In addition to Monday's eight featured Pickups of the Week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston offers a Friday 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 Fridays, we also do the same drill for pitchers.
Belt's bat heating up in a time of great need for the Giants
Brandon Belt (1B/OF) San Francisco Giants
Belt has been spanking the ball in August, generating a .450 batting average and 1.125 OPS in his first 13 games of the month. And, though the power hasn't been ideal for a corner/outfield eligible player, he's mitigated that with seven steals in his past 49 games. With Melky Cabrera out the remainder of the season and Belt actually sporting a better OPS against lefties (.805) than righties (.755), it's hard to imagine him not seeing regular playing time the rest of the way. Belt brought a quality pedigree with him to San Francisco and he still hasn't seen 500 MLB at bats, so if you've filed him in the post-hype file, it's time to move him back into the "potential breakout" folder.
- Y! %18%
- LW rank132
- AVG .526
Righty killer has been king of fantasy for past week
Garrett Jones (1B/OF) Pittsburgh Pirates
In the past week, there hasn't been a single player in the Yahoo! game better than Jones. And he's been no chump over the entirety of the '12 season, ranking No. 110 overall in the Y! game. Jones rarely faces a lefty, but he absolutely crushes righties (.902 OPS in 279 ABs). So, an owner with the flexibility to add him to the bench and work him into a platoon where he takes up an active roster spot against right-handed pitching, has serious potential for lucrative returns.
- Y! %34%
- LW rank1
Right-handed, hot corner version of Adam Dunn has given O's an August power boost
Mark Reynolds (1B/3B) Baltimore Orioles
Need power? How about someone who has averaged 35 home runs and 93 RBIs over the past four years? Because of a horrendous April, a DL stint in late May for an oblique injury and a hand beaning in July, Reynolds won't likely come close to those averages by season's end. But that means little for the next six weeks. Reynolds is hitting .379 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in his past eight games. Grab this bird on the wire while power light is on.
- Y! %32%
- LW rank16
M's backstop offers all the "right" moves for deep leaguers
John Jaso (C) Seattle Mariners
Jaso has been one of the M's best hitters all season, posting an OPS above .900 in all months save May. Since May 29, he's been a top 10 fantasy catcher, hitting .315 with six home runs, 25 RBIs, 20 Runs and three steals in 48 games. And, like Garrett Jones, he offers owners a platoon advantage if they have bench flexibility – Jaso has just 29 ABs against southpaws this season, doing most all his damage against righties. Deep leaguers, take notice.
- Y! %6%
- LW rank39
Young Cuban has been on a tear for ChiSox this past week
Dayan Viciedo (OF) Chicago White Sox
Here's a power option that sees plenty of time against lefties and righties. And Viciedo is feeling it at the moment, riding a seven-game hitting streak in which he's batted .400 with three home runs. The 23-year-old now has 25 home runs in his past 563 MLB at bats, and he launched 40 home runs in 795 career Triple-A at bats. Among players owned in fewer than a third of Yahoo! leagues, this is the best power boost you could hope to find on the wire.
- Y! %23%
- LW rank11
• LW Rank denotes a player's ranking in the Yahoo! fantasy baseball game for the past week