Who are the hottest pickups in fantasy baseball leagues? Can you trust them on your fantasy baseball teams?
Trevor Plouffe, 3B/SS/OF, Minnesota Twins
- June: .386 BA, 12 R, 7 HR, 14 RBI in 46 PA
A month ago, the Twins shook up their roster and told Plouffe to sink or swim. He picked it up a little on May 16, the date on which he hit the first of three home runs in the span of four games, but really took off this month. He tacked on two more ding dongs on Friday.
Undoubtedly, someone has been telling you that Plouffe won't keep this up because there's not much of a track record. Duh. Of course he won't. But that message has come with a condemnation: He'll eventually revert to the .163 form that was on display in the season's first two months.
Plouffe has made some adjustments in the past couple of seasons that have allowed him to tap into his potential. Despite the linked article's assertion to the contrary, plenty of observers both in and outside the organization believed that he had above-average power to unlock.
He's still a bit of a hacker, so he's certainly no threat to win a batting title. He could be a fantasy asset for a while, however, at least in deep leagues, and especially because of that eligibility.
Ryan Cook, RP, Oakland Athletics
- June: 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6 K in 4 IP
Last weekend, following another crappy Brian Fuentes appearance, Bob Melvin told the media that the A's would close games by committee. Roto owners have been reading between the lines - or have seen the results of Oakland's last two contests against the Colorado Rockies.
Although he's trade bait, Grant Balfour lurks as an alternative. Cook, 24, flirts with danger (5.14 BB/9), and his ERA is due to rise. But Melvin had already been using him in high-pressure situations regularly. Don't expect Cook to receive every chance, at least right away, but he's the best bet to lead the A's in saves.
Torii Hunter, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Last 8: .412 BA, 10 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB in 39 PA
Hey, this vet still has some life left. Anyone in shallow leagues who dumped him may have forgotten that. It doesn't hurt to bat second, where Hunter has been for the past week, now that No. 3 hitter Albert Pujols has a pulse.
Michael Saunders, OF, Seattle Mariners
- Last 15: .410 BA, 10 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 SB in 65 PA
More and more rotisserie players are buying into Saunders, years ago one of the organization's top prospects who could finally have found his secret to success.
Yes, this 20-20 threat may have staying power. Saunders has been hitting sixth or seventh lately and will play in left now that Franklin Gutierrez is back. A more realistic average is probably .250 or .260, though.
Clay Buchholz, SP, Boston Red Sox
Last 4: 3-0, 1.45 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 28 K in 31 IP
Revere: ignored for too long
Folks who jumped off the wagon are probably kicking themselves. Considering the time that he missed last season, it shouldn't have been a surprise that Buchholz wasn't in peak form in April. But the right-hander was just awful, which is why ditchers feared that something more was wrong (and why his season-to-date numbers are still off-putting).
Buchholz has resolved whatever the issue was, that's for certain. It won't remain this good for the rest of the season because he's still vulnerable to the long ball, but he's reduced that BB/9 drastically. More coming.
Matt Harrison, SP, Texas Rangers
- Last 5: 4-0, 1.42 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 21 K in 38 IP
He can't be this good. The left-hander faced Seattle twice to open this five-start run; the Halos, San Francisco Giants (complete-game shutout) and struggling Arizona Diamondbacks followed.
If roto owners temper their expectations, they could be content, however. Harrison continues to learn on the job. He's evolving into the kind of hurler who can succeed regularly in Arlington (2.08 BB/9, 51.3 percent ground balls). He'll hit some more bumps, but he has the kind of stuff that may allow him to add strikeouts in future years, if he gets this pitch-to-contact thing down pat.
Ben Revere, OF, Minnesota Twins
- Last 16: .406 BA, 12 R, 6 RBI, 8 SB in 72 PA
Revere has been a fixture, essentially, in the two-hole since his recall in mid-May. Frankly, it's taken fantasy players too long to become familiar.
This 24-year-old may not be a .300 hitter at the MLB level, but the Twins have helped him improve his ability to bunt for hits. He has five of those already, one more than he recorded in 2011 in the bigs in more than three times the PAs. Revere has the wheels to steal 50 bases in a full campaign.
Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Seattle Mariners
- Last 7: 1 W, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.41 WHIP, 10 K in 9 2/3 IP
Brandon League's demotion was supposed to be temporary - and it probably still is, by order of the front office. You know how it is: Trade bait looks more attractive if it has more saves to its name.
But League still isn't pitching well, whereas Wilhelmsen has put a rocky May behind him and regained the form that has made him so intriguing to this organization. Wilhelmsen, 28, has real-deal strikeout stuff and has dibs on the closer's gig once League is another uni. If you can afford to keep him around until after the deadline, he may continue to reward you.
Carlos Marmol, RP, Chicago Cubs
- Last 3: 1 W, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 4 K in 2 2/3 IP
Nothing prompts roto players to run to their computers faster than the scent of a new closer. Except, perhaps, the scent of an old closer regaining his title.
Marmol escaped a bases-loaded jam in Friday afternoon's victory against Boston, but one runner reached because of a fielding error. Dale Sveum confirmed that the right-hander was back on the job. The skipper is pleased that Marmol has been much more willing to throw his fastball often, and for strikes, to set up his slider.
This isn't to say that he's solved the puzzle. Any schmoe can post a K/BB of under 1.00, but it takes someone special to do it when he strikes out more a batter per frame.
And the Cubs aren't suddenly better at generating save opportunities because he's handling them again. But, Marmol is a closer, and to his credit, he's been more aggressive. If he continues to be, it bodes well.
Aaron Harang, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Last 8: 4-1, 2.37 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 34 K in 49 1/3 IP
This right-hander wedged a clunker in the middle of this stretch, but he's been pretty good for the past month and a half otherwise. Last season, Harang was mostly a PETCO Park product; this year, it's more of the same. Dodger Stadium isn't as friendly as the San Diego Padres' home digs, but it'll hold your hand and say nice things about you.
Nothing about Harang's numbers screams that he's turned over a new leaf. He remains heavy on the two-seamer. If you don't want to think too hard, just make sure to deploy him properly (2.51 home ERA, 4.37 road ERA), and you'll probably do OK.
Those six innings of one-run ball at Coors Field? A bit of a head-scratcher. Don't go gettin' all bold because of that outing.
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.