As stated last week, RotoGraphs will now be bringing you the best most comprehensive fantasy news and advice on the weekend too. So sit back, watch some cartoons in that bathrobe that you wear once a month and catch up on some of fantasy baseball relevant news from yesterday in today’s edition of the Roto Riteup.
• The St. Louis Cardinals activated Allen Craig from the 15-day disabled list yesterday. His season triple slash is an impressive .345/.397/.456. No doubt that that line is inflated by his .359 BABIP, but Craig is no stranger to offensive success. Success at the major league level should not come as a surprise, as Craig has long been a pitcher’s nightmare, posting a .320/.379/.548 line in over 900 Triple-A plate appearances. In Yahoo! leagues Craig is already eligible at 1B, 2B and OF, making him a versatile bat to plug in almost anywhere in your lineup. Craig is owned in 62% of Yahoo! leagues and 70% of ESPN leagues. For anyone in a 12×12 mixed league, go pick him up.
• The activation of Craig brings an interesting roster situation. Yesterday’s game at Citi Field had a familiar feel to it for Carlos Beltran. Despite going to the visitor’s clubhouse, he was right at home in center field. It marked the first time Beltran has started in CF in two years. Beltran is currently putting up super star numbers and if he becomes CF eligible that just adds another wrinkle of fantasy value. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny doesn’t expect to have Beltran and his shaky knees trot out there in center field every day, only “when it makes sense.”
• The Washington Nationals also brought back a significant fantasy player from the disabled list in Michael Morse. Morse unfortunately didn’t get a chance to display himself for the first time this season after his breakout 2011 campaign as the game last night was postponed due to rain. If Morse finished the season with 20 home runs and 60 RBI’s I wouldn’t be shocked. For those of us in weekly leagues, Morse is safe to start. He already has the faith of manager Davey Johnson, as he penciled Morse in to hit clean-up yesterday. Though it is a small likelihood, if for some reason Morse isn’t owned in your league, pick him up in all formats.
• Cameron Maybin never hit the DL, but he was held out of the starting lineup for four straight games. That streak ended yesterday with Maybin finally return to action without missing a beat, going 2-4. In just about 200 PA this year, Maybin has the best walk rate and lowest strike out rate of any season in the major leagues. I’m not worried about Maybin’s AVG just yet either, as his BABIP is almost 50 points below his career average. Once that normalizes, he will be just fine there. After going 40 for 48 in steal attempts last year, he is currently sporting the fantastic rate of 14 for 16 this year. ZiPS has him at .248 with 20 steals the rest of the season, but I’d take the over on both of those. Owned in 61% of Yahoo! and 78% of ESPN formats, go ahead and grab him if he’s out there. The way his triple slash has been this year, you could even trade for him and buy low.
• In the final injury update, Yeonis Cespedes made his return to game action yesterday as well. He has tools for days but those tools are still quite raw. His surroundings, i.e. his home ballpark and the lineup around him, aren’t doing him any favors, but the talent is undeniable. He and fellow bright spot of the A’s lineup in Josh Reddick seem to have nailed down the corners in the Coliseum. Cespedes has the strength and speed to finish the year at 20-20, but it is a question of what the AVG and OBP will be if that happens. His current K% of 25.2% is simple too high for him to be a fantasy star. If you’re plugging him into your weekly lineup, close your eyes and hope he socks some dingers and steals some bags.
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: Shaun Marcum vs PIT
Marcum has the 11th best SwStr% of qualified starters. And the Pirates offense is still the Pirates offense. Advantage: Marcum.
A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Trevor Cahill at SD
I don’t know if there is a MLB starter that I wouldn’t risk streaming in Petco.