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Roto Roundup: Matt Harvey, Nolan Arenado, Jake Arrieta and others

Ray offers his thoughts on some of the top fantasy performers from Saturday's roto action, including news about Matt Harvey and his innings limit, Nolan Arenado's power streak, Jake Arrieta's continued dominance and more.

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Roto Roundup

Happy Matt Harvey Day!!

Yesterday's baseball twitter was full of reaction to Mets ace Matt Harvey telling the media that he has a 180 innings limit this season. Here is more from Anthony DiComo from MLB.com:

His comments follow Scott Boras' comments on Friday indicating that Dr. James Andrews recommended that Harvey have a 180 innings pitched limit this season. If Harvey decides to stick to this limit, it will go against a lot of what he said earlier this season. He previously stated that the knew nothing about an innings limit, and constantly complained when asked about the Mets six man rotation.

I think he pitches in the postseason even if he is shut down during the regular season. But, then we get into the Stephen Strasburg comparisons, as Strasburg was shut down the year he returned from Tommy John surgery, and did not pitch in the playoffs. Should Harvey decide to shut it down after he reaches the 180 inning pitched limit and does not pitch in the playoffs, I can see the Mets dealing him in the offseason.

Speaking of aces, Cubs starter Jake Arrieta is having one heck of a follow up to his break out 2014 season. Yesterday, he shut out the Diamondbacks on just 4 hits, no walks and 7 strikeouts over 8 innings in the Cubs 2-0 win. Arrieta is now 18-6 with a 2.03 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and a 197-44 strikeout to walk rate in 191 innings this season. He has not given up a run in each of his last four starts and in seven of his last ten starts. he has given up two runs or less in 19 of his 28 starts this season and should win 20 games this season.

Is Arrieta a top 5 starter for 2016? I think he is.

I didn't get to the Roundup over the last few days for various reasons, so I missed out on Chris Davis' home runs over the last 3-4 games. Davis did not homer on Saturday, but has hit five home runs over his last four games, and now has 40 home runs on the season. He is hitting .255-.341-.548 with 40 home runs, 79 runs scored and 100 RBI, but has struck out 180 times. He is going to make a lot of money in the free agent market this offseason, and I will be interested to see which team overpays for him. The team will have to make sure he gets his adderall prescription approved by MLB after signing him, as he seems to perform better at the plate when he is allowed to take the drug.

Another hitter having an excellent power season is Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. Last night he homered for the sixth straight game in the Rockies 7-3 loss to the Giants. Arenado went 1-4 with the home run and 2 RBI, and is now hitting .288-.323-.580 with 36 home runs, 82 runs scored and 105 RBI this season, and is tied for the National League lead in home runs with teammate Carlos Gonzalez. His hard contact rate has stayed the same as last season, but his medium contract rate has jumped from 49% last season to 52% this season, and his HR/FB% has jumped as well, from 11.4% to 18.2%. I felt that Arenado was due for a breakout season in 2015, projecting him to hit 25 home runs and drive in 90 runs. As you can see, he has exceeded that projection by a wide margin, but I wonder if we can expect this kind of power from him on an annual basis, or if this is closer to a career year for him.

The third base position is going to be stacked in 2016, and I could see anywhere from 4-5 third baseman falling off draft board in the first two to three rounds, including Arenado, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Reds third baseman Todd Frazier. Who comes off draft boards first will be a subject of a future article, as one can make the argument that one of Arenado, Machado or Donaldson is the top hitter at the position.

Lost in the Red Sox disappointing season has been the performance of 39 year old DH David Ortiz. Yesterday, he went 2-5 with a home run and an RBI in the Red Sox 9-2 win over the Phillies. On the season, Ortiz is hitting .267-.352-.526 with 30 home runs, 61 runs scored and 83 RBI. The 30 home runs marks the ninth time he has hit 30 or more home runs in a season, and the third straight year he has joined the 30 home run club. In an era where power is down, Ortiz's power is valuable on draft day.

That said, after just 11 hitters hit 30 or more home runs last season, 14 hitters have hit 30 or more this season, with ten more hitters within five home runs of the 30 home run club. There have been 4,024 home runs hit this season, and we are on pace to eclipse the 4,186 home runs hit in 2014, marking the first time since 2012 when home runs have increased from one season to the next.

The Rangers traded for former Phillies ace Cole Hamel at the trade deadline, and with Yu Darvish coming back next season, they look to be a dominating 1-2 at the top of the Rangers rotation. But, fantasy owners should not sleep on Derek Holland, who has pitched very well since returning from the disabled list. Last night, Holland limited the Angels to just one run on 3 hits, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts over 8 innings in the Rangers 2-1 win. The win moved Holland's record to 3-1 in his five starts since returning from the DL, with a 2.37 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and a sterling 25-3 strikeout to walk rate in 30.1 innings of work. He is owned in just under 50% of ESPN leagues at the moment, so if you are in a push to place in the money in your fantasy/roto leagues, I would feel confident in grabbing him for the rest of the season.

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