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The Corner Store is open. The season has officially begun and managers are already ravaging through the waiver wire for various reasons. First base and third base are generally the best spots to look to improve your team’s power. In most cases, it is preferable that it includes a decent average but that isn’t always the case. You have to make sure your roster can handle an inferior batting average before you take it on.

Aside from stars and scrubs, there hasn’t been enough time to determine if your current options at the corner positions will provide the production you sought when you acquired them in the offseason. If you are proactive and want to initiate movement, we will help you jump into the fray a little smarter. If you’re looking to replace injured players like Justin Turner and Greg Bird or even looking to find the latest hot item to own or flip (trade) for increased value, these corner infielders will get you going in the right direction.

Even in the first week, ownership can change quickly. At the start of the season, Albert Pujols (1B, LAA) 51% owned, Jose Martinez (1B/OF, STL) 62% owned, and Matt Davidson (3B, CHW) 66% owned were all below 50% owned. All three have had decent starts. The common denominator is homers, so the masses flocked to them quickly and forced them above our threshold. Check your leagues for their availability. Key points - this list will focus on players who are owned in less than 50% of yahoo leagues.

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Week 1 Corner Infield (CI) Waiver Wire Targets

Josh Harrison (2B/3B/OF, PIT) 34% owned

There are times where you just need a fill-in to keep the boat going until the primary rower gets back. The replacement doesn’t need to win things for you; they just need to make sure they don’t screw it up. Josh Harrison is the guy that gives you above average production across the categories. He is more than capable of getting your roster down the road and even provide you a little extra from the position that most will not, speed. He will give you double-digit stolen bases and a decent average. He has modified his hitting approach by increasing his fly balls to 40.8%, which combined with his hard hit rate (32.4%) will lead to double-digit homers. Harrison is also batting second in the lineup so he will get increased number of opportunities to tally runs and potentially RBI.

Matt Chapman (3B, OAK) 33% owned

In short time, young players will show you power and the promise of future improvements. Chapman is one such example that has plenty of power but there are some warts that come with it. In 2017, he routinely demonstrated big time power; he hit 14 HRs in 84 games, but it came with a .234 average. Chapman exhibited some underlying stats that should foretell potentially better days with his average. Chapman also has good plate discipline with his 11.5% swinging strike rate and a better than average walk rate (9.8%). He does have a strikeout rate of 28.2%. If he can continue to improve his strikeout and walk rate, his batting average could raise to a .240-.250 average, which should increase his value drastically. Chapman’s elite defense will keep him in the lineup; he just needs to work on using the increased repetition to improve his hitting, while rewarding owners with homers.

Ryan McMahon (1B/3B, COL) 36% owned

He has no path to playing time. That has been said about many players before McMahon. The bottom line is if the player is good enough, things will somehow figure themselves out. McMahon has developed himself at other positions and thus far it has paid dividends for him. Originally a third baseman, McMahon has transferred to first base to increase his chances of playing sooner. This spring he had a .319 average with two home runs, nine runs batted in and eight doubles. This follows a 2017 season in the minors were he hit 20 HR and 88 RBI with 11 SB across Double-A and Triple-A. The re-signing of Carlos Gonzalez has forced Ian Desmond to first base and limited McMahon to a platoon player. However, all it takes is an injury and McMahon is back on the field in a very hitter friendly environment. This is a player you find room to stash somewhere on your roster because his value will increase once he is on the field consistently.

Yulieski Gurriel (1B, HOU) 27% owned

It is hard to believe that Gurriel is only owned in 27% of leagues. This is a guy that hit 18 HR and 43 doubles in 2017; he also had a slash line of .299/.332/.486. Before I paint him as the answer for all your corner needs, there are some concerns that need to be declared. He is 33 years old and coming back from hamate surgery. He obviously is not the answer to your dynasty needs, but he can definitely fill in long-term, if need be. Some may argue that the wrist issue will hinder his hitting ability. I would contend that he is still hitting in one of the most offensive lineups in the league. Even at 80% he has a chance to compile stats without sacrificing in any one category.

 

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