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Roto Roundup: Joey Votto, Brett Lawrie, Hiroki Kuroda, and Others

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30:  Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the New York Yankees pitches in the first-inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium on June 30, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30: Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the New York Yankees pitches in the first-inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium on June 30, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Reds superstar first baseman Joey Votto was replaced in the 5th inning of yesterday's game vs the Giants with inflammation in his left knee. John Fay from the Cincinnati Inquirer tweeted that he jogged to first base on a beatable ground ball. Votto is having another great season at the plate, so the Reds will miss his bat if he should need a DL stint.

Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie preseason hype was filled with plenty of helium after his 2011 performance, and I admit I was one of those hyping him. Lawrie hasn't met the high expectations from writers like me, but he isn't hurting fantasy teams either. He went 3-4 with a double, HR, 3 runs and 3 RBI yesteday in the Blue Jays trouncing of the Angels. Lawrie raised his triple slash line to .291-.341-.438 with 8 HRs, 48 runs, 33 RBI and 11 steals in 19 attempts. He will probably come short of the 20-20 season I projected, but he will come real close.

Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched a gem yesterday, shutting out the White Sox for 7 innings, giving up 3 hits, a walk and striking out 11. He is now 8-7 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and a 80-31 strikeout to walk ratio in 102.1 innings. Since his May 16th start vs Toronto where he gave up 7 runs in 5 innings, he has given up 3 runs or less in 7 of his 8 starts. In those 8 starts, covering 54.1 innings, he has given up just 12 runs on 42 hits and a 50-14 K-BB rate. I had a feeling he would pitch well in the AL East.

Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez has struggled to hit his weight this year, but he has been productive nonetheless. Yesterday, he went 1-3 with a walk and a grand slam, and is now hitting .226-.297-.477 with 15 HRs, 14 doubles.34 runs and 44 RBI in 235 at bats. More than half of his hits (53) have gone for extra bases (29), and he is quietly on pace for 32 HRs, 93 RBI and 173 strikeouts. If he could ever cut down on the K rate just a bit, he could be a consistent 30+ home run hitter.

More Roto Roundup after the jump:

I look for the Phillies to start making deals real soon, especially after losing 2 of 3 at home against the Pirates, and now have lost the first two games in Miami, they are 36-44 and on pace to lose 90 games. Yesterday, they started by dealing Jim Thome to the Orioles for a couple minor leaguers. Topping the list of players they will trade will be Cole Hamels. There will be plenty of teams lining up to trade for him, and the Phils could get a couple very good prospects in return. Hamels took the loss yesterday, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts in 7 innings of work. He is now 10-4 with a 3.08 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 111-28 strikeout to walk ratio in 111 innings of work. And after the Dodgers spent $42 million on a relatively unknown Cuban outfield prospect Yasem Puig, in a big overpay, the Dodgers could be the odds on favorite to sign Hamels this offseason.

Reds starter Mat Latos looks like he is in a groove and that is good news for fantasy owners. After a rough April, where his ERA approached 6.00, he turned in a 3.26 ERA in May. Although his June ERA is high at 5.16, he has looked like the Latos of 2011 in his last two starts. He threw a complete game two hitter yesterday, holding the Giants to one run and striking out 7 while walking none. He has thrown two straight complete games, and is now 7-2 with a 4.42 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and a 90-28 strikeout to walk ratio in 97.2 innings.

Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is looking more and more like the Choo from 2010. Yesterday, he went 4-5 with a HR, 4 runs and 3 RBI, raising his season average to .291-.382-.471 with 8 HRs, 50 runs, 30 RBI, 9 stolen bases and a solid 34-30 strikeout to walk ratio. Prior to 2011, Choo regularly put up .300-.400-.500 triple slash lines, and he is approaching those levels again this season. ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted yesterday that since moving to the leadoff spot, he is hitting .326 with a .400+ OBP.

The Padres called up AAA catching prospect Yasmani Grandal on Saturday and he made history. He homered from both sides of the plate for his first two major league hits. Grandal was hitting .335-.443-.521 with 6 HRs, 18 doubles, 40 runs, 35 RBI and an excellent 35-37 strikeout to walk ratio in 194 at bats in AAA this season. He will play everyday as starter Nick Hundley was optioned to AAA when he was called up, and should be picked up in NL-only leagues if he isn't owned already.

Did you ever hear of Michael Fiers before this season? I never did, but he should be owned in more 8% of ESPN leagues. Fiers shut out the hot Diamondacks on two hits in 6 innings yesterday. He walked two and struck out 10 to win his 3rd game of the season. He is 3-2 with a 2.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and a solid 41-8 strikeout to walk ratio in 39.1 innings of work. He has given up 1 run or less in 4 of his 6 starts so far.