Roto Roundup: Masahiro Tanaka, Charlie Blackmon, Lucas Duda, and others

Tom Szczerbowski

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Friday's MLB roto action including Masahiro Tanaka's first major league start, Charlie Blackmon's big day at the plate and others.

Masahiro Tanaka overcomes early struggles

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka got some hype this offseason, as there was countless articles written about him breaking down his performance in the Japanese league and offering opinions on his potential in Major League Baseball. I am in the camp that says he could be one of the top 20-25 starters in the game this season. Pretty lofty expectations, for sure.

Well last night we saw our first glimpse of what he can do on the mound, as he got over early struggles to toss seven innings of two run ball, giving up six hits, walking none and striking out eight to win his first major league start. Some wonder how many innings Tanaka can throw this season, but that will depend on how the Yankees fare in the American League East. If they are competing for a wildcard, he will probably go over the 200 inning level, and could strike out 200 or more batters this season.

For more on Tanaka's performance, make sure you check out Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation's Yankees fan site.

Charlie Blackmon goes 6-6

I was touting Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon as a solid sleeper candidate during the offseason, and even kept him at $10 in one of my NL only keeper leagues even though the Rockies kept six outfielders on their Opening Day roster.

As it turns out, it appears Blackmon might be winning the center field job due to his performance at the plate, as well as his ability to man the spacious center field in Coors Field. Yesterday afternoon, he did increased his chances at winning the center field job by going 6-6 with 3 doubles, a home run, 4 runs and 5 RBI. He even attempted a stolen base, but got thrown out.

With a few pitchers coming off the disabled list over the next few weeks, the Rockies have some decisions to make with regard to the six outfielders they are carrying on their roster. It might make sense to send down one of Brandon Barnes or Corey Dickerson, but time will tell.

For more on Blackmon's great day at the plate, make sure you check out Purple Row, SB Nation's Rockies fan site.

Friday's Roto Roundup

Here is a look at some of the top fantasy performers on Friday:

Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez had a big day at the plate, going 2-4 with two home runs, 3 runs and 3 RBI in the Pirates 12-2 win over division rival Cardinals. Alvarez even stole a base to fill up the box score on Friday night. He won't be running much, but what he does provide is big time power, with the potential to lead the National League in home runs this season. If he could cut down the strikeout rate, he could approach 40 home runs this season.

Alvarez's teammate Gerrit Cole got the win on Friday night, giving up two runs on six hits, two walks and just three strikeouts. The three strikeouts are a little disappointing, but the Cardinals don't have a lot of guys who swing and miss a lot, so it's not a concern that he only mustered three strikeouts. He started out the 2013 season the same way but struck out almost a batter per inning in the second half.

Earlier in the day, Mets first baseman Lucas Duda was told he would be the Mets starting first baseman for the foreseeable future. Duda responded by going 2-3 with two two-run home runs and 4 RBI in the Mets 4-3 win over the Reds last night. Duda has the power to hit 20+ home runs this season if he can play every day and stay healthy. I was lucky enough to win the bidding on him in my NL only auction last night at $7.

Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton is looking to have a bounce back season after a terrible first season in Los Angeles. Last night, he went 3-3 with a home run, two runs and three RBI in the Angels 11-1 win over the Astros. Hamilton is off to a hot start to the 2014 season, hitting .462-.563-.769 in the early going.

Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury received a big pay day this offseason, leaving the World Series winning Red Sox for hated rival Yankees on seven year, $153 million deal. Well, did his best to show that his contract was close to being worth it last night going 3-4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Ellsbury should provide fantasy owners with close to 10-15 home runs in Yankee Stadium, to of along with 90 runs scored, 40+ stolen bases and a .280-.300 batting average. This all assumes he can stay healthy.

Fantasy Rundown

For more fantasy news and rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, as they provide links to all of the best fantasy content on the 'net on a daily basis.

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