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Roto Roundup: Oscar Taveras, Corey Kluber, Josh Donaldson, and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Friday's roto action, including A.J. Pollock, Oscar Taveras, Corey Kluber and others.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Prospect Buy and Hold

We all want to know when Gregory Polanco and Oscar Taveras will be called up to the big leagues, as they are the next prospects in line to make an impact on your fantasy teams. But who are some other top prospects who can help you this season? Jason Hunt publishes his weekly Buy and Hold article every Saturday morning, ranking his top 10 prospects in line for a call up, along with some other prospects to consider as well. In his week 8 Buy and Hold, he has two new faces in his top 10.

Buy and Hold: Week 8

Oscar Taveras Called Up by the Cardinals.....Finally

The Cardinals have called up outfield prospect Oscar Taveras and, as of this writing, I assume Randall Grichuk will be sent back down to AAA, a day after being called up to replace Shane Robinson.

It was reported late last night that first baseman Matt Adams will be placed on the disabled list with a calf injury, so it appears Taveras will play right field upon his call up, with Allen Craig moving to first base. Once Adams returns from the DL, I can see Taveras playing center field with Craig in right field and Adams at first base.

I wrote about the imminent call up last night:

Cardinals to call up Oscar Taveras

So, what should fantasy owners expect from Taveras for the rest of the season? I think he can hit .280ish, with 8-10 home runs and 40-50 RBI. Too light?

For more on the Taveras call up, make sure you check out Viva El Birdos, SB Nation's Cardinals fan site.

A.J. Pollock: 20-20 Hitter?

Coming into the 2014 season, Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock was looking more like a fourth outfielder with Mark Trumbo, Gerardo Parra and Cody Ross set to play the three outfield spots in Arizona. But an injury to Ross presented Pollock with a chance to play every day, and he is making he most of the opportunity.

Last season, Pollock played a career high 137 games, hitting .269-.322-.409 with 8 home runs, 64 runs scored, 38 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts. He didn't walk all that much (6.8% walk rate), and struck out 17% of his plate appearances, which isn't that bad at all.

This season, we see he is hitting for more power and a higher batting average leading off for Diamondbacks. Heading into Friday night's game vs the Reds, Pollock was hitting .306-.355-.535 with 6 home runs, 26 runs scored, 15 RBI and 7 stolen bases in 50 games and 184 plate appearances. He is benefitting from an above average .359 batting average of balls in play (BABIP) so his batting average should regress from here.

With that said, he is on pace for 17 home runs and 23 stolen bases this season, so he could join the 20-20 club with a one big home run month.

So, why is Pollock hitting so well this season? Former MLB scout, Bernie Pleskoff, who regularly scouts Diamondbacks games, tweeted the following regarding a change in approach at the plate for Pollock:

If he can continue hitting more line drives (his line drive percentage is down this season), he could maintain a .275-.285 average and steal 20+ bases.

For more on Pollock and the Diamondbacks, check out AZ Snake Pit, SB Nation's Diamondbacks fan site.

Round'em Up

Indians ace Corey Kluber....that's right, he is an ace.....was his dominant self on Friday night, limiting the Rockies to two runs on five hits, a walk and 12 strikeouts in 7.1 innings in the Indians 5-2 win. Kluber gave up a two run home run to Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for the only runs he allowed. Kluber moved his record to 6-3 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and an excellent 95-18 strikeout to walk rate in 80 innings. Kluber has given up two runs or less in 7 of his 12 starts, and three runs or less in 10 of his 12 starts, this season. He came into Friday's start second in baseball in fWAR behind Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, so that could change based on his dominant performance.

In case you haven't noticed, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is on fire of late. Bogaerts went 3-5 with a double, run scored and a RBI in the Red Sox 3-2 win over the Rays, a game that featured three Red Sox coaches being ejected. He now has three hits in each of his last three games, and has multiple hits in six of his last ten games. Bogaerts raised his slash line to .304-.393-.435 with three home runs, 26 runs scored and 13 RBI thus far. I have to say I expected a little more power from him, but we still have four months left in the season.

I was pretty high on Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer entering this season, but I am going to admit that I was wrong on him. I bought into his solid second half in 2013, but he just hasn't shown any power this season. Last night, he went 0-4 with two strikeouts in the Royals 6-1 win over the Blue Jays. Hosmer is now hitting .271-.313-.371 with ONE home run, 24 runs scored, 23 RBI and ZERO stolen bases. The first baseman we all thought would steal double digit bags this season has not stolen a base this season, as he has been thrown out in his ONE stolen base attempt. He is on pace for three home runs and zero stolen bases this season. He will, more than likely, hit more than three home runs and steal some bases this season, but his season to date has been a disappointment. A big disappointment.

A's third baseman Josh Donaldson is showing us that his breakout 2013 season was not a fluke, as he is having an even better season in 2014. Last night, Donaldson went 3-4 with two home runs, 3 runs scored and 4 RBI in the A's big 9-5 win over the Angels. Donaldson raised his slash line to .285-.379-.561 with 15 home runs, 47 runs scored and 45 RBI in 54 games this season. Donaldson has the be the #1 fantasy third baseman right now. Am I missing someone? I am not counting Miguel Cabrera as he hasn't played 20 games at third base this season.

So much for Ryan Braun having a down year after his suspension for taking PEDs for the second time. No, he wasn't suspended twice, but he was caught twice. Anyway, last night, Braun had a nice night at the plate, going 3-5 with a home run, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI in the Brewers 11-5 win over the Cubs. Braun raised his slash line to .324-.358-.581 with 8 home runs, 26 runs scored, 26 RBI and 4 stolen bases. He has multiple hits in four of his last five games, raising his average from .288 to .324. He is on pace to hit 24 home runs and drive in 77 runs this season, down from what we expect from him, but he has been batting second of late, so we should expect the RBI total to drop and the runs scored to increase a bit.

Why are so many of the top hitters in the game batting second this year? Is it a coincidence? Right now we have Yasiel Puig, Mike Trout, Joey Votto and Braun hitting second in their respective lineups this season. I wonder since run scoring is down, you want your best hitters getting more at bats. It used to be that teams batted their best hitters third in the lineup, but now second appears to be the new trend.


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