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2B and SS Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 2

Welcome to the first middle infielder waiver pickups article for the 2021 fantasy baseball season. In my time with RotoBaller, I've covered the waiver wire beat for every position on the diamond besides catcher. Between that and curating the site's weekly waiver wire rankings, I'd like to think my bona fides are well-established in this area.

Not every player that gets written up in this feature will go on to provide value to your fantasy squad, and those that do may only prove useful for a brief period. It's the nature of the beast; if these players were slam dunks, they wouldn't be widely available for free. But by considering a wide swath of factors including but not limited to evidence of a change in approach, favorable upcoming schedules, and simple potential, the goal is to squeeze as much as we can for as long as we can from these imperfect assets.

As a reminder, we'll be looking at pickups for shallow leagues (30 -49% rostered) and deeper formats (10-29%), as well as highlighting one or two players in the single digits who deserve a spot on your watch list at the very least. Let's get to it: These are your middle infielder waiver wire pickups for Week 2.

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Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Donovan Solano, 2B/3B/SS, San Francisco Giants (48% rostered)

Solano spent the first five seasons of his career as a little-used, light-hitting utility player. Then he spent a couple of years in the minors turning himself into a line drive machine, and he's done nothing but hit since breaking back into the big leagues with the Giants in 2019. That year, he hit .330/.360/.456 with a .409 BABIP in 81 games. We all chalked it up to a fluke and went about our lives. Last season, he basically did it again: .326/.365/.463 with a .396 BABIP. So far in 2021, he's played three games and recorded multiple hits in all of them. We're still talking about fewer than 500 plate appearances all told, but it may be time to put a little more respect on this dude's name. He's hitting third for San Francisco, so another .300 season would lead to plenty of run production, and he's eligible at three positions.

Ty France, 2B/3B, Seattle Mariners (43% rostered)

This recommendation shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who caught my bold predictions piece a couple weeks back or followed this column last year. France followed up a bonkers performance at Triple-A in 2019 (27 home runs in 76 games) with an excellent .305/.368/.468 line in 155 plate appearances between San Diego and Seattle in 2020. The 26-year-old has hit second in each of Seattle's three games so far, collecting a hit and scoring a run in all of them, and hit his first homer of the year on Saturday night.


Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Ryan McMahon, 1B/2B/3B, Colorado Rockies (29% rostered)

Like the vast majority of Rockies hitter throughout the franchise's history, McMahon has a sizable home/road split; his OPS in the friendly confines of Coors is a robust .859, while his .612 mark in other locales leaves much to be desired. As such, he's better deployed as a bench bat than as a "set it and forget it" option. Fortunately, he's eligible at three infield positions, which makes it easy to insert him into your lineup whenever he's playing in Denver.

Kiké Hernández, 2B/SS/OF, Boston Red Sox (22% rostered)

Hernández spent the last six seasons with the Dodgers, where he played everywhere on the field except catcher. His versatility, pop, and patience made him a valuable piece on those rosters, but averaging only 312 plate appearances a season made his appeal to fantasy managers limited. Now in Boston, he's been installed as the leadoff hitter. While the Red Sox struggled to get much going offensively in their season-opening sweep at the hands of the Orioles (oof), they still figure to score plenty of runs with Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers hitting behind Hernández. Though he won't hit for average or steal bases, the 29-year-old is a solid bet for 20 HR and good run production from his premium lineup slot, and can be plugged in at both middle infield positions as well as the outfield.


The Watch List

Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Detroit Tigers (9% rostered)

Schoop continues to be among the most overlooked players in the fantasy community, for reasons that escape my understanding. Among qualified hitters at the keystone, he ranks third in homers (109), fourth in RBI (330), and ninth in runs (322). His .266 batting average during that time is far from an anchor. It's true that he's mostly played for bad teams and has never again reached the lofty heights of his 2017 campaign (.293-92-32-105-1), but he deserves to be on more rosters.

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