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Roto Riteup: March 23, 2013

This is prime drafting season now. Odds are by the time you read this, the author will be in a state of pure bliss: an Ottoneu auction draft.

On today’s agenda:
1. Adam Eaton‘s injury
2. Jhoulys Chacin sidelined with back pain
3. Trevor Bauer and Scott Kazmir‘s roles

Adam Eaton’s injury
With the starting center field job as well as the lead-off position all but locked down, a serious injury has put a major dent in Eaton’s fantasy value. Word broke yesterday afternoon about Eaton’s strained left elbow and the estimated timetable is six to eight weeks. The best case scenario now estimates that Eaton’s first major league plate appearance this year won’t be until mid May. When healthy, Eaton offers tons of stolen bases and plenty of runs scored. His contact rate is high and he hits for a high average as a result. His rate stats should remain largely untouched, but obviously his counting numbers will really take a tumble. I expected 90 runs and 30 stolen bases from him this season (and drafted him in two leagues already), but this injury essentially ensures that he won’t reach either number. He is basically Ben Revere with double digit home run power — a very valuable fantasy asset indeed. Eaton is still worthy of being drafted, but factor in his missed time. You won’t be getting the full season out of him so there is no need to pay full price.

Jhoulys Chacin’s back spasms
If the depth and talent of the Colorado Rockies’ rotation wasn’t a question before (and I sincerely hope everyone questioned it), the news of Chacin being scratched from his start makes a precarious situation a potential disaster. Thus far Chacin has pitched just four 1/3 innings in Cactus League play, but he did make one start in the WBC for Venezuela. The Rockies have been clear that this was just a precautionary move — and they maintain that Chacin will still be the 2013 opening day starter — but Chacin may be becoming an injury liability. Last season Chacin was limited to a mere 72.2 total innings between the minors and the big leagues. He missed almost three months last year with a torn pectoral but did come back strong in his final nine MLB starts, allowing just 14 combined runs during his come back. Innings will be a question for Chacin once healthy as well. Despite his fairly strong outings at the end of last season, he lasted to the seventh inning just once and to the sixth one more time. In three of his final nine starts he failed to make it to the fifth inning. Another worrisome fact is that both his SwStr% and K% have been on a downward trend since 2010 in his first real MLB season. I once had Chacin pegged as a solid fantasy spot starter/stream option, but given his injuries and his declining peripherals, I’d say he is just a waiver wire desperation pick up at this point. He can work his way back into my favor eventually, but for now I’ll be avoiding him. I suggest you do the same.

Trevor Bauer and Scott Kazmir
With the announcement that Bauer will begin the season in Triple-A, the Cleveland Indians may be awarding the fifth rotation spot to Scott Kazmir. Now that Bauer is out of the picture, the fifth starter will be either Kazmir or Carlos Carrasco. To say both have questions would be an understatement. Carrasco is coming off back after missing all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery and Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011 either. As of right now, Kazmir is left-handed, was once very good, and has a pulse, so I would expect him to break camp with the Indians and win the last slot in the rotation. He is slated to start today and if his velocity is sustained throughout his start, I expect a public announcement very shortly. Now, between Bauer, Kazmir, and Carrasco I would still only feel comfortable rostering Bauer, and I say that while not being very high on Bauer. For the right price, however, I could be a Bauer fan. It’s like in euchre: I have the left and right “Bauers” and nothing else. It makes for a good hand to set the other team, but a crummy hand to call a suit for yourself; I just don’t have a ton of faith in Bauer.