Fantasy Sports 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 (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions, many topics to tackle today...
Is now the time to sell high on Liriano?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
I think so, but then I continue to caution that Francisco Liriano has effectively one full season of success under his belt; the other spurts he had -- which granted were even more impressive than that complete campaign -- were only percentages of those seasons. I've seen enough of Liriano to say that he's legit enough, that the slider is as good as it's been in awhile, and that he's streak-riding fodder for sure. But he is not going to sneak into my top 25 starters, not without a little more longevity, so any deal that nets you a guy in that class, make it.
Andrew Cashner's home/road splits are a bit shocking. I know he just got roughed up in DC, but would you rather have him or Kyle Lohse?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
The splits to which Kevin refers are this: Cashner has a 2.38 ERA and 0.99 WHIP at home, and 5.14/1.45 on the road, and considering his home is Petco, renowned for its pitching-friendly nature, those are splits worth the discussion.But this is the stat that bothers me more: Cashner has averaged 5.92 K's per nine innings this season, a substantial drop from any of his previous big-league years. He's matchups material, and that's much of the reason he ranks so low in "Sixty Feet Six Inches" and always is in the "Streamer's Delight" portion rather than the must-start class in Forecaster.They're effectively similar in value, and I'll go Cashner because of the venue, but if the Brewers were a better team I'd be taking Lohse.
Scott Feldman (Baltimore)
I like it here...Start me in a 2 start week at home against Texas and Toronto????
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
One start. Hardly enough to say "I like it here."Feldman's matchups are treacherous (TEX, TOR), but I'm OK with him if I don't face an innings/starts cap and potentially have ERA/WHIP leads to burn. Think AL-only and 14-team mixed; that's the rank I granted him in the Forecaster.
Is Matt Moore turning things around?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Well, yes, but let's not gloss over Moore's peripherals, which say he's not exactly top-20 starter material just yet. We might not have seen his final slump of 2013; though I think he might yet be one of the 25 best at his position from today forward.
So, what's your take on Puig?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
I said on Twitter over the weekend that he's an All-Star in my book, if only because the question has been asked and the debate raised so often, it's clear that people think he's worthy and are grasping at straws to make excuses to include him. If A) fans want him in, then isn't that what the game is about, and B) if the object is to win the game, then wouldn't you want one of the hottest hitters in the game on said squad?As for fantasy, listen to Friday's Fantasy Focus podcast (July 5 edition), as colleague Eric Karabell and I discussed Puig's future prospects in detail. I think a slump is to come, but the dude's going to be in my top 75 players of the second half when our re-ranks go live next week.
Micheal Pineda (NY)
So I guess I'm not going to be that valuable this year afterall?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Says who? A Triple-A option just slots Pineda in as the No. 6/7 starter, an emergency option if/when one of the current starting five gets hurt. He'll drop out of my rankings because that kind of role doesn't warrant a top-100 SP rank, but it won't be by much.
When will Patrick Corbin start getting some respect as a legit top 30 pitcher instead of every article saying the opposite. Not many LH starting pitchers throw as hard as he does with that nasty breaking ball and excellent control. He is the real deal right? Maybe not Cy Young winner, but a very good pitcher and doesnt get the respect he deserves.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
He's in my top 30 starters and I've sung Corbin's praises since my "Kings of Command" column was published in the preseason. Exactly how am I a "hater"; which I'm not accusing you specifically of, Kyle, but it's been said about my Corbin rank this year. I'm a total believer in him, but I am also a total believer in statistical mean regression.
Ken Adams (New York, NY)
Are you buying into Eric Hosmer's recent performance?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Yes. Skills plus hot streak equals evidence with which to believe.
Should I start Bailey tonight against Milwaukee? Isn't there a no-hitter hangover to be wary of?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
He threw 109 pitches, what's the problem? Bailey threw 115 pitches in his no-hitter last Sept. 28 and then threw four shutout innings of four-hit, 6-K baseball in his follow-up outing; and to answer the inevitable follow-up his innings total was low because the Reds were resting him to prepare him for the postseason (Oct. 3 game).Bailey starts for me with complete confidence.
Thoughts on Rasmus? 16 bombs makes me think he is figuring it out. or are there just too many holes in his swing?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I'm just going to point this out, because I regard it completely relevant to the Rasmus discussion:2012 All-Star break: 85 G, .259/.328/.494, 14 HR.Through July 7, 2013: 83 G, .250/.324/.476, 16 HR.Granted, the Blue Jays are a healthier and more potent offense surrounding him this season, which helps, and Rasmus' .207/.267/.463 rates against breaking stuff (curves and sliders) represents a healthy improvement upon his 2011-12 numbers. But the guy showed this promise last year and was one of the worst players in baseball after the All-Star break. He still has some serious problems with breaking stuff and I'd lean more towards "sell high" than "believe."
Has Jered Weaver turned it around, in your opinion? Would you deal away Cespedes to get him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
To the point that he's capable of being a top-25, perhaps top-20, starter, sure. That's a solid enough deal for you if it addresses a need.
Ricky Nolasco (LA Baybay)
How much more value do I have now that I'm calling the city of angels home?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I think Nolasco's gains in terms of supporting cast (read: run and bullpen support), which pretty much equals potentially more wins, about cancel out the drop in ballparks, as Marlins Park is one of the best pitchers' environments in the game and the NL West does have Chase Field and Coors Field to harm his ERA/WHIP. At best maybe he moves up 10 spots among starting pitchers for me this week.
What do you think about Anthony Rizzo? Is he going to have a big second half? He's on pace for like 21 homers & 92 RBI which isn't terrible (not counting BA), but isn't close to projections. All his homers came in April too...guy seems lost.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Streaky player, but big-time power and a ballpark in which that should play well. I'd stand by Rizzo, who probably will bump that homer total into the high 20s by year's end.
Someone offered me Joe Mauer for Matt Holliday. That's a steal because of the scarcity for C position, no?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Solid value, yes.
Is Erasmo Ramirez worth a stash over the Jorge de la Rosas of this world?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Probably not over an underrated pitcher like De La Rosa, but I do think Ramirez warrants stashing in leagues with, say, six-plus bench spots or are AL-only/14-plus-team mixed. If I'm projecting, I say that Ramirez makes 12 starts the rest of the way.
Wilhelmsen back for good? Drop Koji, Perez, or Betancourt for him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I'd say he's 1-2 more solid outings away from being locked back in as the go-to closer in Seattle, yes, and I'd have said I trusted him ahead of either Oliver Perez or Yoervis Medina going forward besides. I might cut Uehara for him, if only because I don't buy that he's durable enough to be an every-night closer.
Jeter is a top what ss ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
I'd say top-15, maybe. Tempted to say only top-20. Remember, it's a serious injury and one that could hamper him on the base paths, and stolen bases is a source of a good chunk of his historical value. That the supporting Yankee lineup isn't as strong as it once was, impacting his run total -- and runs is another key source of his historical value -- also weighs.
Is there value in Gallardo this year and as a keeper going forward or is he a pitcher in serious decline?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
He's a pitcher in noticeable decline, albeit one young enough to make some necessary adjustments. But it'd be a shame if he kept on this path, because it's looking very Josh Beckett-ish ... and Beckett hit this stage at an age maybe five years older.
Speaking of YoGa, you still rank him relatively high in 60 Feet...are you just hoping for a rebound (like me!) ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
The No. 50 starter isn't especially kind of a rank; it's in the matchups class. And he's due to plummet this week, perhaps precipitously.
Thoughts on Roberto Hernandez and his 2 start week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Borderline quality start stats should be your expectation, and his K's aren't all that impressive, which hurts his value. This is an AL-only option, and it's matchups exploitation. And I've said before, the Astros have handled pitchers of his style OK this year. He did fine against them last time out, but it's not like that stat line was the kind sure to win a fantasy matchup.
Eric (Village, TX)
Thoughts on Karabell saying Machado is a potential 1st round pick in '14? Seems awful steep considering the low home runs. I see it maybe in a few years.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
I think it's a fair prediction to make, considering Machado's doubles total puts him on a pace to challenge the all-time single-season record. Should Machado add a little more bulk by next year, which is possible considering his young age, he could be a massive power breakout candidate and have a shot at that kind of value.
Tristan, have to make a tough call this week. Do I start Braun in a weekly change roto league given that he may be back Thursday or start someone who will play a full schedule this week like Leonys Martin?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
I'll make this a blanket statement on any rehabbing player without a firm ETA before your league's lineup deadline, and Derek Jeter and Dexter Fowler are two others I'm thinking about specifically here: It's the final week before the All-Star break, and teams might be tempted to say "oh, let's just give him those four extra days to heal." I'd go with the healthier player wherever I could, and that's Martin in this case.
In a Roto league where I am last in ERA and WHIP, can I start Grienke tonight? Or going forward at all?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
That depends on how much room you stand to gain in either category. Consider: If you're firmly locked into last in those two, it might be worth burning everything you can on trying to catch up in wins, K's and saves, meaning I'd load up on as many volume plays as I possibly can.Generally? Greinke's solid for this week, but not elite. He's my No. 35 SP for Week 15, that rank more generous because of the two scheduled starts, and it means that mixed-league owners need proceed cautiously.
Any big breakout players you have in mind for the second half? Like an Ike Davis type player from last year? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Just a top-of-my-head answer, but the first name who comes to mind as a potentially massive bounce-back second-half slugger is Josh Reddick.
How worried should I be about Iwakuma's start being pushed on Sunday in favor of the All-Star break? I know Wainwright has already announced he won't pitch for the ASB.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Well, one possibility in order for Hisashi Iwakuma to keep his All-Star Game eligibility is that the Mariners call up Erasmo Ramirez to make that Sunday start. But the Mariners have to summon a spot starter -- a clear sixth starter, I mean -- because they lack the off days in order to shuffle. I'd start Iwakuma assuming he's probably pitching Sunday and not in the All-Star Game; seems more likely to me.
The A's have the 4th best record in baseball and the 7th best offense. Donaldson leads them in almost every offensive category yet doesn't make the All-Star game. Does he make your top 40 hitters ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
I might've been more surprised by Josh Donaldson's exclusion from the All-Star team than any other player's, though in defense of the move, third base has been absurdly deep in the American League this season. It's not like he has outplayed Miguel Cabrera or Manny Machado, that's for sure.Going forward, I've got Donaldson about a top-60 hitter overall, as I see some batting average regression, though perhaps slightly more power potential.
Same for Locke?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Well, see, that's a little different, because like the Mets, the Pirates have Thursday off and can therefore use Tuesday starter Gerrit Cole on Sunday if they want to afford Locke the opportunity to pitch in the All-Star game. It's all a guess, but I say Iwakuma has a greater chance of pitching Sunday than Locke does. Plan accordingly.
Thoughts on Logan Morrison going forward? I grabbed him as a replacement at 1B for Ryan Howard.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I'm impressed by what I've seen of him, though I admit it hasn't been more than a couple games' worth. I had major questions about his recovery from knee surgery; maybe the Marlins were smart about it judging by his lengthy rehabilitation. I'd say he's a capable top-20 first baseman, understanding that first base is insanely deep so a top-20 ranking is actually quite meaningful this year. Nice pickup.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
That said: Runs/RBI concern for Marlins. That's why it's not a more generous rank.
Fantasy should reward players for making absurd defensive plays like Manny Machado did yesterday.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I also think defense is becoming more important to recognize, though specifically rewarding good plays makes it subjective. Wish there was an easy way to add it. Maybe not far off.
Abe Froman (Sausage King of Chicago)
Is BJ Upton droppable? This guy just cannot figure it out this year
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
You're Abe Froman?I'd say that's up for discussion, yes. Upton at least isn't performing at quite as miserable a rate as he was to begin the season, but even with some correction he's still barely even mixed-league worthy. I wouldn't be too upset if I cut him, because I don't see him exploding to the level he enjoyed in 2012 going forward.
Johnny (San Jose)
Alex Rios. Please discuss.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
What's to discuss? He's Alex Rios. Hits some homers, steals a good share of bases, is streaky, wildly unpredictable from year to year. Not sure what else to say. I haven't completely trusted the guy in maybe a half-decade, though to be fair, I've ranked him at a meaningful level.
Dan (New York)
What are the chances we see Ike Davis breakout like...well...Ike Davis last year
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Hmmm. Let's say 25 percent chance that he has a second half within, hmmm, 80 percent of his 2012. (Let's be reasonable here.) A lot of it has to do with his history rather than skills; that's a dangerous thing to overrate.
Blind Resume:Player A: 382 Abs, 53 Runs/42 RBI/6 HR/66 K?s/6 SB/.312 BA/.812 OPS/4.9 WAR/5 fielding errorsPlayer B: 323 Abs, 48 Runs/57 RBI/15 HR/62 K?s/2 SB/.319 BA/.924 OPS/4.2 WAR/ 7 fielding errorsPlayer A is Machado and Player B is Donaldson. I think it is hard to say Machado has clearly outplayed Donaldson.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Using only "fielding errors" is vastly discrediting Machado's defensive contribution this year.
Steve (Boca )
Cole or Wheeler for 2014?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I'll take Gerrit Cole for next season. Think he's a slightly better prospect with a slightly greater chance of moving beyond his adjustment period quicker.
TRADE REGRET...I traded Price and Hosmer for Chris Davis two weeks ago. Looks like Hosmer is more than the throw-in I thought. Will Davis come close to duplicating his 1st half and make me feel better about this trade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Well, let's just say that any projection of fewer than 20 home runs or less than a .280 batting average is way too pessimistic. I can't see how Davis isn't going to be one of the 10 best players in fantasy baseball going forward.
Mike (San Diego)
1st base is insanely deep? I'd argue that there is a pretty significant drop off after say, Allen Craig.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Meaningful lower-tier players, is what I mean. Look at second base or shortstop, once you get into the teens the players there are just awful comparatively speaking.
Kim (Oxford, OH)
Who will have more value in 2014? Rosenthal or Corbin?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I actually think it'll be Patrick Corbin, though this is impossible to predict right now because of how volatile the closer position. How I look at it today: Rosenthal's workload has been substantial this season, so I've got some worries he might take a step backward in 2014.
Thoughts about Cingrani ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Adjustment period time. I've set his ERA bar at around 4.00 in past columns, and stand behind it. Good strikeout potential, sure, but he's also not even guaranteed to stay in the rotation the entire remainder of the year.
take the worst 3 outtings off Matt Cain's record, you have an ERA of 3.24, Dickey is reduced to 3.70.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Love that picking and choosing! It's not a game I'm willing to play. It all counts.
Stash Battle (Thunderdome)
Arcia, Buxton, Bogaerts, Carlos Martinez - GO!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
What's the goal, 2013 or beyond?For 2013: Arcia, Martinez, Bogaerts, Buxton (has zero chance at the bigs this year).Long-term, and being clear here that I'm ranking careers: Buxton, Arcia, Bogaerts, Martinez.
Mike (San Diego)
Is Jose Fernandez already matchup proof? He held his own yesterday against a pretty elite lineup.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
He has been that for weeks now. The only Fernandez concern at this stage is the innings cap, and he will face one.
Green's potential ros
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Grant Green? Begins his big-league career as a platoon mate, must earn his at-bats, and I'd say that he's got a better-than-50/50 shot at grabbing the majority of the gig with stats in the .265 AVG, 8 HR, 5 SB range. Worth the AL-only add, not sure yet about mixed.
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. Best of luck this week, and remember, first game tonight is at 7 p.m. ET, so make sure you get your lineups in before then!