Roto Roundup: Ryan Braun, Yordano Ventura, Brandon Belt, Jose Abreu and others

Drew Hallowell

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Tuesday's roto action, including Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman, Brandon Belt, Delmon Young and others.

Ryan Zimmerman hurting again

A few years ago, I was one of Ryan Zimmerman's biggest backers, touting him as a top 3 third base option and owning him in several leagues. After two successive seasons with shoulder issues, I backed off, and haven't gone back to the well. His owner in the UBA keeper league offered him to me in a trade this offseason, and I politely declined.

Well, here we are just one week into the 2014 season and Zimmerman is once again dealing with a shoulder injury. He made a terrible throw to first base in Sunday's game, and sat out Tuesday's game vs the fast-starting Marlins. An MRI on his shoulder came back showing no structural damage, so that's good news. The bad news is Zimmerman had surgery on the shoulder before the 2013 season, so one has to wonder what is going on with the shoulder now. Manager Matt Williams stated in an interview that Zimmerman has an "arthritic" condition, so who knows how they will treat it. He had shoulder woes in 2012, and once he had a cortisone shot, his performance at the plate improved in a big way.

Last season, he struggled with his power most of the season, but then he went off in September making his season stats more respectable. I think it is just a matter of time before the Nationals move him to first base on a permanent basis, but with Adam LaRoche at first, the Nationals may elect to sit LaRoche vs tough lefties. With LaRoche or Zimmerman on the bench, this allows Danny Espinosa to see more playing time at second base, with Anthony Rendon moving to his original position at third base.

Matt Moore headed to DL

Even though one fantasy writer proclaimed that fantasy owners should overreact to Matt Moore's elbow injury on Monday night, the Rays decided to take the cautious approach and place Moore on the disabled list on Tuesday. Moore was pitching well when he grabbed his elbow after his 78th pitch of the evening. Anytime a pitcher grabs his elbow, it is time to be concerned. We have already seen so many pitchers go down to Tommy John surgery already this season.

Moore had an MRI yesterday and the results were immediately not clear, but late last night, we got this tweet from Yahoo's Jeff Passan:

It was also reported that Moore will pay a visit to Dr. James Andrews this week, so the news is not good for Moore's owners or Rays fans.

Marc Topkin, from the Tampa Bay Times, tweeted his thoughts on who will replace Moore in the Rays rotation yesterday afternoon:

Bedard makes a lot of sense, actually. I am just not sure if I would run out and grab him unless you are in a deep AL only or mixed league.

But, don't overreact to the Moore news.....fantasy writer somewhere.

Ryan Braun has a monster day

Well, it was all doom and gloom for Ryan Braun owners this weekend after hearing the news that his thumb was still bothering him, and that he turned down several options for surgery this offseason. How many of you were thinking about trading him after hearing that news? I admit to second-guessing myself for keeping him at $49 in one keeper league and drafting him at $45 in another.

After hitting well in spring training, and nary a word about his thumb, Braun was hitting just .150 entering Tuesday's game in Philadelphia, and then the thumb injury resurfaced. He sat out Saturday's game due to the pain. All of those worries were placed on the back burner after his performance yesterday, as he went 3-5 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI in the Brewers 10-4 win over the Phillies. Braun likes hitting in Citizens Bank Park, as after Tuesday's performance, he has now hit 10 home runs and driven in 21 runs in 20 career games there.

He has two more games in Philadelphia today and tomorrow. Enjoy.

Brandon Belt: Top 10 fantasy first baseman?

If you were watching Sunday Night Baseball, you saw John Kruk talk about the change in the way Brandon Belt grips the bat about three times, if I am not mistaken. I think I got it after the first time he explained it. Anyway, the change in grip was made last season, and Belt put up his best season as a pro, hitting .289 with 17 home runs, 76 runs and 67 RBI.

This season he is off to a tremendous start at the plate, and he is hitting for power. Yesterday, he went 2-4 with two runs, a home run and two RBI and is now hitting .343-.343-.771 with 5 home runs, 9 runs and 9 RBI through his first eight games. If he keeps this up he could be a top 10 fantasy first baseman this season, as he could realistically hit 25-30 home runs this season. He won't keep up this pace and will slump over the next few weeks, but he should set career highs in home runs and RBI this season.

Roto Roundup

Delmon Young was once the top prospect in the game. That was a long time ago, and he is now at the end of his career. The Orioles signed him to a minor league deal this offseason and he made the team with Nolan Reimold landing on the disabled list with a back injury once again. Yesterday, Young proved that he can still hit, going 3-6 with a home run, 2 runs and 3 RBI in the Orioles 14-5 win over the Yankees. When in the lineup, he is productive, as he is hitting .333-.385-.583 with a home run and four RBI in 12 at bats.

Young's teammate Adam Jones had a good day at the plate, going 2-4 with a home run, 2 runs and 2 RBI. Coming into the season, some fantasy writers were skeptical of Jones being able to repeat his 2013 performance of 33 home runs and 100+ runs and RBI, with their reasoning being that he never walks. Well, the way I look at it, he has never walked in his career. He hasn't had a walk rate over 5% since 2009, yet has seen his power improve every year since then, and he is a consistent .280-.285 hitter at the plate. I am not sure what else you want from a hitter. Oh, and he has stolen double digit bags in each of the last three seasons. What's not to like?

The Royals haven't made the playoffs in a few decades, and some think they will finally make the playoffs this season. If they do, they will need pitching prospect Yordano Ventura to continue pitching like he did last night. Ventura limited the Rays to no runs on two hits, no walks and six strikeouts in six innings of work. He did not figure in the decision, as he left with the game scoreless.

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro endured his worst season as a major leaguer in 2013 hitting just .245 with 10 home runs, 59 runs and 44 RBI. This offseason, I projected Castro would have a bounce back season in 2014, and he is off to a good start. Last night, he went 3-4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI and is now hitting .310-.333-.552 with two home runs and six RBI.

The White Sox signed Jose Abreu to play first base this offseason, thus ending the Paul Konerko era. Abreu came to the major league with reports of big time power, and that was on full display last night in Colorado. Abreu went 2-4 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI in the White Sox 13-3 win over the Rockies. He is hitting just .258 with 2 home runs, but has now driven in 11 runs in eight games, showing solid plate discipline as well.

Fantasy Rundown

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