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1B and 3B Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 17

Coming out of the All-Star break, the biggest surprises at first base are Cody Bellinger on the negative side and, perhaps, Jared Walsh on the positive side. Bellinger has been in and out of the Los Angeles lineup due to injury. When he has played, he's been terrible. Don't think of acquiring him for cheap though. He is still rostered in virtually all leagues. On the positive side, a number of guys have been unexpectedly great. Walsh wasn't even positioned to be an everyday player when the season began though. He has been that and more.

At third base, the bad belongs to DJ LeMahieu (who is also eligible at 1B). LeMahieu has not been hurt, has been batting leadoff every game for what was positioned to be one of the best offenses in the sport, and he simply hasn't produced. He is hitting for no power whatsoever. On the positive side, another player eligible at 1B, Yuli Gurriel is one of the most pleasant 3B surprises. He went undrafted in many leagues to start the year and has flourished.

It is too late to pick up Walsh or Gurriel off waivers, so let's try to look for the next one. 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 17 - July 19 through July 25.

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


Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs

39% Rostered

A lack of playing time has hardly been Happ's biggest issue this season. If he was hitting the ball better, he would have been playing more. However, the Cubs' trade of Joc Pederson certainly frees up even more at-bats for the likes of Happ. And he does have some major strengths at the plate, which is why he continues to peak people's interest (people like me) even after so much failure.

Happ has an elite batting eye, ranking in the 87th percentile in walk rate and 78th percentile in whiff rate. He can also put major power behind the balls he connects on, reaching a max exit velocity of 111.9 mph this season. There are still too many holes in his swing, and he can probably be avoided in non-OBP leagues even now, but the Cubs are certainly moving toward showcasing more of their younger bats, of which Happ still qualifies.


Jace Peterson, Milwaukee Brewers

37% Rostered

It wasn't Keston Hiura; not Rowdy Tellez. It turns out Jace Peterson was going to come out (mostly) victorious in the 1B position battle for Milwaukee. Peterson's positional flexibility allows him to play even if one of those guys does man the first base bag, and that means more stats for his managers.

The sample size is small, but Peterson is doing a lot really well. He has an unheard of 18.6 percent walk rate; he is hitting the ball hard and putting big-time lift behind it. With a career-low 41.7 percent ground-ball rate, Peterson wants to give every ball a chance to carry. Home runs aren't his calling card though. He produces well-rounded stats and is an even bigger boon in OBP leagues.


Garrett Cooper, Miami Marlins

29% Rostered

Cooper's playing time has been pretty sporadic, but he has settled into a major role for Miami. He plays most days and slots into the third spot in the lineup. With that comes impressive counting stats, but his slash line is the biggest draw to this point. And it doesn't seem fluky. Based on the batted-ball data, Cooper is putting together great ABs and making high-quality contact.

With a 12.2 percent walk rate, Cooper is walking more than he ever has before. His hard-hit rate puts him in the 94th percentile of all of baseball. Even though none have been full seasons, he has put together three straight really good years, counting 2021. It's just a matter of staying healthy enough to keep it going as the sample size grows. It seems as though the Marlins are going to give him a chance to do just that.


Joc Pederson, Atlanta Braves

28% Rostered

The move has me intrigued. Pederson was already playing most days as a member of Chicago. This switch to the top of the Atlanta lineup won't necessarily gain him playing time. It is worth monitoring though. He obviously got off to a great start Saturday night. Overall, the Braves lineup should be an improvement over what he had around him in Chicago.

The numbers aren't vital here since they certainly included Ronald Acuna Jr. (knee) for Atlanta and not Pederson, but by something as well-rounded as wOBA, Atlanta is a top-1o offense, and Chicago ranked 18th. Pederson doesn't profile as a typical leadoff hitter because of his low walk rate and poor foot speed, but if the Braves keep him there, his numbers could flourish.


The Repeats

One of the following batting profiles belongs to Joey Votto; the other to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. You may be able to discern which is which. The answer doesn't even really matter. Votto is rostered in 34 percent of leagues.

Alex Kirilloff (33%) is now batting in the middle of the Minnesota lineup every day. His production has picked up in July to be more representative of the type of quality AB he is routinely having.

A la teammate Happ, fewer mouths to feed means more swings for Patrick Wisdom (21%) in Chicago. If more trades come down the pike, Wisdom could even find himself playing every day. That wouldn't necessarily be a good thing for his batting average, as he does benefit from having his spots picked, but his counting stats would certainly see the boost.

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