Gio Gonzalez, Oakland, SP: The recent trade of Joe Blanton to the Phillies has opened up a spot in the Oakland rotation and it looks like Gio Gonzalez is the current frontrunner for the vacancy. Gonzalez is coming off a great run for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. In his last four starts, he has allowed only three earned runs while striking out 34 in just 28 1/3 IP. Included in this run were back-to-back one-hitters. The 22-year-old southpaw looks like he’s ready for the Show, so if Gonzalez is a free agent in your league, grab him quick before he’s gone.
Maicer Izturis, Los Angeles Angels, 2B/SS: Izturis is owned by a scant 15 per cent of all teams in CBS leagues. Since July 7, he has batted .429, bringing his season average up to .275 with nine stolen bases. The middle infield position is rather thin, making Izturis worthy of a waiver-wire grab in AL-only formats.
Fernando Tatis, New York Mets, OF: The Met outfield has been truly decimated by injuries this year. Currently, Moises Alou, Ryan Church, Angel Pagan, and the recently acquired Trot Nixon are all on the DL. Tatis has been playing in a full-time capacity since July 6, and has amassed an impressive .366 BA, with four homers and 11 RBI. He’s currently the hot hand in New York, so the Mets will keep trotting him out there until either he cools off, or they can find a better solution. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to roll the dice on Tatis in both NL-only and H2H formats for the coming week.
Juan Rivera, Los Angeles Angels, OF: It has been a long road to recovery for Rivera from that broken leg he suffered playing winter ball way back in 2006. The knee injury to Gary Matthews Jr. has provided Rivera with a recent increase in playing time and he’s responded with a .379 BA, three homers and eight RBI since the beginning of July. Rivera is a solid acquisition in AL-only leagues and should be on the radar in deeper mixed formats.
Jamie Moyer, Philadelphia, SP: Moyer, at 45 years of age, just keeps on chugging along. The ageless wonder is currently tied with Cole Hamels for the team lead in wins, with nine. His ERA (3.90 ERA) hasn’t been this low since his days as a Mariner, way back in 2003. Moyer, in his last eight starts going back to June 6, has not allowed more than three earned runs and is on pace for yet another season of 200 plus innings pitched. He’s a solid option in all formats heading into the second half of ’08.
Nomar Garciaparra, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1B/SS/3B: Since coming off the DL(again) on July 4, Garciaparra is batting a solid .316, with three homers and ten RBI. In the absence of the injured Rafael Furcal, Garciaparra has recently been back playing his original postion of shortstop. That has to leave Dodger groundball pitchers like Derek Lowe feeling absolutely ecstatic. Garciaparra is a decent option in NL-only leagues and deeper formats that use middle infielders, assuming he’s still healthy by the time RotoRob drags his sorry ass out of bed and edits this.
Grant Balfour, Tampa Bay, RP: Troy Percival went on the DL July 2 with a left hamstring strain. The Rays promptly announced that they were going with the dreaded closer-by-committee approach, with Dan Wheeler being the frontrunner for saves during Percy’s absence. Moving forward a couple of weeks, Balfour has three saves. So much for the-closer-by-committee approach. The former Twin, coming off Tommy John surgery and a rebuild on both his labrum and rotator cuff, has been very solid. In 23 2/3 innings pitched, he has allowed only ten hits and has struck out 36. Percival is tentatively scheduled to return this week, which will push Balfour back into a set-up role, but he remains a solid acquisition in all leagues counting holds and as the go-to-guy if Percival has any future health issues (which is a strong possibility).
Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers, RP: The injury to Takashi Saito (a sprained ligament in his right elbow) will leave the Dodger closer sidelined until at least September. The 24-year-old Broxton has been the closer-in-waiting seemingly forever and now he finally has that opportunity to close. He recorded his first save Friday and with 48 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings pitched, has all the tools to be successful. In CBS leagues, he has gone from 38 to 76 per cent ownership. The 24 per cent that don’t believe, should; roster Broxton immediately.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland, 2B: The Cleveland Indians recalled the 22-year-old Cabrera from the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons this past week. It is currently time for the Indians to start evaluating players for 2009, and Jamey Carroll is obviously not the long-term solution at second base. Cabrera had a solid .326 BA in the minors and has the potential to garner some thefts over the balance of the season. He did manage 23 thefts for Double-A Akron in 2007. Cabrera is a solid addition in AL-only leagues.
Fausto Carmona, Cleveland, SP: I happened to be scanning the current player ownership trends, as I do on a regular basis, and the name of Fausto Carmona leapt out at me. In CBS leagues, he is currently owned to the tune of only 48 per cent in all formats. There has to be a lot of H2H leagues or leagues with a very short bench using CBS as a stat provider this year. The 24-year-old, currently sidelined with a hip strain, is scheduled to be coming off the DL in the next several weeks. If, by chance, he is available in your league, grab him now before the memories of that 19-win season in 2007 are splashed all over the ‘Net.
Bryan LaHair, Seattle, 1B: The release of Richie Sexson has opened the door for LaHair, who was recalled July 18 from Triple-A Tacoma. LaHair has mashed 12 dingers and driven in 53 runs for Tacoma and is currently expected to handle the strong side of the platoon at 1B, batting against righthanders. The Mariners are a mess and it is definitely time to start looking at some of the kids on the farm. Jose Vidro is not the solution and could quite possibly be the next to go in the Mariner purge. LaHair is a solid grab in AL-only formats and, depending on the direction the Mariners head in over the next several weeks, the 25-year-old could have value in deeper mixed formats.
Denard Span, Minnesota, OF: Span was recalled from Triple-A Rochester June 29 to fill the vacancy created by the Michael Cuddyer injury. The 24-year-old is currently batting .316 with five stolen bases, so he’s a solid play while Cuddyer is on the mend. It’s possible upon the return of Cuddyer that Span ends up stealing at bats from the slumping Carlos Gomez, making him a very solid grab in AL-only leagues and someone who should be on the radar in deeper mixed-formats, if you need a late-season push in the stolen base category.
Anibal Sanchez, Florida, SP: Do you remember this guy? If you don’t, think back to 2006 and that no-hitter that he threw in only his 13th big league start; or maybe you recall his fine rookie campaign of ten wins and solid 2.83 ERA. The torn labrum that cost him the 2007 season looks to be healing just fine. In Sanchez’s last rehab start for Double-A Carolina on Friday, he went six innings, allowing only two earned runs while striking out five. If all goes well in his final rehab start this coming week, he could be back in the Marlin rotation and a possible two-start pitcher in the last week of July. Sanchez is a solid add in NL-only, H2H, and all keeper formats.