We're winding down the 2007 season with just a couple of weeks left. Now that rosters have expanded to 40 players, teams are giving top prospects and injured players the chance to create momentum heading into the playoffs or the 2008 season. This week we'll feature a couple of rookies as well as veterans returning from injury. This is the time of season where you can drop your underachieving star players for players that can give you a one-week boost as we march into fall.
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals - Molina continued his career season for the surging Cardinals into September. He is hitting .344 with three homers and eight RBI in the last 10 days. He has also pitched in with six runs scored. If you are struggling to fill the catcher slot, give Yadi a shot, as he is hitting .285 on the season. Don't expect the recent power to continue, but he could drive in runs in the short term. He's available in 94 percent of leagues polled.
Kendry Morales, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Morales has been on fire since being recalled Aug. 24. He is 15-for-34 (.441) with a homer and four RBI. Morales has played in eight of the last nine games and should continue to see time, as first baseman Casey Kotchman (finger) is struggling with a sprained finger. Morales is available in 99 percent of leagues polled.
Kazuo Matsui, Colorado Rockies - Matsui continues to be a force in his breakout season. He is hitting .341 with an RBI, seven runs and two steals the last 10 days and .330 over the last month. His average is up to .296, and his playing time should remain solid the rest of the way. The Rockies are in the thick of the wild card race, and they will rely on Matsui to be a sparkplug. He could also be a sparkplug for you if you need runs or steals. He's available in 62 percent of leagues polled.
Hank Blalock, Texas Rangers - Blalock (shoulder) made his return Sunday after missing more than three months because he had a rib removed that was blocking circulation in his shoulder. He served as the designated hitter and went 2-for-4 with four RBI in his first game back. He should play most days and is available in 95 percent of leagues polled. He's worth a flier if you have the roster space.
Edwin Encarnacion, Cincinnati Reds - Encarnacion has rejuvenated himself over the last month in what was a disappointing year. Over the last 10 days, he is hitting .410 with three homers, eight RBI and eight runs scored. Over the last month, he is hitting .357 with 17 RBI. Encarnacion is worthy of consideration for a week's use, and he is available in roughly 94 percent of leagues polled.
Milton Bradley, San Diego Padres - Bradley has been dynamite since his debut with the Padres. He's hitting .336 with 10 homers and 28 RBI in 35 games, and a hamstring injury didn't slow his bat down. He has hit .289 with five homers and 12 RBI over the last 10 games. The spacious confines of PETCO Park don't hinder him much because he's hitting .313 with five homers and nine RBI in 20 games there. Bradley is available in 84 percent of leagues polled.
Rick Ankiel, St. Louis Cardinals - With Juan Encarnacion (eye) out for the season in what was a gruesome scene and possibly tragic end to his career - he took a foul ball off his eye while waiting on deck - Ankiel will play every day in right field. Many have worried about his batting average as he adjusts to big league pitching, but he's hitting .353 on the season and .389 over the last 10 games. He has hit two homers and driven in 12 runs over that span, and that has kept the Cards in the NL Central race. Let's face it, aside from being a good story, Ankiel is proving to be a good player as well as a clutch hitter. Ankiel is available in about 88 percent of leagues polled and is worthy of consideration in all formats.
Jayson Werth, Philadelphia Phillies - Werth has been incredible over the last month with a .405 average, three homers and 15 RBI. Over the last 10 days, he's hitting a robust .559 (19-for-34) with nine RBI and three steals. He's playing so well that the Phils have no reason to rush the speedy Shane Victorino back to the field. Werth has hit safely in his last nine games. He's there for the taking in 96 percent of leagues polled. Scoop him up while he's still hot.
Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox - By now, you should know Buchholz was the first Red Sox rookie to throw a no-hitter. Amazingly enough it came in his second major league start. He walked three and struck out nine in the game. This is a major twist after he was demolished in his big league debut by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He allowed eight hits, three walks and three earned runs in six innings in that game, and the team was all over his dominant curve. Temper your expectations and pick him up now because it seems like owners are skeptical. Otherwise, he wouldn't be available in 94 percent of leagues.
Braden Looper, St. Louis Cardinals - Honestly, Looper doesn't have great stuff or anything dominant in his repertoire as a starter. But during certain stretches this season, he has been unhittable, and his sinker has done wonders. This appears to be one of those periods. He has three wins, a 2.59 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP over the last month of play, and he doesn't appear to be slowing down after handing the Cincinnati Reds a loss Sunday in seven shutout innings. Looper is available in 83 percent of leagues polled and is worthy of the flier.
Mark Mulder, St. Louis Cardinals - Mulder will make his heavily awaited season debut this week, and there is no telling what he will produce. He was the most winningest pitcher of the decade before the injury, and he has had to reinvent himself as a pitcher. Mulder is a high-risk, moderate-reward player that is available in more than 99 percent of leagues polled. He's worth taking a flier on if you have the roster space.
Kenny Rogers, Detroit Tigers - Rogers (elbow) was consistently good or bad in his six previous starts. In his first three starts, there may not have been anyone more dominant. In his last three starts, there may not have been anyone as awful. After returning from an elbow injury, Rogers looks to get back on track this week. In his first three starts, he yielded just 14 hits and two earned runs in 17 1/3 innings. He won all three starts and has the potential to repeat those numbers. He's available in roughly 89 percent of leagues polled and should be worthy of a flier.
Recently Recalled Prospects
Below is a list of prospects recently recalled that may be worthy of a flier.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Outfielder, Boston Red Sox
Ben Francisco, Outfielder, Cleveland Indians
Chin-Lung Hu, Shortstop, Los Angeles Dodgers
Philip Humber, Starting Pitcher, New York Mets
Andy LaRoche, Third Baseman, Los Angeles Dodgers
Adam Lind, Outfielder, Toronto Blue Jays
Ian Kennedy, Starting Pitcher, New York Yankees
Joe Koshansky, First Baseman, Colorado Rockies
Geovany Soto, Catcher, Chicago Cubs
Edinson Volquez, Starting Pitcher, Texas Rangers
Dodson is a KFFL Contributor and has been with KFFL since 2002.