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Roto Roundup: Hector Olivera, Yoan Moncada, Albert Pujols, and others

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Ray offers his thoughts on some of the top fantasy performers from Friday's roto action, including Hector Olivera, Albert Pujols, Chris Sale, Yoan Moncada and others.

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Last 30 Days

I am going to introduce this new feature to the Roundup offering stats on how some players have performed over the last 30 days, which might help or not help you, and me, if you are looking to trade for them in your leagues. Here are a few, courtesy of FanGraphs:

Stats Key - RS-HR-RBI-SB, BA-OBP-SLG

Albert Pujols, Angels - 24-13-27, .330-.383-.745

Nolan Arenado, Rockies - 20-9-34, .301-.320-.628

Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks -  20-9-23-5, .421-.556-.768

George Springer, Astros - 17-5-10-3, .369-.431-.568

Matt Kemp, Padres -   12-3-13-2, .225-.277-.342

Robinson Cano, Mariners - 8-1-9, .225-.266-.314

Hector Olivera: The drum beating for his call up has begun

The Dodgers signed Cuban infielder Hector Olivera to a 6 year, $62.5 million contract in the offseason, and after a prolonged process he is finally playing games in the Dodgers farm system. After hitting .318-.400-.455 with a home run, 3 runs scored and 6 RBI in 25 plate appearances in AA, Olivera was moved to AAA Oklahoma City. Last night, he went 4-5 with a home run, triple and two singles and is now hitting .444-.444-.667 with a home run and 5 runs scored in 27 plate appearances.

I have been providing updates on Olivera here on these pages for weeks now, but ESPN's Dodgers beat writer Mark Saxon has begun the drum beat on the national level with his article this morning titled It's time for Los Angeles Dodgers to call up Hector Olivera. Here is an excerpt or two:

Two of the most talented players in the Dodgers' organization are doing their damage thousands of miles from where it can do this team any good, on the plains of Oklahoma. One of those players -- and, soon, maybe both -- is ready to make his impact in the major leagues. Hector Olivera is just what this Dodgers team needs. Corey Seager soon will be part of the solution. Each wasted opportunity that passes for the Dodgers seems to bring them closer, tantalizingly close.

Saxon goes on to write about Olivera's huge night at the plate last night, the Dodgers need for an offensive spark and why keeping Corey Seager down in AAA a little longer makes sense. He also discusses that calling up Olivera will present playing time problems for Justin Turner, and here is how he ends the piece:

With the All-Star break rapidly approaching, the Dodgers would be wise to become the team they'll eventually be sooner rather than later, giving Friedman enough time to evaluate the club's needs going into the trade deadline. For both Olivera and Seager, it's only a matter of time. In Olivera's case, it should be only a matter of days.

The Juan Uribe trade to the Braves opened the door for Olivera to take over third base when he is ready, and he is either ready now or getting very close. I originally thought Olivera would be called up in late June, and we are approaching late June, and Olivera is knocking on the door. The Dodgers lineup does need a spark, so he could be called up in the coming days or week in my opinion.

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

Yoan Moncada: Struggling in Low A

Remember all the talk about what a great prospect Yoan Moncada was this offseason? He got quite a bit of hype from writers here and elsewhere, but thus far he is struggling in his first look at minor league pitching. Through 24 games and 97 plate appearances, Moncada is hitting just .209-.299-.302 with a home run, 12 runs scored, 10 RBI and 4 stolen bases. He has struggled to make contact as well, as he has struck out 27 times and walked just 8 times.

What is interesting is that he has played second base in 17 games and has been the designated hitter in 7 games. He has made 9 errors in 103 chances at second base, so that might explain why he has DH'd a few times. I imagine the move from Cuba to the United States was a big one for 20 year old, so it is far too early to make any sort of opinion on whether he will be a bust or not. But, I have to admit I expected him to perform much better than he has to date, and now we know why the Red Sox were smart in starting him in Low A rather than at a higher level, where the pressure to perform would have been that much greater.

For more on the Red Sox, make sure you check out Over the Monster, SB Nation's Red Sox fan site.

Roto Roundup

When discussing candidates for the American League Cy Young award recently, I failed to include White Sox ace Chris Sale. How I forgot him I cannot explain, but his performance over the last month puts him firmly in the top one or two in the conversation. Last night, Sale dominated once again as he shut out the Rangers for 8 innings, giving up just 2 hits, walking none and striking out 14 in the White Sox 2-1 loss. Sale left with the lead but closer David Robertson blew the save in the ninth inning. Sale is only the third pitcher to strike out 12 or more batters in five straight starts, and has double digit strikeouts in six straight starts going back to May 23rd. Over his last six starts, Sale has struck out 75 and walked just 7 in 45.1 innings. On the season, Sale is 6-3 with a 2.74 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and a 119-20 strikeout to walk rate in 88.2 innings, and has given up two runs or less in 10 of his 13 starts.

ESPN'S Buster Olney opines that the White Sox should explore dealing Sale now, as he in signed to a very team-friendly contract. Here are the details:

Sale is making $6 million this year, and will earn $9.15 million next season, and $12 million in 2018. Additionally - and here's the real topper - his deal contains a $12.5 million team option for 2019, and a $13.5 million option for 2020.

Olney writes that the Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees could offer the White Sox a substantial package of prospects in return for Sale. I will have to offer my thoughts on the possibilities of a Sale trade in the next day or two.

The next time I write off Angels first baseman Albert Pujols and say he is in a decline, please set me straight. Time and again, Pujols has made me look bad and he is doing the same once again this season. Last night, Pujols went 2-5 with a home run, 3 runs scored and 5 RBI in the Angels 12-7 win over the Athletics. He is now hitting .273-.328-.554 with 20 home runs, 41 runs scored, 42 RBI and an excellent 27-18 strikeout to walk rate in 267 plate appearances.

I admit, I was quick to dismiss Pujols in my preseason rankings, and he is exceeding my wildest expectations for power.

Well, the Nationals sure made out in their offseason deal that netted them shortstop prospect Trea Turner and pitching prospect Joe Ross. Last night, Ross was dominant, limiting the Pirates to one run on 6 hits, a walk and 11 strikeouts in 7.1 innings in the Nationals 4-1 win. Ross induced 21 swinging strikes last night and moved his record to 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 23-2 strikeout to walk rate in 20.2 innings.

I wonder if the Nationals will be open to dealing one of Jordan Zimmermann, Tanner Roark or Doug Fister with Ross pitching so well and emerging as a solid starting pitcher at the major league level. Stephen Strasburg is due back soon, so more than likely Roark will move back to the bullpen, but I wouldn't rule out GM Mike Rizzo from making a deal in the coming weeks. Ross is owned in just 6.3% of ESPN leagues right now and that has to change.

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