Roto Roundup: Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Asdrubal Cabrera and Others

Breaking out or just lucky? Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

In the offseason, I compared Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon to Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, saying they were very similar hitters with Gordon having more speed and the potential to steal 50+ bases. Well, Gordon better start hitting real quick, as Andrus is hitting a little over 100 points higher than Gordon at this point, even after going 0-4 yesterday. Andrus is hitting .320-.394-.413 with a HR, 19 RBI, 24 runs scored and 7 stolen bases. Andrus has benefitted from a very high .370 BABIP to date, much higher than his career BABIP of .317, so the BA could take a hit in the near future. He owns a solid strikeout rate of just 11.2% and a solid walk rate of 10.7%, is keeping the ball on the ground at a 51% clip and hitting line drives at a near 27% rate as well. If he can keep the line drive rate up, he could best his career high BA of .279 last year.

White Sox starter Chris Sale held Albert Pujols and the Mickey Hatcher-less Angels to just one run in 5.1 innings yesterday, giving up just 5 hits, a walk and struck out 7. He gave up a HR to Pujols, only the third HR he has given up in 43.1 innings so far in 2012. He has struck out 43 and walked 12 in those 43+ innings, and is now 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Pretty damn good for his first year in the White Sox rotation.

Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera had a breakout season in 2011, hitting .273-.332-.460 with 25 HRs, 92 RBI, 87 runs and 17 stolen bases. He has picked up where he left off last season, hitting .326-.416-.512 with 4 HRs, 17 RBI, 21 runs and 2 stolen bases thus far. His triple slash line is up, but even more impressive is his 10-17 strikeout to walk ratio. That is Pujols-esque in his prime. OK, a bit of exaggeration there, but it is impressive when compared to his 119-44 strikeout to walk rate last season.

More Roto Roundup after the jump:

The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays again last night, scoring just one run in the process. Back in the offseason, I wrote a piece discussing 10 players to avoid this season, and #10 on the list was Alex Rodriguez. My reasoning was the negative trend in his slugging percentage. ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted something similar last evening:

Alex Rodriguez's year-by-year OPS from 2007: 1.067, .965, .934, .847, .823, .796. For Yankees' fans: Do you see this as irreversible trend?

Irreversible? Yes, the trend is your friend. Stay away, and if you own him, try to trade him as soon as he gets hot.

Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young could be activated from the DL today, but it could come after the deadline for lineup changes. A few of my leagues have a 1pm cutoff for lineup changes.

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has endured a lot over the last year or so, recovering from post concussion syndrome and several other injuries. He went 2-4 with a HR and 3 RBI in his second game back from the DL, and is now hitting .241-.315-.494 with 5 HR and 12 RBI thus far. I was asked by a reader on Twitter what my thoughts were on Morneau for the rest of the season. My response: don't expect much, and I am just happy he is on the field again.

Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is having himself some kind of breakout year so far. He hit his 13th HR yesterday, and has now homered in 3 straight games, and now has 5 HRs in his last 10 games. For the season, he is hitting .296-.345-.604 with 13 HRs, 34 runs, 26 RBI and 6 stolen bases in 9 attempts. He could stand to walk a bit more, but as long as he is hitting for power, and can keep the strikeouts to a minimum, we could see a 30 HR season from him.

When the Diamondbacks signed Jason Kubel this offseason, many felt that he would show an increase in power, moving from Target Field to Chase Field in Arizona. Well, we have yet to see the power on display, as he has hit just 3 home runs to date, but he has hit for a better than expected BA-OBP thus far. Kubel is hitting .299-.386-.449 with 3 HRs and 16 RBI in 127 at bats thus far. As with any power hitter, all he needs is one good week and the power numbers will return to normal and possibly exceed expectations.

Pirates starter James McDonald is quietly having a bit of a breakout year this year. He was cruising before struggling in the 6th inning last night vs Nationals, and finished giving up 3 runs on 4 hits, a walk and 11 strikeouts. He struck out 7 of the first 9 batters, and was able to walk away with his 3rd win of the season. He is now 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and an excellent 50-16 strikeout to walk ratio in 50.1 innings. He is on pace for 200+ strikeouts this season and will shoot up pitcher rankings if he can maintain a sub 3.50 ERA for the whole season.

Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen had a breakout power year in 2011, hitting 23 HRs which was 7 more than his previous high of 16 HRs in 2010. Last night, he went 2-4 with 2 solo HRs, and has now homered 5 times in his last 10 games. He is now hitting .349-.407-.535 with 5 HRs, 22 runs, 16 RBI and 7 stolen bases in 10 attempts. Even with his recent power surge, his power is down this season, as his .144 ISO would indicate, but I do remember hearing Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, in a spring training interview, say that he wants McCutchen to not focus on his power, and focus more on improving his BA from the .259 level in 2011, and that is exactly what he has done thus far.

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been a bit of a disappointment so far this season. I should know, I own him in two leagues. Zimmerman is hitting just .223-.339-.309 with just 1 HR and 11 RBI to date. He still owns a solid eye at the plate as his 18-16 strikeout to walk ratio shows, but fantasy owners (ME!) are waiting for the power numbers to show up as well. We aren't close to mid-season yet, but know that Zimmerman has a been a better hitter in the second half of the season vs the first half over the course of his career. The power should come. If it doesn't, his 2013 ranking will suffer as a result.

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