Fantasy Baseball w/Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:00 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Hey TC. Hamilton finally went down....do you know which replacement should be getting the most time?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
As I noted in Sunday's "Out of the Box" (and updated today), it's David Murphy and Andruw Jones who benefit the most in Josh Hamilton's absence. Jones is the one who would be more exciting for fantasy, but this far it seems like the underperforming Murphy is the one getting the first crack at regular play. Plus, it might be a platoon for the foreseeable future (meaning until Hamilton returns if it's truly a two-week thing).
Brandon (Harrisburg, PA)
Hey, TC. Considering the thin pitching and want of a "frontline" starter in NY and Philly, is it time to sign Pedro in a 12-team mixed league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:02 AM)
Pedro Martinez is a "frontline" starter? Just my reaction to the question.
Drew (Athens, GA)
Start Weaver tonight vs the Jays? They seem to be turning it around.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:04 AM)
I said I would in my "Daily Notes" for today, and I'm sticking by it. He dominated the Blue Jays recently, back when they were considered truly "elite," and I'm riding his full-year hot streak for the foreseeable future besides.
Matt Joyce - What's the deal with him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Good pickup in AL-only and deep mixed. I was asked about Joyce by a colleague recently and said he deserves a shot at regular at-bats, or at the very least every single game against a right-handed starter. I also placed his basement expectation around what you've been getting from a Luke Scott or Jason Kubel the past year and two months. They're very much similar talents, at the least.
Josh Outman (Oakland)
Am I for real? Worth starting tonight vs the light hitting White Sox?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Matchups, matchups, matchups. Outman lives up to his name against lefty hitters, but righties can handle him. I'm iffy on the outing; said so in "Notes." But I won't laugh at those who take the risk, because Chicago isn't a great offense by any means. Call it a middling matchup by his standards, but remember, he did fine in what I'd have termed a tough one in Texas in his past turn.
Steven Drew or Escobar the rest of the way?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
I'm still a buyer of Stephen Drew. Period.
Mike (Minneapolis, MN)
Speaking of the Rays, do you think that Zobrist has established himself as a full time player? I have Felipe Lopez in a middle infield slot, and thinking of making a switch.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Well, the problem with Lopez right now is that he's playing at less than 100 percent. These are different players; Lopez gives you steals and runs, Zobrist is the underrated batsman. Look at what Zobrist has done the past year and two months; he hits for underappreciated power and lacks a steep platoon split. I actually think he deserves regular at-bats in Tampa the remainder of the year, so yes, I'm a buyer, and especially in the short term while Lopez is nicked up.
Sawyer (The Island)
Tristan, Kate or Juliette? Also, Kennedy, Schumacher, or Escobar?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
Kate, that was always an easy one to me. And while I'd probably ride the Adam Kennedy hot streak in the short term, I can't imagine any of these three but Yunel Escobar being the best fantasy choice over the season's final four months.
gabe, new jersey
Is Chien-Ming Wang ever going to start? his wasted roster spot is killing me
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
For as long as Phil Hughes continues to succeed, he's going to stick in that rotation, apparently. Wang is an injury or a Hughes slump away from a promotion to the rotation, but it doesn't sound imminent. Would I cut Wang? Probably not, but I can see instances where it makes sense (like in shallow mixed).
Start Zimmermann at home against SF?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
In a game where Randy Johnson will be getting much of the headlines and attention, I actually think Jordan Zimmermann is the smarter fantasy choice, yes. It's a home game and the Giants aren't an overwhelming offense.
How's my Hammy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:13 AM)
Gotta wait out the MRI. Just the way these things work. Hey, at least Evan's postgame comments offered promise.
Hey Tristan, love your chats! I have both Mauer and Wieters in a keeper league. Looking to get some good value in return for one of them. What type of value should i be looking for in return?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
I actually own Mr. Mauer in my longest-running keeper league and offered him straight up for Matt Wieters and got turned down. Which I understand, but that tells you a lot about how people feel about the rookie. I really wouldn't accept anything short of a top-100 player in exchange for either. Good example: I was offered Felix Hernandez for Mauer, and I was tempted but declined. You have to get a top-20 starter without question, or a top-50 kind of hitter. Minimum.
Sean Connery (London)
Yunel Escobar should be on that stage for that Oscar winning performance last night. Pathetic for a baseball player though!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I loved the near-snicker while he was standing on first base.
Nelson Cruz (Arlington)
Time to sell high?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:18 AM)
I've been equally wrong on both Cruz and his teammate Chris Davis, but I still think both of their batting averages remain pretty close from today forward. Of course, I did say clearly in the preseason that both players were boom/bust types to a degree, and batting average is usually the category where those effects are most obvious. So do I say Cruz is a sell-high? Sure, he'll be hard pressed to maintain this pace. But I no longer see the potential for him to go in the tank, at least not this year.
Better bet for a 2009 rebound: Adrian Beltre or Jhonny Peralta?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
Beltre. He's a classic second-half player and he's in a contract year so the last thing he wants to do is stink the entire season and hurt his earning potential.
Would you feel comfortable trading Johan for offensive needs if you had Webb stashed away too?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:21 AM)
I wouldn't be entirely comfortable trusting Brandon Webb to have close to Johan Santana-like value from today forward accounting for the nature of his injury and the length of time he has missed. In these cases I usually wait a start or two after the pitcher returns, see how he's doing and then trade the ace I'm planning to peddle. Good example of how your proposal could blow up in your face: What if instead of Brandon Webb, you said Ervin Santana, and this had been May 3, not June 3? Just something to think about.
How do you see Zambrano from here on out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I'm no Carlos Zambrano fan. I think the chatters are pretty familiar with my stance on him, and based on how badly he melted down late last year, I'll probably say "sell, sell, sell" every day the rest of the season.
Justin (The Beach)
Who is your horse in the race - Zobrist or Harriston Jr.? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
Ben Zobrist. I just don't think Jerry Hairston Jr. is anywhere close to as talented as his 2008 numbers suggest. His best skill is his speed, period. Zobrist can out-hit the guy.
Time to buy low?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Don't trust him in the health department, and I'll say this: If he had accepted that trade to the White Sox I'd have been off that bandwagon faster than an Adrian Gonzalez fly ball can clear the Petco fence. We always say on these pages that there's a price for every player, but if it's not at about 25th-ranked starting pitcher, I'm not jumping at the chance to get Peavy.
Kenny Williams (Chicago)
Hey Jake....I already tried to buy low, you fool!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
You're better off. Trust me.
Do you see any playing time this year for me, and if so what sort of player do I end up to be?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
I would be floored if Gordon Beckham didn't see a single game of major-league action this season. And I wouldn't be in the least surprised if he's called up within the next five days, either. That's not in any way designed to spread the rumor that a call-up is imminent; it's just that every indication the White Sox have given with how he's being used in the minors suggests they're as ready as they could be to give him a chance. He's playing third base in Triple-A ball, so that's a nice, clear path to the bigs. Problem is, while I love his bat and was impressed by him in the spring, I see him being mostly a batting-average type early on. Think a Yunel Escobar type.
Nick (Princeton, NJ)
Morning Tristan, could you please discuss John Smoltz? I don't think he's getting nearly the attention he deserves as I expect a strong showing upon his return. I know its not your list, but Chris Harris in his 60ft 6inches column had guys like Parra, Bush and Zimmermann ahead of him in value for the rest of 09! How can that be? I see 8+ wins and a k per inning, albeit in what'll probably be 5-6 innings per. Your thoughts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
Well, Christopher is probably accounting for the fact that John Smoltz is no lock to be back in one week and then stay healthy for every remaining game on the Boston schedule. That's a very real factor in evaluating him. It's a tough injury to come back from and at his age, just one setback might end his career. I do agree that Smoltz has "boom" potential, very much along the lines of your projections (though I'd say more like 7-8 K's per 9), but he's got "bust" potential too. If I'm ranking I probably put him in the ballpark of those three arms, but I know I'd prefer him to Manny Parra at this point.
Elijah (Syracuse, NY)
Thoughts on Rick Porcello? Will he be up and down? He seems solid, if not dominant.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:31 AM)
That was a Red Sox matchup yesterday. And he's young. It's going to happen. For the most part I believe you'll be happy with his output.
Seriously, is "the flu" code name for something this season? Seems like every clubhouse has at least on player suffering from it and I've got 3 players on my roster right now DTD cause of it. Anyway, better OF fill in...Scott Hairston, Luke Scott, Matsui, or Elijah Dukes? If you answer my question, I'll share my buffalo chicken wrap with extra sauce with ya. Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
It is odd, Jay. And I don't like the whole New York Post rumor-like report about "swine flu," forcing the Mets to shoot that chatter down about Carlos Beltran and John Maine. Seriously, let's not all panic here, I've seen the flu run rampant around clubhouses in past seasons. It generally doesn't take too long, so chalk it up to some short-term bad luck. For not, though, it's a Hairston/Scott platoon. I'm a big fan of both from the matchups perspective.
Morning Tristan. Hanson and Buchholz are in very similar situations. How do you rank the two and which do you think makes it up first?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I wouldn't call their situations similar. Clay Buchholz is on a team that has tons of rotation depth. Tons. Tommy Hanson, meanwhile, is probably only still in the minors because Tom Glavine hasn't yet announced his retirement, and the Braves hardly want Hanson up for a couple weeks and then demoted when Glavine is ready to be activated. I understand that strategy, don't mess with the kid, but there's little doubt he's a smarter man for that rotation than Glavine. Who's up first? I still say Hanson, but then I'm no Glavine fan (not in 2009 at least). And to answer the inevitable follow-up question, "Then why was Kris Medlen promoted?" Well, I don't think there's a person out there who will tell you Medlen is as special a prospect as Hanson is, so it's not quite as huge a deal to mess with his development.
BA Baracus (Bank of Hanoi)
Which side of the trade are you on Wieters or Aaron Hill?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
Matt Wieters. I have their projections fairly similar for the remainder of the year, and I think the catcher is the harder one to replace besides.
Michael (Portland, ME)
Tristan, long-term, Fowler or Fernando Martinez, or am I comparing apples to oranges?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:39 AM)
You are comparing apples to oranges, because in the long term I think Martinez should be expected to contribute more with his bat than his legs, and we already know Dexter Fowler's value is greatest from the contributions from his legs. I don't build around speed in the long haul, so that means I'd probably chance on Martinez's hitting potential. But it's about as close as it gets.
J-Roll didn't exactly finish up May on a strong note, after predicting he would hit .400. He's made good predictions in the past, can you predict that he still provides 1st round value or is at least still a top 25 hitter by the end of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
It was crazy to think Jimmy Rollins could bat anywhere close to .400, even in a one-month span. That's a truly special month (just ask Joe Mauer). That said, I think J-Roll could be a top-25 guy from today forward. I might not place him quite that high, but I could see a .280 batting average, 15 homers and 20 steals from today forward, and that's a pretty decent stat line.
You called Randy Wells a matchup type. I know other than the Dodgers, it's been a lighter load, but he's had 5 great starts...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
What's so bad about the phrase "matchups type"? Almost everyone outside the top 40-50 starters fits into that grouping. Would you really call Randy Wells a top-25 starter? I know I certainly wouldn't. But then I thought it was a compliment to him.
The Big Unit
Going for 300 tonight, start me?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
The gut says no, because going for 300 has actually presented pressure for more recent candidates in their first tries, it's a road game and it's against an offense that people think stinks, but actually does not in any way. But again, it's the gut talking.
Tell me Soto's about to come out of his funk!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:45 AM)
He's batting .268 since May 1, which isn't awful, but I wish he would begin hitting for power (he has one home run during that span). So I can't make you that promise, unfortunately.
Who has a better comeback, Escobar or Bonderman?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Both huge risks, and I'd probably go with Jeremy Bonderman if only because I'm a little more impressed with the reports from his rehab.
So what does your gut tell you about Liriano? Droppable in a 10 team h2h league?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
I'm sure you'd like me to tell you you could do that, but I think it'd be foolish. But I tend to think with special talents like Francisco Liriano, you have to be painfully patient. But I remember that he had a dreadful 2008 (between the majors and minors) until right around this point before going on an impressive run. So I'd say with a couple more starts, sure, I could see it. But I'm still preaching patience.
Tristan - you stink. i'll bet you my annual salary that I far outperform that scrub Bonderman
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
I like you a lot talent-wise, Kelvim, but you made zero starts last year and from my memory of your spring-training health reports, being out until June means you suffered a noticeable setback. You are a huge injury risk. Bottom line.
Is Jose Lopez finally turning it around? Who do you prefer Lopez or Zobrist?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
I think this is your final chance to get Lopez on the cheap. Take note. Clearly him of the two.
Ervin Santana has been terrible in his last two starts. Tallet has been solid except for one outing. Am I crazy for wanting to pick up Tallet for Santana? Comments please!!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
I think you're crazy only in that I can't see Brian Tallet being anything but a matchups type over the long haul, and the phrase "nothing but a matchups type" is not much of a compliment. I've said I'm concerned Ervin still isn't close to 100 percent, and that's the reason for his problems, but I think based on his talent you have to keep him around ... for now.
Julliete is soooooo much hotter (and cooler) man, come on! Whats the situation in BAL with Scott/Riemold. Is Witers going to get the full time C gig so they can have Jones/Markakis/Scott/Riemold in the lineup everday, one being the DH?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
To each his own, Dan. As for the Orioles' situation, isn't that kind of what they're doing right now? Sure seems it to me.
Rank these Dodgers based on the odds they will break out of their current slump: Martin, Ethier and Furcal. Which one is helped the most by Manny's return?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:54 AM)
I think Andre Ethier is the top answer to both of those questions. Funny, but his slump pretty much started right when Manny's suspension did. Hmmm... I'd rank them Ethier, Rafael Furcal, Russell Martin in terms of quickness they'll snap their current funks.
Why does everyone of these chat rooms in ESPN have 30 questions about Matt Weiters? Enough already. Whom do you see Roy Oswalt being traded to?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
Wieters is a popular topic, what else can be said? As for Oswalt, I'd be stunned if the White Sox aren't on the phone to them right now offering up the same price they did for Jake Peavy. And by the way, how about the Phillies as a possible destination? I'm still faithful Oswalt will be a top-10 starter the rest of the way. He started last year slow, too.
Would you rather have Posada or Soto for the rest of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Jorge Posada. And that's accounting for the risk that he gets hurt again (which he undoubtedly will).
Didn't Oswalt already announce that he would veto a trade to the White Sox?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
Funny how quickly a player's perspective can change along with the shift of a pennant race in a manner of six to eight weeks. Just saying. I wouldn't be surprised to hear Jake Peavy-to-the-White Sox rumors again, too. People are free to change their minds.
Jem (Westchester, NY)
Scott Hairston hurt his bicep last night, so he's probably not a good platoon partner with Scott now, per your answer above. So who'd be a better fill-in for Hairston if he misses time, Andrew LaRoche or Matthew Joyce?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
No details on the length of the injury, though, so for all we know it could be only a day or two. I wouldn't panic (yet). But based on my favorable comments about Joyce, and comparing him to Scott, in fact, I think you've got your answer for a short-term fill-in.
LunchLady (Lunch Lady Land)
What's for lunch Tristan? If both are catcher eligible...Sandoval & Ianetta...which one? Good Chat
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Huge craving for a roast-beef sandwich, actually. Should get to that in a few. But I'd take Pablo Sandoval in that case. Just like his offensive potential a little more, and besides, he's the healthy one today, which matters.
Do you think Hughes can maintain his slot in the rotation? Joba has to get moved to the pen at some point to cap his IP this year.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
That's the popular thought here in the New York area, and I can't say I disagree, since the Yankees aren't about to let him throw 200 innings. Granted, he's on pace for only 159, but I could see him being shifted to the bullpen very late in the year to get ready for that role in the playoffs. As for now? I still think the Yanks have zero plans to remove Joba from the rotation, meaning Hughes is not about to get bumped in the short term, barring a couple dreadful starts in a row.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
OK folks, time to wrap things up for today, grab some of that lunch! Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Take care everyone!