Pirates starter A.J. Burnett just keeps on putting up one quality start after the other. Burnett held the Royals to 2 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts in 7.1 innings yesterday. He induced double digit ground ball outs for the 8th time in his 10 starts this season. He is 6-2 with a 3.61 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 3.17 xFIP, 1.25 WHIP and 56-20 strikeout to walk ratio in 62.1 innings thus far. He has given up 3 runs or less in 9 of his 10 starts, and 2 runs or less in 8 of those 10 starts.
Giants starter Tim Lincecum is the exact opposite of A.J. Burnett this season. He struggled once again yesterday, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits, 4 walks and 5 strikeouts in 5.2 innings yesterday, making it his 9th start out of 13 where he has given up 4 runs or more. Lincecum is now 2-7 with a 6.00 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 3.84 xFIP and a 1.52 WHIP. His strikeout rate is still solid at 9.63/9, but his walk rate is all the way up to 4.88/9 and his strand rate is an extremely low 60.9%. Fantasy owners should consider benching him, if possible. He has to be the most disappointing starter for 2012 at this point. And this tweet from Andrew Baggarly last evening tells us how bad his season has been:
Andrew Baggarly @CSNBaggs
There are 62 pitchers in the NL who've made at least 10 starts. Here's a list of those with a higher ERA than Tim Lincecum: Mike Minor, ATL.
Orioles catcher Matt Wieters struggled in May after a hot April, but he is starting to get hot in June. He went 3-4 with the game winning RBI yesterday. In his last 10 games he is 14-40 with a HR and 5 RBI, and for the season, his triple slash line is up to .255-.336-.450 with 9 HRs, 27 runs and 27 RBI. I predicted he would have a breakout season in 2012, and he still might, as he is on pace for a 24 HRs and 73 RBI, but I was thinking he could approach 30 HRs this season.
More Roto Roundup, along with a possible MVP candidate, after the jump:
Angels DH/outfielder Mark Trumbo is having a breakout season so far, and he is probably a top candidate for AL MVP at the moment. He went 2-3 with 2 walks, 2 HRs and 6 RBI yesterday, and is now hitting .326-.380-.632 with 14 HRs, 28 runs and 39 RBI in 187 at bats this season. His HR/FB rate of 25.9% is 7th in baseball right now, while his SLG% is 2nd in the AL. He is on pace for 37 HRs and 104 RBI, and has to be a top 2-3 MVP candidate along with Josh Hamilton.
Cubs starter Ryan Dempster is having his best season as a major leaguer at the age of 35. He shutout the Twins on 4 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts in 8 inning yesterday. He won just for the second time yesterday, but he lowered his ERA to 2.31 with a 3.24 FIP and 3.52 xFIP, along with a WHIP of 1.08, the best of his career. One reason for the great start to the season is the drop in his walk rate from 3.65 to 2.43, yet he has been graced with some luck, as his strand rate sits at an extreme 81.6%, so some regression is expected.
If Mike Trout is the best leadoff hitter this season, and I think he is, then Braves outfielder Michael Bourn is the second best leadoff hitter. Bourn went 2-4 with a run scored yesterday, and is now hitting .320-.376-.469 with 6 HRs, 43 runs, 20 RBI and 16 stolen bases thus far. Where did that power come from? Bourn is a free agent after the season, and picked a good time to have his best season at the plate. His triple slash line is the best of his career so far, and he has never hit over .300 or slugged over .400 in his career.
Who expected Astros first baseman Brett Wallace to hit like this after his callup? Not me. Wallace went 2-4 with a walk, a HR and 2 runs scored yesterday, and is now 10-25 since his call up, hitting .400-.500-.760 with 2 HRs, 7 runs, and 4 RBI. He has hit in each of his 7 games since he call up, and I wonder what the Astros will do with him once Carlos Lee is healthy. Could they try Wallace at third base, or will he get sent down?
As every week passes, it is becoming more and more likely that Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis will be an All Star this season. Heck, he has been the best fantasy second baseman so far, so it will be a smack in the face if he doesn't get named to the AL All Star team. He went 3-4 with a walk, run, HR, 3 RBI and a stolen base vs the Cardinals, and is hitting .285-.345-.460 with 10 HRs, 43 runs, 39 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He has stolen more bases this season than he has in any season in the minors, and I don't think anyone could have predicted he'd be on pace for 40+ stolen bases at this point.
Brandon Belt may begin to lose time at first base, according to some, but the player who could replace him is not who you think it is. Pablo Sandoval returned from the DL this weekend but looked terrible at third base. I mean really bad. Here is Grant Brisbee's account for how bad he looked yesterday. Belt has struggled in his 116 at bats this season, hitting just .224-.340-.328 with no home runs, 10 extra base hits, 17 RBI and he still owns a solid eye at the plate as his 36-22 strikeout to walk ratio suggests. It was reported yesterday that Sandoval will not get a day off with the rest of the Giants players, and we presume he will get some infield practice later today.