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Roto Riteup: June 21, 2013

Spurred on by the chance to win a title, most fantasy owners are feeling the competition really heat up. Oh, apparently the San Antonio and Miami played Game 7 of the NBA championship last night.

On today’s agenda:
1. Alexei Ramirez is heating up
2. Jonathon Niese‘s potential injury
3. Welcome back, Mitch Moreland
4. Michael Pineda‘s progress

Alexei Ramirez is heating up
On the heels of yesterday’s 4-for-5 day, Alexei Ramirez now has 15 hits in his past 10 games (44 plate appearances). Though his power has been a disappointment this season, he has made up for it with his legs. Ramirez is up to 15 steals already, after last year’s career high of 20. If he can continue to hit .270 and is able to steal at this rate — he’s been caught just three times — then his fantasy value will begin to climb once again. If the White Sox trade Ramirez to a playoff contender, something that seems a bit unlikely given his contract versus talent level, then his value will go even higher. For now, those of you looking for a shortstop to replace Everth Cabrera‘s steals, Ramirez makes for a decent candidate. Ramirez is available in half of Yahoo! formats, 33% of CBS leagues, but just 11% of ESPN formats.

Jonathon Niese‘s potential injury
After releasing the 61st pitch of yesterday’s outing, one can see Jonathon Niese wince and motion to the dugout after he felt pain in this throwing shoulder. He was immediately taken out of the game. Further tests will go on today to discover the cause of the pain, but Niese owners, as well as Mets fans, have to be worried. This season has been a trying one for Niese, especially compared to last year’s breakout campaign. His peripherals and numbers are down across the board and this potential injury may be the root of his issues. For those of you who have been unwilling earlier in the year, perhaps it is now time to cut ties with Niese, at least until further updates are announced. For now it seems as though Zack Wheeler will once again be a member of the Mets rotation, albeit due to an unfortunate injury.

Welcome back, Mitch Moreland
Today the Texas Rangers will get a shot in the arm, at least as far as offense goes. Mitch Moreland, out since June 5 with a hamstring strain, will be returning to action after crushing Double-A pitching in his rehab starts. In his two latest rehab games, Moreland went 6-for-9 with a home run and three doubles. Microscopic sample size or not, it seems as though Moreland is more than ready to hit the ground running hitting. Prior to his injury, Moreland was on his way to his best offensive season yet. Through 216 PA’s, he is just four home runs shy of his single season high. Currently available in 70% of ESPN leagues, 60% of Yahoo! leagues, and 30% of CBS formats, Moreland is someone who needs to be owned in just about any league format.

Michael Pineda‘s progress
Yesterday Michael Pineda made another rehab start in High-A and after the game he said he felt great. He actually wanted to go and pitch another frame, but before the game it was announced that he was to be limited to 80 pitches. Despite the limitation, Pineda made his way through four innings and recorded three strikeouts before the pitch count had to be put into effect. Of his 73 pitches, 52 went for strikes and he allowed just one walk. Pineda started the game off allowing three singles in a row, but settled in after that and sat down the next three hitters to escape with just one run scoring. Pineda could be back in the big leagues as soon as the end of the month, so deep leaguers take note. He is currently owned in just 4% of ESPN leagues, 30% of Yahoo! leagues, and 61% of CBS formats.

Bonus
It isn’t too late to hop on the Peter Bourjos train. The kool-aid is free, so drink up! Yesterday he had three hits — including another home run — and a steal. He also scored three runs despite hitting ninth. Bourjos is owned in less than 10% of ESPN and Yahoo! formats and 29% of CBS leagues.