MLB Pickups: Who's Hot And Available

Fantasy football is the hot topic right now but don’t neglect your baseball pool.

The MLB season is coming down the stretch and here are some players that are worth picking up:

OF Jeremy Hermida, FLA: Highly-touted, then touted a bust, Hermida has kicked it into high gear after the All-Star break. Fresh off a career-best nine-game hitting streak, Hermida has been knocking the cover off of the ball in August. He is hitting .358 with five home runs, 12 runs batted in, 10 runs and seven doubles this month. Prior to the All-Star break his average was .231, but he’s hitting .353 since.

OF Chris B. Young, ARZ: Alright, so you looked at Young, saw that his batting average was sitting at .234 and got turned off. But sometimes you have to dig a little deeper.

Young has 28 home runs (and only 52 RBI’s, which is on pace to set a record for fewest RBIs by a batter with 30 home runs), 17 of them coming in the last two months. He also has 14 stolen bases, seven doubles and 23 RBIs in that span, which is pretty valuable.

2B Dustin Pedroia, BOS: Second base is a fairly deep position but if you are looking for help, Pedroia is a good play.

He’s been hitting well over .300 since May but he’s started to be more of a fantasy factor down the stretch of the season. The Red Sox have moved him up in the order, which has helped him generate more runs and RBIs.

He had 34 runs and 25 RBIs in his first 72 games but has 28 runs and 17 RBIs in his last 41.

P Adam Wainwright, STL: Wainwright had a terribly slow start to the season and posted a 7-7 record in his first 17 starts. Prior to the All-Star break, Wainwright had only 59 strikeouts in 119 innings pitched and had an ugly ERA of 4.66.

But Jekyll has turned Hyde -– or is it the other way around? Wainwright’s ERA is a sparkling 2.00 in August and he’s back to dominating batters. He has 54 strikeouts in his last 61 innings pitched with a sparkling WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 1.25.

P Jake Westbrook, CLE: Following the theme of pitchers who were written off early, Jake Westbrook has been solid for wins lately. His 1-5 record through his first 13 starts probably ticked you off if you owned him, but if you picked him up for August, you’ve been pleasantly rewarded.

He’s not a strikeout guy (62 Ks all season) but he was 4-1 in August and now has an ERA of 3.06 since the All-Star break. With the Cleveland Indians pushing for a playoff berth, you can expect him to continue to pick up wins.

RP Rafael Soriano, ATL: There has been more drama at the back end of the Atlanta Braves bullpen than there has been in an episode of The Hills, but Rafael Soriano should finally secure the closer role.

Originally, the Braves traded for Mike Gonzalez in the offseason and expected to ease him into the role midseason. After he suffered a season-ending injury, Bob Wickman was left on his own. The Braves also acquired Octavio Dotel at the trade deadline, who is also battling a nagging injury.

Wickman has been released, which leaves Soriano to the duties.

He’s held opposing hitters to a .175 average with an ERA of 1.64 over his last 10 outings. The Braves are in contention for the National League wild card spot, which means he should get ample save opportunities.