Roto Riteup: Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

– Dog bites man, taxes are collected, and Nelson Cruz has a hamstring problem. Cruz’s season hasn’t been what fantasy owners were hoping for — especially in OBP or OPS leagues — but at least he’s already made it through 113 games. Cruz is a good example of the fantasy replacement level principle: when you draft him, you get his usually outstanding production for 100 games, and then replacement level production when he goes on the DL. It’s not like you don’t get to have someone take his spot in the lineup after he gets hurt. Certain owners take advantage of this every year, draft Cruz a round or two early while understanding they won’t be getting a full season from him. Cruz isn’t a youngster anymore, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he slipped a bit in drafts next season. If he does, someone’s probably getting a good deal.

– Brian Matusz can’t seem to do anything right, and even his mother is probably questioning whether or not he should be in the big leagues right now. After a trip to the minor leagues, Matusz’s fastball velocity is a little better, but it still isn’t back up to where it was last season. Matusz’s fly ball tendencies always scared me away from him, and his HR/9 this year (3.02) illustrates his season perfectly. He’s just getting crushed right now, and his stock is way down. If reports are good out of spring training next year, Matusz will probably be worth a flier late in drafts if your league is a little deeper than normal.

– Trevor Bauer watch: in his last start in Double-A, Bauer struck out seven batters in five innings of work. Despite walking one and allowing four hits, Bauer only faced 20 batters, two more than the minimum. I expect Bauer will be called up when rosters expand this week, so keep an eye on your league’s waiver wire.

A Pitcher For Today: Zach Stewart vs MIN
Stewart’s line from his last start doesn’t look pretty, but I think the rookie pulls out a win here. It may involve him giving up four runs, however, but Stewart is your guy if you’re looking for a “w.”

A Pitcher For Tomorrow: Rodrigo Lopez at SFG
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Giants can’t hit. Lopez is an extremely mediocre pitcher, but whatever, he’s got a chance to give you five innings while only surrendering a run or two.

PickSix Lock of the Day: Ryan Howard ($38.50) at CIN (Bronson Arroyo)
Howard may not be a top-5 players for the Phillies, but this matchup is too much to pass up. Do yourself a favor and bet against Arroyo.
Prediction: 2-5, 2 HR; 25 points
Last Week’s Predictions: 4 players, $52, 37.4 pts
All Past Predictions: 16 players, $241.50, 103.9 pts

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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

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professor eephus
professor eephus

So should I go ahead and drop Cruz? Him being out 3 weeks means I would have him back healthy just in time for championship week and I am fighting for the playoffs as it is… it seems obvious to drop him but i dont know… Thank You