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Roto Riteup: September 24, 2013

Almost 13 years ago the pop-punk band New Found Glory released their self titled album. It marked a huge event for the then 13-year-old author and to this day tracks such as Hit Or Miss or Dressed To Kill can still be sung — without a care for tone or pitch — from memory.

On today’s agenda:
1. Yordano Ventura can get strikeouts
2. Neil Walker flashes the power
3. Joe Mauer is done for the year
4. Thoughts on Marco Estrada

Yordano Ventura can get strikeouts
Yordano Ventura may have just two big league starts under his belt but that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute to the final six games of the season. In yesterday’s start against the Seattle Mariners, Ventura gathered 12 swinging strikes and had six punch outs on the day, all of the swinging variety. Ventura’s movement is a blessing and a curse, as he issued three walks in 5.2 innings and has five walks in not even 12 major league innings. If you have enough quality relievers to balance out the dent in your WHIP that Ventura will leave, he should get enough strikeouts to be relevant for anyone in a tight race where strikeouts could tip the scales.

He’s scheduled to square off against the Chicago White Sox for his final start and that makes him a very attractive stream option. The ChiSox don’t strike out at a particularly  high rate, but they have tied the second lowest walk rate in baseball this season at just 6.8%. Ventura is available in 96% of Yahoo! and ESPN formats as well as over 75% of CBS leagues.

Neil Walker flashes the power
Somehow Walker is still available in over 50% of Yahoo! leagues, 40% of ESPN formats, and 35% of CBS leagues despite smashing four home runs in his past five games. He has six RBIs over that time frame and has scored four runs. For the most part he hasn’t had a hot September, but his steady offensive output over the past few seasons has earned him some leeway. You shouldn’t worry about starting Walker as your middle infielder, especially with his final five games coming in offensive friendly parks such as Wrigley and Great American.

Joe Mauer is done the year
Yesterday the Minnesota Twins announced that Joe Mauer will not appear in another game this season. The club is looking to give Mauer as much time off as possible as he continues to recover from a concussion. In the mean time, the Twins have been using Josmil Pinto at catcher and haven’t missed Mauer’s offensive production yet. Pinto is hitting .359/.397/.578 with three home runs in 17 games, though he’ll face the formidable rotations of Detroit and Cleveland in the final week. One can grab Pinto in over 90% of the three major fantasy sites.

Thoughts on Marco Estrada
It may be coming a day late and a dollar short five months late, but Marco Estrada has looked much better in his recent starts. Including yesterday’s seven shutout innings, Estrada has allowed eight runs over his previous five starts spanning 34.2 innings. He’s accrued 36 strikeouts over that time frame and has surrendered just 10 walks. Four of those five starts have been of the quality variety with three of his four quality starts coming against stiff competition in the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Reds. If Estrada gets another start this year it will come against the New York Mets, a team that has posted the fourth highest strikeout rate this season. Looking ahead to next year, Estrada’s 3.68 xFIP and 3.55 SIERA as well as his 110: 29 strikeout to walk rate make him a favorite sleeper pick.

Of note
Dear Manny Machado, please get well soon. Baseball is better with young stars like you playing. Please, please, please get well soon. The injury video can be found here, but be warned, it is gruesome.