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Roto Roundup: Matt Kemp, Aaron Nola, Albert Pujols and others

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Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Tuesday's roto action, including Aaron Nola, Matt Kemp, Albert Pujols and others.

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Matt Kemp is catching fire

Heading into the All Star break, Padres outfielder Matt Kemp was having a very disappointing season and we saw many label him in the BUST category, and deservedly so. He ended the first half hitting just .250-.291-.382 with 8 home runs, 44 runs scored, 47 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 9 attempts. After hearing about his hip condition in the offseason the 8 stolen bases are a pleasant surprise, but the low batting average, on base percentage and power have disappointed his fantasy owners and Padres fans alike.

But like last year, Kemp has started the second half on fire. Actually, he was hitting pretty well in the week or so heading into the break. Over his last 10 games, Kemp is 15-43 with 4 home runs, 4 doubles and 10 RBI, and that doesn't include a rain-out game where he was 2-2 with two doubles. So, yeah, he is hot right now, and he will need to stay hot to make his season look respectable.

After going 2-4 with a home run and 2 RBI in Monday's win over the Giants, Kemp is now hitting .257-.301-.408 with 10 home runs, 46 runs scored, 52 RBI and 8 stolen bases in his 386 plate appearances. ZiPS projects him to hit 33-7-33-5-.266 for the rest of the season, but I think he will hit for more power and steal a few more bases. ESPN projects him to end the season with this line 79-17-90-14, but I see him exceeding 20 home runs by the end of the season.

Last night, Kemp went 0-2 and left after being hit on the left hand by a pitch from Giants starter Chris Heston. We should hear more about his hand injury later today.

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

Roto Roundup

The Phillies finally called up top pitching prospect Aaron Nola on Tuesday and he impressed in his major league debut. He went 3-1 with a 3.58 ERA and a 3.17 FIP while striking out more than a batter per inning in his six AAA starts. Prior to his promotion to AAA, Nola dominated in his 12 AA starts, going 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA and 2.83 FIP. Some felt that he was ready to step into the Phillies rotation out of spring training, but the Phillies held him back as long as they could. Last night, Nola limited the Rays to just one run on 5 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts in 6 innings of work. Nola should be owned in all NL only and deeper mixed leagues, and while he probably won't win too many games, he should strikeout out around seven batters per nine, with a respectable ERA and WHIP.

While the aforementioned Kemp has disappointed this season, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols has been one of the bigger surprises of the 2015 season. On Monday, Pujols had himself a huge double header where he went a combined 4-8 with 3 home runs, 5 runs scored and 4 RBI in the Angels sweep of the Red Sox. The big day improved his season slash line to .260-.326-.552 with 29 home runs, 57 runs scored and 60 RBI, and is on pace to hit over 40 home runs and drive in over 100 runs. I have to admit I ranked him way too low in my preseason first base rankings…..couldn't have been more wrong on him. Never. Disrespect. Albert. Again.

The Mets have had trouble scoring runs of late, so much so that Mets fans and their beat writers are clamoring for them to call up top hitting prospect Michael Conforto, which could/should happen. Well, last night they erupted for 7 runs in their 7-2 win over the Nationals. Mets ace Jacob deGrom limited the Nationals to 2 runs on 3 hits, no walks and 8 strikeouts moving his record to 10-6 with a 2.18 ERA, A 0.90 WHIP and a 120-21 strikeout to walk rate in 119.2 innings. For me, he is a top 10 starting pitcher heading into 2016 if he can keep up this pace, so if you can somehow trade for him between now and then, do so. He's an ace.

The Tigers are close to officially announcing that they will be sellers of some assets, including David Price and Yoenis Cespedes, over the next few weeks. One player that they should strongly consider dealing, and it goes against conventional thinking, is outfielder J.D Martinez. Last night, Martinez had a nice night at the plate, going 2-5 with a long home run, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI in the Tigers loss to the Mariners. Martinez is proving his doubters wrong as he is now hitting .287-.345-.566 with 27 home runs, 62 runs scored and 62 RBI, and is on pace to hit 47 home runs and drive in over 100 runs. Martinez is in his age 27 season, and who knows if he can continue hitting like this in the coming years. The Tigers can't rebuild, but they could retool and get some younger prospects if they decide to deal Martinez, which is highly unlikely.

Giants starter Chris Heston tossed a no-hitter earlier this season vs the Mets, and last night he flirted with another one for five innings. Melvin Upton Jr. broke it up with a single to lead off the sixth, but that was the only hit Heston gave up in the Padres 8-3 win over the Padres. Heston gave up no runs on one hit, no walks and 6 strikeouts over 7.1 innings and moved his record to 10-5 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a 95-32 strikeout to walk rate in 116.1 innings. Heston has been a pleasant surprise for the Giants this season, and in any other year, he would be one of the favorites for NL Rookie of the Year, but with Kris Bryant, Joc Pederson and others have terrific rookie seasons, he will be hard-pressed to win the award.

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