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March 25, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Sports with Tristan Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:02 AM)

Good morning everyone! It's the peak of fantasy baseball draft season, so plenty of questions I can imagine. Let's get started...

Scott (STL)

Do you think Boggs holds job down long term or Rosenthal eventually takes over. A "mild" strain codeword for season over IMO

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:06 AM)

Scott, I'll be perfectly honest: I've got major reservations about drafting Jason Motte, despite the fact that I think he was priced about right in Tout Wars, $12. I know right now it's all described as minor/precautionary, but I cannot say he has a nonzero chance of this developing into a season-ender -- I have memories of Joe Nathan a couple years back that are tough to shake.As for the fill-ins, I'm on board with Mitchell Boggs possessing the skills to handle that job, but Trevor Rosenthal's long-term ceiling as a candidate is higher. It's actually an attractive bullpen for speculating, whereas I'd say that one like the Tigers isn't as much so. Boggs was a $5 bid and Rosenthal mine for $2 in Tout Wars on Sunday, and I'm pretty good with both for those prices (couldn't afford Boggs at the time). Given the choice, I'm speculating on both for $7 if I can, and passing on Motte.

Julio Teheran (ATL)

Am I worth a spot in a 10-team mixed? Me or Dempster?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

I'd say yes, and no -- though the latter is conditional depending upon your roster construction. There's a danger here that Teheran, thanks to a strong spring and increasing buzz, is ranging into overpriced territory; he was an $8 bid in Tout (12-team NL) and that seems either just right or slightly too high. Remember, WHIP might be a problem, and job security might be as well once Brandon Beachy heals. Actually very similar, these two. I'm taking Dempster, unless it's a case where at that stage of the draft it's smarter to take upside shots.

Chris (Boston)

Who do you better for a fourth OF? Viciedo or Ruggiano?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:08 AM)

Justin Ruggiano. More categorical balance.

Chris (Boston)

Ogando stay in the rotation all year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:09 AM)

With the exception of potential workload caps (or injuries, obviously), I'd say yes with great confidence. Buy, buy.

Tom [via mobile]

I know spring stars are taken with a grain of salt, but in the case of goldschmidt do you think his 3 steals this spring shows a continued willingness and ability to run this season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Maybe. I thought he'd regress by as much as five in the category, but he's a smart baserunner more than capable of sneaking into the double digits. Let's just say a repeat, or 1-2 less, is about right.

Mike (Chi-town)

A couple of choices as the final starting pitcher on my staff - Tillman and Bedard. Can/will I hit on either of these waiver fodder adds?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:10 AM)

Still believe on Chris Tillman, spring injury issues or not. I've written a lot about him, check out "Tristan's Twenty" in the draft kit, where that writeup does him far more justice than I could here.

Tony (Upstate New York)

I just drafted Motte on Friday night and the news came down on Saturday. I went to get Boggs, but someone else grabbed him first. No closers are left on the waiver wire, so I ask you, which of these non-closers would be my best bet to get me some counting stats, if not saves? Ryan Cook, David Hernandez, Jonathan Broxton, Jake McGee, Trevor Rosenthal or Mike adams.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:12 AM)

If you're speculating for saves, I'm going Cook, Rosenthal, Hernandez, Broxton, Adams, McGee in that order.If you need counting-number assistance, I'm going Hernandez <i>by far</i>, then McGee, Rosenthal, Cook, Adams, Broxton.Overall answer here is a pretty firm David Hernandez.

Yankee Hater (BOS)

Haven't heard a lot about this: all yanks injuries mean that Youkilis will get to play at 1B where he doesn't have to move... and is a pretty solid buy in the 19th round, right?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:14 AM)

I haven't heard any chatter of the like that Kevin Youkilis will get most of his time at first base -- though I'd argue that it'd be a smart decision by the team -- and rather, Youkilis will remain at third with Juan Rivera taking a lot of the at-bats at first. (There's also now a report that Lyle Overbay could be of interest to the Yankees.)The 19th round is still more than fine, even if Youkilis gets the bulk of the time at third. He looks pretty good from what I've seen, will hit in a prime lineup spot (RBIs!) and he has a favorable home ballpark which is a plus.

LateAgain (WV)

Morning. Need you insite on Yankee pitchers. Who do you prefer for the season in mixed 5x5 keeper from...Hughes, Phelps, Nova? Can keep player for 2 years without any penalty...Thanks

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

I don't see you keeping <i>any</i> of these guys for the full two-year span. Heck, you might not make it through all of 2012 with a single one. Any ranking I provide would go Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and David Phelps, but if this is a lock-in-now matter -- in most cases it is -- I'm going Nova, who is highly likely to make the rotation and whose peripherals at least offered him some hope of a 2013 turnaround.

David (New York)

Jackie Bradley Jr... your thoughts?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:19 AM)

I think he's going to make the team; and I had a hunch we'd see him a fair share this season even at the onset of spring training. Bradley probably isn't on the mixed-league radar yet -- in 16-team or larger it's worth a discussion -- but he's a nice AL-only grab in the latter rounds. Frankly, I think he was a steal as a Tout Wars reserve on Sunday; I think he'll provide a nice base of stolen bases, and that warrants maybe a bid in the $3-5 range in AL-only.

Miguel (San Diego)

Marte or Hicks? As far as a higer ceiling or are they the same guy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

Starling Marte has a higher ceiling. I'll stop short of using the word "noticeably," but I do write his name with a good share of confidence. Aaron Hicks needs be trusted primarily for stolen bases, and 30 isn't even a guarantee with the promise of everyday at-bats. Let's say a Denard Span-caliber season would and should make Hicks' owners very happy.

Jake (Braintree)

Thoughts on Alcides Escobar? Is he a starter in 12 team mixed?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Certainly. His batting average was a bit of a mirage -- shave about 10-15 points off it -- but I'm on board with everything else from his 2012.

Justin (Hotlanta)

VERNON WELLS!!!! still fantasy-worthless right???

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

Wow, you <i>really</i> want me to talk about Vernon Wells, one of the most awkward acquisitions the Yankees have made in years, and a player who I just cannot see fitting over the long haul, because of the outstanding prospect he's platooning with Brett Gardner and/or Ichiro Suzuki by May 15?

Will (WV)

Thoughts on Rick Porcello?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

I believe in him more than most, not that that's saying a whole lot. He was a $5 bid in Tout Wars AL and we've priced him at $6-7 in AL-only, and I think that's about right. I still think there's a decent chance he's traded, and he'd be better off statistically almost anywhere else.

Ryno (Meeeeeeeechigan)

is Matt Holliday a good hitter equivalent to Cliff Lee in value?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

I'd much rather have Cliff Lee. Not an unfair deal, but a nice one for the team getting the pitcher.

Dave (CT)

How would you rank the following SP's that seem to be getting drafted late or not at all in standard leagues?? HAMMELL, MILONE, MAHOLM, RYU?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:28 AM)

I'd rank them Tommy Milone, Paul Maholm, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Jason Hammel.

Mike (Malden)

What are your opening day traditions?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I guess these are traditions: Must watch every pitch of the first scheduled game, plus marathon watching session from 1 p.m. to 12 a.m. (though won't say I catch every pitch). Burgers are a plus.

Rob (Philly)

Ike Davis Over/Under 32.5 homers in 2013?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I'm going to say "over" simply because I want to illustrate the kind of power upside Ike Davis possesses. This might be a 33-homer projection, mind you, but I've already said that 40 isn't completely out of the question for a guy with his swing.

Todd (Cleveland)

Zunino or DeArnaud as a mid season call up? Can either be a top 10 guy?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

I'm going to bet that neither one winds up among the top 10 at his position on the Player Rater, even if either is called up by May 15. Catchers often take time to develop. That said, I'd be fine with either as a No. 2 catcher in two-catcher leagues once they're promoted. I do think we'll see d'Arnaud first.

CHAMP (DC)

Is Wil Myers' eventual ceiling going to end up more like a guy like Ryan Braun or a guy like Martin Prado

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:32 AM)

Well, closer to Braun, but neither of those two is an ideal comparable. I feel a little like Jay Bruce could be statistically similar. I'd be buying Myers for the power, I think that's going to be his primary asset.

Bill (Athens, GA)

Let's say cruel individual forces you to take an Astros SP. Who gets the nod - Norris for the upside or Harrell for the safety? Does being in an AL only league change the decision for you at all?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

I drafted Lucas Harrell with the final pick in my 12-team, 10-bench-player keeper-league draft, and I'll say that it was a fairly easy decision over Bud Norris. "Safe" is a tad smarter angle, in my opinion, when going the cheap route in AL-only.

Speculators (Everywhere)

We love Fujikawa to own and keep the CHC closer job. Do you?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

Yup. I was one of the very first on board with that, as evidenced by my offseason rankings update the day he signed. I <i>do</i> think it's Carlos Marmol's gig initially, though.

Jim (Long Island)

What is your projection for Wily Peralta? Viable 12 team mixed? Good late round flier?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:35 AM)

Well, with word that he's in the rotation, and therefore a good bet for 25-plus starts (and up to 33), I'd say he could net you 10-12 wins, ERA in the 4.00 range (or slightly better), maybe 145 K's. I'd hesitate to call his ceiling for 2013 high because I think he leans more on ground-ball than pure strikeout ability to get the job done.

Mike (NJ)

Strategy question...auction league. If you have great value in your keepers, and go into a draft only needing a handful of players and have good money left (money left to average about $11) per player, how would you approach the draft? Go and get a big name at $43 or so, a few players in the 15 range and a few dollar guys, or would you spread it out, go more like a 3-4 guys in the 20-30 range, and a few in the 3-6 range?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:37 AM)

Impossible to judge that without context -- your keepers; what's left, between what players, positions and categorical strengths.I <i>will</i> tell you -- and it's the reason I picked the question -- that at an $11 average per player, you're pretty much in the position anyone is entering any auction. In a $260 cap for 23 players, the average per player is $11.3. If I'm you I'd just be shooting for value, though inflation might tilt this a little towards opening the wallet for one stud (if you could use one), then going cheap for the rest.

Shelby Miller (St Louis)

Did I convince my boss enough to be a 5th starter? Which all-star caliber pitcher would you compare me to?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:40 AM)

I think so. Frankly, that Miller remains in cap seems a hint that the Cardinals <i>want</i> him to win that fifth-starter's job.As for comparables, again I stress that I don't like them, nor am I a pro scout who could instantly identify ideal ones. From what I've seen, statistically speaking, I feel like maybe he's in the Matt Cain mold.

Fred (Ohio)

Jed Lowrie or JJ Hardy at SS?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

I ranked Hardy higher, so that really answers it. In terms of perceived value, I'd rather go cheaper with Lowrie, who really isn't all that less the player, if what you're discussing here has to do with trades.

Fredginald Freeman (ATL)

Offered for Ortiz and Teheran. Worth it?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

"Fredginald"? Um, OK. You do know that his full first name is actually Frederick?If you're getting Freeman for that, I say take it <i>now</i>.

Wily E Coyote (ACME)

Will Andrelton Simmons be a top 5 SS in the next 3 years?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

Real game? Absolutely. Fantasy? I'd say he's got a pretty good shot at it, though I'll stress that Simmons' most polished skill is his defense, and his bat could require at least that long to fully develop. I think there's a good chance that in 2016, he's a .300 hitter with near-10-homer power and 30-steal speed. That probably cracks the top 5.

Podcast listener (home)

What the heck happened with Friday's podcast? You guys were discussing something and it just cut off??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

It's fixed. Try downloading it again today.

Mike (Malden)

World Series Prediction?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:44 AM)

Tigers over Nationals.

George (Draft Room)

I KNOW you get asked this alot lately... but is the MLB investigation swaying you away from Braun?? I have #1 pick and can choose between him and Miggy

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

I very much liked Nate's and Matthew's take on this on (I believe) Thursday's podcast, with my only disagreement that I don't think it makes any difference whether we're playing in an experts' or a jelly-beans league. I'm not terribly concerned -- if there was evidence to warrant a suspension I think we'd have heard of it by now -- but I also say that with the confidence that I took him a year ago under a similar cloud of suspicion and he rewarded me nicely.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

That said, I continue to stress to people: It's <i>your</i> team. If you're that worried, I'm not going to debate you, especially being that since well before all this stuff surfaced, I said that Braun, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout were effectively 1, 1A and 1B for me.

Bill (Athens, GA)

Who ends up with the most saves for your World Champion Tigers? Does anyone end up with more than 20? 30?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

Someone not currently on the roster will lead that team with 15. That's my guess. Watch Chris Perez or someone like that closing for them in September.

Joe (Passover Prep)

If Bruce is a good comp for Myers, who do you think is a good comp for Taveras?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

I love the Vladimir Guerrero one, but I'd point out that's not the 40/40 candidate Vlad, but rather the one of a couple years later where his power had diminished slightly and he was more 15-steal type. Really, really tough to find a current player I'd call that similar.

mike (west coast)

Can you say a few words about James Shields? LOTS of different opinions out there right now

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

I think Shields is taking a bit too harsh a hit, and maybe part of it is my <i>own stat</i> about the domes. I'm using that fact to keep him firmly in that 25-30 range among starters, and I'll also comment that his annual deviation in BABIP has me concerned about a wide range of 2013 possibilities, but I'm not going to trash a guy who has been one of the more consistent quality-start sources in the game. Classic "good-not-great" starter.

Todd (Ohio)

Does Fisters spring concern you at all?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Not really.

Jimmy (Chicago)

Stephania Bell wrote that people who have had the injury/surgery Hanley just had have a good history of returning to full strength right around the projected 8 week timeline. Does that change your views on him at all re:Friday's podcast?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:52 AM)

Not really, since my projections made the assumption that he'd return just about on target. Still a prime-of-career player so I didn't have major concerns about him after his recovery, but the numbers make the case that he shouldn't be drafted until where I put him -- 11th round or so.

Johnny 5 (Arizona)

Puig....thoughts??

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:54 AM)

I couldn't believe when Lenny Melnick was upset to get stuck with Yasiel Puig for $1 in Tout Wars. I considered going $2; a $1 Puig is a smart stash in a league that deep (NL-only 12-team). His spring has been <i>so</i> impressive that I think he has advanced his timetable and he'd be called if any of those outfielders misses extended time.

Chris (Yes)

Realistic expectations for Cowgill?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Probably about a .260-.270 batting average, 10 homers, 20 steals, if he keeps the job. Hey, at least it's an opportunity.

Kyle Lohse (No where yet)

What is my deal? Where am I worth drafting in a standard roto league? Where should my fantasy owner want me to sign? Will I be signed before season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

Wish I could tell you. I have no idea where Lohse will land, and while I understand why he remains a free agent -- the draft-pick compensation thing -- I still, to a degree, don't get it.He's going for $1-4 in the various experts leagues, either AL- or NL-only -- and remember that the league he doesn't land in gets nothing -- and I think he's probably also worth that in mixed. I mean, he's gotta sign, right?As for places you want him to land, and I'll only pick teams where other owners wouldn't be adversely affected (so St. Louis is out, because Shelby Miller's value would suffer): Padres, Mets, Phillies, Indians, Rays, just to name five.

Heath (Michigan)

What is Jackie Bradley Jrs projection if he is the majors all season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

Probably a .260 AVG, 8-10 homers, 18-20 steals.

Bonifacio (Toronto)

Named the 2B starter today. Thoughts? How does that affect your rankings? Am I better choice than Howie at the position?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

If I'm not mistaken, that is only because of Brett Lawrie's injury, so it's not necessarily a promise of the long-term, everyday role at the position. My rank therefore remains unchanged, and I'd still prefer Howard Kendrick.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 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 drafts this week!