Third Base (3B) & First Base (1B) Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 18

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It has been a little more than a week since baseball returned to action following the All-Star break, and if you failed to use the time off to make roster adjustments, it's not too late. Several players at the corner infield spots have exploded out of the break and look poised to be useful contributors or sleepers depending on your league size and format down the stretch of the 2014 season. On that note, here is a closer look at some potential waiver wire pickups to target.

 

Third Base Waiver Wire Pickups

Josh Harrison (2B/3B/OF, PIT)

BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues

Josh Harrison Pittsburgh Pirates MLB NewsANALYSIS: He continues to be a Swiss army knife for fantasy owners, but Harrison remains available in 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Since the All-Star break, he has hit 3 home runs, scored 7 runs, driven in 7 and stolen 4 bases.

For the year, Harrison is hitting .299 with 8 home runs, 35 RBIs, 41 runs scored and 13 steals. He is providing solid offensive contributions across the board, and he does so while being eligible at three positions.

Harrison makes an excellent utility option in deeper leagues, and if you are hunting for steals, he is worth snatching up in any format. If he's still available in your league, should be strongly considering adding him off the waiver wire.

 

Josh Rutledge (2B/3B/SS, COL)

BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues, NL-Only Leagues

ANALYSIS: Rutledge has been starting in the place of the perennially injured Troy Tulowitzki, and he has been taking advantage of the playing time. He is hitting .371 with 1 home run and 9 RBIs since the All-Star break and is only owned in 29 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Rutledge has flashed his potential in the past, and while he has never been able to carve out a regular role, he will be in the lineup for at least a couple of weeks while Tulowitzki recovers.

There are also some rumors swirling the Tulowitzki could be traded so there is a chance Rutledge could end up with a starting gig for the rest of the year. For now, grab him in deeper leagues and enjoy some solid offensive numbers for a week or two.

 

Chase Headley (3B, NYY)

BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues, AL-Only Leagues

ANALYSIS: A change of scenery can often rejuvenate a player, and while the sample size remains small, the early returns since Headley joined the Yankees are promising. He has collected at least one hit in all eight games with his new team and is hitting a stout .348 with 1 home run, 4 RBIs and 4 runs scored. Meanwhile, he will now be playing his home games in an offensive-friendly park, and this is the same player that managed to lead the NL in RBIs in 2012 despite playing in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the game.

Headley's offensive upside has increased dramatically in the wake of the trade, and he is definitely worth grabbing in deeper leagues. He is currently available in half of Yahoo! leagues.

 

First Base Waiver Wire Pickups

Lucas Duda (1B/OF, NYM)

BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues, NL-Only Leagues

By slgckgc on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsANALYSIS: Duda has been a cheap source of power all season, but he has really been crushing the ball since the All-Star break, tallying 4 home runs, 8 RBIs and 9 runs scored while posting a 1.047 OPS. During the stretch, he rates as the second-best first baseman in Yahoo! leagues, but he is only owned in 48 percent of leagues.

For the year, Duda has 18 home runs and 57 RBIs. The downside is that Duda does a majority of his damage against right-handed pitching, including 17 of his 18 home runs. On the plus side, he is hitting .283 against righties compared to just .259 overall so if you take the time to deploy him solely against favorable pitching matchups, you can enjoy his power production along with a respectable average. If you are willing to do some daily lineup maintenance, Duda is worth a look in NL-only and deeper formats.

 

Chris Johnson (1B/3B, ATL)

BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues, NL-Only Leagues

ANALYSIS: Although he hasn't been able to back up his .321 average from a year ago, Johnson has been driving in runs at a steady rate since the All-Star break. He has 10 RBIs in his last 12 games and has hit a pair of home runs during the stretch. Meanwhile, he has 22 RBIs so far in July after managing just 24 RBIs in the first three months of the year. Johnson definitely started slow, but he has been making up for lost time, and he looks ready to help out down the stretch. If you need a little extra pop at either of the corner infield spots, especially in NL-only formats, Johnson is only owned in 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

 

Stephen Vogt (C/1B/OF, OAK)

BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues

ANALYSIS: The 29-year-old just keeps hitting, and with ten hits in his last seven games, Vogt's average sits at an impressive .351. Since joining the team in June, he has quickly established himself as a steady option at the plate, hitting 5 home runs and driving in 23 runs to go along with his strong batting average. Playing in an Oakland lineup that has been one of the best in baseball is only going to help his numbers going forward, and the fact that he can play three positons, including catcher, enhances his value even further.

The bottom may fall out on Vogt before the end of the year, but for now, he is only owned in 42 percent of Yahoo! leagues and worth taking advantage of while he is swinging a hot bat.