Fantasy owners scour the waiver wire on a daily basis to try and find the hottest bats going as we head towards the all-star break. Who should I add and who should I drop from my lineup is one of the most common questions we receive here at fantasyteamadvice.com, and this article will attempt to answer those questions for the masses.
For the hottest hitters I will be taking a look at guys that may be available off waivers in your fantasy baseball leagues, and for the cold hitters I will discuss guys who you may be thinking about dropping from your current lineups.
If you have any questions regarding your particular format, please post them in the forums so the community can assist.
Pedro Alvarez – 3B - Pittsburgh Pirates(Last 7 – .526/5/10, 4 BB/5 K/ 19 AB)
Fantasy owners gave up on Alvarez becoming a fantasy mainstay a while ago, but he is currently the hottest hitter in the NL posting 5 HR in his last 7 games. While he isn’t worthy of an immediate pickup, keep an eye on him and if he proves he can make consistent contact he could be worth a shot.
Colby Rasmus – OF – Toronto Blue Jays (Last 7 – .360/3/8, 4 BB/4 K/ 25 AB)
The issue with Rasmus has never been talent, it has been a lack of discipline. It got so bad in St. Louis that Tony La Russa shipped him over to the Blue Jays where his struggles continued in 2011. The Blue Jays continue to run Rasmus out to RF on a daily basis, and he is starting to reward their patience as he has hit over .350 for the past week with 3 HR’s. Colby is a guy who could turn into an elite talent in this league if he puts together decent swings on a consistent basis, and he is worth an immediate add in 12 team+ formats. If you play in 10 team or fewer formats it will depend on your OF depth whether or not you pick him up off waivers.
Jason Heyward – OF – Atlanta Braves (Last 7 – .476/2/4, 1 BB/5 K/ 21 AB)
Don’t look now, but one of my least favorite players is starting to catch fire. In all fairness, his 2 HR’s during the past week came in one game, but what is more impressive is his .476 batting average, including a 3 hit performace against Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox. While I still don’t consider him a solid fantasy OF for 2012, he is a player you want on your roster when he is swinging a hot bat. Consider picking him up for week 13, but don’t get too attached as his long swing will lead to long slumps. I do believe he has value in keeper formats, but don’t see him being a viable must-start OF until 2013 at the earliest.
John Mayberry Jr – 1B/OF – Philadelphia Phillies (Last 7 – .450/3/6, 1 BB/ 5 K/ 20 AB)
John Mayberry Jr. was a favorite sleeper pick of many fantasy sports players heading into 2012, but he got off to a terrible start posting a sub .200 BA over the first 2 months of the season. It seems he has finally started to pick up the pace here in June, and over the last week is hitting .450 with 3 HR. The talent has always been there, but with Ryan Howard expected to return after the All-Star break Mayberry is expected to go back to a part-time role splitting time with Juan Pierre in the OF. He is not an advisable pickup at this time, unless you are looking for a stop-gap option in week 13.
Will Middlebrooks – 3B – Boston Red Sox (Last 7 – .571/2/9, 0 BB/ 2 K/ 14 AB)
Middlebrooks is doing everything in his power to convince the Red Sox they can let go of Kevin Youkilis and still have a solid offensive roster. It will be hard for the Red Sox to unload Youk on someone, but if they are willing to eat most of his salary in 2012 it could happen. Middlebrooks will have his share of struggles as he adjusts to hitting at the major league level, and until Youkilis is traded he only has value in AL-only leagues. Once Youk is gone, Middlebrooks will become an every day fixture at third, but I project a .260 BA and maybe 10 HR in the second half of the season. If those numbers sound like an upgrade to you, be ready to pick him up when news of a trade comes through.
Rickie Weeks – 2B – Milwaukee Brewers (Last 7 - .384/0/4, 2 BB/ 6 K/ 26 AB)
Apparently patience is sometimes rewarded, as Rickie Weeks delivered the game winning hit Friday night for the Brewers against the White Sox, and he even recorded 2 hits. Those 2 hits may not sound like much, but for a guy who was struggling as much as Weeks they were a much needed boost to his stats. Over the past 7 games he is hitting .384 which is double his season average, and the Brewers continue to insist he is their guy at 2B. While he may not have done a complete 180 yet, if he is on waivers now may be the time to pick him up as he won’t sit there long once he finally gets his swing going. Weeks should have been a 25 HR guy in 2012, but he still has a decent shot at 20, and if you need second base help it is time to give him a look.
Kendrys Morales – 1B/OF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Last 7 – .210/1/1, 9 KO/19 AB)
2012 was supposed to be the year fantasy baseball owners were reintroduced to Kendrys Morales. I was positively salivating over the thought of picking him up in the final rounds at my draft, and when he went in the 12th I was incredibly disappointed. Turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to my team as Morales has mostly struggled through the season, and with the way Mark Trumbo is producing, he doesn’t figure to see regular at-bats going forward. He is a player who should be dropped in the majority of formats as he will not see full playing time (barring an injury to an Angel) and like the Cubs, we will just have to wait til next year.
Chris Young – OF – Arizona Diamondbacks (Last 7 – .047/0/0, 9 KO/21 AB, 0 SB)
Chris Young got off to such a hot start this season I was beginning to wonder if the fantasy baseball world had been flipped on its head. How could a guy who hit under .240 last season hit over .300 for the first month? Well his numbers have started to correct themselves, and with 9 KO in his last 21 AB with barely a hit, it is time to say goodbye to Mr. Young. Some things are too good to be true and his hot streak to open the season was one of them. I recommend trying to trade him as some owners may still feel he has what it takes to perform, but if you don’t find any suckers just drop him to waivers.
Dexter Fowler – OF – Colorado Rockies (Last 7 – .157/0/1, 9 KO/19 AB, 1 SB)
Please understand that I am still a Rockies fan, but this team is beginning to seriously disgust me. The pitching is awful and our “leadoff” man strikes out at an alarming rate. Fowler was billed as a super speedy/terrific defender, but how can a guy who has struck out almost half the time in the past week continue to find playing time? He doesn’t look like he will ever steal 20 bases, let alone 40, and with the hot hitting Tyler Colvin needing a spot in the lineup I can only hope that Fowler may soon be on his way out of Colorado. We could run with the three C’s in Denver (CarGo, Colvin, Cuddyer) and have one of the best offensive outfields in the game. What really gets me is that the Braves offered us Martin Prado for Fowler…. but what would we do with a .300 hitting infielder anyway?
Bryce Harper – OF – Washington Nationals (Last 7 – .130/0/1, 7 KO/23 AB, 1 SB)
Mike Trout was clearly the better pickup this season as he had some big league seasoning in 2011, and has better speed than Harper. Bryce is obviously going to be a terrific MLB talent in the years to come, but at 19 you can understand why he would have his share of struggles this season. If you have him rostered at this time he should be used as trade bait outside of keeper leagues. It should still be a year or two until Harper comes into his own.
Alfonso Soriano – OF – Chicago Cubs (Last 7 – .167/1/2, 6 KO/24 AB, 0 SB)
Soriano had one of the hottest swings in the game a few weeks ago, and owners flocked to the waiver wire to add him. And how were they rewarded? By this cold stretch where he is hitting just .167 with 1 HR and 6 KO. Soriano has been one of the streakiest players in the game the last few years, and one of the most frustrating players to have on your roster. He can be safely dropped in most formats, even if he gets picked up by another team he will do more damage than good.
Cameron Maybin – OF – San Diego Padres (Last 7 – .200/0/1, 6 KO/25 AB, 1 SB/1 CS)
Maybin was expected to be a fantasy steal, both literally and figuratively in 2012, as the Padres ran wild in 2011. Problem is, you can’t steal first base (As Dee Gordon will tell you) and hitting in the cavernous PetCo Park isn’t helping his numbers any. With limited power and a low batting average there should be better OF options available to you in your league.
Josh Reddick – OF – Oakland Athletics (Last 7 – .111/1/1, 7 KO/18 AB)
Josh Reddick has been the A’s hottest hitter in 2012, and Oakland has looked geniuses for giving him everyday playing time when the Red Sox would not. While he has suffered a recent cold stretch Reddick is the one guy on this list I don’t recommend dropping. He has a sweet swing and should get things turned around in relatively short order.
Allen Craig – 1B/OF – St. Louis Cardinals (Last 7 – .105/1/1, 6 KO/19 AB)
Craig has become the de facto cleanup hitter in St. Louis, but has yet to reward manager Mike Matheny’s faith in him, as he has just 1 HR in the past week, and continues to suffer problems with his wrists. He looked like one of the young emerging power hitters in the game a few weeks ago, but last time I checked power hitters need their wrists, and he has already had one trip to the DL for a similar problem. Trade him while you still can.