Roto Riteup: September 8, 2013

For no particular reason, here is Rhymefest’s sample of Build Me Up Buttercup (warning: language). It is quite different than the original version. Of all the rap song that have sampled other tracks, the Ninjasonik cover of Daylight (another language warning), originally by Matt and Kim, is quite possibly the catchiest of them all. That is, at least in the present author’s non-expert and humble opinion. Other suggestions via the comment section is encouraged.

On today’s agenda:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury‘s injury
2. Matt Cain‘s return
3. A power trip from Andrelton Simmons

Jacoby Ellsbury‘s injury
Bad news for Ellsbury owners everywhere. Further testing will take place on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s right foot, specifically his navicular bone. The Boston Red Sox have placed a protective boot around Ellsbury’s foot and have scheduled extensive tests on it. Manager John Farrell didn’t give a time frame or specific recover plan, but did note that Ellsbury would not “just be day-to-day.” Consider Ellsbury out indefinitely, thought if it is a deep bone contusion he may return. The worst case scenario would be that a fracture is discovered, thus ending his season and potentially his career in Boston.

Taking the roster spot and center field job will be Jackie Bradley Jr. While Bradley doesn’t offer the same type of speed that Ellsbury possesses, Bradley figures to post a solid on-base percentage and could score a few runs despite hitting in the bottom third of the lineup. For anyone in OBP leagues and looking for outfield help, Bradley could make sense. He is available in 98% of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues as well as 85% of CBS formats.

Matt Cain‘s return
In his first start in two and a half weeks, Matt Cain showed a mixed bag of results. He lasted into the seventh inning — 6.1 innings — on 99 pitches and held the Arizona Diamondback to two runs. More good news is that his fastball sat 91-92 mph and he didn’t allow a home run. The bad is that he had four walks against just three strikeouts. Most of Cain’s 2013 has been disappointing, even though his peripherals have been largely in line with his three year averages. He should be a safe bet in his final three starts of the season — even with two coming against the Los Angeles Dodgers (111 wRC+, tied for third best mark in baseball since the All-Star Break).

A power trip from Andrelton Simmons
Over his past seven games started Andrelton Simmons has blasted three home runs, one triple, and one double, gathering eight hits total along the way. Simmons is up to 15 home runs on the year and his .140 ISO is the best of his professional career at any level. Unfortunately his running game hasn’t developed at the same rate as his power and Simmons currently has an even 5:5 SB:CS ratio, though his running game won’t be under examination today.

When looking at his rate state stats, a .252 BABIP is one of the things that immediately jumps out. Dig a little further and one can see that last year Simmons posted a 55.8% ground ball rate versus a 43% rate this year. From 2012 to this season his GB/FB ratio plummeted from 2.05 to 1.14. Sure he is hitting more home runs and more fly balls, but his HR/FB rates are nearly identical 7.5% and 7.9% marks.

In early August it was reported that Simmons made a swing change earlier in the season, and though it may be taken as post hoc, Simmons’ first and second half splits are striking. A 73 wRC+ in the first half changed to a 119 wRC+ in the second, despite a .249 BABIP being raised to just .257. Excluding yesterday’s 3-for-4 game with a home run, Simmons has been hitting .264/.324/.472 since the ASB. His 13 walks and 13 strikeouts in those 175 PA’s are impressive as well, as is his over-.200 ISO. It should be noted that Simmons’ batted ball data shifted in the second half, as his 47.5% first half GB% was closer to what we saw last season and throughout the majority of his minor league career. If the swing change and power gains prove real, Simmons makes for an excellent sleeper pick next year.

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