Gordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox: It's not easy to find pop in the middle of the diamond, so when a player like Beckham clobbers eight homers in 35 games, we have to take notice. He's had surprising trouble against left-handed pitching all year and he's a little lost on the bases, but there's been a line-drive spike during the recent power tear, so the flurry of homers passes the smell test. And don't forget how much everyone loved Beckham a few years back, when he was the No. 8 pick out of the 2008 draft. He's still just 25, and the development curve is different for everyone.
Gregor Blanco, OF, Giants: It looks like Bruce Bochy has finally settled on a leadoff man, as Blanco has a .387 OPB and 21 walks in that assignment, covering 33 games. Blanco hasn't run like a wild man but there's nothing wrong with six steals, and he's also scored 30 times over that sample. The bottom of the San Francisco order is anemic, everyone can see that, but the front half of the lineup is fine, especially if Pablo Sandoval returns next week.
Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners: Like so many Seattle hitters, Saunders is a force on the road (.919 OPS) and not so much fun at home (.185 average). But considering the odd road-home split to his early playing time (almost 75 percent of his at-bats have come on the road), perhaps the Safeco struggles are more small sample variance than anything. Saunders hangs in against lefties nicely (.528 slugging), and he's offering a mix of power (six homers) and speed (nine steals).
Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies: He's been a monster against lefties and a ghost against righties, something that has to change if he's ever going to be a full-timer. But right now Rosario has the gig to himself in Colorado - Ramon Hernandez is hurt - and there's a Coors-heavy schedule on the way. Rosario also has nine homers in just 112 at-bats - that sort of pop plays in any format. Have some fun in the thin air.
Melky Cabrera, OF, Giants: The regression fanatics love to mock Cabrera's .364 average, quickly pointing to his 40 percent hit rate. That's no great eureka moment - outlier stats come with outlier luck percentages. But when you note Cabrera's push forward in his contact and line-drive rates, you accept that he has the profile of someone who can legitimately contend for a batting title. Some giveback will likely happen, but this is someone who will easily hit .300-plus. The Giants committed highway robbery when they landed Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez last winter.
Mike Aviles, SS, Red Sox: He's been batting near the bottom of the order of late, as Bobby Valentine finally got the memo about on-base percentage. And Aviles has been particularly ineffective against right-handed pitching (.242/.253/.364), which makes you wonder if he should be playing at all. It's not like his glove is fueling his value. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford expected back later in the summer (the recent rehab notes on Ellsbury have been encouraging), Aviles is doubtful to see the leadoff spot again.
Quentin Berry, OF, Tigers: He's been surprisingly handy in his two weeks with the Tigers, hitting .306 with 14 runs scored and seven steals. But Austin Jackson (abdomen) is expected back Saturday, and the Tigers probably won't want to slot Berry, a low-power option, on one of the outfield corners. And it's just a matter of time before the AL pitchers start exploiting some of the holes in Berry's offensive game - he's struck out 20 times through 62 at-bats, against just four walks. It's been a fun story, but it's just about over.