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Roto Riteup: July 7, 2013

Apologies for the lateness of today’s Roto Riteup. The author wishes it were sponsored by a coffee company.

On today’s agenda:
1. A new home for Ricky Nolasco
2. Ryan Howard to the disabled list
3. Logan Morrison is flashing some power
4. Michael Pineda to remain in minors — as a starter

A new home for Ricky Nolasco
Yesterday the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a trade that sent Ricky Nolasco west in return for starting pitching prospect Angel Sanchez as well as relief prospects Steven Ames and Josh Wall. One can only hope that Josh Wall has a dance as incredible as John Wall’s. With a better offense behind him — though the Dodgers haven’t been an offensive powerhouse to date, that situation has turned around recently — Nolasco stands the chance to offer fantasy owners a few more wins. Often plagued by BABIP woes, his ERA is the closest it has been to his FIP since 2007 (when he posted 5.48 and 5.44 marks respectively). Overall this trade doesn’t do much to improve Nolasco’s fantasy value; he is still a stream candidate or home and match up starter. Nolasco is owned 61% of CBS leagues, 26% of Yahoo! formats, and 8% of ESPN leagues.

Ryan Howard to the disabled list
The Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard on the disabled list with soreness in his left knee. He’ll go in for an MRI today or tomorrow and we’ll know more then, though surgery still hasn’t been ruled out. To take Howard’s roster spot the Phillies called up Darin Ruf. Last year Ruf’s power exploded as he mashed 38 home runs in Double-A and three more in 12 games with the big league club. Prior to his call up, Ruf had just seven home runs in Triple-A this year, though he did crank 22 doubles, tied for ninth in the International League. Ruf makes for a nice speculative add in deep leagues for now, though his stock may rise if Howard is forced to undergo surgery. One should be able to add Ruf in nearly every fantasy league.

Logan Morrison is flashing some power
After starting the season on the disabled list, Lo-Mo has made up for lost time. Yesterday he cranked his fourth home run of the year in just 75 plate appearances. His current .303 ISO is over 100 points above his career average and his .318/.400/.621 line equates to a beefy .429 wOBA. Morrison’s 13.3% strikeout rate is a big improvement over his 17.9% career mark. It isn’t all good news however, as his .327 BABIP is much higher than his .287 career average. To his credit, Lo-Mo is hitting more ground balls, but sample size issues abound for the numbers to read too much.

His spray chart indicates that he is going the opposite way more frequently. Last season in 334 PA’s Morrison got 13 opposite field hits. This year he is already up to five. On an anecdotal note — though this interview was conducted two weeks ago — Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez believes that Lo-Mo tried to get too pull happy. Says Martinez “Now, he [Morrison] seems to be going the other way, using the whole field. He’s told me that’s his new approach. He has a great swing.”

Morrison is currently owned in 40% of CBS leagues and under 20% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. If his new approach sticks, Morrison could surprise with a nice second half surge. His counting numbers will be hurt by the lineup around him, though he could still be a nice add in 12-team mixed leagues if anyone needs a first baseman or outfielder.

Michael Pineda to remain in minors — as a starter
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has decided to keep Pineda in the minors upon his activation, though his role remains unchanged. Cashman is quoted as saying “I don’t see using him out of the pen…he’s a starter and that’s how we’ll use him and that’s it.” Pineda will almost certainly be the first name called if any member of the Yankees rotation gets hit with an injury or loses effectiveness. Deep leaguers should continue to monitor him.