Roto Riteup: June 30, 2013

We are halfway through the baseball season and just four weeks from most fantasy league trade deadlines. More and more prospects will be getting the call now that Super Two status isn’t a concern, adding even more options on how to improve your team. There is much baseball yet to be played!

On today’s agenda:
1. Welcome back, Brian Roberts
2. Jacob Turner is improving
3. Alex Torres: strikeout machine

Welcome back, Brian Roberts
The Baltimore Orioles will once again welcome back Brian Roberts from the disabled list today. Roberts will reclaim his second base position, though where in the lineup he will hit is yet to be seen. Given the lack of production by O’s second baseman — they’ve hit a collective .228/.283/.339 — even the aging and injury prone Roberts should be an improvement. Most of his power has left him and his speed isn’t what it once was, but the way the Orioles have been running this year — 7th in baseball with 54 steals — Roberts could grab a few bags here and there. Before any fantasy owner thinks of picking him up, Roberts needs to show that he is capable of playing baseball more than a few dozen times a year.

Jacob Turner’s success
Yesterday Jacob Turner notched his first career complete game by shutting down the San Diego Padres. He struck out seven while allowing seven hits and one walk. Turner’s 5.93 K/9 is still less than ideal, but with 41 innings of 1.76 ERA (though a 3.86 xFIP looms) Turner should be catching the attention of streamers and deep leaguers everywhere. Turner’s minor league track record may not suggest tons of strikeouts, however prior to yesterday’s start he had a 10.4% swinging strike rate. He recorded 14 whiffs on 111 pitches which actually improves his overall SwStr%.

No doubt Turner has been fortunate when it comes to the long ball as he has only surrendered one home run thus far. His 0.22 HR/9 won’t last forever, and it shouldn’t have to for him to be valuable. As long as he continues to induces grounders at a 50% rate and generate swings-and-misses, Turner makes for a starter who should be regularly streamed in standard 12-team mixed leagues and rostered in any format deeper than that. He is currently available in over 80% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues and 66% of CBS formats.

Alex Torres: strikeout machine
Through 23 innings Alex Torres has posted 31 strikeouts against seven walks. He is yet to serve up a home run and has allowed just one run total thus far. His 0.39 ERA is the best in baseball (minimum 20 innings pitched) and has been dominate against both left and right-handed batters. Helping to split the difference in his platoon numbers is the fact that rather than being a traditional fastball/slider reliever, Torres’ best secondary pitch is his changeup. When he isn’t punching hitters out he is getting them to put the ball on the ground at a 56.8% rate. Be still, my heart; is this true love?

Primarily a starter in the minors, Torres struggled (to put it lightly) with issuing walks. Small sample size aside, he has issued far fewer walks than one could have reasonably assumed this season. He isn’t doing a particularly spectacular job of getting ahead of hitters but his 16.6% swinging strike rate prior to yesterday is enough to make one drool. Torres will eventually see his walk rate increase somewhat, though here R.J. Anderson does an excellent job describing mechanical adjustments that Torres has made that may help his control. Torres doesn’t yet have a clear role in the bullpen — let alone if he will be a starter or reliever long term — as he is yet to claim a hold, but as his numbers continue to impress he will almost assuredly be trusted with higher leverage situations. One can find Torres available in over 80% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues and 95% of CBS leagues.

You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

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Bryan Miller
9 years ago

“Be still, my heart; is this true love?”

Gave me a good laugh this morning. Thanks.