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.
James Loney, 1B, LA: Loney has been one of the Dodgers' top prospects for several years. Right now he'll merely back up Nomar Garciaparra and enter games as a defensive replacement, but he is clearly the Dodgers' first baseman of the (very near) future. Loney has a smooth swing, and consistently lashes liners to all fields. He doesn't project to hit more than 12-15 home runs in a season, perhaps topping out near 20 in his best years, but he will hit for average against all types of pitching. Loney's .380 led the minor leagues in batting average last season, and he added a .426 on-base percentage and 33 doubles in only 366 at-bats. Loney has a bright future as an above-average major league regular, and the way Nomar has been struggling, that future could come very soon. He's a top pickup in keeper leagues, and should play enough initially to have some value this year in deep leagues. Those in medium-depth leagues should grab him and stash him away as well, as he will gain more and more playing time if Nomar can't get on track.