Tyler Flowers - C, CWS
Formerly a highly rated prospect with big power potential, Flowers has had a number of fits and starts in trying to get his big-league career going. Overall, he hasn't been very good, as he entered this season with a .200/.279/.372 hitting line in 592 MLB plate appearances.
The White Sox gave him an extended chance in 2013, with the door opened by the departure of A.J. Pierzynski, but Flowers struggled to his worst season, batting .195 in 84 games.
So this year was probably his last opportunity in Chicago. Once again he entered the year as the anointed starter, but after a hot start he fell into another prolonged slump. By the end of June, his slash line had sagged to .237/.296/.326 and his playing time had diminished with backup Adrian Nieto becoming more prominent.
Since around the All-Star break, however, Flowers has begun to heat up, making a strong case to remain the starter for the rest of the campaign. Since seeing his OPS sink to a season-low 575 on July 10th, the backstop has been on a tear, batting .404/.452/.702 with 10 extra-base hits (three homers) and 13 RBI in 18 games. During that span, he has tallied multiple hits in eight contests; he had done so only 12 times total in his first 77 games.
Flowers' minor-league career, which is where he made a name for himself by hitting .275/.391/.484 while routinely notching double-digit homers, seems like a distant memory, but also serves as a reminder of his capability. He has struggled so much in the majors that it's hard to put a ton of stock into a three-week run of success, but Flowers has shown in the past that he can hit, and the offensive bar for catchers is pretty low.
Give him a try and see if you can ride this torrid streak the rest of the way.
Grady Sizemore - OF, PHI
Fantasy owners who bought in on Sizemore after his hot start in Boston this year got burned, badly. The veteran outfield was shaping up as a great comeback story during the first half of April, batting .343 with a 966 OPS in his first 10 games, but from that point on he slumped hard, posting a .187/.263/.267 slash line with zero homers in 42 games before being cut by the Red Sox in mid-June.
After being let go, Sizemore caught on with the Phillies. Following a short minor-league stint, he returned to the majors, where he has recaptured his early-season magic and then some. In 19 games with his new club, Sizemore is hitting .333/.373/.449. In 18 starts with the Phils, he has gone hitless only three times.
The 32-year-old has mostly batted leadoff or sixth in the Philadelphia lineup, providing opportunities to steal, score and drive in runs. He's just 1-for-1 on stolen base attempts thus far with the Phillies, but showed in Boston that he still had some speed by going 5-for-5 in his 52 games there. Hopefully more chances to run will arise going forward.
Ultimately, there's no rock-solid reason to believe Sizemore's current hot streak is any more credible than the April one, which fell apart in spectacular fashion. But he continues to show that there's something left in his bat, and he seems to have found himself a good situation.
It's a risky play, but one that carries some decent upside as Sizemore still appears to have both power and speed in his skill set.