by Will Overton
It has been two weeks since we have checked in on the waiver wire so let’s make this one a good one. We are going to be looking at some of the hottest bats and arms available on the waiver wire right now.
It’s important to remember that someone who is streaking holds at least some value. A lot of guys on hot steaks will eventually fade, but there’s a benefit to riding out a hot streak, it’s just a matter of knowing when to give up. People labeled Edwin Encarnacion as a guy on a hot streak early on in the season and here we are going into June and he’s still one of the top sluggers in the game.
What I’m saying is not everyone on this list has the same value, but they can all be useful as long as they’re streaking. Just don’t do something crazy and drop a proven player in a one week slump for a guy who will stay hot for a few more days and fizzle out. The art of fantasy baseball is being able to think long term and short term all at the same time.
Enough of the strategy talk, let’s look at some of game’s hottest players who you might have a chance to own in your league:
Alexei Ramirez – SS, Chicago White Sox: The clock is ticking on this one so don’t waste too much time considering whether or not to grab him, just do it if he’s available. Ramirez started out slow, but he’s rounding into form now and you have a chance to own him for four months and get the kind of production the guy who drafted him originally was hoping for. Ramirez is 9 – 19 in his last five games with 2 R, 6 RBI and 3 SB. He hasn’t found his power swing yet this season, just 1 HR to date, but he does have power and it should come out as he keeps heating up. This one is a no brainer in any format.
Dexter Fowler – OF, Colorado Rockies: This is a case of a hot hitter that you have to pick up, but if you’re in standard leagues don’t get too attached that you can’t drop him when the time comes. Fowler has 10 hits in his last 15 AB’s including three straight multi-hit games. He also has three HR’s in those 15 AB’s. However, prior to these last three games he only had three multi-hit games all season and he has never hit double-digit HR’s in a season, not in the minors, the majors or a combination of the two. As the Rockies leadoff hitter Fowler could have serious value if he can put it all together, but his real value should be coming with runs scored and steals and he just hasn’t turned into the top level base stealer he could be. Ride out this hot streak in standard leagues for sure, but like I said, I have trouble trusting how long it can last.
Justin Smoak – 1B, Seattle Mariners: I wrote about Smoak yesterday in Around The Majors, and let me elaborate in this post. Smoak feels like a colossal bust because of the hype that surrounded him before his debut, but he is still 25 and still has time to become a must own fantasy player. A guy with the potential of Smoak is the kind of guy I can’t resist taking a chance on when he gets hot cause you always wonder if he might be turning the corner. In his last six games Smoak is 9 – 24 with 7 R, 4 HR and 12 RBI. And five of those hits and two HR’s came at home which is even more significant. We haven’t seen anything close to the best of Smoak and while I can’t promise you’ll pick him up and watch him live up to his potential, you may just catch lightning in a bottle on this one.
Everth Cabrera – SS, San Diego Padres: The Padres called Cabrera up on May 17. He was hitless in his first 17 AB’s in the big leagues. In the seven games since that time Cabrera is 12 -for- 32 with 4 R and 4 SB. Three of those SB’s have come in the last three games consecutively. Cabrera has now settled into the number two spot in the lineup which is a good spot for him to contribute where you expect him to, runs and steals. Cabrera doesn’t have power and he may be streaky with getting on base, but he has elite kind of speed and in deep leagues he’s one of those waiver finds that can make a big difference for your team.
Scott Hairston – OF, New York Mets: Is it just me or does it feel like Scott Hairston often goes through stretches like the hot streak he’s on right now? Usually long enough to pique the interest of fantasy owners and make us wonder if we’ve been missing something before faltering again. Hairston is 7 for his last 16 with 3 HR’s and 7 RBI. Hairston’s numbers make him tempting, but bear in mind he can’t hit right handers at all and will most likely continue to be a platoon player for the Mets. As long as he is this hot there should be a place for him in the deep leagues with 5 OF’s, but don’t be afraid to drop him if/when a better option comes along.
Todd Frazier – 3B, Cincinnati Reds: The Reds young third baseman has certainly held his own since taking over for the injured Scott Rolen. The numbers for Frazier might not look like he’s all that hot, but over the last 15 days he has 4 HR’s and 10 RBI and that’s pretty good for a guy on the waiver wire in most deep leagues. Does he strike out too much? Yup. Will he hit .300? Nope. But power is power when it comes to deep league waiver wires and it’s not easy to come by. Frazier has real power proven through his minor league career. And while he looks like a short term option right now that’s no done deal. Rolen has no timetable for a return still and he was only hitting .174 before getting hurt. Grab Frazier if you need power.
Which guys are tempting you with their recent numbers? I’ve covered six of them, but I know you all have plenty more. What are your thoughts on these six guys? Leave your thoughts and questions and as always, thanks for reading.