Roto Riteup — Presented By DraftKings: April 18, 2014

Today’s Roto Riteup was written while listening to my brand new vinyl of Illmatic. Tomorrow will be the 20th anniversary of Nas’ debut album. You can grab the album + MP3 download from Amazon for less than 22 bucks plus shipping. Order it now, thank me after you listen to it. For what it’s worth, Nas did a reddit AMA earlier in the week as well.

On today’s agenda:
1. Corey Hart in right field again?
2. Michael Brantley, RBI guy?
3. Kansas City (Outfield) Shuffle
4. The Daily Five

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Corey Hart in right field again?

Yesterday the Seattle Mariners tested Corey Hart’s knees and played him in right field. It was his first appearance in the field other than first base since July 21, 2012. Whether or not Hart continues to gain enough starts or appearances in the outfield to gain outfield eligibility in Yahoo! remains to be seen, however he should be available to slot in as an OF in default CBS and ESPN leagues. Lineup flexibility is a nice layer of value (though some people value lineup flexibility to insane degrees) that a player can add to your fantasy team and Hart is no different. Unsurprisingly the eligibility has a direct effect on his ownership rates as he is owned in more than 60% of CBS and ESPN formats and just 30% of Yahoo! leagues. He cracked his fourth homer of the year yesterday afternoon and while his rate stats haven’t shown as much substance as we could hope, his power shouldn’t be doubted. If he gets the occasional start in the outfield while spending most of his time DHing or at first, Hart could be healthy enough to put together a season that just may reach 500 plate appearances.

Michael Brantley, RBI guy?
Sure, Brantley has a sub .400 slugging percentage for his career, but he’s been put in a solid RBI position in the lineup to begin the season. Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has penciled Brantley in exclusively at the fifth or sixth spots this year and it has paid off thus far to the tune of 14 RBIs in 16 games. If this batting spot is the new norm for the center fielder then one should grab him in as many leagues as possible. The one downside is Brantley probably won’t run in the fifth spot compared to other spots in the lineup, however he was never a 25+ steals type of guy.

Looking at last year’s lineups, Brantley started at least one game with his name in the lineup anywhere from leadoff down to eighth. Hopefully he’ll settle in at the fifth spot and continue to produce a solid amount of counting stats. If Nick Swisher and his .261 OBP could get not make so many outs, there would be even more ducks on the pond when Brantley’s spot rolls around. Brantley is still available in nearly 40% of leagues in the three major sites.

Kansas City (Outfield) Shuffle
Once again Lorenzo Cain finds himself on the 15-day disabled list. Last year he was limited to 115 games and in 2012 he saw the field a mere 61 times. The Kansas City Royals intended to use Jarrod Dyson and manager Ned Yost was quoted as saying “He’s [Dyson] done a really good job of identifying the type of player he is. He had more walks than strikeouts in Spring Training. We know when he gets on, it takes almost a miracle to throw him out.” Just hours after placing Cain on the DL, the club made it known Dyson will be on the bereavement list and will be gone a minimum of three games. Even with the missed time and despite the hope Cain will be miss only the minimum 15 days, Dyson makes for a decent grab. Speed is my second favorite thing to steam in a position player — power is still number one — and Dyson has speed for days. One can pick up Dyson in virtually any fantasy league and if you need some steals, he could be a quiet pickup that pays off.

The Daily Five
Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray — $10,200
Strikeout stuff vs a lineup that strikes out. It’s a pretty big fraction of the budget on a pitcher with not even 90 big league innings, but I’m a believer. Or a homer. Either one.

Starting Pitcher: Drew Smyly — $6.700
Like Andrew Cashner, I cannot quit on Smyly.

Infielder: Prince Fielder — $4,300
At home + having the platoon advantage = Prince busting out of his early season slump.

Outfielder: Leonys Martin — $3,000
Partly to make up for the wad spent on pitching, partly to double down on lefties facing off against Felipe Paulino.

Other Hitter: Chase Utley — $6,000
There goes the savings on Martin. Utley is off to a great start, is on the road at Coors Field and will be going against a pitcher in Tyler Chatwood that owns a 4.47 career xFIP and 10.5% HR/FB%.

Remaining Budget: $19,800

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I am not a homer A’s fan, but I love Sonny Gray too.