Roto Riteup: June 14, 2016

What’s better than weekday afternoon baseball? I beg of you, find me something. With apologies to A.J. Hammons, I’m ditching on the Raptors’ pre-draft workout today to take in a 12:37 Toronto Blue Jays start. It’s Marcus Stroman, Zach Eflin, an open dome, a 66-degree day, and maybe a beverage or two. The Jays should have to have a weekday afternoon game every week.

On the agenda:
1. Darvish back to DL
2. Stanton benched
3. Various News and Notes
4. Streaming Pitcher Options

Darvish back to DL
Well, this sucks. Yu Darvish is headed back to the disabled list due to discomfort in his neck and right shoulder. Darvish left a start on June 8, just his third after nearly two years off due to injury, because of tightness in the shoulder but didn’t expect to miss time, even making it through a bullpen session without issue. But the stiffness returned Saturday, and when he was unable to make his scheduled start Monday – Cesar Ramos filled in and was shelled by Oakland – Texas opted for the DL trip. There’s no structural issue and Darvish is hopeful that it’s just part of the Tommy John return process, but it’s still disappointing. In three starts, Darvish went 15.2 innings, striking out 19 with a 2.87 ERA.

At least Shin-Soo Choo is back for the Rangers. He was activated and hit a home run in the lead-off spot Monday.

Stanton benched
Is it still considered a slump at this point? Giancarlo Stanton was benched Monday, and manager Don Mattingly made it sound as if that could be a semi-regular occurrence until the slugger figures out what’s ailing him. The 10th player off boards in draft season, Stanton has rewarded owners with the 407th-best fantasy season so far, offering a .192 average, 12 home runs, and 29 RBI in 53 games. As a comparison, he hit 27 home runs with 67 RBI and a .265 average in 74 games last year, a pace he’s not even remotely close to this time around. The strikeouts stand out the most, but even the power is slumping – Stanton has just one home run since May 15. It’s tough to sit your first-round pick, and I wouldn’t, but be sure to check the Marlins lineup daily for the next while.

Various News and Notes
James Shields? Still bad. Him pitching at The Cell? Still a pretty poor fit, at least with how he’s pitching right now. On the bright side, the struggling Shields lowered his ERA with the White Sox despite surrendering six earned runs in five innings. He’s at 5.45 for the entire season now, and for the second year in a row owns a home run per-fly ball rate north of 17 percent, this time with increased hard contact, far fewer infield flies, and fewer missed bats. He’s not this bad, but he’s going to need to show something before you can trust him.

The Dodgers are among those interested in 32-year-old Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel, who’s been declared a free agent. Apparently, the Dodgers aren’t all that turned off by Alex Guerrero, or by eating $35 million to release Carl Crawford, as they did yesterday.

The Giants and Brewers have reportedly had talks about Ryan Braun as the Giants look for help replacing the injured Hunter Pence. That’d be kind of fun and, you know, even year.

Speaking of the Giants, Tim Lincecum is set to make his first start in a different uniform on Saturday as he toes the rubber for the Angels. Lincecum flirted with a no-hitter in a Triple-A game Sunday, his third minor-league start, and he’ll draw Oakland for his 2016 MLB debut. Opposite Lincecum would be Sean Manaea, assuming the rookie can make his start. Manaea left Monday’s game in the fifth inning due to a strained left forearm, which has to be concerning.

Catcher Christian Bethancourt pitched for the second time this season, once again displaying a mid-90s fastball and an eephus, with the latter getting clocked at 49 MPH. Throw in a 79 MPH change-up, and it’s a wonder the 22-year-old only has 1.2 innings to his name. It will be interesting to see where he sits on the next Bullpen Report.

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: Brandon Finnegan @ ATL (Julio Teheran)
There’s a pretty nice mix of streaming options today depending on your risk preference. Tom Koehler has a decent setup if floor is more important to you, Archie Bradley’s in a decent spot if you can stomach a bit of risk, and Jorge de la Rosa will tease a high-K game against a bad Yankees lineup if you need something really deep. It’s Brandon Finnegan who gets the nod for me, though, as he enters with a 21-percent ownership tag, the No. 11 SaberSim projection, and the cushiest of opponents in the Braves.

A pitcher for tomorrow: Nate Karns @ TB (Drew Smyly)
For the purposes of varying the selections, I’ll decline to recommend Anthony DeSclafani, though picking on the Braves is rarely going to backfire. Instead, Nate Karns gets the nod against a strong offense in his former team, the Rays. The Rays can hit, but they’re also third in strikeout rate, and Karns has the opportunity for a punch-out per-inning here. Then it’s just a matter of lasting more than five for just the second time since May 13.





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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Gimme some dat Gold Bond please
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Gimme some dat Gold Bond please

Stanton #’s are awfully worrisome and it appears to have freaked out his owners enough that I found myself in an odd position of receiving trade offers where I receive Stanton for relative pennies in return. As such, in a H2H I acquired him a week ago for Will Harris/Aaron Sanchez—both dudes I obviously like a lot but who I got off free agency. Not to mention the whole potential Sanchez innings-limit thing.

So for the rest of you, it might be worth touching base with the Stanton owner in your league and seeing just how sick of him they are….he might be broken, but his track record certainly suggest he will figure it out at some point….and that power upside obv still remains.