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1B and 3B Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 18

The Major League Baseball trade deadline arrives this week. There are many huge names seemingly on the chopping block and suitors looking to pursue. For fantasy managers, the big names being moved aren't always the biggest winners or losers in a deal. Instead, the teammates get impacted greatest of all.

Nelson Cruz got moved from Minnesota to Tampa Bay. He is still going to play every day and mash. But what about cornermen Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz? They are projected to find themselves in a timeshare at 1B, with likely no hope of getting any type of regular at-bats at DH. Left behind in Minny, Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano could find more opportunities to get the rare half-day off with a DH start now that Cruz is gone. Similar consequences will reveal themselves with all the big deals that go down this week, so stay ready to make adjustments heading into week 19.

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 18 - July 26 through August 1.

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Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins

39% Rostered

Sano has dropped below a 40 percent rostered rate for the first time in quite a while. This, despite him actually upping his batting average to above .200 (as of July 24). I don't know why people suddenly decided to give up on him. He's moving up in the Minnesota lineup in recent games, batting either fourth or fifth for the LAA series. He is bound to get fewer days off as well, with Nelson Cruz shipped out of town. He only has one home run in July, but that is hardly representative of how much oomph he is putting behind his contact. Sano ranks in the 90th percentile in average exit velocity, 92nd percentile in hard-hit rate, and the 94th percentile in barrel rate. In strikeout leagues, you obviously don't want him, but standard leagues should very much want him manning a corner spot. With Detroit and St. Louis on the schedule for this week - two staffs that struggle to keep men off base - Sano should venture back above that 40 percent rostered threshold soon enough.


Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins

11% Rostered

Anderson returned from a long stint on the IL on July 24. He was out with a shoulder injury, which obviously would affect his power and swing if not fully healed. But one can assume Miami waited patiently enough to make sure Anderson is back and ready to produce. A healthy Anderson has the track record as an above-average bat with upper-echelon power rates. His hard-hit percentage had fallen off in 2020 and into '21, but if he gets back to the quality of contact he was making in prior years, this is a man worth rostering in most leagues. He was even contributing in the steals department a little bit this season, giving him not quite 5-cat potential, but at least not hurting you anywhere.


Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers

8% Rostered

This is complete conjecture, but walk with me down this path, will you?

Detroit stinks; its lineup stinks. With the trade deadline looming, the roster could be turned over by this time next week, making room and giving time to many more, younger hitters. The best young hitter in the organization happens to be Torkelson, a corner infielder who was called up to Double-A and is absolutely mashing. Just being drafted last year, his development has a ways to go, but there is something to be said for getting those growing pains against the toughest competition. There is already room in the lineup for him to play. Detroit's pitching is already in full-on, young-gun mode. Why not the lineup as well?

Adding Torkelson specifically in Week 18 is a longshot. Basing the acquisition around the trade deadline is probably too random to make sense. After all, Detroit could have made room for his bat at either first or third already. Heck, it's plausible Tork doesn't receive a single MLB at-bat this year. But one can dream...and plan.


LaMonte Wade Jr., San Francisco Giants

3% Rostered

Wade is batting leadoff nearly every day for San Francisco. That alone is super valuable. He is also putting in some good work with the opportunity. The standard stats are solid. The underlying numbers speak to the former not being a fluke. Wade is putting everything in the air, with a 19.5 average launch angle and only a 39.8 ground-ball rate. His 44.4 percent hard-hit rate means very little of that contact is being wasted. It has led to him being a very legitimate five-category contributor, albeit in small doses. Wade has only played 47 games thus far. Extrapolating that out to the full year isn't quite fair, but one can imagine how stacked his line would be if they did.


The Repeats

The Angels are on the horizon to start this week for C.J. Cron. Los Angeles owns one of the few pitching staffs actually worse than Colorado, at least in terms of team ERA and WHIP. Cron is 36 percent rostered and should be well above 40 percent.

A couple multi-hit games have gotten Andrew Vaughn's (35% rostered) average above .250. Now, if only his power numbers would start to follow how hard he is hitting the ball. Fantasy managers who were hoping for huge home run and RBI totals may have to settle for a different stat line that remains solid and useful. Vaughn is Pavin Smith right now, with that high, potential upside down the line.

Joey Votto is 32 percent rostered. I have nothing to add this week.

Speaking of Pavin Smith, why does he remain just 18 percent rostered? He is Andrew Vaughn with less publicity! Okay, he has needed far more ABs to produce a similar line to Vaughn, but that consistent playing time isn't a negative. And like Vaughn, Smith has put good contact behind the ball, just needing to get more loft behind his hits.

I still stan for Ji-Man Choi (2%). He is playing more than sitting, and that should continue even after the Cruz acquisition. He is just a very solid bat for deep leagues and a spectacular add for OBP leagues.


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