Who are the hottest pickups in fantasy baseball leagues? Can you trust them on your fantasy baseball teams?
Young getting wiser
Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B, Baltimore Orioles
- Last 27: .333 BA, 20 R, 12 HR, 26 RBI in 108 PA
A few weeks ago, he was percolating. Power defines his fantasy value. The newest Yankee killer is clubbing more liners (per Fangraphs, a career-high 22.3 percent on the year), taking more walks and simply, at a gaudy level, displaying the reason we would consider drafting him in the first place.
Not much else to say but to keep clicking his name.
Zach Britton, SP, Baltimore Orioles
- Last 4: 4 W, 0.94 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 29 K in 28 2/3 IP
Following a brief demotion, the O's brought Britton back up when rosters expanded. The southpaw now induces more K's, thanks to a 10.2 swinging-strike percentage and more confidence in and use of his four-seamer and slider. These are alluring developments when paired with his already noteworthy grounder inducement and should make him useful for the rest of 2012 and potentially beyond.
A.J. Griffin, SP, Oakland Athletics
- 9/1: 1 W, 1 ER, 3 H, 5 K in 7 IP
Diamond Market informed you two weeks ago of Griffin's impending return to the rotation. He's been fortunate this year (84.6 LOB percentage, .217 BABIP), but the right-hander's craftiness and his ideal pitching environment will make him a solid mixed play anyway.
Delmon Young, OF, Detroit Tigers
- Last 27: .333 BA, 14 R, 5 HR, 18 RBI in 107 PA
Despite speculation he asked out of the lineup, Young was sat Tuesday against a righty, per Jim Leyland, partially due to his poor history against Justin Masterson. Don't worry, Young has matured and has been carrying his fantasy owners of late as he's shown more adult tones to his game, chiefly going the other way more frequently and with more precision.
He's still repulsed by taking a walk, but his live bat is sizzling and deserves lineup confidence.
Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
- Last 25: .286 BA, 11 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 6 SB in 45 PA
For the second straight week, Gomez was running through the minds of picker-uppers. An altered batting stance, molding skills and his presence in the SB column will keep him relevant - maybe high-level - for the remainder of the season.
Marco Estrada, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
- Last 2: 1 ER, 6 H, 11 K in 14 IP
Estrada a peripheral heartthrob
The Brew Crew is going with a youth movement in its quintet. Estrada's drool-inducing peripherals (9.51 K/9, 1.92 BB/9) are backed up by a normal 71.7 left-on-base percentage and a healthy 10.1 swinging-strike percentage. He's a tantalizing talent worth riding the rest of the way.
Homer Bailey, SP, Cincinnati Reds
- Last 3: 3.54 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 18 K in 20 1/3 IP
Most are probably grabbing Bailey for his Friday effort versus the Houston Astros, but they might not have noticed his good run of late, including his last outing, coincidentally versus the Astros. Some thought Bailey was fatigued until this stretch. Maybe he still is, but recently, he's leaned on his changeup and two-seamer more; in those 20 1/3 innings, he has just one walk.
After the 'Stros, Bailey lines up to face the Pittsburgh Pirates and, looks like, the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers. Not a bad setup, so he could serve as more than a rental.
Tyler Colvin, 1B/OF, Colorado Rockies
- Last 26: .326 BA, 15 R, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 5 SB in 102 PA
A veteran of this space, Colvin has exploded this season into a mixed league asset. Coors Field, innate power skills, maturing plate discipline and approach - he actually might still be available in your league.
Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
- Last 41: .312 BA, 34 R, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 6 SB in 176 PA
Weeks crippled many fantasy teams in the first half and was dropped by many of them. His last month-plus has reminded folks how potent he can be on a streak, and he's 9-for-26 to start September; he's probably finally over the lingering effects from his 2011 ankle injury that clouded his spring performance.
He'll be a risky proposition for 2013, but he's close to power-speed gravy for the next few weeks.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, Seattle Mariners
- Last 9: 5 W, 1.74 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 53 K in 57 IP
Six of those fell under the textbook definition of quality starts, and the most runs he gave up in any of them was three (twice). The crafty southpaw has proved to be more than just a matchup start, and though he'll probably be overvalued in next year's drafts, he's a solid lineup force now.
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, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
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