In addition to Monday's nine featured Pickups of the Week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston 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.
In last few weeks, where there's Smoak, there's been fire
Justin Smoak (1B) Seattle Mariners
Through the first 29 games of the season, Smoak was languishing with a .173 batting average and a mere three home runs and 10 RBIs. In the 18 games since, Smoak has raised his average 58 points and has slugged six home runs and driven in 17 runs, six of them coming as part of the M's 21-run explosion at Texas on Wednesday night. His latest offensive outburst has caught the attention of fantasy owners, as he trails only the scorching Dexter Fowler and Carlos Quentin on Thursday's most added players list. But, despite the all the recent attention, the man once tabbed as the next Mark Teixeira is still there for the taking in roughly 85 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Y! % 14%
Any owner in search of a hot bat with position flexibility is fit to be Ty'd
Ty Wigginton (1B/3B/OF) Philadelphia Phillies
Most fantasy owners are very familiar with what Wigginton brings to the fantasy table. Three-position eligibility is a given, as are the serviceable power numbers – 20-plus home runs in four of the past six seasons. Of course, given the mediocre batting average upside and lack of speed, he played much better on the roto circuit when he was middle infield eligible. Nonetheless, Wigginton offers some power upside and he's hot right now – three home runs in the past six games, including (like Smoak) a 6-RBI performance.
Blast from the past is blazing a trail on the bases for Pads once again
Everth Cabrera (2B/SS) San Diego Padres
Cabrera was an '09 fantasy flash in the pan, stealing 25 bases and scoring 59 runs for the Padres in his 103-game rookie campaign. However, his anemic bat has led to a yo-yo existence between Triple-A and the majors the past couple years. Now with Jason Bartlett on the DL and Orlando Hudson deemed to be no longer part of the team's future, Cabrera is getting a regular opportunity with the Pads once again. And he's taken advantage of it, hitting .375 in his past eight games. Of course, speed is what Cabrera is all about. He'll provide a steady stream of steals for as long as the Padres keep writing him into the lineup. Consider him as a short-term option if stolen bases from a middle infield spot is an immediate need.
Heimlich maneuver hero providing some meaty numbers at the plate
Todd Frazier (2B/3B/SS) Cincinnati Reds
Long a prospect of some interest in the Reds organization, Frazier finally got his shot with the parent club in the second-half of last season. His batting average upside is modest, but he's shown nice power/speed potential at the Triple-A level, going 32/31 in his past 795 ABs for Louisville. The speed has yet to translate in his first 70 games with the Reds, but he has hit 11 home runs in that span, including four bombs in his past 13 games. As long as he continues to see regular at bats, Frazier has Wigginton-like impact potential, if not yet the position flexibility.
Post-hyper trying to rediscover his mojo north of the border
Colby Rasmus (2B) Toronto Blue Jays
Said manager John Farrell about Rasmus before Wednesday's game: "I think the last 10 days he's (Rasmus) swung the bat with a lot more aggression and much more confidence. He's gotten on top of the plate a little bit more and hit to his strengths, which is a little bit more of a pull approach." After those comments, Rasmus went out and pulled a home run to deep right-center field, his third in his past five games. Of course, as a former consensus top five minor league prospect as recently as '09, it behooves fantasy owners to keep him on the radar, even after his career withered under the scrutiny of manager Tony LaRussa in St. Louis. It's not like we haven't seen signs of Rasmus' promise before on a MLB level, as he hit .276 with 23 homers and 12 stolen bases with the Cardinals at age 23. If Rasmus gets his career back on track in Toronto, he wouldn't be the first hitter to do so (see Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion).
• LW Rank denotes a player's ranking in the Yahoo! fantasy baseball game for the past week