Fantasy Baseball w/Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:01 PM)
Good afternoon everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
I need three guys to play out of this group for an even balance of HRs and SBs. Matsui, J. Upton, Adam Jones, Maybin, Thome, Swisher, Josh Fields. 1 OF spot and 2 UTIL. What say you?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:02 PM)
You need to balance the categories? Then I've got a feeling a Justin Upton-Cameron Maybin-Adam Jones combo is best for you. But I'd personally prefer Jim Thome to Maybin from an overall perspective, if you can find enough steals elsewhere.
What are your thoughts on Andrew Miller this year? Also name game: that dude with the Japanese name on the Giants and Josh Fields?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:03 PM)
OK, well, I haven't been impressed by Miller this spring, but to be fair to him, he's talented, young, has time to learn and grow. Sometime he's going to figure it out, and it's probably going to come without notice. From that standpoint I'd roster him as an NL-only reserve, but at best he's a matchups pitcher this year. Safest way to look at it, as he's a huge drain on your WHIP if he's not quite there. As for the second question, I assume you mean Travis Ishikawa, who I think is a tad underrated in NL-only leagues, but I'd still go Josh Fields there. Better raw power, more job security and the ballpark plays more in his favor.
Who do you think gets the closer job for the Cubs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:05 PM)
I have a sneaking suspicion it'll be Kevin Gregg, because managers are stupid. OK, I'm being harsh, but anyone who claims "closer experience" should make closer decisions is being foolish. Still, I'm not drafting assuming Gregg gets more than a third of the Cubs' saves, meaning I think Carlos Marmol gets the other two-thirds. Hey, Gregg can lose the gig in-season when Sweet Lou figures it all out.
Rickey Henderson, cooperstown
Tristan, Rickey gotta know.. who are the names that are going to make the final cut in the NL that will surprise with 15+ stolen bases? Will they be a threat to my numbers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:06 PM)
Deep NL steals sleepers? The first names that come to mind as dirt-cheap potential gems are Manny Burriss of the Giants and Josh Anderson of the Braves.
clay (Long Beach, CA)
there has big an enormous disparity on BJ Upton's pre-draft rankings between different ESPN fantasy experts and different fantasy sites alltogether. Some project him in the first round of a 14 team roto while others barely put him as a top 20 outfielder. What are your thoughts on him? I am happy to have landed him with the 24th pick while receiving some mocking and the "over-reached" insult by my fellow drafters.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:07 PM)
Well, for the record, B.J. Upton is DL-bound on Opening Day, not that I think he's missing more than half of April. That's how I'd be drafting him, at least. And part of that is why he's not in my top 10 outfielders, and most certainly, he is not first-round material. Barely top-20 at his position is underrating him, though. I think I had him exactly 12th among outfielders, so I'm sort of splitting the difference, which seems smart considering the mild health risk.
i get hamilton and dunn and i give up rios and a-rod.i have longoria
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:08 PM)
I don't trust A-Rod right now, so from that standpoint I'd say that's a smart deal, especially for an Evan Longoria owner. Josh Hamilton is the best player in that deal.
What is your projection for Dan Murphy now that its annouced hes hitting #2 for the Mets? Can he be starting OF in a 14 team league? thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:10 PM)
I think that's huge, frankly, but I've been on the Murphy bandwagon since my Mets-fan buddy enlightened me to his existence about two days after Murphy made his MLB debut. So yes, I was watching when he took quality lefty Renyel Pinto deep. Batting second in that lineup is huge from a runs scored and pitch selection standpoint, and I'd say he makes a case to start in your format, certainly. Big sleeper.
Bart (Toronto, ON)
Does Soriano steal and saves from Gonzalez in ATL?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:12 PM)
I'm convinced the health of those two is going to ultimately decide that role the entire 2009 season. Both have the skills to close, and Mike Gonzalez is higher in the pecking order when healthy. So it's him, but naturally since both are brittle I can see both getting saves ... not to mention there being some scattered ones for other Braves (the comparably brittle Peter Moylan?).
Do you think Lindstrom and Perez can overcome their health issues and be the closer for their teams on opening day?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:13 PM)
I think Matt Lindstrom can if only because he's the guy the Marlins want to close for them, and there really isn't another overwhelmingly talented alternative on the roster besides. Chris Perez, though, his stock is slipping. Can't afford much more missed time with Jason Motte and Josh Kinney impressing. I really feel like that's now Motte's gig.
Tad (Fayetteville, AR)
Ever since Colby Rasmus had his sit down with Tony La Russa early in Spring Training he has been playing really well including going 5 for 6 on Saturday... Do you see him in the line up for the red birds on opening day?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:14 PM)
Yup. But as I continue to stress, I'm not a big Colby Rasmus guy. I think he's overrated, and might be prone to some painful slumps.
what's the earliest you should take a top-5 catcher?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:15 PM)
I can't remember the last time that -- outside of funky league formats that dictate you must -- I picked a catcher before, say, the 50th pick overall. And it's Brian McCann for me when I get to catchers, if he lasts that long. But another thing I continue to stress: I don't pay for catching.
Justin (Houston, TX)
Picked up Wieters, looking for my starter til he gets up: Navarro, Ramon Hernandez, Shoppach, Pierzynski, or Teagarden
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:16 PM)
Go with Ramon Hernandez, because that's a pretty high ceiling you'd be taking a shot on, and if it doesn't pan out then by the time you realize he needs replacing Matt Wieters should be just about ready to be promoted.
How do you think PEAVY will do this year?? Would you trade me away for him if you have Nelson Cruz to take my place????
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:17 PM)
I am not a Jake Peavy fan. Of all the top-10 starters, I see the greatest downside in him, and that includes the questionable-for-Opening-Day Cole Hamels. The Padres are awful, which hurts Peavy in wins, and if he's traded his ERA/WHIP might suffer. Not saying he's a terrible pitcher, but I'd feel pretty uncomfortable going with Peavy and Cruz considering the downside potential in each.
joe v tampa fl
Is steven strasberg as good as advertised? When is the mlb rule 4 draft? thank you
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:19 PM)
I have not had a chance to witness him pitch myself, Joe, so I don't want to register an informed opinion on him when there isn't one there (yet), but from everything I understand, that kid is supposed to be really special. Biggest hype in a pitching prospect I can remember since probably Jered Weaver, and I get the impression scouts like him more now than they did Weaver then. Clear No. 1 pick, and I hear talk that he could breeze incredibly quickly to the bigs. In a keeper league he should be an instantaneous pickup the moment he's available this season. As for the date of the draft, it's June 9.
Please rank the following: Parra, Wandy, Malholm, Masterson, U. Jiminez
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:20 PM)
Well, Wandy Rodriguez's health bears watching, but I'll play this assuming he's OK for the season's first week, and rank them Ubaldo, Parra, Masterson, Wandy, Maholm.
Billy (the Pen)
For those who have to draft in the next day or two, please rank: Sherrill, Lyon, Hoffman, Lindstrom, Hanrahan, Percifal, Street/Corpas, Motte/Wagner/Perez, Devine/Zeigler, Lowe/Batista
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:22 PM)
As of Monday at 3:20 ET, I'd rank those closers/closer hopefuls Trevor Hoffman, Joel Hanrahan, Joey Devine, Huston Street, Brandon Lyon, Jason Motte, George Sherrill, Matt Lindstrom, Troy Percival, Manny Corpas, Chris Perez, Brad Ziegler, Mark Lowe, Miguel Batista.
Can you give us some players in contract years from which we might expect better than normal performances. I know Beltre is one. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:24 PM)
Catfish, I have a whole sheet of 'em on my desk somewhere but unfortunately as of this minute I have so many piles of draft sheets all over the place it'd take the rest of the chat just to find them! The most relevant ones (to me) that come to mind: Adrian Beltre (check his last contract year), Brett Myers, Jason Bay, Jermaine Dye, Rick Ankiel...
Tad (Fayetteville, AR)
Ok, so you're not a Colby Rasmus guy, but are you a Jeff Clement guy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:25 PM)
Not really but I actually do feel a little more confident in saying the statement "Jeff Clement is a .260/15 kind of guy" than "Colby Rasmus can go 20/20," which is how it feels like you need to treat the two of them in terms of draft-day price.
Rob (Frankfort, IL)
Will Adam Jones break out this season???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:26 PM)
Warming to him. Quite a bit, in fact. Running more this spring and I think that bodes remarkably well. Remember, this was quite the hyped prospect in his minor league days, a huge piece in the Erik Bedard trade and he's in that "post-hype sleeper" category entering 2009.
Felipe Lopez or Mike Fontenot?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:27 PM)
Needs question where Lopez probably ranks higher for everyone because of the steals, but not a huge fan of his, I'll say. I like Fontenot as more of a draft-day value pick. I never believed for a second Aaron Miles could hold him off for that gig, and I'm looking like I'm going to be right.
Britney Spears (Louisiana)
Isn't Jeter & Polanco basically the same player fantasy-wise?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:29 PM)
Give Jeter about five more homers and five more steals and you're onto something. I also call him a tad bit safer selection, but I won't call you crazy, either.
Jeremy (Princeton, Indiana)
I'm having an auction in less then an hour, and it's my very first one. I'm going to take the approach of pay for hitting, pichers will come later. So, for examply a $4 or $5 Derek Lowe. Who do you think think would be quality starting pitchers for cheap?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:31 PM)
Good luck, Jeremy, and have fun! I love auctions, and I think your strategy is a fine one, especially in a shallow mixed league. There's plenty of pitching you can grab cheap, while building a monster offense. Just make sure you stick to your guns! Doubt Lowe goes that cheap, but some names to look at: Garza, Ubaldo, Sonnanstine, Cueto, Carmona, Carpenter, Anthony Reyes, Marshall.
Could you tell the Padres to trade Adrian Gonzalez. The guy would hit 40+ if he weren't in that stupid park.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:32 PM)
Yes, yes he would. But I think I might have nightmares if I watched a Padres game lacking Adrian Gonzalez in their lineup.
Some other pundit for another website is professing his love for j. lowrie as a top 10 SS this season, you buying that?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:34 PM)
You know, this is the fun of the biz, that I really admire when a pundit hitches his (or her) wagon to a certain player. It's cool with me, so long as that individual can build a reasonable case. Seriously, that's all it is for me. Make your bold calls, but have a reason for it. And I can't see how Lowrie is a top-10 shortstop, seeing as he's weak in both homers and steals, kind of a Yunel Escobar type, but he's having a good spring. He might really be the AL's Escobar, statistically speaking of course. That's a guy in the low-to-mid teens among shortstops.
Lasting Milledge is now leading off for the nats? breakout player?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:34 PM)
It really makes little difference other than in the RBI department, where maybe Milledge loses 10 or so. But I still like him as a No. 4 mixed-league outfielder with breakout potential.
You heard it here first...Sean Marshall will win 15 games for the Cubbies this year. The steal of drafts! Am I a crazy homer??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:35 PM)
No. That wouldn't shock me at all. I'm a Marshall fan -- shame I got him for $1 in LABR last year instead of this. (He was pricier this year.)
What do you think of Jordan Zimmermann? Chugging the kool aid or sipping it and spitting it out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:37 PM)
He's having a spring that is going to unrealistically boost his draft-day stock to the point where he's not entirely worth it. I mean, c'mon, it's the Nationals. That's not a great team, not at all. How much can the kid really do? That said, a Cueto-like rookie year seems about right to me. Good, but nothing title-winning.
16 minutes to make up my mind (PLEASE HELP) Price or Kershaw??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:38 PM)
If you want to win this year Clayton Kershaw is going to be your better bet. At least he's assured being in the rotation. The way the Rays seem to be working Price in this spring it doesn't appear they are seriously regarding him as a member of the Opening Day rotation. He might be Triple-A bound for a month or two. (Scary thought.)
GOB Bluth (O.C.)
Was Stephen Drew's breakout year magic or was it merely an illusion?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:38 PM)
It was magic, and it'll be even more magical this season. Kid's got the talent.
How about Trevor Cahill for the A's?? Do you see him in the rotation to start the year??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:39 PM)
Sure looks like it, and that's my deep, deep mega-sleeper of 2009. Think my Justin Masterson for this year, if any of the chat faithful remember my raving about Mr. Masterson way back when. Love them young sinkerballers.
Do you like me?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:40 PM)
Yeah, actually, but like with Chase Headley, I mean it more in the long haul than I do for 2009.
need answer by 3:45. if he does not like the trade, should i do Bruce and a-rod for hamilton
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:41 PM)
If this is a long-term keeper league, then no, I probably would not. If it's redraft, that's probably about right, though I like your first offer better.
Kevin (St. Louis)
Does Jason Motte find success as the Cardinals closer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:42 PM)
Everything I read indicates that guy has a fastball straight as an arrow, and no matter how hard he throws it, that's the kind of arsenal I think hitters are going to figure out sooner than not. So while I say Motte is probably the guy on Opening Day, it doesn't at all mean I think he keeps the job all year. I'd say if you get two months' solid production from him you should be happy.
JB - Memphis
Whatever happened to Shawn Marcum and Dustin McGowan?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:43 PM)
Injuries. McGowan's recovery has been slow, and I doubt we see him before June at this point, and may I remind that when pitchers hit setbacks like he has, often they become year-long problems. Marcum is pretty much out until 2010 from what I understand. Longshot to pitch at all this year. In a year we'll need to know these names again though!
Bill Baroo (Judge Smails Bag)
Motte's 99 mph not easy to catch up to.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:44 PM)
If I know it's coming -- and to be fair, I'll say if I'm a major league hitter and know it's coming, because I know I can't catch up with 99-mph heat -- I'm going to hit that pitch every now and then. Predictability is a very bad thing for a pitcher. Deception matters.
I am developing a Dukes mancrush. Is 25-25 possible or will PT be too hard to come by in that Jim Bowden authored mess of a team that has 13 outfielders?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:45 PM)
A lot of people are, Mike. Lots of Elijah Dukes fans out there. I don't like that outfield all that much, crowded as it is with Nick Johnson healthy at first, keeping Adam Dunn out there. Frankly, I think Dukes' off-the-field and attitude issues come into play here. He has to perform early and often, and stay on the up and up. Anything else presents the huge downside evident in him in that crowded outfield. Just not the kind of value pick I'm targeting, though he's got 20/20 skills in the best-case scenario, for sure.
Come on, if there's one thing Charlie "Wild Thing" Sheen taught us, it's that you need to locate the fastball!!!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:47 PM)
I think Clu Haywood's first appearance against Rick Vaughn pretty much assured his ERA was a bit too high to make him a top fantasy pick. Just my opinion.
Who will be closing for my baseball team this year??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:49 PM)
That bullpen looks so 2006 Devil Rays that I could see 10 saves leading the team, with four or more guys getting five saves or better. Interesting connection: Tyler Walker was on the 2006 Devil Rays, and he's in the mix in Seattle right now. But I don't like him at all. I'd probably pick Mark Lowe, then David Aardsma, if I had to. And I'd hope I don't have to. (By the way, Mariners fans, no, sorry, by making a Devil Rays parallel I'm not saying you're going to the World Series in 2011. Don't forget, the importance of a nickname change!)
Eddie Money (Los Angeles)
If Morrow starts the season back in the bullpen, can this turn out to be permanent or will they try to move him into the rotation during the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:51 PM)
I think it's a completely foolish decision for a team that has spent the past calendar year tinkering with moving him back and forth between roles, and for a pitcher who has already had some arm troubles this spring. My policy on pitchers is pick one role, starter or reliever, and stick with it! Yes, Morrow would easily be the best arm in that 'pen, but I'll call him a high-risk guy in the health department if the Mariners bounce him back there at this point.
Do you like David Purcey this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:51 PM)
As a $1 AL-only bid or a matchups type in the format, sure. Not a garbage pitcher, I could see times he's useful -- like when he's not facing AL East foes.
Chuck (New York)
Toss Up: Bruce or Votto? King Felix or Gallardo?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:52 PM)
I like and believe in Joey Votto. Very consistent if you check his pro numbers. And King Felix.
Jason Voorhees (NYC)
Phil Hughes or Clay Bucholtz...this season.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:53 PM)
I think we are absolutely going to see Clay Buchholz in Boston this season accounting for his lights-out spring and that rotation's health risk. So he's my pick.
Shane (Edison, NJ)
Carlos Zambrano. Tristan, my man, How do you like KaZaam! as a 4th SP after Halladay, Webb, Joba in a 12 team? You feelin' me dog??
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:53 PM)
I don't. As a fourth starter, sure, I guess, but I'm the kind of fantasy owner buying into Mr. Zambrano's second half of 2008, not his first half. Everything keeps on trending downward, and I don't want to be left holding the bag when the bottom drops out.
Fill in the blanks: Albert Pujols is a first round pick until 20__.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:54 PM)
15. Yes, that's right, I said until 2015. And 2015 is the year he's picked in the first round but doesn't make up for it in earned value.
Chuck (New York)
No love for Gallardo?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:55 PM)
I like Yovani Gallardo. Quite a bit, in fact. His injuries weren't arm-related, and that's good. But I still don't take him over Felix Hernandez. Not that far off though.
Mike (Plainfield, IL)
Killer keeper situation: Markakis or Kinsler? Cliff Lee, Alexei Ramirez or Liriano? League counts OBP and doubles and Ramirez is Of, 2B and SS right away. PLease help !!!!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:56 PM)
I want the best players I can carry over, and Nick Markakis is simply the best, and safest, of those hitters. I'd probably go Ian Kinsler over any of the latter three you listed, but if it must be one of them, then it's Francisco Liriano.
John Bobby (Florida)
I think arod will do the best after his surgery don't you think so
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:57 PM)
I'm terrified of the prospect and therefore haven't been targeting him in my drafts, especially since no one seems to be suggesting that in addition to the long road back from that risky surgery, he's going to be dealing with a lot of cat calls in road games because of all the steroid talk. He's got a steeper hill to climb than people suggest.
Buzzer Beater. Brandom Wood hits 20 homers and knocks in 75rbis?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:59 PM)
He's got the power for that, but I don't see the spot on the team where he'd get the at-bats for 75 RBIs. Also, he's going to kill your batting average. Anything over .250 would be a surprise to me. He'll make the team and be an AL-only sleeper because of his power, but I'm not personally a huge fan.
Any thought on John Maine?? is he a better choice than any of Oakland youngsters??? or do you have any SP's you like better?sleepers?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:59 PM)
A lot of health risk but a good park, improved bullpen, lots of run support. I'd pick him over any of the Oakland kids, yes. But I won't declare him a 2009 standout.
Scott (Binghamton, NY)
Who's better Mike Fontenot or Skip Shumaker once he becomes 2nd base eligible?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:01 PM)
I think it's Fontenot. I think Schumaker is what he is, a perfect platoon type who should start against righties, but he'll bat maybe .300 and offer you little else but runs scored. At least Fontenot has a touch of power upside.
Am I the greatest fantasy player in sports history? I lead the league in 6 categories...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:02 PM)
I like Pedro Cerrano better, but hey, Pete Vuckovich did a heckuva job in that role.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:02 PM)
OK folks, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. I'll catch up with you all again Thursday morning! Take care, and best of luck if you draft before we next chat...