If there's anything certain about pitching staffs, it is that you need plenty of arms for the dog days of the season. Here are a handful worth taking a look at:
Radhames Liz, Baltimore Orioles: Liz, 25, throws in the mid-90s with a good curve and ok changeup. When he's on he can be tough, but inconsistent mechanics sometimes ruin his command. He's in a little better shape than last year because they are making him run more. He throws in the mid-90s with a slider, curve and changeup, so he has the stuff. He just needs to gain consistent command of it. He was 4-3 with a 7.47 ERA in 10 starts with the Orioles earlier in the year and 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts since he was demoted to AAA Norfolk. He is an excellent prospect but has been inconsistent so far.
Dana Eveland, Oakland Athletics: Eveland, 24, throws in the low-90s with a decent curve, slider and change but is not overpowering. Has had command problems in the past which isn't good for a finesse hurler. He went 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA and 21/4 K/BB ratio for AAA Sacramento after going 7-8 with a 4.46 ERA in 22 starts with the A's this year. The A's are his third organization.
Dan Meyer, Oakland Athletics: Meyer, 27, throws in the low-90s with a good slider but poor control has kept him from making in the A's rotation. Shoulder surgery set him back two years ago but he is healthy again. He has a 4.48 ERA and 109/52 K/BB ratio in 122 2/3 innings for AAA Sacramento this year. He has a 5.52 ERA in 15 innings with the A's. If he ever discovers his command, he could have some value.
Al Reyes, New York Mets: Reyes, who was cut by the Rays earlier this week, was signed to a minor league contract. He could be in the mix for saves at some point if Billy Wagner stays out but was assigned to AAA Norfolk for now Reyes, 38, was also on the disabled list twice with shoulder trouble. He had 26 saves last year and has a 4.37 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 10 walks in 23 innings this season. Aaron Heilman (three saves), Pedro Feliciano (two), Brian Stokes (one) and Scott Schoeneweis (one) have all been used in Wagner's absence.
Anthony Reyes, Cleveland Indians: Reyes, 26, throws in the mid-90s with a sharp slider and decent changeup but needs better command. His mechanics sometimes get out of whack. He was 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts for Buffalo since being acquired from St. Louis and has pitched well in his three starts since his recall. Hopefully the change of scenery will continue to do him good.
Jo-Jo Reyes, Atlanta Braves: Reyes, 23, was recalled again to replace the injured Tom Glavine in the rotation. Reyes made three starts for Richmond since he was sent back down, going 0-0 with a 3.94 ERA. He's given up 16 hits in 16 innings, with eight walks and 13 strikeouts. He went 0-5 with an 8.74 ERA in six outings with the Braves earlier in the season. He throws a pretty good fastball, slider and changeup but needs to fine tune his command. Still a bit young to be counted on.
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals: Wainwright was recalled to finally join the rotation after much talk of making him the closer (Chris Perez's recent success as the closer has alleviated that). Wainwright throws in the low-90s but relies on control rather than velocity. He has 14 wins and a 3.70 ERA for the Cards last year but began this season on the DL with a finger injury.
Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles: Johnson, 25, will close with George Sherrill out. He has a 2.37 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 50 games so far, with a shaky 35/27 K/BB ratio. He throws around 90-mph with a curve and change but is not overpowering. He was a starter in the minors.
Jensen Lewis, Cleveland Indians: Lewis has had some success as the newest Tribe closer the last two weeks, so they will stick with him -- by default if nothing else. Lefty Rafael Perez is better suited to a setup role. Rafael Betancourt has been struggling and doesn't have the moxie for the role. Masahide Kobayashi has pitched too many innings and is not totally comfortable in the role either. "You've got to go in there with no fear," Lewis said. "Whatever happens is going to happen, but if you leave something on the table, you're going to go to bed at night wondering about all the what-ifs."
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays: Bautista, 27, was acquired from Pittsburgh to play third base for now. He was hitting .242-12-44 before being sent to the minors last week. AL-only leagues might want to grab him but beware low batting average. He has power but struggles vs. right-handers and strikes out a lot. He batted .254 with 15 homers for the Bucs last year.
Chris Dickerson, Cincinnati Reds: Dickerson, hitting .287 with 26 steals at AAA Louisville, was recalled to play left field for now. The 26-year-old got off to a slow start but has hit over .300 since June. He has excellent speed and is a good defensive outfielder but strikes out way too much.
Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants: The Giants are going with a youth movement the rest of the way, and this guy is the most interesting. Sandoval, 22, will log time at catcher and first base. He swings a lively bat and has a good arm but is a bit cumbersome in the field. They even tried him at third base for a while. He played at Class-A San Jose and AA Connecticut, ranking seventh among all minor-leaguers in batting (.350) and eighth in RBIs (90). He also hit 20 homers.
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.