Roto Riteup — Presented By DraftKings: June 22, 2014

Thirty years ago today the film “The Karate Kid” was released. I’ll admit I haven’t seen the remake, but I have a hard time believing it could possibly have a better montage than the original. I mean, it was the best around.

On today’s agenda:
1. A strong outing from Mike Leake
2. J.J. Hardy hits a home run
3. Joc Pederson watch
4. The daily five

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A strong outing from Mike Leake
Yesterday Leake fired eight innings of one-run ball against a very good offense in the Toronto Blue Jays. He limited the Jays to four hits — one being a home run to Colby Rasmus — and two walks against six strikeouts. Leake gathered 12 swinging strikes out of his 113 pitches, a step up from his 6.8% SwStr% this season. For my taste, I don’t like Leake’s low strikeout rate, but he can be a useful streamer/spot starter. Despite being a ground ball pitcher, Leake gives up his fair share of dingers, although his home park doesn’t help him keep many fly balls in the yard. In standard 12-team mixed leagues I’d be okay with just streaming Leake, but any format deeper than 12-team should roster and spot-start him. Leake is owned in just 15% of ESPN formats, 34% of Yahoo! leagues and 58% of CBS formats.

J.J. Hardy hits a home run
Going into this season, seeing Hardy hit a dinger would hardly be front page news. Given this is Hardy’s first home run of the year after averaging over 20+ home runs for three straight seasons, I’d say this is worth a blurb. Rather than be the “low average, good power” guy of past seasons, so far this year Hardy owns a .291 batting average but only a .368 slugging percentage. A .335 season BABIP against his .277 career BABIP is helping offset some of his offensive shortcomings, however his 0.77 ISO is about 90 points off of his career mark.

Courtesy of Baseball Heat Maps one can see Hardy’s average fly ball distance this season is 266 feet versus a 283 foot average last year. Losing that much on your fly balls will certainly hinder your home run count and Hardy is Exhibit A to that case. Hopefully he can get on his normal home run pace, though just 10 or so long balls with a mediocre-at-best AVG over the course of nearly 3 1/2 months isn’t worth a ton, even from the shortstop position. If it wasn’t for his higher than normal BABIP, I don’t think Hardy’s ownership would be above 50% in each of the three major fantasy sites. The batted ball distance worries me as does the looming regression in the BABIP department. I’d sell now.

Joc Pederson watch
Other than some guy named Yasiel Puig in right field, the Los Angeles Dodgers have some issues in their outfield. Matt Kemp hasn’t played center field in a month and Andre Ethier owns an 89 wRC+ on the year with a 50 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers. Cue the Pederson watch, as the 22-year-old is currently hitting .323/.435/.482 and is tied atop the Pacific Coast League with a 166 wRC+. A .442 BABIP will do crazy things for a batting line, but Pederson’s 16.4% walk rate is swoon worthy. His 29.5% strikeout rate, not so much, but between his walk rate, 17 home runs and 19 steals, I can live with the strikeouts. Of his 66 starts in the outfield (plus four more at designed hitter), Pederson has made 58 starts in center. If Ethier continues to struggle and if the Dodgers management is reluctant to put Kemp in center, Pederson may end up forcing their hand to call him up. With his highest ownership rate among the three major sites being 21% at CBS, Pederson is probably available in your league. If your bench is deep enough I’d consider stashing him now as the Super-Two cutoff is rapidly nearing.

The daily five
Starting pitcher: Hyun-Jin Ryu — $9,000
South Korea plays today against Algeria. This is significant given both Ryu as well as myself happen to have been born in South Korea. Something germane to this website is Ryu faces off against the San Diego Padres and thier 70 wRC+ against southpaws, the worst mark in baseball.

Starting pitcher: Yordano Ventura — $7,200
A bit of a value pick here, but I like Ventura to have a strong outing against the Seattle Mariners today.

Infielder: Derek Norris — $4,100
Norris and my beloved Oakland A’s take on Jon Lester. Norris hits southpaws quite well, as does much of the A’s squad.

Outfielder: Brett Gardner — $4,400
With right-handed pitcher Chris Tillman coming to town I expect Gardner to have a strong day at the plate and maybe even get a steal.

Other hitter: George Springer — $4,400
Springer will be facing the lefty Erik Bedard, the very same pitcher who has pitched past the fifth inning just one in the past five starts.

Remaining budget: $20,900

This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy, is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of DraftKings. FanGraphs maintains complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in a continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.



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Mike W
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Mike W

Any concerns about Peterson accruing those numbers in the PCL? I wanna believe in the talent and I probably will add him if he gets called up, but the strikeout rate combined with moving from the PCL to Dodger stadium gives me some pause. Am I simply discounting his legit talent too much?

Jay29
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Jay29

wRC+ indicates he’s been the best hitter in that league so far this season…

Emcee Peepants
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Emcee Peepants

To me, Springer’s success in the majors this season has me more optimistic about Pederson’s potential success. Their numbers in AAA (Springer’s from 2013 to give comparable PA’s), both in the PCL:

Pederson: 323/438/579, 441 wOBA, 166 wRC+, 16.8/28.9 BB/K, 17 HR, 19 SB
Springer: 311/425/626, 453 wOBA, 175 wRC+, 15.4/24.4 BB/K, 18 HR, 22 SB

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