I wrote about Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion having a breakout year in a recent Roto Roundup, and he continues to hit for power this season. Yesterday, he went 2-4 with 2 HRs and 3 RBI, and he is now hitting .295-.384-.578 with 25 HRs, 57 runs, 61 RBI and 9 stolen bases. Much credit has to go to Blue Jays hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, as he has turned around the careers of Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus and Encarnacion. Encarnacion recently signed a 3 year extension with the team, and if he can continue to hit like this, he will be a bargain for the team.
The Cardinals activated first baseman Lance Berkman yesterday and MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch discusses how the team will use Berkman:
The Cardinals do not plan to play Berkman in back-to-back games for a while, preferring to spread out his playing time since Berkman did not go through a Minor League rehab assignment. In games where he doesn't start, Berkman will still be available for use in a pinch-hit role.
His return from the DL directly impacts Allen Craig, who is having a great year at the plate. With Berkman in the lineup, Craig can play left field and right field, but the Cardinals have Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran manning those positions, so Craig may be limited to playing just 3-4 times per week. Or he could become trade bait, as the Cardinals are looking for pitching in the trade market.
Angels stud outfielder Mike Trout did what Mike Trout does yesterday. Trout went 3-5 with a run scored and 2 stolen bases to raise his triple slash line to .348-.401-/569 with 12 HRs, 59 runs, 40 RBI and 30 stolen bases. Already the best leadoff hitter in the game, he is a slam dunk to win the AL Rookie of the Year award, and should get plenty of votes for AL MVP as well.
A reader recently asked me on Twitter whether he should trade Trout in a package for Albert Pujols. Right now, Trout should not be traded in keeper leagues. Any keeper league. He could be the best player in the game next season at the ripe young age of 21. Under no circumstances do you trade Trout. None. After missing the month of April, well, he was playing in AAA, he is on pace for 20+ HR, 100+ runs scored, 70+ RBI and 55 stolen bases.
More Roundup after the jump:
The other day, in this space, I wrote about my Top 5 fantasy hitters in the game right now. Not included in that list was Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, but one could argue that he is one of the top 5 fantasy hitters in the game right now. Cano went 2-4 with a HR and 3 RBI yesterday, and is now hitting .315-.374-.582 with 21 HRs, 58 runs and 54 RBI. The only thing he does not do is steal bases, but he is such a good hitter, he is still one of the best fantasy hitters in baseball.
I don't know what has gotten into Cubs right handed starter Ryan Dempster, but he has gone from being hittable and giving up more runs than you want, to unhittable and rarely giving up runs. Yesterday, Dempster shut out the Diamondbacks for 6 innings, giving up 4 hits, walking 3 and striking out 5. He has not given up a run since May 30th, a span of 33 innings over his last 5 starts, He is 5-3 on the season, with a 1.86 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 3.71 xFIP, and a 1.02 WHIP. Both his K rate and BB rate are down from last year, but so is his HR/FB rate, which is down to 6.7% from 11.2%, and as a result his strand rate is an obscene 85.5%, which is not sustainable. He has given up more than 2 runs in just 3 of his 14 starts. Who saw this coming from Dempster?
Indians catcher Carlos Santana was one of the top 1 or 2 fantasy catchers coming into the season, but he has been a huge disappointment. He went 0-3 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored, and is now hitting .221-.345-.333 with just 5 HRs, 33 runs 30 RBI, but an excellent 61-50 strikeout to walk ratio. His walk rate has actually improved to just over 16% this season, but his power has dropped, with his ISO rate almost cut in half to .114 from .217 last season. I thought he could approach 30 HRs this season, but we will be lucky if he hits more than 10 at this point. Where does he fall amongst fantasy catchers going into the 2013 season?
Speaking of fantasy catchers, Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario will be moving up the rankings for 2013, as he has displayed solid power in his first full season in the big leagues. Rosario went 2-4 with a HR and 3 RBI last night, and is now hitting .253-.283-.541 with 15 HRs and 39 RBI. He doesn't walk much which might hurt him in the long run, but as far as fantasy catchers go, he could be a solid 17-24 HR hitter next season.
I traded my $10 Glen Perkins in my AL only league for $17 Nick Markakis during the All Star break, as I dealt my two closers for two hitters. Markakis went 3-6 yesterday with 3 doubles and 2 runs scored. He just came off the DL on Friday and is 4-10 since, with all 4 of his hits being doubles. For the season, Markakis is hitting .263-.339-.469 with 8 HRs, 27 runs and 27 RBI.
Mets first baseman Ike Davis was on my list of 5 Hitters to Target in the second half recently, and I think he will move up the first base rankings as the season progresses. Davis went 2-4 with a HR and 2 runs scored yesterday, raising his triple slash line to .207-.282-.404 with 13 HRs and 50 RBI. The RBI total is a lot considering the slump he was in to start the season, and he now has 29 RBI since the beginning of June.
Giants starter Tim Lincecum came into his Saturday night start staring at a do or die situation where if he put up another dud of a start, he could have been relegated to a bullpen role to work on some things. Well, make that plan B after last night's effort. Lincecum was vintage Lincecum last night, shutting out the Astros for 8 innings, giving up just 5 hits, a walk and striking out 11. I don't think he is out of the woods just yet, but his performance is certainly comforting to fantasy owners who did hold onto him after I wrote that he should be dropped.