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Roto Roundup: Albert Pujols, Zack Greinke, Mike Trout and Others

May 4, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (13) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
May 4, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (13) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

I was checking out Twitter last evening and saw a tweet from J.P. Breen, a writer for Disciples of Uecker, and he asked whether Brewers starter Zack Greinke was an ace. I responded yes. Greinke shutout the Mets for 7 innings last evening, giving up just 5 hits, no walks and 7 strikeouts. He is now 4-1 on the season, with a 2.88 ERA, 1.70 FIP, 2.23 xFIP, 1.12 WHIP, and a 9.54 K/9 and a 5.30 K/BB. Yep, he's an ace.

It used to be that is was news when Albert Pujols went into a slump, as fantasy owners got so used to him putting up excellent numbers across the board year in and year out. Not in 2012. It is news when he actually gets a hit. Yesterday, he gave us a glimpse that he may be ready to break out of his season long slump. He went 3-4 with 2 RBI in the Angels 4-0 win over the A's. He raised his triple slash line to .212-.248-.288. He has just 9 extra base hits, and only 1 HR, in 36 games this season. He used to do that in one week in the past. He is closing in on 150 at bats this season, and one has to wonder if he will approach the 30 HR level this season. He should get another 500 at bats, so he would have to average a home run every 17 at bats going forward to reach 30 HRs this season.

Pujols teammate Mike Trout had his best game of the season, going 3-4 with a HR, 3 runs and a stolen base. He is now hitting .316-.369-.561 with 3 HRs, 8 RBI and 3 stolen bases. He has struck out 17 times and walked 6 times in 57 at bats thus far, so he will need to cut down on the Ks a bit.

More Roto Roundup going forward:

A day after hitting his first major league HR, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper hit his second HR of the season, going 1-4 in the Nationals 6-1 loss. He has struggled to a .233an -.309-.433 triple slash line thus far, but has shown he more than belongs in the big leagues. With that said, he probably could have benefitted from another month or two in AAA.

Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence had a big day on Tuesday afternoon, going 3-5 with 2 solo home runs, including one to win the game in the 10th. He homered off of Astros closer Brett Myers, and is now hitting .255-.301-.497 with 9 HRs, 22 runs, 25 RBI and 3 stolen bases. Pence has struggled at the plate overall this season, as he is striking out more, walking less, yet hitting for more power, as measured by his .207 ISO.

Yankees reliever David Robertson was placed on the DL yesterday with an oblique injury, so the Yankees two best relievers are on the DL, leaving Rafael Soriano and his $11 million salary as the Yankees closer. How soon before he blows up pitching in the AL East?

Indians starter Derek Lowe is having an excellent bounce back season in Cleveland this season. He ran his record to 6-1 after throwing a complete game shutout vs the Twins. Yeah, it's only the Twins, but Lowe is pitching like an ace this season. He had a crazy line score though, giving up 6 hits, walking 4 and striking out NONE. But what he did do was induce TWENTY-TWO ground ball outs. TWENTY-TWO!! I have never seen that many ground ball outs by one pitcher in a game. He lowered his ERA to 2.05, but his FIP is closer to 4.00, so some regression is expected going forward.

Cubs outfielder Tony Campana has all kinds of speed which is keeping him in the lineup for now. His bat is also keeping him in the lineup as well, as he is triple slashing .333-.370-.391 with 3 RBI, 12 runs and 9 stolen bases in 11 attempts in 69 at bats. His .407 BABIP thus far tells me his BA and OBP will be dropping in the near future, so if you grabbed him a few weeks ago, make sure you have someone on your bench should the slump come soon, as that will stifle his stolen base totals. That, and the fact that Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo will almost certainly see time in Chicago this season, with Rizzo again tearing up AAA pitching this season.

The Cardinals placed outfielder John Jay on the DL yesterday and one has to wonder if the team did it just to get more playing time for Allen Craig. Craig recently came off the DL and has done nothing but rake since. He went 3-4 with a walk and 2 RBI yesterday, raising his triple slash line to .404-.455-.830 with 5 HRs and 18 RBI in 47 at bats. Wow. He has hit in 8 of his last 10 games, going 15-38 with 4 HRs and 15 RBI over the 10 games.

Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young, currently on the DL, went 2-4 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI last night in his second rehab game. The Diamondbacks announcers were speculating that he will return from the DL for the weekend series vs the Royals.

How soon before the Tigers pull Max Scherzer from their starting rotation? Scherzer once again put up all kinds of crooked numbers in his linescore vs the White Sox. He gave up 6 runs, 5 earned, on 8 hits, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts in just 4 innings. It took him 99 pitches to get through those 4 innings. He is 2-3 on the season, with a 6.26 ERA and 1.73 WHIP in 41.2 innings.

Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson is a changed hitter in 2012. He went 2-4 with a HR and 3 RBI yesterday, raising his triple slash line to .323-.409-.541 with 5 HRs, 27 runs, 16 RBI and 6 stolen bases in his 133 at bats thus far. But the real story is the drop in his strikeout rate from 27.1% to 18.6%, and the increased walk rate from 8.4% to 12.8%. He had 43 extra base hits last year and already has 15 in 2012. He appears to be in the midst of a breakout year this year.

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is off to a hot start to the 2012 season. He went 1-2 with a HR, a walk and 2 runs scored yesterday, and is now hitting .310-.371-.540 with 5 HRs, 11 doubles, 16 RBI and a decent 21-8 strikeout to walk ratio in 113 at bats. I saw someone tweet that he is hitting something like .343 since August 2011, so maybe the solid BA will lead to more power as the season rolls one.