Mat Latos for Cy Young? Sixty more innings pitched probably gives Roy Halladay the edge right now, but just being in the conversation at age 22 is pretty, prettaaaay good. Latos has 14 wins and leads the NL in ERA (2.21) and WHIP (0.96) after another impressive turn last night against the Dodgers (W, 7 IP, ER, 4 H, 10 K).
- Desmond DeChone Figgins is on the wire in nearly one fifth of Yahoo! leagues (81 percent owned), but you’ll probably need to trade for him in competitive groups. That would be a good move right now. The dual-eligible (2B, 3B) infielder has a .384/.430/.493 line with six steals over his last 19 games and has trended better in the second half throughout this career.
- Ryan Kalish (3 percent) profiles as more of a 15-20 steal player than a true burner, but he has enough power to compensate. Baseball America’s No. 5 Red Sox prospect before the season went 10-for-29 with a homer and a steal in his first nine big league games and should should enjoy starting duties in hitter-friendly Fenway Park at least until Mike Cameron is healthy.
- In a league where everyone hits, Peter Bourjos (1 percent) hit the most. The speedy outfielder, who forced Torii Hunter to right field, set Pacific Coast League records with 56 hits and 37 runs in July. He’s also stolen 27 bases in 32 tries this season after swiping 32 in Double-A last year and 50 at Class A in ’08. Playing time over Juan Rivera is assured and a future move to the leadoff spot could pay big time dividends.
- Only four Major League teams have stolen more bases than the A’s this year. Coco Crisp (7 percent) and Cliff Pennington (11 percent) won’t provide power, but they should each hit between .255 and .265 with 8-10 swipes the rest of the way.
- Lorenzo Cain (1 percent) is just a flyer at this point. The outfielder showed speed, contact ability and a decent eye in the Minors, but it’s unclear how much he’ll play once Carlos Gomez returns from the DL. An 8-for-16 start is encouraging, though.
- Manny Acta continues to bat Michael Brantley (7 percent) leadoff most days despite a .167 average and two steals in 128 at-bats this season. A turn in luck (.180 BABIP) could reward that faith in a guy with a .303 career Minor League average and 59 thefts in 183 Triple-A games.
With eight weeks of regular season remaining, I think we can officially declare it CRUNCH TIME 2010.
- Check if Adam LaRoche (62 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues) is still hanging around your waiver wire. He’s LaRaking .339 with five homers and 15 RBIs in his last 16 games and has a career .301/.363/.547 line after the All-Star break.
- Pat Burrell (3 percent) loves him some National League. The outfielder is hitting .283/.378/.493 in 164 at-bats with the Giants and is now batting fifth or sixth regularly.
- Matt LaPorta (11 percent) has a career .563 Minor League slugging percentage. He’s going to start hitting home runs at some point. With a pair of dingers in his last four games, this could be that point.
- Third trade’s a charm for Brett Wallace (4 percent). A hot streak could land him regular at-bats from the Astros’ three-hole and the third base eligibility is a bonus. Expect 6-8 home runs with an average that won’t kill you.
- Hey, the Royals are finally giving Kila Ka’aihue (1 percent) and his .521 career Triple-A slugging percentage a big league shot. Leis for everyone!
- Mike Morse (2 percent) is very quietly batting .316 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in 114 at-bats for the Nationals this season. He’ll hit sixth behind Zimmerman, Dunn and Willingham while Nyjer Morgan is on the DL.
- Mitch Moreland (0 percent) looks more like an average/doubles hitter than a true masher, but all bets are off in Rangers Ballpark and that lineup. He’ll see regular at-bats as the left-handed side of a first base platoon with Jorge Cantu.
- Dan Johnson (0 percent — don’t all jump on the bandwagon at once!) hasn’t seen regular Major League playing time since ’07 and spent last year hitting .215 in the Japanese Central League. He’s probably not very good. Even so, he hit second on Saturday and cleanup Sunday, and that should lead to some runs and ribbies on the days when Tampa Bay manages more than one hit.
- Wood loses just about all of his value with the move. He’ll be setting up for Mariano Rivera instead of recording his own saves from here on out.
- Chris Perez is the guy to grab. The 25-year-old converted 11 of 14 save opportunities — including each of his last six — while Wood was on the DL and is now entrenched in the stopper role. Barring further control issues (4.7 K/9), he should be good for at least 10 more saves.
- Dotel is basically in the same situation as Wood. He’ll lose his save opportunities — and almost all of his fantasy value — in L.A.
- Either Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek will now assume the Pirates’ closer role. Meek has better numbers on the year but Hanrahan has closing experience and 10 straight scoreless outings. I’d add Hanrahan first, but we won’t know for sure for at least a couple days.
- McDonald will likely slot into the Pirates rotation. He hasn’t impressed in 53 career Major League games (five starts) but was a highly touted prospect as recently as two years ago. The Minor League numbers — 3.49 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 — should entice pitching-needy NL-only owners immediately. Don’t be shocked if he gains spot-start usefulness in mixers late this year.
In a relatively minor deal, the Rangers acquired infielder/outfielder Christian Guzman (.282 AVG, 44 R, 2 HR, 25 RBI, 4 SB) from the Nationals on Friday for a couple of low-level pitching prospects.
The Marlins have wanted to get Logan Morrison into the Major League lineup for a while, but probably not like this.
The Angels and Diamondbacks got together on a deal Sunday, with right-hander Dan Haren heading to Lala Land in exchange for left-hander Joe Saunders, pitching prospects Rafael Rodriguez and Patrick Corbin and a player to be named later — reportedly pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs.