In addition to Monday's nine featured Pickups of the Week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brad Evans offers a Wednesday update on five hitters on the rise that weren't profiled in Monday's POW. The same criteria applies – players must be available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues. On Friday, we'll offer the same drill for pitchers.
Royal backstop compiling kingly power numbers in brief 2012 stint
Salvador Perez (C) Kansas City Royals
Perez is everything advertised and more. Since his activation from the DL two weeks ago, he's ripped 12 hits in 32 at-bats with three homers and seven RBIs. His long-ball prowess is a bit of a surprise, but not completely unfounded. Between three levels last year, he reached the cheap seats 13 times in 482 at-bats. Still, the clip thus far is blistering. His strong contact profile at the minor-league level profiles a solid batting average. In a way, he's a poor man's Joe Mauer. Though it's unlikely Perez will blast another 10 homers, he should accumulate sound numbers across multiple categories. In a year of unprecedented catcher depth, he's just the latest backstop worthy of utility consideration. From this point forward, it would be no surprise if he outproduces more coveted catchers Brian McCann, Jesus Montero and Alex Avila.
- Y! %18%
- LW rank95
Scrappy infielder showing plenty of "Puppy Power"
Alexi Amarista (2B) San Diego Padres
Sometimes power production can come from the strangest of places. Amarista, who clubbed four homers in 363 at-bats with Triple-A Salt Lake City last season, matched that output Monday, going yard for the fourth time in five games. During that stretch, he's also logged an impressive four multi-hit games and 12 RBIs. A wee man at 5 feet 8 and 150 pounds, the pint-sized infielder should be a lineup staple for at least the next couple of weeks with Logan Forsythe struggling. Though it's unlikely he's the second coming of Roberto Alomar, Amarista is consistent from both sides of the plate, sports a high-contact profile and possesses speed (15 SBs in 86 Triple-A games last year). If you're hard-pressed for options at middle infield in deep mixers, throw the pup a Snausage.
- Y! %5%
- LW rank2
- AVG .524
All-Wiener Dishonorable Mention not completely cooked
Peter Bourjos (OF) Los Angeles Angels
The LAA faithful breathed a major sigh of relief Monday when tests revealed All-Star Mike Trout suffered only a bruised finger. Though the prized center fielder returned to action Tuesday, Bourjos may gain additional playing time elsewhere. A staple on many sleeper lists in the preseason, the outfielder bombed miserably over the first half. His defense never waned, but his lack of production, spurred by a wide strikeout-to-walk disparity (0.25 BB/K), forced him to the pine. But after a terrific June (.321-2-8-7-1), Bourjos appears to have regained Mike Scioscia's trust. The Angels outfield remains crowded, but if he continues to hit, the 25-year-old will man either left or center on a semi-regular basis, especially with Trout mending. Pluck him off waivers in deeper formats.
- Y! %24%
- LW rank708
Corner man at center of "We are Family" revival
Garrett Jones (1B/OF) Pittsburgh Pirates
Quietly, Jones is in the midst of a fantasy resurrection. Two years ago the southpaw was a corner infield fixture in many challenging mixed leagues. He was a dependable power source who also kicked in fair steals production, a luxury at 1B. However, last year his vitals dipped dramatically. His .244-16-58-51-6 line over 423 at-bats was hardly relished even by the NL-only crowd. However, batting .321 with seven homers and 21 RBIs since June 1, it appears this Bucco is no longer walking the plank. His wide strikeout-to-walk gap is unsettling (0.17 BB/K), but his spike in ISO (.240) and HR/FB percentage (18.6) arrow to additional plus pop returns. Toss in his position flexibility and Jones is easily one of the more underappreciated commodities currently running bases on the virtual diamond. An additional 10-12 homers with 35-40 RBIs are very possible.
- Y! %8%
- LW rank4
Japanese import Prius-efficient
Norichika Aoki (OF) Milwaukee Brewers
Outside Ichiro and Hideki Matsui, the track record for Japanese position players, particularly those crossing the Pacific at a fairly advanced age, is rather underwhelming. But Aoki is not Kosuke Fukudome. The 29-year-old is thriving atop the Brewers' lineup. Like many imports he applies bat-to-ball with resounding success (87.6 CT%). That combined with his wheels (20 SB pace), run-scoring ability (63) and modest pop (8), labels him a useful multicategorical source even in 12-team mixers. He's a carbon copy of White Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza, who is nearly universally owned in the Y! game. Bow down. It's time Aoki earns your respect.
- Y! %8%
- LW rank206