Who are the hottest pickups in fantasy baseball leagues? Can you trust them on your fantasy baseball teams?
Tyler Colvin, 1B/OF, Colorado Rockies
Colvin heads this week's list, which is loaded with repeat offenders. Just about every league has someone who has finally brought the Colorado outfielder aboard. Yes, beware, his PITCHf/x marks in the plate discipline categories certainly don't foretell continued BA fortune of this nature.
A cooling period is in store, but the forecast doesn't say when. It may not come until next year; Colvin has been hitting like this all season. It's the left-handed hitter's playing time and lineup spot that have changed for the better. The Rockies, like roto managers, will ride him for as long possible.
Lance Berkman, 1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Fantasy owners in shallow leagues have made sure to get the jump on their competition for the services of last year's fantasy revelation of the year. The Cards will activate Berkman (arthroscopic knee surgery) on the first weekend of the second half. Don't leave him out there.
New Berkman owners may need to be patient. He went through intense rehab and baseball-related workouts to get back as soon as possible. He badly wanted to avoid a minor league rehab assignment, and he did. The 36-year-old's timing may be off, and initially he may need occasional rest. Berkman's recuped knee could also affect his performance.
Justin Ruggiano, OF, Miami Marlins
Last 11: .439 BA, 7 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB in 46 PA
There was no stopping this Tampa Bay Rays retread as the season's first half closed. Even the activation of Emilio Bonifacio from the disabled list can't put him down. The Fish had to place right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (surgery to remove loose bodies in right knee) on the DL!
Ozzie Guillen will pencil in Ruggiano as long as the 30-year-old is hitting like this. The manager may also stick with him for a while after the right-handed batter isn't, however. Fantasy owners shouldn't make the same mistake.
There's been a lot of panning of Ruggiano, somewhat justifiably, because of his past MLB failures in limited time and his modest minor league record. But the one thing that seems to go unnoticed is his dramatic improvement in contact rate in the past couple of seasons.
Totally legit? No. The contact rate still isn't great. A little reason to be optimistic that he'll be serviceable depth in deep leagues for several more weeks? Sure, why not.
Norichika Aoki, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Last 15: .397 BA, 12 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 SB in 68 PA
Somewhat quietly, Aoki has put together a fine line while hitting first or second regularly for the past month and a half. It's his hot streak that gained him attention from those in shallow leagues, of course.
The left-handed batsman has a very nice approach at the dish and hit for high averages in Japan for nearly a decade. His pop isn't as potent in the States, but he can swipe some bases, too.
Just keep in mind that the frequency of stolen bases may not be as great as his hot streak implies. Aoki thieved four bases in the first game of the stretch noted and hasn't been quite so aggressive otherwise.
Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals
The formats and lineup requirements of the leagues change, but the theme remains the same: Perez is the hottest backstop commodity on the market. He should be, and when he cools off, fantasy owners shouldn't be quick to discard him.
In the minors, Perez, 22, displayed the ability to hit for average. He'd only hinted at the kind of power production that was in store in the long run. His 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame made it easy to imagine many bombs in his future.
Perhaps it's just that major league pitchers bring out the best in him. What's most encouraging: In his small MLB sample, he hasn't sacrificed any of that BA acumen. He probably won't continue to hit them out at this pace, but Perez could be a great one, for a long time.
Delmon Young, OF, Detroit Tigers
Mo' HR, RBI comin' for Motown
OK, to be more precise, it's Young's last four contests before the break (6-for-14, four home runs) that really spurred the widespread fantasy community's lust for him. Hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder is really beginning to pay off.
Although Young isn't going to contend for a batting title any time soon, his second-half outlook is sunny. He's past a nagging injury from the beginning of the season and sits pretty in a great lineup. As long as he avoids another ailment, Young should be a roster fixture in most setups.
Juan Oviedo, RP, Miami Marlins
There isn't much that gets past those in competitive leagues. The artist formerly known as Leo Nunez is eligible for activation from his suspension on July 23. The right-hander is on a minor league assignment (one hit, one run, one walk and two K's 2 2/3 innings) until he proves to the Fish that he's ready to retire big leaguers consistently again.
Ozzie Guillen's move to a committee in save situations couldn't have come at a much better time for the club's former closer. The big free-agent closer whom the Marlins signed, Heath Bell, has been awful for much of the season.
Steve Cishek is the lead arm in this case-by-case system and may deserve to stick there. Randy Choate is a LOOGY possibility. Bell may yet work his way back into favor. But no one knows what'll happen.
Nunez wasn't then a top-notch closer, and Oviedo has been away from the bigs for a while. But the former was decent and made great strides, and the latter turns only 29 in August. He's worth a shot.
Zach McAllister, SP, Cleveland Indians
This right-hander has been pretty darn good since the Tribe promoted him to take Jeanmar Gomez's spot in the rotation. This season, in seven starts for the parent club, McAllister is 3-1 with a 3.40 ERA, an 8.72 K/9 and a 2.13 BB/9.
The 24-year-old's results have been much better this season than they were last year in his initial taste of MLB action. However, many of his peripheral marks have improved only marginally. That's not a bad thing, because those numbers looked solid in 2011.
McAllister's stuff isn't spectacular, and on the farm he's been a hittable pitcher as a result. His ERA won't remain so pretty, but those in deep leagues may rightfully believe that he can be serviceable post-break.
Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City Royals
Those in spirited leagues can't wait for their competitors to get the jump. Rotisserie managers are pouncing on the player whose call-up is most anticipated now that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are doing their thang.
Are these fantasy owners jumping the gun? Although KC wasn't expected to consider Myers for a promotion until later this season, chatter about a move has picked up steam. The Royals are willing to deal Jeff Francoeur, and Lorenzo Cain's performance may dictate the club's commitment to him in the second half.
At Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, combined, the right-handed-hitting outfielder has hit .328 with 27 home runs and five stolen bases. He's kind of good. (Caveat: You'd like to see him strike out a little less often, so adjustments may take a little more time in the majors.)
There's no potential call-up who has more ability to affect rotisserie standings for the rest of the season. Those in deep and competitive leagues probably can't afford to wait any longer to set Myers aside.
Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets
This past week, Tim gave us the skinny on the Mets' most MLB-ready prospect, whose arrival has gone from "distant" to "imminent" because of the unfortunate medical condition that affected Dillon Gee. In addition, I explained why Miguel Batista probably won't interfere.
Yep, those in deep, competitive leagues don't wait around for the ill-informed. Harvey has some control issues, but take a look at these numbers. This righty has the strikeout stuff to make a mark in fantasy leagues - at least the deep ones - for a month or two.
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.