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Injuries, performance alter rankings of top starting pitchers

This is a new fantasy baseball world we live in, this 2012. R.A. Dickey is the highest-scoring pitcher to date, rubber-armed Roy Halladay finally succumbed to injury and Tim Lincecum just can't string quality starts together.

Raise your hand if you saw any of that three happening by the end of the first week of June. Seriously, put your hand down if you were cheeky enough to raise it; no one believes you.

Heck, it might be time to send Lincecum packing. The problem you will run into there is it is unlikely you will get a Top-20 starter for him now. You might as well cross your fingers he can rediscover himself like Dickey, Jake Peavy and Johan Santana (all high risers below).

You don't need yet another warning about how risky big investments in pitching can be, but you probably could use a re-ranking of the Top-50 at the notoriously volatile starting pitcher position. As we move to the midway point of head-to-head fantasy baseball regular season, we give you just that in this week's pitching report.

The list below is ordered for the potential return here on out, so use it to consider working deals.

Here are some of the key notes from the reordering of the top 50:

1. Bad shoulders are devastating. Dropping out of the top 30: No. 2 Roy Halladay (shoulder, out until at least late July), PHI; No. 25 Michael Pineda (shoulder, out for the season), NYY; and No. 30 Chris Carpenter (shoulder, out until at least late July). You cannot expect much of Halladay or Carpenter, even down the stretch.

2. Also failing to stay in the Top 50, but perhaps good candidates to buy low on: Ubaldo Jimenez, CLE; Jaime Garcia, STL; Tim Hudson, ATL; Derek Holland, TEX; Ervin Santana, LAA; Trevor Cahill, ARI; Justin Masterson, CLE; and Hiroki Kuroda, NYY.

3. Some Top 50 starters still worth buying low on: Cliff Lee, PHI; Jon Lester, BOS; Lincecum, SF; Ian Kennedy, ARI; Yovani Gallardo, MIL; and Josh Beckett, BOS.

4. Among the breakthroughs to consider selling high on: Gio Gonzalez, WAS; Brandon Morrow, TOR; Brandon Beachy, ATL; Dickey and Chris Capuano.

5. The Giants' Matt Cain has emerged as the Giants' ace amid Lincecum's struggles, and a Top-10 fantasy starter for the first time. This is a coming of age for a 27-year-old ace. Don't sell high here. He is this good.

Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. If you miss his Monday baseball trends, Wednesday prospect report or Friday pitching review, you can also find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).

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