Fantasy Baseball with Tristan Cockcroft
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday morning, 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 Monday at 11 a.m. ET!
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Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:01 AM)
Good morning everyone! Let's get right to your questions...
Is Wieters not living up to his hype?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:03 AM)
If you look at what Wieters has done to date in his career, he has effectively played one "rookie year," totaling 138 games, with .279-13-57 stats. That's shy of what many people -- myself included -- predicted for him, but let's also remember that it's rough on a catcher to adjust to the majors, harder perhaps than at other skill positions. I think Wieters has been just fine, and remember that he finished last year strong. Why can't he have a solid second half this year, too? I still say he's top-10 among catchers from today forward. Stick with him.
Kyle (Chapel Hill)
What do you think Phil hughes' final statistics will look like?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:05 AM)
Probably something like 15 wins, low-threes ERA, maybe 3.25, and 180-190 K's, that latter number low only because of the chance the Yankees might limit his innings. In other words, I see Hughes keeping up the hot start, because that 3.25 final ERA really means he's not all that much worse than he has been to date.
If Dice-K was dropped is he worth being picked up full-time? As a spot starter? Start him against KC on Thur? Appreciate the time!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:06 AM)
He has pitched well in two of his past three starts and hasn't had the easiest of schedules so far. I'd pick him up, yes. Full-time starter? Hmmm, perhaps just shy, but a little above spot-start status. No question I'd be using him against the Royals, and in most outings.
Gary (palos verdes)
Is it safe to trust Edwin Jackson this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:08 AM)
Except in the most shallow of leagues, like ESPN standard with an innings or starts cap. Not like the Giants' offense scares me that much.
Who is the real Jake Peavy?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:11 AM)
The year-to-date statistics he has so far are not far off my preseason expectations, or my expectations from today forward. If I'm to adjust them, I'd take the 5.74 ERA down to more like 4.00-4.25, the 1.34 WHIP down to 1.25-ish, but his strikeout rate seems fine and I think he'll be about as up-and-down as we've seen. In other words, as I continue to stress, borderline top 25, maybe barely in it, maybe barely out, and if I ranked off the top of my head, I'd try my hardest to put him AT 25th exactly.
What do you make of Jeff Francis' first two starts?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:12 AM)
That he can dominate bad teams, so don't read too much into them yet. Still, they're promising signs and support my calling him a sleeper in the preseason. I'd pick him up, except in those shallow formats where streaming starters is the rage.
With the Blue Jays waiving Eveland, do you think they will skip the No. 5 and have Romero make 2 starts this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:14 AM)
Gut instinct: Yes. I think the Blue Jays are going to do everything they can to try to push back the No. 5 spot in the rotation until Jesse Litsch is ready to return, which won't be long. Romero should be active in most every format this week.
Jeff (Atlanta, GA)
Scott Baker a no-brainer 2-start guy this week?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:15 AM)
No-brainer? No. Worth starting? Yes, except if you have cap worries. He faces the Yankees and Rangers, which might be the toughest set of matchups a pitcher could ask, other than facing those two teams on the road.
Will Mike Stanton be up June 1st and can he have a Braun/Longoria type impact?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:17 AM)
I'm going on record saying that a slugger who whiffs as often as he does (once per 3.21 at-bats in his minor league career) is at tremendous risk to get promoted, struggle initially, be returned to the minors and take an extra year before figuring it out. That said, he's also a great prospect who might by all rights come up and dominate. That's the nature of the beast, and it's why I'd still take a chance on him if I had an extra roster spot sitting around. But I stress: Stanton's the kind of guy with whom you need patience, and I do think it takes him at least one year's MLB time to realize his talent. And I'd say it's better than 50/50 we do see him before the All-Star break.
What do you see for Chris B Young final stats?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:20 AM)
Hmmm, ballparking it I'd say he hits .265, mashes 25-30 homers (in that range), drives in just shy of 100 (think 95ish), steals 15. He's very much legit but I see some cold spells depressing his batting average, during which time mixed-league owners should bench -- but not cut -- him.
Taylor Vollmer ((NE))
With Fielders slow start, do you see it possible for him to exceed or even equal his 46hrs and 141rbis of last year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:22 AM)
That'd be 39 more homers and 122 more RBIs in 118 more Brewers games, which is an insane pace. It demonstrates just how special his 2009 was. Is it POSSIBLE? Well, sure, if any slugger could do that, Prince Fielder could. I'd call it unlikely. Let's say 30 more homers, 90-95 more RBIs could be coming, and that's still an elite player.
KEEPERS: I need to trade one to win this year. Can help me rank in an AL only 5x5? Cano ($20) Choo ($20) Butler ($17) Garza ($7) Vlad ($4) Beckham ($6)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:23 AM)
I'm not sure if what you're asking me is how to rank these keeper-wise or yearly, because you want to win now in which case the prices are largely irrelevant. For this year, I'd go in that very order of value. Keeper-wise? I'd go Cano, Garza, Choo, Butler, Beckham, Vlad.
Jack Bauer (NYC)
Is Vasquez usable again? (P.S. Thanks for watching all these years.)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
No, thank YOU Jack, for eight seasons' entertainment. Though I admit that it's time. As for Javier Vazquez, I'll say a hesitant "yes."
Tex Mex (TX)
Are you worried about Texiera yet? At what point should i start being worried?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:24 AM)
Hi Tristan--would you target Rollins in trade now, or would you stay away?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:25 AM)
At this point I would absolutely stay away. He's going to command too high a price on name value, he's getting up there in years and just suffered a setback so I worry about his ability for a quick recovery, and he's a noted second-half player besides. Don't be surprised if one month from today is the perfect time to trade for Jimmy Rollins. On May 24, when he's fresh on the DL, no way.
Jon (Grimesland, NC)
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:26 AM)
I prefer Miguel Olivo for the week, but Ryan Doumit for everything else. Perfect tandem, too, because Doumit's a "per-game" kind of guy, and Olivo is the kind you'd be happier to have as a backup/spot-start guy.
Is Adam Jones starting to figue things out?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:28 AM)
Possibly. He still has only three walks in the month, which means you need prepare for continued streakiness. Enjoy it now, because another cold spell is inevitably coming.
Me (Right here)
How do you feel about Brett Anderson this week vs Det? Start over Nolasco?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:30 AM)
The Athletics haven't even formally committed to Anderson returning this weekend, so no, it's Ricky Nolasco by a significant margin. Anderson might by all rights might make another rehab start and he's throwing what, 60 pitches in today's rehab outing? I don't think that's the kind of guy you trust his first start back. Second? Sure.
Will those of us Gordon Beckham owners who have been patient with him all year long be rewarded eventually? At some point he has to hit, right???
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:32 AM)
Gordon Beckham is such a popular chat question. I can't begin to describe the volume of questions about him. I'll continue to sum up my feelings as this: No way you can trust him right now, and in redraft, standard ESPN, dropping him is perfectly acceptable. Keeper? If you have the bench room, you should keep him stashed and CLEARLY RESERVED. As for "heating up," which some people have suggested he's doing, the guy's batting .133 in May. How exactly is that "heating up"? He's a clear no-go, no-way, in all formats right now.
Jon (Grimesland, NC)
Time to swap one Chicago SS for another? I have Unsexy Alexei...
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:33 AM)
Depends which Cubs "shortstop" you're talking about, because the Opening Day one still qualifies there and there's a rookie currently manning the position. I'd rather have Ryan Theriot than Alexei Ramirez, and Ramirez over Starlin Castro. Unless it's a keeper league, of course.
1 or 2 starts for lincecum ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:34 AM)
Looks like one after all, as rumors that Todd Wellemeyer would be skipped, then replaced in the rotation on Saturday appear to be false. Wellemeyer will pitch Tuesday, Lincecum on Wednesday, not that you want the former. I'll make that adjustment on my Forecaster after the chat.
think Wandy Rodriguez is worth a #1 waiver?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:35 AM)
Yes. Too valuable to let sit out there as a free agent. At the very least he's worth what he was in 2008, and he's a clear option to use for every home start, because he has always thrived at Minute Maid Park.
Why don't more people read your fantasy forecaster articles? Aren't a lot of these questions answered in it?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:37 AM)
I'm not going to call anyone out for not reading the Forecaster, but Steve, you're right that some questions are easily answered there. But in defense of the readers, because I understand this angle, I think sometimes it's reassuring of a writer to be able to provide a personal answer to a specific lineup question. It kind of drives the broad advice in the column home in that reader's specific league.
Status for C gonzalez ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:38 AM)
Soreness in his wrist, day to day, and if not for the favorable schedule I'd say stay away. My best advice: Let the depth of your outfield make the decision. I sure wouldn't be sitting him for, say, Oscar Salazar.
Is Nolasco's lack of strikeouts concerning?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:40 AM)
A little, yes, but at least he's not walking hitters, which would be the ultimate warning sign. I'd keep an eye on him but not ready to push the panic button ... yet.
chad k (ashland,PA)
what's up with jose lopez?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:41 AM)
Anyone who drafted Jose Lopez and was surprised he started slow obviously didn't study up on Lopez; he's a historic second half player. Yes, the sluggish start is a bit low even by his standards, but he routinely waits until June/July to get back to his usual productive self.
When does Stephen Strasburg make his major league debut?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:42 AM)
Supposedly June 4.
Are you the lost fan, or is it Mass? Disappointed with the finale?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:43 AM)
I'm a "Lost" fan, can't speak for AJ but I do recall he's a fan too. At least from what I remember. Still kind of digesting it. It was a lot to take in. And I won't spoil any of it, obviously not the morning after.
How worried are you about Liriano?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:44 AM)
Not very. It's not like he has had the easiest schedule in the month of May, and it's not like this week's is any easier. It's a trend worth monitoring but I'm making no rash moves.
Does Chacin get two starts this week? Him only having one killed me in my matchup last week.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:46 AM)
Blame the rain for that. According to all accounts, Jhoulys Chacin is definitely starting on Tuesday night, which puts him on track for two starts this week. Jorge de la Rosa isn't close enough to returning to threaten the second turn.
When do you think Chapman will come up? And what would you expect?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:47 AM)
Certainly not June 4. I'm thinking it's after the All-Star break. Not like the Reds desperately need him right now, he's not dominating in Triple-A and it makes financial sense for them to keep him in the minors as long as possible. I expect a rough adjustment period, too.
My team is done... would you make a "Godfather-offer" for 1 more year of Ubaldo in the 20th round?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:48 AM)
Yes, if what you're asking is whether Ubaldo Jimenez is a clear elite keeper for 2011. To which I say, yes, yes he is.
Jo-Jo (Johnson, Tn)
Tristan, will Fister get 2 starts this week? you had it that way in your Forecaster.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:49 AM)
That's because I believe Ian Snell will be skipped because of the off days, but it's also the team with which I had the least confidence in projecting the rotation. It's the primary reason Fister ranks where he does, because any higher would require a guarantee of the two turns.
Can't believe nobody is asking about Pujols. He has been pretty worthless over the last month with 2 HRs. Elbow injury? Slump? Reason to worry?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:52 AM)
It's a sad, sad day when a .303-29-106-11 pace with 91 runs is considered "worthless." I understand your frustration but those are still special numbers and they represent the low point of Pujols' value. It bears watching, sure, but I'm not at panic-button mode, not by a long shot.
Todd (Toledo, OH)
Is Justin Morneau a "sell-high" guy based on his typical hot start/slow finish, or is playing in Target Field enough to stick with him all year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:53 AM)
Last I checked, Target Field was not favoring power. Morneau's scary first/second half trend is still relevant, and yes, he'll be a sell high, but an even better one a month from now.
Sam (San Francisco)
Hi Tristan, Chicken parm for breakfast out on the left coast! What type of numbers does Scherzer put up from here on out? Thanks!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:55 AM)
That sounds fantastic, Sam. I envy you. As for Max Scherzer, impressive work in the minors so far, and at this rate he might be back with the Tigers with only one more appearance. I'm still thinking he's more of a 4.25, just-shy-of-K-per-inning guy once recalled, but let's say you won't want to trust him until a week after his recall, so you can make sure he's fully back first.
Is Elvis Andrus legit? What are ur projections for the rest of the year? Is he a top 5 SS right now?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:57 AM)
Oh, I definitely think he is. Our preseason projection seemed perfect. What was it, maybe a .280-.290 batting average, 50-plus steals, 100 runs? I see no reason he can't do that, and that'd be top-five worthy at that position, yes.
Todd (Toledo, OH)
I had heard some talk recently that people expect Target to become homer-friendly as the weather starts to heat up, wasn't sure how much truth there is to that, however.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:58 AM)
It wouldn't surprise me but it was also leaning significantly AGAINST homers in the early going. It'd take a huge shift in the coming weeks for me to throw away a half-decade of relevant Justin Morneau second-half stats.
name game: Morneau or Reynolds ?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Who to drop for thornton: Penny, Medlen, LeBlanc??? Thank you!
Tristan H. Cockcroft (11:59 AM)
Kris Medlen is probably the smartest cut of the lot, much as I like him.
Jay Y (Feeding Hills, MA)
John Axford over/under 10 saves this year?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:00 PM)
Under. If he gets five I'll be a bit surprised, and ready to say it's more a product of weak alternatives than anything.
Best Asdrubal fill-in: Guzman, Hardy, Lopez, or Al. Ramirez?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:01 PM)
Well, I'd mix and match if I could, and not sure which Lopez that is (assuming Jose?). This week it's Alexei Ramirez. Full slate of games, decent enough matchups. Others scare me more. Long-term, it's Jose Lopez.
Who (Am I?)
3rd in the NL in OPS, 4th in 2Bs, and tied for 9th in HRs?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:02 PM)
Assuming that's Alfonso Soriano? Nice start indeed.
just traded Reynolds for Kinsler. Have Wright and Sandoval at 3rd. How did I do?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:03 PM)
Needs trade, I understand it, but I'd have preferred the Reynolds side. I think Ian Kinsler is a tad overrated.
Pumped for the better series finale tonight?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Sure, but at this point I might be more intrigued by the movie! Unless they're blowing smoke with the entire concept of a movie, and were doing it so that we'd be shocked by tonight's episode. Sure hope not.
The RP in Milwaukee to own is.....?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:04 PM)
Carlos Villanueva. Still pitching better than the alternatives, not that I'd be thrilled to own anyone in that bullpen for this week.
Is Qualls getting replaced anytime soon? If so, by whom?
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
He has four straight scoreless appearances and is a perfect 3-for-3 in save chances in those, so I don't think so. Of course, a couple of those outings were one-out opportunities, so I'm not about to call him completely back, either.
Tristan H. Cockcroft (12:06 PM)
OK, time to wrap things up for the day. Thanks for all your questions, and sorry if I didn't get to yours. Take care everyone!