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Roto Roundup: Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Masahiro Tanaka, and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Thursday's roto action, including Mike Trout, Jon Lester, Masahiro Tanaka, and others.

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Masahiro Tanaka has partially torn elbow ligament

Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch was the first to report the results of the MRI on Masahiro Tanaka's elbow, and here it is, via Twitter:

I speculated yesterday that he could end up having Tommy John surgery and that is exactly what will happen if the rehab doesn't work. I think the Yankees figure that at this point, they have nothing to lose. If rehab works, he comes back and helps them in September. If it doesn't, he has Tommy John and will miss the 2015 season. If he elected Tommy John surgery now or in six weeks, he missed most or all of the 2015 season anyway.

For his fantasy owners, there is no way you can replace a pitcher like Tanaka from your league waiver wire pool. You will have to deal for a starter if you need another ace, or live with what's on the waiver wire.

For more on the Tanaka news, check out Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation's Yankees fan site.

Round'em Up

The Red Sox will begin their sell mode soon, especially after falling into last place on Wednesday, and they may have one of the best trade chips in the trade market this season, starter Jon Lester. It appears that the Red Sox won't meet his contract demands so he will become a free agent at the end of the season. So, if they fail to sign him to a long term deal, it would behoove them to deal Lester to one of the contending teams. Yesterday, he showed teams that he can still dominate on the mound, as he limited the White Sox to one run on 7 hits, no walks and 12 strikeouts. He left with a chance for the win, but closer Koji Uehara blew the save in the ninth inning. Lester is now 9-7 with a 2.65 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and an excellent 134-29 strikeout to walk rate in 129 innings. He has given up two runs or less in each of his last six starts, and in 12 of his 19 starts.

As I write this, the Angels are demolishing the Rangers in the sixth inning, 13-4. Leading the assault is none other than Mike Trout. Through six innings, he is 4-5 with a home run, 3 runs scored and 4 RBI, raising his slash line to .310-.401-.602 with 21 home runs, 63 runs scored, 68 RBI and 10 stolen bases. He is on pace to hit 37 home runs, scored 112 runs and drive in 121 runs. There will be no question who the #1 pick is in fantasy drafts next season.

Trout's teammate Kole Calhoun, a sleeper fave of many in the preseason, had a nice night at the plate as well, going 4-5 with a double, triple, 4 runs scored and an RBI and is now hitting .305-.366-.542 with 10 home runs, 48 runs scored, 25 RBI and 3 stolen bases in just 56 games, so it goes without saying that he has had an impact on fantasy rosters this season.

This gives you an idea how dominant Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been this season:

Kershaw's scoreless inning streak ended at 41 last night, but he still came away with a 2-1 win, giving up just one run on 3 hits, a walk and 11 strikeouts. He moved his record to 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and a 12-13 strikeout to walk rate in 96.1 innings. He has given up just 19 earned runs in those 96+ innings.

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips injured his left thumb attempting to make a diving catch on Wednesday night and will have surgery to repair the torn ligament. Phillips will miss at least the next six weeks, possibly more, so the Reds could look to the trade market to replace Phillips in their lineup.

The Cardinals received bad news yesterday as well, as catcher Yadier Molina will miss 8-12 weeks with a torn ligament in his right thumb and he will have surgery as well. Not a good day for fantasy owners when Tanaka, Phillips and Molina all go down with serious injuries.

The Pirates have had a lot of success taking on pitchers that other teams do not want, making a few adjustments in mechanics and pitch sequence, giving themselves a viable major league starter. Their latest project is Edinson Volquez, and last night he limited the struggling Cardinals lineup to just one run on 6 hits, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts in a complete game effort. He moved his record to 8-6 with a 3.65 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and a 73-37 strikeout to walk rate in 111 innings. He has given up two runs or less in 8 of his last 10 starts and is owned in just  11% of leagues right now. He is a decent grab if you are looking for a starting pitcher off the waiver wire.

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