Chat with Tristan Cockcroft
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
Good morning everyone! Sorry for the brief delay, crunching numbers as always, but don't worry, we're off and running now! Let's get to your questions...
Just wondering, from here on out......do you prefer Stephen Drew or Alexei Ramirez as a short.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
Stephen Drew, and maybe that's the gut speaking. I just think he has it in him to be more consistent, and I like consistency when we're talking about somewhat comparably valued players. Besides, Drew is batting .293 with 13 RBIs in 19 games in June, and that's pretty good!
2009 Homer Bailey: hope or hype? Projections please...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
Again, maybe the gut, but I still think "hype." Now, to be fair to the guy, he's got tremendous talent. Problem is, I've been skeptical about his approach to the game, and the team's regard for him, up-and-down he has been roster-wise and inconsistent as he has been when he's been in the bigs. I'm still feeling like a change of scenery is the only way he's going to get on track, so no, I'm not a buyer. I'd project you an awful line. Best advice: Pass, but let's not condemn his career (yet).
drop liriano to clear room for kazmir when he returns? i don't know how much more of liriano i can take.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:07 AM)
I'd much rather have Francisco Liriano. Higher ceiling. Scott Kazmir has had all this time to improve and he just ... hasn't.
THC, Hanson dominated, Price - not so much. Do you like Price more for the rest of the year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:10 AM)
Well, the statistic regarding the Yankees and pitchers they have never seen before rings true here, and to your point on Tommy Hanson, "dominated" might not be the ideal word. Let's just say "he performed very well." The walks were a bit troublesome, and occasionally the guy can give up the untimely home run. I do think a bit higher of him of the two, though. Better combination of stuff, command and proximity to "figuring it out." But let's face it, they're both rookies ... it's a steep learning curve, most evident in that neither is going to be a seven-plus-inning per start guy.
Hey TCWhich relievers do you think will be traded?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
First two guys who come to mind are Chad Qualls and Jose Valverde, who were once traded for one another. In terms of significant fantasy impact those are two closers I'd be a little worried about being dealt into setup roles.
Russell "I forgot my leg kick" Martin or Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval from here on out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
I really wonder whether Joe Torre's hefty usage of Martin in 2008 is severely haunting him now. Makes Sandoval my call, not that I had them worlds apart in the preseason, but boy has that changed a bit since!
Will A-Rod ever get another hit?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Good question and the most troublesome impact of Alex Rodriguez's recent funk is that Mark Teixeira is no longer getting quality pitches to hit. By the way, that might have contributed to Tommy Hanson's "wildness" we discussed in the earlier question, because there was a four-pitch "Tex" walk that seemed entirely intentional to me. Teixeira in his past 11 games: .214 BA, 616 OPS. I think A-Rod figures this out, as it strikes me as a funk, more of a "he's missing his timing" thing, but I've previously raised the cautionary flag about the guy over the long haul. He's no guarantee for top-five status.
Hey THC!! what do you hear about IBANEZ? heard he was at BP....
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
Yes, I have heard that too, as well as the report that he has resumed running. Sounds like it'll be a minimum stay for him, which is great news for his owners.
Hey THC, thoughts on Khalil Greene and his recent hitting? Glimmers of '07 or just a tease?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:16 AM)
I really wonder on Greene. I was pretty high on him in the preseason, liking his strong spring and the potential impact of his getting out of Petco Park (one of the few places where he just couldn't get things done in the slightest). Maybe he was just not 100 percent when he started off slow? I guess I'm saying I'd hop back onto the bandwagon now, because he does look good, but just be a little cautious judging from his injury history this and last season.
Name a buy low guy that will be a top 30 hitter the rest of the year
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:19 AM)
I've got your guy, Joe: Nick Markakis. He's not even a top-50 hitter on our Player Rater right now, has cooled significantly in recent weeks but is a noted second-half beast (in spite of the fact that this decade overall, the Orioles as a team have tended to cool a bit after the All-Star break). I'd be positively stunned if he's not among the top 30 players from today forward. And I would not be stunned if he's top-10.
Hey Tristan. Alex Gordon will be a top _ 3b when he comes back.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Very hard to say judging by the nature of long-term injuries. I'm usually conservative regarding hopping back on the bandwagon; you have to be skeptical because of the risk. Best-case scenario? I do think on raw talent he has top-10 third-base potential. That's enough for me to take a shot, but again, I think it's very risky and I wouldn't pay in trade for that level of production.
In Out of the Box, you talked about Andrew Miller. Would you rather have him than a pitcher like Derek Lowe in a keeper league, or would you rather have Lowe's consistency
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
I'd rather have Derek Lowe's consistency making the decision today, much as I'm optimistic about Miller, but let's face it, there is a lot of time between now and the keeper decisions. I just feel like Miller would need to keep this streak going through, say, late July, not collapse after that even if he has a rough patch, and stay healthy all year. It's asking for a lot, but since you read my column, you know I am hopeful about the guy.
Thoughts on Brandon Morrow going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
I admit I'm not a Morrow fan, and it's probably because I'm not at all a fan of how the Mariners have treated him over his brief professional career so far. This bouncing back and forth thing is ridiculous, and if he suffers some sort of catastrophic injury for it, the M's have no one to blame but themselves. Not that I'm saying Morrow must close or must start, but please, just pick something and run with it. And because his role has changed in-season and he's adapting to the change at the big-league level, where pressure is highest, I call him high-risk. He won't pitch deep, he'll get you strikeouts, but he won't offer you length and his WHIP will probably be a nightmare.
Chicken Parm..MMmm, my favorite. rank for rest of year please....Asdrubal Cabrera, Cano, Zobrist, Peralta, Ian Stewart...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
You said the magic words, Ben, as I'm a huge chicken parm fan. (We're talking the sandwich, not the hockey player, though I do very much respect the hockey player too.) I'd rank those guys Robinson Cano (big second-half dude, so imagine what might be coming?), Ben Zobrist (for real), Jhonny Peralta (still huge power potential), Stewart (batting-average risk but I admire the power) and Cabrera (who is no slouch, but is really runs-steals driven).
Just got Jon Lester for Ryan Zimmerman straight up, as I have A-Rod at 3rd. Should I have kept Zimmerman and shopped A-Rod for a bigger SP on his name alone?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
Maybe, but you didn't fare poorly on the trade market at all. Who's to say you'd have gotten that top, top starter for A-Rod anyway? Very often people don't want to part with a top-10 starter regardless of the return; you just got one with clear top-20 potential and in the midst of a massive hot streak.
Who would you rather have going forward, McLouth or Loney?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Nate McLouth, but I love Nate McLouth. Category filler, period.
brad (harrisburg, pa)
your thoughts on randy wells? would you rather have him or joe blanton
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:27 AM)
Probably Blanton because I see a greater number of usable matchups. Not that Wells is a poor choice from that angle, but the Cubs aren't hitting for him (look at his record) and I see him cooling a bit, while Blanton is pretty much what he has been all year.
Who puts up bigger numbers going forward - Jay Bruce or Adam Jones?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Big Jones fan. Stays more consistent. The adjustments he made very much have me a believer he's for real.
Mclouth vs Loney is obvious...what about Mclouth vs Markakis
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
To each his own opinion -- I think Nick Markakis is obvious over Nate McLouth! (And McLouth over Loney, I admit to me that's a clear call too.)
Kerry Wood is driving me nuts. I just dropped him for JP Howell. Good move or bad move?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
Risky only in that we know Wood has the closer role because that's what he's paid to do, but in terms of overall talent, I think you grabbed yourself the better pitcher. Wood has health risk, I'd be stunned if he doesn't spend a DL stint in 2009. And Howell's sure looking like a full-time (or close to it) closer, so while I'd look to cut someone else first, I'm not calling you crazy.
Vince (Dayton, OH)
Andrus is now a top __ SS
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
If I had to say, that'd be something like 12-15. Elvis Andrus has very much been about what I expected he'd be, batting .261 and on pace for 28 steals and 72 runs. I did expect a handful more steals, up to 40, but he's taking his time to get his feet wet. Interesting note: Andrus is performing about at the level I initially believed Hanley Ramirez would in his rookie season, so that gives you a sense of how much upside prospects like this can have. Let's say it only gets better down the road, but I'm thinking a 2010 or 2011 breakout.
So if Wood happens to go down, who is the backup to grab?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
I wouldn't be filled with excitement for the replacement, let's say that straight out. Probably Jensen Lewis, because of his success in the role briefly in the past. Though, he's not pitching that effectively. A sleeper: Matt Herges. Again, I'm not excited by the alternatives to Wood.
Is starting Barmes over Rollins during his extended slump a good idea?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:36 AM)
Sure, if you're exploiting his home matchups, especially the ones against lefties. I see no way Clint Barmes eats up all your remaining shortstop games, though.
Charley (South Bend, IN)
Do you think Marco Scutero is for real? Where would he rank among your SS for this year going forward?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
No I do not. And it's no knock on the guy's real-life value, because he's an underrated on-base guy, useful top-of-your-lineup type who no one ever seemed to appreciate. That said, he's not a power hitter and he's not a speedster; his value will be most evident looking forward in runs scored. I'd say around Elvis Andrus value, like 12th-15th, and when you think about it, that's not at all a bad ranking for a guy like him to be at.
Pete Becker (FL)
Is vetoing a trade b/c someone is sooooo far ahead in points in a ROTO league ethical? Do you look at standings when thinking about vetoing or allowing a trade?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
It's a factor. It's not the driving factor. For example: If two teams are, say, in a points league and in last and next-to-last and the guys being traded couldn't possibly make up the ground in the standings to get even to second-from-last, then no harm, no foul. It'd have absolutely zero impact on the league outcome. In a Roto league? Categorical shifts matter, so any team can impact the standings. I've said many times I'm uber-conservative in trade judgment, and I actually hate judging trades. I think it really depends on the circumstances, the players being traded.
of course its unethical
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
To each his own opinion, Michael, and I appreciate yours (and anyone's). But there is no perfect trade-judging system. There will always be a scenario that thwarts any specific system.
Scott Hairston has some pretty impressive minor league stats. How do you think he stacks up against Kubel, Cuddyer, and Reimold ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I think he has some pretty impressive major league stats, too! But I'm a Hairston fan. He crushes lefties, is hidden from the masses because of the ballpark and his bad team, and in the past calendar year has worked wonders at improving his performance against righties. I think this is one of the more underrated outfielders in the game, and if I'm ranking, Jason Kubel is the only one I want ahead of him.
whats a very good pitcher i can buy low on that will finish top 40 or 50
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
I like what Christopher Harris said in his recent column about Ricky Nolasco, because I entirely agree with him.
Toby (San Francisco)
TC! My brother's killing me this season. I need your help. Who puts up better numbers from here on out, K. Morales or Jose Lopez?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Man, I hate when my brother beats me in fantasy leagues, because when he does he never lets me hear the end of it. It's Lopez for me. It's a rocky stretch for him right now and I'm hoping for the best for him on the personal front, as baseball is very much secondary to family, but I have a lot of respect for and faith in the guy. I think he could product a monster second half.
Re: Homer Bailey -- he's learned a splitter, which is apparently fooling batters something silly. Since he's started using it, he's been DOMINANT, 4-0 with a 0.47 ERA over his last five starts. He's gone 38 1/3 innings, allowing 30 hits, with 7 BB to 38 Ks. We've seen flashes of this before, but nothing this overpowering. Is there a precedent for that one new pitch in the arsenal putting a prospect over the top into relevance?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
It could be a factor, hence the post. I don't have as specific information as that on what he has done, but if true, when a player does something to specifically alter and improve his game, it definitely means he belongs on a watch list at the very least. I remain skeptical, but good point to make for everyone, Johnny, if true.
PJ (CLT, NC)
What's the deal with HOU's closer situation?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
It's Jose Valverde for now, period. Until he's traded, as referred to above, if he's traded. Then it's probably LaTroy Hawkins again.
Speaking of Nolasco are you starting him today against the O's?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:50 AM)
If houston trades Valverde why wouldn't they also trade Hawkins? It's not like he's going to be helping them for a long time to come. Who would be next on the list?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
It's possible, Tom. I won't deny that. But then we're just digging so deep into trade speculation -- and so many trade candidates just never end up going anywhere -- that it's not worth the very slim hope of unearthing a fantasy sleeper comparative to the cost to get the guy. Who might it be? Probably Chris Sampson, then. But again, I'm not about to make roster decisions assuming two trades and that it's specifically Sampson in a month's time.
Matt (Fort Collins)
Reimold or Blanks in a keeper league with no need for immediate contribution? Thanks.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
Matt, to be totally honest with you, I haven't paid that close attention to Kyle Blanks from the earlier days of his minor league career because he was a first baseman behind Adrian Gonzalez tracked for Petco Park when he finally got here. Granted, I've tracked him for a good year now, but in that limited time, he strikes me as a huge dude with a big swing and massive power, but likely holes to be exploited. Kind of reminds me a little of that Orioles prospect a decade or so back -- Walter Young (I think)? There's a downside, so I'd call Nolan Reimold the safer choice ... but I don't want to gloss over Blanks' massive power potential either. He could be Ryan Howardesque, if somehow he could find his way into a DH role for an AL team in a couple years.
Barney (Sacramento, CA)
Thanks for your time, THC! 1st time fantasy manager here with a roster question: how hard do you focus on maxing out your games played at each position? Do you always fill each slot with the best players you can find, or do you occasionally settle for lesser players that qualify at multiple positions so you can juggle your lineup to cover off days?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:56 AM)
If I have any sort of cap on my innings/games at any position, I become increasingly picky about individual game matchups the greater the restriction. For instance, if you get 162 games per offensive spot, yes, a Ben Zobrist and his multi-position eligibility becomes increasingly valuable because you can spot him all over the place.
Best pickup for tomorrow: Petit @ Atl; Bannister @ Hou; R. Hill @ Fla? Or am I missing someone? [
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Trying to trick me that Yusmeiro Petit is a Yankee? Andy Pettitte is probably the obvious choice, but I see a little sleeper potential in Rich Hill, facing the K-prone Marlins.
Richie Aprile (Bayonne, NJ)
Who's in the rotation first: Bucholz or Hughes?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Phil Hughes, accounting for Chien-Ming Wang's weak performance, A.J. Burnett's injury history, fans' clamoring for Joba Chamberlain to shift to the bullpen ... heck, CC Sabathia could miss Friday's start and then Hughes might be needed that quickly! Besides, the way the Yankees have been using Hughes lately, he's no setup man, he's being used like a starter, working long outings with several days' rest!
Dice-Walk (Not Boston any more)
Chicken Parm Tristan? Good stuff but try something different. What about trying Chinese Food- some beef and broccoli would taste great right about now! Maybe a pu pu platter for you! Anyway- Damon/Youk for Cruz/Broxton. Fair trade? Which side you like? Would Lidge/Broxton make it more fair? Thanks!! And enjoy your chicken parm?.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Actually I'm having a chicken-sausage calzone for lunch today; the chicken parm comment was more my overall like for the sandwich. I do have a rotation, remember! Love me some good Chinese food, though. It'll come back up after it gets the necessary days' rest. As for your trade, I have no idea which Cruz that is. Have to figure it's Nelson Cruz. In which case, I'll take Kevin Youkilis' side. A lot of consistency there, and batting average, homers and RBIs are abundant.
Chris (Mt. Pleasant)
I was able to see Pat Venditte, the ambidexstrous pitcher, last month in Charleston SC. Dude's good. Whattaya think of his chances to make some waves in the bigs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Great stats, albeit as a reliever in A-ball, at 24 years of age (old for the level of competition). If he ever makes it, I'd sure pay to see him pitch. Of course, I'd hope MLB didn't make a specific rule to be restrictive enough that it's no fun watching him switch arms during innings because he's not allowed.
Brian Fantana (San Diego)
What are your thougths on Tommy Hanson so far? Is strand rate is pretty high, correct? That leads me to think he's going to get shelled soon, possibly this weekend by Boston?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:05 PM)
It'd take me a minute to dig up the specific strand rate during a chat, but let's just point out that his ERA is 3.13 and his WHIP 1.61. So it has to be high. Yes, I'm a little wary of the Boston start, but at least it's a home game and at least the Red Sox have never seen him before. In a deeper league I'd think about keeping him in there.
Who would you rather have for the 2nd half of the season Kershaw or Votto. Will Votto come back strong and will Kershaw continue to be inconsistent?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
I'm a huge Joey Votto fan and am pleased to see him back on the field. From that angle the gut says "take Votto"; I do think he's very much your .300-25-100 guarantee, and in this instance just scale those numbers to remaining games. I think you'll be rather content with that.
Brandon Inge (D-Town)
Have I hit a ceiling?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:07 PM)
Yes, but heck of a season you have had. Inge has always struck me as a batting-average drain, but when he's on, he's a .250-.260 hitting, 25-homer guy people underappreciate. And interestingly, he seems most himself when he's manning third base.
What does "deeper league" mean? How many total league roster spots does it take to garner that classification?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:08 PM)
I'm in a 12-team keeper league with 24-man active lineups, a 10-team bench and a five-man "farm team" for prospects. Doing the math quickly that's 408 spots between active and bench, and I think that's about where I'd put the line that separates "shallow" from "deep." And that's a mixed format.
Ervin Satana is there any hope or should I go after Arroyo ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:10 PM)
I'm worried and that's a long-time Ervin Santana fan telling you that. Too many setbacks, too out of nowhere the injury in the first place in the spring, and the nature of the injury itself is not a good one. Not to mention the bad in-rotation performance. Hard to make this call, but if you need long-term production, Bronson Arroyo has an excellent chance at the better remaining season.
enjoy your lunch THC.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:11 PM)
Thanks, Steiny. And thank you for all your questions; sorry if I was unable to get to yours today. Take care everyone!