Who are the hottest pickups in fantasy baseball leagues? Can you trust them on your fantasy baseball teams?
Catch some pop
Logan Forsythe, 2B/3B, San Diego Padres
- Last 14: .396 BA, 11 R, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 2 SB in 57 PA
Tim covered the Friars' 25-year-old infielder in the Friday edition of Diamond Market and espoused on the right-handed hitter's developing power.
San Diego, one of the league's hottest teams (even on offense - seriously), probably won't be able to come up with an excuse to keep Forsythe's lumber out of the lineup as this campaign draws to a close.
Kyle Kendrick, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
- Last 6: 5 W, 1.49 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 33 K in 42 1/3 IP
This right-hander was an entrant a couple of weeks ago, and perhaps part of the reason for his rapid resurfacing is his outing against the Houston Astros, scheduled for Saturday. Mostly, however, it's because Kendrick, 28, has been pitching out of his gourd.
Tim covered the basic reasons that Kendrick has been a thoroughly improved hurler in the second half of 2012. He's thrown strikes 69 percent of the time during this hot stretch. The opposition's less frequent contact and trouble squaring up on his pitches has fueled this run.
If Kendrick loses some aggressiveness, or batters begin to discover a better plan of attack - or both - the good times will end. You can't know when that'll be, though.
Norichika Aoki, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
- Last 16: .344 BA, 14 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 5 SB in 74 PA
Aoki is a repeat offender in the top 10. Fantasy owners seem to label him "expendable" when he's not hitting well, but they (or others in their leagues) have come back when he picks it up again. Much of this might be a lack of familiarity, or a lack of faith considering the performance of other batters recently imported from Asia.
The left-handed hitter has come up with some big hits lately to drive in runs for the surging Brew Crew. The leadoff man isn't in position to do that frequently, but he should be making it clear that he's worth holding until this campaign ends.
A.J. Griffin, SP, Oakland Athletics
- Last 3: 3 W, 0.89 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 18 K in 20 1/3 IP
Tim has been a man on a mission, but apparently he isn't succeeding. Only you can prevent forest fires ... and make these moves.
We're three starts into Griffin's return from the disabled list, and the 23-year-old righty picked up right where he left off. His .238 BABIP and 86.5 LOB percentage seem unfair, but his 4.82 K/BB is putting him in a good position, regardless.
Lorenzo Cain, OF, Kansas City Royals
- Last 7: .394 BA, 5 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB in 35 PA
Lo-Cain has been sizzling for a little more than a week. Thank goodness, since he's missed virtually the entire first half and hasn't been completely dependable since returning.
But alas, roto players' timing couldn't be much worse. Cain suffered a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring on Thursday. He could miss the rest of the season, or close to it.
Luke Gregerson, RP, San Diego Padres
- Last 9: 7 SV, 1.80 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 7 K in 10 IP
Not much foresight on Forsythe
Gregerson has been the reliever Bud Black has relied upon most often, and practically exclusively for the past three weeks, in the ninth inning. The Friars have been without Huston Street (strained calf) for more than a month.
Although Street has suffered a setback in his recovery, it occurred weeks ago, and at the beginning of this past week, Closer Hot Seat covered his progress. He's now very close. According to reports, he's tested the calf in PFP. He hasn't gone 100 percent, but he's close.
If Street gets through this weekend without a hitch, fantasy owners will probably run out of Gregerson love.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland Athletics
- Last 14: .300 BA, 11 R, 5 HR, 10 RBI in 57 PA
Lately - at least throughout the highlighted stretch - Donaldson has demonstrated the kind of walk and strikeout rates he exhibited in the minors. Is the stocky backstop-turned-infielder in the midst of a breakthrough?
We can answer that question, for certain, only in hindsight. In the meantime, the playoff-hungry A's will continue to depend on him at the hot corner. Donaldson is a threat to go deep in any plate appearance, and if he has C eligibility in your two-catcher league, you'll probably hang on.
Ricky Nolasco, SP, Miami Marlins
- Last 3: 3 W, 0.36 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 16 K in 25 IP
This seems about right. Nolasco is a headache for most mixed leaguers to roster, but he's a fine free-agent find when he's rolling. Two complete-game shutouts in his last three starts (the other was a seven-frame, one-run effort) will put him on roto radars quickly.
The Washington Nationals have been none too thrilled with Nolasco lately, but fantasy owners hope to be. The streaky meatbanpll tosser could fall apart in his next turn, or he could he could keep pulling some Kyle Kendricks. The 68 percent strikes put Nolasco in that class for the noted stretch. The history of burning folks puts him in the "don't get too comfortable" bin, though.
Andrew Werner, SP, San Diego Padres
- Last 4: 2 W, 2.59 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 23 K in 24 1/3 IP
No one should've seen this left-hander coming. He was rocking a 5.79 ERA at Triple-A Tucson when the Friars called him up. The southpaw, 25, may have difficulty maintaining his attractive 8.51 K/9; it exceeds his best marks in the minors by just a bit.
But hold your horses. A Fangraphs writer documented Werner's superb start against the Los Angeles Dodgers (his third), pointing out how well he varied his pitch speeds. SD's pitching coach was gushing about the starter's command in that tilt, too.
None of Werner's offerings is special, but his slider and changeup are effective. The Padres may have found another someone they can work with, as long as he continues to paint corners and pitch unpredictably. Which isn't exactly easy.
Dewayne Wise, OF, Chicago White Sox
- September: .324 BA, 5 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 SB in 40 PA
Wise has continued to play - seemingly regularly - since the ChiSox brought in the New York Yankees castoff for depth. He subbed in for Alejandro De Aza, who missed time with a bruised ribcage, last month.
Wise, 34, swats an occasional dinger and will net his owners some steals. He'll also, presumably, grab some pine again once Adam Dunn (strained oblique) returns to the lineup. The Big Donkey has been out for more than a week because of the ailment, though. The South Siders continue to label him "day-to-day," but even the mildest strain in the trunk takes some time.
Fantasy owners, again, may not have the future in mind when making this pickup, but if they're making changes daily, guess it can't hurt.
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.