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1B and 3B Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 23

Christian Walker - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB Injury News, Draft Sleepers

Welcome to the fantasy playoffs. They are like the real life playoffs in that only a select number of teams in the league get to participate. They are wholly unlike the real life playoffs because the players don't actually care about any fantasy schedule. We count the stats like they matter more, but occasionally, they matter less.

Rostering and utilizing players on eliminated real life teams for the fantasy playoffs is a necessity. Playoff teams can't just revamp their entire roster with guys still "playing for something," whether that be a team goal or personally. It is an unavoidable pitfall of how fantasy sports work. There will be times when the guys collecting your stats are actively not trying their hardest. We live with this and try to improve our overall roster as much as possible to account for extra days off or lackluster finishes from previously reliable performers.

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 23 - August 30 through September 5.

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Frank Schwindel, Chicago Cubs

36% Rostered

After a meteoric rise, Schwindel's rostered percentage has taken a hit recently. Yet, his performance isn't indicative of any particular slide. He continues to play every day and hit second in the order. In 24 games as a member of the Cubs, he already has 10 multi-hit games. There is, at the very least, a two-category stud here. And the power could still kick up home run bursts like we saw a couple weeks ago. His 7.3 percent barrel rate, 39 percent hard-hit rate, and 18.4 launch angle are all well above league-average and include his at-bats this year with Oakland, when he was struggling to keep a roster spot. He has since come alive with Chicago, making him a worthy add for the final stretch.

 

Aledmys Diaz, Houston Astros

23% Rostered

In his age 31 season, Diaz is having arguably his best year of his career. He hasn't played enough to get the counting stats to rival his St. Louis or Toronto seasons, but the batted-ball profile speaks to an improvement. His hard-hit rate is a career-best 42.1 percent; he is putting more lift on the ball while still having a 7.1 percent barrel rate; his wOBA of .347 is his best since 2016. All that has been great, but even more important to fantasy managers is the playing time he is currently seeing with the Astros. He's played in all but two games since the start of week 21, hitting as high as second in the batting order. Even with Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker both back, they are finding ways to get Diaz into the lineup. That rate of playing time will obviously slow this coming week, but he's a worthwhile add as a part-time player.

 

Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks

20% Rostered

I've been waiting on Walker for a while, and he finally seems to be getting it going. Too little too late for those with high expectations, but not too late to benefit from adding him through waivers. This season has been a struggle. Walker has had trouble staying healthy and on the field for starters. And when he's played, the power has not been there. Luckily, August has implied a turned corner. He is making contact more consistently, as well as unleashing something more resembling his .444 career slugging percentage as a Diamondback. With the slumping Padres and fluky Mariners on the docket, this week is a nice time to scoop up Walker while he's healthy and hitting.

 

Andy Ibanez, Texas Rangers

9% Rostered

I'm not a long-term believer, but this argument is pretty simple. One of the hottest bats in the American League has a cupcake schedule in week 23. Ibanez is on a crazy run in his age-28 rookie season. He has an .878 OPS in August and is hitting .318. He even had seven consecutive multi-hit games coming into this weekend. The numbers don't indicate a pure fluke either. Ibanez makes good contact within the zone, has a low, 12.7 percent K-rate, and is barreling up 8.1 percent of his balls. The production before August was non-existent, but Texas' upcoming schedule should help to keep his streak going.

In week 23, the Rangers face the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Angels. Both opponents are in the bottom seven in MLB in ERA, as well as rank 15th or worse in walk rate, home run rate, and pitcher WAR. The only way these matchups would have been more favorable is if the Rockies games were on the road. Even still, Angel stadium is the 5th-friendliest to hitters this year. (Coors Field is obviously first.)

 

The Repeats

Patrick gonna Wisdom. At 31 percent rostered, apparently 69 percent of leagues don't need an absolute home run masher. How much longer is it going to take for Patrick Wisdom to break the 40-percent threshold?

After Brandon Belt (27% rostered) returns from the bereavement list, he should continue to play every game against opposing righties. He actually has shown a reverse split this year, but historically, Belt is a much more impactful performer against right-handed pitching.

Another week of hitting leadoff every game and coming through one time after another for Connor Joe. At this rate, he won't be eligible for this column much longer but currently sits at 24 percent rostered.

Nick Solak (24%) is back in the majors and is creeping up the lineup card. With games against Colorado and the Angels this week, more success could be in store.

Abraham Toro (20%) hasn't stopped hitting, even as managers stopped adding him. He faces his old team again this week to hopefully keep the magic going.



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