Fantasy MLB with Tristan Cockcroft
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday morning, ESPN.com fantasy expert Tristan Cockcroft will drop by to take your questions and analyze all the latest baseball news from a fantasy perspective.
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Is it safe to drop Bonifacio? Held him for so long, and now he's hurt again, anywhere from 2-3 weeks to the ROS supposedly.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
After whispers that he'd be out for the season, Emilio Bonifacio's thumb injury is apparently not quite as severe as initially expected. I'm thinking it's more like three weeks; more than the minimum stay but not all remaining nine weeks. Still, I'd call him "safe" to drop if what you're removing him for is meaningful enough. I don't expect much more than a decent handful of steals from him in September.
Is Brett Jackson worth a add in a 12 team points league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Not if your league penalizes for strikeouts. Picking up Jackson is speculating upon playing time, hoarding at-bats. He's mostly a stolen bases contributor, could kill your batting average, in Roto.
Leroy Jenkins (CHARLOTTE NC)
What do you make of James McDonald (SP; Pirates) struggles? Do you keep him? And how should I scale my expectations ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
I watched his most recent outing and came away unimpressed. This looks like the McDonald of 2011, not at all the McDonald of the first half of 2012. Frankly, I was surprised he squeaked through with as good a stat line as he had. Command sketchier, and until I see that improve, he's the kind of guy I'd prefer to stash on my bench until he works through it.
Pick two of the these two start pitchers please: Phil Hughes, Ben Sheets, or Edwin Jackson?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Not to be difficult, but I rank every meaningful starting pitcher every week in the Forecaster, and that's a great resource for decisions like this. Unless the league format skews the scoring by some significant amount, I'm not going to provide an answer out of line with any of those rankings.
How much weight do you put on 6 games vs 7 on the schedule for hitters in weekly leagues? Would you start Rizzo and Ludwick who play 7 over Freeman and Hart who play 6?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
I think of it as a "tiebreaker" factor, where two similarly valued hitters toss the edge to the one with more games. Account for home/road games, though, as well as the quality of opponent. Again, hitter ratings can be found in the Forecaster. I see Rizzo, Freeman and Hart as good examples. I'd probably sit Freeman, given the games and schedules.
Are you a believe in Kris Medlen? Does he keep the job?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
I am, despite what has been an unimpressive strikeout rate so far this season, and I think at this point the Braves would be smart to keep him in their rotation the rest of the way. If I'm making preparations, yes, I'd prepare under the assumption he sticks and makes a run at, hmmm, top-60 fantasy starter value.
If Olt stays up for the season, where would you re-rank him for keepers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Maybe gets a 20-spot bump. He's not getting quite the playing time now that would have me making any major adjustments.
Dan Straily (Oakland)
Strong debut performance this weekend...Am I a legit SP option in Standard Mixers going forward ROS? Thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
The usual "beware the bad matchups" caveat applies, but he's a strikeout arm working in a spacious home ballpark. I'd say yes.
Keeper question: Rizzo or Hosmer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Eric Hosmer. Just a better skill set projecting over the long haul, and you said "keeper"...
Why do you have Sale making 2 starts and Liriano 0?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
You know, Sean, good catch and you are absolutely correct. Thanks, I will go in there after the chat and make another update. The White Sox's silly six-man rotation keeps throwing me, and when they made that Sale-Peavy swap, I forgot to account for Liriano's spot. Looks like no White Sox pitcher is terribly likely to go twice.
Any update on Garza?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
He's headed for the disabled list following a setback and shouldn't make an appearance this week. Plan accordingly. As I've just noted I'd update the Forecaster, this will be included.
Josh Rutledge (Colorado)
What do I have to do to get some attention on this chat? Are you not buying into me?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Question, Josh: Where do you play after Troy Tulowitzki returns? That's my hesitation. As is the fact that I could see a home/road matchups caveat applying over the long haul. I'd buy as a short-term plug-in or an NL-only league, but I'm not all in yet.
Start Ben Sheets in Philly? Will he have the same success he had a couple of weeks back vs them?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
You know, I think Sheets is effectively a must-start at this point. It's not the per-start potential that's in question; it's his health. And right now he's healthy, period.
Contemplating what to do with Ryan Howard in a 12 tm H2H points league....the strikeouts are starting to mount. Thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Would you have expected any different? Don't see why anything has changed, other than a lower rate of at-bats than usual, as he works back to full strength.
Tristan, any word on Stanton is he back for sure tomorrow?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
I don't have any official, "it's written in cement" word that the Marlins are activating Giancarlo Stanton tomorrow, but every report still has that being the target date. He's on a rehab assignment, homered on Saturday and I'd prepare as if he's back Tuesday.
Jayson Werth, thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
Hits in four straight since returning, five walks total during that span, I'd say he's back to being worth starting in all formats. Likely to rank somewhere in the No. 75 range in "Hit Parade," which is a clear-cut starter in all formats.
Carlos Gomez legit? Johan Santana gonna come back strong? Thinking of dropping Rasmus and Homer bailey for them.. thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I'd cut Bailey for Santana, but I'd never, ever cut Rasmus for Gomez. I still don't believe.
Troy Tulowitzki (CO)
Do you know something I don't? No time-table has been set for my return, so what makes you think I will? Recent reports show me not progressing very quickly and the news is COL doesn't want to rush me. If Rutledge is performing and my team is out of the playoff run, why would I come back this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Last I heard, Tulowitzki was taking batting practice. Why even bother with starting the rehab process if there was no intent for him to return? It'll take awhile -- maybe until the Sept. 1 roster expansion -- but if one of your most talented and well paid players is on the mend, why wouldn't you want him back, poor standings or not?
How confident are you that CJ Wilson gets a second start? ESPN does not have it that way online
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
L.A. Times reported at the initial publish date (Friday) that Ervin Santana would be skipped due to Thursday's off day, but over the weekend, perhaps as a result of Santana's respectable outing, the team apparently changed its mind. Now Santana "might" be skipped. In the update I'll have him back in there and Wilson going once.That's the unfortunate part of projecting a week's rotation; teams usually do not make formal announcements of starters beyond 3-5 days, so I must project based on the information I have. And that information can often, and quickly, change.
Which Matt Harvey is for real, 5IP 5runs or 6IP 11Ks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Former. Firmly believe that. But I also lean back upon Adam Rubin's (ESPNNewYork.com) tweets that he had heard from so many scouts that Harvey's stuff wasn't "elite" (11-K's-in-6-IP), and more in the 4/5 starter class. NL-only owners might find some use in him. I think he's overrated in standard mixed.
Is Ted Lilly coming back this season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
This is mostly my opinion, but I wouldn't count on it. He suffered a setback, continues to struggle with his rehab and I can't see him pitching before September, if at all. I'm making preparations as if he's not going to be of any use in fantasy.
Brett Anderson is coming back here within a few weeks. Useful add down stretch or stay away?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
On sheer skill I want to say yes, but there are two things I see as obstacles: One, the A's rotation is already somewhat packed, especially with Brandon McCarthy also on the mend. Two, he's coming back from Tommy John surgery, and that often requires a good half-season for a pitcher to fully recapture his pre-surgery glory. Let's say Anderson's ceiling is what Tim Hudson/Jordan Zimmermann did during their comeback seasons. That was what, six semi-useful starts? Seems right.
What the heck do I do with Maybin in a keeper league? He's frustrating me and I know you wrote a piece on him pre season this year.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I can't stand Cameron Maybin in Petco Park. Really wish he'd get a fresh opportunity in a more hitting-friendly environment. But I think he's a shaky keeper at this point.
Think Dempster could get a redo if he was able to push the reset button?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
I've read this comment more than two dozen times even from some people in the business who I respect; I think it's being greatly exaggerated. It was one bad outing, against a very, very good offense in a hitter-friendly ballpark. Yes, this next one might be a stinker, too. But I still think Dempster's value is just what I said it was when he was traded; Best value comes in the final six weeks, was going to regress in ERA/WHIP besides and I still see something in the mid-threes in ERA, but a wins bump.
Jaime Garcia is rumored to have last rehab start Thursday. Add now, or monitor with caution?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
He might be only two more rehab starts away from activation, in fact. I'd add him in all but the most shallow formats -- 10-team mixed -- and even in those I'd be monitoring him closely. Garcia sure has it in him to be a top-50 starter upon activation, so why not speculate?
Victorino WILL get things going in LA, won't he?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
I certainly believe so. I'm not about to pass judgment on a player who, pre-trade, was red hot, and has only been cold for the first five days since his trade.
Drop Wandy for Jaime?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Who gets the next save chance for the A's?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Now that there's actual press out there that the A's are mulling a change at closer, I'm going ahead and saying Grant Balfour. He has pitched the best of the bunch for the past month, and so many times when we hear that a team is "considering options," it is quickly followed by a "we're making a change" comment by the manager. Consider these your final hours to make a speculative Balfour pickup, if you've got the spare roster spot to do so.
Any pitchers you think will get an increased workload down the stretch? I'm looking to make a run at the playoffs
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
R.A. Dickey, and I'm not so sure I like the idea. He's a higher-stress knuckleballer than any other one I have watched historically, and I wonder whether he'll be able to pitch every fourth day, as everyone seems to assume all knuckleballers can do.
Any update on longoria? Start him or c davis in weekly point league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Tampa Tribune reported today that Evan Longoria is "50/50" to return on Tuesday. I really need something firmer than that to take the chance on a possible setback and a lost week of at-bats. Conservative as this is, I'd stick with Chris Davis, considering the length of time and setback history (with this particular injury) that Longoria has.
What factors would effect the forecaster as you mentioned QS or start limits?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Yes, yes, both definitely can. So can a points system that significantly weights strikeouts. If your league makes wins worth more -- I really hope that is not the case -- then that does too.
Late Again (WV)
Sandoval back during this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Maybe, but if he is, it'll be for the weekend's series. I'd keep him on your sidelines this week.
But do you really trust Balfour. I think not.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
What does "trust" even mean? Grant Balfour barely even had that long a reign as closer earlier in the year and he has been the team's most effective reliever for more than a month. I know there are historical examples of pitchers who "couldn't close" -- LaTroy Hawkins comes to mind -- but they're actually fewer and further between than people seem to believe.
Mike N (NYC)
Thoughts on Johan for the rest of the season? Reports were he looked good in the rehab start.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I'm actually pro-Johan, thinking that the time off probably did him some good. Felt it'd be a good thing for him ever since the no-no; that was a high-stress outing and I think it did have an adverse effect on his performance in the following weeks. So let's say, hmmm, could be top-30 from today forward. Likely to rank him near there Tuesday.
Bourn/Felix for Trumbo/Haren?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
No way. Can't trade Felix for that right now.
Billy Hamilton up this year? Chances on opening day roster next year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
I hate speaking in definitives, but I genuinely believe it's zero and zero. He's in the low minors. Takes time to develop, needs to show he can hit advanced pitching first.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Is there any hope for Ubaldo Jiminez? This season and beyond.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
He's 28 years old, how can we completely write off the remainder of his career? I admit that I have major concerns both short- and long-term now. But he's still young enough to right himself in 2013; his spring training will be critical.This season: Not really. I'd feel far from "safe" with him.
Just because he's the best releiver on that team does that mean you want him on your fantasy team
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
If he's closing you do, period.
After the column on aces yesterday, should I sell high on my starting pitchers? I have King Felix, Matt Cain, and Cole Hamels
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Why would you? The point of the column -- a good read for all, check it out -- was that if you're looking to acquire one, the impact in ERA/WHIP isn't nearly as great today as you might think it is. It gets harder to move the ratio categories the deeper we get into a season, that's simple math. The point wasn't that your aces aren't worth anything; that's the wrong conclusion.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 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 in your matchups this week!