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Roto Roundup: Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, Matt Moore and others

Ray offers his thoughts on sone of the top fantasy performers from Tuesday's roto action, including Mets ace Noah Syndergaard, Matt Moore, Javier Baez and others.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Our minor league team of writers led by Jason Hunt are taking a look at where some of the top prospects in the game are scheduled to start the 2016 season. Below are links to the leagues they have covered to date:

Minor League Previews

The Buy and Hold: Week 1

Minor League Preview: Eastern League

Minor League Preview: Pacific Coast League

Minor League Preview: International League

Minor League Preview: Southern League

Minor League Preview: Texas League

Minor League Preview: Carolina League

Minor League Preview: Florida State League

One Call Away: 30 Starting pitching prospects who could get the call

Prospect Call Ups

Moving on Up: Robert Stephenson

Moving on up: Nomar Mazara

Moving on up: Mallex Smith

Roto Roundup

When preparing for several of my NL only drafts a few weeks ago, I had no clue as to who the set up man, or next in line closer in the Marlins bullpen. Now we know. The Marlins announced yesterday that reliever David Phelps will move into the set up role behind closer A.J. Ramos. Phelps has made 112 appearances in the big leagues, 59 as a starter, and 53 in relief. Looking at his career splits as a starter vs a reliever tells me the Marlins are making a solid move here:

Stats courtesy of FanGraphs

Season

SP / RP

K/9

BB/9

K/BB

HR/9

K%

BB%

K-BB%

AVG

WHIP

BABIP

LOB%

FIP

xFIP

Total

As Starter

6.98

3.03

2.30

0.97

18.10%

7.90%

10.20%

0.262

1.36

0.303

71.40%

4.12

4.21

Total

As Reliever

9.50

4.40

2.16

1.10

24.60%

11.40%

13.20%

0.211

1.28

0.260

74.60%

4.22

4.15

As you can see from the above table, he is more dominant in a relief role than as a starter, and that is a good thing, as he now has at least some fantasy value going forward. His FIP is slightly higher as a reliever, but he strikes out almost three more batters per nine innings as a reliever than as a starter. His walks are up as well, so that is something to watch going forward, but the fact that the Marlins were looking to upgrade the closer position in the offseason indicates to me they are not comfortable with Ramos in the role.

Cubs utility guy Javier Baez played third base in a rehab stint at Triple A Iowa on Monday night, and played left field on Tuesday night, so it appears the Cubs are going to use him all over the field once he is ready to return from the disabled list. Baez is rehabbing a wrist injury, and the Cubs stated he would need 20-25 plate appearances in Triple A before he returns, so I see him back on the 25 man roster by this coming weekend at the earliest, and by next Monday the latest. He is owned i about 16% of ESPN leagues right now, and probably needs a change of scenery to have fantasy value in standard mixed leagues.

The Reds traded All Star third baseman Todd Frazier to the White Sox in a three team deal with the Dodgers this offseason, and replaced him with infielder Eugenio Suarez. Suarez was coming off a solid 2015 season, where he hit .280 with 13 home runs, 42 runs scored and 48 RBI in 398 plate appearances. This season, he is doing his best to make Reds fans forget about Frazier, who was a fan favorite. In 30 plate appearances, he is hitting .370 with 4 home runs, 9 runs scored, 9 RBI and a stolen base. In addition, he has walked more than he has struck out. He won't hit 30+ home runs like Frazier, but he could still bring value to fantasy owners in 2016.

It is readily apparent the Phillies are going to be a bad team in 2016, and most likely 2017, but they do have a few starting pitchers who fantasy owners should watch. One is Vincent Velasquez who shut out the Mets over six innings over the weekend. The other is Aaron Nola. Nola made 13 starts last season, going 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA, 1.20 WHIP with a 21.4% strikeout rate. This season, he has shown to be much more dominant. In this two starts thus far, he is 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 2.42 xFIP, a 0.71 WHIP with a strikeout rate near 33%. Now he won't continue striking out 33% of the batters he faces, but he has the potential to be a top 40 starter by the end of the season. Or better, if he can pitch to a low 3.00 ERA while striking out a batter per inning.

Speaking of top fantasy starters. Mets young ace Noah Syndergaard is fast becoming one of the best starters in the game. Last night, he thoroughly dominated the Marlins, giving up a run on 7 hits, a walk and 12 strikeouts over 7 innings in the Mets loss. Of the 99 pitches he threw, Syndergaaard induced an amazing 26 swinging strikes last night. In his first two starts of the season, Syndergaard owns a 21-2 strikeout to walk rate over 13 innings of work with a 0.69 ERA and 0.58 FIP.  Yeah, he's dominant, and he might give Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw a run for the NL Cy Young award.

After striking out 13 batters in this first start of the season, Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was effective, but not nearly as dominant vs the Mets last night. He limited the Mets to just one run on 3 hits, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts in 5 innings of work. He needed 90 pitches to get through the five innings, and now owns an ERA above 5.00, but an 18-4 strikeout to walk rate over 10.2 innings. After this head to head match up with Noah Syndergaard, Fernandez faces Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals on Monday.

I made an appearance on SiriusXMFantasy radio with Ray Flowers and Kyle Effrink a few weeks ago, and one of the players they asked me about was Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez. They asked me if I would invest in Sanchez this season, and I said I would stay far away from him since he has been a disappointment to date, but he has been pretty damn good in his first two starts of the season. Last night, he limited the Yankees to 2 runs, one earned, on 3 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts in 6 innings of work in the Blue Jays 3-2 loss. In his first two starts, Sanchez is pitching to a 1.38 ERA, A 0.85 WHIP and owns a 13-3 strikeout to walk rate in 13 innings. I don't know whether this is a hot streak or not, but he is available in 42% of ESPN leagues at the moment, so if you have a roster spot and want to make a spec play, Sanchez might finally meet his potential this season.

Rays starter is another young pitcher who has yet to reach his potential, but the reason he hasn't is quite different than Sanchez. Moore had Tommy John surgery a few years ago, and is just getting back to being 100% healthy. Last night, he limited the Indians to one run on 5 hits, a walk and 5 strikeouts over 7 innings in the Rays 5-1 win. Moore did not factor in the decision, but he has pitched to a 3.00 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and a 11-3 strikeout to walk rate in 12 innings of work.

Fantasy Rundown

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