Baseball is here! With real games having started Sunday, you have almost certainly had your draft and are in the honeymoon stages with your 2017 team. You don’t want to cut anyone just yet, as you don’t want to be labeled the Overreact Girl/Guy.
That being said, there are some injuries that open up DL spots, and sometimes you do have to cut bait with some of your lower draft picks if they start slow.
If you do find yourself in such a situation, here are some names for you to target on the waiver wire. Nick and Kyle looked at a few targets recently, but this list will be focused on middle infielders. It is one of the shallowest positions in fantasy baseball, and as such, there can be a lot of turnover. If your team does have some turnover, these are the names to add.Editor's note: Get 50% off any MLB Premium Pass. Draft guide, cheat sheets, 200 days of DFS access, and over 20 premium tools. Dominate your leagues all year long! Sign Up Now!
Week 1 Middle Infield (MI) Waiver Wire Targets
The 35-50% owned range (Yahoo leagues)
Marcus Semien 49%
We’ll keep this one relatively brief since there probably aren’t too many RotoBaller readers in leagues shallow enough where Semien is still available. It’s shocking that Semien is actually available in over half of Yahoo leagues considering he is fresh off a season in which he hit 27 HR and had 10 SB. His BA is going to hurt a bit, but not nearly enough to keep him off rosters. Any SS who can go for 25/10 HR/SB is worth a roster spot in even the shallowest of leagues.
Jose Reyes 44%
Reyes is another one who deserves to be rostered in just about every league. Reyes will be acting as the leadoff man for the New York Mets once again in 2017, and he should have plenty of opportunity to put up big fantasy numbers. Reyes had a (deservedly) abbreviated 2016, but when he played, he was of nearly the same value as the classic Reyes we think of. His BA was a bit lower than normal (.267), but his power/speed combo was the best it had been in half a decade. He hit eight HR and had nine SB, on pace for over 20/20 over a full season. If he even goes 10/20, he’ll have enough value with his R and position to merit ownership in most leagues.
The 20-35% owned range
Ryan Schimpf 30%
Schimpf is a player very much in the Semien mold, as he is going to do no favors for your BA, but his power is more than enough to deserve a roster spot. Schimpf (20 HR in 89 G last season) can be a tough guy to platoon, as he will toss up plenty of 0-for-4 days, seemingly always when you put him in your lineup. He has more value as a lottery ticket starting 2B, where he will be in your lineup each day. You won’t miss out on those 2-for-5 with two HR and six RBI days. If he is struggling after a couple months (and make sure to check the advanced metrics, not just BA and HR), you can cut bait, but he should be a solid option, especially at 2B, this season.
Asdrubal Cabrera 26%
Cabrera is one of my favorite late-round/lightly-owned middle infielders for 2017. Even though it feels like he has been around forever, he’s still just 31 years old, and is actually getting healthier after a tough mid-career injury. Last season, Cabrera hit .280 with 23 HR. The advanced numbers support that production as well. His LD rate of 22.9% is more than enough to carry him to a slightly-above-average BABIP (.310), and his HR/FB rate (14.0%) was a bit higher than his career rate (8.9%), but it also came with the highest hard hit ball rate (36.7%) of his career. Expect a slight regression in power (~18 HR), but with a BA around .275 and solid R and RBI production, there’s plenty of value for Asdrubal in 12-team leagues.
The 5-20% owned range
Jurickson Profar - 16%
There’s a little good news/bad news with Profar. The bad news is that he isn’t actually projected to start for the Rangers. He wasn’t in their Opening Day lineup, and he’ll be fighting for playing time all season. The good news is, because he is without a set position, he has nearly unlimited fantasy eligibility, being able to play at 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, and OF in Yahoo leagues. With a manager who is not afraid to tinker with the lineup, Profar should still see plenty of time in 2017, and given his young age (still just 24 years old) and big-time hype as a prospect in years past, if he starts to hit well, he may very well move into a full-time role. Profar is more likely an AL-only candidate at this point, and that’s where he should rank, as his power and speed contributions aren’t quite enough to merit mixed league attention.
Yangervis Solarte - 15%
Solarte had a strong 2016 season, but fantasy players still aren’t believers, as shown by his 15 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues. Solarte played at a very strong level in 2016, and he was on a 162-game pace for 22 HR, 82 R, and 106 (!) RBI in his 109 games played. Add in a .286 BA, and you have yourself a near top-ten second baseman. Those RBI would have ranked first among second baseman in 2016, while the rest of the non-SB stats would’ve ranked just around 10th. It’s dangerous to project a full season like that, while there is a bit of injury risk with Solarte. Although, for the absurdly low price he’s costing right now, he’s worth a shot even in leagues as shallow as 12 teams.
Cesar Hernandez - 8%
Hernandez doesn’t have as high a ceiling as some of the other guys on this list, but he has as high a floor as any of them. We’ve seen what he can do in each of the past two seasons, and with plate discipline skills as strong as his (10.6 BB%, 18.6 K% in 2016), he’s not going to fall off a cliff statistically. You’re banking on a few HR, about 18 SB, and a .280 BA from Hernandez. That’s not going to win you any leagues, but it’s also quite valuable, especially in NL-only, or deeper mixed leagues, where players around the 8% ownership level typically carry a lot more risk. He’s a nice safe play in that range.
Jorge Polanco - 5%
Polanco isn’t on the radar for many folks, but that may soon change if he continues to play like he did in 2016. While the surface statistics were far from eye-popping last year (four HR, four SB and a .282 BA in 69 games), the advanced metrics suggest an increase may be coming in all those categories. Polanco had an outstanding 30.3 percent line drive rate and 40.7 percent pull rate in 2016. He hit more fly balls than ground balls, and if he continues to get stronger (just 23 years old), he could really start to pop off. He may be more of a wait-and-see type guy in most leagues right now, but I’d hazard a pickup in AL-only, and maybe even some keeper leagues thanks to his age and potential future.