By James Sargent
Stephen Drew: Stephen was absolutely on fire last week, going 14-for-28 (.500) with four home runs, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored. He’s been making up a highly disappointing season with a red-hot August, posting a .308-8-19 line with seven doubles and 24 runs for the month. If you have been keeping Drew on your bench put him in your starting lineup now. He has been the catalyst for the Diamondbacks lineup this past month and is showing why he was the 15th overall draft pick six years ago. Drew will always bring his glove to the field, and now that his offense is clicking, ride him out and see if he can finish the season on a high note.
Ryan Raburn: Ryan Raburn, as with Drew, has been on quite a tear this past week, and for the entire month as well. Raburn belted three homers, nine RBIs and scored nine runs last week. The Detroit utility man is now playing everyday and should be available in most leagues and at multiple positions. If you are looking for a hot bat to plug into your lineup, Raburn is your man.
Marcus Thames: Marcus Thames, who was acquired from the Tigers to face primarily left-handed pitching, has surged on the Yankees’ current road trip. Last week, Thames went 8-for-17 (.471) with five homers, eight RBIs and six runs scored. Now, I wouldn’t say this is a fluke, but Thames is not going to put up these numbers consistently. If you have Thames on your roster, ride it out for as long as it lasts, but when he cools off, drop him and pick up a more consistent fantasy player.
Jose Reyes: Jose Reyes had a bad week last week for two reasons. One, he batted 1-for-12, and two, he injured himself. Reyes aggravated the right oblique muscle that he originally strained in June. The Mets have no time table for his return and he is basically on a day to day basis. Reyes is having an average season at best, and after the lost season he endured last year due to injuries, this season was hopefully supposed to be much more profound.
Bobby Abreu: The Angels three-hitter, Bobby Abreu, was mired in a 1-for-21 slump last week and desperately needs to rid that. Abreu isn’t having an outstanding season like the one’s when he was in Philly, but he is on pace to finish with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, which would be his ninth consecutive year. The Angels aren’t playing for much and have been out of the division race for some time now, but Abreu should pick it up soon as he is one of the veteran leaders in the lineup.
Jorge Cantu: Jorge Cantu started off well with his new team, the Texas Rangers, but as of late he has been slumping badly. He is generating little power and is still searching for his first RBI with Texas. Being part of a platoon with rookie Mitchell Moreland obviously hasn’t agreed with him so far, as seen by the 2-for-17 week he suffered last week. Lucky for the Rangers, their lineup is so stacked that Cantu can hit this bad and Texas can still win ballgames. Cantu needs to at least show Texas why they added him and why he should start at first in the playoffs, rather than Moreland.
Ian Kennedy: Ian Kennedy struck out a career-high 12 in a combined four-hitter against the San Diego Padres last week. The young ace of the D-Backs’ gave up only one hit in seven outstanding innings. Kennedy has the makings of a great pitcher to come and will surely be a focal point for the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff. The 26-year-old out of USC will have many more of these starts to come and is definitely a pitcher you should keep your eye on if you need a spot starter.
Gio Gonzalez: Gio Gonzalez was very impressive last week as he recorded two wins in two starts. He threw a combined 13 innings and recorded 11 strikeouts against the Indians and the Rangers. Gonzalez improved to a nice 11-8 with a 3.24 ERA this season. Gonzalez is another young stud to keep an eye on and pick up if you need a starter.
Rick Porcello: 21-year-old starter, Rick Porcello, came back from his time with Triple-A Toledo sporting a new grip for his slider and it has resulted in the pitch becoming more effective at the major league level. Last week, Porcello recorded two wins while throwing 14 innings and striking out eight. He still isn’t racking up big strikeout totals, but Porcello is a much better option since returning from the minors than his overall numbers let on. I am still very unsure about Porcello, and I am afraid the past just might come and sneak back up on him.
Ricky Nolasco: Ricky Nolasco struggled mightily in his last start against the Braves, lasting just two innings and allowing six earned runs. Nolasco was coming back from a meniscus tear in his right knee, and this could be the reason for the bad game. With both the bum knee and his problems during his last start, it may be advisable to avoid playing Nolasco if you can afford it.
John Danks: John Danks allowed eight runs on six hits on 4.1 innings Saturday against the Yankees to take his ninth loss of the year. He struck out five in his 97 pitches, but he allowed three home runs. The three home runs marked the most he had let up in a start this year, and he has allowed nine at home compared to five on the road. Danks is arguably the second best starter on the White Sox and will definitely bounce back from the rough last start.
Brett Anderson: Brett Anderson was removed from Friday night’s start against the Texas Rangers after two innings with a slightly hyperextended right knee. He allowed four earned runs and walked two in the short effort. Luckily, Anderson will be available for his next start against the Yankees, but I would watch him for a couple more games before giving him a nod to add to your squad.