Roto Riteup — Presented By DraftKings: August 3, 2014

Today’s Roto Riteup is unofficially brought to you by the delicious West Coast IPA I drank while writing. Living in Michigan, I’m quite spoiled by Bell’s, New Holland, Founders, etc. but it is always a special treat to get a taste of craft brews from other areas.

On today’s agenda:
1. Lorenzo Cain is hitting
2. The return of Brandon Belt
3. Two first baseman to the disabled list
4. The daily five

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Lorenzo Cain is hitting
In the wake of yesterday’s 3-for-4 day, Cain has pushed his line to .303/.337/.418 on the year. His value is much higher in standard 5×5 leagues as his paltry 4.3% walk rate just isn’t enough to warrant an extended stint on teams in on-base percentage leagues. Cain does bring a (major league) single season high mark of 15 steals to the table and I have hopes he’ll reach that magical 20 steal plateau. Both ZiPS and Steamer figure his batting average will come back down to the .270ish mark and at that point, without power — and even with some steals — it is hard to justify rostering Cain for long. He is hitting left-handed pitching quite well thus far this year as his 124 wRC+ does hold value so if he can be platooned. If not, even with the batting average and steal upside I’d leave him alone in 12-team mixed leagues. The outfield is plenty deep in standard leagues. If you happen to be playing in a deeper 12-team or a 14-team league, then I’d grab Cain. One can pick Cain up in 60% of CBS formats and over 70% of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.

The return of Brandon Belt
The San Francisco Giants activated Belt from the seven-day disabled list prior to yesterday’s game. He proceeded to go 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. With a .288 BABIP that is over 40 points lower than his career average I like Belt to bounce-back for the final two months of the season. Despite owning a career .269/.345/.448 line, a starting first base gig and what should be a solid lineup position — though he did hit sixth yesterday — Belt is free to pick up in over 40% of both ESPN and Yahoo! formats. CBS roto-owners have staked their claim on him as his ownership there is a much more healthy 72%. If you’re missing either of the following starting first baseman, check to see if Belt is available in your league.

Two first baseman to the disabled list
Yesterday the Arizona Diamondbacks placed Paul Goldschmidt on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left hand. Goldy was struck by an errant fastball from Ernesto Frieri in Friday’s game but the fracture forced the roster move. I don’t need to wax poetic about how great Goldschmidt is, just know he ranks in the top 10 in baseball for runs, RBIs, OBP, SLG and wRC+. His 19 homers rank 21st in the league and at least among first baseman, his nine steals are tops in the league. The D-backs have yet to put an official time table on Goldschmidt’s return.

The Kansas City Royals also lost their starting first baseman to the DL yesterday with a non-displaced stress fracture in his right hand. Eric Hosmer was another victim of being hit by a pitch, by then Boston Red Sock Jon Lester, and is expected to miss three to four weeks. After a brutal first two months Hosmer went bonkers in July, hitting a .366/.425/.535 line with a .421 BABIP. He enjoyed a breakout season last year by hitting .300 and posting 17 dingers,  79 RBIs and 86 runs, all numbers he almost assuredly won’t reach this year. I’d strongly consider dropping him as first base is a pretty deep position.

If you do decided to drop Hosmer and Belt is already taken, try Chris Carter. He is up to 22 home runs, though the power does come attached to terrible rate stats and an eye-popping 31.7% strikeout rate. Warts aside, Carter has blasted 51 dingers over his past 948 plate appearances (aka two seasons) including nine home runs in the last month.

The daily five
Starting pitcher: Stephen Strasburg — $9,300
Strasburg is great and the Phillies stink against right-handed pitching. Their 84 wRC+ is tied for the third worst in baseball.

Starting pitcher: Trevor Bauer — $6,300
This pick is partially influenced by budget concerns, but I do genuinely like Bauer against the Texas Rangers today. The Rangers, like the Phillies, have struggled mightily when facing righty pitching and own the exact same 84 wRC+ against them.

Infielder: Hanley Ramirez — $4,500
The Los Angeles Dodgers crush right-handed pitching and Hanley does so on his own. They’ll be up against the righty Edwin Jackson today.

Outfielder: Jose Bautista — $5,500
Joey Bats and the Toronto Blue Jays blast righty pitchers and today they face one in Scott Feldman.

Other hitter: Juan Francisco — $4,200
But really, the Jays should crush it today.

Remaining budget: 20,200

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