Pickups of the Day: Vying for Votto

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Rotoworld’s brand-new Pickups of the Day column is designed to help fantasy managers uncover a handful of widely-available targets over the course of the season. It could be a breakout candidate, a prospect stash, an injury replacement, a pitcher with a favorable matchup or week, a player who is due some better luck, or any other number of scenarios. If there’s value to be found on the waiver wire, we will find it and bring it your way.

In today’s column, we’re going to look at a sneaky, unexpected fantasy contributor on offense and a tremendous streaming option for Thursday’s slate of MLB action.

PICKUPS OF THE DAY

Joey Votto, 1B, Reds

Available in 78 percent of Yahoo leagues

If you just glance at Joey Votto’s overall numbers on the season, they’re pretty underwhelming. He has had an unbelievable 17-year big league career, but his 2023 season has been very slow to develop. He didn’t make his season debut until June 19 after a long recovery from offseason shoulder surgery and it was a struggle initially for him to get his timing back. On the season, he’s slashing just .219/.323/.533 with 13 homers and 31 RBI in 41 games.

If we narrow our focus to the last 14 games though, we see an entirely different picture. The 39-year-old has started to look like the Votto of yesteryear – slashing .298/.365/.638 with five homers, 10 RBI and a 13/5 K/BB ratio over 52 plate appearances. He’s hitting in the middle of one of the highest-scoring and most exciting offenses in all of baseball, which should continue to lead to ample RBI opportunities.

There’s no harm in picking him up now and riding him while he’s hot, and if he hits a prolonged cold stretch, he makes for an easy drop. There’s always a chance though, that he continues what he has done for the past two weeks for the remainder of the season – in that case he could be the type of impact addition that could put your fantasy squad over the top.

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Zack Littell, SP, Rays

Available in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues

Littell has quietly seized a regular spot in the Rays’ starting rotation and seems to be flourishing after the move. The 27-year-old right-hander has won each of his first two starts since joining the rotation – posting a 1.64 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 5/1 K/BB ratio across 11 innings of work. Both of those starts came on the road – against the Astros and the Tigers.

While his strikeout numbers have been limited through those two starts, he averages almost a strikeout an inning on the season, so he’s not a complete negative there. He also draws a solid matchup on Thursday where he’ll take on Matthew Liberatore and the Cardinals at home. Not only will he be a huge favorite to earn a victory in that spot, he should be able to post solid ratios and add in 3-5 strikeouts.

For a pitcher that’s readily available on the waiver wire in most leagues, there’s nothing more that you can really ask for in a streaming option. Pick up and start Littell with supreme confidence on Thursday.

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