Brad Lincoln (SP-PIT) - Lincoln came into Sunday's action averaging nearly 93 mph with his fastball and he was even better than that Sunday, sitting in the 92-94 range generally, and hitting 95 several times. Unfortunately, Indians batters weren't fooled, as they touched him for four runs on eight hits in just 3.1 innings, for Lincoln's third consecutive poor start. Lincoln had a 1.04 ERA in 26 relief innings before joining the rotation, so perhaps that's his ultimate destination. His 36:12 K:BB in 37.2 innings is solid, but remember, most of that work was done out of the bullpen. Lincoln is famous for being drafted ahead of the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum, and it's looking more and more like his ceiling is that of a reliever. Still, fantasy owners may want to take note of that, as Joel Hanrahan may not be in the team's long-term plans, leaving Lincoln and others as potential future closers.
Chris Young (SP-NYM) - I admit I'm a bit puzzled by this one. Young is both healthy AND effective? Sunday, Young allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits over seven solid innings against a tough Reds lineup. He only fanned two while walking two, and now sits with a 3.06 ERA in three starts with an 8:5 K:BB in 17.2 innings. The low amount of strikeouts is concerning, but when your "fastball" sits in the 82-85 mph range, you're probably not going to miss bats on a consistent basis. Young is probably best known for his height and his inability to stay healthy, throwing a total of 120 big league innings combined between 2009 and 2011. He also hasn't made 30 starts in a season since 2007. That all said, he's throwing strikes, and in many leagues, any starting pitcher with a pulse should be rostered.
John Mayberry Jr. (OF-PHI) - Playing time has picked up for Mayberry, who started for the fourth time in the past five games on Sunday, as the Phillies have faced a procession of left-handers recently. Mayberry has the wrong side of the platoon with Juan Pierre, but he took advantage of the playing time Sunday, going 3-for-4 with his fifth homer of the season. That leaves Mayberry 6-for-17 with three home runs in the four recent starts, though his slash line remains a modest .235/.269/.383. Mayberry is batting just .207 with one home run in 92 at-bats versus right-handers, so there's really no incentive to give Mayberry more at-bats, particularly with Pierre batting .325 with a .363 OBP and 14 stolen bases. Expect this to be a platoon that sticks.
Pedro Alvarez (3B-CLE) - Should the Pirates ever shop Alvarez in a trade, expect the Cleveland Indians to be first in line. A day after smashing a pair of home runs, Alvarez had a second straight monster day Sunday, going 3-for-4 with a double, two more homers, and six runs batted in. Alvarez is still batting just .207/.271/.451 with 12 homers and 34 driven in. The .244 ISO is very good, and as a point of reference, Miguel Cabrera sits at .227 and Adam Dunn at a ridiculous .350. With a 65.3% CT%, contact has been the big issue, but after not striking out at all in the past two games, Alvarez has a 73.8% rate in June, compared to rates of 61.0% and 64.1% in each of the season's first two months. That's progress, so though we'd rather see a 75%+ rate, he's still showing improvement and the power is real.
Sean Marshall (RP-CIN) - Don't get too excited about seeing "Marshall (S,9)" in Sunday's box score, as Aroldis Chapman was given the day off after pitching in three of the past four games, including Friday and Saturday. Since losing his closer's job to Chapman, Marshall has allowed just one run in 11.1 innings with an 11:3 K:BB. Chapman had a couple of rough outings recently, but he pitched well in his last two outings, so Marshall will continue to work as a setup man, likely for the rest of the season. Should Chapman finally (and rightfully most would say) be converted to a starting pitcher next year, Marshall would be a prime closer candidate.
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