In addition to Monday's eight 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.
Griffin sleeping by the dock of the Bay
A.J. Griffin (SP) Oakland A's
The righty is one of the primary reasons why the Moneyball Masters should remain a fixture in the AL wild card race. In his first six turns, he's impressively amassed a 2.25 ERA and 3.63 K/BB in 36 innings. His underlying profile suggests an ERA correction is in his future (3.92 xFIP), but his near flawless command and friendly home environment say otherwise. His schedule over his next three turns isn't the greatest (vs. TB, Tor, LAA), but Griffin isn't one to succumb to intimidation. He previously disposed of New York, Boston and Texas with relatively ease. If still wading in the free agent pool, throw him a rope in 12-team mixers.
Holy Sheets! Veteran in midst of remarkable comeback
Ben Sheets (SP) Atlanta Braves
Once thought dead, Sheets is back and possibly better than ever after injuries forced him out of action last year. Though sucked up long ago in deep competitive leagues, the former All-Star is still widely available in shallow formats. If available, the pitching needy must pounce. In his first two turns, he looked spectacular, throwing 12 unblemished innings (2 W, 11 K, 4 BB) against Washington and New York. His high fly-ball rate is a bit of a concern, but, leaning on his slider more than in previous seasons, he is missing a high number of bats. With a favorable slate ahead (Mia, at Phi, SD), his rise from the grave should continue.
L14 rank 36
Little known prospect on verge of making big impact
Dan Straily (SP) Oakland A's
Once Straily is promoted, possibly soon after the trade deadline, his first start likely won't garner the fanfare Trevor Bauer's did earlier this season. However, the results should be significantly better. With Bartolo Colon on the block, the unheralded prospect is likely to earn a ticket to The Show in short order. He's more than ready. Over 47 innings with Triple-A Sacramento, he's totaled a 0.96 ERA and 12.06 K/9. Equipped with a nearly untouchable mid-90s fastball along with an adequate slider and change, he has the stuff to develop into a difference-maker down the stretch. Spend your top waiver claim once he's recalled.
Smoother than Old Style on the North Side
Paul Maholm (SP) Chicago Cubs
Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza may be prized arms in the eyes of general managers across both leagues, but Maholm has been the Cubs' most consistent starter over the past month-plus. The gemologist has thrown one quality start after another, surprisingly earning a number of wins. Since June 29th, he's emerged victorious five times, allowing a mere four runs in 38.1 innings (0.94 ERA) while tallying a spectacular 27:5 K:BB split. It's doubtful he'll change addresses and, as Theo Epstein deals off key offensive parts, run support could become an issue, but it's wise to ride the southpaw's hot hand until it cools. His outstanding ground-ball rate (50.0 GB%) and impeccable command are certainly attractive.
L14 rank 199
Hidden treasure on loaded Nationals team
Ross Detwiler (SP, RP) Washington Nationals
Value-wise, Detwiler was in limbo after he was demoted to the bullpen in mid-June. But since being reinserted into the rotation June 24, he's proved to Davey Johnson he deserves to take the ball every fifth day. Over his past five turns, he's posted a terrific 2.38 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 30.2 innings. With only one win and scant strikeouts during that stretch (4.76 K/9) most have purposely overlooked him. However, for owners with ratio ills, the southpaw possesses medicinal powers. A prolific ground-ball coaxer (1.52 GB/FB), he should continue to rack quality starts with a fair amount of consistency. If anything, the Nat should be a strong stream option in the coming days. Two of his next three turns are against the recently imploded Marlins and Astros.
Rookie's cannonball splash makes him immediately acquirable
Matt Harvey (SP) New York Mets
Heading down the homestretch, many farmhands are getting their shot to strut their stuff at the big league level. Thursday was Harvey's turn. The top pitching prospect was nothing short of spectacular in his debut. With 5.1 unblemished innings in Arizona, he earned his first career win, striking out an eye-popping 11 Snakes – a franchise record for a pitcher in his first game. Prior to his promotion, Harvey coaxed numerous whiffs at Buffalo, posting a 9.16 K/9 over 110.0 innings. His 3.68 ERA at Triple-A was largely mediocre, but because of his enormous strikeout potential he needs to be rostered pronto in 12-team and deeper mixers.
"L14 rank" denotes the ranking of the player in the Yahoo! fantasy baseball game for the past 14 days.