Francisco Liriano, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates: Rise in Value
A couple of years ago, it seemed like all hope was lost for the veteran left-hander. He was coming off a second half with Chicago that saw him give up 34 earned runs in 56 innings (11 starts) and many people, including MLB scouts, started to lose hope that he could return to his form when he busted onto the scene with Minnesota, providing a thunder to Johan Santana's lightning. Oh, how times can change. Liriano is smack dab in the middle of the Pirates number one pitching rotation, and continued his success yesterday afternoon, tossing seven scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 1.75 on the year. His control was a little wild throughout, walking five batters, but he only allowed two hits and now has four wins since joining the team May 11th. In six starts, Liriano has just one where he has given up more than a run in the outing. In short, he's been lights out all season. He has struck out 47 batters and given up just 28 hits in 36 innings pitched, making him one of the more efficient pitchers in baseball right now. Amazingly enough, he's owned in only two thirds of leagues, so take a looksie as he may be available.
Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis Cardinals: Cy Young Watch
Wainwright was effective again and may have had lucky 7's on his side, surrendering just two runs on seven hits in seven innings of work, striking out seven in the process. The win was his ninth of the season already, putting him tied for first in the MLB next to little known starter for Arizona, Patrick Corbin. Owners who shunned Wainwright after last year, shame on you. He was coming off injury and started out 2012 VERY slow. It took him awhile to recover and he ended up posting respectable season statistics, but for some reason, he didn't get due credit in the draft this year. Well, owners are laughing now as Wainwright leads the NL in strikeouts (91), complete games (3), and innings pitched (96), on top of wins. His 2.34 ERA is good for 6th in the league and with a WHIP at 1.02, it not only makes him a top 10 fantasy player this year, it could spell Cy Young at the end of the year for the Cardinals right-hander.
Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia Phillies: Rise in Value
It's hard to say a pitcher who has been good for as long as Lee could ever really rise in value fantasy-wise, but after struggling to buy a win a first half of 2012, Lee is 7-2 with a 2.55 ERA and 83 K in 95.1 innings, only second in IP to... you guessed it... Adam Wainwright. Lee didn't have his best stuff in Milwaukee last night though, walking three and giving up eight hits over seven innings. The Brewers scratched across four runs (three earned) off the 34-year old, forcing him to take a no decision. Philadelphia isn't the powerhouse they used to be, but when Lee is on the hill, they have as good of a chance to win as anyone that day.
Jean Segura, SS, Milwaukee Brewers: Rookie of the Year Watch
In the beginning of 2013, you would be nuts to think that more than a quarter of fantasy owners even knew who Segura was, but after his performance the past two months, you would be hard-pressed to find an owner who hasn't at least tried to get him on their team. In his first full MLB season, Segura is making mincemeat of the competition, hitting at a .339 clip with eight home runs, 26 RBI and 16 stolen bases. His well-roundedness has fantasy owners salivating for a bite, although I wouldn't go diving into the shallow end here. His entire career's body of work spans about three or four months, so you can't really go off of what you see for such a short span, but considering the pace at which he is hitting, it's hard not to get a little excited. Baseball has been missing a group of well-rounded shortstops like this, and maybe Segura can continue to rake, providing people with a new young icon in the middle infield. When Jeter, A-Rod and Garciaparra were coming up, baseball was at a peak. See the Trouts, Puig's, and Heyward's are nice stories as outfielders coming up making big splashes, but Segura doing this as a shortstop who wasn't expected to make a big impact with the bat makes it even more mesmerizing.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies: Hot Player
Speaking of shortstops who have it all, here is a guy who has treated opposing pitchers as if they hurt his children. In 56 games, Tulo is batting .348 with 15 HR, 49 RBI and an OBP of .414. He finished last night's 10-9 victory over San Diego with three hits, an RBI and two runs scored, making him 19-for-42 (.452) with 5 HR and 10 RBI in his last 10 games. When healthy, he's arguably the best hitting shortstop in the game, so as long as he has nothing to complain about, owners should have no qualms either. It helps having guys like Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez hitting in front of you, but you still have to drive them in yourself. If you are nervous about injury, now is a great time to shop him. He is a top 10 fantasy hitter and plays a high demand fantasy position. There are plenty of people who would overpay to get a guy like Tulo, especially with how he is playing currently.