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September Upgrades

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With the calendar flipping over to September, most fantasy league trade deadlines have been passed.

Which means there are only a few remaining ways to improve your roster. You could manage your lineup better, but if you haven't done that for the first five months, it's unlikely you'll change your "spots" now.

You could kidnap your opposition's best player, but I could never condone committing a felony.

Or you could check the free agent list to see who might be available to bolster your roster down the stretch. There are two types of players who will be available. Veterans, who have had an up and down season and a fantasy owner "quit" on them and rookies who were part of the September call up.


Jay Bruce, OF, Cincinnati (63% owned) - Bruce has been one of the hottest hitters in the game of late, going 8-for-16 with five home runs and eight RBI over the past seven days. For the season he has batted .274 with 18 HR and 58 RBI, yet it seems that fantasy owners aren't willing to be patient with the Reds' outfielder. Beware, he "tweaked" something in his side and was scratched on Tuesday night.

Juan Pierre, OF, Chicago White Sox (71% owned) - Pierre has always contributed steals, but little else. He's still an OPS nightmare, but at least he's been hitting the ball better lately, batting .381 over the past three weeks with an acceptable OPS of .870.

Stephen Drew, SS, Arizona (71% owned) - Many fantasy owners tired of waiting for Drew to duplicate his 2008 performance (.291 batting average with 21 HR, 67 RBI, 91 runs and an OPS of .835) and dropped him from their roster. Their bad timing could be your good fortune. Drew is batting .500 over the past week with four homers and nine RBIs.

Brian Matusz, SP, Baltimore (15% owned) - Matusz has won his last three outings with an ERA of 1.29 and a WHIP of 0.81. Throw in 17 strikeouts in 21 innings and you have a great find.

Gio Gonzalez, SP, Oakland (49% owned) - Gonzalez has pitched well this season, but over the past three weeks has stepped up to a new level. He's given up just five runs over the past 26 innings with a WHIP of 0.96.

September Call ups

Aroldis Chapman, SP, Cincinnati - Chapman displayed his 100+ m.p.h. fastball on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, he's not going to start or close which gives him limited value.

Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay - Jennings is supposed to be the Rays' replacement for Carl Crawford when the veteran's contract is up. He batted .278 for Durham with 82 runs scored and 37 stolen bases in 109 games.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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