Week 19 is here, and teams are now just beginning to adjust to their new players after the trade deadline. Mark Teixeira is now an Angel, Ivan Rodriguez is now a Yankee, Manny Ramirez is a Dodger, and even the great Ken Griffey Jr. is now with the White Sox. With all these deals came changes, ultimately affecting where players bat in their respective lineups. Now, here are my Week 19 "Hot" Waiver Wire Pickups:
• Casey Blake (LAD): Before the deadline, Blake found himself manning the hot corner for the struggling Indians. Now, he has moved to the second-place Dodgers in the NL West. Since the deal, Blake has been on a hitting tear. He's batted .412 with three doubles and four runs scored since the move. This brings his overall average to .295. He's also hit 11 homers and driven in 58 RBI. Blake was a nice fantasy third baseman with the Indians, and now he seems to be even better. If he is still available in your league, he makes a nice pickup as a great injury reserve/bench player, or, if you need it, an adequate starter.
• Bryan LaHair (SEA): LaHair has stormed onto the scene in Seattle, and it looks like he may be playing first base there for a while. This young first baseman recently replaced the struggling Richie Sexson (whom the Yankees signed after the M's released him last month) and is fitting in nicely with the team. Just recently, LaHair hit his first two career homers in back-to-back games, showing Mariners fans that he's the real deal. For now, LaHair is nothing more than a bench player; however, he is also a huge sleeper with good pop in his bat. Monitor his progress over the next week.
• John Bowker (SF): Like LaHair, Bowker is another young first baseman making a name for himself. In only 222 at-bats, he is hitting .256 with nine home runs, 39 RBI, 27 runs scored and a stolen base. He currently leads the team in homers and is fourth in RBI. Though Bowker doesn't play full time, the Giants are beginning to find ways to creep him into the lineup. He makes a nice bench player in mixed leagues and a low-end starter in NL-only leagues.
• Doug Mientkiewicz (PIT): With Adam LaRoche on the 15-day DL with a ribcage injury, the Pirates need Mientkiewicz to step up and produce at first base. The journeyman is currently hitting a respectable .283, with one homer, 20 RBI, and 27 runs scored. Mientkiewicz is expected to get more at-bats as long as LaRoche is hurt, so look for his numbers to do one of two things: 1) Steadily rise; or 2) Steadily fall. Simple. Monitor how well he does over the course of the next week.
• Adam Jones (BAL): Jones found himself on one of my wire reports earlier this season, then his numbers slowly dropped. Well, let's just say he picked them back up again. In fact, Jones has done so well thus far that many fans are whole-heartedly agreeing that he will be an All-Star for the O's in due time. He is currently hitting .274 with seven homers, 48 RBI, 50 runs scored, and eight stolen bases. Jones brings not only power to the table, but speed, as well. He can easily make any routine double into a triple. He has the ability to steal bags and leg out infield singles. Now batting second in the O's lineup, he also has plenty of protection with Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff batting behind him, not to mention RBI chances with Brian Roberts routinely setting the table with doubles and triples. Jones should be picked up and possibly started in all fantasy formats.
• Brandon Moss (PIT): Like Jones, Moss also found himself on one of my earlier wire reports, but soon after was sent back down to Triple-A. When he was with the Red Sox, Moss was struggling for playing time with Jacoby Ellsbury, Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, and Coco Crisp. Now, he's all alone out in left field for the Bucs. Moss is currently hitting .295 with two homers, 11 RBI, seven runs scored, and a stolen base. Now with Jason Bay out of the picture, Moss can capitalize on the opportunity. I expect Moss to continue to put up stellar numbers; however, watch for a slight drop-off with the move to the NL. New division brings new pitchers, so monitor his progress over the next week.
• Jason Bay (BOS): Well, the Sox lose a great hitter, and they still end up with a pretty good one. No more Manny in Boston; instead it's Jason Bay. Bay is currently hitting .282, with 22 homers, 64 RBI, 72 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. In the batting order, Bay will now be surrounded by David Ortiz, JD Drew, Kevin Youkilis, and Mike Lowell. This gives him plenty of protection at the plate. Of course, Bay is a starter in any fantasy format.
• Sean Gallagher (OAK): Gallagher was dealt from the Cubs to the A's in a huge deal for Rich Harden. Since then, Gallagher is helping the A's as they try to compete in the AL West. He's 4-4 with a 4.11 ERA and 72 strikeouts. Here's another reason to think about picking him up: In Week 19, Gallagher has two starts, against Toronto and Detroit. Pick him up if one of your starters is hurt, because Gallagher can easily beat the weak-hitting Jays.
• Zach Miner (DET): Since being recalled from the minors, Miner has two wins in two games with an ERA of 1.50. That brings his stats to 5-3 with a 3.65 ERA and 29 strikeouts. As of now, Zach is on fire on the mound and should be started in any fantasy rotation. Just watch one thing: high walk totals. He has 29 strikeouts and 28 walks. That's the only thing against him as of now.
• Anibal Sanchez (FLA): On Thursday night, Sanchez earned his first victory in 15 months after he returned from a shoulder injury. He allowed two runs on six hits in 5.2 innings to get the win. He left the field to a standing ovation from the crowd, and I'm sure a burst of confidence. His next scheduled start is against the Phillies, so monitor his progress for now. He could become a serious sleeper before you know it.
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