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.
Cockcroft is a two-time LABR member and was the 2012 Tout Wars champion. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft Monday at 11 a.m. ET!
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Good morning everyone! It's a busy All-Star week indeed, with plenty of content out to set you up for your second-half push. My going-forward rankings come out today, and I'll have keeper rankings for you tomorrow. And, of course, there's a Home Run Derby tonight, an All-Star Game tomorrow and the start of the second half on Friday. Many questions to be answered, so let's get to as many as we can today. Here we go!
Joe 'Crazy Name' Smith (Las Angelos of Anaheim)
I have been 'da Bomb as closer of the Angels. Why are they going to trade for Huston Street and ruin my fantasy value?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
That's simple: Always deepen your bullpen when you can. Besides, Smith might be smarter deployed from a real-game angle as a seventh/eighth inning guy; it's the old "save the guy for the highest-profile spot in the game" strategy. And even then, who's to say Street would get the promise of the closer job even if he lands with the Angels? It could be Smith sticking in the ninth and Street the one deployed in higher-leverage points earlier.
Ace (Las Vegas)
Rubby De La Rosa....does he stick ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
He's listed in the Red Sox's second-half rotation and from what little I've seen of him at this level this year, it makes sense. So, yes.
Richie (Fort Worth)
With the way Alcantara has shown up, would he be a possible upgrade ROS over someone like JJ Hardy in a H2H points league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Ok, so Arismendy Alcantara is the "next exciting thing," so let's get to that, then the Alcantara-Hardy question specifically. My understanding is that he'll spend the next couple days in the minors just to stay involved, but I do think he has earned the opportunity to remain in the majors once the second half resumes -- if not a few days after it does -- and I'd plan accordingly. Decent on-base guy with good speed and a hint of pop. I feel a little like he's a more free-swinging Kolten Wong, and that's a potential mixed-league asset, yes, albeit on the middle-infielder scale rather than as your primary second baseman.As for Alcantara vs. Hardy, well, that comes down to your scoring system as it weighs steals and runs. If Hardy was hitting for his usual power, I don't think this would be a contest. But since he hasn't done it yet, hurting his rest-of-year projection, I'd say that's a potential swap if your scoring supports that kind of player.
Mark (CT) [via mobile]
Tyson Ross is ranked as the #20 SP on ESPN. Sell high on him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
I think the only reasonable criticism of Tyson Ross is a concern about workload/late-inning fatigue. He's legit.
Which player(s) who participated in the futures game make the biggest fantasy impact this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
We discussed a lot of the players in detail on the podcast today -- make sure to download -- but I'd say of any of the participants, Alex Meyer has the greatest likelihood of being your answer here. Maikel Franco or Javier Baez are pretty solid candidates in their own right, but I think Meyer has the best chance of a call-up in the foreseeable future.
Is it possible that Gallo will get called up this year, and before September ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
It's possible, but I'd still characterize it as highly unlikely. If the Rangers aren't competitive deep into the year, I'd think that less of a reason for them to rush him to the bigs than more of one.
Is Pujols too much to pay for Wainwright? I fear for Pujols health ROS.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
I would make that trade for Wainwright in an instant. Not only fair, excellent value for you.
brandon (new york )
who are some players who stock gets severely lowered in a -1 point per strikeout league
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
You could just go to the strikeout leaderboard for that answer, but a quick list: George Springer, Chris Carter, Chris Davis, Adam Dunn, Marlon Byrd, Mark Reynolds...
Is Kevin Gausman worth anything - 10 team mixed points
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I think he's worth a fair share. True value based upon his current circumstances is last-guy-on-your-standard-ESPN-roster range, but the potential payoff is significant. Good command, so his low-end expectation isn't that scary, and I could see him performing like, hmmm, one of the top 150 players in the game the rest of the way if a few things really break right for him.
Corey (Austin, TX)
My league must listen to the podcast because nobody will trade for Buehrle. Time to drop him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
That's a chicken-and-the-egg argument, which was exactly why the topic came up on the podcast. We didn't start that; I was taking my experience from the leagues in which I've witnessed it to the show. No one believes a guy with Buehrle's track record overperforming to this extent.
When will Joc Pederson be up for the Dodgers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Only an injury will generate that result.
Whats your take on deGrom? The guy has an intriguing K rate
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
I'm worried a little that the Mets will take a more conservative approach to his workload, but his stuff is rather impressive, generates a lot more swings and misses than I expected it might. If I believed he'd be handed a good 12-14 more starts on regular rest with no limitations, I might say top-50 starter's upside.
Corey (Austin, TX)
Not blaming you all. Just wondering if it was finally time to part ways with him.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
I didn't think you were, sorry, missed that part of the question. If it's a 10-team ESPN standard league, I feel absolutely identically about him as I did on, say, May 15: He's on the fringe of "useful" players, because he's just not a K guy, regression to the mean always puts him in danger of outings in the 3.75-ERA, 1.30-WHIP range, and the sum isn't a player who is really more than a fringe member of the roster. That's just what Buehrle is. His past month isn't really his fault; the Blue Jays aren't scoring him runs like they did (much of that due to injuries).Ultimately I'm giving you the OK. I'd have given you it in May, though, but that's because I've always looked at him as a guy who is fringe mixed-league material. Useful, yes, but nothing as special as his April-May numbers.
Chances Craig and Shelby get back to normal in the second half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
I give Allen Craig considerably greater chances, but don't think either will be their 2013 selves. I've moved on from Shelby Miller; command stats just don't support a significant bounce-back.
Picked up Jimmy Nelson hoping for a good show against the Cards. Defensive errors didn't help him in that game, but should I keep him around?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
What's the format? Our 10-team mixed? No. If it's anything deeper, sure, that was the whole point of stashing him. He's got good stuff and I'd hope the opportunity to develop it at the big-league level in the second half.
Brian (Grapevine, TX)
How much consideration do you give a players position when doing your rankings? Ie. Would E. Andrus be a top 100 player at 1B or OF?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
Minimal. I'd say that the players at thinner positions get maybe a 25-spot bump in the overall rankings, but I never think "position scarcity" results in more than 2-3 rounds' worth of draft stock. I'm one of the more conservative people in estimating the positional angle.
Tim Brennan (Colorado Springs)
Your boy EK says that Archie Bradley will be up in 2 weeks? Your thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Well, sure he could. He has pitched back-to-back solid outings in Double-A and a few more might make him a candidate for a promotion. The only way in which I'd disagree on a Bradley timetable would be that he has to earn the promotion; he missed a lot of time this year and he wasn't all that impressive with his command in the early stages. So I'd say he needs 2-3 more good outings in the minors, and if he does that, sure, sign me up.
Doug Fister (Peripherals)
THC/Chicken Parm Lord:Doug Fister's FIP/xFIP show major regression ahead but you remain bullish on him in your ROS rankings. Can you help me get as confident as you are???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
He has exceptional control and a good ground-ball rate, a combination that gives him better odds of maintaining better-than-the-peripherals fantasy stats. Plus, one of the reasons he's exceeding those numbers is that he's got a better defensive team behind him this year than last; and it helps that he has a team that will support him and fill his win column. I do expect regression; I do not expect the kind of regress-to-4-ERA correction that you might think looking at his FIP. Fister is more of a "could win eight, could have 3-3.25 ERA" guy the rest of the way. The downside is a lot less dire than people think it is.
Any thoughts on the Astros allowing Keuchel to pitch through his wrist issue, rather than giving him a DL stint? When you look at his pitch types since the injury, it seems to have significantly affected his ability to throw his slider. And do you think he can return to first half form after the ASB, or are we seeing regression on top of the injury?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
I always prefer the player to take the requisite time off to get back to full strength, and you mention the slider usage and you're correct in that he has thrown it about 20 percent of the time during this recent stretch, whereas he threw it about 25 percent of the time earlier in the year. But maybe the All-Star break will help cure what ails him; I'd say that he's one of the pitchers for whom his first outing of the second half is critical from an analysis angle.
Chicken Parm Lord: PART 2 (Peripherals)
Also got me thinking, for a while now (specifically last year), Tim Lincecum's FIP/xFIP have showed brighter days but everyone on your staff dismisses him as horrible now. How do you pick and choose where the peripherals are relevant. A guy like him with a still strong K rate and good FIP/xFIP seems like a guy you would normally support. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
I've never characterized him as "horrible" (well, other than that he had a horrible first half in 2012). In Lincecum's case, there's enough of a sample to show that he is playing into the hands of his matchups, and his stuff is simply not as good as it was in 2011 and before. Let's face it; players don't all regress to their peripherals (specifically FIP here). Different types produce different results. A K guy -- like Lincecum -- just has better odds of producing a good FIP than one who doesn't generate as many K's.
Piggy backing off Lincecum: Thoughts on him second half, personally think he finishes with 3.00 ERA on the nose.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
I'll do the math for you: If Lincecum finishes with 190 innings pitched this season, he will need to post a sub-two ERA from this date forward in order to have a final 3.00 ERA. I'm not going to declare that impossible, but I'd give it well beneath a 10 percent chance of happening. If you wanted to tell me he'd have a 3.00 ERA from today forward, I'd consider that a more reasonable expectation, but I think he's just going to dominate the upper-half matchups and some of the lower-half ones will be stinkers. But everyone is the manager of his or her own team; I respect those who have a differing opinion and choose to manage their team on them.
Danny Salazar (Cleveland, OH)
When do you see me coming back up to the majors? What type of stats for the ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
I look at Salazar's minor league performance and don't see a lot that has earned him his next chance; he hasn't performed badly but he also hasn't stood out. Injuries and incumbents' performance will therefore dictate it and I'd say Aug. 1 is a generous projection, and I don't expect all that much from Salazar beyond the K's this year.That said, if I see any hints of improved command from Salazar in the second half -- oh, and I am sure he can improve -- I'm going to be all over him as a 2015 draft pick. It's next year that I think he'll take the big step.
Do you think Trevor Bauer has turned the corner? What is his upside for the future?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Good velocity in that game, and he's got several solid pitches. I'm intrigued, but treading carefully. Rest-of-year upside is a top-40 starter. I'd say his 2015 upside is that of a top-25 guy. But it's a lot of risk, be forewarned. WHIP is a major concern.
La La La DAILY NOTES!!! (Tristan Singing)
Trade ? In a H2H Mixed Keeper Lg--would deal Strasburg for MadBum + Wong? Thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Ding!(Not just the bell, also meaning, "Yes.")
chad k (ashland,PA)
Who do you got winning the HR-Derby?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
I've made that pick twice on the podcast now.
Thoughts on Brandon McCarthy in a 12 team AL Only standard league (k/9)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I think he's about a $6-8 player in that format. That's a player who stays on the roster all year but has matchups maintenance you'll need to do. And that makes sense; he has a mediocre defense backing him (and remember that he's a groundballer) and he's got a home ballpark that won't help him reduce the homer rate. Pick and choose your matchups. It's what your bench is for.
Why are you so much lower on Matt Carpenter than others?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
He just hasn't done anything that special other than walk (and therefore score runs). I don't dislike the guy, but there just isn't much upside there.
Billy Hamilton will surpass 60 steals this season: True or False
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Is there such a thing as "Super sized true"?
Mike (San Diego)
Here's the real question though. Would Joey Gallo win tonight's HR Derby?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
I genuinely wonder that and I'd genuinely like to have the chance to have that question answered. And I'd have said this a week ago when the lists were released; I don't want this merely coming across as the reactionary comments we've seen for the past 18 hours or so. Seriously, wouldn't it be fun if the minors' top slugger got to participate too?
Wade Miley... what say you?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I don't think anything has changed with Wade Miley over the past two and a half years, other than the slight adjustment that he has some improved usage and performance with the slider; that might explain some of this. That said, guys like this have a tendency to ride streaky. Just how it works. Enjoy it, but understand that I don't think Miley is all that different from the guy you saw in 2013.
does Masahiro Tanaka pitch again this season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I have adjusted my rankings under the expectation that he will not. I'm not saying that it cannot happen; I am saying that I'm pessimistic (unfortunately), and that even if he can, I don't think it'll be at the same performance level anyway.
Is Ian Kennedy legit? Worth less if traded to the Angels?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Still legit. And any loss in terms of park factors would be mitigated by an increase in run support/resulting wins. I don't think his value would shift all that much. Maybe down 2-3 SP spots, a buck or two in value. Maybe.
yordano (Kansas city)
will i be used in relief for a while, and why did i pitch in relief yesterday?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
The day before the All-Star break tends to be a creative day for teams in the pitching strategy department (not to mention in the transactions department that entire weekend). I think it was just using Ventura's throw day as a relief outing; he's back in the rotation after the break.
You think Kershaw finished with an era under 2.00 this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Yes, and if the correct answer is "no," it's only going to be because it was something like 2.001.
14-teamer, Jimmy Nelson or Trevor Bauer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Bauer, but I'm almost always going to go with the guy with greater experience (barring said experience being of the pitched-horribly variety).
I was offered Carlos Gomez and David Robertson for Springer and Tanaka ... this is most likely the person I'd face in the playoffs ... we're in the 2nd and 3rd place pretty far ahead of 4th and well behind 1st ... What should I do?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Make the trade, because it helps your team.
Les (East Windsor, NJ)
Hahn comes back immediately after the AS Game, correct?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
The Padres have an off day upcoming that allows them to wait until I think the second weekend after the break to use a fifth starter, so I'd say that the most likely scenario has Hahn pitching that Saturday, July 26, game. By the way, be forewarned that the Padres intend to cap Hahn's innings, so be careful with your September expectations from him.
Kolten Wong [via mobile]
After my recent power surge, where do you see my numbers at by the end of the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
The one thing I didn't get to say about Wong on the podcast today was that all eight of his starts have come against righties; we haven't even seen evidence yet that the Cardinals view him as more than the strong-side member of a straight platoon. But he's good enough against lefties to deserve the chance, with only one strikeout and I believe it was a .270 batting average in 32 PAs against southpaws. I'd say Wong could bat .280 with 4-5 homers and maybe 12-15 steals the rest of the way.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 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 enjoy the All-Star festivities this week. I'll have a Forecaster out on Thursday to set you up for the second half.