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2B and SS Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 13

It's hard to believe that it's already June 24th, but then again it feels like we experience this point with every amateur and professional sport. Whether the season lasts 16, 35, 82, or 162 games, there comes the time every year where we transition from, "It's still pretty early" to, "There's actually not that much left when you think about it." To the motivated, this spot on the timeline inspires strong action, whether you be a major league club or a fantasy baseball manager. You may find yourself jockeying for top-seeding, hanging on to a playoff spot, or desperately avoiding last place. No matter what your situation, the checkpoints of the season signify that it is time to reevaluate your progress and make some tough decisions, such as taking a chance on a newly emergent prospect or adding a perennial producer to your cut list. With plenty of pre-All-Star Break energy in the tank, making the big decisions is easily one of the most fun parts.

As always, the second base and shortstop positions are notoriously lacking in waiver wire depth and are therefore quite fickle to navigate. Each week of the season, we are going to be taking a look at a slew middle infielders who are worthy of acquisition (or strong consideration at the very least) and are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo Leagues. Staying on top of the injury, roster, and statistical trends regarding the middle infield positions will ensure that your team has robust year-long depth and is ready if a crisis were to arise.

With that, let's have at it and take a look at a fresh batch of second base and shortstop waiver-wire targets for Week 13.

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Pickups for Most Leagues

Jurickson Profar (1B/2B/3B/SS, OAK)

41% Owned

In 2018 Jurickson Profar hit 20 home runs, stole ten bases, and put up a .793 OPS for the Texas Rangers across 524 AB. In 265 AB of 2019, Profar is close to mirroring his power/speed figures from last season with ten homers and six stolen bases, though accomplished with a lesser body of work displayed by his slash of .223/.284/.389. Fortunately, it looks like the worst could be behind him. The 26-year old former top prospect in baseball got off to a hideous start to this campaign with a .495 OPS in April but was able to rebound slightly in May with a six-HR month.

Now through 67 AB for June, "El Patron" has gotten hot with the rest of the Oakland A's offense, going for a pair of dingers and swipes with a .313/.361/.493 slash. His plate discipline figures have remained consistent from month to month, but his batted ball figures have shifted fortune in his favor. He has gone from hitting for 37.5% hard contact and a discouraging 26.1% soft contact in April, to 40% hard contact and 18.2% soft contact in June. While his GB/FB ratio is all the way up to 1.86 this month, he has been hitting for an effective 27.3% clip of line drives, and his BABIP has responded appropriately by trending from .174 in April to .358 in June. Even though his sprinting speed isn't what you would think, his batted ball placement will net more base hits now that he is making high-quality contact more often, and he is still active enough on the base-paths to make it worth your while. It's hard not to be enticed by 30 combined homers and steals, no matter how you get them.


Cavan Biggio (2B, TOR)

28% Owned

There are almost zero bad things to say about Cavan Biggio's charter stint in the majors. In his first 74 AB, the 24-year old former Notre Dame star has smacked five pitches into the stands, stolen three bases, and netted a promising .805 OPS. What's even more exciting, he has exploded over the last two weeks in particular with four home runs, a steal, and a slash of .278/.400/.667 in a healthy 36 AB. While a lot has been made about descendants of baseball royalty arriving in the MLB this year, with a steady spot in the starting lineup either as a second baseman or outfielder, Biggio has well carved out a spot next to teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as a young player with whom you want to be associated.

If there is a single complaint with Biggio to this point, it would be his 28.3% strikeout rate, and while it would be nice to see that trickle downward, the remainder of his offensive sample of work renders it trivial. He has been walking at a robust 18.5%, and his batted ball placement has been ideal for power hitting with a 0.50 GB/FB ratio (just 26.5% grounders) and 40.8% pull rate. He has truly been making the most out of every rip, hitting for 55.1% hard contact and a virtually non-existent 4.1% soft contact rate. This dialed-in bat work has resulted in a scorching 92.6 MPH exit velocity and .230 ISO, which is bound to send pitches out of the park plenty of times on his 20.6-degree launch angle. His sprinting speed is workable (27.5 feet per second), and he has tested as a solid volume base-runner over his professional career, so his ascent should also bring considerable power/speed totals. It's hard to see anyone threatening his playing time at the moment, so this is a ride you can benefit from greatly.


Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, COL)

25% Owned

Graphed out, Ryan McMahon's 2019 work at the plate would probably read like a rapid heartbeat as he has battled with the likes of Brendan Rodgers and Garrett Hampson for playing time at second base. After a sub-par month of work in April, "McDoogle" was grinding to the tune of four home runs and a .277/.373/.523 slash in 65 May AB. Then June hit, and while it has mostly been a less-than-pedestrian stretch, McMahon has slowly been base-hitting his way back with a .327/.353/.408 slash over the past two weeks. He's been a bit shaky and inconsistent, but it is quite out of his character to go long without hitting for power or at least adding a stolen base or two (even though he isn't very fast), and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that he is worth waiting out.

McMahon has walked at a stout 10.6% so far this season, and overall he has swung for a very promising mixture of 43.2% hard contact and 13.7% soft contact on batted balls that support his .338 BABIP. He has also been producing an excellent exit velocity of 92 MPH, while his average home run distance of 425 feet speak to his ability to swing for the fences in Coors Field. His hard contact rate has been down this month at 33.3%, and he routinely produces a high GB/FB ratio. Thankfully, he has still been hitting for 24.4% line drives, to which he has been able to apply 66.7% hard contact and just 6.7% soft contact on the year. The signs are shouting that Ryan McMahon should start hitting for power again soon, and that will be a pretty sweet bonus on his ability to hit for average and generate walks.


Danny Santana (1B/2B/OF, TEX)

18% Owned

If it weren't for the fact that Danny Santana doesn't see a full slate of appearances in the starting lineup for the Texas Rangers, he would be way less available. The reason is that he hasn't stopped performing for any extended stretch during the 2019 campaign. The Rangers have deployed him in six different defensive positions, and Santana has rewarded their creativity with a ridiculously successful stint at the plate over the last two weeks, going for three home runs, two stolen bases, and a .385/.405/.692 slash in 39 AB. He has never hit for power and aggressively run the bases simultaneously like this in his major league career, and there is a strong statistical foundation to support his line.

Santana has been striking batted balls with 44.5% hard contact on the year (47.9% this month) and has been placing the ball ideally with a 46.1% pull rate and 1.14 GB/FB ratio (complete with 29.7% line drives). He hasn't been able to balance out his plate discipline in any single month, but his 90.5 MPH exit velocity has worked towards a .213 ISO, and support his .397 BABIP in combination with the same 28.2-foot per second sprinting speed that has enabled him to rack up steals. Of course, we know that power hitting out of the blue is a big red flag, but his average home run distance of 405 feet seems to exhibit some true pop. We could sit around being skeptical, or we could go ahead and gladly accept the contributions that Danny Santana has been making in nearly every statistical category for the offensively mighty Rangers.


For the Sneaky and Savvy

Freddy Galvis (2B/SS, TOR)

16% Owned

I've got to be honest: I didn't think that at this point in the season, we would still be talking about picking up Toronto Blue Jay infielders Freddy Galvis and Eric Sogard, but they have left us little option since they both continue to hit. The value lies in Galvis for his power hitting, though he has displayed a plethora of skills over the last two weeks (48 AB) with a home run and a .354/.392/.458 slash.

Even though Galvis is coming off of a rough month of May where he finished with a .631 OPS, it is encouraging that his hard contact rate has gone up with every month from 32% in April to 37.3% with just 11.8% soft contact so far in June on a 60.8% pull rate. Though it has been applied to a 1.87 GB/FB ratio this month, "Toco" can still do plenty of damage in the Rogers Centre with the quality of contact he is hitting for, whether it be spraying the outfield or the stands.


Kevin Newman (2B/SS, PIT)

13% Owned

With a meager 26.6% hard contact rate, 84.6 MPH exit velocity, and unfortunate 29.4% soft contact rate, Kevin Newman isn't going to do much trotting around the bases. Despite having such a minute chance to hit for power when he gets up to bat, Newman has found plenty of other ways to leave his mark on the game for Pittsburgh. Over the past two weeks, the former highly-touted prospect put up a well-rounded slash of .347/.396/.469, complete with four doubles, a triple, and three stolen bases in four attempts.

With his lack of hard contact, it is actually beneficial that he is swinging for a sky-high (ironic) GB/FB ratio of 2.08, and he has given himself a great chance to reach base safely in every plate appearance with a controlled 13.3% strikeout rate and 7.2% walk rate. At 28.3 feet per second in sprinting speed, Kevin Newman has the physical ability to sustain at least a good portion of his .355 BABIP, while also stretching singles to doubles (and doubles to triples) and stealing bases at a steady clip, and his stat line could end up reading a bit like Ketel Marte of the last couple years.


Leury Garcia (MI/OF, CHW)

10% Owned

With seven steals in ten tries and a .282/.319/.390 slash in 259 AB this season, Leury Garcia has consistently looked like the kind of player who can offer a solid batting average and base-running but may kill the mood he sets with his lack of power. However, "El Molleto" has reversed his M.O. over the past two weeks (38 AB) by stealing zero bases, smacking three of his five home runs on the year, and producing an uncharacteristically well-rounded slash of .289/.325/.632.

Though it is an extremely modest figure, Garcia's hard contact rate of 28.3% for June is his best measure of 2019. Also, his 2.91 GB/FB ratio, if nothing else, has caused an even distribution of batted balls into play, making his .352 BABIP a tad more believable in conjunction with the 28.4-foot per second sprinting speed that makes him such a threat for thievery. The BA and stolen bases are his bread and butter, but Leury Garcia now has a .197 ISO for June and has shockingly hit his homers for an average distance of 414 feet, so it will be hard to complain if he can maintain this formula in the coming months.


Just Checking In...

  • Even with Derek Dietrich continuing to rake, the looming return of Scooter Gennett will have a significant impact on Cincinnati's playoff chances and their day-to-day lineup. Scooter has already appeared in a rehab assignment and is slated to come back near the end of June. Though at 60% ownership, he may be a Didi Gregorius-like grab at this point in the year.
  • At 54% ownership, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is actually owned in more leagues than his brother Yuli Gurriel, for what has got to be the first time. He has earned it too: posting five home runs and a .300 BA over the past 50 AB for a Blue Jays squad that has had its fair share of surging players over the past month.
  • The Mets may be performing middle-of-the-road with the bat as a unit this month, but Jeff McNeil continues to stand apart. With a laser-focused .353 BA, with three home runs, and two steals over the past two weeks, McNeil has catapulted himself into third place in the NL batting race. With that level of efficiency, 51% ownership seems like a triple-dog dare.

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