Who are the hottest pickups in fantasy baseball leagues? Can you trust them on your fantasy baseball teams?
Agent Smith among his pursuers
Todd Frazier, 1B/3B/OF, Cincinnati Reds
- Last 15: .444 BA, 13 R, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 2 SB in 61 PA
Though reports say this repeat listing will lose playing time to Scott Rolen when Joey Votto (knee) returns from the disabled list, it's hard not to take the bet Dusty Baker will change his mind on letting the semi-youngster play. Indeed, the 26-year-old Rookie of the Year candidate has done little to warrant riding the pine, but there's at least an acknowledgeable chance that Baker will tip the scales toward Rolen's glove as Cincy moves closer to the postseason.
Frazier's positional flexibility could keep other PT doors open, though, and Votto's timetable is unknown, though he's likely to return sometime next month. Don't let Frazier sit unclaimed because of a future decision that might not happen.
Jaime Garcia, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
- 8/19: 2 R (0 ER), 5 H, 10 K in 8 IP
Not a bad return from the DL: He didn't walk a Pittsburgh Pirate, either. Expecting that K load every time out is a pipe dream, but the southpaw seems to be over his early-season shoulder woes and stands to be an impact arm down the stretch.
Brett Anderson, SP, Oakland Athletics
- 8/21: 1 ER, 4 H, 6 K in 7 IP
Not a bad return from the DL, Part Deux: The Minnesota Twins will boost anyone's chances of domination, but one scout noted Anderson looked particularly sharp when he "carved them up" with his curveball and changeup He didn't walk a batter. Typically, returnees from Tommy John surgery regain control last, however, so expecting some stumbles the rest of the way would be wise.
But he's lost about 20 pounds since last year, which might aid his transition back into the ace-like form he's teased for so long while his health stuck out its tongue at the fantasy community. Any A's arm, especially one with his K-grounder combo, deserves your attention.
Kris Medlen, SP, Atlanta Braves
- Last 5: 4 W, 0.83 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 29 K in 32 2/3 IP
It's the second straight week he's been hotly pursued. Sure, his left-on-base percentage in his five starting rubber toes stands at 94.6 percent, but that doesn't take away from his skills. Atlanta has employed a six-man rotation for a reason, and Medlen has seized his opportunity so emphatically that the Bravos won't chop him anytime soon.
Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Last 46: .319 BA, 31 R, 11 HR, 39 RBI in 177 PA
He made the list last month and has continued that momentum. Even during an early-month power drought, he kept making contact. Jones is in a groove because he's experiencing positive in-play fortune when going the opposite way; he's been hitting flies to left most of the time.
Maybe he's learning how to do it effectively, but the ratio of in-play hit types don't back it up. Still, even if he cools soon, he'll remain a decent platoon play against right-handed pitching.
Toeing the line during rebound
Grant Balfour, RP, Oakland Athletics
- Last 36: 1 W, 5 SV, 1.45 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 33 K in 37 1/3 IP
Guess more people read last week's report, and leftover owners finally realized he's the new Oakland stopper, a title he's primed to keep as long as he keeps them rolling along.
Jeremy Guthrie, SP, Kansas City Royals
- August: 2 W, 0.94 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 23 K in 28 2/3 IP
Nicholas Minnix did the heavy lifting on this one last week. Tread carefully, but Guthrie's previous AL experience at least means he should continue offering competent innings.
Erick Aybar, SS, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- August: .406 BA, 15 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 SB in 66 PA
Aybar has endeared himself to shallow leaguers that forgot he existed. In fact, he's typically a better hitter once May ends. Mike Scioscia and former hitting coach Mickey Hatcher weaned Aybar off a toe tap he used to time his left-handed hacks, and it seems to have squashed his early-2012 struggles.
Even hitting near the bottom of the order in this lineup can pay off. Middle-infield seekers that find him on their wires at this stage will receive a gift, especially if thefts elude them.
Coco Crisp, OF, Oakland Athletics
- Last 38: .299 BA, 27 R, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 12 SB in 171 PA
Pick him up for the speed and ride the rest out. He's actually taking more walks than he did last season, otherwise remaining the same peripheral-wise. It's chiefly been about health with him, and now that he's on the field, he's a difference maker in helping your steals climb.
Tyler Colvin, 1B/OF, Colorado Rockies
- August: .362 BA, 12 R, 1 HR, 11 RBI in 74 PA
Twice a featured entry in July, Colvin's playing time is now freed up by Michael Cuddyer's potentially season-ending right oblique strain. Though his power has dipped of late, Colvin has grown as a hitter in all facets this year and is worth owning in even the most basic of setups, even if it's just to see if he can rediscover his early-year pop display.
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.