little more strikeout potential. But the amount of innings, and the team beginning to cap it midsummer, yeah, it seems oh-so-similar to me.
Brett Anderson of the A's: Still a future stud, or is it time to give up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I believe, but that's merely my opinion. Anderson's skill set is that of a potential long-term ace; good command, high ground-ball rate, gets K's. The problem is that with the injuries, he's now in the risk/reward department. Erik Bedard comes to mind as what Anderson's downside might be long-term; I'm trying to think of an "upside" guy and the only guy I can think of is Chris Carpenter (which to me is a tad awkward because he's a right-hander). But it shows how wide the swing.Fortunately, I don't fear Tommy John surgery returnees. I think 15-20 starts, good numbers, 2013 is the possible breakout.
Luebeke getting more love in your updated rankings?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Not that I recall, no, not really. Horrendous team caps win potential -- sadly wins remain a part of our game and we must prepare accordingly -- and I do think he's due for a little regression.
What's your take on Drew Stubbs? Kind of fell off in the later months, was benched for a while iirc.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Monstrous holes in his swing make him a high-risk draft pick, prone to atrocious slumps. You've been cautioned by me on countless occasions over the years, and I'm not straying from that opinion. Has a place as a big leaguer, but not in the "star" group.
Believe it or not, I was a Doug Fister fan when he was in Seattle. After his great 2nd half in Detroit, is he the Robin to Verlander's Batman?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Fister the Mariner was one of the most underrated pitchers in all of baseball. I think it's asking a lot for a pitcher who relies on command more than anything to repeat such a pitch-perfect season as his 2011, but this is a pitcher to buy, absolutely. It's just that he's not top-25 worthy; this is a guy who falls into your safe, every-week (except maybe for Red Sox/Rangers/Yankees matchups) start, in-the-top-40 class. Kind of like the guy you'd put right at, or slightly above, the "Wandy Line."
Mike (San Diego)
OF COURSE Verlander is due for some regression. He won't reach last year's #s, but he's still a pitcher with elite skills playing in a division with some mediocre lineups. Is anyone really going to complain about 18-20 wins, a low 3 ERA, 1.1ish WHIP and 225 Ks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
But I think people toss the word "regression" around as if they define it as "he was lucky and now he'll be unlucky," and that is a mistake when it comes to Justin Verlander. Your numbers seem reasonable, and in no way was he "lucky" if that's how he finishes.
John (Mendham, NJ)
Where do you see Moustakas finishing amongs 3b? 13th or so?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Mike Moustakas scares me a little, because A) There are already hints he's not guaranteed the Opening Day job, and B) he has shown the occasional tendency to struggle to tougher competition when climbing the minor league ladder. I'm being a little hesitant; I want to be convinced in the spring. He's my No. 16 third baseman (before the update) and that could move a noticeable amount depending upon spring developments.
Max (In the time-out corner)
Thoughts on using Pitching Staffs instead of Individual Pitchers in a league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
I don't like it, much as I don't like team defenses in fantasy football. Show your ability to identify individual values, not "who's the best team." For one thing, it'd be rough to be the team that gets the No. 10 fantasy pitching staff. For another, it's not like the Yankees get to buy a complete pitching staff with one contract; if they had, they'd have bought, say, San Francisco's and Yankees fans would be very happy today.
Do you think this is the year Bruce finally hits 40 bombs? Or will his ave hold him back to do so?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
Batting average has nothing to do with it. I do think that's Bruce's upside but it's more reasonable to expect 30-35 and enjoy everything thereafter.
Tommy with a T (Jersey)
Big fan of your work Tristan! You're the best! Do you think by 2013 Matt Moore will be the best pitcher on the Rays?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
To be perfectly honest, Tommy, if the Rays didn't put any kind of cap on Moore, let him go do his thing and top 200 innings if he wanted, I think Moore could be the best pitcher on the Rays in 2012. Yes, his upside is that great.Stress: Upside. Unfortunately, I do think he will be capped and his chances of exceeding David Price's, or even James Shields' value, isn't great.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 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 have a great weekend!
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