Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (33) delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
Jeremy Guthrie, SP (20 percent owned, +12 percent): Guthrie has been a completely different pitcher since coming back to the AL and sea level, posting a 3.23 ERA in 39 innings and six starts with the Royals. The 7.2 strikeouts per nine probably won't last -- that's a little swing-and-miss heavy for Guthrie, who tends to work in the 5.5-6 range -- but he's had good control in the past, and again, isn't in Coors anymore. He won't win your league by himself, but if you need some quantity that's not too shabby on the quality, Guthrie's your man down the stretch.
David Murphy, OF (49 percent owned, +11 percent): Murphy is suddenly popular again thanks to the playing time he's received thanks to his hot streak. That's a whole lot of little things to worry about, though: will Murphy start to sit if he has a cold night, are you going to grab Murphy just in time for him to lose the production that made you sit up and notice him to begin with? Nothing has changed with him, as he's always excellent when he's on his game, but that isn't all of the time, and the playing time is so sporadic when the Rangers outfield is healthy that it makes playing him in shallow leagues a chore. If you're in a deeper format, though, by all means. Murphy away.
Kyle Kendrick, RP/SP (15 percent owned, +9 percent): We're getting to that time of year where only those still in the mix are making adds, hence our #3 player for the week coming in as single-digit. Kendrick doesn't miss a whole lot of bats, plays in a tough division, in a park that leans towards hitters, and has had homer issues in his career. For some strange reason, I'm not too enamored of the idea of picking him up to help with a stretch run effort. If Guthrie is available in your league, that's a far more viable tactic to take. Or, I don't know, Brett Anderson, who is still owned in just 60 percent of leagues before a dual-start next week.
Freddy Garcia, RP/SP (35 percent owned, +9 percent): I guess if you're chasing wins, then Garcia is some kind of answer, as he does pitch for the Yankees. But I'm not sure what part of his overall season performance -- 85 ERA+, 1.3 homers per nine, the move to the bullpen -- has people excited about him. Sure, he has had three good starts in a row. He also has something of a tendency to implode on occasion, which happens with back-end starters in the twilight of their career. You could do a whole lot worse, but you're playing with fire if you pick up Garcia to bolster your pitching.
Tylver Colvin, OF (38 percent owned, +9 percent): Colvin has had a real good season up in the same air that ruined Jeremy Guthrie's overall season numbers, but he also went about a month-and-a-half in between homers after an outburst that propped his line up basically for the rest of the year. He appears to be on another of those tears at present, so grab him if you need the pop, but don't expect it to be a long-term thing. He's been somewhat streaky -- and heavy on the Coors -- but there's use for him if you play him at the most opportune times.
Will Venable, OF (12 percent owned, +3 percent): Venable is making up for a terrible July with a great August, but the Padres still don't use him against lefties (with good reason), and he has a tendency to be inconsistent. In NL-only, though, you can afford that to absorb the good.
Will Smith, SP (8 percent owned, +4 percent): Smith has been in the Royals' rotation as of late, and while his ERA has been poor, his peripherals have looked solid, especially for a 22-year-old. He's worth looking at down the stretch, in case he starts to make a case for staying in the majors for good.