Nelson Cruz $35. Other bids $18, $17, $11, $8, $6, $4.
Cruz definitely deserved these big bids; he smacked 37 HR and .342 in 383 AAA AB this year. Experienced Roto players know who this guy is; he's a 28-year-old who has never had a problem with power but who has failed in a couple of major league trials prior to this year. The Rangers figure to run him out there down the stretch over Brandon Boggs and Frank Catalanotto to see if he can bring at least some of that power to the majors and perhaps win a role with the big club going forward. Even if he tanks, he's a good gamble for a contender. He even stole two bases today, and while you can't count on that going forward, it's good to know he might run on top of everything else.
Aaron Cunningham $14. Other bids $11, $5, $3.
Cunningham was one of the players picked up by the A's this winter in the Nick Swisher deal. He was a very un-A's like player to get; he had strong tools but his skills hadn't quite caught up. This year in the minors, Cunningham started consolidating some of those skills, though he's still weak on the plate discipline and shows poor strike zone judgment. Still, he's got OK power and speed and the A's figure to give him a long look this month. He's only 22 years old, so it's possible that Cunningham might flail in September. But I think he'll play, and that's the name of the game at this late juncture. He probably will look like the man profiled below if he makes it in the majors.
Mark Kotsay $11. Other bids $11, $10, $6.
Kotsay has done all right filling in thus far for J.D. Drew. Once again, playing time is the key here. If J.D. Drew doesn't come off the DL this week as expected or if he struggles to stay healthy, then Kotsay should get a good amount of AB and bring his moderate power and speed to the table. If Drew comes back and plays, Kotsay will struggle to find playing time in what would suddenly be a crowded Red Sox outfield. Cruz and Cunningham are more solid plays, but Kotsay is also an OK gamble at this point.
Jon Van Every $3.
Like Cruz, Van Every is a non-prospect who has still managed to have some big power years in the minors (including his 26 HR, 524 SLG at AAA Pawtucket this year). He's also 28 years old, and his K/AB have been awful, including this year's 157/380 rate. He's stuck in that crowded Boston outfield, and is probably up more for depth than anything else. Keep him in mind if you really need power, but Van Every is probably more of an insurance policy for the depleted Sox down the stretch than he is an option to steal AB from the current starting nine.
Roy Corcoran $3. Other bid $2.
Corcoran is an older reliever who spent years toiling in the Expos/Nationals organization before finally getting cut. After a year in the minors for Florida, he was picked up by the Mariners in one of the few moves they've made this year that's worked out. Corcoran gets by due to a severe G/F ratio, so despite a high WHIP he's kept his ERA reasonable. He can be owned in 4x4 leagues, but he shouldn't get too many save or win opportunities so he's not a tremendous asset unless you need a "safe" pitcher on the back of your staff.
UPDATE 9/1 12:45 p.m. EST: I should add that Corcoran did pick up a one inning save yesterday, and J.J. Putz is 3-for-6 in save chances since coming off of the D.L. I don't expect Jim Riggleman to name Corcoran the closer, but I could see Roy getting some chances here and there down the stretch if Riggleman trusts him with the ball in the ninth.
Jeff Bailey $1.
Bailey's yet another Red Sox who has been getting some AB due to multiple injuries but who should see his playing time reduced should the Red Sox get healthier down the stretch. Bailey's a former Marlins prospect who didn't work out and now looks like a Quad-A guy, despite the impressive 25/75/.301 line he put up in AAA for the Sox. He's 29 years old, and the Sox aren't likely to play him once everyone is healthy.
Reggie Willits $1.
With the Angels a gazillion games up in the A.L. West, Willits has been seeing a little playing time in the Angels outfield. He's theoretically a speed play, though he hasn't run much even when healthy, and the Angels might also rest Willits after they clinch so that they can keep his legs fresh for the post-season. Willits is a long-shot to contribute in Roto down the stretch.
Alex Cintron $1.
Even with the moderate playing time he's been getting for the Orioles at SS, Cintron offers almost nothing in the power/speed categories and is more of a liability than an asset, even at $1. He was picked up here to help an owner shave some money off of his salary cap so he could bid aggressively on Cruz, Cunningham and Kotsay.
Aquilino Lopez. Claimed by 10th place team.
Lopez had a horrific (6.19 ERA in 16 IP) August and is unlikely to supplant Fernando Rodney as the Tigers closer or pitch well enough to get back into a key set-up role.
Sean Rodriguez. Claimed by 7th and 4th place teams.
Like Willits, Rodriguez could see some significant AB down the stretch for L.A. After a disappointing 2007 campaign at AA, the Angels promoted him to AAA anyway, where Rodriguez rewarded them with a big-time power campaign. His walks are very low, but Rodriguez improved his K/AB rate in a big way and could actually be the real deal for the Angels in 2009. He hasn't done much in the majors this year, but is definitely worth claiming if you're playing for 2009 and hoping you catch lightning in a bottle.
Adam Everett. Claimed by 5th place team.
Everett has lost his SS job to Nick Punto and is not worth owning at the moment.