Fantasy Sports w/Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Ethan ( Monmouth, ME)
What does Colorado's outfield look like on opeining day and does it stay that way for the hole year. Thanks!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
On Opening Day -- remember that Brandon Webb, a right-hander, will be their opponent -- I bet the Rockies' outfielders are Ian Stewart in left, Carlos Gonzalez in center and Brad Hawpe in right. Ryan Spilborghs will start over any of those guys against a left-hander, and some righties, too. Matt Murton, unfortunately, is a little less useful version of Spilborghs, though he's a guy to watch I admit. The final game? I think it's a Stewart-Fowler-Gonzalez outfield.
John (Chestnut Hill)
Markakis before Kemp, Rios or Quentin? His stock seems to be really rising this winter.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
Matt Kemp (LA)
I hate 30 bombs this year, right?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
I hope you don't hate 30 bombs, because I'd really like to see you do it! I don't think you will, but all the numbers will be a-OK.
Rebecca (St Louis)
Hey Tristan. When are we going to get some ranks? Can you throw out your top 10 starting pitchers and hitters to get us by for a while? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:09 AM)
Soon, soon, Rebecca. Don't you worry! I'll give you mine, top of my head of course so I hope I don't forget anyone. Top 10 hitters: Albert Pujols Alex Rodriguez Hanley Ramirez Jose Reyes David Wright Ryan Braun Grady Sizemore Miguel Cabrera Mark Teixeira Josh Hamilton Top 10 pitchers (starter or reliever, remember): Johan Santana Tim Lincecum CC Sabathia Roy Halladay Brandon Webb Cole Hamels Dan Haren Jonathan Papelbon Jake Peavy Joe Nathan.
What do you see out of Stewart this year if he is getting regular at-bats in the Rockies OF? Can he be valuable as a middle infielder this year? 15-65-.270?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
I think that's reasonable, with more time off against lefties than you might think. My projection bumps the power up to around 20 bombs, batting average slightly lower, but if you draft him at those numbers I think you're being reasonable.
Jake (VA Beach)
Transition episode of 24, eh. So baseball league transition question. How would you suggest changing a regular kepper league to an auction keeper? Should we retro the players' amounts to last year or start fresh?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
I agree, transition episode, but then you have to have transitions to have good surrounding episodes, right? Unfortunately, the fairest answer to your question is probably to start fresh. I considered this in one of my keeper leagues last year and could find no way to transition it.
Brandon Webb (AZ)
I am the best pitcher of my generation, face it.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Big fan. Love the ground-ballers. Thing is, Webb isn't quite as strong a candidate to make a run at the Cy Young without Orlando Hudson behind him in that infield. It's not a significant hit to his value, but it's something to think about.
Is this the year to grab Colby Rasmus?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I dunno, Erik, I'm not the guy to look to for positive words about Rasmus. Not a huge fan. Sure, he could be that 20/20 guy if he makes the Opening Day lineup, but I see that outfield being fairly full and his high-minors numbers didn't overwhelm me. I bet he'd kill you in batting average. I'd probably wait a year, unless he's a really, really late pick or it's a keeper league.
Justin (Queens, NY)
Does Harang bounce back from a down year? I had him as a keeper last year (18 team mixed)and he killed me...what #'s do you predict?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I think so and was encouraged by his strong finish last year after returning from the DL, suggesting to me he might have one more top-25 starting pitcher season left in that arm. Still, I do have him projected about a .500 pitcher (maybe 12-12), with an ERA of 4.00 or slightly above. It's the 1.25ish WHIP and 180-190 K's I'd be picking him for.
John (Duxbury, MA)
Hey TC! Thanks for all the advice over the years. For 2009 and 2009 only, who would you rather have on your roster: Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, or Justin Upton?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
Upton. Just as much upside as Cruz and not quite so steep a downside. For one thing, the Diamondbacks would be well served to be patient with him, while the Rangers don't have any reason to sit on bad numbers from Cruz if he starts slow.
Yo Tristen. I need to declare my keepers today. 10 team 5x5 keeper league. No draft pick loss. I can keep 4 of the following J. Reyes, R. Braun, C. Quenton, Adrian Gonzalez, M. Kemp, J. Hamilton, or Liriano. If this was your team, who would you keep? I need your EXPERTISE! Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Jose Reyes, Ryan Braun and Josh Hamilton seem like no-brainers to me. Francisco Liriano tempts me, but all else being equal, I'm taking the hitter every time. So it's Matt Kemp for me as the final keeper.
John (Duxbury, MA)
Follow Up - Do you see David Murphy as a safer choice in 2009 than Cruz? I do.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Safer yes, but not quite the upside. Cruz has that legitimate 30-homer, 100-RBI potential, but he could also be a train wreck, batting .200 and winding up back in the minors by June.
Alan (Santa Fe, NM)
Choose my final keeper between Rios at $14 or Danks at $6. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
I'd have to keep Alex Rios, much as I like John Danks.
Brian Roberts (Bal)
I was a top 20 player last year. Why am I falling into the 5th and 6th rounds in people's drafts and rankings?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
One thing you need to understand about year-end player valuing systems is they're going to put a lot of emphasis on categories like wins, saves and stolen bases, which are very risky ones to put a lot of stock in on draft day. I'll probably have Roberts somewhere around No. 40 overall.
Pop Quiz hotshot! You need 120+ Saves and you're looking for low ERA, WHIP and some decent Ks. Which 3 Closers do you draft early/late if the first closer gets picked in the 5th Round?!?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
I don't know a single league that requires 120-plus saves to win the category. I had 132 in my 12-team mixed league last year, won the category by almost 40 (don't worry, it wasn't wasted, still won that league) and the league average was around 75-80. I think you're overestimating. Though if you're looking for good closer values, I like Joey Devine, Bobby Jenks and Chad Qualls as guys who won't go among the elite closers.
Is HOwie Kendrick too much of an injury risk? Can you tell us where you would consider him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
He has enough of a shoddy track record in the health department that I think such things have to matter. So yes, he's a big injury risk. That said, if only that kid could stay healthy for 150 games, wow, the numbers he could provide. He just plan hits! I've got him around 10th at his position, which means he's a middle-rounder.
The correct answer would have been "shoot the hostage".
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Well said, but I don't quote Keanu Reeves.
Justin (Queens, NY)
Brandon Phillips is a 30/30 player coming off a down year (21/23). Even if he is somewhere in between doesn't that push him over Pedrioa and Kinsler?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Well, I don't agree that he's a 30/30 player. I think he's more 25/25 when he's healthy, and at least I can say he should be healthy. So why is he beneath Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler, in my and most people's rankings? It's a much weaker batting average -- mid-to-high .260s -- and a lower runs scored total on a weaker team. I still have the guy fifth among second basemen. That's pretty good.
Craig (NY, NY)
Where does Pedroia go in drafts? Mixed? AL Only?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:29 AM)
Way too early. Maybe early third, and I won't be touching him that soon. If he slipped to 40 or so overall, I'd probably think about it. In mixed, that is. AL-only, I won't be shocked if he's a late-first round pick in some formats! I'd probably say late second.
Phil (Albany, NY)
Is the consensus that Doumit won't repeat his 2008 season? Is he a top 5 catcher?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
No, because I don't agree with that first statement. Ryan Doumit can actually hit with numbers similar to what we saw in 2008. It's his health history that worries me; asking 125 games or more from him catching is a bit of a stretch. That said, he can rival most anyone in the top five at his position when healthy. No. 5 catcher for me!
J.R. (Anderson, IN)
Who is you sleeper for SP in mixed leagues?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Josh Johnson. Been asked that one a lot, why not keep feeding the buzz!
Who would you rather have Haren or Halladay? Halladay might be better but he is in a much tougher division. Thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Closer than you'd think but I'd still go Roy Halladay. He's so talented, and so durable, going deep in practically every start. Plus, teams like the Yankees and Red Sox don't scare him, so the division comment is irrelevant.
Most likely SP to be top 10 this season who registered a K/9 greater than 10 last season: Joba, Harden, Scherzer or Morrow?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Most likely? The pitcher of those four with the greatest chance at a top-10 finish is Joba Chamberlain. And I'm not at all making that statement to try to boost him up as a huge breakthrough candidate, it's more that if the Yankees made him a full-time starter from Day 1, and he stayed healthy for 30-plus starts, yes, he absolutely has top-10 potential. I just sincerely doubt both of those things happen, that's all.
Dont forget about Seth Smith when trying to figure out wwho the Rockies will have starting in the OF. What about 2B- could Barmes provide value and what about Stewart there?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
I still see Smith as more of a fourth/fifth outfielder type. He'll be on that roster but I'm not convinced it'll be to play all that often, especially since he's lefty and so are Hawpe, Stewart and Gonzalez. And yes, since I keep hearing the Rockies talking about Stewart in left field, I'd say Clint Barmes has to beat out only Jeff Baker at second base. That's not a hugely stiff challenge.
Tony, East Hanover
Phillips 5th in 2b? who's above him aside pedro and utley?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
A lot of Brandon Phillips follow-ups, some of the sort of "if he does this, then..." And of course my answer to those is, well, sure, if he does great things, he's going to be higher than fifth at his position! I just don't think he will. As for my rankings, at second base I go Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia (Utley's health means this can change a lot between now and April), Ian Kinsler, Brian Roberts, Phillips.
Michael, (Milwaukee, WI)
who's your top 2B this year? hasn't Utley proven to be a consistent top 10 player, even if he is injured to start the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
Best way to describe my feelings about Utley: If he's healthy, he's the no-doubt No. 1 second baseman. If he's to miss only two weeks, he's, again, No. 1 at the position. If he misses a month or more, then I worry. Once camps open I bet we'll get more information on his recovery, which is going to help a lot with ranking him.
How would your draft strategy change, if any, if your league only started 9 hitters and 6 pitchers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
I play in a league that is somewhat like this but is an auction format, and the one tidbit I can give you is that position scarcity becomes more relevant in such formats. In other words, you're going to need to compare the top guys per position to the league-average ones, and the elite at the weak positions are the ones whose values improve. First basemen? Outfielders? Their value probably changes very little, if not decreases slightly. So I'd say probably that the top second basemen, starting pitchers, catchers, get a boost.
Ben (Pgh, PA)
Who is the rook, outside of Wieters, most likely to approach the Braun/Longoria rookie campaign?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Outside of Matt Wieters? And looking for a hitter? Sheesh. I'm not a big fan of rookies, and seeking such huge seasons from them. So unpredictable, they are. I'd probably tab Travis Snider as one of the next-most likely for that kind of rookie breakthrough.
Michael, (Milwaukee, WI)
what's your deepest offensive position this year? OF seems more shallow than usual
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Carlos Delgado is easily outside my top 10 first basemen, which demonstrates how deep that position is this season. It's ridiculously deep, I'd say. In fact, this might shock you, but Derrek Lee is also outside my top 10.
Marty (New York)
Better keeper Joba or Soria?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Joba Chamberlain, but my gut instinct is to not keep closers unless the league format really calls for it.
Aramis or Mauer more valuable, given the other choices at their respective positions? What about Mauer vs. Ellsbury?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
I see both Aramis Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury as more valuable than Joe Mauer, but I readily admit that I don't spend on top catchers. Read my columns over the years, I've never endorsed that strategy. Besides, I look at the catcher pool this season and see enough interesting mid-to-late round picks there that I don't see any need to overspend on a Mauer or the other top five. Now, if they slip in the draft, sure, I'll bite. But they almost never do.
In a 8 X 8 keeper league with TB, H & OBP which two would you keep? BJ Upton, Quentin and Markakis? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Nick Markakis is a must, and making the choice between the other two, I will take Upton's upside over Carlos Quentin. The two are a heck of a lot closer in on-base percentage than you might think.
Marty (New York)
Who are these mid-late catchers you like?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I set you up for that one, Marty, didn't I? Chris Iannetta, Ramon Hernandez, Jeff Clement, Dioner Navarro, even Yadier Molina, are all pretty decent later targets, I'd say.
When do you take cliff lee?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
Well, he's in my top 20 starting pitchers, so that means I'm probably looking at him by, say, the sixth or seventh round. I'd be stunned if he won another Cy Young or even got first-place votes in the balloting in 2009, but I also don't think he was a total mirage.
does Cabrera's expanding gut worry you that he might break down soon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
No, because it was a concern a year ago this time and yet he ripped off a .304 average, .962 OPS and 26 home runs in 79 games from July 1 on last season. I think the slow start was all a product of the league switch and the adjustment he had to make.
What are your expectations for Nolasco? Is he for real?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
The only thing that worries me with Ricky Nolasco is his health. He had a spotty track record and endured a noticeable boost in innings in 2008. Beyond that, I think his performance is entirely legitimate. And repeatable. My advice would be to expect similar numbers, but maybe draft expecting 25-28 starts from him, not 32. He's around 25th for me at the position.
Alexei or Votto?
In a 5x5 (OBP not BA), H2H, keeper league, who do you like better?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
If it's on-base percentage -- heck, even if it's batting average -- I think Joey Votto is the smarter keeper. Much more likely to help you in the category, and I think his power won't be far off Alexei Ramirez's. He's legit.
I see Taylor Teagarden as having more of an impact in 2009 than Wieters. Do you agree with that?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
It wouldn't shock me, but then I could completely see Matt Wieters' MLB debut being on June 1, and Taylor Teagarden being the Rangers' Opening Day catcher. I wouldn't call either of those unlikely scenarios. Problem with Teagarden is that there's competition for his role -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Max Ramirez -- but I've been saying for weeks now I see him winning that job one way or another.
Bryan (Montclair, NJ)
Is Ianetta going to be stuck in a platoon all season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
No. Yorvit Torrealba is really not all that good.
Last keeper; Cain, Billingsley, Shields, or Felix?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
I'd go Chad Billingsley simply based upon the upside.
If Utley is out for a month I really dont see his value dropping THAT much if youre in a daily league. It not like youre gonna leave that roster spot empty. Mix and match for a month.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
This is why it is very hard to make broad statements that can apply perfectly to every single league type. And why I often reply to questions with "I don't know your league type, but..."
What kind of #'s do you see from Sandoval this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Anything I project for the guy going by the stats I run has him practically at All-Star status, and I just can't see that happening. I still say it's smarter to treat him like a .280-to-.290-hitting, 20-homer candidate than projecting his 2008 stats to a full season. It's still a pretty solid player.
what do you think holiday will do this upcoming season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
Surprise everyone by not dropping off nearly as much as people seem to think. I said on the day of the trade I expect something like .310-25-100-12 numbers, and I say that today, too. That's a very, very good fantasy outfielder, and it wouldn't surprise me if he exceeded those numbers.
Dude, do you like taking Sandoval late if he's eligible at catcher in one's league?? It's my go-to pick in mocks so far.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
If he's catcher-eligible then he's a steal as a high-second tier catcher.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
OK, lunch calls, so time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours today. Take care everyone!