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Roto Roundup: Addison Russell promoted, Anthony DeSclafani, CC Sabathia and others

Ray offers his thoughts on some of the top fantasy performers from Monday's MLB action, including Addison Russell, Nelson Cruz, Anthony DeSclafani, CC Sabathia and others.

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Addison Russell: To be called up today

In recent days, the Cubs next best hitting prospect, shortstop Addison Russell has been playing second base for AAA Iowa, prompting many to wonder if a call up is on the horizon. The fact that second base prospect Javier Baez started the season in AAA, is away from the team due to a family emergency, and recent reports speculate that he could go to extended spring training upon his return, makes a Russell call up all the more possible.

ESPN's Cubs beat writer Jesse Rogers provided an update on Russell in this piece last night, and here is an excerpt:

No longer do you need to wonder if Chicago Cubsprospect Addison Russell is going to make his major league debut this year -- that question is so March -- it's just a matter of when.

The usually honest Joe Maddon didn't dissuade anyone from thinking Russell is next up on the prospect train from Triple-A Iowa, especially now that he's seeing time at second base. It just so happens the Cubs have a huge hole at that position, at least offensively.

"You never know where the need is going to be on the major league level," Maddon said before the game. "(We're) being a little bit more proactive regarding prepping him for a need that might be open here."

But the writing is on the wall. Russell is coming, most likely as soon as he gets a better feel for playing second base. Like most observers, Maddon believes learning how to turn a double play from there instead of shortstop is the biggest adjustment for a newbie at second. But it's not the only one.

The Cubs future could be now, as Kris Bryant was called up last week, and it appears Russell's call up could be near. Here is what the Cubs lineup could look like upon his call up:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Jorge Soler, RF

Anthony Rizzo, 1B

Kris Bryant, 3B

Starlin Castro, SS

Miguel Montero, C

Addison Russell, 2B

Chris Coghlan, LF

There is some nice balance to that lineup, with five right handed hitters and four left handed hitters, with power hitters Soler, Rizzo and Bryant in the middle of the lineup. If and when Javier Baez can work out his strikeout and plate discipline issues, Baez at second, and Russell at shortstop would be one heck of a lineup for the next 4-5 years.

Update: According to CBS Sports Jon Heyman, the Cubs will call up Russell today:

Top Cubs shortstop prospect Addison Russell is being called up to the majors, sources told

Russell will join top slugging prospect Kris Bryant, who was called up only Friday and is already making an impact with three RBI on Monday night against Pittsburgh.

Russell, who will be one of the youngest players in the majors at 21, will add to the stir on the North Side, where the talented young team has begun 7-5. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the club is playing with "verve" after beating the Pirates on Monday.

With the move, the Cubs will send Arismendy Alcantara to AAA. Alcantara was one of my top sleepers for 2015, but it looks like he will spend a lot of time in AAA this season.

For more on the Russell promotion and the the Cubs, make sure you check out Bleed Cubbie Blue, SB Nation's Cubs fan site.

Anthony DeSclafani dominates the Brewers

The Reds traded for young starter Anthony DeSclafani in the offseason, and after seeing how well he has pitched in his first three starts this season, one has to wonder what the Marlins were thinking trading a young arm like DeSclafani for Mat Latos and his injured arm.

Last night, DeSclafani shut out the Brewers on just two hits, a walk and five strikeouts in eight innings of work in the Reds 6-1 win. He needed just 91 pitches to get through eight innings, inducing eight ground ball outs and ten fly ball outs. DeSclafani was one of the pitchers I recommended in Monday's Streamer Report, and he moved his record to 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA, a 0.62 WHIP and a 16-4 strikeout to walk rate in 21 innings.

He is still available in just about 65% of leagues right now, so if you are in need of a starting pitcher, don't hesitate to grab him before your league owners do.

For more on DeSclafani, Bryan Prices pre-game rant, and the Reds, make sure you check out Red Reporter, SB Nation's Reds fan site.

Roto Roundup

Man, was I too low on Reds first baseman Joey Votto in my preseason first base rankings. Wow. Last night, Votto went 2-4 with a walk, a home run and 2 RBI in the Reds 6-1 win over the Brewers. Votto raised his slash line to .375-.492-.771 with 5 home runs, 9 runs scored, 12 RBI and 2 stolen bases thus far. After struggling through a few down power seasons, it appears Votto is on a mission to prove to everyone that was down on him, myself included, that he can hit for power. With the fast start, Votto is on pace to hit 25-30 home runs and 25 stolen bases. I doubt he steals 25 bases, but he walks so much that I would not put it past him. Yes, I am kicking myself for not drafting him in any league this season.

As if the Brewers season couldn't get any worse, catcher Jonathan Lucroy suffered a broken toe in last night's game and will be placed on the disabled list. There is no timetable for his return, and it appears, judging by this tweet, that we won't know till later today:

Brewers back up catcher Martin Maldonado will take over the every day catching job while Lucroy is out.

Yankees starter CC Sabathia is coming off an injury-shortened 2014 season, but hasn't been himself since 2012. This season, he has been knocked around in his first two starts before walking on the mound to face the excellent Tigers lineup on Monday night. Last night, Sabathia turned his best start of the season, giving up two runs on 7 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts in 8 innings in the Yankees 2-1 loss. The loss moved his record to 0-3 with a 4.35 ERA, but his peripheral stats show he has pitched much better than his record and ERA indicate. He is striking out almost a batter per inning, is walking less than two batters per nine, and inducing ground balls at an elite 61% rate. He is changing his reperoire due to a big drop in fastball velocity, and has been throwing more and more curve balls and less sliders this season. If he can keep hitters off-balance with the slow spinning stuff, he could get back to being a solid fantasy starter.

Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz is having himself one heck of a month of April in the first two weeks of the season. On Sunday, Cruz had a big day at the plate, going 3-6 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI in the Mariners come from behind 11-10 win over the Rangers. On the season, Cruz is hitting .347-.396-.837 with 8 home runs, 9 runs scored and 14 RBI in just 49 at bats. He has hit six of his eight home runs on the road, and after hitting 40 home runs last season, Cruz is doing his best to repeat that feat in 2015.

Will Cruz hit 40 home runs this season? I think he is a slam dunk to hit 30, and I felt he had a good chance to hit 30 home runs before the season started.

Fantasy Rundown

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