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 (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your fantasy baseball questions...
Ramirez in and Rondon out in Chicago?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Possible, yes, being that Hector Rondon hardly had a firm hold on the role. A lot of this, just to be clear, has to do with Rondon's elbow bothering him the past two weeks. But opportunity often breeds closers: I'd say Ramirez is worth the look for those desperate for saves. He has a 1.06 ERA and 0.76 WHIP; I'd say he has done enough to stick there and warrant making that swap in fantasy leagues.
Has Russell Martin learned plate discipline all of a sudden? He's actually getting on base!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Uh, you're aware he has had at least a 10 percent walk rate in each of the past seven years of his career?
Brad (Seal Beach, CA)
What are the chances Wainwright pitches this Saturday? Rosters lock today. Start Gio off the DL instead, or double start Koehler?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
I'd say pretty good. A couple reasons: I think the Cardinals would've called up someone more stretched out to start than Carlos Martinez is this wasn't a skip-one-turn arrangement; plus Wainwright himself has said it's not a major injury. I'd take the chance, a lot of that because the Phillies lineup -- especially in a pitchers' park like Busch Stadium -- is quite the favorable matchup even if Wainwright isn't 100 percent.
Tell me it's OK to finally cut Everth Cabrera.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
Performance-wise, sure, it's a consideration. I'll ask you a question in reply: What on your waiver wire is really going to be all that better, though? Just be careful cutting someone like Cabrera, who in a so-so half-season could still swipe you 15-20 bags, for a player with at least as many questions. Mike Aviles for Cabrera is not a smart move.
I know I won't be the first to ask?Can I even start Verlander at all this week?!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
You won't be the first, but I've addressed that in so many places. Like here. And here. Yes, I'm starting him, and to reiterate, it's that these are the very matchups someone like him would want if he needs to turn around his season.
Is Corey Dickerson good enough to stick in the Rockies lineup regularly after Cargo gets back? He seems to be hitting lefties better.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
Dickerson hasn't done anything wrong the entire calendar year, so nothing really changed other than maybe the Rockies finally will recognize something that they should've in March. He was good enough then and he's good enough now, that has gone unchanged and I play for skills with these types; I'm taking every chance he sticks because he deserves to.
James, NH [via mobile]
How many innings do you think carlos Martinez will pitch tonight? Worth a spot start?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
I think he's inevitably going to be capped at around 60 pitches, meaning maybe four innings. No, I'm not starting him.
Are we sure that Mike Minor is good?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Yes. His ERA/WHIP got obliterated by the Coors game, and in his defense, he wasn't getting much of the benefit of the doubt on calls last night. Mike Trout taking him deep on a pitch down that Minor probably felt he had to throw is hardly a damning thing from a going-forward analysis standpoint. Still a top-30 SP for me, at the bare minimum, on skill set alone.
Steve Michigan [via mobile]
Do you trust odirizzi for his two starts this week, I was going to drop arrieta but the Baltimore matchup scares me a bit.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
It scares me too, Steve. It's a play for K's and I don't think it's all that good of one; you're hoping the home cooking helps and that's just not enough for me. Plus, the Astros are hardly a bad offense. Odorizzi only earned my No. 39 ranking because the K potential and the volume earned him it in the projection mathematics, but that's still 15 two-start pitchers I prefer to him.
Dylan Bundy (Baltimore)
Hey THC, what are your thoughts on Dylan Bundy's rehab start? Do you think he makes an impact in the rotation during the 2nd half of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I didn't watch it but I followed many of the reports (mostly on Twitter) and the final line and comments were positive. Nothing really changed with Bundy's long-term prospect prognosis; he's still one of the 10 most talented pitching prospects remaining in the minors in my opinion, and yes, he could help in the second half. Orioles have no reason to rush him, though, so I lean far more towards him being a keeper- than redraft-league asset. Let's be realistic.
Kevin Gausman DESERVES to stick around, right? If you're going to make a run at the Blue Jays, you need something to go right.. and that something needs to be Gausman. I dropped Dan Haren for him in a dynasty league. Is that a smart move? (I know it's smart, because it's a dynasty league.. I mean for this year.)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
I'm OK with that, because in mixed (read: shallow) formats you often need to take chances on high-ceiling players with role risks. I conveniently chose this after the Dylan Bundy question for a key reason: I'd take Gausman over Bundy for the rest of 2014, and it's not remotely close.Also, yes, he deserves to stick around. I also thought Gausman deserved a spot coming out of spring training, though.
Tyler Skaggs ( Los Angeles)
In my Mixed Keeper Lg.--Skaggs was dropped when he hit the DL...Is he worth scooping up as a flier going forward ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
How many teams? If it's 14 or more, yes, he should be owned. Skaggs' issue is that the K's haven't developed as quickly as I expected; he's going more for grounders and weak contact than swings and misses. And that means more matchup maintenance, which if your league is shallower than my specs, is probably why he's out there.
Something's brew-ing (Milwaukee)
TC thoughts on Jimmy Nelson for ROS?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
I think he's worth your stash in NL-only and 14-plus mixed (close on the 12s), on the idea that he probably deserves to capture Marco Estrada's rotation spot within the next two weeks. Interesting arm, looks good from what I've seen thus far. No reason he can't meet what Estrada's preseason expectation was; that's a possible top-50 SP if it all falls right.
Michael (Des Moines)
Should I accept a trade where i receive Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran and I send away Paul Goldschmidt, Iwakuma, and Springer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
That's a fair trade, but I feel more comfortable with the latter half. I think it's a little more categorical balance and I prefer Goldschmidt to any player in the deal overall.
Wenk Podliska (Iowa)
Will USA beat Ghana tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Joel (Stanwood, WA)
Jean Segura. He is killing me. Do you think this is who he is or will he bounce back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I think he's better than this, but not a lot better than this. We all warned you in the preseason: Segura's bat doesn't project the natural power he showed in 2013; he was a bit fortunate in that regard and he was inevitably going to slide back into the single digits this season. He's more of a speedster, like an Elvis Andrus with a bit more pop.
Tom, Philadelphia [via mobile]
I traded Verlander for Kipnis, any chance I regret it?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I think that's a perfectly wise sale of Justin Verlander.
Fair to trade away Jordan Zimmermann for Votto?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Concerned about Mauer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Yes, and his slow fall in my going-forward rankings reflects this, mostly the impact of his seasonal statistics on his rest-of-year projection (that's a gradual process for most every player). Mauer isn't even touching lefties, a real change in skills for him, and he's struggling more to drive the ball, and remember that he plays in a park tough on lefty power. Can't explain why this is happening other than aging process, but it's fair to say he's no lock to be a top-three fantasy catcher the rest of the year.
Pitch or be pitched [via mobile]
Better sell high candidate Tanaka or Strasburg? Or neither?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
All in how you define the term. If you're selling Masahiro Tanaka for a blank check, clear top-starter-in-fantasy value, that's the deal to make. Strasburg provides the greater punch in terms of return-versus-perceived value. You're not going to get quite as much, in my opinion, but that you'll be pretty close has me shopping Strasburg first.
Taijuan Walker (Seattle)
When do you think we see Walker get the call from the Mariners to join the rotation? He had a no-no going for 6+ innings during his last start at Triple-A...Is he a MUST stash in standard leagues?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Standard leagues? No. Leagues with deeper benches, AL-only, 14-plus mixed? Sure. I just don't think Walker does enough in the K's department to warrant the excitement he seems to generate. Good prospect, not great prospect, not after all the injury delays.
RIP Tony Gwynn
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
This is awful and saddening news. One of the best hitters I ever saw play.
Salvador Perez or Justin Morneou in a Vacuum? ROS
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I'd say Morneau.
Matt (New York)
Hey Tristan, would you trade Corey Kluber and Michael Wacha for Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
I would not, but honestly, the primary hesitation for me is the chance that Lee might not provide you much of anything the remainder of the year. I think Hamels is the best player in this deal, but Kluber and Wacha aren't all that far behind. I'd stick with the known of those two, at least without any clear timetable of Lee's return.
Is Lucroy a sell high or can he keep this production up all year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
I think he can keep it up. His batting average is bound to drop a little, but not by a lot, and all of his seasonal paces are pretty reasonable.
Best in the world [via mobile]
Is Rizzo for real? And do you trust him more than Abreu?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
He is for real, the power always legit but his performance against lefties having picked up, and the walks, look at the walks! That said, I trust Jose Abreu more. Both have taken significant steps forward.
Braun and Altuve for Gomez and Polanco. I had a glareing need at 2b aswell. wondering how I did? I got Altuve
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
If it's filling a need it's fine from a value standpoint. I prefer Gomez to Braun, though, so I'd probably have stood pat.
Zach Thompson (St. Louis)
Would you rather go with Koehler or Young today?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
There are slumps and then there is Josh Donaldson. What do you expect moving forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Josh Donaldson isn't allowed one two-week cold spell? Every player slumps at some point. I think he's a pretty rock-solid .280-30-100 guy, and yes, I know the batting average might not be .280 in the final stat line ... I mean that'd be my bet for his stats his next 162 scheduled team games.
Bruce Bochy (SF)
How secure is Romo's closer gig and is Casilla worth an add in NL only 10 teamer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
I think it's pretty secure. Romo struggled in his second and third of three consecutive games worked, and remember, he's a pitcher who has had some mild workload questions through the years. After his Sunday off day, I'm sure he'll get the next chance.
Tic Tac (Reno)
Bauer today? He's pitched well against some tough competition, most recently COL (at home) and TEX (on the road). Not sure what to make of him.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
The Angels represent a somewhat scary matchup for Bauer, so I'd let my league specs drive the decision. It's a play for K's; I'm sitting him if there's any reason to conservatively manage my matchups. Needs one more big game bucking the matchup -- this one representing that possibility -- before I think we could call him a flat-out "trust him."
Patrick (NJ) [via mobile]
Is it worth dropping BJ Upton to stash D.Holland? Non keeper league, 10 teams. 35 roster spots
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Roster drives that. It's an entirely fair swap and that should be a team-need thing; I own both in a deep-bench 12-teamer and if I was to choose who to cut, need for hitter or pitcher would make my decision for me. I'm clear on this: If we ran a Player Rater from June 16 through season's end, I think Upton would finish higher. Just the mathematics of homer/steal guys. If that weighs for you.
Dave (Cleveland, OH)
CJ Wilson/Bauer for Alex Gordon....which side you got? OBP League.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I'll take the pitchers.
Garret Richards has been great lately, is he for real, is he better than Cobb?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
I don't think he's "better than Cobb," not from a skill-set standpoint. Richards is a blazing-fastball guy whose K's have finally reflected it; I don't think he's quite as complete a pitcher as Cobb though. I'd make that trade, if that's what you're asking.
Your Forecaster ranking of Cashner seems optimistic considering you're on the record as factoring in the opposing SP and the historically bad SD offense faces King Felix. In a points-league where wins are worth 15, prefer Kennedy vs. Haren or Colon at Lynn? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
I'm on record as saying that advice crafted to leagues like yours, where wins carry hefty weight in the scoring, needs to account for probability of the win. I'll be crystal clear that I loathe the win as an individual statistic; I'm also not going to ignore it as a part of my advice, if people need my guesswork on wins.I'd take Kennedy over Cashner, given your choices.
got some room on my bench, need to take a flyer on a progressing SP ... thoughts on Danny Duffy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
He came up on today's podcast, if you want something more detailed. Summing: I cannot seem to accurately predict Duffy's matchups either direction, so it's pretty obvious to me that he's not an every-start guy.
Why does Brantley not rise in your rankings. He's been top 10 on the player rater for a LONG TIME.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Season-to-date Player Rater placement is almost entirely irrelevant to the going-forward rankings, beyond how the statistics that generate the Player Rater influence the player's rest-of-year projection. It's all about projections going forward.I just don't see Brantley as a top-10 overall player. I think he's an about-.300-hitting, 6-8-more homers, 6-8-more steals, kind of guy. That's pretty good, but it's not a top-50 overall player for me, even.
Thanks, I agree - been trying unsuccesfully to get the league to change to QS for YEARS. Perhaps the Sultan's word will lend some creedence to my position!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
I've made that case on our pages for years so you have plenty of resources to make an educated decision on that for next season. Either one is fine, so long as you understand what either measures, and how either is projected.
Mike (Philly) [via mobile]
Why in the world did Miggy take over number 1 in your rankings?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
At the time the back questions regarding Mike Trout. Trout and Miguel Cabrera have been effective "1 and 1A" players for more than a calendar year; it takes even the hint of a question for either to swap them, and Trout's going to go back to the top this week.
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, best of luck to you in your Week 12 matchups!