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Roto Roundup: Jameson Taillon, Chris Tillman, Andrew McCutchen and others

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Jameson Taillon appears major league ready......already

The Pirates have one of the best pitching prospects in the game in Tyler Glasnow. He was ranked in the top 10 of several of the Top 100 prospect rankings in the preseason. And, he might not even be the Pirates best pitching prospect. That’s right. Jameson Taillon, once a top 50 prospect himself, and after missing the last two seasons due to Tommy John surgery and other injuries, has been the better pitcher among the two this season.

Last night, Taillon made his second big league start, after being called up to replace Gerrit Cole, who was placed on the 15 day disabled list with a right triceps muscle strain. Taillon pitched well in his first start, also against the Mets, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts in 6 innings, and last night he was determined to pitch better. And boy did he. Taillon flirted with a no-hitter for six innings, but left the game after tossing 8 shutout innings, giving up just 2 hits, a walk and striking out 5. Not a dominating start, but he is incredibly efficient, as he needed just 91 pitches to get through eight innings, and induced 16 ground ball outs in the process.

Taillon is still available in over 70% of leagues right now, and if you own Cole, or a struggling starter, I would gladly grab him off of my league waiver wire if he was available.

Roto Roundup

Speaking of the Pirates, their best player, Andrew Mccutchen, has been a huge disappointment this season. After going 0-4 in last night’s game, he is hitting just .237-.317-.402 with 9 home runs, 37 runs scored, 25 RBI and just one stolen base. He is striking out in nearly 25% of his plate appearances and walking less than 10% of the time. He is on pace for the worst season of his career. He is hitting more fly balls than ever, but is making less hard contact. He has dealt with a knee injury earlier in the season, and is currently dealing with a thumb injury, so hopefully he can get healthy soon and have a strong second half.

After putting up a 41 home run, 123 RBI MVP season in 2015, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson was being drafted before the end of the first round this season. Not a surprise for the reigning American League MVP hitting in one of the best lineups in the game. He had a big April, hitting .292 with 8 home runs and 20 RBI, but has cooled off a bit since. Maybe his performance on Tuesday afternoon will get him back on track. He went 3-3 with a home run, 2 doubles and 5 RBI in the Blue Jays 11-3 win over the Phillies. Donaldson raised his average to .263-.375-.535 with 15 home runs, 52 runs scored, 42 RBI and has chipped in with 4 stolen bases as well. He is on pace for 36 home runs and 100+ RBI at this point, but he could outperform that projection, as he is hitting more fly balls and making more hard contact than last season. Add in the fact that he is walking more, and we could see him have a very strong second half of the season.

After a slow start to the season, Mets starter Jacob deGrom has pitched like the deGrom we saw in 2015. Last night, he tossed up yet another quality start, and yet again, the Mets didn’t score any runs for him. In his last three starts, he has received all of two runs of support. He gave up two runs, on a home run from Pirates third baseman Jung-ho Kang, on 6 hits, a walk and 9 strikeouts in the Mets 4-0 loss to Jameson Taillon and the Pirates. He is now 3-3 with a 2.82 ERA, 2.95 FIP, a 1.15 WHIP, and a 65-17 strikeout to walk rate in 67 innings. He has given up two runs or fewer in six of his last ten starts, and has struck out seven or more batters in each of his last five starts, and owns a 42-9 strikeout to walk rate in 31 innings over those five starts.

I have to apologize to Fake Teams follower Jason Rivanis. Earlier this season, he asked if he should trade Orioles starter Chris Tillman for Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. It was a no brainer for me. Didn’t think twice. Sometimes I get things wrong. Last night, Tillman limited the excellent Red Sox lineup to just one run on 5 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts in the Orioles 3-2 win. The win moved his record to 9-1 with a 2.87 ERA, 3.89 FIP, a 1.16 WHIP and an excellent 82-31 strikeout to walk rate in 84.2 innings. His strong performance to date can be attributed to a jump in his strikeout and swinging strike rates thus far. He is throwing more sliders this season, and it has been a pretty effective pitch thus far, so that explains the jump in strikeouts and swinging strikes thus far. Hopefully for Jason’s sake, Puig returns from the disabled list soon and has a strong last 3.5 months of the season.

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