My friends, it’s time.
Whether you're dominating your league or struggling to stay afloat, it is now that point in the fantasy baseball season to make some bold moves.
Trust me when I say that even if everything has been coming up roses for you this season, there is still so long to go that it is without question that the bottom will drop out on your dynasty unless you stay aggressive and eliminate your opponents.
This week's waiver specialties include the two best talents not currently on a major league roster, but don’t let that fool you, because they will be very, very soon.
1) Stephen Strasburg – RHP – Nationals
If you don’t know all about Strasburg by now, then you probably don’t pay enough attention to baseball anyways. All you need to know is that if you go to your league and search the player index for Stephen Strasburg and he is available, you pick him up right this very second.
His first start will be on June 4 against the Reds, and he’ll be out there every fifth day for the Nationals for a very long time.
2) Buster Posey – Catcher – Giants
Posey is the right-handed-hitting version of Joe Mauer, and the comparisons don’t end there. His simple line-drive swing is combined with an acute strike zone awareness that is advanced far above his years.
He will be brought up very soon and will likely play enough 1B to qualify there as well as behind the plate. The Giants are desperate to generate some offense, and getting Posey’s bat in the lineup is a high priority right now according to internal discussions.
Now is the time to grab him if he is still available in your league, even if you are set at the catcher position. Do not let your opponents scoop him up and add another impact bat to a team that could knock you out of the playoffs down the road.
3) Edwin Encarnacion – 3B – Blue Jays
Between Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, the Blue Jays have two of the hottest power hitters going right now.
Encarnacion has always been an immense talent whose major problem has been staying healthy. He’s healthy now and on fire in the middle of a very potent batting order. Best of all, he is available in 85 percent of fantasy leagues right now.
With fellow 3B like Chipper Jones, Jhonny Peralta, Aramis Ramirez, and Chone Figgins struggling, it would be wise to give those guys a rest and play the hot hand of Encarnacion—at least until the homers stop coming in bunches.
4) Carlos Villanueva – RHP – Brewers
The Brewers are struggling across the board this year, but no position has been worse for them than the bullpen, more specifically the closer. Trevor Hoffman looks like he may have lost it completely in blowing five of his 10 save opportunities so far this season.
Villanueva is filling in as the Brewers' closer while Hoffman works out whatever kinks are causing him to look over the hill. If you’re in need of saves this week, I recommend grabbing Villanueva, as the Brewers have some winnable matchups coming up against Houston and the New York Mets.
5) Brennan Boesch – OF – Tigers
Boesch’s rise has really come out of nowhere, but that is fine with the Tigers and should be for your fantasy team as well.
Boesch is a free-swinging power lefty who can produce major runs when he is hot, as he is right now. His current .340 average will not last, folks, but the 22 RBI in less than 100 ABs is quite impressive and could sustain even as the average drops.
He is a must add at this point as he’s definitely established himself as a fixture in the Tigers lineup for the time being.
6) Luke Scott – 1B – Orioles
Most attentive fantasy players know the name of Luke Scott. He is one of the streakiest players in the big leagues, and when he is going right, home runs seem to pile up in bunches.
Guess what? He is on fire right now and in the middle of one of his patented homer streaks. Everybody needs more power on their fantasy team nowadays, so take him and use him for all that he is worth.
What you’ll want to take notice of is when Scott is in the lineup against left-handed pitching and when he is sitting against a left-hander. When the coaching staff feels he is in the zone, they will use him against even the toughest of lefty starters. But when he is not, they will platoon him with Garrett Atkins or another right-handed hitter and use Scott off the bench.
7) Jeff Keppinger – 2B/SS/3B – Astros
With the release of Kaz Matsui, the starting 2B job is pretty much Keppinger’s. He is notoriously a lefty killer but has been hitting quite well this year against both sides of the mound.
There’s no doubt that Keppinger can hit for a solid batting average, but he may not get many chances to score or to drive in runs with the Astros struggling so much on offense. Still, he is eligible at three infield spots and will hit for a high average and even will swipe a few bases here and there.
The options on middle infielders are thin right now, and Keppinger is the best of the bunch at this time.
8) Aaron Harang – RHP – Reds
Harang is hardly a dynamic fantasy pitcher, though he does take the ball every fifth day and compile innings like a good starter should. This week Harang and the Reds will take on bottom feeders in Houston and Pittsburgh, and thus he is primed to rack up some quality numbers in his two starts this week.
He’s available in 63 percent of leagues right now and should be picked up and kept for both of his starts this week. Don’t be scared away by his stats either! Just do the move, and you can thank me later.
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That is The Hot 8 for this week. What do you guys think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know by leaving your comments below or emailing them to be at firstname.lastname@example.org