Fantasy Baseball w/Tristan Cockcroft
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday afternoon, ESPN.com fantasy expert Tristan Cockcroft will drop by to take your questions and analyze all the latest baseball news from a fantasy perspective.
Send your questions now and join Cockcroft to chat Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Need an in-depth answer to your question? Want your roster or trade offers reviewed? Get a personalized response from an ESPN expert with The Answer Guys. All questions answered within 24 hours, guaranteed. Ask your question
Fantasy Archive: Fantasy Home Page
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:00 PM)
Good afternoon everyone! Jason's feeling a little under the weather -- boy, seems like something's been going around lately -- so you're stuck with me today. Let's have some fun, who's got a question?
Taylor (San francisco)
Francisco Liriano or Tommy Hanson for the rest of this season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:01 PM)
I'm still sticking with Francisco Liriano. His past two starts offer room for optimism, he has a strong track record at home and I don't think it's impossible to believe he's just a second-half performer. Last year that's very much what he was.
Jamie (Savannah, GA)
Soto and Weiters on the same team. What does the savvy fantasy owner do?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:02 PM)
Trades whichever one fetches you the more appealing package. I think that's probably Matt Wieters; we're not all that removed from the buzz surrounding him at the time of his debut.
Jamie (Savannah, GA)
If I could get __________ for Juan Pierre I have to make this deal.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:03 PM)
Albert Pujols. Hey, it fits. Seriously though, if Rick Porcello was in that blank, I'd find it an acceptable answer. Think a pitcher like that.
Chris (Bartlett, IL)
Is Brendan Ryan someone I should be paying attention to in an NL Only keeper league? Seems like he's playing OK....
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:04 PM)
Not in a keeper league, but maybe in a deep NL-only league. He's all batting average, and that's when he's at his best. I've never seen him as a consistent producer in homers or steals.
Tristan, a lot of fantasy gurus including you hated on Colby Rasmus before the season began but, he is quietly putting up solid numbers for a rook. What do you think about that?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:06 PM)
Certainly, Jay, I did. And Rasmus has been a pleasant surprise by my standards. That said, look at his full-year paces: .273 BA, 20 homers, 68 RBIs, 3 steals, 79 runs scored. Also, it's not like a lack of playing time is the issue; he's on track for 500 at-bats. Do those numbers excite you? They're good, but if I was pro-Rasmus in the preseason I'd be quite upset about the lackluster steals production. That's the biggest knock on him right now.
Im really quite sick of Dice-k at this point in the season. Another manager in my league just offered me Verlander for Dice-K and Bartlett. Do i pull the trigger? Verlander looks legit right now
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:07 PM)
Justin Verlander looks more than legit. Right now he looks like he could mount a serious challenge to Zack Greinke for the AL Cy Young. I think that probably provides you your answer.
andrew (ft lauderdale)
ozzie guillen is saying Carlos Quentin should shut it down if they fall out of contention. Is it time to get what we can for him?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:09 PM)
You're a little late, Andrew. The right time is before now, because those comments will do nothing but deflate his trade value to its lowest point. That said, I'm worried about the guy, but I also know that if he really has plantar fasciitis (sp?), he's in for a tough road to recovery. Probably a guy to shop the instant he comes back and has a big game, but be prepared to still sell low then, too.
Please rank the rest of the way: Hart, Werth, Wells
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:09 PM)
Jayson Werth, Vernon Wells, Corey Hart.
Tom Tuttle (Tacoma)
Corey Hart. Explain, please.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:11 PM)
Pitchers have found holes in his swing, and that's all it is. Something to think about: After the All-Star break last year he had a .659 OPS and averaged one whiff per 5.9 at-bats. This year, he's at .691 and 3.7. He's actually regressing in talent!
Seamus (Peapack, NJ)
Tristan, please rank Sheffield, Cuddyer and Mike Cameron the rest of the way.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:12 PM)
OK, how about Cameron, Gary Sheffield and Michael Cuddyer? Sheffield has the playing-time concern, sure, but I like his per-game potential more than I do Cuddyer's.
Pablo (Phoenix, Arizona)
Do you think the Dbacks will finish over .500 this year? Also, how many games do you think Doug Davis wins?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:14 PM)
No I don't, because being 10 games under today means they're probable sellers in the near future, which further hurts their chances at a rebound. A healthy Brandon Webb can only take that staff so far. As for Davis, somewhere in the 10-12 range. He's no big winner. Each win past cracking double-digits should be considered a bonus.
Hi Jason. Who has a bigger second half: The Unit or Nolasco?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:15 PM)
I'm still a believer in Ricky Nolasco. Granted, not nearly as much as I was one short month ago, but that kid's got talent. Plus, he's way younger. Both present risk, but all else equal I'm going the arm closer to his prime.
JP (Fort Worth)
Tristan, baby, who would take over as closer for the Rox if/when Street gets traded?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:17 PM)
I've been saying since the preseason that I firmly believed Huston Street would be that team's closer because it could only maximize his trade value near the deadline, and sure enough, that's how it has panned out thus far. The rest of my thought was that Manny Corpas would take over once Street got traded, which I felt he inevitably would. Corpas' full-year numbers might not impress, but the guy has a 2.77 ERA since May 1, holding opposing batters to a .208 average.
Would you trade youk for matt holiday?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:21 PM)
Yes, I actually would. It's a close enough deal, but the one thing that scares me with Kevin Youkilis is that other than in 2008, he has declined in performance after the All-Star break in each of his previous big-league seasons. I see them being fairly comparable from this point forward, but Holliday has been heating up of late. Might be your final chance to buy low on him.
Where's the love for Nick Blackburn? He doesn't have crazy-good stuff but he's put together a solid season nonetheless and is looking like the ace of that staff.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:23 PM)
I've actually long been a fan of Blackburn's, though let me detail that further by saying "a fan of him for what he is." He lacks overpowering stuff, and seems to me more of a No. 3/4 type in the long haul, but I really don't think of that as a bad pitcher to own. I'd try to avoid Blackburn's poor matchups -- think road starts against loaded defenses -- but you're right, he warrants some credit.
Tim (ABQ, NM)
Do you expect Bedard to continue his good year...or is an injury in the near future? Also would his trade value go up or down playing for say...the Phillies
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:24 PM)
There'll always be health risk with Erik Bedard, because it's just in his nature to get hurt (check his history), but I'm encouraged by what I've seen. I'd be a buyer. And if he's traded to the Phillies, I don't think anyone would question that his value would go up. Sure, the ballpark switch might hurt, but he'd be escaping the offensively sound American League and getting the pitcher instead of the DH in those lineups he'd be facing. Plus, Seattle's offense can't hold a candle to Philly's. Run support would be a huge factor.
David Wright over/under 25 HR?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:26 PM)
Under! But that doesn't mean I'd bump his value down. He can still rake a good 50-plus doubles into those spacious outfield alleys, maintain a 40-steal pace (or close to it) and be great in batting average, RBIs and runs. A tip to keeper-league owners: Wright might be a smart target for you, too, as I have a hunch the Mets might consider either lowering or bringing in their fences for 2010.
JP (SLC, UT )
I'm in a league that uses holds and middle relief -- What are the chances that Hughes sticks around and continues to offer middle relief help for the Yankees.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:27 PM)
Not good, and I say that because I think he's going to be in their rotation a month from now. Gut instinct, but if you look at how Chien-Ming Wang has pitched in his past two starts and A.J. Burnett's injury history, I think you could see where it's a possibility. I do very much think Hughes is up for good.
Ryan ((Dayton, OH))
Hey Jason, Brendan Roberts Hit Parade column mentioned that Xavier Nady is within a few weeks of rejoining the Yankees. How does he project for the rest of the year in your opinion?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:28 PM)
Hey Ryan, sorry, it's Tristan with you today. I wonder how much the Yankees will actually slot Nady in their outfield once he's activated. It's a high-risk proposition, and Nick Swisher hasn't been a poor right fielder for them. I have a feeling when Nady returns, DH Hideki Matsui is the player most affected, since if those guys both need to DH they might wind up platooning.
Shawn (Iowa City)
Aaron Hill or Jose Lopez rest of the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:29 PM)
I believe in Jose Lopez. Too good a 2008 second-half player, good enough doubles rate, close enough to his prime to see a lot of upside in that bat.
If I call you by the wrong name, will you answer my question?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:30 PM)
No. Will you?
Just got offered Bay for Peavy, is Bay a safe bet to take for the rest of the season?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:31 PM)
I like that deal for you, but I'm a Jason Bay fan in his contract year and I'm not much of a Jake Peavy fan, especially with the threat he'll be traded. Had he accepted the deal to the White Sox I had a whole host of statistics that made me worry. One of them is that, if memory serves, his road ERA is just north of four on the road since the beginning of last year; at home it's like 2.50. And that's a hitter-friendly park in Chicago. Same with in Philly, if that's where he goes. I just wouldn't risk it.
Mike ((S.I. N.Y))
Just traded Damon for Bedard what do you think? Thanks
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:31 PM)
Seems fair enough. Though I actually do believe in Johnny Damon. Not like you clearly won that deal.
Frustrated lately with Kershaw and Scherzer. How do you think they'll do down the stretch?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:33 PM)
I have a good amount of faith in Clayton Kershaw, as I've seen enough in his starts to like that he might finally put it together after the break. It's a chance I'd take. Good K rate at the very least, and won't kill you. Nothing against Max Scherzer, but he just isn't working deep enough into games and there's not much win potential there. I keep feeling like the closer role is his ultimate landing spot, though I doubt it happens this year.
john (elkins park, pa)
THC, are you seriously trusting Tallet the rest of the way? Or is the proverbial book being published on him as I type this and he'll get crushed down the stretch?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:34 PM)
I noted in my "Out of the Box" on Wednesday that I've closely followed Brian Tallet for a while, and that he lacks a steep platoon split against opposing hitters. He has been a pleasant surprise to fantasy owners, and if there's any dire concern I have about him it's that he might wear down from the bump up in workload as we near the season's final weeks. For now, though, I say enjoy the ride!
Jake Peavy (San Diego)
Hey Tristan. I'm in a keeper league and liriano was just dropped. do i pick him up in place of david price, wainwright, oswalt, or garza? thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:36 PM)
I don't buy for a second that you're really Jake Peavy, because the real Peavy probably hates me for what I said about him earlier. Anyway, I still say Francisco Liriano must be owned, though I have a hard time cutting any of those alternatives in a keeper league. Unless you have a lesser option you're not telling me about, you might have to pass.
Paul (Pittsburgh, PA)
Who do you like the rest of the way Maholm or Happ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:37 PM)
That's actually quite the tough question, because I like both of those pitchers at lower levels for different reasons. J.A. Happ, well, he's got the greater win potential, and his career road numbers are extraordinary. Not at all a tough guy to match up. Overall, it's probably Paul Maholm, who is a much better pitcher than people give him credit. His biggest problem: Wins.
You starting E. Santana at Tampa tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:38 PM)
Not a chance. I need to see a string of consecutive quality starts -- and not 1-2 "OK" ones -- before I'm giving Ervin my OK again, especially in a road start.
What did you have for lunch? And, is Kazmir worth a look as he was dropped in a keeper league of mine?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:40 PM)
Grilled cheese sandwich. Nothing exciting. I'm also a little under the weather, but at least recovering, so no big, exciting lunches this week, sadly. As for Scott Kazmir, sure, he's "worth a look," but you know, I'm starting to believe what we've seen from him is what he's going to be in the long haul. He's not efficient with his pitches, can be inconsistent, and is of most help to you in K's. And I do think you have to examine his matchups, because some of his road ones are poor. That makes him only a so-so keeper.
john (elkins park, pa)
got no answer on Tallet, THC. Holler with a yes or no when you get a chance. thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:42 PM)
Odd, I see it, but here it is again just in case: "I noted in my 'Out of the Box' on Wednesday that I've closely followed Brian Tallet for a while, and that he lacks a steep platoon split against opposing hitters. He has been a pleasant surprise to fantasy owners, and if there's any dire concern I have about him it's that he might wear down from the bump up in workload as we near the season's final weeks. For now, though, I say enjoy the ride!"
Matt (St. Louis)
Tristan, on Rasmus, that pace is true but I suspect if you excise his first month those numbers would be quite a bit better, as he has improved seemingly week by week. Also, he has historically initially struggled every time he goes up a level before settling in as an excellent player, as he seems to be doing now.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:43 PM)
A point I felt was worth posting, and again, I've been impressed by what he has done. But remember, when we make our calls on these pages a lot of it is trying to keep the buzz in check on players, and Colby Rasmus was the kind of guy people declared a 25/25 type. I just didn't see it happening in his rookie year.
Keeper league. David Wright for Youk and G. Beckham. Who wins?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:44 PM)
The team that gets David Wright.
Iannetta finishes the season as a top _ C?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:44 PM)
I still say Chris Iannetta has top-10 fantasy potential from this date forward. I doubt I'd push him much higher than that spot, though. It's a pretty generous ranking.
If David Ortiz's bat drops in the woods, does it hit anything?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:45 PM)
Ha! Though, J.A., I'd have laughed harder had he not hit those two home runs in the past week.
Andrew McCutchen (The Steel City)
R u sipping on my kool-aid THC?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:46 PM)
Nope. But I'm not a huge fan of "athlete" prospects, which is what I tend to call those guys the scouts rave about having five tools but who don't have the minor league numbers to back up their words. It's not like McCutchen is a bad prospect, but he kind of falls into the class of the aforementioned Rasmus, or Cameron Maybin. These are good kids with promising futures, but I could absolutely have seen them needing time to adapt to big-league pitching. And no, one or two weeks' time does not count as "fully adapted."
Hank (New Hampshire)
Chone Figgins has been tearing it up lately - are you a believer for the rest of the year or should we be selling high now?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:49 PM)
Chone Figgins is your classic "is what he is" player. He's going to bat about .290, he's going to steal 50 bases, he's going to score 90 runs and outside of that, there's nothing to get excited about. (Of course, those are exciting numbers in their own right.) I don't really see him as a traditional "sell high" as a result. He's speed; speed is marketable when you need to trade it.
Javier Vasquez (Atlanta)
I just fanned 12 in 8 innings , have been consistent for years, and am typically under-appreciated come draft time. Am I the Raul Ibanez of pitching?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:50 PM)
If you were, then you'd be leading one of my big points-league teams into first place right now, instead of merely having it in the race in fourth. Ibanez is having quite a bit better year than you! Good pitcher, Mr. Vazquez, but sorry, not an ace. Consistent No. 20 starter, that kind of guy. Never much more, never much less.
felix (winter park, fl)
For this season what has been your most impressive prediction and your most suspect? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:53 PM)
Jeez, off the top of my head I'm fairly certain I was the guy who ranked Zack Greinke highest of our group -- called him a clear top-15 guy if memory serves -- and I also pegged Alexei Ramirez as overrated. Boy did I take heat for saying I preferred Derek Jeter to Alexei in the preseason. As for suspect? Well, I didn't think David Ortiz was done, and I believed Josh Hamilton would only get bette.
Emac2 (The Beach)
Your Nady answer wasn't worthy of your talent. Who cares where he plays? How is he going to hit was the question? I expect he will hit well enough, if healthy to keep a job and with that park and free agency i think he hits for a ton of power.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:55 PM)
All right. But here's a point: If you play twice a week, then who cares how you're going to hit? In terms of performance, I think Nady's still that .280-hitting, 20-25 homer guy, but scaled down to his playing time. And before we get all feeling ooey-gooey about that ballpark factor, remember that the park favors the lefties more than the righties, guys like Johnny Damon. Not Xavier Nady. It helps, but not by a substantial amount.
Hey, THC! Love your chats. Your collegue AJ needs to re-check his match-ups rankings. Hey had Wellemeyer as his #5 pitcher for today? I took a chance since he made a pretty convincing arguement, but the guy got knocked around. Can you please check his future rankings before they go online. Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:56 PM)
Each man has his own opinion. I could just as easily point out I was pro-John Lackey and Jeff Niemann on Wednesday. I called for a "pitchers' duel. We won't talk about how that panned out.
Christopher (Long Island, NY)
Andrew Miller or Carl Pavano for the rest of the Year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:56 PM)
Miller. And I admit that might be the Yankee fan in me talking, but I don't trust Pavano any further than he can throw me.
Meche and Wandy for Wainwright? I also have Porcello, hanson, Lilly, Gallardo, Smoltz and Webb
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:57 PM)
I'd do that. Now, I'm a Wandy Rodriguez fan, and Gil Meche does have the talent to rattle off a nice hot streak here or there, but Adam Wainwright provides you a bit more consistency. In 2-for-1 deals, you often have to give up two guys who might on the surface look like they add up to more than the one you're upgrading to.
Hang on a sec Tristan, did you mention AL Cy Young without Roy Halladay in the same sentence ? I'm very disappointed sir...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (3:58 PM)
True, true, though the question wasn't "who wins it," it was about how good Justin Verlander is. Halladay's absolutely in the equation. No intent to snub the guy, he's great.
Jason (queens, ny)
Your opinion on the food at CitiField, and Jimmy Rollins has __ steals at the end of the season.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:00 PM)
It's probably the best food I've ever had at a baseball game -- mmmm, Shake Shack. As for Rollins, I'm saying 35 steals, he bats maybe .265, hits just shy of 20 homers ... it's a decent enough finish ahead.
Adam Jones (Birdville)
Me or B.J. Upton the rest of the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:01 PM)
I'm feeling really good about Adam Jones. You know, gut says go with it.
Can I get the last question? Is Mark Teixera a top 5 player?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:02 PM)
Sure Pat, why not? He's a candidate. Off the top of my head probably not, Hanley, Wright, Pujols are ahead of him, and that's not in any particular order, and then I'd be making tough calls. So sure, he's in the discussion. Very much a guy for real, and one who only heats up as the year progresses.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (4:03 PM)
OK folks, time to call things to a close. Thanks for all your questions and for stopping by to chat today, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone!