Roto Riteup: June 21, 2016

On the first official night of summer, which by happenstance turned out to be the first night of the sports year following the conclusion of basketball and hockey, baseball delivered. Clayton Kershaw was masterful, Justin Upton walked one off after Miguel Cabrera had obliterated a ball earlier, and Steven Wright made a night of magic like this.


The stage is yours, baseball.

On the agenda:
1. 14 percent of owners are dormant
2. Scratchburg
3. Various News and Notes
4. Streaming Pitcher Options

14 percent of owners are dormant
That has to be true at this point, because there’s little other explanation for Steven Wright not being owned in more than 86 percent of leagues. (OK, there’s an explanation, I just don’t agree with it.) I know there’s probably some hesitancy because he’s a knuckleballer, but we’re well beyond thinking that Wright’s success is the product of short-term gimmickery. Yes, he’s throwing that knuckleball 72 percent of the time. He also mixes in a crawling curveball and throws a fair amount of mid-80s fastballs (about 1.5 times as many as R.A. Dickey, for a comparison). He’s also doing a terrific job varying the speed of his knuckleball, and so the 20-percent strikeout rate seems at least close to legitimate. No, that doesn’t leave a ton of room for high-strikeout upside, so maybe there are some thin, innings-capped formats where Wright doesn’t make sense, but here’s hoping people aren’t shying away because of the ERA-xFIP disparity. Wright is legitimately effective and a ton of fun (and is welcome to leave the AL East any time, thanks).

Scratchburg
The Nationals scratched Stephen Strasburg from his showdown with Clayton Kershaw on Monday, because we’re not allowed to have nice things. Strasburg is dealing with an upper back strain, and while that may not sound like a huge deal, it’s an issue that bothered him at the start of last season, too. There’s no word when Strasburg may draw back in to the rotation, so keep an eye out for his weekend status in Milwaukee. In 14 starts this year, Strasburg has fashioned a 2.90 ERA that is almost identical to his peripherals, striking out 31.9 percent of batters, his highest mark since his partial 2010 rookie season. His 2.5 WAR place him sixth among NL starters and somehow less than halfway to Kershaw, which is an irrelevant note except holy hell, Kershaw’s been worth 5.3 wins already.

Various News and Notes
The Mets are reportedly kicking around the idea of reuniting with Jose Reyes and may have also had discussions about Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel. They’re scrambling after the David Wright news, of course, and it’s a tough spot weighing the on-field risk of Guerriel against the P.R. risk of Reyes. They should probably do something soon.

Ironman Matt Duffy is headed to the disabled list with an Achilles strain. The Giants third baseman hadn’t missed a game in over a year and now leaves a hole to be filled by Conor Gillaspie and Ramiro Pena. Duffy wasn’t hitting particularly well early in the year but had been coming on in June, so the timing here is unfortunate.

Also hitting the DL is Dexter Fowler, who is dealing with a hamstring issue. Again, the timing is poor, as Fowler is in the middle of a career year for the Cubs. The team is hopeful it’s a short DL stint, and in that time they’ll get a longer look at prospect Albert Almora Jr., who’s hit .333 in limited action so far and has a bit of speed in his profile.

Sticking with injuries, Taijuan Walker is headed for an MRI on his injured right foot, which is a little concerning, though it’s reportedly believed to be a minor tendon issue. Meanwhile, Shelby Miller returned from his DL stint (finger) and held the Phillies to one run over 6.2 innings, striking out five. Maybe we should all take a little mid-season siesta when times are tough.

Giancarlo Stanton homered for the first time in nearly a month. He’s a constant headache for owners right now, because you really can’t bench him, even as he struggles.

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: Tyler Duffey vs PHI (Aaron Nola)
This one may be a little tough to figure given Tyler Duffey’s 5.56 ERA, but it’s a bet on the situation he finds himself in. Not only do his peripherals and track record suggest he’s at least a little better than this (4.07 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 4.65 ZiPS ROS), he also draws the Phillies, who recently passed the Braves as the worst offense in baseball. SaberSim has Duffey as the No. 5 pitcher on the board for the day, providing a ton of value at a three-percent ownership level and a friendly DFS price.

A pitcher for tomorrow: Daniel Mengden vs MIL (Junior Guerra)
The mustache. It’s really just that. Impossible not to root for. And through two starts, Daniel Mengden has looked solid, striking out 12 batters in 12 innings. The 23-year-old moved through the system quickly, never spending 50 innings at the same level in the same season, but the track record suggests there’s a fair amount to like here. Factor in that he draws the Brewers, a bottom-third offense with the fourth-worst road ISO in the league, and the four-percent owned arm seems a worthy gamble.





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.

newest oldest most voted
pudieron89
Member
pudieron89

Is Nimmo getting called up to take Conforto’s spot today?