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1B and 3B Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 16

CJ Cron - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

All-Star week is here. After an unprecedented 2020 season rolling right into this season, everyone needs this break. Players and fantasy managers alike can use a bit of a respite. Of course, the guys honored with playing in the game will get a much shorter rest than the fellows we follow for this column. The lightly rostered first and third basemen who shuffle through waivers will have a full four days to regain their strength for the dog days of summer.

The Home Run Derby should be a good show this year. Some corner infield names who have flourished find themselves in competition with the peerless Shohei Ohtani. No one in the derby was ever on the radar for this column; they are too highly rostered. But Pete Alonso, Trey Mancini, and Matt Olson all represent for our CI brethren who we are looking to scoop up for the short week.

For our purposes in this column, we are looking at Yahoo!'s rostered percentages, as well as its positional eligibility. We are searching for useful players rostered in fewer than 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues. With that being said, below are my first base and third base waiver wire pickups to consider for Week 16 - July 15 through July 18.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:


C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies

35% Rostered

A concussion scare and a slow July were enough to get people off Cron, but I am not following. Sure, his batting average has come down each month since a scintillating start, but there is more to a batting line than average. Cron is seeing the ball better in terms of walk rate and strikeout rate. He is also coming off a June where he slugged an even .500.

He is absolutely destroying left-handed pitching, and coming out of the break, Colorado faces a Los Angeles Dodgers club with two, possibly three lefty arms in the rotation. The Rockies may not see more than one of them depending on how LA chooses to reset its order, but this has the potential to be a boon for Cron.


Wilmer Flores, San Francisco Giants

17% Rostered

For the league-leading Giants, Flores has recently settled into a comfortable spot in the top third of the everyday lineup. Heading into the final game before the break, he batted either second or third in the order for five straight games. Flores isn't a masher or a speedster, but he accumulates and doesn't kill your average. Flores succeeds with elite bat-to-ball skills, ranking in the 97th percentile in K-rate and 95th percentile in whiff rate.

Interestingly, 2021 has thus far produced a reverse platoon split for him. Normally much better against lefties, Flores has actually performed far better this year against righties. That bodes well for his long-term outlook. If he is becoming a more well-rounded hitter, he should stick in his spots near the top of the lineup, which directly leads fantasy managers to more counting stats. He also gets the St. Louis Cardinals out of the break; a team he just finished a series against, going 4-for-11, with a cool .500 OBP.


Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers

14% Rostered

There are few softer landing spots than a short week against no one but the Minnesota Twins pitching staff. The Tigers will actually be playing Minnesota in eight consecutive games, broken up by the All-Star break. Candelario is not a fun addition to a roster, but he has quietly accumulated solid production outside of the show-me stats of home runs and steals.

Those looking for a chunk of runs and RBI, with a solid walk rate, need look no further. Candelario is the embodiment of his 107 OPS+. He's been slightly better than average and slightly useful.


Ji-Man Choi, Tampa Bay Rays

2% Rostered

Choi is becoming more than just a platoon substitute. He is finding ways to stick in the lineup. First off, the batted-ball profile is very good. He has a 44.4 percent hard-hit rate, 92.6 average exit velocity, and 15.7 percent walk rate. Those numbers would force anyone into the lineup.

With Choi, the assumed downside was he would have to sit against lefties, but that hasn't been the case. He doesn't have all that much run this year against southpaws, partially thanks to missing time due to injury, but he is faring incredibly well. He is still going to sit every now and then, as is the nature of rostering any Tampa Bay Ray, but Choi is proving more useful than a two percent rostered rate would seem to imply.


The Repeats

I jumped the gun last week on J.D. Davis. At 37 percent rostered, few followed me. But now we are live; this is not a drill; Davis is set to be activated the Friday following the break. Everything from last week's column stands: he has been one of the best 3B in the league when healthy, and he finally seems healthy.

At 36 percent rostered, Joey Votto is still eligible for this column, and he will continued to be mentioned every week until he is no longer eligible or gets hurt.

A low walk rate and low launch angle continue to be enough to hold down Alex Kirilloff (30%) from fantasy stardom. That pedigree might be on the horizon anyway considering his gargantuan xSLG and xwOBA numbers.

Patrick Wisdom (22%) is losing much of his luster thanks to wavering contact skills. However, a short week against Arizona is hard to beat. One of the worst pitching staffs in the league faces a man with a ridiculous 61.5 percent hard-hit rate and a 10 percent home-run rate.

Bobby Bradley (13%) is new in town. He has yet to play 50 career MLB games. Even still, he has shown his bat belongs. Just a brief run-through: 22.7 percent barrel rate, .566 xSLG, 40.9 percent hard-hit rate (which looks superb following anyone but Patrick Wisdom), and a high-quality 11.4 percent walk rate. He has the tools to stick. Now, it's just a matter of adjusting to opponent adjustments.

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