It has been no secret that Giants starter Tim Lincecum has struggled this season, and that continued yesterday afternoon in his start vs the first place Pirates. Lincecum lasted 3.1 innings, giving up 6 runs on 7 hits, a walk, 3 strikeouts and 2 home runs. He is now 3-10 with a 6.42 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and a 104-50 strikeout to walk ratio in 96.2 innings pitched. I tweeted yesterday afternoon that it is time to stick a fork in Lincecum, and if I owned him I would probably drop him now. He now owns the worst ERA in baseball amongst qualified starting pitchers, and has given up 69 earned runs this season, which is more than he gave up in 4 of the last 4 seasons. Time to drop him.
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker was one of the reasons why Lincecum lasted just 3.1 innings yesterday, but he also hit every Giants pitcher he faced yesterday, as he went 5-5 with a double, a HR, 4 runs and 2 RBI. Walker has hit in 15 of his last 16 games, lifting his triple slash line to .291-.357-.483 with 6 HRs, 42 runs, 41 RBI and 7 stolen bases. He is striking out a bit more this year, but also walking more, but fantasy owners were looking for a little more power from him this season. Maybe we will start to see a bit more in the second half.
Walker's teammate Andrew McCutchen has to be the first half MVP in the National League. Baseball fans certainly got it wrong for not voting him as a starter for the NL in the All Star game. McCutchen went 3-5 with 2 home runs, 3 runs and 4 RBI yesterday and is now hitting .362-.414-.625 with 18 HRs, 58 runs, 60 RBI and 14 stolen bases. McCutchen is putting it all together this season, and will certainly be in the NL MVP conversation should the Pirates stay in the thick of the NL Central race this season.
More Roto Roundup, along with some MLB Futures game thoughts, after the jump:
In case you missed it, Jason, Craig and Bret hosted an MLB Futures game open thread yesterday where they shared their thoughts on the prospects in the Futures game, along with answering some reader questions, so make sure you check out the open thread here.
I didn't get a chance to see the MLB Futures game live, but am watching the game as I write this Roundup, and wonder if Wil Myers will actually leave Kansas City after this game. No reason why they shouldn't just hand him the starting right field job right now.
Tiger's third base prospect Nick Castellanos was named the Futures game MVP, and I have to think we will be reading more about him in the coming days. ESPN's Keith Law releases his Midseason Top 50 Prospect Rankings on Thursday, and I am looking forward to seeing where he ranks Castellanos after seeing him in person yesterday. Law ranked him as his 18th top prospect in his Midseason Top 25 Rankings, while John Sickels ranked him as his 19th ranked prospect in his Midseason Top 120 Rankings, and I could see Law moving up after his performance yesterday.
Interesting that Steve Berthiaume mentioned during the MLB Futures game that the Reds could call up speedster Billy Hamilton in September to use as a pinch runner to steal bases. Something to think about if the Reds start to pull away from the other teams in the NL Central.
I have opined that if the Rangers trade for one of Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke this month, that Rangers third base prospect Mike Olt may be dangled as a trade chip. During the Futures game on ESPN, they stated that Rangers GM Jon Daniels told them that he will not deal Olt. He will have to to get either of them, and Olt makes sense for both teams right now, The Phillies have said they are looking for third base help in any deal for Hamels. Olt would make sense for the Brewers as well, as a deal for Olt would allow them to move Aramis Ramirez to first base.
As I write this, Buster Olney tweets that if Hamels is traded, that the Rangers are the favorites. I own him in one of my keepers leagues where I am currently in second place. On the other hand, Phillies beat writer David Murphy thinks Hamels re-signs with the team by 7/31.
Diamondbacks top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer had his best big league start yesterday vs the Dodgers, tossing 6 shutout innings, giving up just 2 hits, a walk and striking out 6. There was talk before this start that either he or Josh Collmenter would be sent down to AAA with Joe Saunders returning from the DL after the All Star break. I think Collmenter will be packing his bags during the break.
Rays manager Joe Maddon moved young outfielder Desmond Jennings down the 7th in the lineup yesterday, and Jennings responded by going 1-4 with a double and 2 RBI. Jennings has struggled to replicate his debut season in 2011, as he is hitting .231-.298-.353 with 5 HRs, 32 runs, 23 RBI, 15 stolen bases, and a 56-21 strikeout to walk ratio in 238 at bats.
The Tigers spent a ton of money to sign Prince Fielder this offseason, and after a slow start, he is starting to hit like the guy we saw in Milwaukee for several years. Fielder went 1-3 with a HR, a walk and 3 RBI. Fielder is now hitting .299-.380-.505 with 15 HRs, 19 doubles, 48 runs and 63 RBI with an excellent 45-3 strikeout to walk ratio. His power is down a bit, as he is on pace for "just" 28 home runs this season, so maybe he can get on a second half power surge to get over the 30 HR level.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will miss the next 4-6 weeks after having surgery on his ailing right knee. I, for one, will say I am disappointed with this news, not only because I own him in one of my NL-only keeper leagues, but because he will miss the Home Run derby tonight. I usually don't watch too much of the HR derby, but would have watched it to see how Stanton performed. Stanton was having a solid season at the plate, hitting .284-.364-.554 with 19 HRs, 46 runs, 50 RBI and 5 stolen bases. Not many people thought he could hit .280+ this season, but I had confidence that he wouldn't hit .250 this season.
Coming into this weekend's series vs the Phillies, one could argue that Braves catcher Brian McCann was having a disappointing season at the plate. But now, not so much. McCann went 2-5 with a HR and 2 RBI yesterday, and McCann has to be upset that he is leaving Philadelphia, as he homered in all three games in the series, and now has homered in four straight games. He is now hitting .238-.301-.430 with 13 HRs, 28 runs, 46 RBI and a solid 39-24 strikeout to walk ratio. He is on pace for 25 HRs and 88 RBI this season. Just another normal McCann season for fantasy owners.
White Sox outfielder Alex Rios had a sub-par season in 2011 after a 21 HR, 34 stolen base season in 2010. His 201 BABIP of .237 was the main reason for his down year, but this season, his BABIP is back above .300 and he is having a very fine, yet surprising season. He went 3-5 with 3 runs and 4 RBI yesterday and is now hitting .318-.352-.522 with 12 HRs, 50 runs, 49 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He is on pace for 20+ home runs and stolen bases and 90+ runs and RBI, and is a candidate for come back player of the year.
Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus appears to be over his struggles at the plate that dogged him the last year or so. He went 2-4 with 2 walks, a double, a HR, 2 runs and 3 RBI, raising his triple slash line to .259-.328-.494 with 17 HRs, 46 runs, 53 RBI and 4 stolen bases. After hitting .232-.281-.427 in April, and .237-.317-.430 in May, he hit .291-.331-.547 with 8 HRs and 25 RBI in June. He is hitting .250-.419-.542 in 8 July games, so he is starting to hit for more power and is taking a few walks as well. Baby steps, but he looks like he has figured things out at the plate.