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Roto Riteup: June 29, 2012

This will be my only installment of the Roto Riteup this week. I know you’ve all come to love and depend on my weekend posts, but alas, I have a wedding to attend to. In Heaven Iowa.

• The much hyped debut of Trevor Bauer was similar to the knock-off fireworks I used to buy as a kid: not much bang for the buck. In his first MLB start, Bauer lasted a mere four innings and allowed two earned runs. He recorded three strikeouts (one was against Jair Jurrjens though) and allowed as many walks. Going in to this start, Bauer is owned in almost 50% of Yahoo! formats and almost 60% of ESPN leagues. I didn’t get a chance to pick him up in any of my leagues, but it may not matter. He only got three whiffs in this abbreviated start, and clearly control was an issue. Of course it is still absurdly early to draw any conclusions, but it does seem like his minor league walk totals tagged along with him on his promotion.

• Another instance of “It’s way too early to read into this: Arizona Diamondbacks Edition” is shortstop Stephen Drew. With a 0-4 performance last night, Drew has but one hit in his return to action so far. His sample size is all of two games, so I’m nowhere near concerned yet, just pointing out fact. If Drew is out there on your league’s waiver wire, I would be quick to grab him. ZiPS predicts a rest-of-season .325 wOBA, and if Drew manages to hit that, that would place him squarely in the top 10 of shortstop production. Drew is currently available in 75% of Yahoo! leagues and over 80% of ESPN leagues.

• I’m boarding the Xavier Avery bandwagon. Again. I know I’ve touted him before, but I can’t help myself. This year in Triple-A he is averaging over four pitches seen per plate appearances, a walk rate above 13% and has 16 steals to just three caught stealing. He has even passed his entire 2011 home run total. On top of all that, he is only 22. It isn’t like he some career minor leaguer. With those stats in mind, he is everything that I look for in a sleeper. Avery is exact definition of a sleeper, as he owned in 0.1% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues combined. If you play in a mixed league 14-team or a deep 12-team league, I’d look to grab Avery now.

• Somehow David Murphy remains undervalued. I’m not surprised that he isn’t owned as much as he should be, but more surprised that after I had him in my 4th tier of the June AL OF update, he didn’t fall off of a cliff. Murphy’s seasonal line now sits at an outstanding .289/.378/.500; good for a .380 wOBA. To put that in perspective, among players who have garnered at least 200 PA’s this season, Murphy’s wOBA ranks tied for 25th in all of baseball. To be more specific, his wOBA is tied with Giancarlo Stanton and Paul Goldschmidt. Even when Murphy is hot, he isn’t getting noticed by fantasy owners. Over the past 14 days, Murphy has cranked three homers and stolen a pair of bases, all while hitting at a .387 clip. Despite all this, Murphy is owned in less than 10% of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. Go get him. Now.

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: Bud Norris at CHC
Generally I don’t like starting players on their first game back from a stay on the DL, but I’m a fan of Norris. Also, the Cubs are bad. Really bad. Norris is only owned in about 40% of both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues. I’d stream him if he is available.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Cole Hamels at MIA
The Marlins are among the worst in the league against left-handed pitching. I will absolutely be buying Hamels on tomorrow.

A Hitter for Today: Colby Rasmus vs LAA (Ervin Santana)
Rasmus is torching right-handed pitching right now, and he has always hit well against them. He looks like a good buy today.