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Roto Roundup: Michael Wacha, Jacoby Ellsbury and Others

Ray Guilfoyle highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Thursday's MLB games.


The Roundup is a little late today as I co-hosted the Fake Teams podcast with Zack Smith last night, and we got started a little late due to my stupiidity. I somehow did not save the Skype app to my laptop after my first appearance on the podcast a few weeks ago. Make sure you check out the podcast posted later today as Zack and I discussed several players including Chris Davis, Michael Wacha, Domonic Brown, among others, including answering some of your questions posted to the last podcast post and to the new Fantasy Baseball Questions thread.

Make sure you check out Monday's podcast as well, as Craig Goldstein will be Andrew and Zack's guest and they will be talking about the upcoming MLB Draft and other prospects.

Michael Wacha dominates in major league debut

The Cardinals called up top pitching prospect Michael Wacha on Thursday and he did not disappoint in his major league debut. He limited the struggling Royals lineup to one run on two hits, no walks and six strikeouts in 7 innings. He needed 93 pitches to get through seven innings, inducing 13 swinging strikes and nine ground ball outs. Zack and I discussed Wacha on the podcast last night and think he could remain in the Cardinals rotation even when Jake Westbrook returns from the DL. With Jaime Garcia out for the season, the Cardinals will surely stick with Wacha over John Gast and Tyler Lyons. Wacha is a must add in NL only leagues and deeper mixed leagues.

Unfortunately for Wacha, he did not earn a win in his major league debut as manager Mike Matheny felt the need to go to Mitchell Boggs to close out the 2-1 Cardinals lead, and all he needed was 7 pitches to squander the lead. He gave up a home run to Jeff Francoeur and then walked Alex Gordon before being replaced by Victor Marte who hit a batter and gave up a two run double to Eric Hosmer. Trevor Rosenthal was available but not used last night.

Jacoby Ellsbury runs wild on the Phillies

Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is a free agent after this season and will be looking for a huge contract in free agency. Thus far in 2013, Ellsbury has struggled a bit at the plate, and there was even talk that he could be moved down in the Red Sox lineup. Last night, Ellsbury was their leadoff hitter, going 3-4 with a walk, a run scored and FIVE stolen bases. Ellsbury is now hitting .268-.337-.389 with 1 HR, 30 runs, 22 RBI and 21 stolen bases. He has caught fire at the plate over his last ten games, going 16-40 with 7 runs, 6 RBI and 8 stolen bases.

Round'em Up

The Dodgers placed outfielder Matt Kemp on the 15 day DL with a mild hamstring strain, and announced that Tony Gwynn Jr. would be called up for tonight's game in Colorado. After Don Mattingly's recent comments, most people felt Joc Pederson would be called up to play center field, but that appears not to be the case. As a Dodgers fan, I think a Pederson call up is needed to spark them, as this offense is stuck in neutral this season.

But, there is hope. Dodgers outfield prospect Yasiel Puig played center field last night, while Pederson sat, so I wonder if he will eventually be called up to replace Kemp in the Dodgers lineup.

Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar is supposed to be sent back down to AAA when Ian Kinsler returns from the DL, but there is no telling when he will return with his rib injury. Profar is doing his best to make the decision difficult, or to chance the mind of Ron Washington, as he went 3-4 with a run scored yesterday in the Rangers 9-5 win over the Diamondbacks. Profar is now hitting .370-.379-.519 with a HR, 4 runs and 5 RBI in 27 at bats since his call up. Like I told Zack last night on the podcast, Profar seems to shine in the big spotight, and I wonder if the Rangers will change their mind about Profar when Kinsler eventually does return to their lineup.

Recent Mariners call up, Nick Franklin, showed off some power yesterday, homering twice in the Mariners 7-1 win over the Padres. Franklin is now the Mariners everyday second baseman and is rosterable in all leagues now that Dustin Ackley has been sent to AAA.

Braves C/OF Evan Gattis has to play everyday at some point, but with Brian McCann at catcher, Freddie Freeman at first base and Justin Upton in left field, he will strictly be a guy who plays to give those guys a day off. Gattis had a big day yesterday, going 3-4 with 3 runs scored in the Braves 11-3 win over the Blue Jays, and is now hitting .285-.333-.628 with 12 HRs, 22 runs and 33 RBI in just 137 at bats. That is some impressive production in limited at bats, and one has to wonder if the Braves regret paying B.J. Upton $75 million over the offseason.

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is considered to be a perennial first round pick in fantasy drafts, there is no question. But, he might be in the conversation for Top 5 or 6 with the way he is hitting this season. Cargo went 2-3 with 2 walks, 2 runs, an RBI and 3 stolen bases last night, and is now hitting .309-.389-.583 with 12 HRs, 44 runs, 34 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 12 attempts. He is tied for the major league lead in runs with Joey Votto, is tied for 9th in HRs, and is tied for 9th in stolen bases as well.

Actually, if you compare him to Mike Trout, he is equal to or outperforming Trout in all 5 x 5 categories with the exception of RBI, and Trout is widely believed to be a Top 3 fantasy pick. Something to think about as the season rolls along.