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 (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
How concerned are you about Casilla?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Not terribly. The Giants don't really have that prototypical "one-complete-inning" closer, a guy they want to use for both righties and lefties, as Javier Lopez is a LOOGY, Sergio Romo a ROOGY. Look at Romo's game logs; his usage is perplexing. So I expect a patient approach, though anything goes when a closer strings together 3-4 awful outings. (And he's not there yet.)
I noticed that the Forecaster only has one start for Alex Cobb. What do you think are the chances that he'll get a second start over the weekend?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
I think they're pretty good, actually, but I didn't want to project it because this past weekend's doubleheader as well as Jeremy Hellickson's possible June 30 return throw the Rays' rotation into a state of flux. What we know: Alex Cobb goes Monday, Chris Archer Tuesday. Hellickson might be back Saturday -- that sounds like the plan -- so it might be Cobb vs. Archer in terms of performance these next two days to determine who gets Sunday's start. If I'm guessing, placing odds, Cobb's got a 60/40.
Tim Tincecum (Long Tossing)
Trevor Bauer is up. How long before he lives up to the comparisons to me? How will he do as a rookie?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
Want some anti-Bauer chatter from me? Two years, I'd say. Flip the calendar exactly two years and Bauer might equal Lincecum in terms of career paths. That said, following Lincecum's exactly is possible. Remember that Lincecum wasn't his peak self for more than a year. All this means is you shouldn't get overzealous with your expectations. I'm a huge Bauer fan but even I'm not going to tell you top-25 starter's numbers from today forward are coming.
Dan (Fort Lauderdale)
What are your thoughts on Lance Lynn moving forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
I feel about the same about Lynn as I have all season. It was an unrealistically good hot spell to begin his season, bound for regression, dropping him closer to the deep-mixed/NL-only class rather than the start-every-week-in-all group. And I think he might yet have something closer to must-start status to offer in the next couple weeks. But I'm worried about his second half; he's a workload worry because of his relief role in 2011, and as the Cardinals don't seem to be bothered by it, I think he might suffer in stats rather than his being shut down. A sell high, for sure, as he's been for weeks.
Do you feel youk was the mole? Hoping this helps the clubhouse
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
What, the Red Sox are CTU in a bad season -- OK, every season -- of "24"? C'mon. All that matters is that it's big news for Will Middlebrooks and Kevin Youkilis himself. But if I'm picking for the short term? It's Middlebrooks. Get this: I might ride the Middlebrooks hot spell until the All-Star break, and assuming Youkilis looks at least respectable by then, I'd make the swap straight up on July 10 and take Youkilis the rest of the way. Feels a lot like that.
What are the chances Parnell keeps the closer job in Queens from here on out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Decent. Not great, not awful, "decent." The problem with Bobby Parnell has been wavering command throughout his career; he's the kind of guy who could put forth a hot spell that dissipates in time. Managers have short memories at closer, though, and it's not like Frank Francisco is the healthiest, or most consistent, fella. I'd surely add Parnell in any format, and simply don't get cozy. Might be 2-3 weeks of production and nothing else, but it's a chance worth taking.
You wouldn't start Latos today, right??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I'd try not to, as this is the one of his two matchups I like least for the week, and I ranked him 45th for the week, primarily based upon volume rather than quality. I'm so-so on him, that's about it, want to see more after a bad most recent start.
Followup on Bauer - whereabouts would you rank him in SPs for ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Guessing about 50th. We'll see tomorrow, I do a much more in-depth rankings analysis in "Sixty Feet Six Inches" that I cannot possibly do mid-chat, but gut says start at 50, move up a few spots or down a couple accordingly. Top 40 might be pushing it.
What do you think of Franklin Morales success? With Bucholtz out, he could stick in the rotation even after Beckett is back. Ride the streak!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I'm encouraged, but I still think the Red Sox prefer Morales in the bullpen based upon needs. There's a good matchup in Morales' immediate future -- likely Thursday or Friday in Seattle -- and I'd use him for that, while adding him in any AL-only format. But I'm not so sure he sticks for much longer.
Aroldis Chapman (Cin)
You think Dusty will put me back in a setup role?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
No. With Dusty, anything goes, but after all Chapman's success this season, and Sean Marshall's proof that he's "not closer material" earlier, wouldn't you think Chapman gets a few more chances? Best move: Handcuff 'em for now, just in case. But I think Chapman's fine.
Tristan, do you read into anything regarding Davey saying that Clippard has done well in the closer's role to keep the job? Will Storen set up or will he get his job back once he comes back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
Yes, yes I do. It says to me that Davey Johnson is making a smart move, finally doling out roles based upon performance, and not some silly "closer experience" thing (cough, Brad Lidge, cough). I like it. Clippard deserves to keep the role for as long as he's consistently successful, and Storen should be forced to earn it back in setup duty. I'm not saying Storen can't, I'm just saying that's what he should be asked to do.
Marvin Berry (Chuck's brother)
You know that hitter you've been looking for? It's Quintin Berry! I'm wondering what Tristan think about him for the rost of the year, especially in the PT and SB departments.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I don't think Berry is every-single-day starter material, if only because the Tigers have moving parts to shuffle between the outfield/DH spots, but he has earned a place and should start the majority of the time. I'm impressed by what I've seen and have him a steals value, in the AL-only/deep-mixed class.
Was Hosmer really just benched for an entire series? I'm almost through waiting the course.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
It was a three-game series in National League parks with two left-handed starters on the opposing side; Billy Butler needed a place to play. I'll point out that Eric Hosmer is back in another funk, so I understand where you're coming from. But I don't read into that "benching," it was a DH thing. He'll get a longer leash now that interleague play is over, so if you can, you should just reserve him for a little longer while formulating a contingency plan.
Andrew Cashner, worth a stash in mixed leagues? 14 1/3 innings and 22 K's in AA so far
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
If my bench was deep enough, sure. Good K potential and the ballpark to keep his ratios in check. I've always been less concerned about skills than health; Cashner's ability to handle a 200-inning starter's job is what I'd question. But why not speculate on riding a short-term hot streak?
Complaint Department (60 ft 6 Inches)
Considering your thoughts on Latos above. How could you possible rank Latos 33!!!! He has be awful and shown no signs of turning it around. He should be close to the Lincecum level.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
I know there has been a slew of Latos complaints about my most recent ranking. The good thing is that I'll have tonight to evaluate him, helping firm up the rank, but I can say that he's in severe danger of plummeting tomorrow. Remember, I revise these rankings constantly -- it's a near 2-3 day process where I make an initial set, research, review, edit, etc. -- and sometimes I'm not going to be in position to make a radical change off one especially good/bad outing because I didn't get an opportunity to watch it or review it statistically right after. In hindsight, I probably should've put Latos at around 40-45 last week. But I didn't feel like some precipitous drop, considering he had pitched OK in the previous starts before it, was warranted either.
FWIW, Hosmer was benched at Kauffman, meaning that a DH spot was open.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Correct. The "entire series" benching asked about was in the series before it. I do think Hosmer sitting against some lefties is open to consideration for the Royals, however.
youk or mike mous (kc)at 3rd
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Moustakas. Look, I want to believe in Kevin Youkilis' resurgence given new surroundings. But why are we so quick to assume he rebounds overnight? It's often a couple-week process. Speculate today if he's super-cheap. It's the smart move. But I'm not going to give you a glowing endorsement of his immediate potential until around the All-Star break.
Jeff S. (Vermont)
is the love fest for Jeff Samardzija over yet?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
I never "loved" Jeff Samardzija. He's like Lance Lynn from the earlier question, except with more questionable control.
The Phanatic (PA)
Do you think Cliff Lee may be playing through an injury? Or is he just unlucky?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I think he's just unlucky, but it's starting to bother me that his performance is regressing recently coming on the heels of all this press coverage of his winless streak. I sincerely hope it's not getting in his head. A win in his next start might be a very good thing for him, because he's certainly the kind of guy who can rattle off a monstrous hot spell. And you know me; I don't put any stock in wins as an evaluating tool. Lee did, incidentally, have a similarly shaky spell in 2010, so it's not like it's unprecedented.
Eric (WI) [via mobile]
What's the trade value for Pujois?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Top-10 overall player value. Pujols = stud, trade for stud accordingly. Otherwise, decline the deal, period.
Matt Capps worth a DL spot or should I look for other options?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
It depends upon your alternatives. Capps likely gets the role back upon his return -- this assumes he is going on the DL, as rumored -- so he's got enough value to be worth the DL spot. But I certainly wouldn't keep him there over someone clearly more valuable, like even a Carl Crawford.Glen Perkins is my preferred fantasy pickup among the Twins' projected co-closers (Jared Burton being the other).
David Freese (St Louis)
Why do you keep ranking me so LOW in your weekly "Hit Parade" columns? I've been consistently raking--my #'s are right up there w/the top tier 3B men...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
No. 10 third baseman on our Player Rater and No. 55 overall hitter, plus he's got a checkered health history? Not sure what I'm missing. I could have him 20-25 spots too low, but I most certainly wouldn't invest at greater value than that. Good hitter, but one who scares me over a 162-game schedule.
Where would you slot Bauer in your Forecaster for SP?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Probably 55th, right behind Wandy Rodriguez. I did an analysis of debuting/rookie starters and their per-start tendencies a couple seasons ago, and the analysis showed that with hotshot prospects like this, you really do want to speculate on their debut outings ... that is if you planned to speculate at all. They often start hot, then adjust between starts Nos. 5-15.
In a keeper... J-Hey or Tex
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Jason Heyward. Considering Mark Teixeira's batting average troubles the past couple years, aren't these players a lot closer in annual value today than most think? Teixeira's only real advantages might be about 10 HRs and the advantages of his lineup. And to me, that's not enough to make up for Heyward's great keeper potential.
Wil Myers has C eligiblity in my league. When called up, gotta grab him due to this reason, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Should I pull the trigger on a Goldschmidt for Hosmer deal? I would be getting Goldy
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Seems smart to me. I wouldn't be shocked by a fantasy owner being able to pull this off, then swap 'em back a month from now when their values might swing back the other way. Overall, no longer much of a differential in value between them.
Forget Bauer How about a Rizzo question..... who would you take ROS Rizzo or Freeman?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Freddie Freeman. I continue to stress, Anthony Rizzo's range of statistical probabilities is wide. The best-case has him at Freeman's preseason projection stat line, the worst-case only a hair better than his miserable 2011 showing. I hate playing the "middle," but that's the smart move ... and it's simply not in Freeman's class.
Thoughts on Vance Worley, and Wade Miley ROS? Thanks Tristan!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I believe in Miley. Much better pitcher than people give credit, and any ERA/WHIP regression shouldn't be killer, it'd merely lower him to, say, top-40 starter potential, the kind of thing you'd only avoid in the Coors games or, say, a home start against a Dodgers team with Matt Kemp in the lineup.Worley: Readers know I've historically been a fan. He's got more strikeout potential than people think. But he's pitching through an injury that often requires surgery, so you're rolling the dice every day you have him. I say top-40 (maybe even 30) starter if you can trust him; not sure you can all year.
Adam W (St Louis)
Am I too much to give up to get Hosmer in return?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Yes. Unless it's a keeper league, in which case it's fine.
Rank these pitchers for this week: Fister (@TEX), Buehrle (PHI), Cahill (@ATL). Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I rank every pitcher's weekly matchups every week in my Forecaster: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=mlbforecaster120622.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Many, many questions about Jose Altuve's hamstring injury coming in. Don't know his prognosis, beyond what the Houston Chronicle reports: "He is day to day and said he expects to be back in the lineup 'soon.' " Plan accordingly, but I think the only fantasy owners who have the luxury of a good enough alternative will be those in 10-team standard mixed. If that.
What can Jon Jay do for you?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
I think of Jay as that kind of "slightly better than fourth outfielder," "warrants a debate as an average-to-above major league starter," kind of player. I'm not wowed enough to say he's clearly an above-average starter. I think he's just that, average, like a .280-.290 hitting, 15-homer type.
Justin Upton has been on fire! 11 RBIs in past 7 days! People should have traded for him...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Jeff S. (Vermont)
Does Dickey fall in your rankings, or are you chalking it up to a single bad game vs your beloved yanks?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
If he falls, he falls because of the relative performances of the pitchers around him, not that game itself. I've made it clear: Regression was inevitable, but not to the point where it robs him of value entirely. And as for the knuckleball, I know a ton of people are questioning my comments about how his lacked its usual command last night, saying that affects any pitcher. Sure it does. But the knuckler is such a dicey pitch; my point is that it's really gotta be better than it was last night -- something closer to where it was the past month -- for him to stay where he is. We shall see!
Henry (Tampa, FL)
A guy in my league made me feel stupid for offering Edwin Encarnacion straight up for Justin Upton. Please tell me this deal is a lot closer then he thinks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
It's not enough but it's also a justifiable attempt at a buy-low, sell-high. Good for you. Shame is that the other guy didn't bite, which merely means try again. Don't let it get you down.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
And by "try again," I mean with something else, not just foolishly proposing the same offer over and over.
You like Masterson this week? Him or Cobb for 2 starts? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I'm merely "OK" on Masterson, ranking him 47th, but based on recent performance it's justifiable to start him. That Yankee start does scare me. I ranked Cobb 55th but that's also accounting the risk he doesn't start twice; if I knew for certain that he would he'd move ahead of Masterson and be the better choice. How lucky you feelin'?
have you seen anything to make you think michael morse is turning it around?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
No, but I also haven't reviewed his weekend next-level stats. Everything I saw and/or analyzed heading into Friday showed a player who has much work to do.
Is Brett Anderson going to be worth stashing in an AL only, over a Grimm or Matusz?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Anderson is worth stashing, yes. Over Grimm? Hmmm, sure, I'd go with that.
trading middlebrooks to get butler...fair value? would you do it? i need 1b and have aramis and pedro at 3b too...16 team h2h
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
Yes, yes I would do that. Good move.
Chris Sale too much to give up for Allen Craig, straight up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Oh yes. Aim higher. Sale's legit, the only rational question about him being the workload/innings cap. And this is coming from a huge Craig fan.
What will a typical season for Matt Moore look like, in his prime?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Easily 200-plus K's, I'd argue 225, serious Cy Young votes. Maybe a winner of one or more. I still say Moore makes for a great buy-low and/or keeper target right now.
Ryan Cook.... keep his job? ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
One bad outing.
Tyler (Paper St.)
Drop Cueto for Miley?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
If I'm in your shoes I trade Johnny Cueto for the absolute best hitter I possibly could today, then I'd immediately add Wade Miley to replace him. Which means you probably need to find someone else to drop for Miley right now, but please do get started on the Cueto sale.
El Guapo (Santa Polco)
How much more than Lawrie would it take to get Harper in a keeper?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
Something else that is going to be a virtual lock as a keeper, but nothing that's going to clearly be judged a top-50 asset (at least not for 2013-14). Frankly, if you have to give up anything comparable to Brett Lawrie in addition to Lawrie himself, it's too much and I'd remain content where I was.
What's fair trade value in terms of a hitter for a top 10 or so closer? I'm looking to move Rodney or Johnson and I'm having trouble finding the right target.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
Start high, aim for a top-50 bat, but if you must drop to top-75 that should suffice.
Is McCarthy teasing us? How long will he be on the DL this time, only to return for one or two starts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
Sigh, this is life with Brandon McCarthy on your fantasy team. Love the talent, have for over a year now, but he's an annual lock for at least one DL stint, and as much as a two-months-in-total absence. No clue how long he'll be out, but setbacks often cause teams to be more cautious with rehab. I wouldn't count on him again until after the All-Star break.
Can Ervin Santana turn his season around? Like him over Pettitte, Wandy, Doubront, Hultzen in a deep keeper?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:11 PM)
I think he can, at least restoring his stock as a near top-40 starter. I won't go much further; just lacks the skills and consistency to move higher. Santana over either Felix Doubront or Andy Pettitte for me. I think Doubront's magic has begun to fade, so he'd be my first choice to go.
Thoughts on Quintana? Another spectacular start...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:12 PM)
Absolutely under consideration in any fantasy format, except in shallow mixed it's dangerous to invest at the price of a player with a more secure role. This is your classic "ride the streak" pitcher, so don't shed anyone you'd be upset to see claimed back off waivers.
Wait, you have Hammel behind Fister at Texas?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:14 PM)
Yes. One note: Rankings generated before Jason Hammel's most recent start, so I wouldn't quibble with those who disagree. After all, I had them four spots apart, a negligible amount more than counteracted by your own opinion. But I'm not all that terrified of Fister.
Any cause for concern over your beloved Pettite? Was really just 1 bad inning but age has me worried.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:15 PM)
Age, workload considering his no-play-in-2011, injury history the year before that season off. There are reasons to be cautious, but the Andy Pettitte I've watched makes me think it was a merely unfortunate inning. Couple bad pitches, it happens. Looked fine after that. Won't drop much if at all in my ranks.
Hank (Trading Floor)
Traded away Pedroia for Ackley and Johan...I needed pitching and the thumb worried me.... should I feel sellers remorse???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:16 PM)
You purged risk. I understand it. I think the team getting Dustin Pedroia makes out slightly here, because of Dustin Ackley's struggles primarily, but if it was your worry about Pedroia's health, I'm a-OK with it.
Bud Norris - Start this Thursday or go with G Floyd x 2?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:18 PM)
Gavin Floyd with a Yankee start? Bleagh! I think you need to look for "Option 3," which you did not list in the question, but if you positively must, I guess it's Bud Norris. Hey, Padres start. If the Astros indeed grant him it, I mean.To be clear though: In no way does this mean that, for all, do I endorse Norris as a Week 12 starter. Readers know I always advise caution with pitchers fresh off the DL. This is merely a case where Floyd scares me.
Have you heard anything about Brad Peacock for Oakland and whether he'll be called up at some point?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:19 PM)
Last I checked he wasn't pitching especially effectively in Triple-A. That A.J. Griffin got the call first says a lot.
beechh (Hiding out)
you like Gee in 12 team mixed?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:20 PM)
For this week, and as a mix-and-match pitcher in the format, sure. I'm in a 12-team mixed and I could see Gee being the kind of guy who sits on my roster all year, being one of the options I shuffle in and out of the final 2-3 pitching lineup spots as the matchups dictate.
Nuke LaLoosh (Durham)
Wil Myers ETA? What's your gut tell ya THC?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:21 PM)
Gut says post All-Star break, but gut has absolutely no idea about the Myers example specifically. He's been one of the toughest to project all year. Love the bat, think he's ready, but where does he play?Gut also might be clouded because it's hungry. A few more questions here, then must eat....
need steals - which speed guy are you riding the streak with - Revere, Crisp or Pierre?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:22 PM)
I'd rank them Juan Pierre, Ben Revere, Coco Crisp, for streak-riding. The first two intrigue me, but something makes me feel most cozy long-term with Pierre.
What do you make of Dan Haren ROS? Time to panic or sit tight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:23 PM)
I think "sit tight" is closer to the correct answer but neither is completely accurate. Haren, based on the recent struggles as well as what's a slightly worsening K/BB ratio, is probably going to drop to around the No. 25 range in "Sixty Feet Six Inches." I've got some concerns, but then I still think there's the potential there for him to be, say, a No. 3 starter on any fantasy team from today forward.
Is it time to drop Ryan Zimmerman?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:24 PM)
I'd wait out a possible DL move. When whispers of that surfaced over the weekend, I was thrilled. I think it might be best for him and his fantasy owners. You can shuffle him off to a DL spot and hope for the best.
you love craig, but with his health concerns whould you try and trade him and what hitter should i aim for
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:25 PM)
You've pretty much outlined all of my feelings about Allen Craig: "Love him, but health concerns." All I'd do if I felt uncomfortable about the injury risk is trade him for a comparably productive bat with less worry in that regard. Andre Ethier comes to mind as someone realistic and slightly safer.
Chicken Parm or meatball? Marmol or Parnell?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:26 PM)
C'mon, you know what I usually answer...Chicken parm, and no-way-Carlos-Marmol.Predictable I am. No, actually, I'll call it "consistent."
Anthony (Ridgewood, NY)
Would you start Smyly tomorrow in Texas in a 10 team AL only league? Scary matchup, but he handled them pretty well in Texas. Could use wins/K's...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:27 PM)
Absolutely not. Not even under consideration for me in a single imaginable format.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:27 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up. 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!