Hopefully you were able to pick up Roy Oswalt and Tim Stauffer last week. But even if you stood pat there are still plenty of acquisition targets and trade bait guys out there for you. So, here are five guys to pick up and five guys to move.
Kevin Youkilis – His AVG has taken a big hit since coming off the DL, falling 89 points. But nobody seriously expected him to challenge for .400, either. He is riding a modest six-game hitting streak and more importantly, is showing good power. In his last 16 games, Youkilis has a .281-5-14-13-0 fantasy line. He seems like a good bet to match last year’s power numbers, which many people doubted Youkilis could do again in 2009.
Oliver Perez – I can hear the groans already. Perez is terrible, he has no control and he is just as likely to get shelled as he is to pitch a good game. But in his first two games since being back, Perez has delivered exactly what a fantasy owner should expect from him – a W, good strikeout numbers (8 in 11 IP) and a high but acceptable ERA (4.09). I would recommend not actually watching him pitch, but in his 14 or so remaining starts if Perez delivers 6 W, a 4.00 ERA and his current 7.71 K/9, I think that would be nice production for the back of a team’s rotation from a guy likely available on the waiver wire.
Garret Anderson – Stat heads hate him because he does not walk and posts poor OBP numbers. But fantasy players like his AVG and respectable numbers in other categories. In mid-June, Anderson was hitting just .254 but since then his bat has been heating up. Over his last 30 games, Anderson is batting .336 with 17 RBIs in 107 ABs. He is no longer an everyday player, but Anderson still has the ability to hit for a high AVG and not kill you in the power categories.
Mat Latos – This week’s Padres pitcher recovering from an injury is Latos. He was ranked as one of the top HS pitchers in the 2006 draft but fell due to signability concerns. The Padres took him on the 11th round and he ended up at Broward CC. After a good JuCo season, San Diego gave him a seven-figure signing bonus before the ’07 draft. Latos missed most of the 2008 season with a strained intercostals muscle. But he was very impressive this season in the minors, going 8-1 with 1.37 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 72.1 innings combined between Single-A and Double-A, with the majority of his work occurring in the Texas League. Latos has already made one start for the Padres, where he showed a fastball that averaged 94.9 mph. He is on a strict pitch count for right now, which may limit his W potential, but he is a talented pitcher who may be under the radar of many fantasy owners.
Miguel Montero – For most of the first three months of the season, Montero was a huge disappointment. But he has a .413/.439/.683 slash line over his last 16 games. After teasing fantasy owners with glimpses of talent the past two seasons at the major league level, Montero apparently is putting it together here in July.
Todd Helton – After last year’s injury-riddled campaign, Helton has bounced back with an impressive .324 AVG. In his last 22 games, Helton is batting .346 but it is the “emptiest” .346 you are likely ever to see. He has just 1 HR, 10 RBIs and 8 R in that span and 0 SB. Helton’s .359 BABIP is not out of line with marks he has put up in his past but it would surprise virtually nobody if that mark fell some and at this point, AVG is the only category that Helton is a plus player anymore.
A.J. Burnett – The strikeouts are down while the walks and HR allowed are up from 2008. Yet his ERA is 26 points lower than a season ago. Burnett’s FIP checks in at 90 points higher than his ERA. A slightly lower than normal .283 BABIP helps but the big thing right now is a career-best 79.5 percent strand rate. Burnett is 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA in his last six games, but that includes 14 shutout innings against the Mets, a team he will not see again this season.
Alfonso Soriano – A .279 BABIP gives hope for a second-half rebound for Soriano, but as R.J. Anderson pointed out earlier in the month, pitchers have altered their approach to Soriano and his season-long slump shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. Pitchers are throwing fewer fastballs to Soriano and his numbers have declined across the board. Outside of RBIs, Updated ZiPS has him failing to reach the fantasy numbers he put up in 2007, when he played in 135 games. Soriano is on target for 155 games this year.
Brad Penny – The good news is that he pitches for a team that scores 5.16 runs per game and his FIP is 81 points lower than his ERA. The bad news is that his spot in the rotation is hardly guaranteed. He has been a decent option in deep mixed leagues or AL-only ones, but time appears to be running out. His first start after the All-Star break (5 IP, 6 ER) was not encouraging.
Jonny Gomes – A .304/.395/.549 slash line looks great for a player bound to see more playing time with the injury to Jay Bruce. But Gomes has a .397 BABIP and he is unlikely to maintain his 18.2 HR/FB ratio going forward. Also, the Cincinnati fan base turned on Adam Dunn for his propensity to strike out often. How will they treat a full-time Gomes who has a 32.4 percent K rate this season, which would look right in line with Dunn’s Reds career?