Roto Riteup: April 2, 2021

I am one day in and already spending my winnings from this fantasy baseball season:

On the Agenda:
1. COVID Issues
2. Closer Chaos
3. Quick Hits
4. Various News and Notes
5. Streaming Pitchers

COVID Issues
The Nationals and Mets game was postponed due to COVID-19 issues. The teams are hoping to begin their opening series on Saturday, but according to Mike Rizzo of the Nationals, his entire team is in quarantine after what sounds like a COVID outbreak. As of writing, we have no information about which players are affected.


Closer Chaos
Trevor Rosenthal was placed on the IL with a shoulder strain. There is no current timetable for his return. Jake Diekman was reported as the frontrunner for saves in Oakland while Rosenthal is out, but Sergio Romo could factor into that equation as well.

According to Derrick Goold of the St.Louis Post Dispatch, Alex Reyes will open the season as the closer. This is a bit surprising as most people have been draft Jordan Hicks as the likely closer in St. Louis. However, in recent years the Cardinals have used a committee and played matchups. Hicks looked good in spring, but it was clear he was likely not going to pitch on back to back days anyways. This feels like a situation that may turn into “9th inning hot potato,” but Reyes is the guy for right now and has the skills to keep it.

Gregory Soto recorded his first save on Thursday, allowing two runs on a hit and a walk before closing out the Indians. There was some dispute about who would be the closer in Detroit, but Soto getting the first call is a good sign it might be him. While he was shaky, he has the best skills in the bullpen and it appears manager AJ Hinch does trust him the most.

Alex Colome blew the save in the loss versus the Brewers allowing three unearned runs after committing an error himself. It was an ugly outing and he is likely sharing the job with Taylor Rogers, but I think he should have some rope at least early on.

Mark Melancon recorded the save for the Padres in the victory over the Diamondbacks. This one was a slugfest, but there was clearly a plan to save Melancon for later in the game. Both Drew Pomeranz and Emilio Pagan came into clean innings and Melancon faced the 3-4-5 hitters in the lineup. We will see if they mix and match over the next few days, but right now it seems like Melancon is the guy.


Quick Hits
Donaldson left Thursday’s game with a hamstring injury. Donaldson hit a double in the first inning and looked like he pulled his calf on the way from first to second, but apparently this is not the recurring issue he has had with his calves, but a different issue completely. He is considered day-to-day at this time and is expected to be evaluated on Friday.

Nelson Cruz is expected to get just three total at bats during the Twins opening series according to manager Rocco Baldelli. The Twins are in Milwaukee and they do not want him playing the outfield. Plan your lineups accordingly.

Nick Senzel left Thursday’s game with a shoulder injury. Senzel landed hard on a diving catch in the outfield which caused the injury. The Reds stated that they hope he can play over the weekend, so it doesn’t appear serious at this time.

Hunter Dozier left Thursday’s game with a thumb injury. The injury is being called a contusion and the Royals believe he may be available this weekend. Consider him day to day at this time.


Various News and Notes
Sixto Sanchez experienced shoulder discomfort during a simulated game at the Alternate site on Tuesday. This was not related to the decision the Marlins made to demote him. Sanchez wasn’t going to be up for a little while due to the demotion, but this is a scary issue considering his struggles with health in the minors. The Marlins are downplaying this one, so hopefully he is fine.

Byron Buxton went 1-for-3 with a home run and stolen base in the loss to the Brewers. The more important stat is that Buxton actually walked twice in the game. Buxton only had two total walks all of last season and if he can find his way to a league average walk rate, he could steal 25+ bases. It is clearly too early to tell, but this is worth watching.

Nate Lowe went 2-for-6 with four RBIs in the loss to the Royals. Lowe struggled in spring, but the Rangers appear committed to give him the chance that the Rays never did. Lowe still sports a long swing that will make it difficult to get to high heat and I worry that he is going to struggle quite a bit, but this is definitely a promising start.

Austin Slater went 1-for-3 with a home run versus the Mariners. Slater also led off for the Giants in this one versus lefty Marco Gonzales. Slater started getting some love late in the draft season and while it is great to see him lead off, he was also pinch hit for later in the game which may suggest a short-side platoon. The Mariners are throwing a lefty on Friday, so we will have to wait another game before we know if he is being looked at as a full time player or a platoon player.


Streaming Pitchers (Under 50% in CBS)
Pitcher for Today: None

High Risk Options: Johnny Cueto at SEA

Pitcher for Tomorrow: Mike Minor vs TEX
Minor pitched very well in spring training and gets a pretty nice matchup at home versus the Rangers.

High Risk Options: Logan Webb at SEA, Tanner Houck vs BAL, Chris Flexen vs SF

Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as other periodic articles. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for, and the owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.

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3 years ago

Nate Lowe also struck out 3 times yesterday.

SD baseball fan
3 years ago
Reply to  rustydude

I was curious about his game, too. His first hit was a medium hit fly ball that fell just inside fair territory along the left-field line. Not hit deep at all. That hit scored three runs.

3 years ago

Yeah, I don’t get Lowe at all. Excellent contact skills in minors with Rays, excellent power. Gets to majors and fans like Joey Gallo with ADD.