Fantasy Baseball with Tristan H. Cockcroft
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft in The Show on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Goodmorning......Tough decision.. Helton or Loney tonight at 1b... thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Good morning Antonio, and good morning everyone! Not as tough a decision as it looks. James Loney against Randy Johnson, well, I think there's a good chance the kid might sit that one out for a spot starter (Olmedo Saenz)? Gotta go Todd Helton, Roy Oswalt his opponent or not.
S. Marshall or McGowan for the rest of 2007?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
I want Dustin McGowan, not that I think Sean Marshall is a bad matchups play here or there. Really, they both fit that description, since I don't entirely trust McGowan against loaded offenses like that of the Tigers, Red Sox or Yankees. But I think this kid is finally starting to show some of the promise that had scouts calling him the "next Roy Halladay." I'd bank on that potential.
A trio of short ones for you: Franceour or Hawpe? Marcum or McGowan? Kenny Rogers or Andrew Miller? Thanks Tristan!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
The outfield choices are the toughest, in my mind. Again, Dustin McGowan. And I'm going the kid's upside, in Andrew Miller, ahead of rotation-mate Rogers. The Tigers have cleared a permanent spot for the rookie, and I think he has the talent to rival any first-year pitcher the rest of the way, with better potential in K's than Rogers. The outfielders, though. Hmmm. I like Brad Hawpe quite a bit in games against righties and at Coors, but he's an avoid at pitchers' parks or against lefties. Still, I bet he's less streaky, so I give him the slight edge there, at least in yearly leagues.
You see Furcal turning it on 2nd half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Sure do, as he did that in 2006 and if memory serves, he has a pretty good reputation as a second-half player. That said, I continue to caution about big stolen-base expectations. A 40-steal season, ain't happening. The Dodgers simply don't take enough pitches to give him the chance to run that much. Call 25 a good year for him.
Will Gregg officially be out as Florida's closer after last nights showing?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
One bad game? Naaaah. It'll take a couple of those in a one- or two-week span before Kevin Gregg's job security is in some question. And I do mean in actual save chances, here.
Gallardo really headed to the pen? That seems odd.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Sure does. I hardly think it's all that smart of the Brewers, especially since if one of their other starters then got hurt, it'd take a few weeks before Yovani Gallardo was ready to ramp back up into a starter's workload. I'd keep him on hand in leagues with deep benches no matter whether he's bullpen- or Triple-A-bound, but it appears that after his start tomorrow, the rookie won't be too fantasy worthy.
Abreu in for a big second half? Please say yes. Thanks Tristan!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Big? Uh, doubt it. Bobby Abreu -- and the Yankees, for that matter -- looks terrible, and even that mild hot streak he had, it didn't exactly rival what he did the final two months with the Yankees last season, or in his prime in Philadelphia. Watching him play regularly, I think he's not going to fully get back to form without a change of scenery. Oh, it's easy for us to say he'll get better than this, but I can't see him finishing much higher than a .280-.285 batting average, 12-15 homers, 20 steals, 100-110 runs scored. Even that could be a tad generous, so take it for what it's worth.
Sam (Jersey City,NJ)
Who would you pickup if Gregg continues to struggle?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
If it's not Henry Owens getting the ball back in the second half, then I'd take a look at what fellow rookie Matt Lindstrom has been doing.
What are your thoughts on Pat Burrell? Big second half or is there no reason at all to own him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
His contract is an albatross, so I don't see the Phillies being able to deal him. In that event, I see no reason he wouldn't be much what he has been for them the past few seasons. Good power, on occasion, but painful in the strikeout department. I bet there's a hot streak that can get him into the .240s in batting average, maybe up to 25 homers, but I wouldn't get your hopes up for a "big" any stretch of time from him. Think "good enough."
What do you think about starting AJ Burnett tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I don't think it's all that bad idea, unless you're in a shallow mixed league. The Twins aren't THAT great an offense, so I bet he could rack up a respectable outing, more for AL-only owners than anything. I do worry about his long-term chances, though.
Matt (Jackson, TN)
Best bet for saves from here on out: Capps or Gregg?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I'm quite the believer in Matt Capps.
Is Prince Fielder the real deal this year? or was his hot start a fluke?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Prince Fielder is going to be a tremendous player for a very long time. I've been saying it since the day he was drafted, he's his father plus the batting average. That's a heck of a complete player, I think. Big, 50-homer power and the possibility of a .300 batting average in his prime? It sure looks like it's about here, doesn't it? Granted, I said the Prince might not have a year like this until 2008, but he's pretty much 2007's version of Ryan Howard 2006. I think he's the real deal, a legit shot at 50 bombs.
Zimmerman or Gordon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
For this year ... THIS year ... I prefer Ryan Zimmerman. I think he's simply a more polished, trustworthy, consistent bat for 2007.
bob turwilliger (springfield)
Does a healthy Tex fall into the category of top-5 1B upon his return? He was JUST starting to heat up when he pulled his quad...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Watch out for the rakes, Bob. I'd put Mark Teixeira into the top-five capable category for the season's second half. For one thing, he's an annual monster after the All-Star break. Think .300-hitting. 20-homer candidate. That's what we usually see. For two, your point is right on, he sure looked at his peak when getting hurt. I'd be much more worried that he might miss more time than we expect than that his numbers won't be there when he's healthy. Think medium-risk, but high-reward, player.
Speaking of Prince Fielder, would u move him for Dan Haren?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Braun or Gordon? if you were in a keeper...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I have a feeling that Ryan Braun is going to make you a happier camper in 2008 than Alex Gordon, but there's going to be a point where, all of a sudden, Gordon takes a ridiculous leap forward to superstardom. Might not even be a contest at that point. Somehow, I have a feeling that we're going to see that before the 2009 All-Star break. Don't know that it answers it for you, but long, long-term, like three years and beyond, it's Gordon. But I was once in a league where you can keep a guy only back-to-back-to-back seasons. I'd probably take Braun in that.
Is there any reason to hold onto Julio Lugo anymore?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Shallow league? Not really. I do think this is merely a slump, though, so don't cut him in deep leagues (AL-only especially). Simply reserve him, if you can. I love Terry Francona's comments about Lugo recently, saying he sat an ice-cold Dustin Pedroia for Alex Cora earlier in the year, and now that'll happen to Lugo. Well, with a little time off to refresh himself, I could see Lugo having a nice hot streak like Pedroia's.
With Dempster on the DL will Howry get the save chances?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
I'm not looking at the box scores right this second, but if memory serves, Carlos Marmol got to kick off the ninth inning each of the past two nights. That's pretty telling. I'd be picking up Marmol if I were you, especially since he has been lights out of late. They could split those chances, but I'm feeling pretty good about the kid right now.
Tristan...do you think Cust is a vaiable option as a fifth OF?? Would you prefer him or Gomes for the rest of the season???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
That's a toughie, and it's only tougher in that Mike Piazza's healthy return specifically could cut into Jack Cust's at-bats. At this point, looking at the makeup of the Devil Rays' offense, I'm feeling pretty good about Jonny Gomes' chances the rest of the way. I don't trust him that much in batting average, but I think he's still a bit more trustworthy there than Cust. Think a guy who could bat .250-.260 and hit 15 homers in the second half.
Do you think Shoppach gets 100 AB's in the second half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Not necessarily. That whole Victor Martinez-to-first base thing hasn't seemed to pan out like I expected. Part of that is Ryan Garko's performance this season, and Travis Hafner sneaking in the occasional start there. I'd cap Kelly Shoppach at 100 at-bats AT MOST, but more likely, he's around where he is now, like 70-75.
I have Saltalamacchia filling in as C for Piazza, is it worth hanging on to Piazza or just stick with Jarod for the rest of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I think Mike Piazza is going to disappoint a lot of people the rest of the way. Too many people are banking on a return in the near future, and then too many of those on him hitting well right off the bat, and then too many of those on him staying healthy the rest of the year. For all my notes about he'd hurt Jack Cust's value, I still think Piazza's value is as limited by this part-time catcher experiment as Jarrod Saltalamacchia's is by not playing regularly. That kid looks gooooood. I'd take his short-term value and what comes the rest of the year ahead of what might be from Piazza.
What impact does the Hillenbrand move have to Morales' value? Can we expect at least 4 games a week from Morales?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Probably about that, for at least as long as Garret Anderson remains on the DL, which seems through the All-Star break at least. The Angels do seem to find a way to get all these bit parts into the lineup about that much, so I'd say four games a week seems about right for him. Makes him AL-only worthy, but not much more.
Would you rather have Gallardo or Andrew Miller for the 2nd half? Also Buck or Estrada?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Miller has a permanent rotation spot, and John Buck has more power. That's how I'll pick my guys here.
Jessica (Long Beach,CA)
Don't ignore the ladies! Trade Matsui for C Young (Padres)? What about Lackey/Kinsler for Big Papi? 12 team, mixed, h2h and thanks for showing a girl some love!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Sure, I'd do both of those, regardless of which Matsui that is! Chris Young is a pretty underappreciated pitcher, and not at all a downgrade from John Lackey, who you'd be losing. Plus, you'd be getting one of the most prolific sluggers in the game.
Projections for J.A. Happ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I honestly do not know THAT much about Mr. Happ, but I look at his minor-league stats and see a lot of good things. Strange how he's not talked up more among prospects, which seems to indicate to me that he's not someone to get TOO excited about. I bet this is a short-term stay for him, though these are very much the kinds of guys who can often surprise opposing hitters and have a little NL-only matchups value. I'd stash him on an NL-only bench for the wait-and-see game, though my expectations are pretty low. I bet he gets like 10 starts, mid-to-high fours ERA forced to pick an actual stat line.
Jason (Rochester, NY)
Hi Tristan. I just sold high on Brad Penny for Matt Holliday. I had some major injury concerns for the second half...good trade? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Heck yes. Having watched Penny closely for much of his career, I can say that I see nothing in the guy that makes me willing to trust him for an entire six-month major-league season.
What do you project for Kurt Suzuki, catching for the A's?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
A trip back to Triple-A once Mike Piazza returns, but until then, maybe a .260 batting average, a homer or two, not too many games played. Limited AL-only value, at best, for this year.
Keeper league. Would you rather have Napoli or Salty as your C from here going forward this year? and beyond?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
I'm going to pick Jarrod Saltalamacchia here if only because I don't think those two are far enough apart to be worth giving up on the kid's awesome long-term potential. He's supposed to be something really special with the bat in his prime.
Posada or Pudge the rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
Jorge Posada for homers and RBIs, Ivan Rodriguez for batting average. Seriously, don't believe in Posada's high average, it HAS to come down a bit eventually. Overall value? I give the edge to Posada. Contract year?
Do you see Tom Gordon closing again on the 2nd half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
The way the Phillies talk about the prospects of moving him back to the rotation, I think that closer role is Brett Myers' the moment he comes off the DL. In other words, don't count on Gordon being any more than a setup man unless he beats Myers back and has a pretty hot start. Even then...
Will Gagne be the closer if he gets traded? What can we expect from him here on out
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
I don't think so, because not too many closers get traded at the deadline AND retain their closer role every game the remainder of the season. The reason for that: Most contenders are contenders because they already HAVE good closers. Maybe the Indians could go for him, but I don't bank on a guy like Eric Gagne going to about the one place where I think there'd be no question he closes if traded there.
Josh Smith (Silver Spring, MD)
would you drop either bergmann or arroyo for marmol?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I'd drop the former. For as good as he looked early in the year, Jason Bergmann might need some time to recapture that magic, and even if he does, with little run support helping him out, he's pretty much a matchups play at best.
Dave (Wolcott, CT)
Speaking of Loney, I was thinking about trading my current 1B (D. Lee, also have 1B eligible Berkman) and picking him up. I need pitching and the team most needing a 1B in my league has Escobar, Harang, R. Johnson, Hudson and Smoltz. Whom do you think would be the best target? I would most likely waive Gallardo to accommodate. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
If I was trading Derrek Lee, I'd be asking for the guy I trust most of that bunch, and that's John Smoltz. But I hardly think it's a good idea to drop Yovani Gallardo for James Loney, so the point might be moot. Lee to Loney is a considerable downgrade, regardless of Loney's sleeper potential.
Max - DC
Projections for the rest of the year for Corey Hart?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
I feel like Hart should be every bit what I expected of him in the preseason, divided in half since we're just about at the season's midway point. So ... Let's say .290 batting average, 10-12 home runs, 8-10 steals ... And there is absolutely a little upside for more. I like that kid, underappreciated.
Robbie H. (Ridgefield, NJ)
Freel's coming back sooner than expected. Do I drop him, Iguchi or DeRosa when he comes off the DL (all are 2B-eligible in my league)?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Tadahito Iguchi has been awful all season, but I dunno, I feel like there's still a little better potential in him than there is Mark DeRosa. To me, DeRosa's primary appeal is his versatility. In reality, he mashes lefties and is a good utilityman. I just can't trust that kind of guy regularly, so I'd say cut him.
Follow up: will d lee hit for any power this season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I don't think it was smart of anyone to assume he could get back to 2005's 46 home runs, but I'm equally amazed by the fact that he's not looking at all capable of the reasonable 25-30 homers we should've counted on. I still say he can be a 25-homer guy, and keep up a .300 (or close to it) batting average, so slashing the number in half, let's say he hits you what, 12-13 homers. It's more, but he's not elite, pretty much.
Who will have the closer job when Dempster gets back?? Dempster gets no love.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Ryan Dempster. He has pitched too well to lose that job, barring an extended (think beyond a month) DL stint. Carlos Marmol and then Bob Howry are each worth a pickup, sure, but I say it's short-term saves for each.
Would you have Saltamaccia as your only starting catcher?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
NL-only, but otherwise, no. He simply doesn't play enough to make an impact in larger leagues. I'm sure there are 10, 12 or whatever number of teams there are in your league, better catchers out there for shallow mixed.
I think this question could help a variety of fantasy players. If you were setting up your middle infield and had four options which combination would you go with of Kelly Johnson (2B), Mark Ellis (2B) Felipe Lopez (2B and SS) Rafael Furcal (SS). I need this one Tristan, thank you.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
It's not Furcal, he makes the cut. I'm so very tempted to keep Lopez on the sidelines. He has performed horribly all year, and I can't see the team being any better than it has been in the second half. It's probably smarter to leave Ellis out and keep Lopez around for the steals, but it'd be narrowed to those two, and if you hate bad batting average, I'm going to tell you Lopez isn't a bad call to leave out of the mix here. All in needs, really.
Michael (Portland, ME)
Doumit worthy of the catcher spot in NL-only leagues?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Sure. A .290 capable hitter, with enough at-bats could approach double-digit homers from today forward. Yeah, in a league where catcher is a thin position, I'd say he makes the cut by a slim margin.
Best bet for remainder of year: Harden or Pedro? Important--tied for 1st!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
I continue to stress to people not to expect TOO much out of Pedro Martinez; the goal with him is the Mets want him at full form for the postseason, and I'm sure they care about nothing more. Of course, I could also see Rich Harden being a reliever only the rest of the year. I'm going to stick by Harden, if only because who knows, he has a prayer of nabbing some cheap saves, but if you need to bank on a starter's role, and that only, I don't think Pedro's a bad pick.
These darn under and overacheiving 1b are killing me! Who are your top five 1b for the rest of the year, in order? You gotta answer this, I said darn!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Gosh-diddly-arn! Well, this one's off the top of my head, remember, but I'll say Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, Prince Fielder and ... Travis Hafner! (If he's eligible, otherwise, probably Big Teix.)
Jeremy (New Jersey)
What will Podsednik's steal total be like the rest of the year assuming he stays "Healthy"? (how healthy can u really be after multiple hernia surgeries and groin pulls?)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
The White Sox could easily wind up clearing out some of that outfield -- Jermaine Dye in particular -- and since I doubt Scott Podsednik will garner much appeal on the trade market, I bet he plays enough to get maybe 25 steals in the second half. That's his best asset, remember. I don't count on much else from the guy.
Lance Berkman (Houston)
No love for me in your top 5 1Bs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Never! You've struggled too much and I'm worried about the doubles rate. At least when Mark Teixeira had a poor first half of 2006, the doubles rate was great. Lance Berkman probably sneaks in right after the guys I just ranked, and with a few more seconds to remember names, I'm thinking Derrek Lee would have been my No. 5 man, ahead of the Hafner/Teixeira mix.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Well, that's all for today. Thanks for all of your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. So many to try to get to! Good news, though, is that we'll be back again to chat with you this afternoon. See you then!