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1B and 3B Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 19

That was fun. The 2021 MLB trade deadline was the most active we have had in memory. Big names from across the sport changed teams. Contenders bolstered their expected playoff run; teams just trying to make it added necessary pieces; and a few squads pulled a hard reset.

The latter is no fun for a fan base, but it certainly opens the door for a whole slew of at-bats to go to new players. Where a Joey Gallo or Kris Bryant, etc. moves to take away playing time from someone, the hole created by their absence opens up a new opportunity. In the coming weeks, we will see how teams choose to fill openings and which players benefit the most. For now, we know a lot of new faces became relevant on the waiver wire.

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 19 - August 2 through August 8.

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Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

16% Rostered

The guessing game begins for the team with the very best record in all of baseball. First off, this is no skin off Gabe Kapler's back. It seems every decision he pulls works out, and everyone San Francisco trots out produces. But for fantasy managers, we are on the precipice of a playing time crunch. Who is going to lose out? Last week, I suggested adding LaMonte Wade Jr. He got dinged up and missed a few games but did add in three more home runs. The problem is, for Wade and others, how long is the opportunity going to last?

We are soon to see the return of a number of injured Giants, including Belt, Evan Longoria, and Tommy La Stella. All three are set to return relatively soon, with Brandon Crawford just returning as well. The Giants also just added an everyday player in Bryant, who can move around but is not going to be moved to the bench all too often. Perhaps the outfielders are the ones who lose out, as both Bryant and Belt can play the outfield. It is also possible that the entire infield gets a rework in the coming days, and good bats are going to be out of luck.

It will be fascinating to watch, especially for the best team in the sport, record-wise. The bottom line is Belt is the best of this bunch of injury returnees and potential timeshare/substitutes. He needs to be added back to rosters for when he comes off the IL, at which point we hope Kapler doesn't jerk around the lineup even as we know he will.


Luis Arraez, Minnesota Twins

16% Rostered

We always speak of the two-category players who help us in something like steals and runs or home runs and RBI. Rare is it that we can highlight a two-category player like Arraez, yet he is exactly that. Arraez, just back healthy off the IL, is batting .305, the 14th-best mark in baseball. His xBA is 11th-best in the league.

Arraez sports a whiff rate in the 100th percentile and a K-rate in the 99th. Thanks to at least a league-average walk rate and those contact skills, his bat plays in every type of fantasy league. And thanks to sitting in the middle of the Minnesota lineup, he should continue to score runs. Arraez already has 39 runs scored in just 243 ABs. No third base-eligible player with fewer ABs has scored more often.


Carter Kieboom, Washington Nationals

2% Rostered

Last week, I tried to guess the lineup that was going to get blown up at the trade deadline, opening the door for young hitters to flood in and be given as long a leash as they needed. I landed on Detroit and Spencer Torkelson. It didn't work out that way. Instead, Washington was surprisingly one of the teams that completely emptied its shelves of veterans, leading to the return call-up of Kieboom.

Kieboom really struggled in his previous MLB chances, but he has skills teams and fantasy managers covet. His power and hit tools are obviously the draw, but Kieboom had a 14.4 percent walk rate this year in the minors and put up a similar 13.9 percent walk rate in the majors in 2020. The concern is his power was nowhere to be found. In deeper leagues or keeper leagues, he is worth an add though, to see what type of performance he can put together with pretty unlimited playing time available to him.


The Repeats

Miguel Sano hasn't moved from his 39 percent rostered percentage of last week. It's weird considering he added two multi-hit games and two more home runs. The power plays in any league type if you can stomach the batting average.

Batting leadoff every single game continues to have its perks for Joc Pederson (38% rostered). He is now up to 41 runs scored despite a .307 OBP. With a good lineup behind him, the counting stats are going to continue to add up.

C.J. Cron (32%) remains elite in a couple categories: his 12.2 percent walk rate is in the 85th percentile, and his 114.7 max exit velocity is in the 94th percentile. It's partially why he's 10th among all first basemen in xwOBA and tied for 10th in xOBA.

Did Chicago clear enough roster spots for you to finally be content in thinking that Patrick Wisdom (26%) is going to receive sufficient playing time?

Brian Anderson is up to 16 percent rostered. He hit in his first five games since coming back from injury and knocked out two home runs in that five-game sample. He is too reliable of a hitter to have a rostered percentage this low.

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