In addition to that, check out some suggestions for NL- and AL-only leaguers after the picks for mixed-league owners.
Corey Patterson, Blue Jays -- Take it from a Cubs fan: It's hard to believe Patterson is a desirable player to own in fantasy. Yet, the much-maligned former top prospect finally found a groove that has been missing since he tore his ACL in 2003. A huge May has Patterson up to .293/.323/.462 with four homers and seven steals in 184 at-bats. The running won't stop with John Farrell at the helm, and while he still has yet to meet a high fastball not to his liking, Patterson has cut his strikeout rate by five percent from last year. Adam Lind's return from the DL is right on the horizon, but Patterson is clearly a better defensive player than Lind and Juan Rivera. Throw in the fact that he fits his manager's aggressive style on the bases, and it's hard to see Rivera or Edwin Encarnacion taking a ton of Patterson's at-bats. Add Patterson in all leagues with -- gasp -- confidence.
Allen Craig, Cardinals -- Here's my favorite waiver wire gem of all the available second basemen. I held onto this as late as possible Wednesday night, but a power outage at Busch Stadium scuttled my best laid plans. Craig entered Wednesday's game as a pinch-hitter and was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer at the time of my writing. In his last three games, he's 5-for-11 with four extra-base hits. Tony LaRussa appears committed to getting his bat in the lineup, and Craig is rewarding his manager. He has four homers and four steals in just 95 at-bats, and has made his RBI opportunities count, knocking in 21 runs. He's widely available now, but that won't be the case for long.
Danny Espinosa, Nationals -- It has been about a month since I first recommended Espinosa. Way back then, he was a nice speculative add at a shallow position. Now, he's a legitimate power threat at a position that seriously lacks pop. So long as you have solid batting average or OBP guys around him, Espinosa provides power on the cheap at a spot where most other owners aren't getting it. He is second among second baseman in homers with 10 and third in RBI with 33. Considering he's only carrying a .311 OBP, his four steals are indicative of an ability to swipe bags at a reliable rate. I'm endorsing him for 12-team mixed leagues.
Alberto Callaspo, Angels -- I'll admit, this is totally a position grab. From Dan Uggla to Dustin Pedroia to Gordon Beckham, we've had a lot of owners struggling at second base. Callaspo has been playing third for the Angels, but he's also a second baseman in the fantasy game, and that's all that matters for our purposes. You're not going to get any power out of him, but he doesn't strike out and will take a walk, evidenced by a .377 OBP. He has stabilized things for Mike Scioscia at third, and he can do the same for you at second. It may not be pretty, but somehow Beckham is still more owned than him. Callaspo is a nice option in 12-team mixed leagues.
Aaron Crow, Royals -- Joakim Soria has had plenty of trouble this season. Crow has not. In the world of bullpen specialization that means Crow is now closing games for the Royals. There's no telling how long he'll hold the job, but his numbers are too strong to deny. In 27 innings Crow has 26 strikeouts, a 1.33 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. It's a bit dangerous to extrapolate out this small a sample, but when guys do put the ball in play, more often than not they're doing so on the ground. Crow has a 52.9 percent ground-ball rate, which, when taken with his strikeout totals, points to a dominant 27 innings thus far this season. He's the closer du jour (I don't know the French word for week). Make the move if you need saves.
Jordan Lyles, Astros -- The top prospect in Houston's rotation had a sparkling debut against the Cubs this week, allowing one earned run on five hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking none. He's an immediate add in NL-only leagues.
Tony Campana, Cubs -- Also notable from the Astros-Cubs series was the thieving ways of speed merchant Campana. The outfielder stole four bases in one game Monday. With Marlon Byrd and Reed Johnson on the DL, he'll get plenty of playing time.
Dillon Gee, Mets -- Victorious in his last three starts, Gee now has 37 strikeouts in 47 innings to go along with respectable rates. He has done all the Mets have asked of him, bouncing back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen. Now he wants to help the NL-only owner, as well.
Brent Lillibridge, White Sox -- Lillibridge has turned it on recently, going 7-for-19 with two homers, a triple and a double in his last four games. With Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios struggling, the multi-position Lillibridge is an attractive player in AL-only leagues.
Carlos Villanueva, Blue Jays -- Villanueva was already turning in another dominant year as a setup man, but with Jesse Litsch on the DL, he has earned himself a few spot starts. He looked great against the Yankees before getting roughed up by the White Sox, but he still carries value, even when he returns to the bullpen, especially in innings-capped leagues thanks to his high strikeouts-per-nine-innings.
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