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Roto Roundup: Michael Brantley, Matt Kemp, Victor Martinez,and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Thursday's roto action, including Michael Brantley, Victor Martinez, Ian Kennedy and others.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Fake Teams Fantasy Baseball Podcast is back!

Zack Smith and I recorded the first podcast of the season last night, where we spent almost two hours talking about a bunch of guys including Dee GordonJose AbreuYordano VenturaMasahiro Tanaka, so American League young pitchers making an impact, and much more.

Make sure you check out the podcast when over at Blog Talk Radio:

Fake Teams Fantasy Baseball Podcast 2.1

Note: Due to conflicts we won't be recording another podcast for a few weeks. I couldn't make Thursday's scheduled podcast and Zack is on vacation beginning this weekend. He will be attending a bunch of college baseball games on his vacation, so hopefully he can discuss his trip in an article or on the next podcast.

Michael Brantley enjoying a breakout season

When writing the Roundup on a daily basis, there are always guys that I will miss writing about, mainly due to time, or just the fact that others are just as worthy of my thoughts in the Roundup. One guy I have totally missed out on is Indians outfielder Michael Brantley. Brantley signed a four year, $25 million extension with the Indians this offseason and when the deal was announced, I was a little surprised, as I never thought that a hitter like Brantley would get an extension. But, for the price, I guess he is worth it.

I guess the Indians knew a bargain when they signed him to an extension, as Brantley has rewarded them with a breakout this season. After going 3-5 with a home run, double, two runs scored and three RBI, Brantley is now hitting .289-.348-.492 with six home runs, 19 runs scored, 29 RBI, 4 stolen bases and a 10-11 strikeout to walk rate in 126 at bats. The 27 year old outfielder is building upon a solid 2013 season where he improved in most scoring categories.

For more on Brantley and the Indians, check out Let's Go Tribe, SB Nation's Indians fan site.

Victor Martinez: Still a damn good hitter

Around this time last year, Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez was hitting about .225 and hit just .258 in the first half, prompting many fantasy owners to drop him in shallower mixed leagues. But as many good hitter do, Martinez bounced back to have a very strong second half, finishing the season hitting over .300 for the fourth consecutive season.

Fast forward to 2014, and VMart is off to a very strong start at the plate. After going 3-4 with a home run in the Tigers loss to the Astros on Thursday afternoon, he is hitting .333-.389-.577 with 7 home runs, 14 runs, 19 RBI and an absurd 5-12 strikeout to walk rate in 111 at bats. He is now the Tigers cleanup hitter, and the Tigers haven't missed Prince Fielder, their cleanup hitter in 2013, as they are ranked in the top 10 in runs scored this season.

For more on Martinez and the Tigers, make sure you check out Bless You Boys, SB Nation's Tigers fan site.

Round'em Up

Dodgers manager has decided he will now have two full-time outfielders, based on this tweet from Dylan Hernandez from the LA Times:

It appears Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier will be splitting time in left field going forward, but the more likely scenario is that one of them will be traded in the next few months. Matt Kemp appears all the way back from his offseason shoulder and ankle surgeries, so he will be the Dodgers starting center fielder going forward or if he gets hurt.

With Joc Pederson tearing up AAA, it is possible he gets a call up should Kemp go on the disabled list for any reason. Pederson is hitting .376-.490-.656 with 9 home runs, 31 runs, 18 RBI, 10 stolen bases and a 37-28 strikeout to walk rate in 125 at bats. If he wasn't blocked by two other outfielders in the Dodgers outfield, he would be the hitting prospect we hear most people beating the drum on for a call up. Since he is blocked, Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco and Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras are the hitters fantasy owners want to see called up. And soon.

I hope you didn't trade Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion after his slow start to the 2014 season, as he is starting to heat up now. Encarnacion went 3-4 with two home runs, two runs scored and three RBI in the Blue Jays 12-6 win over the Phillies last night. EE raised his slash line to .257-.344-.493 with six home runs, 21 runs and 24 RBI in 136 at bats. In 32 May at bats, he is hitting .281-.378-.750 with 4 home runs, 8 runs scored and 9 RBI.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy appears to be bouncing back from a poor 2013 season in 2014. Kennedy limited the Marlins to just one run on four hits, two walks and 12 strikeouts in seven innings last night in the Padres extra inning loss. Kennedy is now 2-4 in his eight starts, with a 3.12 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and an excellent 56-11 strikeout to walk rate in 49 innings this season. He is under-owned in many mixed leagues right now, as he is available in 56% of leagues.

It didn't take Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma long to return to his 2013 form, did it? Iwakuma shut out the Royals on four hits, no walks and seven strikeouts in eight innings in the Mariners 1-0 win last night. He is now 2-0 in his two starts since returning from the disabled list, with a 2.45 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and a 10-1 strikeout to walk rate in 14.2 innings. He has been a ground ball machine inducing 14 and 10 ground ball outs in his two starts this season.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is putting up a breakout season in 2014. Last night, Rizzo went 3-5 with a walk, double, home run, three runs scored and two RBI in the Cubs 12-6 win over the White Sox. Rizzo is now hitting .294-.414-.513 with seven home runs, 22 runs scored, 18 RBI, and a 22-23 strikeout to walk rate in his 119 at bats this season. Rizzo is coming off a 2013 season where he struggled at the plate, hitting just .233 with 23 home runs, 71 runs scored, 81 RBI and 127 strikeout in 606 at bats. His plate discipline is much improved this season and more in line with his plate discipline in the minors.

Fantasy Rundown

For more fantasy baseball (and football) news and rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one stop for all the fantasy news you need on a daily basis.