Roto Riteup: May 21, 2015

Happy birthday to my sister and brother-in-law! Kind of convenient they share the same birthday, really.

On today’s agenda:
1. Joe Mauer goes Yahtzee
2. Josh Hamilton’s potential return
3. Shoulder surgery for Hyun-Jin Ryu
4. Welcome back, Jaime Garcia
5. Streaming Pitching Options

Joe Mauer goes Yahtzee
Generally speaking a first baseman hitting a home run isn’t huge news, however Mauer powered his first home run of the season yesterday. With a useful — albeit rather punchless — .284/.341/.381 line in 170 plate appearances this season, Mauer has driven in 24 runs thanks to exclusively hitting third in the Twins lineup. As deep as first base tends to be, it is somewhat surprising to see Mauer so readily available in many leagues. He’s owned in just approximately 50 percent of CBS, Yahoo! and ESPN leagues despite his solid rate stats and top-25 RBI count.

Josh Hamilton’s potential return
The 34-year-old outfielder figures to join the Rangers on Monday in Cleveland. It isn’t a moment too late for the Rangers, as their outfield has hit for a collective .214/.304/.365, ranking 26th in baseball. Without reading too much into a handful of minor league plate appearances, Hamilton has seen a mix bag of results in his combined Double and Triple-A numbers. Before yesterday’s game where he cracked a home run, Hamilton’s only other extra-base hits were four doubles. Prior to his 1-for-4 game yesterday, in 33 PAs he had struck out seven times against drawing two walks. Steamer likes Hamilton to hit for a rate 10 percent better than league average with 15 home runs, numbers that seem plausible for him. Without knowing where exactly he’ll slot into the lineup, Hamilton makes for an interesting and speculative add in 12-team mixed leagues. He is free to pick up in 30 percent of CBS formats and over 60 percent of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.

Shoulder surgery for Hyun-Jin Ryu
The 2015 season may be over before it started for Ryu. The left-hander is set to undergo what will likely be season ending arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder today. Both Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger figure to get plenty of starts in Ryu’s absence, though it is unlikely either will replicate Ryu’s strikeouts and ratios. While still in the realm of small sample size, Frias is likely the better option as his lower walk rate and higher swinging strike rate bode well for him. While Bolsinger does hold the higher K% as of right now, Frias owns a fastball seven mph faster as well as very slight edge in ground ball rate. Either make for a worthy stream option in most formats, but Frias holds the edge in enough categories to likely be the better pitcher. Both are widely available in the three major fantasy sites.

Welcome back, Jaime Garcia
After missing most of the 2014 season and all of the 2015 season to date, Garcia will toe the rubber for the Cardinals for the first time since June 20 of last year. He’s facing a Mets team that has hit southpaws at a 109 wRC+. It’s best to sit Garcia today, but in deep leagues I’ve already decided to stash him. He’s still free to pick up in more than 70 percent of CBS leagues and over 90 percent of Yahoo! or ESPN formats.

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

A pitcher for today: Kyle Hendricks at SD (Odrisamer Despaigne)
The Padres have hit a tick below league average against right-handers this season. They’ve also drawn walks at the sixth lowest rate while striking out at the ninth highest rate versus a righty and I like Hendricks to post a quality start given the pitcher friendly nature of Petco Park. He’s available in more than 60 percent of CBS leagues as well as 90 percent of Yahoo! and ESPN formats.

A pitcher for tomorrow: Marco Estrada vs SEA (Felix Hernandez)
Estrada can generate his share of strikeouts, however his command and control tend to leave him at times. As a result, he can be struck by the long ball, but the M’s rate in the bottom half of the league against righties as per wRC+. It’s an admittedly dangerous start as the Rogers Centre can lead to a lot of home runs in a hurry, yet I’m confident Estrada can make the most of the Mariners and their seventh highest strikeout rate.

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

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I would agree that Mauer hitting a homer is notable at this point, but it should have an *. Any homer hit off Antonio Bastardo should have an *, because Antonio Bastardo really sucks.