In addition to Monday's nine featured Pickups of the Week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston offers a Wednesday update on five hitters on the rise that weren't profiled in Monday's POW. The same criteria applies - players must be available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues. On Friday, we'll offer the same drill for pitchers.
This Hill is for more than just cycle enthusiasts
Aaron Hill (2B) Arizona Diamondbacks
Coming off hitting for the cycle on Monday, Hill is Wednesday's hottest Yahoo! fantasy pickup. But, based on percentage ownership, one out of two owners can still acquire Hill's services. June has been about more than the cycle for Hill, who has been a top 10 offensive fantasy force over the past 15 days - .420/4/12/9/1 in 13 games. His fly-ball heavy plate approach makes his batting average a concern going forward, but he's at least swinging at pitches outside the zone at the lowest rate of his career. And he's been above a 20 percent Line Drive Rate since he arrived in Arizona, where he now owns an OPS above .850 in 98 games, going back to last season.
Coco has gone loco at the plate, on the bases in past two weeks
CoCo Crisp (OF) Oakland A's
When healthy and hitting on all cylinders (remember the final two months of '10?), Crisp is a fantasy speed force to be reckoned with. This April, he ended a nine-month streak of swiping at least six bases. That streak would likely still be alive if he hit anywhere in the neighborhood of his career .273 batting average. Instead he was mired in prolonged slump that lasted into the first week of June, when he was sitting on a .158 batting average. Since June 7, however, Crisp has caught fire, ranking as the No. 13 offensive fantasy entity during that span - .350/1/8/6/6 in 11 games. If stolen bases are a need, good luck finding a better option available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues. His 162-game stolen base average during his time in Oakland is 60!
Davis has been more "Bash" than "Crash" in June
Ike Davis (1B) New York Mets
No doubt, Davis was a mess at the plate his first two months of the season. This following a spring in which he contracted Valley Fever. This after missing the final four-plus months of the '11 season because of an ankle injury. Talk about killing the hype of a young up-and-coming talent. But good fortune may finally be returning for a visit with the Mets' first baseman. In his past 10 games, Davis is hitting .414 with two home runs and 11 RBIs. An 8:6 BB-to-K ratio in that span and an upswing in fly-ball rate supports the idea that things are coming back into focus at the dish. Davis has the kind of pedigree and proven upside at the MLB level that demands he be rostered at the first sign of a turnaround. And we're already past that point.
Young Brave showing a little more offense than expected
Andrelton Simmons (SS) Atlanta Braves
Here's a middle infielder that the deep league crowds should be able to appreciate. The Braves' top position player prospect heading into '12, according to Baseball America, Simmons was most highly regarded for his outstanding glove. But the 22-year-old has a .299 career minor league batting average and a nearly 1:1 K-to-BB rate as a pro. And since being called up to Atlanta at the beginning of June, he's hit .345 with a .927 OPS in 16 games for the Braves. He's yet to steal a base for the Braves, but the Curacao native swiped 10 bags in 43 games for Double-A Mississippi prior to his promotion. And he stole 26 bases in 131 games of Hi-A ball in '11, so he's a bit overdue in the speed department. Simmons has the kind of athletic upside and natural instincts that makes it much easier to break through the offensive ceiling of his scouting report. He's already been snatched up in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League, adding to his case for employment in leagues with more than the default size of 12 teams.
This Philly makes for a fine platoon power play
John Mayberry (OF) Philadelphia Phillies
Mayberry was a second-half dynamo for the Phillies in '11, hitting .301 with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs over his final 59 games of the season. The power has clicked back on in the past week, as he has four home runs in his past five games - he also has two doubles in that span. Mayberry would be an ideal pairing for an owner of lefty-challenged types like Bryan LaHair and Matt Joyce, as Mayberry has crushed lefties for his career (.914 OPS) while wilting against rigthties (.694 OPS). With Ryan Howard (achilles) likely out until at least the All-Star break, the Phillies shouldn't have any problem continuing to find at bats for Mayberry's hot stick. If you have bench room to play with, Mayberry can give you a matchup edge.
• LW Rank denotes a player's ranking in the Yahoo! fantasy baseball game for the past week