Roto Roundup: Taijuan Walker, Matt Harvey, Clayton Kershaw and Others

Jonathan Daniel

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Monday's roto action, including his thoughts on what to do with Matt Harvey in keeper leagues, some huge praise given to Clayton Kershaw, Taijuan Walker's possible call up and more.

Fake Teams adds English Premier League Fantasy soccer coverage

Yes, we have taken the dive into offering English Premier League fantasy soccer here at Fake Teams. Brian Stultz will be offering his fantasy advice 3-4 times per week going forward, so make sure you stop by and check out his work and ask him all of your fantasy EPL questions. You can follow Brian at @brianjstultz on Twitter.

Fake Teams Podcast, Episode 28: A little less expensive

Zack and Andrew hosted episode 28 of the Fake Teams podcast, discussing Andrew preseason bold predictions,Francisco Liriano, Ichiro's 4,000th hit, Nate Schierholtz and replacements for Jason Heyward among others.

You can listen to the podcast in two ways:

MP3

ITunes

Matt Harvey: What to do in keeper leagues

Yesterday, we learned that Mets ace Matt Harvey has a partially torn UCL in his right elbow, and more than likely will require Tommy John surgery. Learning this so late in the season basically rules him out for 2014, as he will more than likely miss all of 2014, but should be ready for spring training in 2015.

For those of you in NL or mixed keeper leagues, this presents an opportunity on draft day, especially if you decide before the draft that you are rebuilding. The owners who are going for it this season will not spend money on a starter who will give them zero production in 2014, and that provides opportunity to buy Harvey on the cheap at your auction draft.

If you own Harvey at a cheap price for 2014, and you are planning on competing for your league title, you should attempt to deal him this offseason for the best offer available. That is, unless you are loaded at starting pitcher and can afford to stash him on your roster all season.

Taijuan Walker on the verge of a call up?

Yesterday, the Mariners designated starter Aaron Harang for assignment, and some, including Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, seems to think that the time is now for the Mariners to call up pitching prospect Taijuan Walker. Here is Baker on the possibility of Walker's promotion:

As for Walker, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik hinted last week he was considering adding him to the team’s list of September callups. The most heralded of the so-called "Big 3" prospects the team has been touting in the minors going on two years, showcasing Walker would allow the Mariners to add to the list of young players they’ve been showcasing in the majors this season.

The Mariners have not been shy with calling up prospects this season, so calling him up makes sense.

The 21 year old starter has made 25 starts in stints in AA and AAA this season with a combined 9-10 record, with a 2.93 ERA, 1.196 WHIP and a 160-57 strikeout to walk rate in 141.1 innings.

Clayton Kershaw: Best pitcher ever?

I was reading Tony Jackson's Dodgerscribe blog on Monday morning and he wrote about something Josh Beckett said in an interview before Sunday night's game with the Red Sox. Here is what Tony wrote along with Beckett's comments:

OK, we all know that Kershaw is good. Really good. We know he has a Cy Young Award and might have a second one in a few weeks. We know he has a pitching triple crown. We know he is about to lead the National League in ERA for the third year in a row. We know he has been eliciting comparisons to Sandy Koufax for years now. We know that right now, it’s tough to make the argument that he isn’t the best pitcher in the majors.

But Beckett was ready to cast aside the "right now" part of that sentence.

"As good as you think he is, he is better than that, and that’s hard to do," Beckett said. "I know he hasn’t been doing it that long, but he could possibly be the best pitcher ever."

The best pitcher ever.

Quite interesting from a pitcher who has won a few World Series games in his time in the big leagues. With that said, Kershaw has a lot more to prove before earning the distinction as best pitcher ever, if all all.

Round'em Up

Royals DH Billy Butler has been a bit of a disappointment this season, as he has not been able to duplicate the power he put up in 2012. Yesterday, he went 3-3 with a HR, 2 walks, 3 runs, and 3 RBI in the Royals 11-1 win over the Rays. Butler is now hitting .295-.388-.432 with 13 HRs, 50 runs and 66 RBI on the season.

Phillies starter Cliff Lee was vintage Cliff Lee last night, limiting the Mets to just one run on 5 hits, a walk and 7 strikeouts in the Phils 2-1 win. Lee moved his record to 11-6 with a 3.07 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a 164-28 strikeout to walk rate in 178.2 innings. Lee is still a top 12 starter for me heading into 2014.

Dodgers starter Zack Greinke struggked to start the 2013 season, but he is now healthy and pitching like he did back when he won the AL Cy Young award a few seasons ago. Last night, Greinke limited the Cubs to two runs on 5 hits, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts in the Dodgers 6-2 win. Greinke is now 13-3 with a 2.86 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. His strikeouts are down this season, from over 8 K/9 to just over 7 K/9, as he appears to be pitching to contact more than in prior years. His FIP of 3.43 and xFIP of 3.62 says there may be some regression down the road, but when pitching at home this season, he is giving up a little more than 2 runs per nine innings. He has been excellent for his owners since the end of May with ERAs of 3.66 in June, 2.63 in July and 1.23 in August.

Greinke's teammate Yasiel Puig has been in a bit of a slump lately,  but he busted out of it last night, going 3-5 with a HR, double and an RBI. I ranked Puig in my Top 20 hitters for 2014, but have some reservations about it, as I expect the league to catch up to him next season. Even still, he should be good for a solid BA, 20+ HR power and 20+ stolen bases once the game slows down for him and he uses his aggressiveness in a more mature way.

Astros first baseman/outfielder/DH Chris Carter is not one to hit for a high average, and he will strike out quite a bit. But, on the plus side, he has power, and it was on display last night, as he went 3-4 with 2 HRs, a walk, 3 runs and 4 RBI in the Astros 10-8 win over the White Sox. Carter is triple slashing .215-.316-.448 with 25 HRs, 54 runs and 68 RBI. He is on pace for 30 HRs, 85 RBI and 219 strikeouts. I wonder if manager Bo Porter will sit him in September as he approached the 200 strikeout level.

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