Roto Roundup: Taijuan Walker, Billy Hamilton, Dustin Ackley and Others

Bob Levey

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Friday's roto action, including news regarding Billy Hamilton, and thoughts on Taijuan Walker, Dustin Ackley and others.

I went to the Trenton Thunder - New Britain Rock Cats game in Trenton on Thursday night and was telling my neighbor on the way to the game that the Rock Cats, the Twins AA affiliate, has one of the top 3-4 prospects in the game in Miguel Sano.

I was excited to see him play for the first time, and on our way to our seats, after getting beers of course, I saw the lineups for the game handwritten on the board, and was shocked Sano was not in the starting lineup. The one time I get to see Sano play and he sits. Actually, i did get to see him, as he was coaching first base for the Rock Cats. He's a big dude, and seems to have a pretty good sense of humor as he was joking with the Thunder players while coaching first base.

Fake Teams Fantasy Podcast, Episode 30: Solely Ours

Zack and Andrew discuss the latest news in fantasy baseball including their thoughts on Taijuan Walker, Danny Duffy, the Marlon Byrd trade along with a few prospects: Carlos Tocci and J.P. Crawford. They also tell their stories about a few ball games they made recently.

You can listen to the podcast in three ways:

MP3

ITunes

Non-ITunes feed

Fake Teams English Premier Fantasy League

Have you ever played fantasy EPL before? Well, we have taken the dive into offering English Premier League fantasy soccer coverage here at Fake Teams, and Brian Stultz has set up an EPL fantasy league over at Premier League. If you have interest in joining the Fake Teams EPL fantasy league, here is the league info to get you signed up:

League name: Fake Teams

Code: 572171-575691

Taijuan Walker wins major league debut

Well, if you had any question about how Taijuan Walker would perform in his major league debut, he answered that question by limiting the Astros to one unearned run, giving up two hits and a walk, while striking out two in five innings of work last night.

Walker needed 70 pitches to get through five innings, as he induced five ground ball outs vs eight fly ball outs, but none of those fly balls hurt him in the process.

Kenneth Arthur wrote this article on Walker a few days ago and is worth your read. For more on Walker's performance, please check out Lookout Landing, SB Nation's Mariners fan site.

Billy Hamilton to be called up on Monday

Let the fantasy hype begin! The Reds will call up Billy Hamilton on Monday when rosters expand from 25 to 40 players. The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay reported the news first, via Twitter, of course:

I am not sure how much playing time he will get in September, as the Reds are in the wild card hunt, so every game is important the rest of the way. Combine that with the fact that manager Dusty Baker loves his veterans and Hamilton may only see time as a pinch runner and a start or two per week at the most.

Jason Hunt talked about Hamilton's fantasy impact in this piece a few weeks ago, and here is an excerpt:

He is absolutely worth a flier down the stretch, as he can make an impact in the stolen base category in your league. The hard part is in weekly leagues where, without the potential guarantee of 5-6 starts, you'd be in a tough spot if you have an option that can play at a lower level, but with more at bats.

Jason hit the nail on the head with Hamilton, but I am sure he will be picked up all over the place on Monday.

For more on Hamilton's call up, check out Red Reporter, SB Nation's Reds fan site.

Round'em Up

Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley is showing signs of turning things around at the plate after disappointing Mariners fans and his fantasy owners this season. Ackley went 4-5 with a run scored and 4 RBI in Taijuan Walker's major league debut last night. Ackley is now hitting ,261-.311-.355 with 3 HRs, 34 runs, 26 RBI and 2 stolen bases in 310 at bats. His value drops moving from second base to the outfield though, and he will need to improve his plate discipline to become the hitter he was when drafted a few seasons ago.

A day after being benched in the middle of the game on Wednesday, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was back in the Dodgers lineup last night with some pressure to perform, and that he did. Puig went 4-5 with a run scored, an RBI and two stolen bases in the Dodgers 9-2 win last night. Puig, who I ranked in my Top 25 Hitters for 2014, is now hitting .354- .412-.565 with 13 HRs, 53 runs, 31 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 16 attempts, all in less than 300 at bats. You can probably double his stats to get an idea as to what he can do over a full season. He's got 20 HR, 20 stolen base potential in 2014.

A guy who I didn't include in my Top 25 hitters for 2014 was Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, but maybe I should have. He is probably on the cusp of the Top 25 for now. Last night, he proved once again that his power is coming back, as he went 2-4 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI. He is now hitting .293-.339-.465 with 19 HRs, 62 runs and 85 RBI and is on pace to hit 23 HRs and drive in over 100 runs for the sixth time in the last seven years.

Rockies first baseman has had a terrific career, and some think he may squeak his way into the Hall of Fame. Last night, in one of his last hurrahs possibly, Helton went 2-5 with 2 HRs and 6 RBI in the Rockies 9-6 win over the Reds. Injuries have slowed his production over the last few seasons, so he is probably owned in NL only leagues and the deepest of mixed leagues right now. A far cry from the first round pick of several seasons ago.

In one of his biggest starts of the season, Pirates starter (ace?) Francisco Liriano dominated the Cardinals, holding them to just two hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 8 innings of work in the Pirates 5-0 win last night. Liriano is now 15-6 with a 2.57 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a 135-51 strikeout to walk rate in 133 innings. What the Pirates pitching coach has done with him to perform at this level is quite amazing, as Liriano probably went un-drafted in most fantasy leagues this season.

Rangers ace Yu Darvish flirted with another no-hitter last night, as he held the Twins hitless for 6 innings before serving up two home runs in the 7th inning and taking the loss. Darvish finished with a line of 6.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB and 11 strikeouts. Darvish is one of the best starters in the American League right now, but his win total doesn't tell the story of how well he has pitched. Unfortunately, for fantasy owners, wins is a category, and he has only 12 of them. He leads the major leagues in strikeouts with 236 in 174+ innings on the mound.

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