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1B and 3B Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 2


The second week of the 2019 fantasy baseball season is upon us. If your first week went poorly, it is officially time to cut or trade everyone on your roster.

Kidding, naturally. But we've already had a bunch of injuries, which while unfortunate also creates opportunities to play the waiver wire lottery. Snagging the next breakout can prove the difference between winning and losing your league - and it's precisely what this feature is designed to help you do.

As a reminder, our focus here is on players who are below 50% owned in Yahoo leagues, and standard 5x5 scoring. Your mileage may vary, in terms of availability or league settings. Using that cutoff point for ownership rate, however, these are your corner infield waiver wire targets and adds for Week 2 of the 2019 fantasy baseball season.

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Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, DET) — 48% Owned

Goodrum is already on plenty of fantasy squads, thanks mostly to his insane positional flexibility - in ESPN leagues, where he's only got first and second base, his ownership rate is way down at 15%. That disparity sells what he can bring to your roster just a bit short, however. The versatile switch hitter (of course, eh?) popped 16 home runs and stole 12 bases in under 500 plate appearances last year and is off to a solid start, hitting .258/.395/.452. Strikeouts were a problem last season but haven't been so far, as he's only fanned seven times while earning as many free passes. He's also hit fourth or fifth in each game this season, which even in the Tigers' lineup should lead to respectable runs scored and RBI totals.

Jay Bruce (1B/OF, SEA) — 28% Owned

I can't say I expected to be touting Bruce at any point in 2019, but here we are, folks. The Mariners have been hitting the snot out of the ball from the jump this season, and while Domingo Santana is rightly getting the bulk of the love from fantasy owners, Bruce continues to languish on a lot of waiver wires. And sure, it's tough to provide value when you're hitting .184, but it helps when a big chunk of those hits are homers. The veteran has launched five in his last six games. That bodes well for his chances of reaching the 30 HR plateau for the sixth time this decade.

Jung Ho Kang (3B, PIT) — 27% Owned

Kang has stumbled out of the gate, as another hitless effort on Sunday dropped him to just 4-for-26 with nine strikeouts thus far. It's a reminder on two fronts for interpreting spring training performances. The hot spring didn't carry over to the games that count, but the high strikeout rate has continued. Kang does have a home run already, and he popped 36 in just over 800 plate appearances prior to this season. The last of those plate appearances did happen in 2016, though, so it shouldn't come as a shock that Kang is still getting his timing back.

Yandy Diaz (1B/3B, TB) — 22% Owned

Is Diaz figuring out how to elevate the ball more? We need to see more balls in play to be sure, but in the early going it looks that way. The muscular 25-year-old has increased his fly ball rate by over 10 percentage points compared to last season, and has gone deep three times in his last four games. We already know from previous performances that Diaz hits the ball extremely hard, makes a lot of contact, and draws a bunch of walks. If he can maintain a respectable FB%, that profile could make him an unexpected star.

 

Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Christian Walker (1B, ARI) — 21% Owned

Speaking of unexpected stars, there's a nonzero chance that Walker is 2019's version of Jesus Aguilar. There's also a decent chance he's just a Quad-A bat having a nice week, but then, that's why you'll still find him on the wire in four of every five leagues. Walker is likely to get the vast majority of the starts at first base for Arizona with Jake Lamb out until late May, so he'll have for the first time an ample opportunity to prove himself at the MLB level.

Jeimer Candelario (3B, DET) — 8% Owned

In his first 167 plate appearances last season, Candelario recorded an .856 OPS that suggested he was crafting a breakout year. Then a bout of wrist tendinitis hit, and he floundered thereafter. The early results aren't encouraging, but Candelario's minor league track record suggests he has better plate discipline than he's shown so far and enough pop to push 25 homers.

Ryan O'Hearn (1B, KC) — 7% Owned

Maybe this year's Aguilar isn't Walker at all, but O'Hearn. He got some deep-league buzz after blasting 12 homers in 170 PA as a rookie last year, which was keyed by an improved launch angle. He has 60-grade raw power, so if he can keep the fly balls coming, it's not hard to envision him flirting with 30 bombs.

Ji-Man Choi (1B, TB) — 5% Owned

Choi will sit against southpaws, but he's hit third in every game he's played and done so admirably, slashing .370/.433/.444. While he doesn't have a homer yet, he had 10 in 221 PA last season. Though Choi hasn't been able to stay healthy in years past, he's always hit well when on the field.

 

For Your Radar

Hanley Ramirez (1B, CLE) — 4% Owned

If I'm surprised to have suggested Bruce earlier, I'm bordering on shocked to include Ramirez, who hasn't been fantasy relevant since 2016. He didn't look cooked when the Red Sox unceremoniously released him last year, though, and he has a couple of homers and a .908 OPS to his credit so far. Cleveland appears to be committed to using him as their primary DH and five-hole hitter, so it's worth monitoring his output.

Eric Thames (1B/OF, MIL) — 3% Owned

Thames has pinch-hit homers in each of his last two games, and Jesus Aguilar is off to a slow start. The Brewers didn't hesitate to bench Thames for Aguilar last season, so it's not crazy to think they could flip that switch again.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers


Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!