Today’s Roto Riteup will touch on a very temporary closer situation in Pittsburgh as well as several tips on hot hitters.
• Yesterday news broke that Joel Hanrahan has been placed on the bereavement list due to the death of his grandmother. We send our best thoughts and regards to Hanrahan and his family during this difficult time. However, with a full slate of three games this weekend against the visiting Houston Astros, baseball must go on. One can expect Juan Cruz or Jason Grilli to be the two main choices to enter any potential save situation. Although Pirates manager Clint Hurdle did not officially say who it would be, Cruz does already have a pair of saves on the year from when Hanrahan missed a few games with hamstring tightness. Cruz currently sports a 9% ownership rating in Yahoo! and a mere 3% in ESPN leagues. On the other hand, Grilli is the current setup man, leads the team in holds and boasts an impressive 16.5 K/9. Grilli is owned in 3% of Yahoo! and 0.0% of ESPN leagues. If forced, I would say pick up Cruz if you are desperate for saves. Based on gmLI alone (a dangerous thing to do, as each situation is different, but I digress), Hurdle seems to go with Cruz more, so I’ll say pick up Cruz if you are desperate for saves.
• Now that he is back from his DL stint, Allen Craig is once again tearing the cover off of the ball. He is currently starting at first base for injured Lance Berkman, although Berkman is expected to be activated today so playing time could become an issue. Of course, Craig currently sports a .333/.387/.778 line. Despite the unsustainably high slugging, that is a bat that must be put into the lineup. Everyone remembers Craig for his post season excellence last year, but the truth is that the man can flat out rake at any time in any park. In Yahoo! Craig is currently eligible to plug in at 1B, 2B, LF, CF and RF. His ownership is 53%, far too low for someone with Craig’s talent. As of right now, he is only
1B OF eligible in ESPN, but his ownership there is just 54%. Even for a first basemen, with a minimum of 30 plate apperances, Craig ranks 2nd in MLB with a 217 wRC+ despite his mere .300 BABIP. With a bit of a shuffling and scuffling at second base for the Cardinals, it is possible that they try Craig out there, despite him only having a total of 11 professional appearances at the keystone. Pick him up.
• For fellow Chris Iannetta fanboys, today marks a sad day. It was announced yesterday afternoon that he will be undergoing surgery on his injured right wrist. The expected downtime is between six and eight weeks. While the Angels do have Hank Conger waiting in the wings, he too is injured and is already on the DL with an elbow sprain. It is being assumed that backup Bobby Wilson will take over the majority of the innings, and the club has yet to announce a recall of a minor league catcher to back him up. Before pressing Wilson and his current .222/.300/.222 line, I’ll send you over to our very own Howard Bender and his updated Catcher Tier rankings.
• Arizona Diamondbacks’ skipper Kirk Gibson gave Ryan Roberts a vote of confidence to the press yesterday. Roberts got off the 2012 season with an awful start, but has managed to come around a bit as of late. He already has a pair of home runs and a pair of steals on the year, and last year he barely missed the 20-20 club by one dinger and two bags. His average will never impress, but if you play in an OBP league then his career 11.1% walk rate will give him a significant boost. He could quietly post another season of near 20-20 with 80 runs scored. Roberts is owned in 29% of Yahoo! formats and 37% of ESPN. I’d say he’s an awfully good buy-low candidate.
For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here are a couple matchups you may be able to exploit.
A Pitcher for Today: Bud Norris at PIT
Norris’ heavy reliance on his slider, thrown 36% of the time thus far, has induced the ninth best SwStr%, 11.1%, of all qualified starters. With the Pirates striking out at the fourth highest team rate, Norris looks like a cheap source of strikeouts today.
A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Ricky Nolasco vs NYM
Yes, Nolasco has yet to really mow hitters down this year with just a 4.76 K/9, he does have a league average SwStr% and the Mets strike out tied for the second highest amount. I’m thinking Nolasco will find plenty of strikeouts come Saturday.
A Hitter for Today: Adam Dunn vs KC (F. Paulino)
Dunn has hit all 10 of his home runs off of RHP. Dunn’s triple slash vs RHP is an absurd .300/.434/.750. Call me crazy, but I think Dunn will have a great game today.
You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.