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First Base / Third Base Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds: Week 8


Hunting for values on the waiver wire is one of the most fun, and most challenging, parts of any fantasy season. This can be especially true at the infield corners, an area where the stars are readily scooped up. Finding a low cost alternative can be often difficult.

Here at RotoBaller, we're always looking for ways to help our readers succeed in all aspects of the game. With that aim in mind, each week I'll be bringing you my recommendations for which waiver wire first and third basemen should be on your radar as you peruse the waiver wire. Let's get started.

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Top First Base Pickup

Brandon Belt (1B, SF)

ESPN: 53.5% owned; Yahoo: 72% owned

Last week Brandon Belt was my number one waiver wire recommendation. If you'd followed my advice and picked him up then, you're probably pretty pleased with me right now. Belt has hit a sizzling .450 with three home runs over the past week, raising his overall May statline to a .375 average and four home runs. Sadly, it looks like most Yahoo owners are too late to still snag Belt, but there's still time for our ESPN friends out there. It's a great time to buy in. The Giants will be starting next week off with a series against the bottom feeding Brewers and their 4.54 team ERA. That's a tantalizing matchup for a player hitting as well as Belt is right now.

It's also worth noting that manager Bruce Bochy hit Belt cleanup in both of the Giant's last two games. Given such a small sample size, it's impossible to know whether this is a trend which is likely to continue. Still, the possibility of Belt getting daily at-bats at cleanup gives a nice boost to his potential ceiling. Bochy has never been afraid to tinker with his lineups, especially to give a hot hitter a leg up. This could very well be one of those times.

 

Other 1B Notables

Ryan Howard (1B, PHI)

ESPN: 29.9% owned; Yahoo: 32% owned

Howard was another player I recommended to RotoBaller's readership last week. Much like Belt, he didn't disappoint. After another strong week, Howard is hitting .338 with six home runs through the month of May. Those are the kind of numbers we haven't seen from the once feared slugger since 2009. While it's incredibly unlikely that Howard is back to his MVP ways, this is a prime opportunity to ride a slugger during a particularly potent hot streak.

Unfortunately, Howard will kick the week off with a tough matchup against the Mets. After that, however, he'll have at-bats against the awful pitching staffs of the Rockies and Reds. In terms of ERA-allowed, this year no two teams in baseball have been worse than the Reds and Rockies against left-handed hitters. Frankly, I don't see that trend changing any time soon. If you play in a league where Belt has already been scooped up from the waiver wire, this is as good a time as ever to plug Howard into your lineup.

 

Top Third Base Pickup

Yasmany Tomas (3B, ARI)

ESPN 44.2% owned; Yahoo: 55% owned

Ever since being called back up from the minors, Tomas has just been crushing the ball for the Dbacks. He's sporting a .333 batting average through the month of May. Over the past seven days, he's been even better, hitting to a .406 batting average. It is interesting that with only one home run on the season, Tomas hasn't hit for much power yet. This isn't something I'd worry about, however, given his scouting report and everything we know about the kind of player he is. After all, while he was being vetted by teams over the offseason, the third baseman drew frequent comparisons to eventual teammate Mark Trumbo because of his prodigious power potential and physical strength. Tomas will hit for power. The only question is when. Now, if those home runs start coming while his batting average is elevated like it is...well that could make Tomas a very dangerous fantasy player indeed. This is your chance to buy in on that potential. I wouldn't miss it.

 

Other 3B Notables

Maikel Franco (3B, PHI)

ESPN: 26.5% owned; Yahoo: 16% owned

Considering that I was never a big fan of Franco's while he was coming up as a prospect, I must say I've been impressed by how he's handled his time in the big leagues this year. Against the toughest competition he's ever faced, Franco has controlled the strike zone well, put together some quality at-bats, hit for a decent .286 batting average, and even flashed the power that made him such an exciting prospect for some. Colorado is allowing a league worst 5.31 ERA to right-handed batters so far this season. An owner in a deeper league looking to take a gamble on upside could do much worse than to pick up Franco against a matchup like that.

David Freese (3B, LAA)

ESPN: 16.2% owned: Yahoo: 17% owned

If Franco is this week's upside guy, then David Freese is your Steady Eddie. Hitting 5th behind Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Kole Calhoun has done wonders for his counting stats, even if the batting average has been ugly. Despite only hitting .234 so far this season, Freese is tied for the 19th most RBI in all of baseball with 27. He is third among all third basemen in this category. This has been due in part to the eight home runs he's hit so far this season, but it also speaks to the quality of the talent surrounding Freese. Rostering Freese would require taking quite a risk with one's batting average. Some teams, especially in deeper leagues, would be more than happy to trade that risk for his power and RBI counts though. Freese won't carry your team, but even during his worst weeks, he'll do his part. Sometimes that's more than enough.

 

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