Roto Riteup: September 1, 2012

It’s almost Labor Day! As baseball fans, we all know what this means: no more wearing white jerseys.

• Last night’s 2-for4 performance that was highlighted by his two home runs should persuade those of use with corner infield woes that Mark Reynolds can still sock some dingers. Reynolds’ AVG is putrid, but with only a month left in the season, rate statistics like batting average and on-base percentage should take a back seat to raw counting stats like HR and RBI’s. It will (probably) take a titanic turn around for your fantasy team to gain points in those rate stats, but counting stats can gain you just as many points. Reynolds should be available in about 70% of both ESPN and Yahoo! formats. Of course, the one caveat to throwing out rate stats applies to those of you in head-to-head leagues. The playoffs will be starting for those and you need every advantage you can get. If you do play H2H, that makes the Reynolds choice much more difficult, but I’d still probably grab him if you’re still unhappy about the power on your team.

Erik Kratz hit his eighth homer of the year in just 105 plate appearances and 25 games. He’s hitting .290/.343/.624 so far and has 15 extra-base hits out of his 27 total hits. If you didn’t get a chance to heed my advice on catchers yesterday, do it today. Kratz is owned in a mere 3% of Yahoo! leagues and 1% of ESPN leagues.

• Man. That Gio Gonzalez fellow is awfully good at pitching baseballs this year. Yesterday he threw a complete game shut-out with eight strikeouts and only allowed eight total base runners. Gonzalez’s seasonal ERA and FIP is down to 3.10 and 2.84 respectively. Given that he wasn’t even rated in the top 30 preseason starting pitchers by yours truly, Gio has really impressed. Although his SwStr% isn’t a career high, his F-strike% is by far a career best and his walk rate has never been lower. His uptick in strikeouts isn’t just the AL-to-NL transition. Gonzalez has shown himself to be a legitimate front of the line starter.

• All things considered, Brandon Morrow also impressed me last night. His overall state line reads as 6 2/3 innings pitched, five strikeouts versus nine total base runners and he was the winning pitcher. He stopped a pretty decent Tampa Bay offense and regained my trust as a starter. I doubt Morrow is available in your league, but he could be a useful trade target. One of my keeper leagues allows year round trades and while I wouldn’t give up the farm for Morrow, this game was certainly encouraging.

• It appears as though quite a few Yahoo! owners have forgotten that Jayson Werth is still a pretty competent player. Last night Werth managed to not make a single out in five plate appearances: three hits and a pair of walks. Yes his contract is awful, yes he can’t play center field anymore — but none of that matters in the fantasy realm. Werth’s triple slash is now at .316/.404/.472 in 221 PA’s. His Yahoo! ownership is a pathetic 66%. His ESPN ownership rate is much more reasonable 93%. If you happen to play in a Yahoo! league: go grab Werth.

• Here is my weekly “go pick up Carlos Quentin already” sentence. 33% owned in Yahoo!, 36% in ESPN.

• It appears as though uber prospect Jurickson Profar is set to be called up today. Playing time isn’t going to be guaranteed just yet, but if you play in a dynasty league I’d recommend that you grab immediately.

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: Ervin Santana at SEA
I don’t care that he is dueling against Felix Hernandez. I care that the Mariners offense (to be fair, all offenses) is terrible in SafeCo.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Derek Holland at CLE
What can I say? I dig the ‘stache.

A Hitter for Today: Nick Swisher vs BAL (Wei-Yin Chen)
Swisher hits left-handed pitching decently and has been on fire as of late. In the past two weeks he has posted the fifth highest wRC+ in baseball.

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You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

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Nick Swisher is currently sporting a golden sombrero. Dios mio, man.