Today’s Roto Riteup is being written while I cool down in the air conditioning. After a ridiculously long and cold winter my blood has thickened to the point where this mild 60ish degree weather feels like I’m baking. But I’m not complaining; I’d much prefer the warm weather over the cold.
What to make of Josh Beckett
In the wake of last night’s 6.2 innings of one-run ball, Beckett lowered his ERA to a spectacular 2.80. His 4.20 FIP/3.70 xFIP paint a different picture but his 34 strikeouts in 35 innings is great to see. In yesterday’s outing he recorded 12 swinging strikes out of 107 total pitches, however he was held to four strikeouts. For the season he sports a cool .225 BABIP and a 84.4% LOB%, two numbers that are certainly going to regress. In standard 12-team mixed leagues I would grab him and see if I could sell high. He is owned in just 26% of Yahoo! leagues, 30% of ESPN formats and 54% of CBS leagues. Try to leverage his strikeout rate and the fact that his velocity is just fine and hope the other managers in your league don’t look too deep at Beckett’s peripherals. It isn’t that I think he’s useless, in 14-team leagues I would roster him, but I think the luck dragons are going to catch up Beckett sooner rather than later.
Second base in Atlanta
With Dan Uggla starting just five of the past nine games at the keystone for the Atlanta Braves, it is safe to say there is a second base problem. Manager Fredi Gonzalez remained mum as to who will get the most playing time going forward, be it Uggla, Ramiro Pena or Tyler Pastornicky. Neither Pena or Pastornicky offer the same power as Uggla, however both should provide similar value with the bat thanks to a lower strikeout rate and both are superior in the field. Prospect Tommy La Stella is currently hitting .306/.368/.333 and could have the inside track over both Pena and Pastornicky. La Stella doesn’t sport much power but his average and on-base rates should make him immediately playable. There are members of the team who would prefer to see Pastornicky get a fair shot as a full time starter in the big league, but while he does offer defensive flexibility, his bat is limited. For my money, I’d lean towards grabbing La Stella and hoping the Braves call him up.
Welcome back, Adam Lind
Yesterday the Toronto Blue Jays activated Adam Lind from the 15-day disabled list and he rewarded their judgement with a two run homer and chipped in another RBI via groundout. Lind is currently sitting on both nine walks and nine strikeouts to go with his .316/.447/.553 line. The batting average is heavily influenced by his .370 BABIP but Lind’s power shouldn’t be doubted. Last year he powered 23 dingers in 521 PA’s with 20 of those home runs coming off of right-handed pitchers. Lind’s platoon issues are well known at this point but as long as the Jays continue to primarily hit him against righties he can contribute to your fantasy team. For his career he is a .287/.345/.508 hitter against opposite handed pitchers he crushed them to the tune of .309/.385/.539 in 421 PA’s. Given that most starting pitchers are right-handed, Lind should see plenty of playing time. He is owned in just 28% of both CBS and Yahoo! formats and 44% of ESPN leagues.
The Daily Five
Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander — $10,800
The Minnesota Twins own the 9th worst strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers, though they have hit for a 104 wRC+ against them. Regardless, I’m a fan of JV having a big day today.
Starting Pitcher: Francisco Liriano — $8,000
Liriano will be pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that has hit a collective .255/.292/.338 against southpaws.
Infielder: Brandon Moss — $3,800
The Oakland A’s and Moss will be hitting against Doug Fister and his 2014 MLB debut. In spite of the fact his great change-up helps neutralize a platoon split, I like Moss here to go deep against a pitcher that is yet to face major league hitters this year.
Outfielder: Austin Jackson — $4,200
Jackson fares much better against left-handed pitchers, e.g. Phil Hughes, than against same-handed pitchers. I’ll stick with Jackson here and hope he get on base and steals.
Other Hitter: Matt Joyce — $3,800
I’m a sucker for a good platoon hitter. The Tampa Bay Rays face my boy Corey Kluber, and he may be in trouble as the Rays and their 110 wRC+ against right-handers ranks sixth in baseball.
Remaining budget: $19,400
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