Roto Riteup: April 7, 2015

After getting a taste of baseball with the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals teaser game, yesterday’s full slate gave us much more to observe.

On today’s agenda:
1. Alex Avila’s big day
2. Jered Weaver’s poor start
3. Quick thoughts on Nori Aoki
4. Streaming Pitcher Options

Alex Avila’s big day
It is no secret around these digital pages I am not too keen on drafting catchers. My “Early Bats, Except Catcher” plan (or EBEC) has been touched on before and is something I trust in, even in two catcher leagues. Avila’s poor season — really his last two seasons — have made him nearly unplayable in standard 5×5 leagues as a .220ish batting average without otherworldly power or speed is a torpedo destined to sink your ratios. A concussion may have derailed his season last year, and not to draw too many conclusions after one game, it appears as though Avila could post a quietly productive season. A rare home run was the highlight of his 2-for-3 game yesterday and hopefully there is more where that came from. He’s always maintained a strong walk rate and despite a sub-par batting average, his on-base percentage was never below .317, a mark better than last season’s .309 average OBP for catchers. In OBP or points leagues where walks are tallied, Avila is a strong waiver claim candidate. He hits in a strong lineup, albeit low in the order, and Avila deserves to be owned in more than the current 11% ownership in CBS formats and sub-2% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.

Quick thoughts on Nori Aoki
The San Francisco Giants are using Aoki as their leadoff hitter while Hunter Pence is sidelined. Don’t expect much — if any — power from Aoki, but he does offer a solid AVG and 15-20 steal upside. He deserves to be owned in any format deeper than standard leagues at least until Pence returns as Aoki will get plenty of PA’s and should score a good amount of runs. The outfield talent pool is awfully deep, but Aoki has guaranteed playing time atop a batting order. He’s available in 75% of CBS leagues, 88% of Yahoo! formats and 95% of ESPN leagues.

Jered Weaver’s poor start
Seeing a decline in velocity from Weaver is nothing new, and early season dips don’t matter quite as much as later on, however there is a point of no return for a fastball. Whether or not Weaver has reached that point is the question, as he was roughed up for four runs and eight hits against the Seattle Mariners last night. Via Brooks Baseball, Weaver’s four-seamer sat 85 yesterday compared to 86.7 in April of last season. In addition to the falling velo, Weaver managed just four swinging strikes in 90 pitches. Coming off the heels of a league average (for starting pitchers) 8.8% swinging strike rate last season, things aren’t looking particularly good for Weaver. Any of these issues in isolation isn’t particular cause for concern, however taken all at once the evidence begins to pile up. Obvious small sample caveats aside, Weaver has been out-pitching his ERA estimators for most of his career, but owners may want to be more careful when they give Weaver a spot, especially in low innings cap leagues.


Streaming Pitching Options
If you enjoy streaming pitchers, tune into the Roto Riteup for recommendations each and every day.

A pitcher for today: Jesse Hahn vs TEX (Colby Lewis)
Available in at least 40% of CBS leagues and even more for Yahoo! and ESPN, Hahn can miss bats and generate ground balls. He posted a 58% GB% throughout his minor league career, and should cruise with relative ease.

A pitcher for tomorrow: Tom Koehler vs ATL (Shelby Miller)
Last year the Braves posted the fifth worst team strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers and the offense only got worse over the off-season. Koehler may not profile as someone to gather a ton of K’s, but he should fare well tomorrow and isn’t owner in more than 5% of the three major fantasy sites.



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Todd
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Todd

19 of 25 Braves from last years roster aren’t on the team. How does using stats from 2014 have any correlation to make decisions about their contact-small ball approach of 2015?

Todd
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Todd

I also believe it is Wood vs Latos

Barves
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Barves

Wood / Latos today, Koehler / Miller tomorrow