Roto Riteup: May 13, 2015

Today the second leg of the Real Madrid vs Juventus UEFA semi-finals will be played. Count on yours truly tuning in to hopefully watch Juve advance.

On today’s agenda:
1. I still like Stephen Strasburg
2. Matt Moore’s progression
3. George Springer’s return
4. Streaming Pitching Options

I still like Stephen Strasburg
Let’s start with a .398 BABIP, a number so high it’s practically in the stratosphere. Moving past that we get to his 60.2 percent strand rate, something largely hurt by his BABIP. Strasburg owns a 3.45 FIP and 3.84 xFIP, both of which tell he’s pitched much better than the superficial 6.06 ERA shows. His velocity isn’t down and for the most part his pitch selection hasn’t changed, though he is throwing more four-seamers than previous seasons according to Brooks Baseball. It’s the last point which should cause the most amount of interest — I won’t venture calling it a concern yet — as Strasburg isn’t getting as many swinging strikes as usual, possibly due to more four-seamers and fewer secondary pitches. Prior to getting shelled by Arizona yesterday, Stras had a 7.0 percent SwStr%, 3.9 points fewer than his career average. He managed a mere six swinging strikes out of 72 pitches in the game last night, still below his norm from past seasons.

I could be picking nits here as Strasburg still owns a 8.83 K/9 however it is worth noting that number would be a single season low for him. Still, with his velocity just fine and the advanced metrics telling of better days ahead, I’d be willing to make a buy-low offer on whoever currently owns Stras in your leagues. Given that he hasn’t thrown a quality start in four consecutive outings, now is the time to get a great price on a stud pitcher. Once Strasburg’s BABIP comes down then maybe we’ll see him return to his lofty status up in the Stras-mas-sphere.

Matt Moore’s progression
Moore will throw a simulated game tomorrow, followed by another later on before starting a minor league rehab assignment, reports Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. This is my own speculation, but barring any setbacks, expect Moore to take the mound for the big league club sometime in mid June. He’s worth picking up in deep leagues as Moore could be rejoining the Rays around June 18, his 26th birthday. The high-upside southpaw can be grabbed in over 65 percent of CBS formats and over 90 percent of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. Standard 12-team mixed leagues can wait a few weeks to make a move on him, just don’t wait too long as Moore has the potential to be a second half impact starter.

George Springer’s return
The Houston Astros will welcome back Springer in time for their game against the San Francisco Giants today. After being placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list, Springer was cleared to rejoin the team after playing a Double-A rehab game with no issues. His batting average will never dazzle you, however count on plenty of counting stats as he is an excellent power/speed option and should return to hitting in a prime spot in the Houston lineup, likely third where he has spent most of this season.

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

A pitcher for today: Wade Miley at OAK (Sonny Gray)
Miley will be dueling against a tough pitcher in Gray, but the A’s lineup has not fared very well against southpaws this season. Their team 52 wRC+ is second worst in baseball and three of their better hitters to date, Stephen Vogt, Josh Reddick and Ike Davis are all left-handed hitters. Miley is available in over 80 percent of the three major fantasy sites. 

A pitcher for tomorrow: Chase Whitley at TB (Erasmo Ramirez)
Owner of a 90.4 percent strand rate, Whitley doesn’t figure to be a 3.06 ERA pitcher for much longer. To his credit, he does limit the free passes and misses bats. The Rays have been a tick below average against right-handers thus far and Whitley is a pretty solid option. He can be picked up in 75 percent of CBS leagues and more than 90 percent of Yahoo! or ESPN formats.

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

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Mike W.
Mike W.

I picked up Moore yesterday in a few leagues and stashed him on my DL. Control was a problem for him before Tommy John so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back with that and his velocity obviously.

David, any thoughts on a couple of early 30’s Outfielders who have caught fire in May in Andre Ethier and Shin Soo Choo? I know Choo was featured here in an article last week, but I mostly ignored him since he was terrible last year and in April. Obviously he wont keep up his current May pace, but is it possible he remains a strong fantasy OF option the rest of the year? Would I be crazy to grab Choo if it meant having to give up on someone like Jake Marisnick? Either has less upside obviously than Choo, but he seems to be playing himself into an near everyday role (against righties) even when Crawford and Puig come back. As a Leonys Martin owner I am preparing for him to go on the DL and see Either as a option to replace him for a bit. Do you like Either or Colby Rasmus more as a possible Martin replacement should he go on the DL?