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Roto Riteup: April 13, 2013

Per usual, when the author is presented the ability to defer words to N*Sync, he enthusiastically does so. My god, the memories…

On today’s agenda:
1. What to make of Justin Masterson
2. Justin Maxwell‘s hitting streak
3. Riding Daniel Murphy‘s hot hand
4. Jose Reyes‘ latest injury
5. C.C. Sabathia‘s great start, and lingering velocity questions

What to make of Justin Masterson
Masterson’s complete game shutout against the Chicago White Sox yesterday was the latest dominant start for him this season. Of course, Masterson’s current 0.41 ERA is unsustainable, but the question is just how far will he regress? It is no secret that left-handed hitters tend to crush Masterson, as his splits are quite pronounced. He does an excellent job of holding fellow right handers to a .276 wOBA, but a .349 wOBA against verses left-handed hitters is tough to pitch around. Excluding yesterday’s start, Masterson is holding lefties to a .194 wOBA this season. As much as we’d all like to believe in Masterson again, there just isn’t a significant change in his pitch selection or repertoire that would indicate a real improvement His SwStr% isn’t anything special and his .196 BABIP and 0 home runs allowed isn’t going to last forever. If you grabbed Masterson after his first start, I’d look to sell high right now. Bubbles tend to burst and BABIP is a fickle mistress.

Justin Maxwell‘s hitting streak
Justin Maxwell has now recorded a hit in eight straight games. Yesterday marked his first home run of the season, but he does have two triples and two doubles on the year too. As long as you don’t play in a league that counts strikeouts as a negative, Maxwell’s potential to go 15-15 make him a decent waiver wire grab to replace an injured player.

Riding Daniel Murphy‘s hot hand
Given the chance, the author would have guessed that Daniel Murphy is at least 30 years old. It just seems as though he has been around for forever. Indeed, this is Murphy’s fifth season in the majors and it seems to be shaping up nicely. Still just 28, Murphy is a career .292 hitter and has been hitting in the two-hole for most of the season. He might not be a fantasy cornerstone, but Murphy rates a solid choice for those of you in head-to-head leagues as his average is quite good. His 1B/2B/CI/MI eligibility makes for solid lineup flexibility too. Murphy has already powered two home runs as well as five doubles and a triple, so this may the year that he hits more fly balls than grounders and really boosts his offensive (read: fantasy) value to the next level.

Jose Reyes‘ latest injury
A certain present author predicted Jose Reyes to hit 20 triples and win the AL MVP this season. After just 10 games, it appears that will absolutely not be the case. After being carted off of the field with an ankle injury, Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthropoulos announced that he expects Reyes to miss anywhere from one to three months. If you’re scrambling for a replacement, Jean Segura or Brendan Ryan are viable fantasy options. In very deep leagues, Marwin Gonzalez and Zack Cozart are both useful, albeit not ideal, fantasy shortstops.

C.C. Sabathia‘s latest start
The reader may consider finding fault in an eight inning, one run allowed game nit picky, however once again Sabathia’s four-seam fastball averaged just 90 mph. While he clearly got the desired results, the process seems to still be shaky. He didn’t allow a walk and did fan nine Orioles hitters. Velocity tends to come on later in the season, so for now feel free to start Sabathia as usual. His early struggles seem to be a random and isolated event. Start him with confidence again.