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.
Lanky Canadian goose has taken flight
Michael Saunders (OF) Seattle Mariners
In late May, Saunders was sitting, like many of the rest of his Mariners teammates, in Mendoza Line territory (.224 on may 27th). Eight games later, his average is up to .268 thanks to a 16-for-34 tear. He's mixed in a couple home runs and a stolen base in that stretch and, most encouraging, he's whiffed just twice in those eight games after fanning 50 times in his first 47 games. Saunders generates good power with his big frame, but he's also one of Seattle's fastest players. He's one of just eight players in the league with at least six home runs and eight steals. If he can keep his average up, he's got top 100 fantasy upside the rest of the way - he's currently ranked No. 134 in the Yahoo! game.
- Y! % 8%
- LW rank9
Despite hot bat, owners stubbornly unwilling to add Wilin
Wilin Rosario (C) Colorado Rockies
To say that fantasy owners are slow to the take on Rosario is an understatement. He's still owned in just 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues despite being the top-ranked backstop in the Yahoo! game for the past week, the No. 3 catcher for the past two weeks, and the No. 7 catcher for the past month (with one of the players ahead of him currently on the DL). Rosario offers plenty for fantasy owners to get excited about: pedigree (40 HR in past 675 minor league ABs), ripe environment (Coors Field), opportunity (Ramon Hernandez on the DL) and production (8 HRs in past 77 ABs). At this point, there's a good chance that Colorado will continue to give him regular at bats even when Hernandez returns.
- Y! %14%
- LW rank8
Julio Daniel digging himself out of early May slide
J.D. Martinez (OF) Houston Astros
After a very impressive opening month (.859 OPS in April), Martinez went in the tank in early May, dropping his average from .282 to .216 in the span of 14 games. But Martinez has started to turn the beat around once again, riding a six-game hitting streak in which he's hit .360. Because he hits in the No. 3 spot in the order and has risen to the occasion with runners on base in his short career (.329 for career with runners on), Martinez has been a good source of RBIs, ranking 37th in the league (32 RBIs).
- Y! %18%
- LW rank78
- AVG .360
Twins utilityman is no powder Plouffe
Trevor Plouffe (2B/3B/SS/OF) Minnesota Twins
Plouffe is hitting below the Mendoza Line, and he's hit only .262 hitter in 337 career Triple-A games. Obviously, if batting average is a need, Plouffe is not for you. But Plouffe's power surge should pique the interest of those that could use a little middle infield pop. Plouffe has six home runs in his past 14 games. The power display is validated by the fact that he's hit 30 home runs in his past 594 at bats with Triple-A Rochester. With the kind of versatility to play most anywhere on the diamond, the Twins won't have a hard time trying to figure out how to keep his hot bat in the lineup.
- Y! %3%
- LW rank79
Philly getting Juan-derful hit-n-run boost at top of order
Juan Pierre (OF) Philadelphia Phillies
Pierre is like a grapefruit - he puts a sour look on your face, but he provides some health benefits. Those benefits in fantasy are batting average and stolen bases. His impact in just those two categories combined has been better than all but 11 players (Melky Cabrera is the top BA+SB fantasy commodity). Because of his speed, bunting skills and hot bat, the Phillies have let him settle into a regular role as the team's No. 2 hitter. Obviously, Pierre is a big fat (skinny?) zero in the power department, but he's always been able to hit and run.
- Y! %12%
- LW rank70
• LW Rank denotes a player's ranking in the Yahoo! fantasy baseball game for the past week