Roto Riteup: September 27, 2013

Just over 26 years ago the film The Princess Bride hit theaters in the United States. For the sake of full disclosure, the present author is yet to actually watch the film. It is on the “to do” list.

On today’s agenda:
1. Michael Brantley is on fire
2. James Paxton is done for the year
3. Jonathon Niese to start finale

Michael Brantley is on fire
In the wake of yesterday’s 3-for-5 performance, Michael Brantely has now reeled off four straight three-hit games. He is in the midst of a 10 game hitting streak and his .289/.337/.403 line translates to a career best 108 wRC+. Brantley has also set a major league single season high in home runs, stolen bases, runs, and RBIs. If he can continue to flash his 91.5% contact rate — against a 79.7% MLB average — as well as the speed he has previously shown in the upper minors, Brantley makes for a great value pick next season.

Even with his success, Brantley is still available in 46% of Yahoo! leagues, 67% of ESPN formats, and 75% of CBS leagues. Given that Brantely is going to face against the Minnesota Twins and three pitchers who don’t have an ERA below 5.00 between them, Brantley could continue his hot streak through the end of the season.

James Paxton is done for the year
After pitching almost 170 innings this season, the Seattle Mariners have opted to skip James Paxton’s final start of the year. He was lined up to pitch the finale, however given Paxton’s innings jump from not even 120 innings last year, the club has decided to give him an early off-season. Paxton’s command in the Pacific Coast League was questionable at times, however he did see a sharp drop in his walks in four major league starts. Looking to next season, Paxton should break camp with the M’s and his strikeout rate and home park make him at least a stream option in 12-team mixed leagues. Any league deeper than that — or dynasty leagues — should take a small gamble on Paxton and draft him.

Replacing Paxton on Sunday will be Erasmo Ramirez. One shouldn’t be looking to stream Ramirez as he’ll be facing the Oakland Athletics, a team that has the seventh highest wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season. The A’s may be resting some of their regulars on the final game on the year, but only if the Boston Red Sox clinch home field advantage. Even if Boston does clinch it,Oakland has been resting many of their plays somewhat regularly through platoons and time shares for much of the season, so expect a solid lineup to be trotted out to face Ramirez.

Jonathon Niese to start finale
Ahh, flashback humor. Okay, so it isn’t exactly humor, but it is a bit of a flashback. The New York Mets announced that Jonathon Niese will start the season finale this year after being the opening day starter. Niese is coming off of three straight quality starts with a 17:3 strikeout to walk ratio in 20.1 innings. He’ll face a Milwaukee Brewers club that ranks in the top 10 against left-handed pitchers in terms of wOBA and wRC+. Even facing a tough lineup, Niese is someone to start on Sunday. A large part of those team numbers came from a suspended Ryan Braun, 190 wRC+ and .448 wOBA against lefties, and Jean Segura, 137 and .373 marks respectively, who is still nursing a hamstring injury. Facing a depleted Brewers lineup makes Niese a solid option to close out the fantasy season. He is available in over half of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues as well as 38% of CBS leagues.

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

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