by Will Overton
It can feel like a full time job sometimes keeping up with the fantasy baseball world. Sometimes when trying to decide who to add to your roster off the waiver wire the easiest way to choose is looking at who has been the hottest hitter or pitcher as of late.
This isn’t a horrible way of doing things, but it can be tricky at times. Not every hot streak is created equal. The hardest part about grabbing a guy who is on a hot streak is knowing whether they are someone to keep after the heat wears off. Using the hot hand method forces owners to be watchful and not allow for a guy who used to be hot to waste a spot on your roster when the cool down comes.
One position where the hot hand method tends to work well are the middle infield positions. If you waited on the 2B/SS positions in the draft at the beginning there is a chance it didn’t pan out. The positions aren’t deep and so it can be hard to find consistent guys outside the top 10. Because of that using a streaming method of sorts and riding out the hot hands at those spots can work well.
As a disclaimer, I don’t have Eugenio Suarez included on this list as he isn’t SS eligible in all formats yet, but as soon as he gains that he would probably rise to the top of this list for me. Here are five other middle infielders worth taking a look at:
Scooter Gennett – 2B, Milwaukee Brewers: The young Brewers second basemen finds himself on the good end of a platoon at second base, playing against right handers, and he’s having a lot of success with it. Gennett is having so much success that the Brewers have moved him to the leadoff spot in the lineup for the time being. Gennett is making the promotion count by collecting two hits in four of his last five games and hitting .395 so far in the month of June. The leadoff position also helps his run scoring as he has nine in June. This isn’t completely out of nowhere either as Gennett hit .324 last year as well in his 213 AB’s. Gennett has a little power and a little speed and should score a strong amount of runs at the top of the order.
Gordon Beckham – 2B, Chicago White Sox: This guy might be the poster board for the streaming middle infielder strategy. It seems like every year Beckham is on and off the waiver wire more than just about anyone else in the league. Beckham is back at it once again this season and with a strong showing in June he deserves a look if you need a second baseman. Beckham is hitting .304 in June and much like Gennett his success is helped by hitting near the top of the lineup and in this case hitting right in front of Jose Abreu. Beckham isn’t an all-star and I don’t think he’ll have sustained success, but while he’s running hot you should use him.
Luis Valbuena – 2B/3B, Chicago Cubs: The veteran has caught on with the Cubs, and while there are lots of up and comers nipping at his heels in Triple-A, Valbuena’s hot bat is holding them off so far. Valbuena is 11 for his last 25 at the plate and in what is becoming a common theme, that hot bat has earned him duties at the top of the lineup. The Cubs lineup isn’t great, but even in this lineup he should be able to accumulate some runs scored as a leadoff hitter. Valbuena is a career .230 hitter, so no one should expect this to last, but as a short term option, he can get the job done, especially in deep leagues.
Derek Jeter – SS, New York Yankees: I never thought I’d be writing about Derek Jeter in a waiver wire article. The captain however is owned in less than a quarter of fantasy baseball leagues on ESPN and maybe that’s not enough, at least for the moment. Jeter isn’t the power/speed combo guy anymore, but he still brings a little something to the table. Jeter is 10 for his last 27 at the plate and has scored six runs in his last six games. Jeter is a shell of his old self, but he can still get on base and he can still score runs. You won’t get the HR’s or SB’s you used to get, but when the hits and runs are coming in bunches like they are right now, you can still use him.
Jordy Mercer – 2B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates: Mercer’s success has been unexpected, but more than welcome to fantasy owners, or the ones who have noticed. In June Mercer is hitting .320 with 11 R, 3 HR and 9 RBI. The success feels a little fluky, and it might be, but it’s hard to know for sure. Mercer got 365 AB’s last season and hit .285 with 8 HR’s. In 2011 in the minor leagues Mercer hit 19 HR’s, so there might be a little bit of real power. He won’t be hitting 30 HR’s anytime soon, but he might be capable of 12 – 15 in a full season. Mercer is as hot as they come in the middle infield and while he isn’t a slugger, he’s got as much and more power than anyone else on this list.