Welcome to Pickup of the Day, where every weekday we'll pick an under-the-radar player whose immediate value is on the rise. The idea here is to identify a starter who can give you some solid innings off the scrap heap, a talented backup who's been given a chance because of a starter's injury, an unheralded regular with a favorable matchup, or a potential breakout player who's starting to put it together. Unlike regular waiver-wire advice, Pickup of the Day is geared more towards interim success, but hopefully we'll have the intuition to help you snag a waiver-wire gem a few times this season.
Jake Smolinski was called up to the majors by the A's on May 20 to provide outfield depth while right fielder Josh Reddick recovered from a fractured left thumb, but he's been more than just a right-handed bat off the bench. Smolinski homered, drew a walk, scored two runs, and drove in two runs on Wednesday night against the Rangers and is now batting .319/.346/.574 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 47 at-bats since his promotion to the big leagues. The original design called for him to start against most left-handers and operate as a reserve versus most righties, but the 27-year-old has suddenly carved himself a bigger chunk of playing time. A former second-round pick of the Nationals, he's worth a look in AL-only and deeper mixed leagues. Reddick is still probably two weeks away, and Smolinski can work in at other spots (LF, DH) when Reddick does finally return.