With the arrival of Week 13, Interleague play continues on throughout the MLB, giving many players a chance to play in multiple positions. This, in turn, will greatly help their fantasy value. Here are my Week 13 "Hot" Waiver Wire Pickups:
• Russell Branyan (1B, 3B) (MIL) - With Bill Hall struggling at the plate, Branyon has the perfect opportunity to start at third base for the Brewers. At this point, no matter where he is starting, he is producing. He is currently batting .306, with 10 homers and 17 RBI since being recalled from the minors. Branyon is proving to be a key weapon in a powerful Milwaukee lineup, consistently hitting homeruns and driving in base runners on a nightly basis. I believe that Branyan is a must-start for Week 13, especially if he keeps up the hot streak.
• Mike Aviles (SS) (KC) - Like Branyon, Aviles has gotten the opportunity to start due to poor play from another player. This time, Tony Pena Jr. is struggling mightily this season at the plate, and Aviles came in looking to take his spot in the lineup. So far, so good. Aviles is currently hitting .321, with three homers, six RBI, 12 runs scored, and a stolen base. Watch Mike's progress over the next week to see if you wish to start him on your fantasy team.
• Chase Headley (3B) (SD)- With Kevin Kouzmanoff hurting his back, Headley may get more opportunities to start at third base. Being one of the Padres' top prospects, Chase came up looking for a job on the pro squad. He is currently hitting .375, with one homer, one RBI, and one run scored in two games. Not too shabby. Watch the Padres' third base situation over the next week to see how much playing time that Headley gets.
• Jose Bautista (3B) (PIT)- Bautista has shown a bit of power lately for the Bucs, as he is now at seven homers on the year. His average sits at .260, with 29 RBI, 27 runs scored, and a stolen base. Bautista would make a nice injury-reserve player for Week 13, especially since he began hitting the ball with some pop.
• Jason Michaels (PIT)- After injuring his shoulder when running into the wall down the right field line against the Orioles, Xavier Nady is doubtful for the upcoming series against Toronto. This gives Michaels the opportunity to start every day while he is out. Jason is currently hitting .246, with three homers, 31 RBI, 12 runs scored, and a stolen base. As he gets more playing time, look for him to hit an extra homer or two, not to mention the RBI that come with it.
• Matt Murton (CHC) - With Alfonso Soriano and Reed Johnson both hurt for the Cubs, they recalled outfielder Matt Murton from Triple-A Iowa. As long as the Cubs continue to have outfield woes, Murton should continue to get playing time. Murton does have some pop in his bat and he already has four RBI on the year, making him a safe injury-reserve player for Week 13.
• Trot Nixon (NYM) - A name that used to be popular in Boston, Nixon finally returns to the pros with the Mets. He is currently the starter in right field for New York, and with all the current problems in the Mets' outfield, should stay there for a while. Watch to see how he does over the next week.
• Josh Banks (SD) - Banks has gone almost unnoticed outside of San Diego. He is currently 2-0, with a 1.29 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 28 innings. The only downside to adding Banks to your fantasy rotation would be the amount of run support that he receives. The Padres are not known as a strong hitting club, meaning less runs coming across the plate. Otherwise, I say take a chance on him, it should be worth it.
• Dan Giese (NYY) - Now with Chien-Ming Wang on the 15-day DL because of a foot injury, Giese has been called in to take his spot. Giese will get the start Saturday against the Reds, meaning you could take the chance on him having a good start. He could make a nice pickup if he does well this weekend.
• Eric Stults (LAD)- In his season debut Thursday, Stults gave up six hits, one earned run, struck out five, and won his first game of the season. Now with Brad Penny on the DL with a shoulder injury, Stults should find more time starting games while he's out. Stults performed well in his first start, and I believe that he will continue to get better every time he walks to the mound.
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