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Roto Roundup: Billy Hamilton, Jung-ho Kang, Maikel Franco and others

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Ray offers his thoughts on some of the top fantasy performers from Tuesday's roto action, including Billy Hamilton, Jung-ho Kang, Henry Owens and others.

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Fantasy Football Rankings and more

The 2015 fantasy football season is only a few weeks away and we will once again provide you with offseason position rankings, sleepers, draft strategies and much more. We hope our fantasy football writing team was able to help you win your leagues in 2014, and we will be back at it for the upcoming season as well.

With that said, here is a link to all of our early position rankings, sleepers, value picks, top rookies and more:

Fantasy Football 2015: Early position rankings for PPR and Standard Leagues, and some DFS Strategy

Jung-ho Kang: Top 10 shortstop in 2016?

I was looking over the top hitters (based on fWAR) over the last 30 days over at FanGraphs on Tuesday morning and was surprised to see Jung-ho Kang's name within the top 10. Over the last 30 days, Kang has hit .375-.439-.648 with 4 home runs, 18 runs scored and 10 RBI in just under 100 plate appearances. This season, he has played 55 games at third base and 34 games at shortstop, so he has dual eligibility this season and next.

Through the first four months of his "rookie" season, he is hitting .294-.367-.454 with 8 home runs, 39 runs scored, 35 RBI and 5 stolen bases in 88 games. He has the power to be an annual 20 home run hitter, but that may not come till next season. Based on his performance to date, which includes him hitting just .221 in June, I could see him having a strong second half, putting himself in the top 10 shortstop conversation heading into the 2016 season.

Among shortstops with 300 or more plate appearances, his .454 slugging percentage is bettered by just Brandon Crawford, Jhonny Peralta and Troy Tulowitzki, and his 133 wRC+ ranks first. Only Carlos Correa has a higher wRC+ than Kang among shortstops with 200 or more plate appearances thus far.

Would you draft Kang as your starting shortstop in 2016?

Billy Hamilton: Better and worse than last season

I was reading Rotographs' Alex Chamberlin's NL only outfield rankings yesterday during lunch and was a little surprised that he ranked Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton in the second tier with the likes of Charlie Blackmon, Ryan Braun, A.J. Pollock and others. I realize he leads the majors in stolen bases by a wide margin, but his triple slash line is in a word -horrific. He is hitting .227-.271-.288 with 3 home runs, 47 runs scored, 24 RBI and 51 stolen bases this season. So, he is actually hitting WORSE than he did last season. His 53 wRC+ tells us he is 47% below league average in weighted runs created this season, ranking him as the 5th worst hitter in the game.

All that said, there is one positive to take away from his disappointing season. When reviewing his player page at FanGraphs, I noticed he has stolen 51 bases in just 94 games. Last season he stole 56 bases in 152 games, and was caught 23 times. This season, he has been caught just 7 times, for an 88% success rate. It's too bad he doesn't get on base more, as he really could approach 90-100 stolen bases if he could just be league average in the on base percentage stat.

Roto Roundup

After hitting .232-.286-.406 with 23 home runs and 75 RBI as a Yankee, catcher Brian McCann is putting up a much better slash line with improved power. Last night, he went 2-4 with a home run and 4 RBI in the Yankees thrashing of the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. He is now hitting .256-.326-.479 with 18 home runs, 44 runs scored and 65 RBI in just 87 games played. He is on pace to hit 28 home runs and drive in 100 runs with just about two months left in the season. With the weather really warm here on the east coast, I can see him hitting that projection by the end of the season.

The Red Sox pitching staff, with the exception of injured starter Clay Buchholz, has struggled for most of the season, so the Red Sox finally called up one of their better pitching prospects, Henry Owens, to start the first game of their three game series vs the Yankees last night. Owens pitched ok for his first big league start, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, a walk and 5 strikeouts, but needed 96 pitches to get through his five innings of work vs the experienced Yankee lineup. In 21 AAA starts prior to the call up, Owens was 3-8 with a 3.16 ERA with a 103-56 strikeout to walk rate in 122.1 innings. He will need to limit the free pass be be successful with the big league club. At this point, I would only roster him in the deepest of mixed and AL only leagues.

The Cubs signed ace starter Jon Lester to a huge contract in the offseason, but their best starter going back to last season has been Jake Arrieta, and he continued his dominance last night, shutting out the Pirates on 2 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts over 7 innings in the Cubs 5-0 win. The win moved his record to 12-6 with a 2.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and a 152-37 strikeout to walk rate in 147.2 innings. He has given up two runs or less in 8 of his last 10, and 14 of his 22 starts this season. His 2.50 ERA ranks in the top 10 among all qualified starters in the game.I will rank my very early Top 50 starting pitchers for 2016 in the coming weeks, but I can say right now that Arrieta will be in the top 10.

The Blue Jays traded first baseman/DH Adam Lind to the Brewers for starter Marco Estrada last offseason, and so far the trade has worked out for both teams, as Lind has hit .284 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI, and Estrada has quietly pitched very well for the Blue Jays. Last night, Estrada limited the Twins to just one run on 2 hits, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts in 6.1 innings in the Blue Jays 3-1 win. The win moved his record to 9-6 with a solid 3.40 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and a 86-34 strikeout to walk rate in 111.1 innings. He has given up two runs or less in 7 of his last 9 starts lowering his ERA by almost a run. Yet he is owned in just 26% of ESPN leagues at the moment. The Blue Jays are going to score some runs the rest of the way, so as long as Estrada can stay away from too many disaster starts, he should be serviceable in most leagues.

The National League Rookie of the Year award appears to be a three player race between Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Giants third baseman Matt Duffy. But, don't count out Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco. Last night, Franco hit a game winning grand slam in the Phillies 6-2 win over the Dodgers, and is now hitting .282-.339-.491 with 12 home runs, 40 runs scored and 44 RBI in just under 300 plate appearances. Among all third baseman, he ranks in the top 12 in batting average, home runs and RBI, despite playing in 20-30 fewer games, and has more RBI than Pablo Sandoval and Adrian Beltre at this point.

Fantasy Rundown

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