Roto Roundup: Francisco Liriano, Carlos Gonzalez, Jordan Lyles and Others

Ed Zurga

Ray Guilfoyle highlights the top fantasy performers from Friday's MLB action.

Do you have trade offers where you need another opinion? Struggling over an add/drop decision? We can help. If you have some fantasy baseball questions, make sure you post them in the new Fantasy Baseball Questions Thread.

Fake Teams Podcast, Episode 7: Biogenesis fallout and more

In Episode 7 of the Fake Teams Podcast, Andrew and Zack talked about the fantasy fallout of the Biogenesis news this week, along with their thoughts on Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez and others. Make sure you check out the podcast and rate them on ITunes.

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Francisco Liriano: Better than ever

Pirates starer Francisco Liriano shut out the Cubs for 7 innings yesterday afternoon, giving up just two hits, but walked 5 and struck out 7 to win his fourth game of the season. Liriano is now 4-2 with a 1.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and a 47-14 strikeout to walk rate in 36 innings. The five walks were the most he has had in any start this season, but his walk rate is down from 5.00 BB/9 to 3.50 BB/9, while his strikeout rate has jumped from 9.59 K/9 to 11.75 K/9. The combination of pitching in the National League where he faces the opposing pitcher a few times per game, and pitching in PNC Park, an extreme pitchers park, has helped his peripheral stats across the board.

The question is whether he can keep this up. I would lean toward him continuing to pitch well in Pittsburgh, as long as he can stay healthy and contain the walks. He has given up one run or less in five of his six starts this season.

Jordan Lyles:: Figuring things out in 2013

When you pitch for the worst team in baseball, a breakout season can easily be overlooked by fantasy owners, and that is exactly what is happening with Astros young starter Jordan Lyles. Lyles limited the Royals to 2 runs on 6 hits, a walk and 3 strikeouts in a no decision. His season stats tell you he is 3-1 with a 4.03 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, but if you could take away his blow up start back on May 12th vs the Rangers, where he gave up 8 runs on 11 hits in 4 innings, his ERA would drop to 2.66, and his WHIP would drop to 1.21.

Over his last five starts since the May 12th blow up, Lyles has gone at least five innings in each start, giving up two runs or less in each of those five starts. Lyles has given up three runs or less in seven of his eight starts this season, and appears to have figured things out in his second year in the big leagues.

Round'em Up

The Rays are one of the few teams in baseball that can develop starting pitchers and the next in line is Chris Archer. They received Archer in the Matt Garza deal. Last night, Archer held the solid Orioles lineup to one run on two hits, two walks and two strikeouts in the Rays 2-1 win. Archer is now 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA, 1.27 WHIP but just six strikeouts to five walks in his two starts thus far. I see him improving the strikeout rate over his next few starts.

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez left Friday's game with a knee strain but not before going 2-3 with 2 triples, 2 runs and 3 RBI. I imagine he will sit out today's game and a roster move will be made to call up an outfielder, most likely Charlie Blackmon.

Cardinals third baseman David Freese is quietly on a hot streak at the plate. He started off the season in a slump at the plate, but has turned things around of late. Last night, he went 2-3 with a walk, 2 runs and 2 RBI, and is now hitting .286-.360-.396 with 3 HRs, 18 runs and 20 RBI in 154 at bats. Over his last 10 games, he is 16-40 with a HR, 6 runs and 7 RBI, raising his batting average from .242 to .286.

Freese's teammate Adam Wainwright is all the way back from Tommy John surgery. Wainwright had a decent season in 2012, his first full year after the surgery, but this season, he is back to the Wainwright of old. He limited the Reds to 2 runs on 7 hits, a walk and 7 strikeouts to win his ninth game of the season. He is now 9-3 with a 2.34 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and an absurd 91-7 strikeout to walk rate in 96 innings this season. He has given up three runs or less in 12 of his 13 starts, and two runs or less in 8 of his 13 starts, this season.

A's starter Jarrod Parker came into the season as a top 40 starting pitcher, but struggled through April with a 7.34 ERA. Things settled down for him in May, as he put up a 3.86 ERA, which was closer to what we all expected of him this season. Last night, he continued his solid performances, giving up 2 earned runs on 5 hits, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. He is now 5-6 with a 4.68 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and a 55-30 K-BB in 75 innings thus far. He has given up three runs or less in seven of his last eight starts, lowering his ERA from 8.10 to 4.68. He's back to the 2012 Jarrod Parker.

Padres first baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks was close to being sent back to AAA a few days ago, but the Padres placed first baseman Yonder Alonso on the DL with a broken hand, so he remained with the big club. Good thing, as Blanks is having his best year as a big leaguer thus far. Last night, he went 3-5 with a HR, double, 2 runs and 3 RBI, and is now hitting .292-.374-.491 with 5 HRs, 6 doubles, 16 runs and 19 RBI in 106 at bats this season. He has started five of the last seven games, and should continue to see 4-5 starts a week with Alonso out for about a month.

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