Grady Sizemore - OF - Cleveland Indians - 4/5, HR, 3b, 7 RBI, SB (Thursday) - Sizemore's power has slowed just a bit in the second half, but he's still got a shot at 40/40, and I think he'll get it. Sizemore is getting better every year, and is an obvious keeper in all formats. Also, he's sexy.
Rich Harden - SP - Chicago Cubs - (Tuesday) Win, 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 10 K - I'm always looking for a reason to talk about Rich Harden, and on Tuesday he definitely gave an Achiever-worthy performance, so I get my chance. Since the Cubs acquired Harden in July, he has gone 3-1 with an ERA of 1.50, a WHIP of .95 and a redonkulous 59 K's in 42 IP. In short, he's made Sandy Koufax look like Jose Lima. If you held on to him through the injuries, you are now being rewarded. Piniella and the Cubs are handling him just right by giving him extra days of rest and keeping his pitch-count down.
Raul Ibanez - OF - Seattle Mariners - 7 HR, 27 RBI in the last month - I gave Ibanez love in my first edition of "This Ain't 'Nam" back on July 10th, and you didn't listen. Brandt has been giving Ibanez crazy props for weeks, but you still haven't picked him up. Now it's too late. You're still starting Jay Bruce, and Ibanez is still raking. More Ibanez updates will be forthcoming as he continues to mash. Stay tuned.
A.J. Burnett - SP - Toronto Blue Jays - (Tuesday) Win, 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 13 K - This is what Burnett can do when healthy. I thought he'd have a good second half, and so far, so good. His stats after the all-star break are: 6-1, 3.22 ERA, 52 K in 42 IP.
Ryan Howard - 1B - Philadelphia Phillies - Howard is going to shatter his record of 199 strikeouts in a season this year, as he's on pace for 213. He's also 3 for his last 35 with a whiff-tastic 18 strikeouts in that span. But at least he hits homers, right? Not lately. He's only got 5 since the break. If your league penalizes for K's, then bench him immediately. If not, you can probably keep him in there and hope for a power surge. Look and see if Delgado is still available, as it appears he may be getting ready to go on a hot streak.
Jimmy Rollins - SS - Philadelphia Phillies - So here's what not to do in Philly: (a) Call out the fans, (b) then go 3 for 33 immediately after that. J-Roll is losing fans almost as quickly as he's losing his fantasy value. The fact that he was basically correct in his statements about Philly fans being front-runners is completely irrelevant.
Jake Peavy - SP - San Diego Padres - Loss, 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 2 K (Wednesday) - Peavy has showed this year why I don't like taking pitchers in the first few rounds of the draft. Peavy was a second-round pick in most leagues this year (Yahoo! ADP 18.2), but he has not lived up to his past greatness. The most concerning thing to me about Peavy is that his strikeouts are down from the last few years. His K/9 is below 9 for the first time since 2003. Not that at a K/9 of 8.7 is bad by any stretch, but with Peavy, you knew wins were going to be hard to come by with the offense he has behind him, so you are counting on the K's. The fact that he barely ranks in the top 25 in that category is a disappointment for those that drafted him so early this year.