In addition to Monday's nine featured Pickups of the Week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston offered a Wednesday update on five hitters on the rise that weren't profiled in Monday's POW. And on Friday, Brad Evans goes through the same drill for pitchers. The same criteria applies - players must be available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues.
Days of shucking corn on the farm could be numbered
Danny Hultzen (SP) Seattle Mariners
Glance at the back end of the Mariners rotation and chances are you might feel a bit queasy. Blake Beavan and Hector Noesi both sport unsightly 5-plus ERAs. For the AL's top pitching prospect, the door of opportunity may soon swing open. Hultzen has dominated Double-A, notching a 9.67 K/9 and microscopic 1.44 ERA. Over the past week, speculation about a promotion to Triple-A has run rampant, accelerating his possible big league debut. Clearly on the cusp, he could join the senior club as early as late-June, but more than likely after the break. Considering his K upside and friendly pitching environment in Seattle, he's a player to stash in resource-thin formats.
- Y! %1%
- L14 rank--
Overlooked hurler dating Lady Luck, for now
Jarrod Parker (SP) Oakland Athletics
The former elite prospect in the D'Backs organization is a master of dodging bullets. His combination of high walks (4.44 BB/9), line drives (25.0 LD%) and plain old good fortune (.246 BABIP, 4.62 xFIP) has disguised troublesome cracks. As Rod Stewart would say, "Some guys have all the luck." Many would avoid temptation based on the underlying stats, but Parker's spacious home park and ability to keep the ball out of the bleachers are alluring. Provided he continues to fend off the Law of Averages, he's worth an audition in 12-team mixers. Just don't overspend.
- Y! %27%
- L14 rank 47
Diamond can churn out quality starts, cut glass
Scott Diamond (SP) Minnesota Twins
Shallow leaguers, understandably, will continue to ignore Minnesota's precious stone, but for those in challenging formats, he's worth a long-term audition. Recalled from Triple-A Rochester in early May, the southpaw has pitched noticeably well in six consecutive starts. During that stretch he's yet to allow more than three earned in a game, amassing a useful 4 Ws, 1.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 23 Ks over 38.2 IP. Because he doesn't strike out an enormous amount of hitters, most would label him "unexciting." However, his pinpoint control (5.75 K/BB) and sky-high ground-ball rate (63.6 GB%) project more quality starts to come. In numbers speak, he's the AL's version of Jordan Zimmermann. Shine on you crazy Diamond.
- Y! %22%
- L14 rank231
Perennial tease may have finally turned a corner
Phil Hughes (SP) New York Yankees
Previous supporters of Hughes would rather suffer through a root canal than roster the rollercoaster ride again, but the former hyped prospect is showing signs of finally putting it all together, despite a 4.96 ERA. Trusting his fastball and change more, he's missed more bats ('11 K/9: 5.67, '12: 8.32), walked fewer guys (2.34 BB/9) and dominated at times. His susceptibility to gopheritis remains a concern (14.0 HR/FB%), but with ample run support and a sterling underlying profile, his ERA should trim further, possibly under 4.00. Give him a chance as a fourth or fifth stater in 12-team and deeper mixers.
- Y! %15%
- L14 rank 408
Snake packs more venom than you think, shallow leaguer
Trevor Cahill (SP) Arizona Diamondbacks
Still available in over half of Y! leagues, the righty is currently undergoing a major renaissance. Though he's emerged victorious only once Since May 22, he's surrendered just five earned over his past 21 IP, including a complete game blanking of San Diego on June 3. Free passes remain an issue (3.71 BB/9), but he rarely gets burned largely due to his ability to coax numerous ground-ball outs (3.47 GB/FB). With the Arizona offense finally heating up, the Ws should come rolling in, especially with Oakland and Seattle on the docket this month. Promote him from the stream ranks.
- Y! %47%
- L14 rank196