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2B and SS Waiver Wire Pickups for Fantasy Baseball - Week 26

We (almost) made it! The fantasy baseball season is a marathon, and we can see the finish line as only two weeks remain on the baseball calendar. Any league that uses playoffs is in either the semifinals or the championship round this week and stakes couldn't be higher with the lineup decisions we make.

That being said, it's never too late to hit the waiver wire for a replacement to help bring home that championship. This time of year, it's important to play the matchups. The players below all have an opportunity to make an impact for their respective clubs and, more importantly, your fantasy team. Let's dig in!

As a reminder, we'll be looking at pickups for shallow leagues (30-49% rostered) and deeper formats (10-29%), as well as highlighting prospects in the single digits who may get the call and deserve a spot on your watch list at the very least. These are your second base and shortstop fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups for Week 26 -- September 18 through September 24.

 

Waiver Wire Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Ronny Mauricio, 2B/SS, New York Mets (23% rostered)

This time of year, lots of fantasy baseball managers are asleep at the wheel. Case in point, Ronny Mauricio is available in many leagues. If Mauricio is out there in your league, change that immediately as the 22-year-old has been nothing short of electric since getting called up by the Mets. Through 10 games, Mauricio is batting .306 with one homer, five RBI, and four stolen bases. Toss in his great numbers at Triple-A (.292 BA, 23 HR, 24 SB) and that's reason enough to be tickled-pink by what Mauricio can do for your fantasy squad.

A look under the hood, however, shows why we should be downright giddy. Mauricio is crushing baseballs like few rookies have been able to do versus their first look at big-league pitching. In his first at-bat, Mauricio swatted a double 117.3 mph, the hardest ball hit by a Met in the last two seasons. His first homer was a cool 112.4 mph and traveled as high up the second deck of Citi Field as you'll see a ball hit. Overall, Mauricio has a 91.9 mph average exit velocity and 50% of his batted-balls left the bat over 95 mph. Mauricio has skills few other players possess and he's a must-start player in all fantasy leagues.

Zack Gelof, 2B, Oakland Athletics (42% rostered)

Oakland called up Zack Gelof for the first series after the All-Star break and his excellence has flown under the radar playing for the rebuilding Athletics. Through 53 games, Gelof is batting .267 with a .525 slugging percentage with 12 homers and 10 steals as he's proven to be an across-the-board contributor in fantasy. This is after he slashed .304/.401/.529 with 12 homers and 20 steals in Triple-A as he shot up prospect boards earlier this season.

A look under the hood fully supports Gelof's success. His 11.3% barrel rate is mightily impressive and it's led to a sterling 43.3% hard-hit rate and a 91.3 mph average exit velocity. Throw in 93rd percentile sprint speed and Gelof feels too talented to be available in over 50% of fantasy leagues.

 

Waiver Wire Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Jordan Westburg, 2B/SS/3B, Baltimore Orioles (16% rostered)

Jordan Westburg got off to a slow start after being called up, but he's been on fire since the calendar flipped to September as he's batting .323 with a .963 OPS this month. His hot hitting has also led to everyday playing time, which was not the case when he first got called up and was frequently on the bench.

Despite the slow start and irregular playing time, Westburg has had a fine rookie season in Baltimore. The 24-year-old is slashing .272/.322/.424 overall and he's got three homers, 24 RBI, 21 runs, and four stolen bases through 57 MLB games. With triple-eligibility and an everyday job in a good Orioles lineup, Westburg has appeal in deeper fantasy leagues.

Edouard Julien, 2B, Minnesota Twins (15% rostered)

Down the stretch, it's important to play the matchups. Few teams have better matchups than the Twins, who will get to play in both Cincinnati and Colorado during the final two weeks of the season. In addition to playing in the two most hitter-friendly ballparks in the majors, Minnesota also has a series against the A's pitching staff, which ranks 29th in the league in team ERA.

This is all to say, load up on Twins for the last two weeks. One of the best options is Edouard Julien, who tends to bat leadoff versus right-handed pitching. The 24-year-old has had a fine season as he's slashing .269/.381/.459 with 13 homers and 52 runs scored across 96 games. Throw in those good matchups and you've got a start-worthy second baseman in fantasy championship matchups.

Other Options to Consider:

 

Prospect Watch

Ceddanne Rafaela, SS/OF, Boston Red Sox (7% rostered)

The minor league season is wrapping up and at this point, any prospect worth stashing in fantasy is already in the majors. So this week, let's get creative with this section and highlight Red Sox outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela, who could be a sneaky starter at middle infield. Through Saturday, Rafaela has four appearances at shortstop and two appearances at second base. His elite defense is getting him regular at-bats for Boston.

Last week versus the Yankees, Rafaela had three two-hit games and launched his first two career homers while batting leadoff for the Red Sox. He may be known for his defense, but Rafaela had a big year with the bat in the minors this season. He launched 20 homers between Double-A and Triple-A while batting .312 and posting a .618 slugging percentage in 48 games for Triple-A Worcester. He's an intriguing deep-league starter in fantasy.



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