Hisashi Iwakuma - I've been more and more impressed with Iwakuma lately, as the 31 year old "rookie" managed his fifth straight start allowing three earned runs or less last night against the Angels, as he held them to three runs on six hits over seven innings of work. His last four starts have come against the 2nd (x2), 5th, and 6th best run-scoring offenses in MLB, which makes this hot streak even more impressive. His control seem to be improving by the start, the K rate has been adequate at the very least, and an excellent GB rate would lead you to believe that the major HR problems that he has suffered might mitigate themselves somewhat as we move forward. Add to that his upcoming schedule of MIN, CLE, @MIN, and I would be strongly in favor of an Iwakuma pickup in all formats for the remainder of August. His September schedule is quite a bit tougher once again, but we can revisit his value well before that.
Kevin Youkilis - Youkilis now has 4 homers in 8 August games after blasting another one last night against the A's, and he's hitting one every 13.9 ABs as a member of the White Sox through 38 games. Ever since joining the "other" Sox, Youkilis has resumed doing the things that made him successful: drawing walks and hitting the ball in the air. His AVG is down in part due to some poor fortune on balls in play and partly because the GB rate is still up a bit, but he has gotten back to being a viable 3B option in all formats at this point, and I expect him to remain so the rest of the way.
Andy Dirks - After missing two months with an Achilles injury, Andy Dirks is back playing against RHP for the Tigers, and consequently I'm back saying that he may be a legitimate sleeper in the OF. Dirks makes great contact, hits a ton of line drives, and has at least modest power and speed while playing in a very solid lineup. He's still just 26 years old, so a bit of a power spike wouldn't be unexpected either. With a .385 AVG in 26 AB's since his return, he certainly looks healthy, and I'd be in favor of a pickup in most formats and a starting spot in anything greater than average depth.
Ivan Nova - Nova bounced back from two straight poor outings with an excellent start against Toronto yesterday, as the 25 year old struck out 10 Blue Jays and allowed only two runs over 7 1/3 innings in a 5-2 win. Nova has really struggled with his slider the past few times out, allowing three homers and 21 hits in just 10 1/3 innings as his breaking pitch just spun in the middle of the plate time and again, but he seemed to rediscover its proper usage yesterday while also sporting a fastball that was consistently mid-90's. Nova has pitched better this year in many respects than the past two seasons, but a lower GB rate and some very poor performances at home have kept his ERA up above 4.50. There are enough positives here for Nova to be a viable rotation candidate in all formats, but the obvious issues at home would have me picking my spots with him more than I would a typical mid-rotation starter. The remainder of his August is not very friendly (TEX, @CWS, TOR), so an alternative might be a sound idea, but he should have 4 road starts in September for you.
Manny Machado - Machado was summoned from AA mid-week, and the 20 year old has responded by going 5-12 with a double, a triple, and two homers in his first three games as an Oriole. Machado is playing 3B for the O's, primarily at the expense of the struggling Mark Reynolds, which pushes Wilson Betemit into a 1B/DH platoon arrangement with Reynolds and Chris Davis. Machado obviously already should have been owned in all keeper leagues that possess farm systems, but he likely merits an immediate pickup in just about all formats now. His AA line may not be all that impressive, but the park factors in the Eastern League are pretty rough, and as a 20 year old 3B with at least moderate power and speed, a bench spot is the least you can do for him right now. 20 year old hitters generally don't come right in and take over, but just being able to survive bodes very well for their long-term futures.