Jonathan Broxton, RP (LAD): This is an easy one. Jonathan Broxton was, at one point, supposed to be the Los Angeles Dodgers closer of the future. The plans didn't get derailed -- Broxton's career isn't in the dumps or anything like that -- but they did get sidetracked when the Dodgers signed Takashi Saito in 2006. Saito has saved 80 games since then and overall, has been very solid. Recently he had an awkward feeling in his throwing arm after an outing and yada, yada, yada, he'll be out for six weeks. Broxton takes over the role and is an immediate must-own player. One thing people don't really talk about with Saito too much is the fact that he is 38. He's not a spring chicken, so you never know how injuries like this will impact him long term. Broxton is closer material. He has 46 strikeouts in 39.2 innings pitched with an ERA of 3.40. He'll need to get comfortable with his new role.
Ubaldo Jimenez, SP (COL): A lot of people were high on Ubaldo Jimenez on draft day given the way he pitched in the playoffs last year. He hasn't been close to ownable for the few months of the season, but we're entering that territory now. His ERA, WHIP and opponent's batting average have progressively decreased each month. In July, he's allowed only four earned runs in 19.1 innings pitched while striking out 19 batters. His WHIP is at 1.29 this month and his numbers quietly point to him having a strong finish to the season.
Manny Corpas, RP (COL): Sticking with Rockies pitchers, Manny Corpas should on your mind these days. The Rockies are trying to trade Brian Fuentes, who is their current closer, and Corpas would immediately inherit (or re-inherit) the role. Corpas, you might remember, was the closer earlier this year but blew the job. You still have to take a chance on almost anyone that might see regular save opportunities.
Grant Balfour, RP (TB): Now might not be the best time to invest in the Tampa Bay Rays given their recent struggles, but Grant Balfour has been very productive over the last month. He's a middle reliever, but he's picked up a couple of saves with Troy Percival on the disabled list, which has made Balfour one of the most valuable pitchers over the last month. He's got two wins, two saves, an ERA of 1.23 and a WHIP of 0.89 and 22 K's in 14.1 innings pitched. You can add him for now because he might add you some saves. But realistically, if he's not contributing in that category, then let him live the waiver life.
Dave Bush, SP (MIL): People keep wavering on Dave Bush, but in fantasy sports, sometimes you have to ignore history and resumes and simply go with the guys who are producing. For his career, Dave Bush is 39-44 with a 4.51 ERA. But over the last month here's what he's done:
36 IP, 3-1, 28 K's, 1.75 ERA, 0.72 WHIP.
Those are very good numbers and you might as well add him to your roster if you have some fat to trim. Only Justin Duchscherer, Chad Billingsley, Dan Haren and Roy Halladay have been more valuable in 5 x 5 leagues over the last month.
Tim Wakefield, SP (BOS): Tim Wakefield is barely owned in fantasy leagues, but he's been nothing short of solid this year. Fine, he doesn't strike out batters at a Randy Johnson-like pace. He only has 84 Ks in 122.1 innings pitched. But his other numbers are solid across the board. Since the start of June, Wakefield is 3-2 with an ERA of 2.28 and a WHIP of 0.92. Opposing batters hit .190 against him in June and are hitting only .155 against him this month. Wakefield is an innings eater too. He's averaged just under seven innings per start in his last eight outings.