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Roto Roundup: Noah Syndergaard, Stephen Strasburg, Jake Arrieta and others

Ray offers his thoughts on some of the top fantasy performers from Tuesday's MLB action, including Noah Syndergaard, A.J. Burnett, Matt Kemp and others.

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Noah Syndergaard makes his major league debut

The Mets called up top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard to take Dillon Gee's spot in the rotation after Gee was placed on the disabled list due to a groin injury last week. Syndergaard made his major league debut last night, facing Cubs ace Jake Arrieta in Wrigley Field vs the young Cubs lineup.

Syndergaard was terrific through five innings last night, shutting them out on 4 hits, 4 walks and 5 strikeouts. But then he gave up three consecutive hits, a single to Jorge Soler, an RBI double to Starlin Castro and a two run home run to Chris Coghlan to spoil his first big league start.

He left after getting one out in the sixth inning, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, 4 walks and 6 strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Hopefully he can pitch better in his next start vs the Brewers on Sunday.

For more on Syndergaard and the Mets, make sure you check out Amazin' Avenue, SB Nation's Mets fan site.

Is it time to drop Stephen Strasburg?

A week ago, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg left his start vs the Marlins after just three innings, after giving up two runs on four hits and two walks. After the game, he was diagnosed with pain under his shoulder blade. He visited a chiropractor and was deemed healthy enough to make his start last night in Arizona. Well, he is either still hurting or he isn't the same pitcher he was last year, and both are a problem for his fantasy owners.

Last night, Strasburg once again didn't make it out of the fourth inning, giving up 8 runs, 7 earned, on 8 hits, a walk and 3 strikeouts in 3.1 innings in the Nationals 14-6 loss to the Diamondbacks. The loss moved his record to 2-4 with a 6.06 ERA, 1.71 WHIP and a 35-11 strikeout to walk rate in 35.2 innings.

Strasburg has pitched more than 5 innings in just two of his seven starts this season, and has given up four runs or more in three of those seven starts. Opposing batters are hitting .327-.381-.464 against him this season. He is not the pitcher we saw dominate hitters last season, and get drafted among the top 5-10 starters back on draft day.

Is he the 2015 version of Justin Verlander, where he is getting close to being droppable? I imagine we might hear about a DL stint for Strasburg in the coming days. That might be our only hope for him to get healthy and return to the dominating starter we thought we drafted back in March. Maybe he turns things around from here on out, but if I owned him, he would be on a short leash. Dropping him would be a difficult decision based on his name value alone, but it might be the right decision if he keeps this up.

For more on Strasburg and the Nationals, make sure you check out Federal Baseball, SB Nation's Nationals fan site.

Roto Roundup

I wrote a piece on Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen last week (May 7th), advising readers to hold onto him even though he has struggled at the plate this season and has dealt with a knee injury since spring training. Since then, McCutchen has hit in five of six games, including last night, where he went 2-4 with a home run and 2 RBI in the Pirates 7-2 win over the Phillies. Since that article, McCutchen has gone 9-22 with a home run, 6 runs scored and 4 RBI, and is now hitting .229-.314-.373 with 3 home runs, 18 runs scored and 17 RBI on the season. He has just one stolen base in two attempts, so the he may not help in that category until the knee is 100%, but he should return to the hitter he was in prior years. I doubt you can trade for him now, but if you have an owner who wants to get trade him after his hot streak, make an offer.

The Pirates signed A.J. Burnett in the offseason, and they really should have signed him last offseason. The signing is looking like a bargain at this point, as Burnett has been their best starter thus far. Yes, better the Gerrit Cole and better than Francisco Liriano. Last night, he limited the Phillies to two runs, one earned, on 6 hits, a walk and 5 strikeouts in 7 innings in the Pirates 7-2 win. The win moved his record to 2-1 with a 1.60 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a 36-13 strikeout to walk rate in 45 innings. He has given up two runs or less in each of his seven starts thus far and continues to induce ground balls at an elite 56% rate.

I was pretty high on Padres outfiedler Matt Kemp coming into the season, ranking him in my top 10 outfielders after his huge power breakout in the second half last season. Well, my optimism is looking like the wrong call at this point, as Kemp is in the midst of a slump at the plate, hitting .275-.307-.389 with just one home run, 20 runs scored, 20 RBI and 5 stolen bases. After hitting .326 in April. Kemp is hitting just .154 in 42 plate appearances in May. The power is a disappointment at this point, but you have to admit the 5 stolen bases are a bit of a surprise, especially after hearing about his arthritic hip issue in the offseason that threatened to cancel him trade to the Padres. Kemp should break out of this slump real soon, but have to admit that I am concerned with his low power output to date.

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta received plenty of love from the fantasy community in the offseason, after his breakout last year, where he won 10 games with a 2.53 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He hasn't pitched AS WELL this season, giving up four runs in each of his last two starts. But, he looked like the 2014 Arrieta last night, limiting the Mets to just one run on 3 hits, 2 walks and 10 strikeouts in 8 dominant innings in the Cubs 6-1 win over the Mets. The win moved his record to 4-3 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and a 48-11 strikeout to walk rate in 45 innings.

I picked up Giants starter Chris Heston a few weeks ago, just before his blow up start in Colorado, where he gave up 6 runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings. Ugh. He pitched well in his next start, limiting the Angels to one run on 5 hits in 6.1 innings. Whew. He blew up again in his next start, giving up 5 runs and 14 base runners in 5 innings, pitching at home vs the Padres. I almost dropped him after that start, but decided against it. Good thing, as last night, he pitched a complete game 2-hitter vs the Astros in Houston. Heston gave up just one run on two hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts in the Giants 8-1 win. The win moved his record to 3-3 with a 2.91 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and a 39-10 strikeout to walk rate in 46.1 innings. He is owned in just 17% of leagues right now, so you might want to grab him off of your league waiver wire. His next two starts come on the road vs the Reds and the Rockies. You might say, well, I may want to hold off picking him up right now with two road starts coming up, but consider the fact that the Reds rank 21st and the Rockies rank 27th in runs scored thus far, so he should fare well in those starts.

Fantasy Rundown

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