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Roto Roundup: Michael Pineda, Danny Salazar, Stephen Strasburg, and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Thursday's roto action including Jim Johnson, Michael Pineda, Stephen Strasburg and others.

Tom Szczerbowski

The Roundup is a little late today as I decided to take the night off from writing last night to watch the Yankees-Red sox game on MLB Network and watch a movie. This one might be a little short though.

Jim Johnson removed as A's closer

The big news from Thursday was that the A's are removing struggling closer Jim Johnson from the closer role and going with a bullpen by committee. Many I follow on Twitter think the Ryan Cook will be given the first shot at closing, but I have a feeling Luke Gregerson may be given the first shot.Gregerson has been pitching the eighth inning for the A's thus far. He has pitched five innings with a 1.80 ERA, a 7.20 K/9, 1.80 B/9 and he keeps the ball on the ground at a 46% rate.

On the other hand, Cook dealt with shoulder pain this spring but is fully healthy now. He has pitched just two innings and hasn't given up a run yet, but has walked three and struck out two. Manager Bob Melvin may choose to go with Gregerson until Cook can show more command and control on the mound.

Others who could be part of the committee include Sean Doolittle and Dan Otero.

For more on the A's bullpen by committee, make sure you check out Athletics Nation, SB Nation's A's fan site.

Danny Salazar: Modern day Nolan Ryan?

Last night, Indians young starter Danny Salazar had one of the more unique pitching lines you will ever see:

3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 2 HR

So, Salazar gave up five runs in less than four innings, getting eleven outs, with ten coming via the strikeout. Actually, according to Elias, that was a record. This from Buster Olney's blog post this morning:

According to ELIAS no other pitcher in baseball's modern era (1900 to present) has struck out 10 or more batters in an outing of less than four innings.

His pitching line last night reminded me of some of the pitching lines we would see from Nolan Ryan back in the 70's and 80's. Ryan was one who would strike out a ton of batters, but was wild, so he walked a lot of batters as well, and was hit around from time to time.

It is only two starts, but Salazar has been wild, giving up almost five walks per nine, and has been prone to the long ball, as he has given up almost three home runs per nine. On the other hand, he is striking out 13.50 batters per nine, so one can't complain about that. He will have to harness his control and the HR/FB% will regress to normal levels as the season goes along. But, like with all young pitchers, you have to take the good with the bad, and be patient when he has a start like this.

To read the fan's take on Salazar's dominating outing, check out Let's Go Tribe, SB Nation's Indians fan site.

Michael Pineda: Second best starter on the Yankees?

Michael Pineda seemed to come out of nowhere with his solid spring performance, and that has carried over into the regular season. in his first start of the season vs the Blue Jays, he pitched well enough to win, but received no run support in the Yankees 4-0 loss to the Blue Jays. In that outing, he went six innings, giving up one run on five hits, no walks and five strikeouts.

Before last nights start vs the Red Sox, I was asked by a Twitter follower if I had any concerns with Pineda facing the Red Sox. I responded that I did not. Thankfully, Pineda made that decision look good as he dominated the Red Sox, giving up just one run on four hits, two walks and seven strikeouts.

Pineda was spotted with what looked like pine tar in his right hand during the game last night, so you will hear some people talking about that today. But, the Red Sox did not point it out to the umpire even though it could be seen with the naked eye. The umps said nothing as well. The Red Sox had no reason to call it out as two of their starters, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, have been accused on social media for doctoring the ball with foreign substances as well. I am sure these three pitchers are not the only ones doctoring the balls.

Pineda is only owned in 39% of ESPN leagues, so there is still time to grab him off the waiver wire if you play in mixed leagues. he could be the Yankees second best starter behind Masahiro Tanaka this season. Sure, it is only two games, but Pineda has faced two very good lineups (Toronto and Boston) and has given up just two runs in 12 innings thus far.

For more on Pineda and the Yankees, make sure you check out Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation's Yankees fan site.

Justin Upton goes yard twice

After a few seasons of supporting Braves outfielder Justin Upton, I have cooled somewhat on him, as he has seemed to underperform my expectations over the last few seasons. One of these years, he is going to put up a monster season, but I am starting to think the chances of him putting up a 35 home run, 110 RBI, .290 batting average with double digit stolen bases is pretty slim. I think he is what he is. A young power hitter who won't hurt you, but may disappoint in the RBI category in most years.

Last night, he had a big night at the plate, going 3-4 with two home runs, two runs and three RBI. The home runs and RBI were the first of the season for him, so he his 2014 April has been much different than his 2013 April, yet we still have another 20 days of baseball left. He has struck out 11 times in his 34 at bats thus far, so his brother is not the only Upton having issues with the swing and miss.

Roto Roundup

Mets outfielder Eric Young hasn't played much this season, but he had a big night at the plate and on the bases last night in the Mets 6-4 come from behind win over the Braves. Young went 3-5 with four runs scored and three stolen bases, his first three steals of the season. Young's main fantasy skill is his ability to steal a base, and I think he could steal 30 or more this season even if he doesn't play on a regular basis.

Stephen Strasburg had a bit of a disappointing season for the Nationals last season, as he lost more games than he won.Then again, the Nationals disappointed last season as well. Yesteday, Strasburg had his way vs the Marlins, giving up just one run on three hits, a walk and 12 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work in the Nationals 7-1 win. In 17 innings thus far, Strasburg has struck out 28 and walked just six, so he is off to a very good start. Yet, his ERA is over four and his 1.29 WHIP is not what owners were looking for when spending an early round pick on him back in March.

Giants outfielder Michael Morse is off to a solid start to the 2014 season. Last night, he went 2-4 with two doubles, a run scored and two RBI in the Giants 6-5 loss to the Diamondbacks. Morse is now hitting .400-.455-.733 with two home runs and ten RBI in the early going. Not bad for a late round pick,. and yet he is still available in 60% of ESPN leagues right now. Grab him if you own Josh Hamilton or another underperforming outfielder and have a bench spot to fill.

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.