Roto Riteup: April 27, 2016

Believe. Even when the odds seem wildly stacked in your favor, believe. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.

On the agenda:
1. McCrushen
2. Berrios called up
3. Various News and Notes
4. Streaming Pitcher Options

Andrew McCutchen. What more is there to say, really? You sock three homers in a game, you get the lead, even if you’re one thousand percent owned. It’s especially nice to see, too, because McCutchen was off to a bit of a slow start before this one. The top-15 pick in most drafts is still “only” slashing .238/.351/.475 with five home runs and a stolen base, but his big night serves as a reminder of how small a sample we’re still dealing with – he’s now up to the 74th-ranked fantasy asset, up from 315th a day earlier.

In sticking with studs who just killed it Tuesday, Robinson Cano hit a grand slam, Yoenis Cespedes pinch hit (he sat after having fluid drained from his leg) and hit a three-run home run to break Brandon Finnegan’s shutout and tie the game in the seventh, Giancarlo Stanton took Clayton Kershaw deep, and Chris Sale cruised to 5-0, pushing his ERA to 1.66 with 31 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Berrios called up
The Minnesota Twins sent Kyle Gibson (shoulder) and Ervin Santana (back) to the disabled list, and coming up in support is top prospect Jose Berrios. Jose freaking Berrios is up! He’s expected to start Wednesday against the Indians, becoming the youngest Twins pitcher to make his major league debut in the starting rotation in nearly 25 years. The 21-year-old is the organization’s top prospect on the pitching side and one of the best rookie fantasy prospects in the game, earning nine nods as “best rookie pitcher” from the Rotographs prediction staff.

The owner of a 1.06 ERA and 30.3-percent strikeout rate through three Triple-A starts this year, Berrios has legitimate stuff, with a low-mid-90s fastball, a terrific changeup, and a decent curve. He’s only 62-percent owned, so there are opportunities to take the leap. I, I always believed in futures.

Various News and Notes
Another quick Twins note, as Miguel Sano came through with an RBI single in the ninth to give the team their second walk-off win in a row. A slow start made the Twins look like a potential streaming option, but they’re up to a 96 wRC+, so evaluate more closely.

Wilson Ramos will miss a few days after being put on the bereavement list. All the best to him and his family. Pedro Severino gets the call but isn’t much of a fantasy option.

Travis d’Arnaud will miss far longer, because he’s Travis d’Arnaud. What was called “shoulder discomfort” yesterday is now a strained right rotator cuff, which is a pretty damn tough injury to work around when you’re a catcher, even if he’s saying he’ll only miss 15 days. D’Arnaud is yet to play more than 108 games in a season, and that was the only time he topped 67; he was rarely able to stay healthy in the minors, either. He wasn’t hitting all that well, but this is a C-1 lost in most cases, as he was the sixth catcher off boards at draft time. Kevin Plawecki is the interim starter but hasn’t shown much in the way of a bat since Double-A two seasons ago, and even that was somewhat BABIP-fueled.

Johnny Cueto threw a complete-game shutout against the Padres, striking out 11 in the process. He’s off to a pretty unbelievable start with the Giants, posting a 33:5 (6.6:1) strikeout-to-walk ratio through 37.1 innings. James Shields allowed just three hits in his seven innings opposite Cueto but gave up a run and took the loss, anyway. Nate Karns also had a great outing, holding the Astros scoreless over seven innings of two-hit ball. Carlos Martinez scattered three hits over eight shutout innings, too.

In other words, everybody but Shelby Miller seemed to pitch well. Miller gave up five over five and continues to struggle with command and the long-ball in the early going. The velocity being down more than a tick stands out. Brandon Moss had a three-run home run off of Miller, one of his four hits on the night.

Streaming Pitcher Options
If you enjoy streaming pitchers or play DFS, tune into the Roto Riteup for recommendations each and every day.

A pitcher for today: Steven Wright vs. ATL (Bud Norris)
It’s hard to trust a knuckleballer. That’s why Steven Wright is just eight-percent owned, despite a strong start to the year, and justifiably so. But he’s been pretty good, and the Braves are the Braves. Wright should at least have a good shot at a win.

A pitcher for tomorrow: Tanner Roark vs PHI (Aaron Nola)
Thursday’s a tough day for streaming – only seven projected starters are owned in less than a third of leagues, and they all either draw poor matchups or offer little upside. At 42-percent owned, I’d give Tanner Roark a spin against the hapless Phillies offense.

Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.

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Emcee Peepants
Emcee Peepants

Any chance Meyer makes it to the rotation in Minn. also? I know Duffey is supposed to fill one of those injury slots, but Milone has sucked so far. Seems like a waste to bring him up to have him be a middle reliever.


Twins will likely let Meyer rot in middle relief where he will get out of rhythm and lose the confidence (and value) that he had just gained back. It is really hard for amazing teams like the Twins to find spots in the rotation for guys who are pitching like Meyer has so far this year.