Chat with Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Will what will we get from Jurrjens in 2012? More of the great 1st half of 2011 or a continuation of the mediocre 2nd half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Something in between, barring any further injury issues, but I'm leaning A) more towards the bad second half and B) him being a bigger health risk than you'd expect. His "luck" factors -- and I always caution not to go overboard with these, the BABIP/LOB%, etc., categories -- were largely the same the second half of 2011 as they were in 2010, when he was ho-hum in fantasy. I'm preparing and ranking accordingly.
Hello TC, where do you draft Carl Crawford and do you see a bounceback?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Well, without any of the health concerns I'd estimate him as a third/fourth round value, but I'd probably bump him down a couple rounds accordingly. In fact, I'm going to examine that with my top 250 later today, now that you mention it; today those rankings are getting another detailed polish.
Do you think Fielder signing with the Nats affects whether or not Harper breaks Spring training with the team?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
IF he signs in D.C., no, not really.
AlbertKly (New York)
Do you expect Trout to start the season in the majors? In the starting lineup?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
I don't, because teams these days do plenty to keep young players' service time/arbitration/FA clocks in check, and the Angels currently have a full outfield/DH/first base picture. Trout might lose a numbers game, simple as that. Certainly I'm drafting under that assumption.
Big Al (NC)
Do you see Darvish being comparable fantasy-wise to CJ Wilson or at a higher level?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
I think Wilson is the "safer" choice of the two, though in the teens in rankings among starting pitchers, whereas Yu Darvish belongs more like 25th, maybe 30th. The difference is that Darvish has more upside of the two; a Hideo Nomo-in-1995 impact isn't completely out of the question. At the same time, Darvish could be a bust, being that he's in quite a tough venue in which to break into the States.
John (At the mechanic)
If Braun gets his suspension miraculously appealed, do you take him over pujols (or kemp)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Yes. Those who recall my first top 250 of the offseason -- posted shortly after the 2011 regular season concluded -- remember that I had Ryan Braun my No. 1 player.
You seem to have Arod ranked higher than most of the others I've seen. With his age, injuries, and steep downward trend, what's your rationale there?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Wow. Really? What do I have him, 52nd? And I'm not even a fan at all, though I had him ranked lower than most.If the Yankees use him a bit more at DH, I think that might slow somewhat the aging process, so perhaps that contributes to my "optimistic" opinion, but I'm not really pro-A-Rod for 2012. I think he's chock full of risk.
Mike Ho (Hong Kong)
Hi Tristan, looking at Karabell's top 20 for baseball so far, what would your biggest disagreement be about?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
That he doesn't have a single pitcher ranked in his top 20, but that's completely philosophical and I understand why he didn't. They are absolutely riskier commodities than hitters, generally speaking. I might merely be more confident in the pitching elite; I have four pitchers in my overall top 20.
Doesn't losing Fielder effect Braun's numbers. What kind of a line do you expect for him this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
We're running parallel to the Miguel Cabrera concerns post-Victor Martinez news with this kind of question. And my reply is that "you're onto something," but if what we're talking about amounts to maybe $1-3 of lost fantasy value, I can say we are definitely splitting hairs. In addition, I'll ask: Aramis Ramirez or, um, Alex Avila? Delmon Young? Jhonny Peralta? Wouldn't you take Ramirez every time?
What are your thoughts on Justin Smoak this year? How big of an impact will Jesus Montero being in the lineup have on him (if any)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Montero's arrival at least injects a little more offense into, well, that offense, so it's a slight boost to any Mariner's counting numbers. But I'm not big on Smoak as a counting-number player, not in Safeco. At best, maybe he's a .260 hitter with 15 homers.
Jake (State Farm)
Who is your most undervalued sp going into 2012?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
On the upper tiers, Matt Garza. Peripherals point to him being more talented than his 2011 numbers show, and his arsenal itself improved, specifically his slider, which became an elite strikeout pitch. Fastball also improved in performance. I see this being the year he might truly break out.Lower tiers, Trevor Cahill. Like him as a ground baller, and that's not a bad defense behind him
How do you do your research? Watch games? Check out stats?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Both.I readily admit that I lean more on statistics than visuals, but that makes complete sense for an analyst in a game that's based, well, entirely upon statistics.
Chris (South Carolina)
How high is Joey Votto on your NL-only list if Prince signs in the AL?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
Frankly it doesn't matter. Votto is going to be the second or third player off the board in an NL-only league, regardless of what Prince does. Maybe it makes him more attractive than Troy Tulowitzki if Prince goes AL, but I only say that because first base is actually not quite as deep as I initially thought entering the offseason.
Who do you like better this season Strasburg with his innings cap or Pineda? Both should be good right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Both should be very good, but health and possible workload management -- more so with Stephen Strasburg -- could be all that keeps them from monstrous breakout years. I've got Pineda 20th, which is six spots ahead of Strasburg, but a lot of that is the likelihood he'll throw 30 additional innings.
Wayne (Up State)
What you do expect for Yonder Alonso?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Whereas I have some concerns with the aforementioned Justin Smoak, I'm actually intrigued by Alonso in Petco, any hesitance tied to that outrageously spacious right field. Power will be a problem, but I do think Alonso has .290-upside batting average potential. Could get into double digits in power, steal a middle-of-the-order lineup spot. I think he's a possible bargain. Draft at .280-12, but hope for more.
Who do you think is the best value pick for a low-end #1 closer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
I know they said Shelby Miller prob won't start the year but do you see him making noise in fantasy leagues this season? Predictions?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
From a raw skills standpoint, I positively love Shelby Miller. I see big things in his future; Miller and Matt Moore are two personal favorites of mine among the 2012 rookie breakout candidates. That said, Miller strikes me as more of the midseason-promotion type than a guy who begins the year in the bigs. So he's a "spend-that-top-waiver-spot" pickup in, say, July, and that means those in shallow mixed probably can't afford the luxury of stashing.
Why does everyone seem to thing Pineda's trade to the Yanks helps his value? It has to take a hit right? More win's but much higher era and whip?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Yankee hype has a way of grabbing hold, I understand. But wins are wins, much as I loathe them as a fantasy category, and he might have gained 4-5 additional wins in terms of fantasy potential as a direct result of the deal. And that, simply put, is a big plus.I also vehemently disagree on "much" being put before the words "higher ERA and WHIP." I did an analysis on the Pineda deal at the time it was made -- check the fantasy page -- and you'll see why I'm not so convinced he'll struggle in those departments. If you thought he was a 3.00-ERA guy in Seattle in 2012, I say he's 3.50 in New York. If you thought 3.25, then go 3.75. And so on. That's not a disastrous drop in performance.
As a general auction strategy, are you more likely to keep players you've previously drafted that are accurately priced, or do you gamble and throw them back in the pool hoping you could maybe bid on them for cheaper?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
Impossible to answer in black and white. I'd say that the higher the player places in the overall ranks on our site, the more valuable he becomes as a keeper even at the listed market value. For example: If we're talking about a $32 Carlos Gonzalez or a $5 J.P. Arencibia, I'm going to keep the $32 Gonzalez most of the time.The reason: There's a greater chance that the higher-market-value player is going to generate a bidding war at the draft table, ruining your chances of reacquiring him at list price, than with the lesser player.
Mike (San Diego)
Plus with Alonso, he will be hitting no more than 2 spots behind Chase Headley, who is a pretty darn good on base guy. This should help RBI potential, despite how big Petco is.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Fair point. I don't post to convince people to go overboard, but opportunities abound in San Diego for young players, ones that would have not been present on other teams.
Who do you think end up with the closing duties in Oakland, and should we completely stay away?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I honestly don't have a clue, Jason. It looks a heck of a lot like a Grant Balfour-Fautino De Los Santos-Joey Devine spring battle to me, but I've heard the "Devine is our future closer" chatter so many times before and his health is as big a question mark as anyone's. I think the smart play is to invest in Balfour -- albeit a small one -- and track De Los Santos as your serious sleeper.
I see by your latest rankings that Brandon Belt has taken a hit - he's not on the Top 250 any longer. Is that because you feel he won't be starting the season with the Giants?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
It's one factor, yes. The Giants, to me, appear likely to find a place for Aubrey Huff, Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, so that means one open spot and let's not forget the possibility that Buster Posey and/or Pablo Sandoval sneaks in some time at first base this year. I can't invest in regular Belt at-bats, and the other problem is that he didn't overwhelm me in his brief big-league time in 2012, and when you translate his minor league numbers, they take a hit because he was in a hitters' league. Facts overrode my gut there, but I had him ranked low in the first place anyway. He's still top-300 capable.
Brandon Beachy make a leap at all this year? If not THE leap, a smaller one?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
To be honest, Lucas, I'm not sure exactly how to approach Beachy. Any improvement will be tied to his pitching more innings, except that since he relies a good bit on velocity to succeed, I worry whether he might suffer a little the more he throws. I'm toning down his ERA, WHIP and K rate slightly as his innings improves, and the net result is value not much different than he had in 2011. Check my rankings: I'm still pretty fond of him.
Congrats on the recognition - well deserved! I know he's a huge risk, but what are your general thoughts on Kendrys Morales? Assuming (big assumption) he is healthy, do you see him as a sleeper based on his perceived value in an AL only auction? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Thank you, Billy!Yes, I'd call Morales a potential value, but the fears I'd lay out for him are similar to those of Trout, a playing time thing, and the reason is that there are three first basemen on the roster and a Morales/Mark Trumbo platoon doesn't seem out of the question. Just tread carefully.
A follow-up Belt question - I have him as a keeper possibility for $4. If by the end of March (my draft is April 1st), it becomes evident that he is sticking with the Giants and will have a definite role, is he worth the price?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Adam Dunn (In my pyschiatrist's office)
What does 2012 have in store for me? 30+ homeruns again?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I think, sadly, that Adam Dunn might very well live up to his name. The guy can no longer hit dialed-up fastballs, and that's a real problem for a high-strikeout slugger. When doing my research, I realized the best case people might make for Dunn is "no one drops off the table like this at 31, he has to get better just because." And to that, I say, Richie Sexson. At 32, Sexson showed he no longer had it, losing 194 points of OPS, and a year later he was out of baseball.
Bob.C (Merlin, Ontario)
Does Kenley Jansen win the closer job in Los Angeles right out of the gate?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
I think he will. With some luck in the health department -- and I am hopeful about that -- he might be this year's biggest closer breakout. I'm warming to him by the minute the more I examine him this winter.
Who gets hit with the sophmore slump this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
I have to admit that I am very, very scared that Mark Trumbo is going to fall off the table. So much power, yes, but his plate discipline regressed the deeper he got in 2011. He chased 40.7 percent of pitches out of the strike zone after the All-Star break, fifth-most in the majors. Bleagh.
What do you think about Desmond Jennings in 2012?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I like Jennings. I think he's a good player, has a bright future ahead of him, might have a top-5 fantasy season within the next half-decade. That said, I think the buzz surrounding him today has a danger of spiraling out of control. I say invest in runs -- think in the 80s, maybe even 90s -- and steals -- 40 could be a lock if he's an everyday player -- and be happy with anything else, because I've got a hunch he might disappoint more in terms of batting average than people think. There's a probable cold spell/adjustment period in there.
Karabell boldly predicted a .320 average, 29 home runs and 111 RBIs for LoMo. Whoa! Where you at on the young slugger?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Eric isn't going to be happy if he's right, because in our uber-deep sim league this winter, I acquired Logan Morrison straight up for Jair Jurrjens. Let's say this: If what you wanted was an upside projection -- and that's precisely what I expect Eric was offering -- I say he is right on. I'm a huge Logan Morrison fan.
Is Bonifacio going to get full playing time? If so, how do you think Ozzie uses him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
I think he'll be a super-utility player, used much in the way that Tony Phillips was back in the day. So a 500-PA season seems well within his reach, considering Emilio Bonifacio's improvements at the plate paint the picture of a valuable top-of-the-order type. I really don't want to believe in Bonifacio; I think he has a limited skill set and I feel a little about him coming off his 2011 as I did Angel Pagan when he had his breakout year. But there's value there, and Bonifacio has position eligibility that's more valuable than Pagan's was. Could be quite a cheap 35 steals.
You and Karabell are drunk on the LoMo Kool-Aid, man. He has NEVER demonstrated the ability to hit for that kind of average.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Um, Logan Morrison batted .332 in Class A in 2008, .307 in Triple-A in 2010 and then .283 in his rookie season with the Marlins that same year.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Just to be clear: I said "upside projection."
Would I be crazy not to accept Granderson for my boy Trout? I'm in an unrestricted dynasty league. Granderson is 30, has 1 yr left on his contract, club option in 2013...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
I'm not sure whether the contractual details are big-league -- I don't memorize all of those -- or specific to your league, but if I read that correctly that you're going to be able to keep him for two more seasons and you have a chance to win, that's a no-brainer. Granderson's swing is perfectly suited to Yankee Stadium; Carlos Pena might be the only player in baseball whose swing is a more perfect fit to the venue. Granderson's numbers are not going to regress much, if at all.
Bumgarner is only 23 years old....Smile and draft him late, he will be a stud in that park.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
Can I press the "like this" button?
Bob.C (Merlin, Ontario)
Trying to sort out my keepers before deadline. Would you trade Carlos Santana for Buster Posey? I can't stand Santana's drag in the average category.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
No. Absolutely not.
In a six-player keeper league over here, what can I expect out of Starlin Castro long term? Any chance he develops 20+ HR power?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
I do think he might, but it could also take another 2-3 years before he does. He's awfully young, after all, and many players need until they're 23-25 years old before they experience that true bump in power.My take on Castro is that he's a pretty polished hitter, and young at a position that is aging rapidly and thin as it is. I'm not sure I see any big breakthroughs coming, but if he repeats 2011, as he should, you'll be plenty pleased.
Does Ryan Kalish eventually take over the Red Sox RF spot late in the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
I'm a Kalish fan on raw skills, but health was a significant question for him in 2011. It requires homework; I'm going to take the conservative route today but as I like him, I'll be tracking him and can say he's got a shot.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 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!