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Roto Riteup: April 9, 2013

I suppose National Championships are nice, but I prefer fantasy championships. You know, when I finally actually *win* a league. Yes, my deep dark secret is that I have never actually won a fantasy league that wasn’t a public league (which I don’t consider real leagues, or at least I didn’t think that particular public league qualified).

On today’s agenda:
1. Roy Halladay gets torched, again
2. A perennial fantasy stud finally shows up this season
3. Ervin Santana bounces back
4. The new Atlanta Braves cleanup hitter?

Another Roy Halladay disaster
For those of us hoping for a bounce back game for Halladay, we’ll have to keep looking. Other than the fact that he was healthy enough to make the start in the first place, there really isn’t even a silver lining to take away from this. His two-seam fastball averaged a hair under 91 mph and did touch 92 a few times, but he still struggled throughout his short outing. This performance of four plus innings after his initial 3.1 inning start casts serious questions on the ability of Halladay moving forward. I would resort to spot starting him in favorable matchups and continue to monitor the health situation. This is speculation, but it is possible that he is still suffering from lingering effects of his shoulder injury last year, as well as any ill effects of the decision to not undergo surgery in the off season. The name says he’ll be great and so does the history, but the numbers — including his age — indicate that there is a real problem here. If you can get him low enough (read: very low), then you could consider trading for him from a frustrated owner. Halladay isn’t the worst bounce back candidate around, but I am getting increasingly worried about him.

Robinson Cano is back
Apparently Cano missed the memo that the 2013 fantasy baseball season started last week. Prior to yesterday’s two home run game, Cano was hitting a very un-Cano like .130/.200/.130 for the year. The season is young and Cano still has 150 games to put up most of his traditional numbers, so I wouldn’t worry too much about his slow start hurting his average or his home runs. What I am worried about is his RBI opportunities. With all of the injuries that has plagued the Yankees thus far, Cano had been hitting in the 2-hole for the past five games — something that he hasn’t done at all since one game in 2010 — and hasn’t done with any regularity since his 2006 rookie season. Fantasy owners should hope that his game yesterday will makes him comfortable hitting second, as manager Joe Girardi has expressed his intent to keep Cano there.

Ervin Santana‘s strong start
While Santana may have been touched up for three home runs (but just four runs total) in his season debut, yesterday’s start was the second of the season a massive improvement. Yesterday Santana pitched eight innings of masterful baseball against the Minnesota Twins and was able to strikeout seven batters while only allowing a lone walk. For the season, Santana has 15 strikeouts against just two walks. He may still be homer prone, but he still has swing-and-miss stuff in his repertoire. Of his 15 whiffs on the day, 14 came via his slider. His fastball averaged almost 94 mph — which if that velocity lasts the full season, would be his highest since 2008 — and his slider clearly baffled Twins hitters throughout the game. After giving up 39 (!) home runs last season, many had simultaneously given up hope of Santana being an effective pitcher outside of the fly ball friendly confines of Angels Stadium. Santana has proved his worth thus far, but don’t expect every start to be as pretty as yesterday’s. He’ll still give up the not-so-sporadic home run, but with good velocity and his biting slider, Santana is fantasy relevant once again. You can find him available in over 95% of ESPN leagues, 90% of Yahoo! formats, and over 50% of CBS leagues.

The new Atlanta Braves cleanup hitter?
With first basemen Freddie Freeman on the disabled list and regular catcher Brian McCann there as well, the latest clean up hitter for the Braves is current catcher Evan Gattis. Yesterday marked the second day in a row that Gattis hit fourth, and given that he should see more playing time than fellow catcher Gerald Laird, I expect Gattis to show some power and subsequent RBIs in these coming two weeks. Gattis has hit double digit home runs in the minors the past two years, but has never even tasted Triple-A yet. Still, his power is legit and now his playing time is guaranteed. If you’re in a two catcher league and in need of help, I’d grab Gattis and not think twice. You’ll find Gattis free to pick up in 80% of CBS leagues and over 90% of both ESPN and Yahoo! formats.