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Roto Roundup: Gerrit Cole, Marcus Semien, Ryan Howard and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Sunday's roto action, including Gerrit Cole, Marcus Semien, Ryan Howard and others.

Jonathan Daniel

Marcus Semien drives in four

White Sox second baseman Marcus Semien may end up back in the minors later this week when Gordon Beckham returns from the disabled list. Or, it is possible he stays up with the big league club in a utility role, playing all over the infield. We will soon learn his fate later this week, but Semien helped bolster his argument for staying up by having a big day at the plate. Semien went 4-6 with two runs scored and four RBI in the White Sox 16-2 thrashing of the Rangers.

The huge day at the plate pushed his slash line to just .222-.276-.346 with two home runs, 11 runs, 9 RBI and 2 stolen bases, but with a 23-6 strikeout to walk rate in 81 at bats. He strikes out a bit too much, but may just need more regular at bats to improve and he walked more than he struck out in AA last year, and had a respectable 17% strikeout rate in AAA.

For more on Semien and the White Sox big win on Sunday, make sure you check out South Side Sox, SB Nation's White Sox fan site.

Ryan Howard has big day in Phillies win

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was ranked pretty low in our annual consensus rankings this offseason, and for good reason. He is an aging first baseman who strikes out a lot and doesn't hit for a high average. But, he will have days like Sunday, where he went 4-5 with a home run, triple and two singles in the Phillies 10-9 win over the Rockies. Howard drove in three runs and scored three runs and is now hitting .262-.360-.508 with four home runs, 11 runs, 10 RBI and a 21-10 strikeout to walk rate in 65 at bats thus far.

Howard has homered three times in his last seven games, and is still unowned in 30% of leagues right now. He is not bad option to stash on your bench if your league allows it.

For more on Howard and the Phillies come from behind win on Sunday, check out The Good Phight, SB Nation's Phillies fan site.

Gerrit Cole: One of best young starters in game

Pirates ace Gerrit Cole was involved in a brawl yesterday, but he wasn't anywhere near any of the fisticuffs that went on, thankfully. He said a few words to Carlos Gomez who pimped what he thought was a home run, but ended up banking off the center field wall and he ended up on third. Once there, Cole had a few words for Gomez, who wasn't too happy to hear from Cole. Anyway, once the brawl was over, Cole continued to show us why he is one of the best young starting pitchers in the game, as he limited the Brewers to one run on six hits, a walk and six strikeouts in eight innings of work. He was in line for the win, but closer Jason Grilli gave up yet another home run to Ryan Braun, this one tied the game. Grillii gave up a game winning home run to Braun on Saturday.

Cole is now 2-1 with a 3.67 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and a 22-8 strikeout to walk rate in 27 innings so far this season. He is striking out a little over seven batters per nine, but is inducing ground balls at an elite 57% rate in the early going. He has induced 15 ground ball outs in two of his four starts this season.

For more on Cole and the Pirates, make sure you check out Buc's Dugout, SB Nation's Pirates fan site.

Round'em Up

We are still in April, but I have to say I am surprised to see Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera hitting just .220-.292-.356 with one home runs, three runs scored and seven RBI in 59 at bats thus far. Cabrera is one hitter who usually walks as much as he strikes out, but so far in 2014, he is striking out at a 23.1% rate, the highest since his rookie season in 2003. He is also hitting more than 50% of his batted balls on the ground, up 12% from last season, and is hitting 10% fewer fly balls as well. I wonder if his injuries from late last season are of the lingering type and could impact his performance at the plate this season.

White Sox teammate Jose Abreu has struggled a bit after a hot start to the 2014 season. But, yesterday Abreu had a nice day at the dish, going 3-6 with a home run, two doubles, two runs and three RBI in the White Sox 16-2 win over the Rangers. Abreu is now hitting .243-.337-.541 with five home runs, 12 runs and 17 RBI in his first 19 games played, with 11 of his 18 hits going for extra bases. Abreu will have to continue to make adjustments at the plate as the season goes along.

For all you Clayton Kershaw owners out there, I am one of them, things are starting to look more rosier after his three inning simulated game yesterday. Here is more from Dylan Hernandez from the LA Times:

Clayton Kershaw, the defending National League Cy Young award winner, said Sunday he expects to embark on a minor league rehabilitation assignment this week. The Dodgers offered no timetable for his return to the major leagues, but one source said he believed Kershaw could rejoin the Dodgers on their next trip, which extends from April 29 through May 7.

Kershaw pitched a three-inning simulated game Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Manager Don Mattingly said Kershaw reached 90 mph and has been cleared to pitch without restrictions.

Kershaw should begin a rehab assignment sometime this week if all goes well when he is checked out my the team medical staff later today. He could make a rehab start on Friday April 25th. I would be surprised to see Kershaw make just one rehab start after not pitching for about a month.

Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton is putting together a mini hitting streak at the moment. He has hit in five straight games now, and seven of his last ten, after going 1-5 with two strikeouts and a stolen base on Sunday. He is hitting .213-.250-.279 with six runs scored, two RBI and seven stolen bases in nine attempts in 61 at bats thus far. He was drafted for his speed, but his ability to get on base will be the deciding factor on whether he stays with the big club or gets sent down to work on his swing. He has at least one stolen base in each of his last four games.

Somehow the A's keep finding starting pitchers in their system, and even with all the injuries to their pitching staff, they are 13-5 with a 2.5 game lead on the Rangers. One of the starters they have called upon this season is Jesse Chavez, and yesterday he limited the Astros to one run on four hits, three walks while striking out six in the A's 4-1 win. Chavez, who has played for four other teams, is now 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, is striking out more than a batter per inning and walking under two batters per nine innings.

The Astros called up top prospect George Springer last week, and I have to say I am a little surprised that they are batting him in the clean up spot. In his first five games thus far, he is hitting .273-.304-.318 with a run scored, an RBI and a stolen base in two attempts. So he really hasn't done much yet, which is not surprising. He has struck out seven times and walked just once, but he does have a hit in each of his first five games. Baby steps.

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