Roto Riteup: September 28, 2013

Nine years ago today Talib Kweli’s The Beautiful Struggled dropped. The track Around My Way is still one of the present author’s favorites.

On today’s agenda:
1. Miguel Cabrera to sit tomorrow
2. Hello again, Jhonny Peralta
3. A new bullpen arm in Cleveland
4. The Sunday starter for the Washington Nationals is…

Miguel Cabrera to sit tomorrow
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland told reporters “He’ll [Cabera] play the first two games, but not on Sunday.” Cabrera is still dealing with soreness in his groin and has acknowledged he isn’t 100%, but Leyland wanted Cabrera to get some plate appearances anyway. It’s the old rest vs. rust debate, although for fantasy owners having Cabrera out even one game is a disappointment. He’s scheduled to start today’s game, however if the groin flares up Cabrera could be a late scratch. Regardless if he makes it into today’s game or not, tomorrow is going to be an off day.

Hello again, Jhonny Peralta
The Tigers welcomed back Jhonny Peralta yesterday while finishing up their season in Miami, albeit not in his customary shortstop position. With the acquisition of Jose Iglesias, Peralta found himself starting in left field, though he was pulled for a pitcher. Then that pitcher was yanked for pinch hitter, followed by a defensive replacement. Oh the National League…so adorable.

Peralta went 1-for-4 with a double from the fifth spot in the lineup and tallied one RBI. Despite any defensive shortcomings, he may be the best left fielder the Tigers have. Thus far the collection of Andy Dirks, Matt Tuiasosopo, Don Kelly, and Nick Castellanos have compiled a .251/.330/.375 line compared to Peralta’s .304/.360/.461 triple slash. A .378 BABIP has helped inflate Peralta’s numbers, however given his prime spot in a potent lineup, Peralta can help just about any team in these last two games. That he isn’t outfield eligible is just fine, as Peralta can be plugged in at shortstop or middle infield, both slots which generally aren’t occupied by five-hole hitters in powerful lineups. Peralta is available in 84% of Yahoo! leagues, 80% of ESPN formats, and 63% of CBS leagues.

A new bullpen arm in Cleveland
After missing over three weeks of action with an oblique injury, Justin Masterson has been temporarily moved to the bullpen. How long the temporary move lasts is dependent upon the Cleveland Indians playoff run. Masterson has been excellentin his two relief outings thus far, striking out five, walking one, and allowing one hit in two innings. Small sample size caveats apply, but it should come as no surprise to see a starter perform very well in a relief role.

For fantasy purposes, Masterson is a SP eligible reliever who isn’t RP eligible. He’s been told at least for this weekend, he’ll be used as “the setup to the setup to the closer” though he won’t be used in back-to-back games without approval from the team’s medical staff. Assuming the Indians hold steady and make the playoffs, Masterson figures to take the hill as a starter at some point. Stretching him out a bit by having him throw a multi-inning session today or tomorrow would make sense. Don’t expect saves from him, but Masterson could nab a hold or even vulture a win this weekend.

The Sunday starter for the Washington Nationals is…
Still to be determined, actually. A week ago reports surfaced that Gio Gonzalez would be making the start, however that may not be the case anymore. After yesterday’s win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Nationals manager Davey Johnson may shuffle his rotation around. No, really. He might. This is Johnson’s last season as manager of the Nats and he wants to see Gio finish on a winning note, as well as finishing Johnson’s own career 300 games above .500. Johnson’s current managerial record is now 1371-1070, so today’s game has serious streaming ramification for tomorrow.

If the Nats win today, expect Tanner Roark to make tomorrow’s start. Roark makes for a solid stream option given his 20.9% strikeout rate and 2.38 FIP/3.10 xFIP. Facing the D-backs is no easy task as a right-handed pitcher, but Roark has the control to not let walks hurt him as well as an ability to get strikeouts with some degree of regularity. He is available in 83% of ESPN leagues, 79% of Yahoo! formats, and 67% of CBS leagues.

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Everyone (Nats players and Davey after last night’s game) thinks that Strasburg has room for improvement. What are your expectations next season of him? and what would his numbers look like after he takes the supposed next step in his game?