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2B and SS Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 26

Well folks, we're approaching the final week of the 2019 MLB regular season, which means many of you are fighting for your lives in fantasy baseball championships. I want to thank everyone for taking this ride together through the campaign, and I have also be honest, it's already been a weird time for September. I recently started my first semester of law school, my personal life is in paralyzing turmoil, and I lost Drew Brees for the foreseeable future, but let's make one thing clear: I'm still watching baseball, because it's been an amazing year of offense and these wildcard races are captivating. Wins, losses, we're all going to be alright. So let's tauntingly sprint to the finish like Amir Garrett to the dugout, fill in whatever gaps we have left in the lineup with the players looking poised to finish the year with a bang, and keep our eyes on the prize.

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 26.

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Pickups for Most Leagues

Gavin Lux (2B/SS, LAD)

29% Owned

In one of the more remarkable seasons in all-time memory for rookies in major league baseball, Gavin Lux must have been anxious to get in on the action, and he's giving the Dodgers plenty to be hopeful for now and down the road as they hunt down World Series hardware. Since receiving the promotional call to the bigs after absolutely dominating stints in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Lux has produced three doubles, two home runs, two stolen bases, and a .286/.352/.469 slash.

Other than his 22.2% strikeout rate and 21.6% soft contact rate since he arrived in September, it's hard to find an area of complaint for the top-tier prospect. He's walking at a disciplined clip of 9.3%, his hard contact rate is iron-clad at 51.4%, and his 24.3% line drive rate (and 16.6-degree launch angle) in composing a 0.87 GB/FB ratio has already resulted in a disbursement of balls to the outfield and bleachers that have served to confirm the hype. Lux is already proving to be a valuable offensive asset for a Dodgers organization that was very quiet at the trade deadline, and his sprinting speed of 28.7 feet per second and average home run distance of 410 feet only speak to greater lengths of his raw athletic ability and baseball talent. It's always fun to benefit from the late-burst play of prospects, and this is a shining opportunity to do so.


Nico Hoerner (SS, CHC)

28% Owned

Nico Hoerner is only about a year removed from his college days as a Stanford Cardinal, but he's serving in a vital role for a Chicago Cubs squad that suddenly found themselves without Javier Baez during a tooth and nail struggle with the Milwaukee Brewers for the final wildcard spot. Due to injuries at the Triple-A level, the Cubbies hand was forced to reach into Double-A for (the now top-100 rated prospect) Hoerner, and he has come up pretty clutch in Chicago's play of September.

In 53 AB, Hoerner has knocked a triple, three home runs, and produced a slash of .283/.321/.491. His walk rate of 5.4% is pretty low, and you wouldn't think he is up to any good under a 33.3% hard contact rate, 26.7% soft contact rate, and 2.50 GB/FB ratio. He has been able to make up for it though by limiting his strikeouts to 14.3%, hitting for a workable 22.2% line drives, and a .208 ISO. The big booster to Hoerner's value is the fact that the Cubs have been very active on offense for September, scoring the second-most runs in baseball during this period (123), and Hoerner has reaped the benefits of that high level of team performance with eleven runs and 12 RBI since his call-up. For that added nook of statistical contribution, Nico Hoerner can provide help across a plethora of categories for the final week of play.


Garrett Hampson (2B/SS/OF, COL)

25% Owned

It took a long time for the ship to steer right for Garrett Hampson, as he has failed to produce an OPS north of .746 for any month of the season, before September that is. This month, Hampson has turned the tide with five extra-base hits (two doubles, one triple, and two home runs), a robust six stolen bases (in a perfect six attempts), and a slash of .367/.415/.571 in 49 AB for the Rockies. Given Hampson's pedigree, a ridiculous sprinting speed of 30.0 feet per second, and his 12 steals in 15 tries through only 260 AB, it shouldn't be a huge surprise that he's successfully working with a .421 BABIP and running the base-paths.

However, he is finally making ends meet at the plate in large part due to his drop of strikeout rate to a season-low (by 5.2%) 17%, a hard contact rate of 37.5% (tying his season-best), and a GB/FB ratio of 0.78, resulting in an ISO of .204 for September. Now that he seems to have developed a proper approach on offense, if you need an influx of base-running without much remaining detraction over this final week, Garrett Hampson is an excellent option in hitter-(best) friendly Coors Field.


For the Sneaky and Savvy

Shed Long (2B/OF, SEA)

9% Owned

Shed Long has long (no pun intended, just graciously welcomed) been a prospect of interest in the Reds and Mariners system, and he's really starting to pay dividends since the start of September. After spotty showings in May and June, Long has gone for two doubles, three home runs, and a .327/.364/.538 slash across 52 AB this month. His walk rate has nearly been cut in half to 5.5%, but his strikeout rate has hit a season-low mark of 21.8%, but the change has been carried by his uptick in contact quality. Even with a GB/FB ratio of 1.75, Long has still bumped up his hard contact rate to 40%, pulling the ball at a 47.5% clip, and netting a solid ISO of .212. He kind of applied the brakes to his base-running game in 2019 both for the Mariners and in the minor leagues, but stolen bases aside, Shed Long has demonstrated that he is capable of a little bit of everything at the plate. That's always a great safety net to carry into a championship round, especially when you can deploy him in the infield and out.


Austin Nola (1B/2B, SEA)

8% Owned

If I told you before the 2019 season popped off that Austin Nola would arguably be having a better season than his brother Aaron Nola, I would have suggested you be put through concussion protocol. Though his playing time has been a little scattered and inconsistent, his only poor stretch of play came through the month of August, and he has netted an impressive line of five XBH (two doubles and three homers), his first stolen base on the year, and a .275/.393/.490 slash in 51 September AB for Seattle. His strikeout rate still sits high at 24.6%, and his hard and soft contact rates of 33.3% and 30.6% wouldn't inspire much confidence, but his beefy walk rate of 14.8% in addition to his 25% line drive clip make it easy to believe that he has been an essential component of the M's offense. His .216 ISO in a ballpark notoriously friendly to pitchers isn't his best monthly figure of the season, in fact it ranks third out of four. Regardless, for a player available at an interesting mix of positions, he presents just an interesting interest of value from now until October.


Just Checking In...

  • Cavan Biggio is putting a remarkable cap on the year under a slew of extra-base hits and stolen bases for the youth-driven Toronto Blue Jays (oh yeah, and he managed to hit for the cycle as well). He's now owned in 56% of leagues, and you can bet this September surge will drive up his perceived value for 2020.
  • The Cardinals are in a sprint to the finish in trying to keep NL Central competition at bay, and who is better suited for a sprint in St.Louis than Tommy Edman? Edman might be known for his base-running prowess, but his five home runs over the past two weeks have propelled him to the next level, and his ownership rate has appropriately jumped to 55% as a result.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers desperately needed Keston Hiura back, as the wildcard race with the Chicago Cubs is coming down to the absolute wire. His injury woes actually brought his ownership rate back down to a reachable 45%, and he wasted no time in getting back into rhythm, going four for 13 with a dinger since returning to the lineup.

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