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Bits: Delmon Young hot entering break

7/9/2012

Detroit Tigers outfielder Delmon Young homered Sunday for the fourth consecutive game. Young, owned in roughly a quarter of ESPN standard leagues, hit six home runs his first 74 games. Now with 10 home runs (and notably a mere nine walks versus 59 strikeouts), a focused Young is certainly capable of a usable second half for power and batting average. He was a 20th-round choice in ESPN average live drafts.

Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster was activated from the disabled list Sunday and tossed five shutout innings, lengthening his scoreless streak to 27 innings. Dempster, prime trade bait this month, boasts a 1.99 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, and is owned in roughly 92 percent of ESPN leagues. Don't assume a traded Dempster will win every time out, but he should be owned in all fantasy formats regardless.

Atlanta Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens tossed seven innings of three-run ball at reeling Philadelphia Sunday, and in his four starts since coming back from Triple-A Gwinnett, he has won three times with a solid 2.13 ERA. Jurrjens isn't back to his 2009 form yet, not with such a low strikeout rate, but deep leaguers take notice.

For those in deeper leagues, Cleveland Indians first baseman Casey Kotchman homered and singled twice Sunday, and he already has three multihit games and seven RBIs in July. Kotchman has raised his batting average from .224 to .241, and remember he hit .306 for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011. This batting average should keep rising.

Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Trevor Bauer tossed six shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, permitting two hits and striking out six. Bauer entered Sunday having given up 11 hits, eight runs and seven walks in only 7 1/3 innings -- a 9.82 ERA and 2.45 WHIP -- but Sunday he mowed down an awful lineup. Bauer has ace potential, but don't assume he'll produce ace stats for 10-team leagues the rest of the way.

Finally, Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker began Sunday second among Bucs hitters (to Andrew McCutchen) on the Player Rater, then went 5-for-5 against Tim Lincecum and his relief pitcher pals. Walker's sixth home run of the season came off Lincecum, he scored four times and during his current 12-game hitting streak has raised his batting average from .263 to .291. Walker is owned in more than 90 percent of ESPN leagues.