Are you tired of columns telling you that the smart "pickups" each week are players who are already owned in your league and more often than not sold for real money at auction? If you're hard-core, then this is column is for you: real-world pickups for deep AL- or NL-only leagues.
Jeff Mathis, C, LAA -- A quality defender, Mathis broke out as one of the minor leagues' top catching prospects after a stellar 2003 season in Class A. Stagnation in the high minors has caused Mathis to fall off the radar, however, and he's no longer regarded as a potential star. At his best, Mathis is a .280 hitter with gap power to all fields, but he's had trouble making consistent contact. Mathis won the Angels' starting job after after spring training in 2006, but was returned to the minors and became a forgotten man after hitting just .145 in 55 at-bats. While Mathis is not the offensive prospect he once was, his glovework is still outstanding and he has just enough offensive ability to make it as a major league regular. Now he's getting another opportunity in Anaheim due to Mike Napoli's injury and you shouldn't write him off yet -- he could still wind up as the starter in 2008. Mathis is worth a bid in both keeper and single-year leagues. His upside isn't as high as it once was, but he could still put up decent numbers. Think Damian Miller in his prime.