This week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston looks at nine intriguing fantasy baseball players still available on the waiver wire in more than half of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
Twins outfielder flashing speed skills that fantasy owners should revere
Ben Revere (OF) Minnesota Twins
Revere made last week's POW list. Since then, he's gone 10-for-30 (.333) with five RBIs and two more stolen bases in the past week. In terms of three-category speed (BA, R, SB), Revere is the No. 4 player in fantasy since May 26. In that 18-game span, he's hit .375 with 11 Runs and eight steals. If your looking for credibility in this hot streak, it's not hard to find. He's hit .300 at every level of the minors with outstanding K:BB rates, and he now has 45 steals in 162 career games at the MLB level. It's time to believe.
Y! rank 357
Rookie livin' large atop the Reds lineup
Zack Cozart (SS) Cincinnati Reds
Among shortstops, Cozart ranks third with 39 runs scored (tied with Derek Jeter) and ninth in home runs (7). And that's despite an abysmal May in which he hit .208. In the past month, Cozart has hit .314 with 20 runs scored, numbers which have helped him rank as the No. 4 shortstop in that span. Clearly, hitting in front of Joey Votto is conducive to scoring runs. And Cozart has a nice power/speed minor league track record. Cozart has already cleared his biggest MLB hurdle - the whims of manager Dusty Baker. With a firm grip now on a top of the order spot, consider Cozart strongly if you are in the market for Runs and pop from the SS position.
Y! rank 227
Frequent Mendoza Line visitor has too much power for the waiver wire
Mark Reynolds (1/3) Baltimore Orioles
Reynolds is basically the 3B-eligible version of Adam Dunn, a true three-outcomes player. Last season, Reynolds hit 30 home runs in the final four months for Baltimore. His single-season lows over the past four seasons are 28 home runs, 85 RBIs and 79 Runs. Again, those are the lows. He's averaged 35 home runs, 93 RBIs and 87 Runs in that span. No matter how bad the batting average is, those kind of counting numbers need to be rostered. A DL stint in May (oblique), at a time when his batting average was just .191, caused him to be jettisoned in a lot of leagues. But he's hitting .310 in the 18 games since his return, and he has two home runs in the past week.
Y! % 44%
Y! rank 667
Carpe septimana! Post-hype Giant seizes the week
Brandon Belt (1/O) San Francisco Giants
Here's a waiver wire pickup with the kind of pedigree that you can really sink your teeth into. Heading into '11, he was ranked by Baseball America as the Giants' No. 1 prospect after producing a 1.075 OPS across three minor-league levels (Hi-A, Double- and Triple-A) in his first season as a pro in '10. Since arriving in San Francisco last season, though, Giants manager Bruce Bochy has had a hard time committing to the former Texas collegiate star. A lack of regular playing time has been an issue for Belt, that was until Aubrey Huff landed on the DL with a knee issue last week. Belt was quick to answer the knock of opportunity, hitting a home run in each of the first three games sans Huff. In the past week, Belt ranks as the No. 17 player in the Yahoo! game, hitting .400 with three home runs, seven RBIs and four Runs. And he has a 3:4 K-to-BB ratio in that span. Given Belt's upside, Huff could very well get the Wally Pipp treatment when he's ready to come off the DL later this month.
Y! % 21%
Y! rank 754
Moss growing on the east side of "The Bay"
Brandon Moss (1/O) Oakland Athletics
When it comes to garnering waiver wire attention with a home run binge, Moss has poor timing. Since being called up from Triple-A Sacramento on June 6, Moss has clubbed six home runs in 11 games. Unfortunately, Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe has stolen his roto thunder with nine June homers. Before his promotion, Moss had 15 home runs in 51 games for Sacto, with a .953 OPS. The 28-year-old was the Red Sox No. 11 prospect in '08, according to Baseball America. And BA rated Boston's farm system at the time as second-best in MLB behind only Tampa Bay. The point is, there's some underlying talent to this story. That said, four of Moss's home runs came at Coors Field. He's a bit strikeout prone and his ability to hit lefties is a big question mark. The A's have no shortage of post-hype reclamation projects to turn to should Moss start to veer off track. But none of them are swinging the bat nearly as well as Moss, so playing time shouldn't be a problem in the short term.
Y! % 17%
Y! rank 854
For league's lowest-scoring offense, expect more of Casey at bat
Casey McGehee (1/3) Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates have scored the fewest runs in MLB, so playing time shouldn't be a problem in the near-term for the hot bat of McGehee, as well. He's hitting .385 with three home runs, nine RBIs and nine runs in his past 13 games. McGehee was a disappointment in '11 when he hit just .223 with 13 home runs in 155 games for Milwaukee, but it's worth noting that he delivered in each of the two seasons prior to that with an OPS north of .800. Hitting in the middle of the order, McGehee, who has always stepped up his game with runners on base, can be a solid run producer for the Pirates with steady playing time.
Y! % 4%
Y! rank 873
Rookie already posting ace-like numbers for the A's
Jarrod Parker (SP) Oakland A's
In his past 40 innings, Parker is 2-1 with a 1.58 ERA and just one home run allowed. That stretch includes a five-inning, six-run implosion at Arizona, but also includes seven shutout innings at Coors Field and an eight-inning one-hitter against the league's top offense (Texas). Inconsistency is expected from a rookie arm, but Parker has easily had more good days than bad, as seven of his 10 outings have been Quality Starts - and in one of the non-Quality efforts, he needed to get only one more out to qualify. Walks have been an issue for Parker, but that issue is mitigated by the fact that the league has hit just .216 against him and he's allowed just two home runs.
Y! rank 212
There's no place like home for this returning Royal
Felipe Paulino (SP) Kansas City Royals
This is to serve notice that the hard-throwing Paulino is within a week of returning to the Royals rotation. He's been out since June 6 with a strained right groin. He left with a 1.67 ERA and 39 Ks in 37.2 IP. Not counting when he left the game after two-thirds of an inning pitched on June 6 against Minnesota, Paulino has pitched 6-plus scoreless innings in four of his six starts this season (all four of those starts have come at home). And his K/9 rate ranks among the top 12 of starters with at least 30 innings logged in '12. If you don't want to hold Paulino now in a DL slot, at least be prepared for his return come this time next week.
Y! rank 159
M's reliever has been top closer in Yahoo! game since late May
Tom Wilhelmsen (RP) Seattle Mariners
Like Revere, Wilhelmsen has demanded a second straight week of POW representation with his on-the-diamond performance. The former bartender has closed up shop four times in June, with two wins bookending those saves. He hasn't allowed a run since May 23, a streak of 11.2 innings. In that span, he's allowed just four hits and fanned 12. Yes, the M's might move League back into at least a share of ninth-inning duties over the course of the next month, but that's motivated by their desire to trade him. Wilhelmsen, with his 96 mph fastball and quality curve and change-up offerings, is destined to get the majority of saves for Seattle over the remainder of the season.
Y! rank 150
Other Week 12 Pickups: Ike Davis, NYM, 1B; Michael Saunders, Sea, OF; Colby Rasmus, Tor, OF; Todd Frazier, Cin, 3B; Marco Scutaro, 2B/SS, Col; Danny Espinosa, Was, 2B; Gordon Beckham, ChW, 2B; Will Middlebrooks, Bos, 3B; Mitch Moreland, Tex, 1B/OF; Steve Pearce, Pit, 1B; Pedro Alvarez, Pit, 3B; Cliff Pennington, Oak, SS; Ryan Theriot, SF, 2B/SS; Justin Smoak, Sea, 1B; ; Seth Smith, Oak, OF; Gregor Blanco, SF, OF; Aaron Hill, Ari, 2B; Michael Brantley, Cle, OF; CoCo Crisp, Oak, OF; Norichika Aoki, Mil, OF; Salvador Perez, KC, C; Russell Martin, NYY, C; Justin Masterson, Cle, SP; Jonathon Niese, NYM, SP; Felix Doubront, Bos, SP; Aaron Harang, LAD, SP; Garrett Richards, LAA, SP; Phil Hughes, NYY, SP; Ryan Cook, Oak, RP; Sergio Romo, SF, RP; Greg Holland, KC, RP; Tim Collins, KC, RP
Salvador Perez, C (KC) – On a rehab assignment (knee), Perez could be called up to KC soon after going 13-for-42 (.310) in his first 10 games with Triple-A Omaha.
Wil Myers, OF (KC) – Myers is also bucking for a promotion, as he has 3 HRs in his past 7 games for Triple-A Omaha, where he owns a 1.105 OPS.
Ryan Wheeler, 3B (Ari) – The D'Backs prospect is hitting .514 with a 1.128 OPS in his past 9 games for Triple-A Reno.
Adam Eaton, OF (Ari) – Eaton is also ripping it up at Triple-A Reno, hitting .400 with 6 doubles, 2 triples and 5 SBs in his past 9 games.
Jordan Danks, OF (ChW) – John's younger brother has hit .406 with 2 HRs, 9 RBIs and 6 BBs in his past 9 games for Triple-A Charlotte.
Danny Hultzen, SP (Sea) – Expected to be promoted to Triple-A after the Southern League All-Star game (June 19), Hultzen has pitched at least 5.2 IP and allowed one run or less in 7 straight outings.
A.J. Griffin, SP (Oak) – The A's Triple-A farm arm has a 2-0 record, 0.95 ERA and 25:2 K-to-BB ratio in his past 28.1 IP for Sacramento.