Sorry for the Boston picture, but they own this week’s top pickup.  Read on for more.  Introduction time:  The Orioles are in first place, Nick Johnson has more HR’s than Albert Pujols, and Justin Upton is the worst fantasy OF on his team.  This has been a highly unusual fantasy baseball season.  Chances are if you have a stacked team your probably struggling.  Here are some good pickups to help you out.

Jonathan Lucroy- C (MIL)– Good hitting catcher.  Expect him to hit .280 +  Not bad if you just lost Wilson Ramos for the season.

Allen Craig- 1B, 2B, OF (STL)- Since he’s come off the DL he’s been on fire.  This playoff hero has long term value.  He’s a good hitter with excellent eligibility.  Playing time could be a bit of a concern with Berkman coming back, but I feel that he’s too good of a hitter to leave out.  He’s been hitting cleanup for the World Series Champions.  Grab him.

Ike Davis- 1B (NYM)- Last week I said he was too good to not be owned.  Then he hit 2 HR that week.  Right now the entire Mets clubhouse is sick and he is having flu like symptoms.  Once he is over that, I like him for the long haul.

Kila Ka’aihue- 1B (OAK)-  He appears to be the everyday starter now.  He’s a good hitter who’s never been given a long enough leash.  He’s hitting for average right now and has decent power.  Not sure how many long balls he can hit in that gigantic stadium, but he’s a nice deep league add.

Danny Espinosa- 2B (WAS)- An extremely streaky player.  He’s either red red hot or ice ice cold.  He’s a must have or a don’t touch.  Right now he’s in the middle of a hot streak.  If you want immediate HR’s for the short term, pick him up.  Cut him immediately when he stops hitting again.

Will Middlebrooks- 3B (BOS)- IF he’s still available you need to go pick him up right now.  Your looking at a legit 25-30 HR potential rookie of the year candidate.  There are talks that the Red Sox are going to trade Kevin Youkilis to make room for him.  If he would happen to move to LF when Youk comes back, he would be an upper tier fantasy OF.  He should be 100% owned in all leagues.

Kyle Seager- 3B, SS (SEA)- Really really like his skill set.  I think this guy is for real.  He will soon add 2B to his eligibility as well.  I like him long term, especially as a SS.  He literally does everything.

Chris Johnson- 3B (HOU)- His hot streak has extended into a decent season.  If your without Evan Longoria, Pablo Sandoval, and now Mark Reynolds, like I am, he’s an okay placeholder for a few weeks.

Rafael Furcal- SS (STL)- He doesn’t stop hitting.  He’s always been a good hitter.  I guess his tank isn’t empty.  Based on his track record I trust him to continue hitting all year.  I don’t trust him to stay healthy however.

Alcides Escobar- SS (KC)- I’ve always been a fan.  He’s getting a lot of hits.  He also has high SB potential.  SS is weak so he’s now a good option.

Josh Reddick- OF (OAK)-  He’s always had a pretty high ceiling.  Now that he’s getting the chance to play everyday he’s reaching it.  He’s legit.  I can see him going in big slumps though and not hitting for average.  But his power and steals are the real deal.  He’s a good long term guy.

Raul Ibanez- OF (NYY)- He’s always been a streaky hitter, and right now he’s on fire.  Add him for this week and hope that the streak continues.  He’s in a high powered offense so I see him having decent numbers at the end.

Brennan Boesch- OF (DET)- He just began a hot streak just a few days ago.  I expect him to hit a HR or two this week and have a solid week.  I like him long term.  He just started in an uncharacteristic slow start.

Yonder Alonso- 1B, OF (SD)- I said at the beginning of the year that he has nice value in the OF.  I expect him to get better and better as the season progresses.  He will eventually be an upper tier 1B.  That won’t happen this year though.

John Mayberry- 1B, OF (PHI)- He’s started 7 games in a row.  As long as he’s a starter he’s a sleeper.

Roger Bernadina- OF (WAS)- He’s stepped up more than anyone with Jayson Werth being injured.  He’s a mediocre platoon player, but could add a little to your offense as a utility player or backup.  Don’t expect much power.  You can expect a few steals, runs, and hits.

Chris Sale- SP (CWS)- He’s now a starter….again.  If anyone cut him you can scoop him up now.  Sale has the makeup to be a #1 starter and be a K/IP.

Henderson Alvarez- SP (TOR)- I told you a million times to draft him.  He was green on my cheat sheet, I talked about him in the BSR Podcast, and I’ve written about him a million times.  He will not get you K’s.  But he is an ERA machine.  I honestly think he will finish the year top 10 in ERA in the AL.

Wei-Yin Chen- SP (BAL)- It’s okay to pick him up and keep him for the rest of the year.  he’s going to be a 3 ERA guy with lot’s of quality starts.

Clay Buchholz- SP (BOS)- Big chance that he was cut in your league.  He’s looked better in his last two starts.  He also leads the league in run support and already has 4 wins despite being terrible.  Add some quality starts to his run support and you have a second half stud.

Felipe Paulino- SP (KC)- K machine.  The wins may not be high, and the ERA may be mediocre, but the K’s will be very high.  His start this week against the Orioles scares me obviously.  Next week he’s a two starter.

Juan Nicasio- SP (COL)- I’ve always liked him.  The Rockies will be a second half team, and he could be an ace in the second half.

Jarrod Parker- SP (OAK)- Solid pitcher.  Big park.  Anyone can pitch in Oakland.  It makes mediocre guys like Bartolo Colon great.  Parker is better than mediocre.

Joe Blanton- SP (PHI)- Pitches twice this week.  Has been solid all years.  He may give up a few runs, but his K’s are always high.  Plus his team always seems to give him run support.

Scott Diamond- SP (MIN)- His debut start was fantastic.  He used to be a sleeper years ago, but never lived up to the potential.  Now that he’s 25 and hitting his prime, he could be due to breakout.  I love the big park he pitches in too.

Christian Friedrich- SP (COL)- In his first career start he threw 6 innings of 1 run ball with 7 K’s.  And he was a former 1st round pick of the Rockies.  I’m sure there will be plenty bumps in the road, but so far so good.

Paul Maholm- SP (CHC)- Hes has allowed 1 run or less in his last 4 starts.  He is also a two starter this week.  I don’t like his splits at all against STL, who he plays tomorrow.  However, I wouldn’t have expected him to throw 4 gems in a row like that either.  Add him at your own risk.

If you missed The Baltimore Sports Report Podcast this week, you missed me.  I joined the guys as a guest to talk about fantasy baseball.  You should listen to it….right now.  Click this.

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