Roto Riteup — Presented By DraftKings: July 13, 2014

Today is the final day of the 2014 World Cup. My pre-tournament pick (Brazil) lost their past two games by a combined score of 10-1, so add soccer to the list of things I thought I knew about, but actually don’t.

On today’s agenda:
1. A long and short day for Jimmy Nelson
2. Brett Anderson‘s return
3. Is there a plan for Arismendy Alcantara?
4. Brock Holt: (almost) shortstop
5. The daily five

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A long and short day for Jimmy Nelson
Nelson lasted just 4.1 innings and surrendered six earned runs and eight overall for the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday. The 25-year-old posted a 10.38 K/9  and that is where the good news ends. It was just his second big league start of the year and I do like seeing 10 whiffs on 94 pitches, but he needs to refine his control before I feel comfortable starting him regularly. Of the 24 St. Louis batters he faced, Nelson was ahead 0-1 just 10 times. With a .387 BABIP against him right now as well as a corresponding 62.5% LOB%, I can safely guess we can see an improvement on both of those numbers. I’d grab Nelson in any league deeper than the standard 12-team mixed format as I really like his minor league strikeout rate, but beware of the walks. He is available in 55% of CBS formats, 75% of Yahoo! leagues and 85% of ESPN leagues.

Brett Anderson’s return
The Colorado Rockies will welcome Anderson back to the rotation after missing two months with a broken finger. The talented-but-oft-injured southpaw will be against a Minnesota Twins club with the 18th ranked 95 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers and will be on an 85 pitch limit. As a ground ball pitcher — 55% ground ball rate for his career — I think Anderson will be a useful fantasy starter, even in Colorado. Anderson is owned in less than 10% of the three major fantasy sites and if he stays on the field, he can be a real asset. Even on the pitch count I’d stream him tomorrow in 12-team leagues and probably roster him in 14-teamers.

Is there a plan for Arismendy Alcantara?
The second baseman or center fielder question is one of many for Alcantara and the Chicago Cubs right now. Whether or not he stays with the big league club — or even if he plays today — is something the club has been incredibly tight lipped on. Yesterday was Alcantara’s first taste of center field at the major league level after appearing in his three previous games at second base. Lineup flexibility would just be a cherry on top of his talent, as his minor league track record and hot start in the majors is something to swoon on. Alcantara has appeared at second base and center field (and even shortstop) in Triple-A this year, but 70 of his 89 games in the minors have been at second. Personally I expect him to take over the second base job in the second half of the season. The northsiders have been surprisingly productive at second base overall, as their 2.8 team WAR is top 10 in baseball, but their offensive production form the keystone has been an unimpressive 16th ranked 83 wRC+. I’d grab Alcantara wherever possible and cross my fingers the Cubs make him their starting second baseman. He can be picked up in over half of CBS leagues as well as over 90% of both ESPN and Yahoo! formats.

Brock Holt: (almost) shortstop
With the Boston Red Sox 9.5 games out and scrambling to make moves, they gave Holt a start at shortstop for the second time in a week. He’s started 19 games there for Triple-A Pawtucket this year and came up in the Boston system primarily as a shortstop. Holt has lit the world on fire with his .38 BABIP and that is sure to regress, but both ZiPS and Steamer project him to his .270 or higher for the rest of the season, certainly a useful number if he gains SS eligibility. For context, as a league shortstops are hitting just .250. Red Sox shortstops have hit for a combined 67 wRC+, fifth worst in the game. Holt doesn’t offer a ton of power or speed but he has hit leadoff for the majority of the year.  Holt is already owned in almost 80% of ESPN leagues but he’s free to grab in 40% of CBS formats and over 50% of Yahoo! leagues.

The daily five
Starting pitcher: Julio Teheran — $9,400
I’m anticipating a strong bounce-back game after he was blasted for 11 hits and five runs in his previous outing. He’ll get the Cubs and their 29th ranked 78 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.

Starting pitcher: Kevin Gausman — $6,200
As mentioned in yesterday’s Roto Riteup, I like Gausman quite a bit today, particularly for the price.

Infielder: Chris Johnson — $3,800
The Atlanta Braves stick southpaws at the fourth best clip in the league with a 114 wRC+ against them. Johnson and the Braves will be up against lefty Travis Wood today.

Outfielder: Kole Calhoun — $4,900
Calhoun and the Los Angeles Angels are facing the right-hander Scott Baker today. As a team, the Angels have crushed righties and their 109 wRC+ against them rate as seventh best in baseball.

Other hitter: Justin Upton — $5,000
Another Braves hitter who crushes lefties.

Remaining budget: $20,700

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Mike Wimmer
Mike Wimmer

Need some CI help in a standard 12 team league. Between Pablo Sandoval, Lucas Duda, Steve Pearce and Eric Hosmer who do you like the most going forward? Right now I’m leaning towards Hosmer since he seems to have picked it up the past couple weeks and he has the highest ceiling, by far, of all those guys. That said I still worry this recent hot streak will flame out like it did last month.

Pearce is probably the last guy on my list since I think he peaked in terms of fantasy value and regression seems to have already set in. Panda and Duda seem to be similar players, neither one runs at all, so they are very reliant on power to give them value and in that case I trust Duda a bit more.

I could potentially shift Carlos Santana from Catcher to my CI, but than I would be reliant on Wilin Rosario who has been quite a disappointment this year and I’m starting to lose faith he can turn it on in the second half especially since he seems nicked up quite a bit lately.