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Roto Roundup: George Springer, Manny Machado, Jose Fernandez and others

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Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Tuesday's roto action, including George Springer, Manny Machado, Giancarlo Stanton and others.

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George Springer: Showing growth at the plate

I didn't get a chance to write the Roto Roundup on Monday night, as I had to finish up the Five hitters who have disappointed in 2015, the Kyle Schwarber promotion and was talking trade with an owner in one of my NL only leagues, so I had a busy night.

In a rare Tuesday afternoon game, Springer went 1-5 with 3 strikeouts, but he made news on Monday night, as he went 3-4 with 2 home runs, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI in the Astros 6-3 win over the Rockies. Springer has been hot at the plate in June, hitting .407-.458-.648 with 3 home runs, 10 runs scored and 6 RBI in 59 plate appearances. He is now hitting .267-.369-.466 with 10 home runs, 34 runs scored, 23 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts in 257 plate appearances this season.

Springer is showing growth at the plate this season, as his plate discipline has improved dramatically. He has cut down his strikeout rate from 33% to 26% and improved his walk rate from 11% to 14%. Part of the reason for his spike in batting average can be attributed to a 10% increase in his line drive rate from 15% to 25%, and while his fly ball rate has dropped, 21% of his fly balls are leaving the park, so he is still hitting for power. He has seen a slight drop in hard hit rate thus far, but I see that correcting as the season progresses.

He is on pace for 25 home runs and 32 stolen bases according to ESPN's projections, and ZiPS has him on pace for 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases. If he can keep his average in the .260 range, he would be a first round pick for me in 2016.

For more on Springer and the Astros, make sure you check out The Crawfish Boxes, SB Nation's Astros fan site.

Jose Fernandez: Returning on July 2nd

Marlins ace Jose Fernandez announced on Monday that he will make his first start since his Tommy John surgery on July 2nd vs the Giants. Fernandez looked good in his latest rehab start, giving up just two hits in five scoreless innings. He will make his next three starts for AAA New Orleans before returning to the Marlins rotation on July 2nd.

I wrote about Fernandez in a recent Roto Roundup, offering my thoughts on what to expect from him upon his return., and here is an excerpt:

How will he perform when he returns? I see a Matt Harvey-like performance once he gets back to pitching in the big leagues. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball before the injury and I don't see that changing when he returns. He will need a few starts to get to that point, but I think it won't take too many.

In 36 career starts, Fernandez is 16-8 with a 2.25 ERA, 2.60 FIP, 2.88 xFIP, a 0.97 WHIP and a 29% strikeout rate. Yeah, he's an ace.

For more on Fernandez and the Marlins, make sure you check out Fish Stripes, SB Nation's Marlins fan site.

Giancarlo Stanton: Can he hit 50 home runs?

Coming into the season, some fantasy owners worried about whether Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton could bounce back to being the power hitter he was after being hit in the face with a  pitch last September. I was one of those writers, but felt that he was one of only a few hitters who could approach 40 home runs this season, assuming a full recovery.

Well, it appears Stanton is back to being the monster power bat we all thought he was.

Last night, Stanton went 2-4 with a home run, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI in the Marlins big win over the Yankees. They scored 8 runs off of former teammate Nathan Eovaldi who didn't make it out of the first inning in his return to Miami. Stanton is now hitting .265-.351-.616 with 24 home runs, 43 runs scored, 62 RBI and 4 stolen bases thus far in 2015. Over his last nine games, Stanton has hit 6 home runs, scored 9 runs and drove in 15 runs, and is on pace to hit over 50 home runs and drive in 150 runs.

Stanton's batted ball mix shows that he is hitting fewer ground balls, more line drives and more fly balls this season, and more than 30% of his fly balls are landing in the seats. He leads major league baseball with a 51% hard hit percentage, an increase from 40% last season, so he is making harder contact this season.

Given the fact that he is making harder contact, can Stanton hit 50 home runs this season? i think there is no question he will hit 40 or more, but he may have a hard time reaching 50 with how much he strikes out. That said, I wouldn't bet against him.

Roto Roundup

The Red Sox have been struggling in all facets of the game recently, and currently sit in last place in the American League East. With second baseman Dustin Pedroia getting the day off to rest a sore knee, Brock Holt got the start at second base and all he did was hit for the cycle, as he went 4-5 with a home runs, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI in the Red Sox 9-4 win over the Braves. Holt has hit well when he is in the lineup, hitting .309-.400-.454 with 2 home runs, 20 runs scored, and 15 RBI in 176 plate appearances this season.

Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal is dealing with some forearm tightness and hasn't pitched in about five days now. Since he has been unavailable over the last two days, Kevin Siegrist has stepped into the closer role, and has converted two save chances in two opportunities. Siegrist allowed two base runners yesterday, but got out of the inning without any damage. The Cardinals reported that Rosenthal is feeling better and should avoid a stint on the disabled list. I take that with a grain of salt, as we were told that Lance Lynn would make his next start after experiencing forearm tightness in his start vs the Dodgers recently and he landed on the DL.

Mets ace Matt Harvey dominated the hot-hitting Blue Jays last night at Citi Field, shutting them out on 4 hits, no walks and 6 strikeouts in 7 innings of work in the Mets 3-2 win. The win moved his record to 7-4 with a 3.32 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 3.03 xFIP, and a 88-14 strikeout to walk rate in 86.2 innings this season. The dominating outing was a nice bounce back after giving up 7 runs and 3 home runs in his last start vs the Giants. Harvey has given up two runs or less in 7 of his 13 starts this season.

The Orioles have been playing very well lately, having won 8 of their last 10 games heading into Tuesday's game vs the last place Phillies. The game was pretty much over after the first inning as the Orioles six runs en route to a blow out win. As I write this roundup, they are up 19-3 in the sixth inning and have hit seven home runs off of Phillies pitching. Two of the home runs came off the bat of Manny Machado who is quietly having himself a very productive season at the plate. Machaco went 3-4 with 2 home runs, 3 runs scored and 3 RBI and is now hitting .290-.349-.506 with 13 home runs, 42 runs scored, 33 RBI and 9 stolen bases in 269 plate appearances. He has improved his plate discipline and is making more hard contact this season, and appears to be reaching the potential we all expected of him when he was a prospect. He is another example of why you can't get too high on prospects in their first few seasons. He is on pace to hit 33 home runs and steal 23 bases according to ESPN's projections, while ZiPS is a little  more conservative, projecting him to hit 24 home runs and steal 15 bases this season. He will get plenty of love next offseason if he can approach or exceed the ZiPS projections and will be a first round pick if he can approach the ESPN projections.

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