With one of the quietest trade deadlines in recent memory in the rearview mirror, I'm hoping that you weren't saving up all of your FAAB dollars in NL-only and AL-only leagues. There just isn't much to work with here. Teams can still make trades in August through waivers, so perhaps we'll see more sellers in the next couple of weeks.
As I noted on Twitter yesterday, I was a big fan of Ian Kennedy leaving Arizona for San Diego. Granted, he has struggled to the tune of a 5.23 ERA this season -- including a 5.26 ERA on the road -- but PETCO Park is a much better fit for his fly ball tendencies. The change of address won't matter if he continues to issue walks at a career-high rate, but I like the gamble for the Padres. Kennedy makes sense as a rebound play the rest of the way and for 2014.
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Rick Porcello SP, Tigers (Yahoo: 17 percent owned)
I have been cautiously optimistic about what I've seen from Porcello this season. While his 4.49 ERA isn't all that impressive on the surface, he's striking out batters at a career-high rate while issuing fewer walks than ever before. And there's actually something behind this change, as he has relied more on his curveball while largely ditching his cutter/slider. Rotoworld's own Eno Sarris has more details at FanGraphs. The Tigers haven't been blessed with the best infield defense, bad news for a ground ball pitcher like Porcello, but we could see an improvement now that the club has acquired Jose Iglesias to cover for Jhonny Peralta's looming suspension from MLB. Again, I'm cautiously optimistic.
Andrelton Simmons SS, Braves (Yahoo: 47 percent owned)
Simmons just wrapped up his best month of the season, batting .287 with 11 extra-base hits (five home runs), 17 RBI, 14 runs scored, and an .837 OPS in 25 games. According to the Yahoo! player ranker, only Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez have been better over the past 30 days. The 23-year-old hasn't been a great source for stolen bases this season (he's been caught in four out of nine attempts), but the power has been a nice surprise. Simmons doesn't have enough patience to justify a spot near the top of the order, but he's a fine option at shortstop if you are bracing for the loss of Everth Cabrera or Jhonny Peralta.
Jon Niese SP, Mets (Yahoo: 32 percent owned)
When Niese was diagnosed with a partial tear of his rotator cuff in June, it looked like he could require surgery and/or miss the rest of the season. However, he hasn't had any setbacks in his rehab and now appears on track to rejoin the Mets' rotation within the next couple of weeks. Niese gave up two runs over three innings Saturday in his first rehab start with the GCL Mets and expects he'll need two more before being activated. The southpaw had a mediocre 4.32 ERA and 49/33 K/BB ratio over 77 innings prior to the injury, but there are worse fliers if you have an open DL spot and find yourself desperate for starting pitching help.
Nick Franklin 2B/SS, Mariners (Yahoo: 48 percent owned)
Since I last mentioned Nick Franklin in Waiver Wired on June 20, he's hitting .272 with eight home runs, 10 doubles, 29 RBI, 18 runs scored, and three stolen bases in 41 games. Among 2B/SS-eligible players, only Hanley Ramirez and Kyle Seager have more home runs during that span while only Robinson Cano, Jason Kipnis, and Brandon Phillips have more RBI. Yet somehow that isn't good enough to get Franklin over the 50 percent threshold. What gives? Sure, Franklin has slowed down a bit recently, including going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in Wednesday's extra-inning loss to the Red Sox, but he should be owned in most leagues at this point.
Eric Young, Jr. OF, Mets (Yahoo: 18 percent owned)
Young has found himself a home as the Mets' leadoff man. In 36 games since coming over from the Rockies in mid-June, he's hitting .273 with a .360 on-base percentage. The 28-year-old led the majors with 14 stolen bases during July and was tied for 10th with 18 runs scored. Young is a .263 career hitter and doesn't have any power, but his speed and patience are making a real difference for the Mets and fantasy owners. He deserves to be owned in more leagues right now.
Scott Kazmir SP, Indians (Yahoo: 24 percent owned)
Funny seeing Kazmir here, huh? But the inclusion is warranted. While the resurgent southpaw gave up four runs over five innings Tuesday against the White Sox, he had a 1.60 ERA and 35/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings over his previous seven starts. Kazmir isn't fanning batters nearly as frequently as he used to, but he has the lowest walk rate of his career and he has managed to maintain his unexpected velocity spike for the most part. I would stream him against the Marlins this weekend at the very least.
Jose Cisnero RP, Astros (Yahoo: 16 percent owned)
Jose Veras was traded to the Tigers this week for outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later, which means that the Astros suddenly have a vacancy in the closer role. There's no obvious alternative here, so it's not surprising that Bo Porter said that he plans to use a committee approach moving forward, but Cisnero probably deserves to be the favorite. While the 24-year-old has issues throwing strikes and has struggled a bit recently, he has compiled a 3.40 ERA and 41 strikeouts over 42 1/3 innings as a rookie. The Astros have nothing to lose by experimenting with the role, so I wouldn't rule out names like Josh Zeid, Josh Fields, and Chia-Jen Lo getting a shot, but Cisnero appears to be the one to own in this bullpen.
Ike Davis 1B, Mets (Yahoo: 30 percent owned)
It's too soon to say that Davis is "fixed," but he has shown signs of progress since returning from the minors, hitting .242 with five extra-base hits (one home run), nine RBI and an 18/14 K/BB ratio in 21 games. You know you've had a bad year when that represents an improvement. We're still waiting on the power to resurface, but Davis is clearly having better at-bats these days. And that's something. The 26-year-old amassed 32 home runs in 156 games last season, so I'd still be willing to take a chance on him if you need help out of a CI (corner infielder) spot. Just know that he will likely continue to lose at-bats to Josh Satin against left-handed starters.
Cameron Maybin OF, Padres (Yahoo: 12 percent owned)
Out since June 9 with a PCL tear in his left knee, Maybin homered yesterday in his first minor league rehab game with Triple-A Tucson. The 26-year-old is expected to play eight games in the minors before being re-evaluated, so there's a chance he could be back with the Padres next week if all goes well. This has been a lost year for Maybin, but with his right wrist issues a thing of the past, he still has an opportunity to finish the year strong. I'm interested to see how active he'll be on the basepaths following the knee injury, but it doesn't hurt to stash him in an available DL spot if you need an extra outfielder.
Shopping at the five-and-dime:
(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues)
Dane De La Rosa RP, Angels (Yahoo: 2 percent owned)
On the heels of Ernesto Frieri blowing back-to-back saves this week, Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated that he may try to play more matchups in the ninth inning. De La Rosa is likely next in line for save chances, as he owns a 3.93 ERA and 46/16 K/BB ratio over 50 1/3 innings this season and has the velocity and swinging strike rate you look for in a closer. Plus, he cares for all living things. He's the only pitcher in this bullpen I'd be willing to grab in mixed leagues at the moment.
Randall Delgado SP, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 7 percent owned)
One of the winners of this week's trade deadline, the Ian Kennedy trade means that Delgado will keep his rotation spot even after Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy make it back from the disabled list. It's well deserved, as the 23-year-old right-hander has a 2.85 ERA and 38/10 K/BB ratio over 53 2/3 innings this season. While it would be nice to see more strikeouts, he is limiting walks and has a swinging strike rate above the league average. Delgado has a tough matchup against the Red Sox in Boston this weekend and I don't expect him to keep his ERA under 3.00 for much longer, but he should be relevant in most fantasy formats the rest of the way.
Xander Bogaerts SS, Red Sox (Yahoo: 8 percent owned)
The Red Sox parted ways with Jose Iglesias in the Jake Peavy trade and didn't make any other moves at third base (even though Michael Young was rumored) prior to the trade deadline, which seemingly sets the stage for either Bogaerts or Will Middlebrooks to take over at the hot corner in the coming weeks. One of the top position prospects in the game, Bogaerts has hit .298/.397/.493 with 14 home runs in 99 games this season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox still view the 20-year-old as a shortstop, but he has begun to get more looks at third base due to the need at the major league level. There's always the chance the Red Sox will go with Middlebrooks -- or possibly acquire someone like Young in August -- but it's advisable to stash Bogaerts in deeper leagues at this point.