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Roto Roundup: Matt Kemp, Danny Salazar, Clayton Kershaw and others

Ray offers his thoughts on some of the top fantasy performers from Saturday's roto action, including Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez, David Price, and others.

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Matt Kemp enjoys a big day at the plate.....finally

I did not hide my affection for Padres outfielder Matt Kemp in the preseason, ranking him in my top 10 among outfielders in our consensus outfield rankings. Many in the industry felt the move to San Diego would be a negative for Kemp, but I was sold on his second half breakout last season. He hit well in spring training and that served to make me even more confident in him building on his strong second half.

He had a solid April, hitting .326-.357-.478 with a home run, 16 runs scored and 16 RBI, but followed that with perhaps his worst month as a big league hitter. In May, Kemp hit just .185-.225-.212 with no home runs, 12 runs scored, 10 RBI, a stolen base, and a terrible 31-4 strikeout to walk rate in 117 plate appearances. The first week of June hasn't been kind to him either, as he entered Saturday's action hitting .214-.214-.214 in 14 plate appearances, so hopefully his big day can be the start of a hot streak for him.

On Saturday, Kemp went 3-4 with a home run, double, a walk, 2 runs scored and 5 RBI in the Padres come from behind 9-7 win over the Reds. The big day improved his slash line to .256-.291-.350 with 2 home runs, 31 runs scored, 31 RBI and 5 stole bases.

I own Kemp in three of my four NL only leagues, so I put my money where my mouth is. I even traded a $5 Noah Syndergaard for a $32 Kemp early in the offseason, so yeah, I really liked him to repeat his 2014 performance at the plate. He has been nothing short of a disappointment through the first two plus months thus far, but one should recall how bad his first two months were last season:

April: .225-.321-.493, 4 HRs, 10 runs, 8 RBI, 3 SB, 81 PA

May: .266-.293-.362, HR, 11 runs, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 98 PA

Kemp then went on to hit .317 or better in three of the remaining four months of the 2014 season, with 20 home runs and 74 RBI. Hopefully he can come close to repeating that performance this season as well.

For more on Kemp and the Padres, make sure you check out Gaslamp Ball, SB Nation's Padres fan site.

Carlos Gonzalez: Is this the beginning of his decline?

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has struggled at the plate for the last year and two months. Last year, he struggled due to injuries, but I am not sure if that is the case this season. Last season, he hit .238-.292-.431 with 11 home runs, 35 runs scored and 38 RBI in 270 plate appearances.

After homering in Saturday's game, Cargo is hitting .239-.317-.361 with 5 home runs, 22 runs scored and 16 RBI in just over 200 plate appearances, so his counting numbers are down when compared to last season. On the positive side, his walk rate is up, and his strikeout rate is down, so his plate discipline is not an issue.

What is an issue is the drop in power, especially considering he calls Coors Field home for 81 games, or should I say....when he is healthy. His slugging percentage and isolated power are sitting at career lows right now. Looking at his batted ball data over at FanGraphs, his line drive rate is at his highest since 2009, but he isn't hitting fly balls anymore.  His 25.9% fly ball rate represents a career low, as does his 29.2% hard hit ball percentage.

is this the beginning of his decline phase or did that start last season? Is it time to deal Cargo? I think it might be.

For more on Gonzalez and the Rockies, make sure you check out Purple Row, SB Nation's Rockies fan site.

Roto Roundup

The Indians are getting back into the American League Central race, and I think they could battle for the division title due to their rotation. With Corey Kluber at the top of the rotation, along with Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and current breakout starter Danny Salazar, the Indians might have the best rotation in the American League right now. Yesterday, Salazar dominated the Orioles, giving up just one run on 6 hits, a walk and 10 strikeouts in 7 innings in the Indians 2-1 win. The win moved his record to 6-1 with a 3.50 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 2.67 xFIP, 1.15 WHIP and a 81-17 strikeout to walk rate in 61.2 innings. Over his last four starts, Salazar has given up just 7 runs on 21 hits, 11 walks and 39 strikeout over 24 innings on the mound. He has given up 9 home runs this season, so as that number regresses in the coming weeks and months, we could see his ERA drop as well.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been a bit of a disappointment for his fantasy owners thus far in 2015, but he is getting back to being the Kershaw of old of late. He entered the season off of two very bad outings in the NLCS vs three Cardinals, so had probably had some extra motivation facing them on Saturday night. Well, he pitched like the ace that was drafted in the first round of many drafts last night, shutting the Cardinals out for 8 innings on just one hit, 2 walks and 11 strikeouts in the Dodgers 2-0 win. The win moved his record to 5-3 with a 3.36 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 2.19 xFIP , a 1.06 WHIP and a 101-19 strikeout to walk rate in 80.1 innings. Over his last three starts, Kershaw has given up just two earned runs on 10 hits, 3 walks and 28 strikeouts over 22 innings.

There was plenty of good pitching last night, and Tiger ace David Price dominated the White Sox in Chicago last night. Price went the distance, limiting the White Sox to just one run on 5 hits, 2 walks and 11 strikeouts in the Tigers 7-1 win. The win moves his record to 5-2 with a 2.70 ERA, 3.07 FIP. 3.77 xFIP, a 1.15 WHIP and a 74-20 strikeout to walk rate in 83.1 innings. Price's peripheral stats are down thus far in 2015, as his strikeout and ground ball rates are down and his walk rate is up slightly. He is allowing more line drives, but is somehow allowing the same percentage of hard hit balls as he has over the last two seasons. He has given up two runs or less in 7 of his 12 starts this season.

Fantasy Rundown

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