Fantasy sports w/Tristan H. Cockcroft
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft in The Show on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:00 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
kevin (zanesville Ohio)
who is the center fielder with the Reds with the most upside? Bruce, Freel, Hopper.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
"Most upside"? Well, it's definitely Jay Bruce. He could be a prime candidate for Rookie of the Year honors. I do think he'll hit immediately once he's up with the big club, but on a Dusty Baker team, and with him perhaps benefiting from a month or two of minor league seasoning, I'd treat him in the draft like we won't see him before June 1. Sure, that could easily change with a strong spring, and I'd say don't forget about him, but let's not get overzealous here.
Who's a guy that going to end up on most of your teams and who's a guy who will not be on any of your teams?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
I have a feeling I'm going to be one of the few fantasy owners who ends up with Adrian Gonzalez in a lot of places, and pretty much never ends up with Carlos Zambrano. Just a hunch based on the general values I've seen for those two, and how I feel about them compared to that.
brad (harrisburg, pa)
plain and simple: with Lyon's extremely low HR/9 rate, do you see him sticking as the D'backs closer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
I really think Tony Pena should be given a long look for the job, as he's probably more suited to being the team's long-term answer. Why use a guy who could dart as a free agent after the season? That said, I've got no problem with Lyon if it's him. He's not quite the upside play Pena is, but he's not far off, either. So I'd treat him as a No. 3-type mixed league reliever, No. 2 in NL-only. And by the way, keep CLOSE tabs on these guys once camps open. I'm not convinced those roles will stick.
Projections for Ubaldo Jimenez this year and beyond? Is he an injury risk? Can he become a #1 or #2? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Emmett, I'm actually warning people about Jimenez, only in that while I see him being a decent starter in the long haul, I could see a bit of an adjustment period in his immediate future. For one, I wasn't wowed by his minor league performance in 2007; he got the call mostly because the Rockies were desperate. I'd say be patient, treat him as more a matchups type, but don't go overboard beyond there. That's a late-round NL-only type, but not a mixed-league candidate, unfortunately.
Outlook on Theriot for 2008? Will his value be lower if Cubbies acquire Roberts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Only in that he wouldn't bat second, which is seemingly where he might to begin the year if Brian Roberts doesn't land in Chicago. And that hurts a guy in the runs scored categories, and a little in the other counting ones, too, because it means less at-bats and the pitcher not hitting far behind you. Still, I could see a respectable batting average, maybe .280, and steals in the 20s, and there's value in that either way.
I love Adrian Gonzalez, do you think he'll improve on the .282/30/100 from last year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
I think he's capable of at least repeating it, and I'm going for him because of the upside from those numbers. A .290-30-100 season seems easy for him to attain, so you draft a "safe," reliable type, and you might even get top-five first baseman numbers from him. Yup, you heard me.
So, you don't think Ubaldo is in the top 80 of so starters?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Well, "top 80" is a very full pool. I'd say he's going to wind up somewhere in the ballpark of that number, but that's off the top of my head, and once I get there with starting pitchers, since those are all matchups types, I could see a swing of 20 spots in either direction with ease. I just don't think he's much of a mixed-league type, not as things stand today.
Tristan, I'm concerned about Pujols. He says if he has shoulder surgery he'd miss the season. In a 10 team, std. scoring league, would you move him for any of this deals - straight up - 1)utley 2) rollins 3) Hafner/Penny. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
If you're truly, genuinely concerned, I don't think dealing Albert Pujols for Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins straight up is a bad deal for you at all, especially when you take into account the value of the middle infield positions. All three players are first rounders, and middle of it, I'd say. I'd probably pass on the third offer, though. You have to remember that in a keeper league, if you take a 2-for-1 deal, you're effectively bumping a second player along with Pujols off your roster. So, it's kind of like saying you're dealing Pujols and the guy you cut for Travis Hafner and Brad Penny, and that's only going to make sense if the guy you're cutting is just not at all a keeper candidate. That's RARELY the case.
What are your projections on Derrick Lee this year? bounceback season in store?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
I actually think he's going to be a little better in the power department this year than last, and the other rates should remain pretty stable. So, in other words, he's a tad underrated, I'd say. I just dug up my projection: .317-31-106-9. That's not bad at all.
What S.F. Giants hitters worth drafting this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
Hey, Andy, gotta say, ANYONE becomes draft worthy the deeper the format you go. Aaron Rowand and Bengie Molina, off the top of my head, WILL be drafted in pretty much every league. I have a feeling Randy Winn, Omar Vizquel and even Dave Roberts will be picked in NL-only formats. Perhaps Ray Durham and Rajai Davis in deeper such leagues. Not that I'm excited by ANY of these guys; I'm pretty convinced the Giants are a lock for a bottom-three ranking in terms of offense in 2008. It's a bad team, and that's really a shame for Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, two excellent, excellent young arms.
If Sherrill comes over in the Bedard trade would he be the favorite to get saves in Baltimore?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Well, I think so, but I also think the best arm on the roster should close for his team. Then again, if I were managing, I probably wouldn't be so attached to the current idea of a traditional "closer." I do believe George Sherrill would be at least a 50/50 bet at getting that role, though, so I'd treat him as such. Speaking of which, when the heck is that deal going to get finalized?
Todd, San Diego
Tristan, Are you confident that Carlos Marmol will win the Cub's closer job? Pinella can get a little wacky with these things.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Again, I think he's the best arm, the best fit, for the role. You're dead on that it's no lock, and Ryan Dempster could be bullpen-bound again now that the rotation looks deeper. Bob Howry was also once signed seemingly as the closer-in-waiting. This means keep close tabs on the situation in the spring, invest a decent share in Marmol's sleeper upside today, but don't go nuts, because he's not at all a lock. I just happen to like him best of the candidates, that's all. And that doesn't always mean it wins the guy the job.
Dave (Kent, OH)
Hey Tristan. Is there any real difference in a fantasy baseball auction draft with $500 instead of the usual $260? Do player values just double? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
Not necessarily. I always suggest to people to treat auction dollars on a bit of a curve; the top guys always eat up a larger percentage of the budget, and the useless guys eat up a tiny fraction. For instance, let's say, hmmm, the aforementioned Ubaldo Jimenez is worth $1 in the $260 format. Is he really going to be $2 in a $500? Perhaps, but I'd say since he's still one of the final picks, he's still going to cost $1. So that extra $1 gets pumped into another area, and I think it generally gets thrown at a top guy, not a bottom one. So, if your top guy is worth $40, well, I'd say it's a lot easier to go $100, perhaps even a tiny bit more, in a $500-cap league. Do your adjustments based on percentage of the budget, I'd say, then take off a handful of the dollars from the $10-and-under types and scatter them a little more towards the top guys. Because those are the guys you want, after all.
Dave (King of Prussia, PA)
Over/under 19 wins for Johan?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Since this one's more for fun than anything, I'm going to take the over. I won't go all 30-wins-for-Johan like I bet some might joke leading into the season, but yeah, I'd treat him like the strongest 20-win candidate in the game.
How do you feel about Kotchman this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Good prospect, nice upside, should enjoy a strong career, so I'd say a decent step forward. The only thing that really worries me about Casey Kotchman is his health, not his raw talent. Seriously, I believe in his bat. Think a .290-15-80 kind of year for him, with definite upside from that, but I lock in that projection more to put in the caution that he might miss a handful of games, not as a knock that he can't do better. Just a few spots outside the top 10 first basemen, I'd say.
Jim (Albany NY)
Plain and simple better for 2008, Lincecum or gallardo? thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Both strong bets, but I just like the Brewers better than the Giants. Actually, I like them a LOT better than the Giants. And in this case, that makes all the difference.
I'm very tempted to keep Liriano over Markakis and Gordon. IYO is his upside worth the risk over Markakis's steadiness?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Certainly not over Nick Markakis. I think Markakis is an underrated, franchise-type player who must be kept in all but the shallowest of keeper formats. Over Alex Gordon? You know, it's shocking, but I put him and Francisco Liriano right around the same. I usually pick the hitter in such instances, but if you're in need of pitching, and have a strong hitting core, I think it's a fine choice to go Liriano first.
What round is acceptable for Figgens? Projected Stats?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Maybe fifth? I'm not big on steals-driven guys. Then again, I have him at .286-5-52-53 with 90 runs, so it does mean I believe in him. I just don't call guys like this top-three-round types, just can't do it. Build around the boppers first, and get these guys before you get, say, saves.
Daniel (Livermore Falls, ME)
Will Nick Johnson be a comeback player of the year candidate, or will he lose playing time to Dmitri Young?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
That Young stayed in Washington on a pretty decent contract says a lot to me about what the team feels about Johnson's health. I'd need to see a lot from Johnson this spring to think he's going to do anything meaningful for fantasy. I'm not buying in.
I have seen lots of glowing things said about Markakis. Just wondering what you see for him this year and where in a fantasy OF he should be? #2?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
I'd say No. 2 outfielder for mixed is just about right. I know the Orioles aren't a good team, but the kid can hit, and I've got him at virtually identical numbers to last year, just with a handful fewer RBI/runs. Still, he makes it up with a bit of untapped power upside. Very, very similar value to 2007. Treat him as such.
Tristan, love the chats! If Jerry Owens wins the CF battle and hits leadoff, what kind of numbers can he put up?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I don't see him winning that role, unfortunately. I bet Nick Swisher's in center and hitting second, Orlando Cabrera's hitting first. Owens is the fourth outfielder, maybe even fifth. He'll run enough in that role to be a fourth/fifth AL-only outfielder, but that's not a mixed-league type. Say, .260 average, 20-25 steals, meaning he's all steals, nothing more.
Joe V. (St. Louis)
In one of my keeper leagues the corner infielders are a little weak so I'm trying to target a player in the middle rounds. Do you see Adrian Beltre as a safe .275-25-95-85-12 third baseman? Better than Alex Gordon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
You almost nailed my projection, Joe, except that I had him about 5-8 points lower in batting average. I'd call Beltre a safe third baseman once the studs are gone. People aren't wild about him, but he's a nice, consistent type. And certainly better for 2008 than Gordon, I'd say, though there's no doubt at all that long-term, I want Gordon.
I keep reading that Evan Longoria is this year's Ryan Braun. Does he really have that much potential? Would you keep him over Bruce long-term? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
He does, yes, and I would, yes. That doesn't mean I just said "Evan Longoria equals Ryan Braun 2007." It means if anyone's going to do it -- and remember, these guys come along pretty much once a decade or more -- Longoria has as good a chance as anyone. And I do think he's about guaranteed now of being in the Opening Day lineup. I see very little not to like about him; I actually like him a LOT better than I did Alex Gordon a year ago to the day. Granted, I wasn't close to as wild about Gordon as most were then.
What are your feelings on Adam Jones?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Fifth outfielder for mixed at best, value tied a lot to what his role winds up in the spring. I think he's going to be streaky, and guys like that, you have to be patient with them, and in mixed, often need to slide them onto your bench during the slumps. Treat him accordingly. Think .260s batting average, a shot at 20-plus homers, 10-15 steals if he lands the everyday job.
Tristan, if you could have one rookie on your team for just this year, who would it be?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Do I HAVE to take a rookie? I'm not a big fan of rookies; they get overhyped a great deal. It's gonna be Evan Longoria, best mix of upside and opportunity. Not that it means I think any less of Joba Chamberlain or Joey Votto, and yes, I think pretty highly of both of those guys, too.
Tristan, which pitcher should I let go? Lincecum $10, Vasquez $10, Gallardo $10 or Peavy $29. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
That one is painfully tough, Joe. All look like fabulous keeper candidates. I don't know whether this means you can keep the guys beyond this year at a rate of inflation, but since most leagues are like that (I usually play in ones where the price bumps up $5 per year), I'm going to say throw Javier Vazquez back. I just don't think you can let go of the potential and upside Tim Lincecum and Yovani Gallardo provide.
If Swisher hits 2nd, is he a lock for 35 hr and 100 runs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
"A lock" is a strong phrase, but I'd say the chances are noticeably better than 50/50. In other words, yeah, you're being reasonably fair with him if you project him as that, though know you're only going to get, say, a .255-.260 batting average in the process, and that hurts.
More likly to dissapoint this year Tulo or BJ Upton?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
I'll prepare to be bombarded here, but Troy Tulowitzki. Hey, I had to answer one of the two, and compared to perceived value, he's the one I think is going to be the greater letdown. Not that it's much of a difference between his perceived and actual value, granted.
Dan (St. Louis)
I am planning on keeping Braun, Crawford, Hafner, and Bedard. With those keepers, who would you keep out of Markakis, Mauer, Adrian Gonzales, and Figgins (2B eligible in this league)...Thanks for your help.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
All strong keeper candidates, but I'd go Nick Markakis there. Just a slight bit better than the bunch.
Steve (Las Vegas)
I hate sending the question again, but how d I know it went through for sure...in a keeper league, would you trade Jake McGee & Travis Snider for Matt Kemp...or is that too much?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Putting aside that some leagues have funky carryover rules regarding minor leaguers, in terms of straight value? Very fair. I'd take the ready-now (Kemp) in exchange for the might-be-later (McGee and Snider). I think Kemp's being a tad overrated for 2008 thus far, but I do like what he can provide even if his at-bats are a bit limited, and I love what he might provide long-term.
Chris (Prague, CZ)
If Crede gets traded to SF (is this a legit rumor?), is Fields a lock at 3B for the White Sox? And what happens to his projected auction value ($260 cap)? Thanks, Tristan.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I'd say so. And I'd probably put him right in those teens, say, $15ish. More than that in AL-only, of course, maybe you get him a few less in mixed. But that's the kind of value you should estimate if regular at-bats are guaranteed. Again, by the way, owning Josh Fields requires patience, because he'll be frustrating in batting average.
Steve (Las Vegas)
Does that mean you don't think McGee can become an ace / Snider is the second coming of Billy Butler?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
No, not really, and that's actually a damning evaluation of Butler, who I do like for the future. He's underappreciated. I just think it's smart for an owner to trade guys who MIGHT be great someday for guys who CAN be great right now, especially if the latter is a guy who's also young and on the rise. Big advantage, value-wise, when you get a guy who's already shown us to an extent that he can play at this level. Neither McGee nor Snider is any lock to do that. Not that I'm saying they can't, but I purge myself of that risk they might not.
Predict 5 guys who end up with 30 saves that didn't last season
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Five! Oh boy ... But that's a fun one. Well, Brad Lidge, Rafael Soriano and Joakim Soria, for three. Matt Capps is a pretty strong bet, too. But I bet what you want are the George Sherrill calls ... My sleeper bet: Brian Wilson. Like that kid, just want to see him get the chance to do it.
Francisco (Managua, Nicaragua)
Tristan, Who would you draft: Soriano vs. Crawford? Sizemore vs. Braun?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I'll take Carl Crawford and Grady Sizemore, thank you very much, as I just have this thing about top-20-overall players who can fill all the five key Rotisserie categories for you. And those races are all so very close.
Would you feel ok if Erick Aybar was your starting SS in 12 team mixed?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Nope. He might not even be an everyday man for the Halos!
what do you expect from Ian Stewart and Brandon Wood this season
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
Reserve role, mainly valuable as a handcuff type for Garrett Atkins or Todd Helton owners, and I don't see either of those guys having strong needs for that kind of insurance. That makes Stewart, most likely, a midseason pickup if an opportunity arises, nothing more. Wood, I bet he spends a lot of time in Triple-A ball, and the rest just adjusting to the majors. I wouldn't go nuts for either.
It's the last pick in the draft. Do you go with upside or veteran consistency?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Mixed? Upside, no question. Main reason is that if the upside guy tanks, it's not at all hard to scoop up the "veteran consistency" type off the waiver wire as a plug-in during the season. For now, the more shallow the league, the more likely you take chances later in the draft.
joe (alexandria, va)
Tristan, Pick 2 to keep: Hanley (2nd round), Holliday (3rd), Bedard (13th)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Oh boy. I don't know if these are the only two keepers you get, but the first thing that pops into my brain is that I'd have an incredibly hard time letting Hanley Ramirez go priced a round lower than his true value, and I can't possibly let Erik Bedard go at that cheap. So there's your answer.
Bourn yay or nay
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
I'm going to say yay, but he's a steals guy, really that's it, and his weakness against left-handers is a good reason not to get too carried away with projections. Think a nice, cheaper version of Juan Pierre, albeit lacking Pierre's upside from his prime years.
Please rank for 2008: Hart, Byrnes, Hermida, Victorino, Burrell.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Hmmm ... Top of my head, Eric Byrnes, Corey Hart (who I do really like this year), Shane Victorino, Pat Burrell, Jeremy Hermida. Actually not as tough as I thought, though it's a shame that realistically I had to put Hermida last, because I do like his upside.
What's the deal with Mike Piazza this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I'm a little surprised he hasn't signed yet. And as each day goes by, the chances of him landing somewhere he'll get enough catching games to qualify there once again decreases, and as such I'm not a fan. No interest in Piazza the DH-only, so I'd say it's now becoming a long shot he's that useful in 2008.
Jim (Mobile, AL)
What is Justin Upton's value in a $260 auction league? I am concerned about overrating him but he has SO much upside.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
He is also so very young, so I wouldn't be cracking the double digits on him. I'm going to estimate he's in that cozy $6-8 range, which is where the high-upside, late-round guys tend to wind up in price.
Is Justin Upton ready for the big time this year or should we expect growing pains?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Expect growing pains. Especially in batting average. Still, I think he's got a much better chance at sticking all year at this level than, say, Cameron Maybin. I've actually got Upton in the .260s in batting average -- the category of a streaky hitter, remember -- and with a good shot at double-digit power/speed, perhaps significantly so. Just don't get carried away, again, he's so very young.
Does Ryan Freel have a playing spot and fantasy value this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
I could see him being the everyday center fielder to begin the season, and once he gets hurt, as he always seems to do, it's Jay Bruce time. In other words, Freel isn't much of a mixed-league guy, he's more a dirt-cheap steals guy, and not one you can trust for a full 162 games.
Cano or Roberts
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Gut tells me to go Robinson Cano, but I am just so very attached to hitters over pitchers, and then hitting numbers as opposed to baserunning numbers. Roberts' runs are going to tumble if he remains in Baltimore.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Well, that's all for today. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. So many to tackle! The good news: We'll be back in the afternoon, so check back then!