Franklin Morales - Morales got right back into the win column after his first poor start, holding the Rays to two doubles and three walks over five innings last night. Morales has loads of potential as a lefty with mid-90's velocity, an occasionally devastating curveball, and slowly improving control, and if the Sox are going to keep him in the rotation he's worth getting a bit excited about. He's at least worth a pickup in most formats while his role is still a bit up in the air, as the upside here is significant.
A.J. Griffin - Griffin couldn't stop Josh Willingham, but he did enough to the rest of the Twins to come away with his first MLB win last night with a 6 IP, 3 ER performance. Griffin has tossed quality starts in his first four outings, and coupled with his minor league stats I'm surprised there isn't more of a clamor to pick him up. His stuff is pretty pedestrian as he breaks 90 with his fastball less than half of the time, and a BABIP under .200 with a strand rate over 90% scream impending regression. His minor league numbers were pretty solid, particularly in terms of control, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him maintain back-end value. He is a flyball pitcher in the AL though, so even that favorable home park won't allow him to avoid a sizable number of homers. He looks like a spot-start guy to me despite the solid first four outings, and I'd feel fairly comfortable with him at home or in places like Seattle and Minnesota.
Alex Avila - Avila walked and doubled to start the 2nd half, and you can include me in the camp that believes a better 2nd half is in store for the 25 year old catcher. Avila has been pretty unfortunate on balls hit into play, posting a .309 BABIP despite a LD% over 26, and the power hasn't really changed very much...he's just hitting far more balls on the ground this year. I think he did develop a new level of power last season that is likely a new benchmark for him going forward, and although an ISO of over .200 shouldn't be expected, something around .150 would be within the range of reasonable likelihood. All in all I wouldn't be surprised to see Avila finish up with something like 265/355/420, which is still very solid performance from a catcher. Let's also keep in mind that he's still just 25.
Dustin Ackley - A few rumblings about a possible demotion for Ackley are starting to surface, although Eric Wedge did his best to quell them during the break. Ackley was 0-5 with another pair of strikeouts yesterday, dropping his line to 230/306/320 on the year. He's had awful luck on balls in play and really seems to be overly patient at the plate, posting a K rate above 21% despite swinging and missing less than 6% of the time. He's still kicking in some SB's, but other than that he's been mostly worthless this year. I remain optimistic that he'll figure it out if given time, and really, what other options do the Mariners have? Ackley's .306 OBP is, sadly, their 4th-best of their typical starting lineup, so let's just say they do have other concerns. I still believe in the 24 year old, but his skill set isn't solid enough to justify starting across the board....he's more of a reserve option in standard formats.
Doug Fister - Fister bounced back from three straight rough outings with an excellent start against Baltimore last night as he scattered three hits and a run over seven innings, striking out eight without walking a man. Fister has bumped up his K rate significantly this year without a major increase in his BB rate, and I expect with a little better luck on flyballs he should be able to post an ERA under 4.00 in the 2nd half (his xFIP ERA is 3.26). I would definitely target him as a potential mid-rotation add if the price is right before the deadline.