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1B and 3B Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 21

Jeimer Candelario - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Third Base Draft Sleepers

This is the final stretch of the fantasy season for many leagues. Those that play with head-to-head scoring and a playoff have just a few matchups remaining before the fantasy regular season is a wrap. Rotisserie leagues have no such impending deadline, but these games are no less important.

Despite this late hour, or perhaps, in some ways because of it, there are a slew of quality bats still available on waivers. One would expect good players to be long gone and rostered by now. On the contrary, as the season progresses, teams out of the race may slack off in their attentiveness, opening the door for easier additions for the rest of us.

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 21 - August 16 through August 22.

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

 

Josh Harrison, Oakland Athletics

30% Rostered

A current quad strain is keeping Harrison out of the lineup to finish out this week, but the team is considering him day-to-day. He should be back in there this coming week. Since the trade to Oakland, the Athletics have really needed Harrison, as evidenced by his slotting and production. He is hitting in the middle of a potential playoff lineup despite offering little power. That speaks to the other aspects of his game. Harrison is a bat-on-ball producer.

He ranks in the 97th percentile in K-rate, the 86th percentile in whiff rate, and the 85th percentile in expected batting average. He is going to make contact, and that contact often falls in for a hit. Thanks to staying near the middle of the order, those hits are paying off. He may set a career-high in RBI this season despite coming nowhere close to his career-best .490 slugging percentage from 2014. That year was an outlier for him in terms of value at the plate. Right now in 2021 is the closest he has come to reaching that level again.

 

Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers

27% Rostered

Candelario is a bit of an enigma. He isn't really excelling in anything other than...production. He has a very good 11.4 percent walk rate, but that is his best quality right now. He isn't hitting the ball harder than in past seasons; he isn't barreling up more balls either. Instead, Candelario's success speaks to two unremarkable things that are always somewhat underrated (though which I've tried to harp on all year), yet are very important: availability and slotting.

Candelario has already collected 456 plate appearances this year. Apologies for crossing positional eligibilities, but according to Fangraphs, there are only 11 first basemen and eight other third basemen who have played that much. And then there's slotting. Candelario has hit second, third, fourth, or fifth in 105 of his 108 games played. In the other three, he hit sixth. It's why a very low home run total and unspectacular rate stats lead to 53 runs scored and 42 RBI. He is the epitome of a two-category producer who won't hurt you in BA. Setting some arbitrary benchmarks to make a point, only seven other 1B-eligible players and only nine other 3B-eligible players have surpassed 50 runs, 40 RBI, with a BA of at least .275. Candelario isn't a top-10 player at either position, but he is producing as much as many of them.

 

Seth Brown, Oakland Athletics

1% Rostered

Brown was added back to the active roster toward the end of last week. Thanks to suspension and injuries, he has suddenly found himself what looks to be an everyday job. He is obviously eligible at first base for our purposes, but started in right field every game this past week. And Brown has made the most of his latest opportunity, collecting multiple home runs, multiple multi-hit games, and a slew of runs and RBI.

More than the production, though, the playing time speaks to his upside. Brown has big-time power, as evidenced by having more extra-base hits on the season than singles. His has a 113.7 max exit velocity and 13.6 percent barrel rate. The more often he plays, the more likely he is to show off his stuff. There is a downside, however. Brown is going to eat into your batting average. The more he plays, the bigger dip it could take. A high whiff rate and very low chase contact rate lead to his .210 average. And yet, he has a less-upsetting .223 xBA for the year and is hitting .297 the past 30 days.

 

The Repeats

Andrew Vaughn (37% rostered) has seen his playing time bounce around a bit in recent games. That isn't ideal, but he remains worth an add. He hit in the two-hole one game and saw at-bats at DH. Chicago is still showing how much it values Vaughn in the lineup.

34 percent of Patrick Wisdom's hits have been home runs. His 30 percent HR/FB rate would rank second in all of baseball behind only Shohei Ohtani if he had enough ABs to qualify (though other non-qualified hitters would also rank ahead of him). Wisdom is only 29 percent rostered because the hits are coming fewer and farther between, but the power plays in leagues that covet it.

San Francisco is trying its best to find playing time for everyone. Many guys have been dropped to playing every other day. LaMonte Wade Jr. (14%) has siphoned off more than that, to fantasy managers' benefit. He continues to play and hit leadoff nearly every game.

Pavin Smith (14%) is still boring and still solid. He gets the hitter-friendly Phillies and Rockies on the schedule this week.



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