With the All-Star Game only a week away, teams are now anxiously waiting to see who will represent their squad in the star-filled contest. However, there are still games to be played, and some teams have a simple schedule over the next week, ultimately affecting how well certain players perform. Here are my Week 15 "Hot" Waiver Wire Pickups:
Aubrey Huff (1B,3B) (BAL)
Aubrey Huff started his year off slow as usual, but now he's beginning to pick up the pace. He is currently hitting for a .283 average, with 17 homeruns, 52 RBI, 49 runs scored, and two stolen bases. Aubrey Huff has now proven to be the big hitter for Baltimore, and they have rewarded him by moving him to the third spot in the lineup.
Right now, Huff is white-hot, so if he's available, pick him up immediately. He is currently a must-start in all fantasy formats.
Carlos Guillen (3B) (DET)
With Miguel Cabrera now getting the majority of the starts at first base, Guillen is taking advantage of a wide-open hole at third base. So far this season, Guillen is hitting .294, with seven homers, 43 RBI, 42 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. With Carlos getting the starts everyday at the "hot corner", look for his numbers to continue to rise at a steady pace. Like Huff, Guillen is also a must start in any fantasy format.
Ronnie Belliard (3B, 2B) (WSH)
With Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury, Belliard has gotten the opportunity to start at third base for the Nationals. He is currently hitting .216, with seven homers, 24 RBI, 21 runs scored, and a stolen base.
Some fantasy owners may be worried that after Zimmerman comes back, Belliard won't have a starting spot. Not true. With Felipe Lopez currently struggling as the everyday second baseman, Belliard should re-take his second base spot without argument. He has increased his homerun and RBI production over the last few games, so if you need an injury-replacement, Belliard should do a fine job. Watch his progress, too. You never know when his value will skyrocket.
Jack Hannahan (3B) (OAK)
The man who lives on the disabled list, Eric Chavez, is right back on it after he began producing for a young Oakland offense. That leaves only one man for the job, Jack Hannahan. Hannahan is currently hitting .216, with three homers, 25 RBI, 25 runs scored, and two stolen bases. With Hannahan getting the everyday starts now, I expect him to pick up the numbers. If he doesn't, he could very well be replaced. Pick him up as an injury-replacement, and watch his progress to see how well he is hitting.
Elijah Dukes (WSH)
The second National to make this list, Dukes started off the year being one of the worst hitting outfielders in the NL. Now, he would like to keep that in the rear-view mirror. In June, Dukes hit .292, with four homers and 15 RBI. He has continued this hot streak, as he is now hitting .262, with six homers, 20 RBI, 26 runs scored, and nine stolen bases overall. For right now, Dukes makes a nice injury-replacement, with tremendous upside to be a starter on your squad.
Ryan Church (NYM)
Normally, Church wouldn't be on this list; however, with him coming off the DL, he should be. Church is currently hitting .308, with 10 homers, 36 RBI, 40 runs scored, and a stolen base in only 55 games. Many people may have dropped Church when he was placed on the DL, especially with the great outfield depth of the MLB. Now, he shouldn't only be picked back up, but he should be starting in your fantasy outfield again. He is one of the top producers in the New York Mets' lineup, and as he gets more and more starts, he should become even better.
David DeJesus (KC)
DeJesus has been an offensive powerhouse in the Kansas City lineup, and he's doing it from the leadoff spot. David is currently hitting .321, with nine homers, 43 RBI, 38 runs scored, and six stolen bases. Now with Joey Gathright on the DL, DeJesus should be starting everyday. But not only starting for the Royals, starting for your fantasy outfield as well. Look for his numbers to steadily increase as the year moves on.
Dan Wheeler (TB)
Now with Troy Percival on the DL with a hamstring injury, the first-place Rays need to find a quality closer. So they have turned to former Houston Astro, Dan Wheeler. So far this season, Wheeler is 2-3, with a 1.82 ERA and 26 strikeouts. He has already recorded three saves, proving that he has the stuff to close out ballgames. With the Rays offense scoring enough runs to give the team leads late in games, look for Wheeler to get many more chances until Percival comes off the DL.
Masahide Kobayashi (CLE)
Things are beginning to get really ugly for the closer's role in Cleveland. Now that Joe Borowski has lost his closer's job, the Indians need to find a reliever that can close out games. Kobayashi just may be the best choice. His 3.29 ERA and four saves should help his chances; however, there are no guarantees. Watch this process carefully to see if Kobayashi becomes the new closer for the Tribe.
Damaso Marte (PIT)
With Matt Capps going on the 15-day DL, the Pirates are another team in desperate need of a closer. This is where Marte comes in. He is currently 4-0, with a 3.54 ERA and 44 strikeouts. He has only recorded one save, but that should increase as the days go on. Just like in Cleveland, watch this progress. Marte should get the job, but in today's game, you never know.
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