Week 20 has arrived as teams now begin their own runs to the postseason. As teams begin to focus on the playoffs, the players are heating up in their own relative ways as well. Now, here are my Week 20 "Hot" Waiver Wire Pickups:
• Ian Stewart (3B) (COL) - With Troy Tulowitzki now back for the Rockies, Colorado had to move players around the infield. Garrett Atkins now finds himself as a 1B/3B, while youngster Ian Stewart finds himself at third. So far this season, Ian is hitting .284, with 5 homers, 22 RBI, and 16 runs scored. Now with Atkins at first, Stewart should find himself starting on a day-to-day basis. Stewart has good pop in his bat, and is solid at making contact. The only downside to picking him up is the fact that he is not truly the starter for the Rockies just yet; however, I wouldn't let this stop you. If you need an injury-replacement or backup for Week 20, Stewart is a solid pickup.
• Damon Easley (2B) (NYM) - With Luis Castillo on the 15-day DL with a hip injury, the Mets now need Easley to step up as they make a run for the postseason. Damon is currently hitting .272, with five homers, 32 RBI, and 25 runs scored. Now with Easley getting plenty of at-bats, his value has gone considerably up. The same may go for his numbers. Don't expect Easley to put up great numbers; however, he should put up numbers that are reasonable for any fantasy squad. If you need a backup second baseman, Easley should be able to fill in nicely.
• Billy Butler (DH, 1B) (KC) - Though the Royals have been out of playoff contention, this hasn't stopped Billy Butler from putting up good numbers. So far this season, Butler is hitting .272, with seven homers, 39 RBI, and 28 runs scored. Butler is still young, meaning that he should be able to keep up the good numbers and finish the season strong. Butler also gets everyday at-bats, either at the DH or 1B position. If you need a utility player going into your league's playoffs, Butler should be able to be a nice contribution to your squad.
• Ivan Ochoa (2B) (SF)- Now getting frequent starts at second base, Ochoa is taking advantage of his time by putting up solid numbers through his first few games. In 36 at-bats, Ochoa is hitting .306, with zero homers, one RBI, and two runs scored. If Ochoa can continue to put up good numbers, then he may end up valuable to many fantasy teams. For now, watch his progress to see how well (or poor) he continues to hit.
• Luis Montanez (BAL) - With Adam Jones going on the DL with a foot injury, the O's brought up Luis Montanez to fill in. So far, so good. In his first career at-bat against the Los Angeles Angels, Montanez hit a monster shot over the center field wall. In his next at-bat, he hit a single. He ended up 2-4 with one homer and an RBI. Many people believe that Luis is the real deal, and that he could also become a great fantasy contributor. Montanez has excellent pop in his bat, making fantasy owners give him a glance. He shouldn't be picked up just yet, mainly because the Orioles are swapping him out with Jay Payton and Luke Scott. Monitor his progress over the next week.
• Ryan Sweeney (OAK) - With Jack Cust a bit banged up, Sweeney should be getting more and more starts as the week rolls on. Sweeney is currently hitting .293, with four homers, 37 RBI, 37 runs scored, and eight stolen bases. Good numbers to say the least. As he gets more at-bats, look for his numbers to either steadily increase or steadily decrease. He makes a nice backup/injury-reserve for Week 20.
• Vernon Wells (TOR) - Now I know what some of you are saying, "Isn't this guy on the DL?" Yes, in fact he is; however, he is already on a Triple-A rehab assignment and he should be back sometime during the week. Wells is always a solid player whenever he is in the lineup, making him an excellent pickup for Week 20. Why do I think that he will even be available? Simple. This is Wells' second DL stint so far this season, making fantasy owners a bit agitated by his lack of play, causing some to go and release him. I believe that this is the wrong move. So if he's available, pick him up.
• Chris Waters (BAL) - Waters was called up from the minors to face the toughest team in baseball, the Angels. How did he handle it? He handled it as though he was a solid vet. Waters through eight innings of one-hit baseball, allowing zero runs, three walks, and striking out three. Now, Waters' next start is coming against the Rangers, another stellar hitting club. Monitor Waters during his next start, because I believe that this start may prove whether this kid is the real deal.
• Joel Hanrahan (WSH) - Since John Rauch has gone, Hanrahan has become the closer in Washington. So far this season, he is 5-3 with a 3.86 ERA and 73 strikeouts. He has also recorded three saves. The only downside to picking up Joel is the fact that the Nats usually don't get into many save situations. Otherwise, Hanrahan could get your fantasy staffs a couple of saves going into the playoffs.