Fantasy Baseball w/Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Tim (ABQ - NM)
I've been trying to get someone's opinion for weeks...what do you see from Travis Hafner on his return?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Probably about the same that I expected from him before he got hurt, but with less of the excitement he seemed to be generating when he started a little hot. He's the kind of guy who I think bats .260 with 25 homers given a full slate of games. So scale that to two-thirds of a season and it seems an appropriate projection, though with greater health risk than your typical player.
JC Highland Mills, NY
Hey Tristan, Is there any underlying stat to suggest that Adam Dunn higher average is a fleeting this year (other than his historical batting averages). Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Amazingly no, other than that his home run/fly ball percentage is a little high (27.1) and his batting average on balls in play on his line drives is also a tad high (..833). So he's been a little lucky, but it's not like he's carrying any four-leaf clover or anything. I'd have told you he couldn't keep up the .300 batting average he had a couple of weeks ago, but now that he's at .283, I don't think he's far off his usual self. He has batted .260-plus before, after all.
why is braDLey hitting the cleanup with his pretty .196 avg?????
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Reputation (he was a pretty darned productive hitter the past two years), contract, the fact that the Cubs' offense is lacking in boppers that they had a year ago (Aramis hurt, Soto stinking too). But I agree, Milton Bradley is in danger of a drop in the order soon. On the bright side, he's batting .239 in May. Hey, it's progress! (Kidding.)
Hank (The VIII, I am)
Tristan, why so slow today AND where did my offense go!? Slump city here with Sizey, Soriano, Kendrick and OCab. You need to tell me that Soriano will heat up at SECOND base and cure some of my woes. Do it for me, and if not, do it for the kids!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Network issues, I apologize. (I see way too many of the same commercials.) Alfonso Soriano at second base? Ha! Not gonna happen. Sorry Hank. And as for cheering you up, I don't see a lot I don't like about that bunch. You need to remain patient.
Do you think Jeanmar Gomez will be called up next week? i'd like to add him but he's not listed in my ESPN league's player database. Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
No, but stranger things have happened, especially with the lack of depth in that rotation. It's funny what happens with kids like this when they rattle off a headline in the minors; there's a monstrous buzz that builds around them. Sure, Gomez's name is one keeper-league owners need to familiarize themselves with, but I wouldn't call any fantasy impact from him imminent.
What can we realistically expect from Jake Fox? Why would the Cubs call him up and just sit him on the bench? Will he see relevant playing time?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
Well, he's a catcher-turned-utilityman, and one with only two-plus years' experience in the outfield. I don't think Lou Piniella trusts him to man that outfield regularly, but "Sweet Lou" can be creative ... I think Fox sneaks in some time, but he's going to have to earn regular at-bats. NL-only appeal, but I'd just monitor him in deeper leagues. Great bat.
We have strict rules for a minor league player slot. I will be promoting Wieters on Friday and can only pick up 1 player without being able to swap them at leisure until next year. Who do I replace him with? My thoughts are Lars Anderson, Posey or Smoak. Thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
I have no idea who's out there, Ryan, but those are some mighty fine prospects. It's either Buster Posey or Justin Smoak for me, and I just think Smoak is going to help you sooner. And if those are the guys available in your league, I imagine proximity of major-league debut matters a lot in the decision-making process. Smoak might see some September time, but for sure I see him in the mix in the spring. By the way, big fan of Brett Wallace, if somehow he's still available in your league.
J-walk me thru this..JA Happ, J Outman, or J Vargas?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
Matchups, matchups, matchups. I like Josh Outman for what he is: A guy who can beat weaker, lefty-heavy offenses. Period. That's all he is, and all I trust him for. Overall? Probably Happ. Underrated prospect, better chance for success in the more pitching-oriented league.
I have Haren and Lowe, who face each other tonight. Which one, or both, do I start? Wins and Losses are a category in my league.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Sorry to hear that, Bryan, as it means double the frustration. Not a fan of the categories, I'll say. If you must, it's Dan Haren for me. Just a better pitcher than Derek Lowe, period. But if there are enough other categories to make that a worthwhile battle, I'd use 'em both. I just do not play for wins.
Fletch (Los Angeles)
Porcello - is he for real or does he have some favorable BHIP and Strand Rate? I only have 5 FA moves left for the season and really need to find a pitcher!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
BABIP is somewhat low (.253), but that's not surprising since he's more of a ground-ball pitcher than your average guy. His BABIP on grounders is .169, which is also a little low. Also a 14.3 home run/fly ball percentage, which is a little high, so that negates the BABIP thing at least a little. I'd say Porcello is probably for real, and I say that because I like the fact that most of his outs are either recorded on the ground or with a K. That minimizes his risk.
Reimold or Morales? Discuss.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
See, I like Nolan Reimold. Underrated prospect, decent pop, ballpark to help his offensive numbers.
Tristan, EK said something yesterday about how injuries can ruin a season, eluding to Grady Sizemore's elbow. Is this something really serious? What are you hearing? Should I try and move him? I may be able to get Josh Hamilton for him? Do it? Thank you.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
I'm probably hearing the same that Eric is, and that is that the Indians are letting Grady work through it but a DL stint is a definite possibility. That Matt LaPorta got demoted for Trevor Crowe, more of a natural center fielder, might be a cautionary flag. If I could make that deal and can't afford to lose maybe a month of Sizemore, I don't think it's a bad one for you. And I'm a big Sizemore fan, but this is just a rough time to own him. Hey, at least it helps explain his recent funk.
I know Weiters has already won the 2009 AL ROY, but, who are the other candidates in your eyes? AL and NL?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Has he? Yes, I'm a huge fan of Matt Wieters and would probably pick him, but I can't guarantee you that, not yet. I mean, I just talked rather favorably about Rick Porcello. Deep AL sleeper: Derek Holland. As for the NL, I still think Jordan Zimmermann is as good a bet as anyone. And Colby Rasmus has performed better than I thought.
Brandon (Nashville, TN)
How many more starts do you need to see for Pavano and Willis? They've had good seasons before (many years ago), so could they possibly become relevant again this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Carl (ugh) Pavano (ugh) sure (ugh) looks (ugh) about (ugh) trustworthy ... man, I just can't say that without feeling sick. But it's true, he's pitching well and beating some decent teams, so I'd take a look but I'll be cautious every step of the way. Certainly not a "slot-him-and-ride-him-without-constantly-checking" type. As for Dontrelle, probably one or two more solid starts, because his command ratios still leave a bit to be desired. Doesn't make me trust him ... yet.
Any idea about the Tampa bullpen? Wheeler?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
They gave me a call the other day but I told them I wasn't available because I've got a Forecaster to provide you tomorrow. Readers first! But much as I kid, that bullpen is a mess. Dan Wheeler is probably the best bet of the bunch, but I don't say that giving him a ringing endorsement. It could be positively anyone. Even Joe Nelson.
Sheffield -- Are you a believer?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Less hesitant to endorse Gary Sheffield as a solid pickup than I was Carl Pavano in the previous question, as I tried to outline in "Out of the Box" the other day.
TC! Is David Wright ever going to hit another HR? He's been great, but 3 HR from 3B is killing me!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
It's the ballpark, Matt. I was there on Monday and while the food is tremendous, so is the distance to reach the fences. It just plays as such a spacious field. Only those rocket Gary Sheffield shots seem to have any chance at clearing the left-field wall. Not that it means I no longer like Wright, since he's still got it in him to get in the mid-20s in homers on talent alone, but his contributions might be more in doubles, steals and runs in CitiField.
Hey, THC. How about a self-indulgent three part question? Which "sell high" SP are you sticking with - Weaver, Wandy, or Garza? Which underachiever has a better shot of turning it around - Baker or Liriano? And which stud fizzles out first - Gallardo or Haren?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Aren't most fantasy baseball questions self-indulgent? After all, you're asking for advice for your team. That's what we're here for! I'd probably rank the "stick-with-'em" guys Matt Garza, Wandy Rodriguez and Jered Weaver. And it's more of a hunch than anything. Most people know I'm a Garza fan. Just a gritty dude, even if the command numbers aren't quite elite. As for turning it around, I'm saying Francisco Liriano, but that's more because Scott Baker's homer numbers and his past injury issues this year worry me a little. Liriano's raw talent is greater, too. And I'm not using the word "fizzle" to describe either of those final two pitchers, period. Sorry, not gonna do it. It's too damning a term.
Commish Question: I noticed one guy in our H2H league not changing his lineup. He has several guys on the DL and Manny on his active roster. Is this something I should address with him and/or adjust his roster myself?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
Always monitor the rosters and yes, absolutely pester an inactive owner. And if there is no response after several attempts to get in touch with the owner, it's time to seriously consider a replacement. Inactive owners greatly impact the balance of a league, especially H2H.
Sell High on Carpenter after the near perfect game or hang on to the pitcher that can turn around your season? Oh and please not the typical fantasy analyst response: "By all means, sell high on anyone if you get the right price, it's all about value."
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
OK James, you said it, not me, anyway. But it's sound advice. The real answer on Chris Carpenter from me is that he's so very Rich Harden/Ben Sheets. He's going to be awesome in all his healthy starts, but you cannot possibly expect he'll make every single one of them. I said on the podcast the other day I could see Carpenter's 2009 being like Harden's 2008, I absolutely could. He has looked fantastic when healthy so far this year. And I'd be happy to have that; I wouldn't deal the guy.
Hey THC. I have a shortstop problem; I drafted Jimmy Rollins but he hasn't lived up to expectations. Who should I start; I have Rollins, Jeter, Alexei!?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
Well, it's obviously Derek Jeter in home games. And I think he's the guy for you right now until one of the other two turns it around. Which I absolutely think will happen with Mr. Rollins.
Michael (Frederick MD)
Tristan: I'm limited to 12 starts per week for pitching and have already used 6. Who do I sit out of these matchups? Derek Lowe vs. Arizona(Haren) Matt Cain vs. St. Louis(Lohse) Joel Piniero at San Fran(Zito) Shairon Martis at Philly(Hammels) John Danks at KC (Greinke)(I am throwing Greinke) Wandy Rodriguez at Pit(Maholm) Edwin Jackson at Baltimore (Berken) Livan Hernandez vs. Florida(Volstadt) I need 6 more starts so which two of these eight do I sit?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Browsing that list of options -- and I'll say that this is off the top of my head and trusting you have the exact date and opponents (tough to check your data this quickly) -- I like the Wandy matchup. Also Cain and Lowe are musts. Kyle Lohse is hurt; he won't pitch this week. I'd surely sit Livan; I don't even think he pitches in the Florida series. And I'd sit Martis in Philly too.
PLEASE HELP TRISTAN, I have to accept this in the next hour...it's a no brainer to give up M Kemp and S Baker for Johan right? If so, who do you like to help replace Kemp's speed, Melky, B Gardner, Bloomquist, or do you like J Fox or Reimold for overall production? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I wouldn't call it a no-brainer, but it's a decent deal and if you want the ace, I think it's worth it. And I'm a huge Matt Kemp fan, too, just that's what it takes to get a Johan Santana. Plus, I think Melky Cabrera is a decent pickup. If you must have speed, Brett Gardner has much more of it, but I do like Cabrera and the help he's getting from his home park.
Harden is on my waiver wire. Should I drop Dice-K for him, regardless that he is on the DL right now? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:51 AM)
No, but I think most people should find an alternate way to get Rich Harden stashed on your DL spot. Again, he's typically great when healthy.
Wieters for Garza- who gets the better end of the deal?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
Yearly league or keeper? If it's yearly, I give the slight edge to Mr. Garza. Fancy that! I think the guy who gets Matt Wieters soundly crushes his or her competition in a keeper league, though.
I am a Ranger fan, but I just can't bring myself to trust any Ranger starting pitcher in fantasy. Is my roto-judgment clouded by frequent visits to the launching pad in Arlington? What about Holland for AL-only keeper league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
Well, JT, I did just mention Derek Holland as a sleeper in a previous question. But here's another nugget: I have loads of respect for Mike Maddux as a pitching coach. I think he's been a great help in making a guy like Matt Harrison into an actual matchups pitcher. Oh, and by the way, Kevin Millwood has not at all been trash this year, which most owners seem surprised by. (I'm not, his command numbers are generally solid.) Based on the ballpark you absolutely have to be choosy about which Rangers you use and when, but I'm not discarding them without a closer look.
Tristan, a quick gut call, please: Sizemore, Mauer and Washburn for T. Hunter, Inge and Lincecum. Pick a side.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Gut call says that's needs, and if you need a significant pitching boost that's the only way I take the Tim Lincecum side.
Is Doumit more valuable then Bengie Molina when he comes back?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
I think when Ryan Doumit is healthy he's a top-five fantasy catcher. The knock on him is that he's not healthy all that often. Simple as that. So yes, he's more valuable than Molina when he comes back. But until he does and we know he's here and healthy, I'm sorry, but Molina's just safer and more valuable.
Am I this bad, was last year a fluke. Do I really have more holes in my swing than swiss cheese? What gives?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
I was right on two fronts with Davis: The monster power (pace of 43 homers), and the fact that he'd whiff a lot. What I was wrong on: That he'd whiff a ton, and in doing so kill his batting average. No chance at a cheap hit to boost that mark into the .250 range if you barely ever put the ball in play! Davis really needs some more work in the cage, but I think the power is legit. I bet this is the worst point of his career.
Tony Almeida (Levenworth, KS)
Cheer me up, brother. I need to know who is the best pick up in Tampa to replace Iwamura. Zobrist has been steady in RF, but will Aybar get the lion's share of at bats this season? Is he worth grabbing if my team is in need of Rs and SBs? Thanks ... see you next season.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Personally I think Ben Zobrist is the pickup you want, as Willy Aybar strikes me as more of a matchups type. Zobrist's splits are pretty balanced, and he has surprisingly good pop. And Tony, I can't be convinced I will see a ton of you next season, not if you're locked away! (If that spoils anyone, well, you just waited too long.)
Chris (Hoboken, NJ)
Has no one really asked what's for lunch yet??? Reimold or Rasmus.. thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
A few have. Thinking buffalo wings. Gut talking. Gut also says Nolan Reimold. And it knows what it's talking about.
JACK BAUER (DC)
TONY, I WILL FIND YOU!!!!! Anyway Tristan, Good Morning! I am leaving for two and a half weeks, and won't be able to check my lineup. My question is, do I go with Wieters or Soto? I leave early Friday, so I miss Wieters' first game. Thanks for the help!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
I don't think you're going anywhere, Jack, not the way you were left to end this season. Get cozy in that bed of yours. But anyway, of those two catchers, I'll take the chance on Matt Wieters. At the very worst they're comparable talents, and hey, we don't know that Wieters will struggle initially. We do know Soto is struggling. Good way to decide that.
You're not the healthiest eater, are you?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Actually, I'm a lot more so than I make it out to be, but I absolutely will indulge in the not-so-good-for-you foods at times. I just think it's smart for you to sneak in a salad or two, but that's no fun to talk about.
Lady in Red
LAST ONE OF THE DAY??? Rapid Fire no worries...Ranks: Danks, Porcello, and Slowey? AND Reyes and Bartlett - Hold? Trade for upgrade and with who?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
I'd rank them Kevin Slowey (huge fan), John Danks (still believe in the talent), Rick Porcello (closer to Danks than you think). Jose Reyes must be held. If I must trade, I probably sell Porcello, if only because he's the only one who you sell at an appropriate price right now.
Chris "You know you want my swiss cheese swing on a sandwich" Da
You buying low or dumping me, especially in an OBP league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
Dude, you have a .259 OBP. It's not like walks are what's filling your stat line. No real difference.
That's BS. Readers cannot determine when your done answering questions.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
I'm sure you'd prefer I answered more than fewer though? Sticking around a few extra mins based on the fact that my network connection was a tad wonky in the early minutes. It's only fair.
hey, Tristan! How about Chicken parm? Trade my Youk, Kemp, and Asdrubul for his Reyes, Damon, Lowell?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
Love me some chicken parm, but I probably have that the most often of any food (albeit maybe it's only once every other week; you need a rotation). I'd make that trade. I'm faithful in Jose Reyes once healthy, and I like what Johnny Damon is doing in the contract year in that homer-friendly ballpark. Lot of possible value there.
What are you talking about.....jack will be back with vengeance!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:09 PM)
I agree with you. But today, he ain't going nowhere. No magic pill gets you up and about in two weeks' time from that!
Hang on to Nolasco?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
One week ago I would have told you yes, by all means do. But you know what? He has been so tattooed, I have to wonder if something's wrong with him. If you need that spot desperately, I won't call it a bad move to let him go. It's time to worry, no matter what the BABIP numbers say.
Slowey or E Santana
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:12 PM)
If you had asked me this on Feb. 1, I'd have said Ervin Santana in a landslide. I'm a fan of both of these pitchers but anytime I see a health concern like the one Santana has, I pretty much freak out. Santana has the higher per-start ceiling in the long haul, but the safety Kevin Slowey provides (not to mention that he's not much less a pitcher talent-wise) makes him the choice here.
I am not this bad am I with my .371 BABIP?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:13 PM)
Strike-throwing pitch-to-contact pitchers tend to get clobbered when they're either not quite their normal selves or not getting good luck on the BABIP front. So yes, Andy Sonnanstine gets better. But even at his best he's a lite Kevin Slowey. There's a limit to what he can do.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:13 PM)
OK folks, I do have to call it to a close for now. Gotta get me that aforementioned lunch, after all! Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Check back this afternoon though if I didn't; we've got our next chat for you at 3!