By Eric Mack
July 30, 2012

With so many significant names swapping teams and, in some cases, leagues, it is hard to imagine the final hours before baseball's non-waivers trade deadline to be exciting as the past week has been. Perhaps it is a function of the added wild card, keeping more teams in the hunt and making them more willing to make an aggressive deal.

If that is the case, we just might get more surprising swaps.

For now, we survey the leading names changing hands in the past week and rank them based on how much the change of scenery has enhanced their immediate fantasy future:

1. SP Zack Greinke, Angels -- The Brewers couldn't quite compete without Prince Fielder amid a bust year from their closer. The Angels, buoyed by rookie MVP candidate Mike Trout and the resurgent Albert Pujols are going to make Greinke a big winner again.

2. SS Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers -- He wore out his welcome in Miami, but he showed very quickly he can be a game-changer in Los Angeles. This just might be the shot in the arm his owners needed.

3. SP Wandy Rodriguez, Pirates -- How rare is it someone gains fantasy value going to Pittsburgh? It does now. That surprising contender gives Rodriguez a greater chance to win.

4. SP Anibal Sanchez, Tigers -- His first start was a bad one, but he has pitched better than his sub-.500 career record suggests. The Tigers give him a chance to be a steady winner, even if he's not on Greinke's potentially elite level.

5. SP Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- It is just a one-hit wonder streak, but Suzuki is proving he still has enough left in the tank to help rotisserie leagues in steals and, eventually, runs scored categories.

6. SP Jacob Turner, Marlins -- While he leaves the contending Tigers rotation for the lost Marlins. He will at least have license to make regular uninterrupted starts as he seasons for the future. That is also a good park for pitchers in Miami.

7. SP Francisco Liriano, White Sox -- Before that last disaster in Minnesota (against the White Sox, coincidentally), he had looked like his pre-surgery form. The White Sox are a contender that can make Liriano a better winner than the Twins could, even if the ballpark is far more hitter-friendly.

Dealt players unlikely to improve: SS/2B Marco Scutaro, LAD; SP Nathan Eovaldi, MIA; 2B Omar Infante, DET; 3B Chris Johnson, ARI; and 3B Ryan Roberts, TB.

And, as for the rest of the weekly roster trends ...

1B Ike Davis, Mets -- He looked like a lost cause early this season, but he's ripping homers now and is right on pace in the power categories, even if his average is just above the Mendoza Line. Davis had a three-homer game and six in the week, but all of them were of the solo variety, by chance. His strikeout-to-walk ratio isn't ideal, which makes his a streaky player. This is a streak that has him back to being a start in all leagues, even at the deep first base position. Long term, Davis can be a .275-30-100 player annually. At 26 next season, he will be entering his prime years of fantasy production.

SP James McDonald, Pirates -- He is one of the latest examples of a player that scorches through a half and looks like a completely different player after the break. McDonald has enjoyed a breakthrough season at age 27 (9-3, 2.93 ERA and .196 batting-average against before the break), but has fallen apart of late (8.71 ERA and .326 BAA post-break). The slowdown likely has to do with a career-high pace of innings (211) after going just 171 a year ago. McDonald remains someone to stash in mixed leagues -- there will still be useful moments down the stretch -- but you will want to sit him until he can kick this funk.

Most added

1. SP Matt Harvey, Mets -- His spectacular debut has raised expectations, but like Trevor Bauer, Harvey has had issues with walks that could plague him in the majors.

2. SP A.J. Griffin, A's -- The surprising A's have needed guys like Griffin to go right and he has gone dominant. He is 3-0 in his past three starts and has posted a quality start in all six of his outings. He is going to have his struggles eventually, but you might as well trust him in all formats.

3. OF Starling Marte, Pirates -- He has all the tools to be a special player long term and he debuted with a homer last week, but he figures to level off as a marginal option in mixed leagues in the second half.

4. SS Josh Rutledge, Rockies -- He just hasn't cooled off and the trade of Marco Scutaro to the Giants last week will keep Rutledge slotted as a starter for the rebuilding Rockies even when Troy Tulowitzki returns.

5. SP Paul Maholm, Cubs -- The 30-year-old lefty is pitching the best baseball of his career, going 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA and .225 BAA in July. Somehow the Cubs have a staff full of pitching surprises, save for Travis Wood hitting the wall in July.

Most dropped

1. SP Colby Lewis, Rangers -- His season-ending injury makes it likely the Rangers add a significant starter in the coming days, or weeks.

2. RP Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers -- He saved his worst for when he finally was handed the closer's role. Well, so much for that. He is not worth owning in any formats now.

3. OF Lucas Duda, Mets -- He wasn't good enough defensively to carry an extended offensive slump. He's a good enough hitter to come back in the second half and be a sleeper all over again down the stretch.

4. C J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays -- His broken hand is dangerous, because 23-year-old backstop Travis d'Arnaud is enjoying a breakthrough season in Triple-A (.333-16-52-45, .380-.595). This could make things interesting next spring, or September.

5. SP Jair Jurrjens, Braves -- His monumental struggles have gotten him demoted to the bullpen. He might get some starts again before the end of the year, but the odds of him holding his old fantasy value the rest of this season are low.

Most viewed: Buy, sell, hold

1. SS Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers -- The change of scenery (sans change of league) is exactly what his owners needed. The arrow is finally pointing up again. BUY

2. 1B Albert Pujols, Angels -- His early second half numbers are more Pujols-like (.328 average, .400 on-base percentage and .621 slugging percentage). It is hard to imagine getting enough return to deal him now. HOLD

3. SP Zack Greinke, Angels -- This is a great contender he is pitching for now. The expectations should be sky high, making him tough to acquire. HOLD

4. SP Ryan Dempster, Cubs -- He already turned down the Braves and he is already showing some regression from his incredible scoreless stretch. Even if he's dealt to a contender, he can't possibly prove as valuable as he was. SELL

5. 3B Ryan Roberts, Rays -- He has proven to be 2011's flash in the pan. He figures to be a reserve infielder long term now with the Rays.

Eric Mack writes fantasy for You find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)