Roto Riteup: March 30, 2013

Two things that are generally overrated: Five Guys and Nutella
Two things that are impossibly underrated: The weekend and naps — especially naps on the weekend

On the agenda today:
1. Mike Fiers officially announced as the fifth starter
2. Brian Roberts‘ role in Baltimore
3. Detroit’s closer carosel

Mike Fiers to the rotation
In the wake of the Kyle Lohse signing, some were wondering which current member of the Milwaukee Brewers rotation would get a demotion to the bullpen. As it turns out, Mike Fiers is safe and it is Chris Naverson to the pen. I’ve been touting Fiers almost all off season, so this is the right move in my eyes. Fiers can be grabbed in over 70% of Yahoo! leagues and nearly all (97%) of ESPN leagues. By the time the All-Star break rolls around, I fully expect his ownership rate to be in the mid 70’s.

Brian Roberts in Baltimore
For a trip down random fantasy lane, I will always remember Roberts for his peak ranging from 2004-09. Over that span his worst season had him at 85 runs and 36 steals, with a .286 batting average to boot. Injuries have taken their toll on him over the years, and this year we have Roberts healthy for opening day, but he now finds himself in the 9-hole as opposed to his customary lead off position. Roberts hasn’t hit anything than first (outside of a pinch hitting role in 2010) since 2009 — where he hit three-hole three times in September. He is largely unowned (just 10% in Yahoo! and 5% on ESPN) and will have to work his way up the Baltimore batting order before he finds his way on to fantasy rosters.

Closer by committee in Detroit
With Thursday’s demotion of Bruce Rondon to Triple-A, the Detroit Tigers will be doing a closer by committee for the early going. Joaquin Benoit may have the inside track to be the primary closer, as he has generally pitched in the eighth inning in his time in Detroit. Benoit’s strikeout numbers have been impressive — particularly last season — where his strikeout rate was 25.3% powered by his incredible 17.3% SwStr%, the third highest mark among qualified relievers. That being said, it is my belief that Al Alburquerque will end with the most saves this season. Al-Al underwent elbow surgery (not Tommy John‘s, but a stress fracture) and missed the majority of the 2012 season, but came back successfully enough to earn a playoff roster spot. The club clearly has faith in him as a high leverage reliever and it isn’t hard to see why. Alburquerque’s career 15.8% SwStr% is thanks in large part a combination of his 95 mph fastball and wipe out 85 mph slider. If we’re judging who has the best “stuff” in the bullpen, my vote would go to Al. The sole concern regarding him is that he hasn’t even pitched 15 game innings since his surgery. How they utilize him in the early going will tell an awful lot on how much faith Jim Leyland has in him this season. Grab Al where you can and expect some saves and great strikeout numbers. His walks will hurt, but despite a career 5.88 BB/9 he has just a 1.13 career WHIP. He doesn’t limit the free pass but he tends to strikeout enough batters or induce a ground ball to nullify erase the base runner.

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I like Fiers. This season will be interested to see how he performs. Another young pitcher I like is Archer from TB. What do you think of his chances to contribute this season? Late season call up? By May?