Roto Riteup: August 28, 2013

Today’s Roto Riteup was written while enjoying a sugar cookie from Panera Bread and listening to (the Michelle Branch station on) Pandora. It’s a clear “Pan” bias.

On today’s agenda:
1. A rotation shake up in Kansas City
2. Stray thoughts on Felix Doubront
3. Welcome back, Alex Avila

A rotation shake up in Kansas City
At the time of writing, the Kansas City Royals are 67-64 and seven games out of the wild card as well as nine and a half behind the Detroit Tigers. In a presumed attempt to make up some ground, the Royals have swapped Wade Davis out of the starting rotation and have slotted Danny Duffy in. As a starter, Davis was always a bit over-stretched. His 4.57 ERA/4.48 FIP/4.50 xFIP line as a starter in over 500 innings tells that tale. Our very own Jeff Sullivan highlighted some differences between Davis as a start and as a reliever over the off-season, so go read that. Sullivan is taller, smarter, taller (it bears mentioning twice), and more talented than the present author.

Now that Davis is no longer in the rotation, Duffy gets another chance to stick there. Duffy’s 5.05/4.52/4.52 career starting slash isn’t encouraging either, but Duffy does have a few things working for him. In his 28 major league starts, Duffy has been knocked around to the tune of a .326 BABIP. If he is able to get that mark down to something resembling league average, that goes a long way in helping his strand rate and overall ERA estimators.

The defense might not be helping much, but Duffy hasn’t done himself any favors either, issuing walks 12.2% of the time. That being said, at the same time Duffy also struck out almost 25% of the batters that he faced. Prior to his call up, Duffy had a 10.45 K/9 in Triple-A that came attached to a 4.25 BB/9. Given that Duffy will face off against the Minnesota Twins — who have the fourth highest strikeout rate, though they do draw walks at the eighth most frequency — today, he makes for a decent stream candidate. If one is on the prowl for strikeouts, Duffy is an okay candidate, but be prepared for your WHIP to take a hit. Duffy is available in over 98% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues and 92% of CBS formats.

Stray thoughts on Felix Doubront
Yesterday Felix Doubront held the visiting Baltimore Orioles to two runs over six and two-thirds innings, scattering four hits and one walk. He struck out seven and induced 10 swinging strikes in 111 pitches. Since a rocky start to the month, Doubront has pitched back-to-back quality starts and now owns a relatively impressive 3.74/3.56/3.94 pitching slash for the season in 24 starts. With 10 wins and 129 strikeouts, Doubront has been a very good stream candidate this year.

As per Brooks Baseball, Doubront has seemingly moved away from his sinker somewhat in favor of his cutter and four-seamer this year. Doubront’s swinging strike rate and strikeout rate has fallen from last year, but both marks are still right around league average for a starter in the American League. Just like any other starting pitcher streamer, Doubront is best left to favorable matchups. His next start should come against the Chicago White Sox and one should feel comfortable playing Doubront there. He is available in 90% of ESPN formats, 71% of Yahoo! leagues, and 30% of CBS formats.

Welcome back, Alex Avila
After missing almost three weeks with concussion like symptoms, the Tigers activated catcher Alex Avila yesterday. Looking at Avila’s seasonal line wouldn’t inspire much confidence as a .196/.286./.337 line is unacceptable even from a catcher. A .252 BABIP that is over 60 points below his career average is mostly to blame for any perceived struggles. A greater concern would be the spike in his strikeout rate, as it is approaching 30% in not quite 300 plate appearances.

The 26-year-old hasn’t posted a strikeout rate in any non-three game rehab stint at all in his career, and as such one should feel mildly confident that Avila will shed a few points off of his strikeout rate. For a hitter that is a notch above league average, that happens to play for the club that has scored the most runs in baseball, and plays a premium defensive position, Avila’s ownership rates are far below what they should be. Yes, he his struggles and injuries have surely frustrated some, but he is a hitter in his prime in a great lineup. Avila is owned in just 26% of CBS leagues, 17% of Yahoo! formats, and 3% of ESPN leagues. Given his prior seasons and the team that he plays for, Avila should be owned in every two catcher format and any AL-only league. Standard 12-team mixed leaguers should add him to your watch list or bench if the roster spots allow and hope that he hits the ground running hitting.

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One Response to “Roto Riteup: August 28, 2013”

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  1. jay says:

    The 26-year-old hasn’t posted a strikeout rate in any non-three game rehab stint at all in his career, and as such one should feel mildly confident that Avila will shed a few points off of his strikeout rate.

    my brain exploded

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