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Roto Riteup: June 15th, 2012

Compared to Wednesday, yesterday’s baseball news was considerably more dreary. Nevertheless, there is still plenty of useful info to be found in today’s Roto Riteup.

• Yesterday was a big day for Kirk Nieuwenhuis. It marked the first time that he powered multiple home runs in a single game. He led off the game with a shot to put the Mets ahead 1-0 and then he followed that up with another homer in the fourth inning. Although Nieuwenhuis has never topped the 20 homer plateau in any single season in the minors, he does have 17 and 19 home run seasons across different leagues in the same calendar year. With a BABIP at an even .400 so far this year I think he makes for a nice first half story with a big second half drop. He is striking out in over 25% of his plate appearances, 27.1% to be exact and his contact percentage is over six points below average. I’d go ahead and leave him on the waiver wire for now, but I have added him to my Yahoo! Watch List in several leagues.

• Another outfielder that popped a pair of home runs yesterday was Shin-Soo Choo. It was only his 4th and 5th long ball of the year, but the power is nice to see out of Choo. Before his outburst yesterday, Choo’s ISO was down at .121 on the season. Now it is up to a much healthier (not to mention encouraging) .145. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come with Choo in the power department, as a few more home runs sprinkled in would go nicely with his solid runs and stolen base totals so far. I highly doubt he is available in your league, but if his power has come back, I would aim to trade for him.

• If you need more RBI help in the outfield than anything, I would give Jason Kubel a spin. He is currently hitting a healthy .286 and has 38 RBI’s on the year already. His .189 ISO represents his highest mark there since his explosive 28 homer 2009 season. Now that he is in a much friendlier hitting environment, I suspect that as the summer in the desert heats up, so will Kubel’s bat. He is owned in just 46% of Yahoo! leagues but is owned in over 90% of ESPN formats. If he’s available, I would pick him up.

• When it comes to Mark Reynolds, if you can put the blinders on and not look at his strikeout percentage or his awful AVG, you can actually see a pretty good player. He now has 12 doubles and five homers in 178 PA’s this year. His walk rate is up and thus his OBP is considerably stronger than his batting average. ZiPS has him hitting 18 more dingers the rest of the way, and if that happens, he offers enough counting stats to offset his poor average in all but the shallowest of leagues. If you happen to play in an OBP league, then you should already own Reynolds. Yahoo! lists his ownership rating at 38% and ESPN at a mere 30%.

For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here are a couple matchups you may be able to exploit.

A Pitcher for Today: Yu Darvish vs HOU
The Astro’s walk rate is almost in the bottom 10 of the league and they haven’t seen Darvish at all yet. Expect a lot of strikeouts from Darvish today.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Tim Lincecum at SEA
This might be the cheapest that you will ever get Lincecum. I’d buy that.

A Hitter for Today: Allen Craig vs KC (Vin Mazzaro)
Craig is just really good. Mazzaro is really not.