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If you follow MLB media, you've heard a lot about the Angels' latest pitching signing. That is, of course, Tim Lincecum. You might have heard of him. I know personally, I've been flooded with mobile notifications about the signing over the last few days, which makes sense -- Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young winner signing with a pitching-needy team that could put him in the rotation as soon as he is ready.
However, is there actually any reason for Fantasy owners to be excited about the prospect of Lincecum joining the Angels' rotation? I'm not sure there is. The 31-year-old was once one of the best pitchers in baseball, yes, but that was a long time ago. He posted a 2.74 ERA in 2011 and finished sixth in the NL Cy Young voting, but has been pretty much a disaster since. Lincecum's control abandoned him, and his strikeout rate fell all the way down to 7.1 per nine in 2015 with the Giants.
In fact, since 2012, Lincecum has actually been one of the worst pitchers in baseball. Seventy-three pitchers have tossed at least 600 innings since 2012, and 71 of them have a lower ERA than Lincecum in that time. And, unlike Kyle Kendrick who pitches in Colorado, Lincecum actually spent his time in a pitching-friendly environment; his adjusted ERA+ of 75 is the worst among that group.
Lincecum is a big name, but he hasn't pitched like one in five years. He dealt with hip injuries later in his time with the Giants, and there is a chance the surgery he had on his left hip last September could solve some of those issues. His surgeon certainly thought there was a chance last season.
But I'm not buying it. Lincecum wouldn't be the first pitcher to suddenly lose it, only to figuring things out in a second act -- Francisco Liriano and Scott Kazmir are just two examples -- but there are plenty of other examples of pitchers who never got it back either. Lincecum is a long shot to contribute, and I wouldn't be looking to add him until he actually shows something worth paying for.
Danny Valencia, 3B, Athletics (65 percent owned)
Injuries have held Danny Valencia to just 93 plate appearances this season, but he has been absolutely terrific of late, hitting .432/.447/.919 since returning from the disabled list earlier this month. Valencia has been mostly a platoon player throughout his career, but enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2015, clubbing 18 homers and experiencing success both in the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre as well as in Oakland. He even managed to sport an .881 OPS against right-handed pitching last year, and he has kept that up this season too, hitting two of his six homers against righties and sporting an .822 OPS against them. Valencia's power can be a real weapon, and he is definitely worth riding while he's hot, if nothing else.
Leonys Martin, OF, Mariners (19 percent owned)
Martin's overall line this season doesn't look very different from what he has done for most of his career. The 28-year-old sports a .696 OPS through 38 games, within spitting distance of the .668 mark he has for his career, for instance. However, the way he is arriving at that high-.600's OPS is really interesting, because Martin is starting to tap into a skill that he showed in the minors but has never really been able to harness in the majors -- power. Martin now has a .199 ISO after homering in consecutive games Wednesday and Thursday, and now has seven home runs on the season, one short of his career-high. In the minors, Martin was decent power hitter sporting a .184 ISO and hitting 18 homers in 137 games, so there is a chance he is simply tapping into a long dormant skill. The problem, of course, is that his strikeout rate has spiked to 30.1 percent, in case you were wondering why Martin is flirting with the Mendoza line. Still, if he can keep this power up and start to get a bit more luck on batted balls, it's not crazy to think he has 20-20 potential.
Junior Guerra, SP, Brewers (8 percent owned)
Guerra's limited time in the majors wasn't super impressive entering Thursday, which makes what he did to the Cubs even more stunning; making just his fourth maj0r-league start, Guerra limited the Cubs offense to three runs over seven innings, while striking out 11 batters and racking up 17 swinging strikes. Guerra has actually had nine swinging strikes or more in each of his first four starts, and has an impressive 13.0 percent swinging strike rate overall. Guerra mostly worked in relief in his time in the minors, but still struck out 9.9 per nine innings, and posted a 2.91 ERA with 11.5 K/9 in 11 starts at Triple-A last season. Milwaukee isn't a great place to pitch, but he has impressed enough in the early going that he should at the very least start to get scooped up in NL-only leagues, and deeper mixed league players should have him on their radars too.