Who are the hottest pickups in fantasy baseball leagues? Can you trust them on your fantasy baseball teams?
Steven Johnson, P, Baltimore Orioles
- Last 3 starts: 3 W, 2.12 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 22 K in 17 IP
Keppinger: Mr. Safety Dance
The O's continue to patch the holes in their tires with the kind of material no one can be blamed for thinking is a shoddy store brand. But if shoppers don't compare ingredients, they won't realize just how much they can save.
It's the most intense spot-starting time of the year, and perhaps the most popular name added for those seeking innings (or actual contributions in fantasy categories) is this swingman. The Boston Red Sox are shadows of their former 2012 selves, too, as far as scoring runs are concerned. Johnson has been riding a wave of luck, but he's rolling with it, and he gets K's.
Justin Smoak, 1B, Seattle Mariners
- Last 12: .432 BA, 9 R, 5 HR, 8 RBI in 51 PA
Fantasy owners are right to hop on the scorching Smoak. The switch-hitter has made some critical adjustments that have yielded these fantastic results. Whether he carries them into 2013 is a different story - and something those closing out 2012 don't have to worry about right now.
Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics
- Last 7: .440 BA, 8 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI in 30 PA
Roto managers have flocked to Moss because of his hot batting average, but it's a mark he wouldn't sustain for long stretches. Thankfully, there's less than a week left in this season, and he's capable of producing through its conclusion. And thankfully, he pops 'em out frequently - 20 times in 246 at-bats this season - so he's likely to make a significant donation to the cause.
Andy Pettitte, SP, New York Yankees
- Last 2: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 6 K in 11 IP
Those seeking pitchers who can make a fill-in appearance may have missed out on their best chance at a W if they didn't nab Pettitte. He's continued his unbelievably good post-retirement pitching since his activation from the DL for a fracture in his left ankle. Folks should've grabbed him then.
Pettitte hasn't been nearly as effective on the road, where he'll face the Toronto Blue Jays, but his opponent is missing a vital piece and has been sputtering in September.
Marco Estrada, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
- Last 7: 4 W, 2.43 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 45 K in 40 2/3 IP
Estrada was pretty much cruising before the Washington Nationals thrashed him on Monday. No team presents an opportunity to rebound from a bad outing quite like the Houston Astros do, however. And, Estrada will do his toiling at Miller Park, where he's been distinctly better this season.
But wait! Still five to go!
About Nicholas Minnix
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.
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