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Roto Roundup: Chris Sale, Drew Smyly, Stephen Piscotty and Others

Alex highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Sunday, including Chris Sale, Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Piscotty and others.

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Chris Sale tames the Cubs, strikes out 15

It took a pretty good freakin' awesome pitcher in Chris Sale to slow down the streaking Cubs. The tall left-hander struck out a season-high 15 #Cubes, as the North Siders were completely overmatched by one of the game's nastiest pitching artists and ended their streak one win short of double digits. Only Dexter Fowler managed a hit off Sale, who threw 73 pitches for strikes and walked two on 116 pitches in seven innings of work. Sale's 15 strikeouts topped his previous best in 2015, when the 26-year-old struck out 14 against the Astros on June 8 and again – because, why not? ­­– against the Rangers on June 19. It also tied his career mark set in April of 2012, when he sat down 15 Tampa Bay Rays.

Sunday's performance lifted Sale's record to 11-7 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a 208/32 K/BB ratio in 157 1/3 innings. It's the third straight year that Sale has reached 200 Ks; his previous high was in 2013 with 226. Last year he punched out 208, and he just missed the mark in 2012 with 192 strikeouts. Sale entered Sunday's game with 4.8 fWAR, trailing only Clayton Kershaw (5.4) and Corey Kluber (5.3). He's certainly in the mix for the AL Cy Young award, but Sonny Gray, Dallas Keuchel and David Price are all going to receive strong consideration with superior ERAs (sad, but true).

Sale's big game comes on the heels of two clunkers. He gave up five runs in back-to-back turns against the Red Sox and Rays, uncharacteristically allowing 18 hits and 14 runs in just over 10 innings. He followed that up with 7 1/3 strong innings against the Angels, however, before stealing the show Sunday. The 6-foot-6, 180-pound pitcher is showing why he's one of the games best pitchers. With Felix Hernandez showing some wear-and-tear in Seattle, Sale could be your top pitcher off the board in American Leagues next year.

Roto Roundup

Madison Bumgarner had just about as good of a day against the Nationals, fanning 14 in a complete-game shutout and also hitting a home run – his fourth of the season – and double in a 5-0 victory against Washington. Bumgarner allowed only three hits in the win, raising his record to 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 174/27 K/BB ratio in 163 1/3 innings. Bumgarner has managed to post a sub-3 ERA in each of the past two seasons, and steady finish to the 2015 season would give him three in a row. He entered Sunday with 3.3 WAR, No. 17 behind Jon Lester and Carlos Corrasco (3.5). In a normal year, Bumgarner might get a lot of love for the NL Cy Young award, but not with the seasons Kershaw and Zack Greinke, among others (Jake Arrieta, anybody?), are having.

Greinke, by the way, was back on the mound Sunday and twirling his normal gem, striking out eight, walking one, and allowing one run on six hits in seven innings against the Reds. Not to be outdone, Greinke also hit a go-ahead home run in the victory, moving the 31-year-old right-hander to 13-2 with a tidy 1.58 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 150/29 K/BB ratio in 165 1/3 innings. Team #Swoon.

Drew Smyly was very good in Tampa before injury put him on the shelf May 5. Making his first start since then, the lefty was smacked around in a 5-3 loss against the Rangers. He allowed five runs on seven hits over four innings, striking out four and walking a pair. Hopefully Smyly just needed to shake out the rust, as the 26-year-old gets a favorable next start against the Athletics on the road. Before Sunday's start, Smyly owned a 2.70 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings. Yes, we're dealing with an extreme small sample, but he's shown signs of breaking out before ... only to find himself back on the disabled list.  He shouldn't be counted on down the stretch, but he shouldn't be floating around on a ton of waiver wires, either.

Stephen Piscotty has done nothing but hit for the first-place Cardinals since getting the big-league call. On Sunday, the 24-year-old rookie blasted his first career home run in a loss.  Piscotty rose through St. Louis' minor leagues methodically, earning over 900 plate appearances between 2014 and 2015 in Triple-A. All that work has translated to the big leagues, where he's now hitting .333/.368/.481 to go along with one home runs, nine doubles, 10 runs and 11 RBI in 87 PAs. Piscotty has always been a strong contributor in the on-base category, but he's never had a season with more than 15 home runs, which limits his upside in fantasy. On the plus side, he's proving to be reliable in the batting average department with a 15.7 percent strikeout rate. He should be gobbled up in long-term formats.

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