Fantasy Baseball with Tristan H. Cockcroft
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft in The Show on Friday at 11 a.m. ET!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get the chat rolling. As always on Fridays, I'll stick mostly to your injury info, but don't worry, we'll sneak in the occasional general-information question too!
mike (fayetteville, Ar)
AJ Burnett ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
I'm getting increasingly concerned that this is it in terms of fantasy usefulness from Mr. Burnett this season. Elbow problems in his past, now shoulder troubles. Count on the Blue Jays taking things much more slowly with him this time around. In short, if he gets more than eight starts in the second half, I'd be shocked. If he gets THAT many, I'd call it a lucky finish.
Michael (Portland, ME)
Carlos Gomez out, Lastings Milledge in?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
I think the Mets are merely going to bridge the gap until Moises Alou is ready, though continued setbacks from the veteran more likely forces the team to shop for a fill-in. Let's call Lastings Milledge a strong bet for a promotion a little after the All-Star break, as a member of a left-field platoon to get that spot filled temporarily. And with his talent, sure, I'd add him in NL-only leagues and hope he gets off to a hot streak that makes a trade unnecessary.
Phil Hughes -- any chance he takes the hill for the Yanks before August?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
Latest news on Phil Hughes has him making a rehabilitation start at Class A Tampa on Monday. I'd say a kid like him, the Yankees will take their time with, and probably give him 4-5 rehab starts. Estimating four and then four days' rest between each, that puts him around July 29 for a return date. Of course, all that assumes no setbacks whatsoever, but in other words, I'd call anything from him before Aug. 1 is gravy.
What do expect from Rich Harden tommorow?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Some other body part aching and sending him back to the DL Sunday morning. Seriously though, that's not out of the question. I do think Harden has it in him to maybe rack up four or five pretty nice starts, just like he did to begin the season. But I worry that in his return as a reliever, he kept having soreness after each outing. To me, it seems like the Athletics should start thinking about some sort of surgical procedure to fix their big pitching investment. But that's me. I don't think what Harden has been offering the past few years, or will offer the rest of the year, is worth this kind of headache.
What can you tell me about this Jo Jo Reyes kid that is pitching tomorrow?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
Well, it's injury RELATED, as Jo-Jo is making his MLB debut in place of the hurt John Smoltz on Saturday, an injury by the way that I'm not all that worried about. Simple rest for him with the convenience of the All-Star break to pad it. As for Reyes, I remember him as a more glowing prospect a couple years back than in recent seasons, but his numbers in the minors look great: 10-1 record, 3.08 ERA but the walk rate scares me (45 in 96 1/3 innings). I'd say NL-only addition, but to stash on a bench and scout. Maybe he's matchups-worthy if he pitches well enough to stick around.
Richie Sexson, will this injury prevent him from doing his normal second half turn-around?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
A thumb injury could limit Sexson, but I don't think he'd be trying to play through it if it were that big a problem. The simple three days' rest at the All-Star break could do wonders for him, and you're absolutely right, he's a heck of a lot more useful in the second half historically than the first.
Is Kerry Wood going to be worth anything when he comes back? Asking as a fan and FB person.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I really wonder whether Kerry Wood is going to be much of anything in the future. Sure, he could be an OK big-league pitcher, but his future might be in the bullpen, not necessarily closing, and he could constantly miss time with bumps and bruises. I'd say Wood might wind up one of those guys who maybe once or twice has one of those seasons where we say, "Hey, remember him? What a comeback!" In a Rod Beck-with-the-Padres sort of way. Beyond that, though? Don't get your hopes up.
Is it ok to cut Josh Johnson?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I think so. I can't help but feel like he's not going to get himself fixed without some sort of surgery. You can't keep trying to pitch through injuries for this long -- since January -- and avoid the knife forever. Even if he tries one last comeback this year, I'm not too confident.
What's the time table for Pedro and do you think he can be dominant in October?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I'm hearing Aug. 1 is a very realistic expectation for him being back in the Mets' rotation. The reports are good. That doesn't mean I'm endorsing him as a fantasy standout like he was in the past, but there should be value there, barring a setback. I will say this, though: I have this feeling that Pedro's future is going to have one more stretch of maybe a month or two of solid, almost dominant pitching, close to what he was early last year, and then after that he'll never again be Pedro. Could have an OK year in 2008, but I'm not looking for the dominance there. So, I guess the answer to your October question is, if he keeps going at this pace, sure, I wouldn't be shocked if the one month of dominance he might have comes in that very month. That's the Mets' goal here.
Bill Hall - serious?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
If what he has really is a high right ankle sprain, you're talking a month easy. I'd be prepared to be without Hall until at least mid-August, and good chance he misses all of July AND August.
the best player in the game is down... Arod is it serious?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
If he's able to play through this hamstring pull enough to sneak in a game or an at-bat here or there, that leads me to believe that it's not a DL-necessary injury. I DO think, however, that A-Rod might take off another game or two this weekend, plus the All-Star Game, so that he'll be back to 100 percent by the start of the second half. Don't get too worried.
Randy Johnson just got dropped in my 12 team league. I'm stupid for asking if I should pick him up, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
No, you're actually not stupid for asking it, because the Big Unit is no guarantee to be all that valuable from today forward. I'll keep the faith in him, but if he has a herniated disc in his back, it's something that could easily hamper him the rest of the year. He and the Diamondbacks might be kidding themselves in trying to act like he's at 100 percent health. I'd say absolutely pick him up based on his raw talent, but Randy Johnson is officially a risky bet the rest of the year with his latest setback. Don't count on more than 10-12 more starts, if that many.
Daniel (Athens, Ga)
How good do you think Juan Rivera is going to be when he gets back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
I really think Juan Rivera is the kind of guy we shouldn't be worrying about until 2008. Oh, sure, he could be useful enough once healthy to help AL-only teams late in the year, but it's a tough, tough injury for him to heal. I'm not expecting Rivera to get back to his .290-25 like potential until next year; he'll be a bit less than his normal self initially.
Street reported July 20th back date, believe it?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I do, though again, anything's possible regarding the issue of setbacks. The information we have right now is that he's throwing, hasn't had any pain after his recent sessions, and is on target for that very date of return. Keep careful watch on him in the next 7-10 days, though.
Any reason why it's taking this long for Upton to get back, are they just being cautious?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
He had a couple of setbacks during his rehabilitation assignment, including a fever earlier this week that cost him a little time. The plan, though, is to have B.J. Upton ready for the start of the season's second half. By the way, from the reports, the Devil Rays are apparently seriously looking at him as an outfielder, which might mean Delmon Young shifts back to right field and Jonny Gomes to DH.
Is Andruw Jones hurt (Back?) and just not telling anyone?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I keep wondering that but unfortunately don't have any specific info on the health of Mr. Jones. My concern about the possibility, though, IS serious enough that I'd say be careful looking at him as too much a buy-low candidate.
How is Francisco Liriano doing these days? When he comes back next season, will he be the same rookie phenom we saw last year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
Tommy John surgery can be a total crapshoot. Some pitchers do come back extremely strong the year after their return, so I'm not ruling it out, especially not for a pitcher so young. But for every example of that, I see the A.J. Burnetts, Kerry Woods, etc., that had future issues. For 2008, I'm thinking Liriano probably has the potential to approach the top 25 starters. We won't know for sure how strong a recovery he's making until spring camps open, though.
When is Mark Teixeira due back? Is now a good time to buy low or do you think he could be out for too long?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
He'll begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment late next week, meaning he could be back with the Rangers not long after the All-Star break. The team really did play it safe with their slugger, so I'm more confident in him than I might be a typical player coming off such an injury. There's risk, but with Teixeira's second-half history, and him getting plenty of time to heal, I think he'll come back strong. Buy in, I say.
What are your projections for Myers when he gets back and when is he coming back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
It's a race between him and Tom Gordon to see who gets back first, and whoever does and looks strongest is, in my mind, going to be the one closing the rest of the year. I bet the Phillies would LIKE it to be Myers. I keep hearing late July for his return, and I see no reason he can't be around 12th-15th among closers for the season's second half, accounting for the little lost time out of that period.
Tim (Long Beach, CA)
Reed Johnson is due to come off of the DL today. Do you think Adam Lind will get sent back down to the minors? What kind of numbers do you project for Reed Johnson for the rest of the way? Will he do enough of any one thing to matter fantasy-wise?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I do think Lind is a candidate for a demotion, if only because he hasn't played all that well and he needs everyday at-bats somewhere. He's the one who loses out most, because he can't slide over to first base like Matt Stairs did. As for Johnson, no reason he can't again be a decent leadoff man, high OBP, for the Blue Jays. Nothing exceptional in numbers, but a .280 batting average, handful of homers (5-7), good runs scored. Not a bad AL-only player, I'd say.
Nefii Perez out 25 games tesing positive for stimulants. Is Ryan Raburn worth a roster spot?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Poor Neifi, a guy who I simply do not think is all that great a player. Very fortunate to have had the career that he has had. As for Raburn, I'd say no, he won't play nearly enough to matter.
Do i get a win tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
I think so. It's a good matchup for Bush at Washington.
Whats up with Rich Hill? He has been mediocre after the hot start.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
He's a little too prone to the long ball. That's his greatest failing. Still, the half-week's rest should help refresh him. I'd say his full-year numbers right now, a pretty fair second-half expectation.
Todd (Long Beach, CA)
McCann didn't play last night. How serious is his sore knee and how useful will Saltalamchia be?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
I often wonder whether the Braves know that Brian McCann hasn't been playing at quite 100 percent for some time and that that's why Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been kept around for so long despite no guarantee of regular at-bats. It's possible. I haven't heard anything to indicate that McCann is a candidate for the DL, but to me, he's still not much more than a .275-hitting, 10-12-homer guy for the season's second half. Good, not great.
Matt (Scranton, PA)
what's your second half projection on howard? should we expect 25 homers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Considering he has 20 already and missed time in the first half, I'd say oh yes, absolutely. In fact, 30 wouldn't completely shock me. Ryan Howard has about the best pure power of any player I have ever seen.
Carpenter - projections?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I'm going to say people who are smart about Chris Carpenter pencil -- note PENCIL -- him in for eight-10 starts, four wins, 3.25-3.50 ERA. In short, don't count on too much from him, but there's going to be a bit of value there from the reports I've seen.
Does Saltalamacchia play 4-5 games a week or 2-3?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
If I were the Braves I'd be getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia in there every day at first base on the days he's not catching. He has to have more offensive upside than Scott Thorman, no?
Is Bobby Abreu hurt or his he really just this bad?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
I watch Abreu play an awful lot and I see nothing in him that seems to suggest any sort of injury. This is merely poor play. I think the pressure has simply gotten to him and he needs a change of scenery.
Nick (Santa Monica, CA)
If the Red Sox trade for a closer, will they move Papelbon into the rotation like they originally planned?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
It wouldn't be a smart move for them at all to shift him to the rotation at this late stage of the year, because that's a project that takes time. It's better to do that at the onset of spring training or not at all. I'd say the Red Sox are smart enough to know that, too.
Who has a better second half, abreau or bay?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Jason Bay, because I don't see the Yankees becoming sellers at the deadline, and as I noted, I think Bobby Abreu needs a change of scenery.
will sabathia get hurt during the second half? ive heard a lot of people saying that he is pitching too much.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
A lot of people have said that about Carlos Zambrano, too, and look at him today. I wouldn't get myself too worked up about it. Nothing in his profile seems to indicate to me a guy at serious risk to get hurt in the immediate future. SOMEDAY he might pay for hefty early-career workloads, but I don't see it coming soon.
Do we see John Lester or Clay Buchholz after the break? I've been holding on to Lester all year.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Remember when Terry Francona said back in May (I believe) how he thought Lester would be in the rotation by Aug. 1? It's getting close, and that estimate might wind up right on target. I do think we're going to see Lester up with the Red Sox this year, for maybe eight starts or so. I'd keep him around in deeper leagues. Buchholz, I'm nowhere near as convinced as most that we'll see him in any noticeable capacity this year. Sure, it COULD happen, but I'd bet only if multiple unexpected injuries strike. I say 2008 is more Buchholz's time, 2007 is Lester's.
Tristan, I know this is a homer question, but are any of the Jays outside of Rios, worth trading for?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Roy Halladay, Troy Glaus, Jeremy Accardo, Dustin McGowan, each have some value that make them worth getting on the trade market in the right deals. Aaron Hill too. And I'd say Vernon Wells ranks as a decent buy-low. I have to think he'll get better.
Flemming (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Gorzelanny or Billingsley? Hughes or Pedro? Hennessey or Reyes? Blanton or Guthrie?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
I'll go Chad Billingsley, Phil Hughes, Al Reyes and Joe Blanton.
Ken (Eugene, OR)
Which two matchups should I play today: Josh Hamilton vs. Micah Owings...Jack Cust vs. Jeff Weaver or Josh Willingham vs. Chad Billingsley?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I don't want any part of the Willingham-Billingsley matchup. I see some K's a-coming.
Jim (Costa Mesa, CA)
Do you think Da Meat Hook will maintain his current pace? Will he finish the year with numbers that look like .325/25/80?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
I'm saying it now to make it a prediction: Nationals wear out in the second half, because a team that inexperienced, that lacking in depth, has to slow down in the hot summer sun. That'll hurt Dmitri Young's numbers. I'll look for a .300-310 batting average, 13-15 homers, 70 RBIs as his year-end stats.
Are you saying to sit Cabrera as well?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Oh no, not going that far. But Josh Willingham, he's no Miguel Cabrera. Not by a longshot.
Who is a better option to replace Hall at 3B? Lugo, Rolen, or Iwamura
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Considering the way they have been playing, Akinori Iwamura is your best bet for the short term. Sure could be for the long term too!
Tristan, our league is considering a switch from weekly to daily line up changes. I am opposed. What do you prefer and why?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I have fun in either format, to be honest. I suppose I prefer weekly because it's easier for me to set my schedule around knowing once a week I need a good hour or so to set all my lineups on a Monday. In a daily league, it's an every-single-day grind, 180 days or so a season. That's tough to do. Plus, in a daily league, owners spot starting pitchers in becomes a much more tried strategy. You need more careful guidelines if you're worried about that. Not that I don't like it, I have a league like that this season, I'm streaming starters and leading, and loving the format. But I know not everyone likes it.
With Bedards 'dead arm' would a Bedard for Manny trade be a good one?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
I just made this very trade about four days ago. That should answer it for you!
Do i get a win over your man crush with Billingsley?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Ha! Two weeks ago I was getting ripped in a chat for not being ENOUGH pro-Billingsley. How times change! I'm actually still not huge on Billingsley, just like this particular matchup and the fact that he's finally up there in workload. I'd say Willis has a tough time getting the win here.
Alan (New York)
Huff or Inge at 3B for the 2nd half?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Brandon Inge is an underrated player. Neither of these guys is a stud, but don't underappreciate the power Inge provides, especially if you're strong enough in batting average to stomach his so-so number.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Well, that's all for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours ... Have a great weekend, everyone!