Roto Riteup — Presented By DraftKings: April 8, 2014

Today I’ll be at my first live major league game of the year. assuming we’re not counting spring training. Look for me in the crowd in Chicago as the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Cubs.

On today’s agenda:
1. A.J. Ellis to have knee surgery
2. John Lackey’s strong start
3. Matt Moore’s elbow soreness
4. The Daily Five

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A.J. Ellis to have knee surgery

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Ellis will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. It is the same knee Ellis had surgery on after the 2012 season. Apparently Ellis had been receiving “lengthy treatment” after each game and attempting to slide into home in yesterday’s game was the last straw. The club hasn’t announced a time frame or even a surgery date, though it is anticipated it will be a four to six week recovery period. Ellis didn’t offer much in terms of fantasy value outside of OBP leagues and his likely replacement, Drew Butera, offers even less.

John Lackey’s strong start
Facing the visiting Texas Rangers, Lackey cruised through seven frames on 95 pitches and allowed just one unearned run. He scattered five hits and a pair of walks while striking out five Rangers. Lackey was able to generate 14 whiffs, 10 of which came on his slider. To date, it seems as though Lackey has decided to largely forgo his changeup in favor of a mostly fastball/slider combination. As per BrooksBaseball, Lackey only threw four non-slider or non-fastball pitches yesterday. His season to date shows a similar pitch selection with his fastball and slider combining for over 90% usage. Whether or not this becomes viable long term is still to be determined — expect opposing managers to stack the lineup with lefties to force more changeups — but for now be aware of his low BABIP and finicky pitch selection. If you own Lackey, I’d look to sell high.

Matt Moore’s elbow soreness
After lasting 4.1 innings against the Kansas City Royals, Moore visibly winced on the delivery of his 78th pitch. Thus far tests have proven inconclusive, however Moore is scheduled for an MRI this morning. After the game Moore was optimistic and said hopefully the pain he felt was merely a hyperextension. Missing time due to soreness in his throwing arm isn’t new to Moore, as he missed all of August last season with it. Hopefully the tests come back negative and Moore won’t miss more than a handful of starts.

The Daily Five
Starting Pitcher: James Paxton — $7.800
In his first outing — that happened to be against the Los Angeles Angels that he’ll face today — Paxton was outstanding. Let’s hope for another eight strikeout day.

Starting Pitcher: Aaron Harang — $6,500
Yes, Harang is getting a bit long in the tooth, but he’s facing a New York Mets team that is currently leading the league in strikeout rate by a wide margin.

Infielder: Troy Tulowitzki — $5,200
No need to justify Tulo, especially when he is slated to face off a left-handed pitcher and is playing at Coors Field.

Outfielder: Andrew McCutchen — $4,900
I just want to see him hit a home run live.

Other Hitter: Anthony Rizzo — $4,300
See above.

Remaining Budget: $21,300
Going cheap on Harang pays off here, as you now have over $4,000 per player to finish filling in your roster.

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i really look forward to the morning write-ups and thanks. Everyone seems to hate lackey, he would have went undrafted in all my standard leagues but I drafted him, usually after Peavy was taken. It’s his second season off TJ, and last year he had flashes of excellence and was pretty solid. why all the hate? And, just a pet-peeve of mine–lots of people are saying sell-high on all sorts of players–bonifacio, Trumbo, and now lackey…how is that possible? everyone knows the sample size is “skewing” results and so no one is willing to pay the value. Would you really be “selling high” on lackey here if he duplicates last year’s results? I would think u sold low, because no one is going to give u anything in return. I could say the same about Trumbo. And ESPN has this whole bona-fide thing with bonifacio, so who is going to pay anything for that? sorry. its early and I haven’t even had a cup of coffee yet. I want to reiterate I LOVE the morning write up!

Zach Sanders