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Roto Roundup: Mat Latos, Daniel Norris, Lucas Duda and Others

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Alex offers his thoughts on some of the top fantasy performers from Sunday, including Mat Latos, Daniel Norris, Lucas Duda and others.

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Mat Latos jerks and bullies his way to a quality start in Dodgers debut

No, the Dodgers didn't land the big fish. There's no question that Cole Hamels or David Price would have looked charming in Dodger blue (Who wouldn't?). Like a 1-2 punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke isn't enough? Alas ... the trade deadline has come and gone and Hamels is now a Ranger and Price is now a Blue Jay. But the Dodgers front office did well to bolster their starting staff at the trade deadline with the addition of Mat Latos and Alex Wood.

Latos had his struggles in Miami – like in his Marlins debut when he allowed seven runs (!) in 2/3 innings (!!). But, ever since mid June (when he returned from knee surgery), things have gone much better for the 27-year-oll righty. Latos ended June with a 3.86 ERA, and followed that up with a sparkling 1.80 ERA in July (and a .155 batting average against).

Latos' owners probably dropped him long before he returned from surgery, but those who wisely scooped him up with the hopes of the once-upon-a-time ace turning it around have been handsomely rewarded with an SP3. Latos was very effective in his Dodgers debut on Sunday, limiting the Los Angeles Angels to one run on four hits in six innings. It was an odd performance with Latos registering only one strikeout (and one walk), but he held the Halos to just one run on an RBI groundout.

Since returning from knee surgery, Latos has been a different pitcher, posting a 2.79 ERA and a 44/10 K/BB ratio in 51 2/3 innings. In fact, Latos has been a top-40 pitcher for the last 30 days, according to the ESPN Player Rater, and if he had a little more luck in the win column (cough, Marlins, cough), he could very well be a top-30 starter. In Los Angeles, Latos should see a bump to his win totals (he currently stands at 4-7), although he had a bad-luck no decision in his Dodgers debut.

Still, Latos lowered his ERA to 4.29, and his FIP to a very solid 3.35, recording six quality starts in eight tries (he had just three quality starts in his first nine starts). The tattooed pitcher entered Sunday with an ownership of less than 50 percent inESPN leagues, but that number should skyrocket following his Dodgers debut. Alex Wood, on the other hand, is owned in almost 75 percent of ESPN leagues. I'd recommend Latos over Wood for the rest of the season, and I'd even take Brett Anderson (3.29 ERA, 3.66 FIP), who is owned in the fewest leagues of the trio (19 percent).

Roto Roundup

Everybody’s favorite "Van Down by the River Guy" Daniel Norris was great in his Tigers debut, holding the Orioles to one run 7 1/3 innings of work Sunday. He allowed four hits, struck out five and walked just one. The performance dropped his ERA to 3.23, along with a 1.30 WHIP and 23/13 K/BB ratio in 30 2/3 innings between Toronto and Detroit. Norris was the big prospect acquired in the David Price deal, and he should be a very valuable dynasty piece for many years to come. I’m just not going to get excited over one very good start, however, as the rookie will likely have his share of ups and downs in the Motor City. Issuing only one walk Sunday was a step in the right direction, as he entered the game with a walk rate of 11.7 percent. Don’t go too crazy here, but make the investment in long-term leagues if he's still available.

Kris Bryant left Sunday’s game with a head/neck injury after sliding head first into second base Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee. It was a scary scene for the rookie, but he was able to walk away under his own power. The Cubs were being cautious, as they should with their prized 23-year-old rook, and Chicago is hopeful that he’s going to be OK for the upcoming series. Bryant said he was feeling better after the game, according to CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, and more should be known of the injury and/or possible missed time by tomorrow. Bryant has cooled recently, slashing .246/.354/.436 overall with 14 home runs and 54 RBI in 412 plate appearances. Any missed time would open a a big hole in Chicago's lineup.

Lucas Duda was at it again on the big stage Sunday night, blasting a two-run home run of Jordan Zimmermann as the Mets beat the Nationals and tied Washington atop the National League East standings. Duda has smacked nine home runs in his last eight games, including one game with three, and on the season has 21 home runs to go along with 53 runs, 51 RBI and a .249 batting average. Since the All-Star break, the 29-year-old is slugging .797 with 12 extra-base hits. The recent home run binge puts Duda on pace to hit 32 home runs with 77 RB after hitting 31 and driving in 92 a year ago.

#CardinalsDevilMagic is real ... and Brandon Moss is just the latest proof. The newly acquired first baseman/corner outfielder beat the shift and hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth against the Rockies. Moss has had a quiet debut for the Cardinals, going 2 for 11. In a down year, the 31-year-old is hitting just .216/.285/.399 in 386 plate appearances with 15 home runs and 51 RBI. Sure, the RBI total is nice, but the entire package isn't attractive. I was wrong about Moss this year, thinking he could smack his way to a 30- to 35-home run season and not drain the batting average, but there's little hope of a turnaround at this point. His walk rate is down considerably, and he's still striking out far too much (27.7 percent). I'm still shocked the Cardinals gave up what they did to acquire Moss (says a disgruntled Adam Lind owner).

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