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Roto Roundup: Matt Holliday, Max Scherzer, Pedro Ciriaco and Others

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Some early 2013 advice: Draft St. Louis Cardinal hitters. That's what I will be doing next season, and their offense is lead by outfielder Matt Holliday, who is quietly having an MVP type season. Holliday went 4-5 with a double, triple, 2 runs and 4 RBI and is now hitting .309-.384-.527 with 23 HRs, 82 runs and an NL leading 89 RBI. He is on pace for a 29 HR, 105 run and 114 RBI season, and will certainly shoot up my outfielder rankings in 2013.

You already know how I feel about Cardinal hitters, and I wrote about Allen Craig a few days ago. Well, he continues to be a monster at the plate, as he went 3-5 with a HR and 3 RBI yesterday, raising his slash line to .318-.375-.584 with 20 HRs, 66 runs and 71 RBI. In his last 10 games, Craig is 17-39 with 2 HRs, 10 runs and 10 RBI. He has done all this in just 327 at bats, and he might be my second ranked NL fantasy first baseman in 2013, behind only Joey Votto. Actually, in 50 less at bats, Craig has more HR, runs and RBI than Votto this season. Wow.

Tigers starter Max Scherzer appears to be turning his season around right now. Scherzer held the Angels to just one run in 7 innings of work yesterday. He gave up 4 hits, walked 2 and struck out 9 to win his 14th game of the season. He is now 14-6 with a 4.13 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 3.23 xFIP, 1.35 WHIP and a whopping 195 strikeouts in 154.2 innings this season. He has given up just 4 earned runs over his last 4 starts, and has given up 2 runs or less in 7 of his last 10 starts, lowering his ERA by more than half a run over the 10 starts.

The Red Sox have to be happy that the Pirates gave up on infielder Pedro Ciriaco, huh? Where did this guy come from? Ciriaco is enjoying a heckuva season in Boston, and he went 3-5 with a HR, 2 runs and 2 RBI in the Red Sox 8-6 win over the Royals yesterday. Ciriaco is now hitting .360-.374-.500 with 2 HRs, 21 runs, 16 RBI and 9 stolen bases in 9 attempts, in just 136 at bats. I don't see him finishing the season hitting .360, but you have to roster this guy while it lasts.

Giancarlo Stanton is a beast, and is definitely one of the best power hitters in the game. Stanton homered for the third straight game on Sunday and has now homered 8 times on the Marlins 11 game road trip. For the season, Stanton is hitting .287-.358-.601 with 29 HRs, 60 runs and 69 RBI in 356 at bats. He is homering about once every 12 at bats thus far and his HR.FB rate is right around 28%. Only Adam Dunn has a higher HR/FB rate than Stanton this season, and that is probably due to the fact that he strikes out more than Stanton, so less chance to hit a fly ball.

I traded Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper a few weeks ago in a keeper league. Yeah, I know, what was I thinking, right? Well, Harper has stubbled in a big way since June. Here are his monthly slash lines for July and August:

July: .222-.306-.313, 1 HR, 7 RBI

August: .220-.275-.378, 3 HRs, 8 RBI

I traded him to make a run for first place, and so far, that is not looking good with about 5.5 weeks left in the season. I think Harper can put up a 20 HR - 20 stolen base season in 2013, but he will have to work thru his issue with breaking balls before he can join the 20-20 club.