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.
Converted reliever quietly a Milwaukee Beast
Marco Estrada (SP) Milwaukee Brewers
Since being reinserted in the starting rotation June 26, Estrada has turned into a strikeout machine. Mowing down hitters at will, he's notched a dazzling 14.25 K/9 over his past 20.2 innings, the best in the NL during that stretch. Eat that Strasburg. More impressively, the righty has walked just 11 batters in 56.2 innings this season, making him highly coveted in the WHIP department. Because of his consistency pounding the strike-zone, he is must-own material in almost every format. Given his high strikeout yield, it's possible Estrada could be one of the biggest difference-makers the rest of the way. Toss him a cold one.
L14 rank 283
There's a new beard to fear in San Francisco
Sergio Romo (RP) San Francisco Giants
Santiago Casilla, rocked again Wednesday night, appears to be on life support. Bruce Bochy is mulling over whether or not the righty should remain his primary option in the ninth. Like Ron Roenicke decided earlier this week, expect the skipper to make a change. Bochy has always maintained that he prefers deploying Romo in high-leverage setup situations, but in the rare instances he's been pressed into closing duties, the veteran has delivered. This season, he's a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities. Nearly untouched overall, Romo has yielded a mere two runs in 27.1 IP. With a fantastic 4.25 K/BB and 47.5 ground-ball percentage, he could be one of the finer stoppers down the homestretch. If he's still wading in the free agent pool, add him immediately.
Capps' lengthy absence elevates Burton again
Jared Burton (RP) Minnesota Twins
With Matt Capps sidelined indefinitely with rotator cuff irritation, Burton is again back in the ninth-inning saddle. When Capps was unavailable in late June, the righty filled the void nicely, converting on a pair of save opportunities. Again nearly flawless in his latest door-slamming versus the Orioles July 17, he will be Ron Gardenhire's default end-game option moving forward. Considering how horrendous the Twins are, additional save chances could be few and far between, but any closer needs to be majority owned. Similar to Romo, his superb K/BB (3.50) and ground-ball rate (45.0 GB%) arrow to many impeccable appearances.
L14 rank 188
Prized prospect flashing signs of enormous potential
Drew Pomeranz (SP) Colorado Rockies
In many cases, a little minor league seasoning is all a standout pitching prospect needs. Pomeranz is a prime example. After a brief audition with the senior club earlier this season, the southpaw returned to Colorado Springs, gained confidence and unlocked his potential. Since his recall July 1, he's pitched well in two of three starts, blanking both Washington and San Diego over six innings. Pomeranz's five earned run setback versus Philly July 15 is a reminder of his inexperience, but his plus fastball and ability to coax abundant ground-ball outs (1.37 GB/FB) are excellent indicators of future success. For those pitching strapped in challenging formats, taste the Rockies.
Crow's value soon to soar if Broxton dealt
Aaron Crow (RP) Kansas City Royals
With Royals management again in its annual sell now, rebuild later mode, a number of veteran players could be shipped out in short order. Expect Jonathan Broxton to be the first. Inevitably when that happens, Crow, and not Greg Holland, could get the first crack. Holland may possess more electric stuff, but Crow is the more reliable option of the two. Bad luck has plagued him at times (3.35 xFIP), but his favorable ground-ball yield (1.81 GB/FB), long-ball invincibility (0.45 HR/9) and strong K/9 (8.62) explains why he's the most consistent reliever Ned Yost has. Pluck him off the wire ASAP if your desperately seeking saves.
"L14 rank" denotes the ranking of the player in the Yahoo! fantasy baseball game for the past 14 days.