Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The major league media loves to talk about the big names...Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Alex Rodriguez and Hanley Ramirez, but the past seven days have been dominated by youth.
Over the past week, the top-five offensive players included three rookies, a third-year pro and one previously struggling veteran in Alfonso Soriano.
And the really good news is that at least two and probably three of the players could be available in your league for the price of a pickup.
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay - Longoria is not one of those guys who will be available. The third-year pro is owned in all leagues. After beginning the season with homers in the first two games, Longoria's power disappeared. He hit just one homer in the next 18 contests. However, he's turned that around hitting four in the Rays' last six games while batting .500 with an OPS of 1.602.
David Freese, St. Louis - Freese got all of 31 at-bats last season, but the team has given the rookie the third base position and he's rewarded them handsomely. He's batting .536 for the week with three HR and 13 RBI. For the season he's hitting .360 with an OPS of 0.951. He's owned in just under 45% of all leagues, so if you are looking for a 3B or a corner infielder, he's just a waiver wire pickup away.
Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs - After playing less than 120 games in each of the past two seasons, Soriano was basically ignored on Draft Day. The former top-10 outfielder (back in 2006 he hit 46 HR and stole 41 bases), had an ADP of around 110 this year, making him barely a 10th-round selection. But those who did, and ignored his .214 batting average through the first two weeks of the season, are being rewarded with a monster week. Over the past seven days, Soriano has hit five homers, knocked in 11 runs and batted .421. He's also scored seven times and has an OPS of 1.766. Soriano is owned in 86% of all leagues, so there is a slight chance he could be available in your league.
Jason Heyward, Atlanta - Heyward hit .563 over the past week with six runs, four HR and eight RBI. His OPS over the past seven days is a stunning 1.994. Being a rookie, a 20-year-old rookie at that, means that he's going to be very streaky. As late as April 27th he was hitting just .224 but this hot streak has jumped the average to a respectable .289. If you have him, just put him in your lineup everyday and try to ignore the low spots.
Austin Jackson, Detroit - The 23-year-old Jackson was well thought of by knowledgeable baseball people, but because of the media hype surrounding Heyward and Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, you didn't hear much about him. Well you are now. Jackson is batting leadoff for the Tigers and starting in centerfield. He's batting .376 for the season, but over the past seven days has been terrific, hitting .548. Despite hitting just one homer, he's helping out with an OPS of 0.951 and five stolen bases. He's only owned in 63% of all leagues, so if he's available you should pick him up.