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Top 5 Hitter Streamers For Week 4: Waiver Wire Targets

Another week has gone by in baseball, which means that it's time for another installment of my weekly article on the top five waiver position players for owners in weekly leagues. These five names are for owners looking to pick up a hot hand off free agency or to patch a hole left in the wake of a big injury to a key player (can you say Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman or Dustin Pedroia?). As always, I'll be talking about players owned in fewer than 50% of (ESPN) leagues, and I'll try and highlight a couple of different positions so that everyone can get a look at a potential impact bats for Week 4.


1) Nate Schierholtz (OF)

2014 Stats: .250 BA, 3 Runs, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB

Ownership: 4%

Opponents: Diamondbacks, (at) Brewers

Games Scheduled: 7

As a Giants fan, I've watched Schierholtz play a lot, and so I've seen firsthand one of the most striking things about his skillset: his platoon splits. While his career lefty/righty splits are just about neutral for batting average (.266 vs. .265), when it comes to his ability to hit for power, they're quite stark. Schierholtz has hit four career home runs against left-handed pitchers over the course of his career, good for about one per every 83.5 at bats. Against righties, he's hit 41 home runs, or one for every 35 at bats. Also, for those of you playing in leagues with a strikeout penalty, it's worth noting that his strikeout rate is 4% lower against righties than lefties. I say all this because Schierholtz will be playing a four-game home stretch against the Diamondbacks in Week 4, a team whose rotation consists of four (rather poor) right-handed starters as well as a right-handed closer. After that he'll face the Brewers, who don't have a single left-handed starter in their rotation. This is about as prime a week as you're going to get out of Schierholtz, and I suggest you go grab him if you're looking to pick up an impact power bat for cheap.


2) Danny Espinosa (2B)

2014 Stats: .294 BA, 2 Runs, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB

Ownership: 2%

Opponents: Angels, Padres

Games Scheduled: 7

In 2011 at age 24, Danny Espinosa stole 17 bases while hitting 21 home runs with a .236 batting average. The following year, he brought his batting average up to league average and again showed an impressive combination of speed and power for a middle infielder, hitting 17 home runs and stealing 20 bases. We all know what a lost season 2013 was for him, but it's important to remember that most of his struggles stemmed from an injury that plagued him throughout the year. Now, he's healthy, and at 27 years old, that player who had the skillset of a 20/20 threat is still there. With Ryan Zimmerman out with a broken thumb, Espinosa should get everyday playing time at 2B while Anthony Rendon shifts over to third. With respect to Week 4 specifically, Espinosa will enjoy a seven-game homestand against what are, in my opinion, two bottom-third pitching rotations. If you were one of those owners struggling to cope with Dustin Pedroia's recent injury, Espinosa is a good name to add as a temporary fill-in (with the potential for more if he continues to play well).


By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Brad Miller") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons3) Brad Miller (SS)

2014 Stats: .200 BA, 6 Run, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB

Ownership: 73%

Opponents: Astros, Rangers

Games Scheduled: 6

Brad Miller is a player whom I like for Week 4 based on talent and opportunity. He'll be facing a weakened Rangers rotation which still boasts the likes of Tanner Scheppers in its ranks, as well as the Astros rotation, which is, well... the Astros rotation. Facing both of these opponents at home, I'm looking for a good week from Miller. Possessing power, speed and the ability to hit for some average (keep in mind that he hit .265 in 335 plate appearances last season), Miller is a potential across-the-board contributor, something rare at shortstop and even rarer in free agency. If you're lacking a SS, he's the first name I'd look to.


4) Yangervis Solarte (OF, 3B)

2014 Stats: .348 BA, 4 Runs, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB

Ownership: 32%

Oppoenents: (at) Red Sox, Angels

Games Scheduled: 6

With gaping holes at the corners, the Yankees have handed third base duties over to Solarte to begin the season. He's returned that trust with a very hot bat. While too much of a base clogger to ever be a real stolen base threat, he has showed a little bit of pop in his minor league stint, hitting 11 and then 12 home runs in his last two seasons. He enjoys the luxury of having played a four-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway this last week, which means his familiarity with both the park he'll be playing in as well as the pitchers he'll be facing should be at an all-time high. Batters tend to improve as they face a pitcher multiple times, and coupled with Solarte's hot bat and the two very favorable hitters parks he'll be playing in, I think he makes a nice add for any team reeling after the injuries to Ryan Zimmerman and Adrian Beltre.


5) Marcell Ozuna (OF)

2014 Stats: .339 BA, 9 Runs, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB

Ownership: 11%

Opponents: (at) Braves, (at) Mets

Games Scheduled: 6

This is the second consecutive week that Marcell Ozuna has shown up in this series and so far he's delivered. Facing Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday night, he went 4-for-5 with 3 runs scored and an RBI. While he does face a week-long road trip, his hot streak and the power potential he brings to the plate make me confident including him on this list for a second time.