The season is officially underway and waivers are finally open to all antsy fantasy owners who are already desperate for help. Whether you're dissatisfied with your current starters or are scrambling for a replacement for Adrian Beltre or Anthony Rendon, these corner infielders could step right in and help your fantasy team.
Third base is as deep as ever, while first base seems to have a fairly steep drop-off in terms of power after the first couple of tiers. In this piece, I'll identify some players who should be able to contribute in multiple categories.
Note: I will be selecting players who are available in less than 50% of Yahoo! leagues and therefore should be available to the majority of mixed-league fantasy owners.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 Corner Infield (CI) Waiver Wire Targets
Eugenio Suarez (3B, CIN) 46% owned - It's somewhat surprising that the starting third baseman in Cincy is not even half-owned across the fantasy landscape. Suarez was a bit inconsistent is terms of making contact last season, but his power remained constant. He finished 2016 with 21 HR, 70 RBI and threw in 11 SB to boot. It would be nice to see him cut down on the 24.7% K%, but that is a number that hasn't really changed during his time in the Major Leagues. Suarez has shown the ability to hit the ball hard (34.9% Hard%) which should translate to another 20+ HR with an average that should at least hover around league average, if not higher.
Tommy Joseph (1B, PHI) 42% owned - Joseph is another regular starter with plus power that has drawn skepticism from many. Joseph walked into a situation on a Phillies club desperate for a replacement for an aging Ryan Howard and found a younger version. While Joseph may never slug over 40 homers, he has shown similar free-swinging tendencies, shown by his 6.3% BB% and 0.29 BB/K. His batting average was all over the place throughout the minors, so it's hard to guarantee that he won't sink you in that department, but he held his own last season at .257. Leagues that count OBP may value him less, but he should be a good source of power nonetheless.
Yulieski Gurriel (1B/3B, HOU) 40% owned - It's hard to make a case for Gurriel based on his track league with the Astros since he was with the organization for all of two months last season. His numbers from Cuba show that that he can do it all; his career slash line is .335/.417/.580 and he consistently hit around 20 home runs with 70 RBI and about 10 steals. That doesn't sound too impressive other than the average, but when you consider that the Cuban league doesn't play more than 90 games in a season, you start to realize just how dominant he was. Gurriel is now 32 and still adapting to MLB pitching but he has the hit tool provide a high floor, even if his power isn't elite at this level. The fact he will be in the powerful Astros lineup raises his run scoring potential quite a bit.
Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT) 39% owned - A strong candidate for NL Rookie of the Year, Bell is not getting nearly as much hype as some of his counterparts. Bell started strong in his MLB debut last Fall, keeping his average over .300 for the first month before settling on a slash line of .273/.368/.406. His on-base skills and plate discipline were excellent, with Bell taking more walks (21) than strikeouts (19). His power is still a work in progress, however. His 14 HR in Triple-A last season were a career high. If you play in a points league or count OBP as a stat, his value is a bit higher, but Bell has the skills to help you across multiple categories even in standard roto formats. Hitting in the two-hole ahead of Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte is as good a spot as you can ask for.
Danny Valencia (1B/3B/OF, SEA) 28% owned - A surprise starter at first base for the Mariners, Valencia's poor spring showing says more about Daniel Vogelbach's lack of readiness than anything. Valencia is a career .271 hitter with a fair amount of pop. He simply hasn't been able to stay healthy when given the opportunity to play every day; this may finally be his big break. On a lineup loaded with talent, Valencia should have plenty of RBI opportunities and possesses enough power to hit 20-25 HR if he can stay on the field for at least 150 games. His multi-position eligibility makes him an ideal CI or bench stash for depth purposes, even if you aren't in need of a starting corner infielder off waivers.