Roto Riteup: July 19, 2012

Today’s Roto Riteup is an utter masterpiece. Good thing I had an infinite amount of monkeys working on this since infinity ago.

Doug Fister had a fantastic outing last night by holding the Angels to one run and recording 10 strikeouts in his eight innings of work. He was a huge boost the Tigers last season after his trade from the Mariners and it looks like he could do the same again this year. I don’t particularly believe in first half and second half splits meaning anything, but it is worth noting that over his past three starts, Fister has 20 strikeouts to just five walks. Fister is owned in just over half of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. I’d pick him up.

• Despite the return of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford, it seems as though Cody Ross hasn’t lost too much playing time. Ross has started four out of the past five games and pinch-hit in the game that he didn’t start. Just yesterday Ross made a good argument for staying in the lineup, as he smashed two home runs and went 3-5 overall. I thought that he would begin to steadily lose playing time, and while that remains a possibility, it seems to be a shrinking one. A lot of people have dumped Ross recently. He is down to 33% owned in Yahoo! and 44% in ESPN leagues. Over the past week, that equates to -10% and an astounding -29.4% respectively. If you find Ross available in your league, plug him in while he is still getting playing time.

• It is quite possible that Drew Storen could be activated at some point today. The Nationals have hinted at such a move and if it happens, I’d make sure to pick him up. Even without the closer tag next to his name, Storen can be a valuable commodity to own. Sure, he had 43 saves last year but I am more impressed by his 40 shut downs. Coincidentally his teammate and current Nationals closer Tyler Clippard also had 40 shut downs last year. With a K/9 over 11 and just two blown saves on the year I don’t really see Clippard being moved back to a setup role. I do foresee Storen coming back and once again the Clippard + Storen combination to shorten games and shut down the opposition. They’ll just be doing it in reverse order compared to last year. If for some reason Clippard were to stumble, I’d assume that Storen could step right in and be effective. Storen is owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues and just 65% of Yahoo! formats.

• For the second straight start, Francisco Liriano racked up double digit strikeouts yet was saddled with a loss. Liriano is one of those guys who you’re too scared to start and he has 10 strike outs on your bench, then gets torched for five runs in his next start for you. After his TJS in the late fall of 2006, he has been a somewhat different pitcher. Now in 2012 he is throwing his sinker more than ever before, more than 30% for the first time. Even though he is throwing his four-seamer less, it has actually gained a mile per hour when compared to last year. It’s as if Liriano is continually changing his approach to hitters. A sound analogy would be to call him the pitcher version of the Ship of Theseus. As with that thought exercise, the trick with Liriano is that it’s hard to know exactly what he is at this point. Regardless of his status as a new or old pitcher, since 2008 he has an 8.5 K/9 and a 4.0 BB/9. He is owned in 45% of ESPN leagues and 50% (of course, 50/50!) of Yahoo! leagues.

For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here are a couple matchups you may be able to exploit.

A Pitcher for Today: Wei-Yin Chen at MIN
Chen is a fly ball pitcher, but Target Field had a home run index of 92 last year. Those fly balls shouldn’t hurt too much.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: James Shields vs SEA
Shields is a very good pitcher. Seattle is not a very good team.

A Hitter for Today: Nick Swisher at OAK (A.J. Griffin)
Swisher is hitting at a 125 wRC+ clip against right-handed pitching. I like him today in his annual return to the Coliseum.

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Grrrr James Shields. I concur with your assessment that he is a very good pitcher. But when will he start contributing very good stats to my weekly ERA and WHIP? At this point, I’ll just be excited if he can hold Seattle to single digits in hits…


Agreed. If he wasn’t facing Seattle, I’d consider sitting him down. IMO, this is a “show me” start.