By David Ferris
Chase Headley, 3B, Padres: He's been fantasy's best hitter over the last month (.336-20-9-34-2), crushing on the road and doing just enough at home. And maybe the Petco Park giveback will be less next year; there's talk of the club moving the fences in. Headley deserves to be a Top 35 pick in redrafts next year, and the cornerstone of many keeper-league clubs.
Norichika Aoki, OF, Brewers: He's been around .290.350 for the majority of the year - playable in the leadoff spot - and he's become more aggressive as he learns the NL, scooping 12 steals in the second half. Aoki might be partially screened by the summer of Milwaukee drama; he should be owned in roughly 40-50 percent of mixers, but the current tag is far below that.
Jordan Pacheco, 1B3B, Rockies: He doesn't offer traditional pop for a cornerman, but a .313 average is always usable in a 5x5 league, especially at this time of the year when you're trying to manipulate categories. The Rockies return home next week, where Pacheco has a zippy .874 OPS. Thin air is always your friend.
John Mayberry, 1BOF, Phillies: Most of his damage comes against left-handed pitching, but the overall second-half line (.289.344.503, eight homers in 149 at-bats) is good enough to justify full-time ownership in standard formats. It's a shame more of Mayberry's teammates aren't going along for the ride; the Phils are a mere 23rd in runs scored since the break, even with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back.
Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds: Why give him a strike when he'll gladly hack away at anything (141 whiffs)? That established, Stubbs at least fills three categories well (71 runs, 14 homers, 28 steals), so you can take the batting-average hit in some contexts. And Dusty Baker doesn't seem worried about the low average, so Stubbs will keep his regular spot in the outfield.
Dan Uggla, 2B, Braves: The 17 homers and reasonable run-production stats weren't enough to keep Uggla installed at second - the Braves got tired of his Mendoza Line flirtation and mediocre defense in the field. While the benching isn't necessarily permanent, it's money time for fantasy baseball - there's no reason to play the waiting game on anyone. Move on.
Curtis Granderson, OF, Yankees: There are a lot of moving parts to his swing, and now he has a hamstring problem to worry about as well. Granderson's 11 homers in the second half are the extent of his fantasy value - he's not hitting for average (.200) or getting on base (.429), and he's only attempted two steals. In some shallow formats with daily transactions, you could conceivably slide Granderson into a platoon role.
By David Ferris