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2B and SS Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 22

If you haven't already taken part in multiple fantasy football drafts, you are probably getting ready to, and there is always the temptation to try and coast through the end of the baseball season as the chaos and guessing games of the NFL commence (particularly if you are in a nice position for the postseason). Well, while professional football is grabbing headlines with helmet concerns and rap beef, it has been a fantastically interesting season for major league baseball. Now that we are in the furthest reach of August, and September call-ups are directly around the bend, we once again have a prime opportunity to strike either through new talent or roster shakeups. There is ground to be gained, and with the NFL regular season a little less than a fortnight away, there is still time to make moves of lasting impact.

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 will 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 22.

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Pickups for Most Leagues

Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI)

38% Owned

With a dWAR of 2.6, Nick Ahmed currently stands as the most valuable defensive player in baseball, let alone the shortstop position where he seems poised to grab another Gold Glove. While his time at the plate in 2019 has been a little iffier, "Slick Nick" has been a force of destruction through the month of August with a robust seven home runs and .308/.387/.708 slash over just 65 AB for the D-Backs. He has been playing so well that Arizona is talking about paying him big time once the season comes to an end, but is this offensive explosion worth buying stock in over the final month?

Ahmed has demonstrated mastery of the strike zone over the latter half of the season with a highly impressive 13.5% walk rate and 1.05 BB/K ratio. His persistent bugaboo has been his high rate of grounders (47.7% over the second half), but he has brought his line drive rate up to 20.8% in August from 19.1% in July, and his 49.3% hard contact rate and mere 4.1% soft contact on line drives for the year helps to bridge the gap between Ahmed's past and his .400 August ISO. He's not really a runner, but he's typically good for one or two well-thought-out attempts per month, and his rounded astuteness within power-friendly Chase Field makes him an excellent asset to close out the year.


Freddy Galvis (2B/SS, CIN)

38% Owned

It has been 36 AB for Freddy Galvis in a Cincinnati Reds uniform since he was ditched by the Toronto Blue Jays for a younger crowd, but in that time he has continued to build on his surprisingly successful season with five extra-base hits (three home runs and two doubles) and 1.197 OPS. We know that if you have a void that needs filling in the infield (and preferably in a hitter-friendly ballpark like GABP), "Toco" is a durable option, but what factors have been driving his success across teams and leagues in 2019?

In stark contrast with Nick Ahmed, Galvis's plate discipline has been downright awful with a 2.5% walk rate and unsightly 30.9% strikeout rate for his time in August. What he has done correctly in route to his .260 ISO is apply high-quality contact and location to batted balls while minimizing his volume of stagnant pops and grounders. Galvis has produced 28.3% line drives with a 1.00 GB/FB ratio this month, while hitting for 38.9% hard contact and just 11.1% soft contact. The liners have been the key to the well-rounded batting success, as he has put 48.1% hard contact and only 5.1% soft contact onto those throughout the whole campaign. Sure, it would be nice if he could limit his missed swings or take a walk every once in a while, but his consistency in putting pitches into the outfield and stands makes him worth looking past all of the drawbacks.


Asdrubal Cabrera (2B/3B/SS, WSH)

23% Owned

Among the many, many players who have been released and reclaimed through the waivers as a result of the new trade deadline rules, Asdrubal Cabrera is another one who has found a breath of fresh air since the change of scenery from Arlington to D.C. In 39 AB (across 12 contests) as a member of the Washington Nationals, the defensively versatile Cabrera has racked up five doubles, two dingers, and a .333/.426/.615 slash. Even if you are reluctant to take part in "Chiquitin" due to his new role being slow to formulate, it's very difficult to identify an area of recent weakness.

So far in his time with the Nats (pretty much all of August), he has produced a highly encouraging 14.9% walk rate on just 10.6% strikeouts. Also, while his line drive rate has dropped to 20%, his GB/FB ratio fell from 1.28 in July to 0.87 in August, where he has been connecting for 40% hard contact and just 11.4% soft contact. With a 15.7-degree launch angle to help find the open gaps, the two-time All-Star has built a .282 ISO for the month and a .333 BABIP that is easy to believe in. With his safety net being the fact that he can competently play around the field, Asdrubal Cabrera is a red-hot, widely available option with a laser-focused eye at the plate.


Austin Nola (1B/2B, SEA)

14% Owned

Is 29-year-old rookie Austin Nola actually having a better time on the field of late than his ace brother Aaron? Probably not, but who would've thought that it would ever be close? While his body of work for August has actually slowed down a bit when compared to his stint in July, he has been hugely heating back up over the last two weeks (40 AB) with two doubles, three blasts to the bleachers, and a .325/.413/.600 slash (not to mention a greatly improved split of five walks and five strikeouts).

He has steadily brought his monthly strikeout rates down from 33.3% in June to a much more manageable 18.3% for August, while also taking free trips to first base at a season-best rate of 8.5%. He has been slightly hampered in his batted ball contact with 19.6% soft contact and only 17.6% line drives this month, but he has helped to balance the scale with a solid 37.3% hard contact rate and 1.00 GB/FB ratio. Don't get me wrong, it is incredibly suspicious that a player with virtually no record of minor league success (and not a sniff of the MLB) would suddenly start stroking for formidable power and well-rounded results across Triple-A and the majors for 2019, but that is ancient history when thinking in terms of putting together a postseason push. If that's your objective, Austin Nola could go a considerable way to getting you there.


For the Sneaky and Savvy

Gavin Lux (SS, LAD)

13% Owned

Blue-chip prospect Gavin Lux hit 13 home runs, stole seven bases (in ten tries), and compiled a .896 OPS through 259 AB for Double-A Tulsa before the Dodgers organization was convinced that he deserved a promotion. Now, 177 AB into his stint with Triple-A Oklahoma City (he's practically a citizen of the Sooner State by now), and Lux has been living in the nightmares of opposing pitchers with an absurd 33 XBH (17 doubles, four triples, 12 home runs) and a slash of .407/.495/.751. Keep in mind: Chris Taylor, Jedd Gyorko, and Kike Hernandez have all recently returned from the IL, and the Dodgers have expressed some hesitance in ringing Lux for September call-ups. However, he is still a strong stash, and with a .345 ISO and 14.9% walk rate at the highest level of the minor leagues, LA will be feeling the pressure to add him to the postseason mix.


Hanser Alberto (2B/3B, BAL)

9% Owned

Hanser Alberto has been one of the few bright spots in 2019 for the bottom-dwelling Baltimore Orioles, but was long considered a likely flash in the pan for his combination of high BABIP and comparably low sprinting speed. Now we've reached August 25th, and in 78 AB for the month, he has put together his best offensive run of the season with eleven XBH (seven doubles, a triple, and three homers) and a .308/.345/.538 slash. While it is true that Alberto lacks overt speed or power and his walk rate is quite low for someone who reaches base so often (4.8% in August is actually a season-best), his meager strikeout rate of 7.1% more than makes up the difference at the plate, and his .231 ISO has netted impressive results out of the hitter-friendly Camden Yards. With that element of his game beginning to blossom, and now cracking the top ten in all of baseball with his season-long batting average (.310), Hanser Alberto is a great grab for some across-the-board contributions as the clock winds down.


Tommy Edman (2B/3B/SS/OF, STL)

9% Owned

Now here's a guy with some wheels. It's been a bit of an up and down season for St.Louis rookie Tommy Edman, but his overall body of work through his first 194 AB of major league ball has been respectable, and he has found an excellent hitting rhythm for August. In 75 AB, he has knocked seven hits for extra bases (a homer, a triple, and five doubles), stolen two bases (and hasn't been caught once all year), and holds a slash of .333/.375/.444 over the last two weeks alone. He walks infrequently at just 3.8% for the month, but limits striking out to just 14.1%, and his contact on batted balls has adjusted to better fit his talents and capabilities. Edman has applied 42.2% hard contact and just 12.5% soft contact to pitches in August and located them for line drives at a whopping 32.3%. With those ingredients and his elite sprinting speed of 29.3 feet per second, it's not a stretch of the imagination to see how his .333 BABIP can be sustained.


Just Checking In...

  • Ryan McMahon has continued his torrid tear for the Colorado Rockies with five home runs and a 1.115 OPS over the last two weeks. If you were still hoping to hop on board the "McDoogle" train for the cap to his pleasantly surprising campaign, you're likely out of time, as his ownership rate has quickly climbed to 58% in the process.
  • Sadly, Brandon Lowe is out for the remainder of the year with a left quad strain. This is extremely unfortunate for all those (among others) who had stock in Lowe after 16 home runs and an All-Star selection for his rookie campaign, but a .862 OPS across 279 AB is a sample to be excited about for 2020.
  • It's possible that things are going way worse for Jurickson Profar. He has managed to hit for some power and run for some volume in a plethora of positions for the A's this year, but there's been the pesky issue that he can't seem to hit or reach base. As a result, Oakland has significantly scaled back the once top-rated prospect's role, and he has taken only 12 AB in the last two weeks.

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