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2B and SS Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 2


The 2019 MLB campaign has officially arrived in full swing, and though the offensive sample size has been extremely limited so far, the shaking out process has already begun between assets of real value and those not worth the time or effort for fantasy baseball managers. Players have come into 2019 either looking to build off of the momentum wave that they created for themselves last season, or to turn things around in a big way in hopes of proving their mettle and long-term viability to their organizations.

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 seven 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 year-long robust depth and is ready if a crisis situation 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 2.

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Week 2 Middle Infield (2B/SS) Waiver Wire Targets

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, DET) - 47% owned

27-year-old Niko Goodrum is coming into the 2019 season with Detroit already looking to build off of the diverse skill set he was able to put on display in 444 AB last year in a plethora of positions for the Tigers. In that time, he was able to produce 16 HR, 12 SB, and a respectable slash line of .245/.315/.432. His first season in the Motor City was largely characterized by good and bad months at the plate one after the other with very little consistency, and he actually finished 2018 with a worse second-half OPS (.713) than first-half OPS (.774). However, he was able to finish last season with a .313/.370/.433 slash during the month of September.

Goodwin also threw together a highly encouraging run during spring training to the tune of two homers, two swiped bags, and an .882 OPS, and has gotten off to an interesting start to the regular season this April by already hitting six doubles in the first nine games. His defensive versatility and well-rounded skill set will do plenty to keep him on the field consistently, and if he can muster up a few consecutive months of fantastic work at the plate, his adjacency to Jeimer Candelario and Miguel Cabrera could help stuff his stat line.

Starlin Castro (2B, MIA) - 23% owned

From year to year, it is extremely difficult to rattle four-time All-Star Starlin Castro, both in terms of his body of work with the bat and his ability to remain on the field for a high volume of AB. In 2018 Castro was able to smack 12 homers while stealing six bases out of ten attempts, while also sporting a well-rounded slash of .278/.329/.400 in 593 AB. Though he had an extremely tough time for the fish over the course of spring training (.467 OPS in 45 AB), he has gotten off to a nice start to the 2019 regular season with a pair of dingers and a slash of an eerily similar measure.

"All-Starlin" actually ended up with a worse offensive performance over the second half of last season (.255/.314/.385) than he did through the first half (.291/.337/.408) due to a horrendous month of September to close out the year despite a string of OPS figures reading .810 and .817 with six combined balls-gone-yard during July and August. Castro's spot in the Marlins lineup beside Brian Anderson, Lewis Brinson, and Neil Walker in the batting order appears to be of high safety and prominence, and he has already shown signs of getting back on track against opposing pitchers that make him an enticing early-season addition.

Jorge Polanco (SS, MIN) - 23% owned

With a shiny and new five-year, $25MM contract extension, the Minnesota Twins appear to be pretty committed to 25-year-old Jorge Polanco at shortstop. Last year, in just 302 AB, "Chulo" was able to tally six long-balls, seven stolen bases (albeit, in 14 tries), and a career-high slash for a season at .288/.345/.427. The most eye-opening realization regarding Polanco comes in viewing his offensive handiwork on a month-by-month basis from last year: he improved with every single month from July through September, producing zero HR and a .739 OPS in July, three HR with a .746 OPS in August, and capping the campaign off with three HR (and three SB) with a .821 OPS in September.

So how has the up-and-coming shortstop built off of his hot finish to 2018 coming into this year? Well, he has already notched six XBH while hitting for the 11th cycle in Minnesota Twins franchise history. Though the defensively versatile Marwin Gonzalez will be able to fill in for him on occasion, Polanco's slot in the starting lineup is nowhere close to being in danger. He benefits from hitting near the top of the batting order sandwiched between Max Kepler and Nelson Cruz. This will allow his power/speed attributes to flourish and net big results for fantasy baseball managers.

Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT) - 8% owned

Back in 2017 Adam Frazier was able to showcase a sneaky power/speed skill set in 406 AB with the Pittsburgh Pirates, totaling six homers, nine steals, and a solid slash of .276/.344/.399. Last year in a more limited 318 AB for the Buccos, the former Mississippi State Bulldog improved upon his overall performance at the plate with a slash of .277/.342/.456 while also clobbering ten pitches deep, though he abandoned his propensity for thievery on the base paths and had just one steal to speak of out of a disappointing four attempts. Frazier had a huge latter-half for the 2018 season, tearing his way to seven HR and a slash of .306/.357/.533 over his last 180 AB (as compared to a .678 OPS over the first 138 AB of the year).

"Fraz" has also succeeded in riding that tidal wave of momentum into 2019, with a 1.010 OPS, two homers, and two swipes through spring training, with an encouraging start on offense to start the regular season including an indication that he is getting back to his base-stealing ways with two bags in his first two tries. While Pittsburgh infield prospects Kevin Kramer and Kevin Newman may have something to say about Frazier's hold of second base by the end of 2019, his everyday spot at the top of the batting order in front of consistent bats like Starling Marte and Francisco Cervelli make him a player of considerable output and intrigue moving forward.

 

For the Sneaky and Savvy

Chad Pinder (2B/3B/OF, OAK) - 7% owned

Despite the pedestrian start to 2019 likely caused by inconsistent time on the field, Pinder has improved his OPS every year in the MLB from .645 in 2016 to .769 last year behind a slash of .258/.332/.436, plus he has combined for 28 HR in 580 total AB over the last two seasons. Oakland typically deploys him against southpaws, who he tore to shreds last year to the tune of six dingers and a .289/.368/.467 slash in 135 AB last year.

Freddy Galvis (2B/SS, TOR) - 7% owned

Though he has ended nearly every season of his career with a mediocre OPS, Freddy Galvis combined for 45 HR and 39 SB in an average of 161 games and 598 AB per season. This year, he has gotten off to a scorching-hot start with three shots to the stands in his new home of Toronto. With Bo Bichette's arrival in the big leagues still pending and to be determined, Galvis's steady slot at shortstop should net a respectable power/speed combo.

Johan Camargo (3B/SS, ATL) - 6% owned

The 25-year-old Panamanian cranked 19 homers last year adjacent to plenty of talented, young Atlanta Braves, and only got better as the season progressed with ten knocks and a .295/.353/.491 slash in 234 second-half AB. Though he had a rough go in spring training and has had a slow start to the regular season, his power-hitting paired with his batting order position close to Ronald Acuna and Nick Markakis should keep his stat sheet stimulated.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers


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