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2B and SS Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 24

Wow. Well, if we all learned anything about sports in the past couple of days, it's that we can all be glad that there is far less baggage attached to our top draft picks in fantasy baseball than there is in fantasy football. Even with that in mind, these final three weeks aren't about the performance of our top draft picks, they are about constantly improving your position for the postseason. Though there are key players now out of the picture either through injury or a mass rush for pickup, plenty of widely available assets are staking their claim with September surges. So squeeze ten or so minutes in between viewing college football and week one of the NFL regular season this weekend, and refuse to enter crunch time with anything less than a squad at a peak level of performance.

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 24.

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Pickups for Most Leagues

Starlin Castro (2B/3B, MIA)

39% Owned

At the mid-way point of the year, four-time All-Star Starlin Castro had been having a miserable time on offense for the Miami Marlins. Now, after a red-hot run that began in July and has culminated in four doubles, four home runs, and a .340/.389/.660 slash in 50 AB over the last two weeks, the fish are heavily considering an extension. Don't count on many free trips to first base, because he has only drawn four since the start of August, but that drawback has been overshadowed by the quality of contact he has applied to batted balls.

He has hit for 43.2% hard contact, 16.6% soft contact, and a line drive rate of 22.5% over the latter half of 2019, and he has already jacked up his fly ball volume in the brief time of play in September in a robust role for Miami. His ISO has been taking huge steps forward each month since May (from 0.040, then .248 in August, and .450 to start this month), and his gradually decreasing strikeout rate has helped to offset the damage of his microscopic walk rate. With his tightening up of other gaps in his game and proclivity for power over the last couple of months, "All-Starlin" a lot to offer those looking towards high-stakes match-ups.


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

37% Owned

Maybe it was a wake-up call for Jurickson Profar when the Oakland A's declared in the midst of a brutal wild card race that they were limiting his role, but the former number one prospect in baseball has turned the tides in eye-opening fashion. As opposed to Starlin Castro who rarely gets walked even in the best of times, Profar ramped up his walk rate from mediocre to ridiculous since the start of August, and has accumulated 14 free trips to first with only seven strikeouts in the 40 AB over the past two weeks. In that same span, he has crushed four balls into the bleachers (update: he racked up another one last night in Oakland's 10-2 win over Detroit) and swung for a slash of .350/.536/.725 off the back of a 41.7% hard contact rate to kick off September.

Profar has a .236 ISO on liners, of which he hits for 20.6% of the time over the second half of the season, and his defensive versatility is a great assist in upping his allowed plate appearances. Being able to reach base in more than half of your opportunities for a club ranking top-ten in run-scoring over the same time period is a pretty blatant formula for useful statistical production, and that appears to be the situation that Jurickson Profar has worked himself back in to.


Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT)

29% Owned

Adam Frazier isn't particularly fast, he doesn't seem to contain any overt in-game power, and up until extremely recently, he has struggled tremendously with applying hard contact to batted balls (he produced an ugly 23.2% with 22% soft contact throughout the month of August). Yet, over the course of his last 55 plate appearances, he has been a virtual Swiss Army knife with the bat totaling nine XBH (four doubles, three triples, and two blasts to the fans), only five strikeouts in comparison to four walks, and a beefy .438/.491/.771 slash.

He survived throughout the campaign by maintaining relatively high BABIP figures thanks to a typically high line drive rate, on to which he has applied 40.5% hard contact and 7.2% soft contact on the year as a whole. Now since the turn of September, Frazier is finally starting to thrive with a 44.4% overall rate of hard contact, and he looks poised to lap his .138 ISO of August. It's amazing what one can accomplish when they keep strikeouts to a minimum, and now that Frazier is hitting for hard contact all over the field, he can take full advantage of the opportunities that drawing contact have led to.


Hanser Alberto (2B/3B, BAL)

26% Owned

Speaking of the opportunities that open up when you minimize strikeouts, Hanser Alberto could be on the cover of the manual for doing just that, because it seems to be the primary force driving his elite base-hitting. In 43 AB over the last two weeks, the player dubbed "Radio" has bodied three doubles, two dingers, and an average-heavy slash of .419/.432/.628 (his overall BA of .318 places him ninth in the MLB). Despite such an encouraging end-product, you can't help but get bogged down by Alberto's 24.9% hard contact rate and 21.8% soft contact rate for the second half of the season, and the fact that he has managed to draw just two walks in the last 101 plate appearances.

While these figures are justifiably frightening, the situation looks way more promising when viewing his 22.5% line drive rate for the second-half of the year in conjunction with his ability to find constant contact as evidenced by his highly impressive count of seven strikeouts over the same span of 101 PA. That knack for keeping the ball in play has worked quite favorably for Alberto in the hitter-friendly Camden Yards, and whether he is suiting up for a cellar-dwelling squad or not, his skill set carries considerable value over the final month of the regular season.


For the Sneaky and Savvy

Luis Arraez (2B/3B/OF, MIN)

11% Owned

Luis Arraez has yet to have a batting average below .293 or an OBP lower than .350 for a single month this season, and that has put him in excellent position to score plenty of runs for the hard hitting Twins (six, to be exact, over his last six games). He has flexed some razor-sharp plate discipline throughout his time in August and September (112 AB) with 13 walks and only 11 strikeouts, and though his second-half hard contact has been lacking at 31.8%, he is still just hitting for 10.4% soft contact on a 29.9% line drive rate over the same span. With a .351/.444/.432 slash over the last two weeks and three doubles in the last week, Arraez is a poignant pickup if you don't consider yourself short in power or speed.


Josh Rojas (2B/SS/OF, ARI)

8% Owned

Josh Rojas appears to already be finding his major league rhythm at the plate (and not a moment too soon for a D-Backs squad inching ever closer to the wild card slot). He holds a .297/.333/.514 slash, with two home runs, and two doubles over the past 37 AB, and other than a lingering propensity for strikeouts, the numbers suggest that his overall body of damage could have been even more significant. Rojas has clubbed for 45.8% hard contact and just 10.4% soft contact, with is a flammable combination when paired with his 25% line drive rate and 0.71 GB/FB ratio. He sprints at a solid 28.0 feet per second which allowed him to steal 20 bases (in 24 attempts) in just 257 AB at Triple-A, and that makes Rojas well worth taking a late-season chance on now that he's catching heat.


Dylan Moore (2B/3B/SS/OF, SEA)

1% Owned

It's starting to get really difficult to fathom how the work of Dylan Moore is going so ubiquitously unnoticed, but choke down the reality of his five extra-base hits (three doubles and two dingers), four stolen bases (two caught stealing), and .282/.391/.513 slash over his last 39 AB. Despite his high strikeout rate (33.3%) and frequent soft contact (20.8%) over the season's second half, his peripherals support his recently high level of production. He possesses a 37.7% hard contact rate on an air-heavy 23.1% line drive rate and 0.54 GB/FB ratio over his 86 second-half AB, and he too is a danger on the base-paths with a sprinting speed of 28.2 feet per second. With the physical foundation laid by an 89.1 MPH exit velocity and 406-foot average home run distance, Moore could make statistical contributions across the board with the time left in September.


Just Checking In...

  • Tragically, though he is slated to return at some point this month, Keston Hiura landed on the ten-day IL with a strain of the left hamstring (and it couldn't have came at a better time). Those who had a stake in the standout rookie will surely be missing him, considering his 16 homers, nine stolen bases, and .941 OPS in his first 266 AB for the Brewers.
  • In a double-dose of bad news on the front of rookies, in what has otherwise been an amazing and historic season for first-time major leaguers, Michael Chavis suffered a setback in his rehab from a sprained AC joint and is now out for the remainder of the season. That's a tough break for a Red Sox club hoping for a late burst into a wild card slot, and even tougher for those hoping to reap further rewards from Chavis's emergent campaign.
  • Gavin Lux arrived in the MLB with plenty of fanfare after his torrid run in Oklahoma City, and as expected, his ownership rate has ballooned to 43%. His big-league debut hasn't exactly gone off without a hitch though, with just three hits (including a double) over his first four contests after scoring three runs in his Dodger debut. Even with the limited time remaining, it still seems a little to early to abandon ship.

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