Billy Butler - Billy Butler crushed his 21st HR of the season on Monday against the White Sox and now has 67 RBI. At 26-years old, Butler is having his best season having tied his career-high in HRs and posted a career-best .196 ISO and .495 SLG%. Butler's LD rate has also improved by 6% from 18% in 2011 to an excellent 24% in 2012. His .318 BABIP is right in line with his .323 career mark so the .300 BA also looks sustainable. Butler's never been considered a big power guy during the first 5 seasons of his career, but he looks to be breaking out in 2012 and should be an excellent fantasy option in all league formats moving forward.
Carlos Santana - The Indians' catcher/DH is starting to turn around his 2012 campaign. Entering Monday's game against the Twins, Carlos Santana had recorded a .284/.437/.593 slash line in his past 30 games. Last night, Santana stayed hot by belting his 12th HR. For the season, Santana now owns a 17% walk rate and his ISO has climbed to .171. He's also improved his LD rate from 15% in '11 to 21% in '12, although his HR/FB rate has dropped by 4%. Santana will never be a .300 hitter, so he retains more value in leagues using OBP, but his power should be good moving forward. Remember, this is the same guy who had ISOs over .200 in 2010 and 2011. The buy-low window is closing on Santana, so take advantage (especially those of you in OBP leagues) and look to acquire him.
Ivan Nova - The Yankees' Ivan Nova faced the Tigers on Monday and yielded 7 ER on 11 hits while striking out 5 for his second straight dismal outing. And, once again, Nova was done in by the long ball, allowing 2 bombs. While Nova owns a solid 2.88 strikeout-to-walk rate (which includes a whiff rate over 8.00), he's struggled to keep his ERA and WHIP at decent levels. He's got an above average 46% GB rate, but the problem for Nova has been that he allows too many HRs - 23 in 138 innings this season to be exact. He's also dealing with a .335 BABIP and has now given up 16 ER in his past 10 1/3 innings. In his next couple starts, Nova will face some power hitting clubs in Toronto and Boston, but after that the schedule should soften for the right hander and he could be a nice SP play in September, especially on the road where he's pitched much better. For now, he should be on your bench until he straightens things out.
Scott Diamond - After holding the slumping Indians to just 3 hits and 0 ER in a complete game shutout in his last start versus the Tribe, Scott Diamond went 7 innings on Monday and held Cleveland to just 2 ER. He struck out 3 and walked 1. Like his fellow Twins' starters, Diamond doesn't miss many bats (4.88 K/9), limits the walks (1.26 BB/9) and keeps the ball in the yard (0.79 HR/9). Diamond can also credit much of his success to an excellent 56% GB rate. Like most pitch-to-contact guys, Diamond will need to maintain his current strikeout-to-walk rate while also relying on the Twins' defense to turn all those balls in play into outs. He's a spot starter in deeper leagues for the next two months, but expect his ERA to be much closer to 3.50-3.75 than its current mark of 2.91.
Zach McAllister - Zach McAllister has been the Indians' best pitcher during the past few weeks but on Monday he struggled in tossing just 1 2/3 innings and allowing 9 R, but just 2 ER, against the Twins. Monday's outing aside, McAllister's peripheral stats look good. He owns a strikeout rate around 8.00 and walk rate near 2.50. His 3.60 ERA is mostly in line with his 3.91 xFIP, so it's reasonable to believe he can maintain decent production down the stretch. At AAA the past two seasons, McAllister has posted ERAs of 3.32 and 2.98 while bumping up his minor league whiff rate by about 1.5 batters per game. I think the right hander can be an option for those in deep AL-only and mixed leagues down the stretch and is an intriguing back end SP for 2013.
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