Roto Riteup — Presented By DraftKings: July 28, 2014

Today is s the 15th anniversary of Destiny’s Child “The Writing’s on the Wall” album being released here in the United States. The track Say My Name is a personal favorite song of mine from the era and is something I’m not too shy to admit I belt out whenever I hear it. To ago along with this middle school nostalgia, I have some thoughts on several middle infielders today.

On today’s agenda:
1. A big day for Josh Harrison
2. Platooning DJ LeMahieu
3. Tommy La Stella is still hitting, still available
4. Jedd Gyorko to be activated today
5. The daily five

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A big day for Josh Harrison
Yesterday Harrison went 4-for-6 with a home run, a double and two stolen bases. He’s hitting a cool .294/.330/.447 on the season and is up to six homers to go with 13 steals. The 27-year-old is flashing more power than he did in the minors and while I doubt Harrison ends the year with double digit home runs, it certainly is a nice surprise. Both ZiPS and Steamer doubt his batting average will be flirting with .300 much longer, but both project for a decent .270 AVG going forward. Harrison is better suited to standard 5×5 leagues given his 5% walk rate. That being said, factor in his lineup flexibility and one can make an argument he brings a ton of value in any league. With at least 10 starts under his belt at second and third base as well as both right and left field, Harrison can be plugged in all over the field. He is available in 35% of CBS and ESPN formats and over 50% of Yahoo! leagues.

Platooning DJ LeMahieu
I’m not advocating a lefty/righty platoon here, rather the oh-so-common Colorado Rockies home/away platoon. For his career, LeMahieu is a .318/.359/.420 hitter at home against a .247/.282/.314 line away from the cozy confines of Coors Field. This isn’t new territory for many Rockies hitters but given injuries to other middle infielders such as LeMahieu’s teammate in Troy Tulowitzki as well as guys like Brett Lawrie, Everth Cabrera and Brandon Phillips many owners in my league(s) are scrambling for MI help, myself included. Throw in disappointing season from J.J. Hardy, Ben Zobrist and Jason Kipnis and we have a surprisingly small amount of productive middle infielders. I don’t love LeMahieu in fantasy however his average — even how empty it is — can bring value to your team in a tight race. The Rockies only have 24 remaining home games though that could be enough to for LeMahieu to deliver a few surprise home runs to go with his AVG. He is available in 70% of CBS leagues and over 85% of both ESPN and Yahoo! formats.

Tommy La Stella is still hitting, still available
Back in early July I touched on how La Stella opened his major league career by crushing the ball. Three weeks have passed since the time of said article and he is now hitting .288/.363/.356 in 217 plate appearances. With Dan Uggla entirely out of the picture La Stella is the guy in Atlanta right now. He won’t hit for much power but similar to LeMahieu, his average is more than useful. Not similar to LeMahieu is La Stella’s walk rate and value away from his home park. After yesterday’s game La Stella has draw 22 walks and has struck out 23 times. To date he’s shown an unusual reverse platoon split, however we’re still well within the realm of small sample size and with time I expect his platoon splits to come around. For those of you in on-base percentage leagues who have to pass on LeMahieu, La Stella is the man you want for MI help. One can pick him up in over 90% of ESPN and Yahoo! formats as well as 75% of CBS leagues. Add in the fact he has hit second in the lineup for seven straight games and you have yourself a solid fantasy player on the waiver wire. Grab him before someone else does.

Jedd Gyorko to be activated today
As reported by San Diego Padres beat writer Corey Brock, the club figures to activate Gyorko from the 15-day disabled list. In the same tweet we can all be shocked to see Carlos Quenting being placed on the DL. After a 23 home run campaign last year, this season has been a sharp contrast in offensive output from Gyorko. Prior to hitting the shelf with plantar fasciitis he managed a weak .162/.213/.270 line in 221 PAs. His .192 BABIP certainly hurt him but even in last year’s breakout season he hit just .250/.301/.444. Thus far in his career he’s done a pretty decent J.J. Hardy impersonation, though with a much higher strikeout rate and a lower batting average. I had high hopes for Gyorko this year as I saw the 49 extra-base hits last season (while playing half of his games at Petco) in just 525 PAs. We’ll need to see his big league walk rate begin to climb to the levels of his MiLB rates before I fall for him again. If instead of AVG or OBP you need power from your middle infielders, go with Gyorko and hope he socks some dingers. He can be grabbed in 60% of CBS formats, 70% of Yahoo! leagues and 85% of ESPN formats.

The daily five
Starting pitcher: Yu Darvish — $11,400
The price is steep but the Yankees are hurting right now and Darvish should be worth it.

Starting pitcher: Jesse Chavez — $8,000
The Houston Astros are without George Springer and Dexter Fowler, two of their better hitters. The team owns a 25th ranked 86 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers and I expect Chavez to post a solid day.

Infielder: Tommy La Stella — $3,400
I must say it’s pretty awesome to see Jason Lane back in the majors, but this time as a starting pitcher. That aside, as a lefty he has a tough draw in the Atlanta Braves and their 113 wRC+, fourth best in baseball. La Stella himself owns a 206 wRC+ against southpaws thus far, albeit in just 40 PAs.

Outfielder: Matt Joyce — $3,900
Joyce holds the platoon advantage over Kyle Lohse today. As a team, the Tampa Bay Rays have hit right-handed pitchers at the eighth best clip in baseball.

Other hitter: Anthony Rizzo — $5,700
Although Rizzo will be facing a same-handed pitcher in Yohan Flande, he has hit southpaws better than right-handed pitchers, 179 wRC+ vs 142 wRC+ this season. For his career the numbers are reversed at just a 96 wRC+ up against same-handed hurlers, but I like Rizzo to post a big day against what I think is basically a replacement level pitcher.

Remaining budget: $17,600

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You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

One Response to “Roto Riteup — Presented By DraftKings: July 28, 2014”

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  1. diamondhoggers says:

    I like Mike Olt today.

    Vote -1 Vote +1