One minor leaguer I'm keeping a close eye on is the Rockies' Jhoulys Chacin. The 22-year-old righty was expected to be recalled from Triple-A to take Aaron Cook's place in the rotation, but Esmil Rogers got the call instead.
Perhaps the Rockies are just stretching him out a little longer since he pitched in their bullpen as late as July 23. But the point is, if you're in a deep, competitive league, now is a good time to grab Chacin while he's still free. If your league is a bit shallow, though, feel free to wait until he gets called up, as this is an imprecise science, to say the least.
Starting pitcher rankings for August 12
Rk.: The author's ranking of that pitcher for that day only. T: Pitcher throws left-handed or right-handed. Opp: The pitcher's opponent for the day. Rating: The starting pitcher's matchup rating -- separate from the author's ranking -- which accounts for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. Ratings range from 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. W-L: Pitcher's win-loss record. ERA: Pitcher's earned run average. WHIP: Pitcher's average number of walks plus hits surrendered per inning.
• The six walks Jon Garland issued in his last outing concerns me, but I'm still going to roll with the "San Diego Padres pitcher at home versus a non-threatening opponent" mantra and recommend Garland anyway. He and the Pads host the Pirates, and it's hard to expect bad things from that matchup. Plus, Garland has a 2.69 ERA and 1.32 WHIP at home in 12 starts, with just five home runs allowed in 73 2/3 innings.
• I like Randy Wells, and I really believe he should be owned in more than six percent of ESPN standard leagues. There, I said it. In his last turn, he bounced back from a poor outing versus the Brewers to net another quality start, this time versus the Reds, marking the seventh time in eight starts he has allowed three runs or fewer. Wells was owned in just about every league during his fluky rookie season. Now his peripherals are better but his results are worse and no one wants to bite? Hypocrites, the lot of you!
• Joe Blanton's worst start in the past month was a six-inning, nine-hit, four-run affair and he still struck out eight batters. He has a 3.82 ERA in his past five starts, with 25 strikeouts in 33 innings. That's not superb, but it will play against most teams, the Dodgers included.
• Gavin Floyd is another example of a pitcher throwing nothing but darts but whom I would still be wary to keep active versus the Twins because of how tough the matchup is. Floyd faced the Twins on the road about a month ago, and barely scraped by, allowing seven hits, four runs (one earned) and three walks in just five innings. Fact is a Justin Morneau-less Twins team has still been the second-best offense (in terms of OPS) in the majors since the All-Star break. More facts: The Twins have combined for a .323 AVG/.364 OBP/.496 SLG stat line against Floyd in 133 at-bats. Personally, I'd play it safe and leave Floyd on your bench, if possible.
• And Ricky Nolasco gets bombed right on schedule! Sometimes it's nice when things optimally work out for yours truly. Yet he still did have a six-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio in five innings. He'll attempt to rebound against the Nationals, but be wary: The Nats are hitting .280 and slugging .505 off him in 93 at-bats. Nolasco has been pretty good on the road this year, and the Nationals rank just 24th in OPS against right-handers, but something just feels odd to me here. Feel free to start him if you want to, but if I had him, I wouldn't.
Hitter matchup ratings for August 12
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days) as well as ballpark factors. "LHB" and "RHB" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Adam Lind, OF, Blue Jays: Add a recent hot streak to a couple of nice matchups and Lind has a great opportunity to stay hot for a prolonged period of time. He's 6-for-12 with two doubles off John Lackey in his career, so start him Thursday with confidence.
Pat Burrell, OF, Giants: A five-game hit streak for a slugger such as Burrell is news since he makes his mark in the power and on-base department, not necessarily the contact department. He has four extra-base hits in those five games, too, and now that he's in a groove, he's a good option versus Randy Wells, against whom right-handed hitters have slugged .450.
Ryan Ludwick, OF, Padres: It's not a tremendous leap of faith to recommend a guy coming off a two-homer game, right? Ludwick is batting .318 (7-for-22) with a home run against Zach Duke in his career, and he's probably a bigger threat than even that indicates, considering batters as a whole are hitting .321 off Duke this year.
Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers: OK, this is the last time I'll recommend Ethier, as it's just too easy to do. But I wanted to note he's 5-for-11 (.455) with a pair of dingers versus Joe Blanton.
Jason Kubel, OF, Twins: Gavin Floyd needs to watch his back against the Twins. Not only is Kubel phenomenal off him (10-for-28 with three long balls), but Denard Span is a not-too-shabby 9-for-17 (.529) against him, too.
Miguel Olivo, C, Rockies: Johan Santana's changeup makes him tough on most right-handers (.634 OPS allowed), and Olivo is no exception. The catcher is just 2-for-11 (.182) with five strikeouts lifetime.
Ian Stewart, 2B/3B, Rockies: Unfortunately, just the virtue of being left-handed against Johan won't help Stewart. The slugger has just 78 at-bats against southpaws on the season for a good reason; he's batting .218 with one home run in those 78 at-bats. Plus, he's 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his career against Santana.
Raul Ibanez, OF, Phillies: I'm going slightly against the grain in this one considering Ibanez is heating up and is a respectable 2-for-5 against Clayton Kershaw, with both hits going for doubles. But all those at-bats were in 2009, during Ibanez's revival. This year, meanwhile, he's batting .236 with three home runs in 110 at-bats off southpaws. And it's worth noting that Kershaw is a beast versus lefties (.193 average against) and struck out Ibanez in the other three at-bats.
Alex Rios, OF, White Sox: Just 1-for-4 in steal attempts since the break, Rios has continued to crater. It won't get any better versus Francisco Liriano, whom he has reached base against just one time in 12 at-bats, with five strikeouts.
Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day
Adam LaRoche, 1B, Diamondbacks: And just like that he's baaaack! With four home runs and three doubles in just 37 August at-bats, LaRoche is well on his way toward another strong post-All-Star break performance. He has hit southpaws quite well this season (.327 average in 113 at-bats) and is 6-for-19 (.316) with a homer off Randy Wolf in his career, making him a good low-cost option at first base.
Injury list: Out
Injury list: Day-to-day
Daric Barton, 1B, Athletics (shoulder)
Gordon Beckham, 2B/3B, White Sox (groin)
Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers (wrist)
Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees (illness)
Corey Hart, OF, Brewers (back)
Bobby Jenks, RP, White Sox (back)
Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, Pirates (shin)
Placido Polanco, 2B/3B, Phillies (triceps)
Jorge Posada, C, Yankees (shoulder)
Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays (toe)
Weatherproof: Red Sox-Blue Jays and Diamondbacks-Brewers.
Storms are a-brewin' Flushing (Rockies-Mets) has a 50-60 percent chance of thunderstorms, but it is an afternoon game, so they'll have all evening to finish the game. Plus, the storm is expected to let up by mid-evening. Washington D.C. (Marlins-Nationals) might not be so lucky. They also are expected rain, and the 7 p.m. start time means there's a chance that contest will be postponed. Philly (Dodgers-Phillies) could deal with a storm or too but probably nothing more severe than a short rain delay.
Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com.