Waiver Worthy: Look Who’s Streaking – Breaking Down The Waiver Wire’s Hottest Hitters

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.

I have picked out four hitters who are currently riding a pretty good streak over the last week or two. These are four guys I think are worth considering for an add, though some are more long term and some are guys you’ll probably want to cut bait on when the heat wears off.

Seth Smith – OF, San Diego Padres: When you look at Seth Smith’s season numbers you’ll see that he isn’t necessarily just a hot streak guy, he’s been good all year. Smith is hitting .299 and has a .396 OBP as well as 11 HR’s and 42 runs scored. Smith is still only owned in 19.6% of ESPN leagues though, and that’s despite the fact that he has been hot. Smith is 12 for his last 22 right now with 5 R and 4 RBI in his last six games. Smith does have the downside of playing on the Padres, but he’s a solid hitter with extra base power and even when this hot streak ends, he’ll still have value.

Josh Rutledge – 2B/SS, Colorado Rockies: It’s been a bit of a bumpy road so far for Josh Rutledge in his career. Rutledge burst on the scene in 2012 and established himself as a future big time fantasy contributor. Then in 2013 he was a pretty big disappointment. Rutledge has been up and down this season, but right now he’s tearing the cover off the ball while filling in for Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop. Rutledge is hitting .354 in July and is 13 for his last 39 at the dish with 5 R and 9 RBI in that span. Rutledge strikes out too much and he’s gotten a little bit lucky, but he’s got potential long term value, not just short term hot streak value.

Mike Moustakas – 3B, Kansas City Royals: I’m not sure how many chances Mike Moustakas is going to get in fantasy, but he’s working to get another shot now. Moustakas is 7 – 25 in his last six games and while that might not seem like a hot streak, it is for Moustakas. The fact that he has three HR’s in that span helps him a lot and that’s where his value comes in. Moustakas has five HR’s in July in just 61 AB’s, which is good for a HR every 12 AB’s which is one of the better rates of the month. There’s no doubting Moustakas power, it’s just a matter of what he’s going to be doing when he’s not going yard. Because we know what he’s capable of we want to give Mous another chance, but it’s hard to trust him. If you need power I would ride with him, but know what you’re getting into.

John Jaso – C, Oakland A’s: A lot of attention has been paid to the A’s other catcher, all-star Derek Norris, but John Jaso might be getting overlooked. Jaso is 8 for his last 19 and he’s hitting .327 total in the month of July. Jaso has also been a solid source of RBI with six of them in his last five games. Jaso doesn’t play every day, but his bat has earned him some reps at DH as well as platooning at catcher and he’s playing enough to be valuable in 12 or 14 team leagues or deeper as a catcher. Jaso might not be playing as well as Norris, but he shouldn’t be overlooked. Jaso has been better than someone like Wilin Rosario this season and he’s on a hot streak right now to go with it.

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