Roto Riteup — Presented By DraftKings: May 6, 2014

I’m somewhat torn. On one hand, I linked to “Star Wars” and some of my childhood toys on May 4th. On the other hand, I neglected to mention May 4th was the 30th anniversary of my favorite John Hughes film, “Sixteen Candles.”

On today’s agenda:
1. A strong start from Nathan Eovaldi
2. Jay Bruce’s knee surgery
3. Thoughts on Seth Smith
4. The Daily Five

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A strong start from Nathan Eovaldi
Yesterday Eovaldi set a career best with a 10 strikeout performance against the New York Mets, though he did allow a pair of home runs as well. Despite the dingers, Eovaldi allowed just three runs while gathering 13 whiffs. Prior to yesterday’s 12.1% SwStr%, Eovaldi sat at 9.6% on the season compared to the 8.9% league average for starting pitchers. Of his 107 pitches yesterday, he went with either his fastball or slider a combined 96 times, or 89.7% of the time. Eovaldi has settled in as a bit of a two-pitch guy, relying heavily on his slider to generate whiffs. He already has one Tommy John surgery under his belt and if he continues to toss slider after slider, his risk for another arm problem will grow. For now he is available in over 40% of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, but just 10% of CBS formats. I’d run with him for now at home or on the road in favorable matchups. I’m not ready to make him an automatic start guy just yet.

Jay Bruce’s knee surgery
In the wake of surgery on his left knee to repair his meniscus, the Cincinnati Reds will be without Bruce for 3-4 weeks. The club is expected to use a mix of Chris Heisey and possibly Roger Bernadina during that time. He’s already nabbed five steals and popped a pair of home runs, Bruce’s .216/.352/.363 is a far cry from his career average. Even with his slow start the Reds will miss his bat in the lineup. With him missing up to a month of the season, Bruce may fail to reach the 30-home run mark for the first time since 2010.

Thoughts on Seth Smith
For those of you in NL-only leagues or deeper mixed leagues that just lost Bruce for a few weeks, take a gander at Smith. After his 2-for-4 game yesterday he is currently hitting a rather impressive .280/.375/.463 with the best walk and strikeout rates of his career. Yes, he’ll be benched or struggle against left-handed pitching, but when facing an opposite-handed pitcher, Smith is a force. Lucky for him most of the league’s starters are righties, so assuming he remains healthy, Smith should see a good amount of playing time. All but five of Smith’s starts have been at cleanup or the three hole, so RBI opportunities will be knocking on his door. If only the Padres didn’t have the worst offense in the league, Smith could be a real steal. He is available in over 90% of the three major fantasy sites.

The Daily Five
Starting Pitcher: Jesse Chavez — $10,900
If he tosses another seven inning gem with nine strikeouts I will forever call him Uncle Jesse and I will say “have mercy” for each of his strikeouts. Facing the Seattle Mariners and their 23.4% strikeout rate, it could happen.

Starting Pitcher: Cole Hamels — $8,400
I’m looking for Hamels to get on track against a pretty solid offense in the Toronto Blue Jays. The visiting Jays don’t fare terribly well against lefties, as they’ve hit .252/.317/.417 as a team thus far.

Infielder: Ian Kinsler — $4,800
Kinsler crushes left-handed pitching and Brett Oberholtzer with a career 4.27 xFIP.

Outfielder: Matt Joyce — $3,800
The Tampa Bay Rays and Joyce square off against a righty in Chris Tillman today. Joyce of course mashes against righties as does the entire Rays club. They’ve hit for a 110 wRC+ against right-handed pitching thus far this year.

Other Hitter: James Loney — $3,900
Another Ray, another dollar. I’m doubling down on a second lefty batter for Tampa today.

Remaining Budget: $18,200

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