Here are seven players for your consideration to either acquire or send packing.
Francisco Liriano – He has run hot and cold this year. In his last four games, Liriano is 0-3 with a 4.68 ERA, which cost him a shot at the All-Star game. But Liriano has also enjoyed two different hot streaks this year and overall he has a sparkling 2.88 xFIP and a nice 9.88 K/9. According to the price guide over at Last Player Picked, Liriano has been worth $11 this year, far off the $30+ pace of Adam Wainwright, Josh Johnson and Ubaldo Jimenez. While he may not be quite in their class, do not be afraid to pay more than $11 in value to acquire Liriano for the rest of the season.
Ricky Nolasco – One of the most volatile players in fantasy baseball the past few years, Nolasco has really disappointed owners who valued him at 2009’s 3.28 xFIP. But given his streaky nature, now might be the ideal time to take a flyer on him. In his last 30 games, Nolasco has a 27.3 HR/FB rate, easily the highest in the majors. If he can get the HR under control, Nolasco could shave a run or more off his ERA going forward. He is not the strikeout pitcher he was last year, but a 7.64 K/9 is nothing to dismiss lightly.
Kurt Suzuki – The good news this year is that Suzuki is continuing to add to his HR power. In his first full season in the majors he had a 4.2 HR/FB rate. Last year it was 8.0 and so far this year it is 11.2 percent. But injuries and a .240 BABIP have held down his overall value this year. Suzuki appears over the injured ribs that sidelined him earlier in the year. Now he just needs to have a little better luck on balls in play.
David DeJesus – One of the players rumored to be on the trading block in MLB, DeJesus should be shopped in fantasy, too. He is a good fantasy player because he contributes in all five categories. The problem is that he does not really excel in any of them. He will reach double-digits in both HR and SB, but just barely in each of them. Right now he is very valuable thanks to his .329 AVG. But that was produced with a .366 BABIP, 44 points above his lifetime mark. ZiPS sees him hitting 30 points lower the rest of the way and even that lower mark is still 9 points above his lifetime mark.
Mat Latos – He has been everything his owners have expected and more so far this season. In his last 11 games, Latos is 8-1 with a 1.60 ERA and has 74 Ks in 73.1 IP. That stretch has been fueled by a .212 BABIP and he has allowed just 2 HR in that span. Obviously he will not be able to keep that pace going for the remainder of the season. The other red flag surrounding Latos is the unknown about how much he will pitch the rest of the way. He had injury problems in the minors and earlier in the year the Padres said they would be careful with his workload in the second half. That may go out the window with the team involved in a pennant race but it is still something that fantasy owners need to concerned with in August and September.
Joel Pineiro – In his last six games, Pineiro is 6-0 with a 2.08 ERA. That hot streak has brought his ERA (3.96) in perfect alignment with both his FIP (3.95) and xFIP (3.93). So, while he was a bit unlucky early in the season, regression has hit for Pineiro. In his career, Pineiro has a 4.36 ERA, which is essentially what ZiPS projects for him the rest of the season. If you do hold him, you will want to play matchups the rest of the way. Pineiro has a 2.22 ERA at home and a 6.80 mark on the road.
Dexter Fowler – After not hitting the first two months of the season, Colorado sent Fowler to the minors. In Triple-A this year he put up a .340/.435/.566 line in 124 PA before being recalled by the Rockies. While Colorado already had a full outfield, which forced Seth Smith and Ryan Spillborghs to vie for time, Fowler was immediately inserted into the lineup as leadoff hitter. He has picked up right where he left off in the minors, with 10 hits in his first 24 ABs. I like Fowler to win a starting job the rest of the season and to exceed his ZiPS projection of 221 PA the rest of the way. I also think he will hit better than his .255 projection and exceed 9 SB.