Roto Riteup: September 16, 2016

I almost feel like I should be giving a quick playoff race update in this spot, because even though this is entirely a fantasy blog, it’s hard to focus on much other than the post-season. So, let’s try it:

Relevant Winners: Red Sox, Blue Jays (!), Giants
Relevant Losers: Tigers, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals

Odds update, per our Standings page:

Team W L DIV GB WC GB DIV WC POFF
Indians 84 62 97.10% 2.40% 99.40%
Red Sox 82 64 68.10% 27.10% 95.20%
Rangers 87 60 99.90% 0.10% 100.00%
Blue Jays 80 66 2.0 19.00% 53.70% 72.70%
Orioles 80 66 2.0 12.20% 48.60% 60.80%
Tigers 78 68 6.0 2.0 2.90% 25.40% 28.40%
Mariners 78 68 8.5 2.0 0.10% 29.70% 29.80%
Yankees 77 69 5.0 3.0 0.70% 5.90% 6.60%
Astros 76 70 10.5 4.0 0.00% 7.00% 7.00%
Royals 74 72 10.0 6.0 0.00% 0.10% 0.10%
Team W L DIV GB WC GB DIV WC POFF
Cubs 93 53 100.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Nationals 87 59 100.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Dodgers 82 64 93.70% 6.10% 99.90%
Giants 78 68 4.0 6.30% 72.40% 78.70%
Mets 77 69 10.0 0.00% 75.70% 75.70%
Cardinals 76 70 17.0 1.0 0.00% 43.30% 43.30%
Marlins 73 73 14.0 4.0 0.00% 2.00% 2.00%
Pirates 71 74 21.5 5.5 0.00% 0.40% 0.40%

On the agenda:
1. Alvarez set for another surgery
2. Various News and Notes
3. Streaming Pitcher Options

Alvarez set for another surgery
Poor Henderson Alvarez is going under the knife once again. The Athletics righty will reportedly undergo arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Tuesday, with an unclear timetable for a return (the degree to which he’s injured remains unclear, too). The A’s shut Alvarez down on Sept. 6 after he suffered a setback, ending a 2016 campaign that saw him earn $4.25M without throwing a pitch. Good work if you can get it, sure, but the 26-year-old would likely prefer to be pitching. He did manage 11 rehab starts to mixed results, but he’ll enter 2017 at just 22.1 major-league innings pitched over the last two years, if he enters 2017 healthy at all. Given the promise he showed in 2013 and 2014 and how young he remains, he’ll be worth a flier once he’s back. Hopefully, for his sake, that’s next spring.

Various News and Notes
David Ortiz homered again to pass Mickey Mantle for sole possession of 17th on the all-time leaderboard. He’s now also tied with Darrell Evans for the most home runs by a player 40 or older with 34 on the year, this one a 442-foot bomb. He is so beloved that even the Yankees – the freaking Yankees – will honor him Sept. 29, possibly still in the heat of a playoff race.

That 442-foot shot had nothing on Ryon Healy’s mammoth blast, estimated at 480 footer. That’s the fifth-longest home run of the MLB season and serves to highlight Healy’s 55-grade power tool. Eno Sarris recently wrote about Healy’s adjustments in a piece you should check out. The rookie now owns a 135 wRC+ over 216 plate appearances on the year.

Yan Gomes it set for an MRI after getting hit in the hand during a rehab assignment. He can’t catch much of a break, staying healthy or hitting when healthy.

Frustrated Marco Estrada owners probably didn’t like hearing reports yesterday that the Jays hurler has been pitching through a herniated disc in his back. It was pretty clear from the spin rate and movement on his fastball that something was amiss and the back issue that’s plagued him was worse than was being let on, and a herniated disc is no joke (/extremely Chris Farley voice, “I know from experience”). He’s posted a 5.47 ERA since a brief DL stint in July.

While Estrada may not lose his rotation spot, Jaime Garcia has. The Cardinals are going to use Alex Reyes in the rotation the rest of the way, bumping Garcia’s 7.15 September ERA to the bullpen. It makes sense, given what Reyes has been able to accomplish since getting the call – he’s fashioned a 1.29 ERA, 2.89 FIP, and 30.1-percent strikeout rate over two starts and seven relief appearances spanning 28 innings. The walk rate might pose some trouble, but it’s not as if Garcia was being stingy with the free pass, anyway.

Fun nerd alert: Carlos Correa is using wearable technology to improve his swing.

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

A pitcher for today: Luke Weaver @ SF (Matt Moore)
On a pretty bad day for streaming, we’re taking a roll of the dice with 23-year-old rookie Luke Weaver. The Cardinals righty has just six starts to his name – and just seven above Double-A – but teams are yet to figure him out, striking out 30.2 percent of the time. That rate probably won’t keep up given the rate of missed bats and minor-league profile, but Weaver’s also done well to avoid walks, and his home-run issue at the major league level isn’t the norm for him. The Giants, meanwhile, have stumbled to a 94 wRC+ over the last month and sit at 98 on the season, hardly the threat their record would make it seem.

A pitcher for tomorrow: Jon Gray vs. SD (Edwin Jackson)
There’s always a risk starting anyone at Coors Field, but I’ve grown pretty comfortable with Jon Gray at an affordable price, even coming off of back-to-back shaky starts. That includes one in San Diego, where the Padres got to him last weekend, but I don’t think that will repeat – the Padres own the third-worst offense over the last month, the third-worst over the course of the season, and the worst against right-handed pitchers. They’re bad, so even with Gray’s ERA being slightly worse at home (it far outstrips his peripherals, as you’d expect), this isn’t a bad set-up. It’s also an upside play, with Gray’s strikeout rate settling in just shy of 25 percent, right in line with San Diego’s own egregious rate.





Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.

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Who would you stream today.. Chatwood against SD, Dickey at Angels, or Adam Morgan against Marlins?