Opening Day — at least in the northern hemisphere — is now here! Stick with the Roto Riteup, brought to you by DraftKings, for relevant fantasy baseball news from yesterday and picks for today. The Daily Five will be an ongoing subsection of the Roto Riteup where Zach Sanders and I will recommend certain players that we see as good picks that day. In order to play, you sign up for free and then select your 10-man roster and spend as much of the allotted $50,000 filling up your lineup card.
Clayton Kershaw to the disabled list
Probably the best pitcher alive was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with upper back inflammation. The Los Angeles Dodgers already had a bit of a heads up on this injury as they had Hyun-Jin Ryu already scheduled to start today’s game, though the knowledge of it doesn’t soften the blow. Manager Don Mattingly seemed confident for Kershaw to get back on track as soon as possible, telling reporters “We know what it is. We’re not concerned that he’s going to do any damage to it.” The sooner Kershaw gets back on the mound, the better and not just for his roto-owners, but baseball itself.
Rajai Davis’ value
With the Detroit Tigers officially moving Andy Dirks to the 15-day disabled list following back surgery, the door is open for Davis to establish himself as Detroit’s everyday left fielder. After Torii Hunter enlightened some reporters regarding the potential Tigers lineup, it seems as though Davis will be hitting eighth most of the time. He’ll be able to accrue his steals — after all, you didn’t take a late round flyer on him due to his RBIs — and his legs will get him into position to score a few runs. For a man that has averaged over 40 steals per season for three straight years to be available in 93% of ESPN leagues, 75% of Yahoo! leagues and over 60% of CBS formats. He may be a mostly one-category guy, but is value in that category shouldn’t be overlooked.
Jenrry Mejia to the rotation
The New York Mets named Mejia him their fifth starter yesterday. Despite injury and general durability questions, the club opted to pick the 24-year-old over Daisuke Matsuzaka for their final rotation slot. The Mets have faith in Mejia holding up for at least part of the season as a starter, though the club did make it clear that if Mejia maintains his status as a starter until mid-season, he could be moved back to the bullpen to limit his innings. The team will have to cross that bridge when it gets there, as it is possible that Mejia will be scratched from his start Friday against the Cincinnati Reds. Matsuzaka should be the first to get the call should any of the current big league starters falter. For now, Mejia’s injury history and current health questions make him too risky to play in all but the deepest of leagues.
Outfield: Bryce Harper — $5,000
Harper is facing off against a right-handed pitcher in Dillon Gee and that heavily favors Harper. For his career Harper has smashed righties to the tune of a .292/.373/.532 line. Gee’s career wOBA against of .341 when it comes to facing left-handed hitters isn’t encouraging for Mets fans.
Other hitter: Chase Utley — $4,100
A lefty with power in Texas? Yes please. Last year as per our Guts! page, the Ballpark at Arlington ranked in the top 10 for doubles, triples and home runs for left-handed hitters.
Starter: Jeff Samardzija — $9,600
The Shark’s ability to induce swings and misses dovetails nicely going against the strikeout prone Pittsburgh Pirates. Last year Samardzija’s 10.5% SwStr% and 23.4% strikeout rate were top 25 in the league for qualified starters. Looking at his opposition, the Bucs struck out at a 21.7% frequency, good for the sixth highest strikeout rate in baseball.
Remaining Budget: $22,400