Derek Holland - Derek Holland allowed 0 ER on six hits with nine strikeouts in nine innings versus the Astros on Monday. Holland entered the start with a 3.43 ERA and 3.73 FIP, which are both career-best marks. He's cut his HR/FB% from 15% to just 9%, while posting a 21% K%. Obviously, the drop in homers has played a significant role in Holland's improvement. I am a bit concerned that he's seen his LD% jump from 16% in 2012 to 22% this season, but otherwise, Holland's numbers look repeatable in 2014. He should be bumped in your rankings as a solid mid-rotation starter in 12-team mixed leagues.
Justin Verlander - Justin Verlander faced the Twins on Monday and allowed 0 ER on six hits with 12 strikeouts. Verlander owned a 3.66 ERA and 3.78 xFIP prior to Monday with both marks representing the highest for the right hander since 2008. Verlander's K% is down 3% while his BB% has increased by 2%. The right hander's fastball velocity is down again this year, which marks the third straight season he's experienced a slight drop in his fastball speed. Verlander's also seen his chase rate fall by 3%. All told, the right hander seems to be beginning the decline of his career. That doesn't mean he won't be a very solid fantasy option next year, but I don't think he's going to bounce back and be a fantasy ace in 2014.
Jose Quintana - Jose Quintana took on the Blue Jays on Monday and allowed 2 ER with six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Quintana has enjoyed a great season, recording a 3.49 ERA to go along with a 20% K%. Quintana came onto the major league scene last year and tossed 136 innings with a respectable 3.76 ERA, although he struck out fewer than six batters per game. Quintana has done an excellent job improving his strikeout ability this year, which is especially encouraging for a 24-year old. I like Quintana as a solid No. 4/5 starter in 12-team mixed leagues in 2014.
Alex Rios - The Rangers' Alex Rios had a huge game against the Astros on Monday, going 4-for-4 with a HR and 4 RBI. Rios now owns a .280/.327/.436 slash line to go along with a .156 ISO. The outfielder has swiped 39 bags (caught six times) while also tallying 30 doubles. The steals are what really make Rios valuable for fantasy teams. He stole 23 bases in 2012 and just 11 in 2011, so it's a bit hard to predict where he'll land next season. That makes Rios a high-risk, high-reward option at a position where there are plenty of good bats. I'd be cautious of overpaying for him based on one career year in the stolen bases department.
Manny Machado - It was a really bad day for the Orioles, who got swept by the Rays and also lost their prized third baseman, Manny Machado, to a gruesome knee injury. Machado hit a chopper in the hole at second and landed on first base awkwardly, crashing to the ground in a heap of pain. Medics brought out a stretcher for Machado who is surely done for the rest of the regular season. In 156 games, Machado batted .283/.314/.432 with 14 HRs, 88 runs, 71 RBI and 51 doubles. He posted a .148 ISO to go along with a 16% K% and 4% BB%. Hopefully the knee injury isn't severe enough to keep Machado out of spring training and, assuming he's healthy in 2014, he should be one of the better third baseman options.
Thanks for reading all season!