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Roto Roundup: Joc Pederson, Ken Giles, Kevin Gausman and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Sunday's roto action, including Joc Pederson, Ken Giles, Kevin Gausman and others.

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Jared Wickerham

Ken Giles to close in 2015?

I was reading Buster Olney's blog on Friday and this excerpt caught my eye and those of you in keeper leagues should take take:

Ken Giles' only obstacle to being the Phillies' closer is Jonathan Papelbonwrites Ryan Lawrence. The best way to extract value out of Papelbon, at this stage, is to move Giles into the closer's role in 2015. Papelbon has a vesting option tied to games finished -- in other words, the backbone number for a closer -- and if he doesn't reach that, his option won't kick in and the Phillies would save $13 million for 2016. This is all rooted in a simple question: Who is the better pitcher right now, and who's better suited to be closer? The answer is Giles. He has struck out 37 of the 91 batters he's faced, and at 23 years old, he's got the better arm. It would behoove the Phillies to try Giles as closer right now and get a read on his (and their) future rather than to have that situation hanging over them in spring training.

As a Giles owner in a keeper league I agree with Olney here, but Ruben Amaro Jr. doesn't think like Olney. Or maybe he has already considered it. This offseason will be very telling as a number of things could happen to open up the door for Giles to close in 2015: 1) Amaro is replaced and the new GM cleans house with the Phillies taking on some of Papelbon's salary, 2) Amaro is able to eat salary and deal Papelbon to any number of teams looking for a closer like the Rangers, A's, Mets (maybe), Yankees (David Robertson is a free agent this offseason), and other teams. The Tigers could get involved as well if they don't see Joe Nathan as their closer in 2015.

Giles has struck out 38 of the 98 batters he has faced this season, limits the free pass and has given up just one home run in his 27 innings this season. He has closer makeup, and should be added in all keeper leagues.

For more on Giles and the Phillies, make sure you check out The Good Phight, SB Nation's Phillies fan site.

Joc Pederson to be called up on September 1st

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti appeared on SiriusXM yesterday and when asked about which prospects will be called up in September, he stated that Joc Pederson and second baseman Alex Guerrero would get the call on September 1st. Here is SiriusXM's Jim Bowden on the subject:

Pederson is probably the Dodgers best defensive outfielder right now, and will play some center field upon his call up, with Yasiel Puig moving back to right field and Matt Kemp to left field. When he is in the lineup, Carl Crawford would be the odd man out. Pederson is currently hitting .301-.423-.574 with 29 home runs, 87 runs scored, 67 RBI and 28 stolen bases, walking at a 17% clip and striking out at a 27% rate. But recently, Crawford has been hitting well, hitting .315 in 56 plate appearances in August, and has the experience edge over Pederson. I do see Pederson getting more playing time once the Dodgers clinch the NL West, but one they may wait till they clinch the best record in the NL before sitting Crawford.

For more on the Pederson news and the Dodgers, make sure you check out True Blue LA, SB Nation's Dodgers fan site.

Round'em Up

One of the biggest surprises in baseball this season has been the performance of Mariners starter Chris Young. I knew he was having a good year, but I didn't realize how good until yesterday. Mariners games usually end after I finish writing the daily Roto Roundup, so I have missed how well he is pitching this year. Yesterday, Young shut out the Tigers on 4 hits, a walk and 4 strikeouts in 6 innings in the Mariners 8-1 win. Young moved his record to 12-6 with a 3.07 ERA, 1.1 WHIP and a 92-47 strikeout to walk rate in 146.2 innings. He is owned in around 27% of leagues right now, and should be grabbed in more leagues based on how well he is pitching right now.

Young and Cubs starter Jake Arrieta are two starters who are probably helping several owners win fantasy leagues this season, as they probably weren't drafted in any but the deepest of leagues on draft day. On Sunday, Arrieta shut out the Mets on 2 hits, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts in the Cubs 2-1 win. Arrieta did not figure in the decision, but is now 6-4 with a 2.61 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and a 122-31 strikeout to walk rate in 117.1 innings. He has given up three runs or less in nine of his last ten starts, and has given up two runs or less in 14 of his 19 starts. He might be considered in my offseason top 40 starting pitcher rankings.

If Astros second baseman Jose Altuve wasn't getting respect before this season, he will after his 2014 season. On Sunday, Altuve went 4-5 with a grand slam and 4 RBI in the Astros 8-1 in over the Red Sox on Sunday. Altuce raised his slash line to .339-.374-.447 with 6 home runs, 67 runs scored, 41 RBI and 46 stolen bases in 53 attempts. His runs scored totals are less than impressive, but I see them increasing as the young Astros lineup gets more seasoning. He is on pace for 60 stolen bases, and combine that with the .339 batting average, and he will provide plenty of value to fantasy owners in 2015.

If you are looking for some power on the waiver wire over the last month of the season, you might want to take a look at Twins designated hitter, Kennys Vargas. Vargas had a big day at the plate on Sunday, going 3-4 with a double, home run, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI in the Twins 12-6 loss to the Royals. Vargas has just 60 at bats since his call up, but is now hitting .317-.364-.500 with 3 home runs, 8 runs scored and 15 RBI, and is available in more than 90% of leagues right now.

Orioles starter Kevin Gausman has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter in the big leagues, but he will need to learn to limit the free pass. On Sunday, Gausman limited the Indians to just one run on 2 hits, 4 walks and 2 strikeouts in the Orioles 4-1 win on Sunday. He improved his record to 7-4 with a 3.70 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and a 48-29 strikeout to walk rate in 73 innings over his 13 starts this season. The strikeout to walk rate certainly needs to improve for him to reach his potential, but he has given up just three home runs in 73 innings thus far, a big positive especially pitching in Camden Yard for at least half of his starts.

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