Believe it or not, by the end of this week, we will be at the quarter way point of the season. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of where you are strong... and where you are weak. Each week, I try to find that delicate balance between those in deep mixed or AL/NL only formats and those in 10-12 team mixed leagues. There is a huge difference in who is available and the level of player that can help your particular situation. I am staying away from the obvious pickups and adding a few gems for deeper or league specific formats.
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Scott Diamond P Minnesota- Diamond was on the 15-day DL to start the season and was roughed up by the Mets in his first start on April 13th. Diamond is 3-0 in his four starts since, allowing only six runs and issuing only three walks! Diamond was very effective last season and looks to have found his groove, picking up where he left off.
Paco Rodriguez RP LA Dodgers- This is my "sleeper" pick of the week. I heard Don Mattingly mention in passing that Rodriguez deserved a role late in games. Brandon League is already looking over his shoulder with Kenley Jansen the closer in waiting. Rodriguez has five holds, with 15 strikeouts in a dozen innings and a minuscule .075 WHIP.
Phil Hughes P NY Yankees- Hughes was rocked by Kansas City on Saturday, but still picked up the win. It is Hughes three previous starts which lands him on our list. Hughes worked 20 innings over his previous three outings, allowing only two earned runs in each appearance. Hughes is still only 26 years old and logged nine strikeouts in his last two starts.
Scott Feldman P Chicago Cubs- Feldman caught everyone's attention on the first of May when he struck out a dozen Padres and scattered three hits on his way to a complete game win. On Monday, Feldman took a step towards silencing the doubters when he blanked the Rangers on two hits over seven innings. Despite it all, Matt Garza may bump him upon return.
Steve Cishek RP Miami- It's been a rocky road if you have been counting on Cishek as one of your closers this season. Cishek seems to have settled down a bit and the Marlins appear set on him in the role. Cishek closed out the Dodgers on Friday night for his fifth save and still has the strikeout pitch working with 14 k's in 13 innings of work.
Scott Kazmir P Cleveland- Like you, I was shocked to see that Kazmir was back in the majors. His first start at Houston on the 20th of last month was scary and may have had many crossing him off their list for good. In the three starts since the Astros drubbing, Kazmir has been good and getting better. Thursday's ten K, no walk performance was vintage.
Drew Smyly RP Detroit- I am not all the way in, but see the value of having at least one middle reliever on my roster. Opening Day was ugly for Smyly, but he followed up later in the week with a four inning save and has been solid since. Smyly has two wins, figures to get many more and sits with a 1.25 ERA and .83 WHIP in 22 innings of work over 11 appearances.
Francisco Liriano P Pittsburgh- He never really became the next Johan Santana, but Liriano has alot of talents and remains on the good side of 30. Liriano made his first appearance of 2013 on Saturday, worked into the sixth inning in a win over the Mets. Liriano struck out nine and walked only one, earning him a chance on rosters across roto land.
Kelly Johnson 2B Tampa Bay- Johnson's batting average has killed owners the past two seasons, but he has big time power for either your 2B or middle infield slot. Johnson is hitting a respectable .278 with five home runs and 18 RBI's on the season. Johnson has been hot of late, is developing multi position eligibility and is four of seven on stolen base attempts.
Jedd Gyorko 2B San Diego- With the return of Chase Headley, Gyorko has made the move from 3B to 2B. Gyorko's average is on the rise and he has gone deep twice this week. Gyorko is one of the Padres prized prospects and he appears to have solidified his spot in the everyday lineup. Keep an eye on the return of Logan Forsythe from the DL with foot injury.
Mitch Moreland 1B Texas- Those who have been patient with Moreland are being rewarded. Moreland started slow, but has been raking of late and has driven his average up to .287 on the season. Moreland hit roughly 15 homers and 50 RBI the past two seasons, but has six and 14 thus far and may be headed to career numbers with increased playing time.
James Loney 1B Tampa Bay- If you need average, Loney may be your man. My problem with picking up the former Dodger is he's not going to hit .381 (his current average) and he has virtually zero power. The Rays took a flyer on the 28 year old and delivering with runners in scoring position with 17 RBI on the season, but has only gone deep once.
Stephen Drew SS Boston- Steven Drew has been quietly one of the best offensive shortstops in baseball, at least if you are considering 2007-2010. Drew slipped in 2011 and Arizona sent him to Oakland. Brother J.D. was very popular in Beantown, so the Bosox took a shot. Drew has been white hot in May with a dozen hits, a couple of homers and eight RBI.
Oswaldo Arcia OF Minnesota- Isn't this what was expected from Aaron Hicks? The two prospects are playing side by side and its Arcia who is making a case to stay. Arcia has a dozen hits in May, with a home run and four RBI. The 22-year old switch hitter was absolutely destroying Triple-A pitching in the International League and has no plans of going back.
Will Venable OF San Diego- I was surprised at the number of leagues where Venable was available when I went to pick him up last night. Venable is a virtually lock for 25-30 steals and seems to be developing increased power. Venable has gone yard three times this week alone and has also added three stolen bases to his total over the past two games.
Ryan Doumit C Minnesota- Doumit is the perfect roto catcher... a catcher that doesn't play the position. With Joe Mauer firmly entrenched behind the plate, Doumit is serving as the Twins designated hitter. Doumit had a dreadful start, but is certainly heating up. The former PIrates backstop has seven hits this week and has gone deep on two occasions.
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics. Follow Tom on twitter @RecruitingEagle
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