Roto Riteup: April 19, 2013

Let’s all agree to just put this week behind us. Tomorrow is the weekend and that should bring better days.

On today’s agenda:
1. Patrick Corbin‘s strong outing
2. Brandon Crawford‘s hitting
3. Rajai Davis keeps running
4. The return of two injured sluggers

Patrick Corbin‘s strong outing
A start in Yankee Stadium is a daunting task, but Patrick Corbin posted seven strong innings of one run ball and recorded seven strikeouts as well. Injuries aside, the Yankees are still a very potent offense — with a top five team wRC+ and wOBA thus far. To see Corbin post a final line against a very good lineup is encouraging. However once we dive a bit deeper into his numbers we begin to unravel the appeal of Corbin.

Through three starts Corbin’s .226 BABIP and 91.8% strand rate are both numbers that are totally unsustainable. His beautiful 1.42 ERA is masking his 3.66 FIP and 4.15 xFIP. Eventually (read: sooner rather than later) his ERA will catch up to his FIP and xFIP and then Corbin will once again be a stream candidate rather than a roster spot holder. CBS leagues have already bought into Corbin to the tune of a 50% ownership rate, however in both ESPN and Yahoo! formats his 10% ownership rate highlights those owners being slow to move on Corbin or being skeptical of his numbers. It is most likely the former, so assuming Corbin is available, grab him and try to spin him in a trade before his next start. If you can’t move him, put him on the bench. Either he pitches well and his stock continues to rise — despite you knowing he is headed for a free fall — or he gets lit up on your bench and you can return him to the waiver wire.

Brandon Crawford‘s hitting
The brilliant Chad Young has recently highlighted Brandon Crawford‘s potential, but in the wake of Crawford’s 3-for-4 night with a home run yesterday, expect him to be snapped up quickly. Crawford now has three home runs on the year to go along with four doubles. If you happen to play in a league with Total Bases (which the author adores as a fantasy stat), Crawford is shortstop manna from the BABIP gods. His ownership rate is still sub-20% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, however his CBS rate hovers near the 50% mark. If he is still available, grab him as another Jose Reyes replacement option or just ride Crawford while he is hot.

Rajai Davis keeps running
Yesterday Rajai Davis did just what Rajai Davis does. He recorded two hits and two stolen bases. To see Davis up and running — especially in the leadoff spot — is always a welcome sight for those of us who tend to rely on the waiver wire to find steals. Davis is now 4:0 is SB/CS on the year and while his power nor his average will ever bring you the championship, Davis’ legs can help you get there. Since the 2007 season — and despite never recording 600 PA’s once or more than 500 PA’s twice — Davis ranks fourth in stolen bases behind Michael Bourn, Juan Pierre, and Jose Reyes. Davis’ current role should provide plenty of chances for him to get on base and thus plenty of chances to run. Davis is owned in less than 20% of all three major fantasy websites.

The return of two injured sluggers
Today David Ortiz will make his season debut after battling with an Achilles injury. From this point forward he is an automatic start in daily and weekly leagues. Staying in the East but changing leagues, Freddie Freeman could return to action as soon as Monday. He is on a rehab assignment today and may join the Atlanta Braves on Monday. Freeman is yet another hitter that should be an auto-start. Despite his hitting talents, Freddie is still just my third favorite Freeman. Runner up in the Freeman debate is Morgan Freeman for his voice. Conversely, the author’s favorite Freeman is a man of no words.

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How is Freeman’s return going to impact Chris Johnson’s playing time? Is he going back to platooning at third?