Chris Narveson - OK, maybe I'm back on the bandwagon. Despite a 5.05 ERA, Narveson hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in an outing since the end of July, and last night's solid start against Houston gives him 4 straight of the quality variety. Over those four starts (against PIT, CIN, STL, and HOU), Narveson has thrown 26 1/3 innings, allowing 19 hits and 6 runs while walking 8 and fanning 30. It seems that he is back to being a solid back-end option in NL-only formats, and a reasonable 5th starter option in many mixed leagues as well. A word of caution: Narveson himself said that he was feeling "tired" at the end of last night's outing, which is why he left after only 88 pitches. He has the Giants next time out but FLA and the Mets after that, so perhaps waiting until the last two outings to use him might be best.
Nate McLouth - David touched on this a bit yesterday, but Nate McLouth is indeed starting to look like the guy the Braves thought they dealt for, as the 28 year old picked up a double in last night's game, giving him 7 straight games with a hit and 4 straight with an XBH. He's slugging .826 for the first couple weeks of September, and aside from a horrendous BABIP (about 70 points below expected) all he's missing are a few XBH from the guy he was last year. He looks like a solid sleeper to me for 2011, and he's worth a starting slot right now in NL-only formats and some deeper mixed leagues in your OF.
Bronson Arroyo - Despite pitching around 84 mph with his "fast"ball last night, Arroyo picked up his 15th win and his 8th quality start in his last 10 by holding the D-Backs to two runs over six innings. Arroyo is the definition of a "smoke and mirrors" starter....he throws fewer fastballs than almost any other starter, his control is only slightly above average, he gives up a ton of homers, and his K rate is horrendous. He wins games by showing up for every start, having a great offense behind him, and pretty consistently outperforming his peripherals (4 out of 5 years with an actual ERA lower than his FIP ERA). With the continual degradation of his raw stuff, combined with this year's 40 point outperfomance vs. expectations on BABIP, I actually think that Arroyo is just about at the end of the line. The Reds have a bunch of decent arms coming up behind him, most of which we've seen this season already, and it won't take much for a potential playoff club to make a switch once it becomes apparent that it is necessary. Riding Arroyo the rest of the way this season might not be a terrible idea as a back-end starter, but I'd be very hesitant to rely on him at all for 2011.
James McDonald - So, in 8 starts for the Pirates McDonald has had four excellent outings, one mediocre one, and three clunkers. The 25 year old has great stuff, but hasn't developed any consistency just yet...partly due to the fact that he hasn't been left in one role long enough to expect any. I think McDonald's upside is terrific, and although I would hesitate to use him in the playoff race right now, I'd have little hesitation about stashing him in a reserve slot for 2011.
Joe Blanton - Blanton tossed another quality start against the Marlins last night, allowing only one run on five hits over six innings, walking two and striking out eight. Blanton is 9 for 12 in quality starts since the break, a fact that is definitely being masked by his full-season totals. His K rate and HR rate are both substantially improved in the 2nd half, and again, I'd feel comfortable using him as a back-end rotational member in all formats.