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Welcome to Week 13 of the fantasy baseball season. We’re continuing our mission to find you the best and brightest players with second base and shortstop eligibility. As noted last week, the own percentage of players are beginning to settle in, so this list may begin to have a bit less turnover, allowing us to go back and focus on a few of the names we wrote about in-depth earlier this season.

This week we'll focus primarily on three new names because of three names in the Cut Bait section. As always, we’ll give updates on the returning names.

Friendly reminder, we are using Yahoo ownership percentages and position eligibility. On to the middle of the infield!

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Week 12 Middle Infield (MI) Waiver Wire Targets

Scooter Gennett (Cin, 2B/3B/OF): 36% owned

When Gennett hit four homers in one game on June 6, it was undoubtedly a cool story, but he didn’t seem to demand fantasy attention since he had a wRC+ of just 91 in 542 plate appearances in 2016 and a career slash line of .279/.318/.420 in 456 career games before this season. Well, with four homers in his past seven games - and a wRC+ of 137 for the season - he’s beginning to demand our attention. He pulled an Adrian Beltre with a home run from his knee this week, showing he has enough to pop to easily leave the yard in the current baseball environment. All that said, he does seem to be due for some regression. His .347 BABIP is over 20 points higher than his career rate. His 20+ percent HR/FB rate is more than double his career rate. It’s not guaranteed that he fall off a cliff, though. He is indeed hitting the ball harder than he has at any other point in his career, and if the baseball is indeed leaving the yard easier in 2017, Gennett is just the type of guy who could benefit the most. I wouldn’t suggest overpaying to acquire him in a keeper league, but I also wouldn’t jump ship to quick if I had him in a deeper league and he hit a bit of a slow stretch.

Brandon Phillips (Atl, 2B): 31% owned

Phillips is proving to be an ageless wonder, as the 35-year-old currently has a better wRC+ than any season since 2011. The move home may have rejuvenated him a bit, as he has six of his seven 2017 homers in Atlanta, although the friendly confines don’t hurt either. Phillips is hitting for a better average at home as well, but he has still been a .286 hitter with four steals on the road this season. Phillips is due for some slight regression in the power department, and his seven steals have come in 11 attempts so he may be given the red light a bit more, but he’s hitting the ball well enough (23.1 percent line drive rate; 28.9 percent hard hit ball rate) to be serviceable in leagues as shallow as 10 teams.

Orlando Arcia (Mil, SS): 5% owned

Arcia has been one of those players who has held my interest for large chunks of the season, but he hasn’t been able to put together a long enough stretch to demand attention in anything but NL-only or very deep mixed leagues. With a big nine-hit week (1.094 OPS), Arcia officially appears on this list, but still as strictly a deep-league recommendation. Arcia has five homers and five steals on the season, and his ceiling is that of a five-category contributor (he has a .268 BA). Arcia is getting everyday at bats for a solid Brewers lineup, but he is typically near the bottom of the order, something that could change if the talented youngster continues to swing a hot stick. He has four multi-hit games in his past nine games, with extra-base hits in each of his past three games. He’s not even 23 years old yet and has a high intrigue level for deeper dynasty leagues.






Keep Adding

Ian Happ (CHC, 2B/OF): 38% owned

This may be Happ’s last week on this list, as he hit two more homers last week and added his first steal of his MLB career - graduation seems near. Happ has been getting more and more playing time (a legitimate concern for his owners in shallower leagues for a while), and he is making the most of it, with a .259/.333/.563 slash line through 39 games as a 22-year-old. There's a lot to like here both short- and long-term.

Jed Lowrie (Oak, 2B): 20% owned

Lowrie slips a bit because of a knee injury that has him day-to-day right now, and his extreme injury history. However, there are extremely mixed signals right now, with the team saying he was going to see another doctor about the knee on the same day they used him as a (successful) pinch-hitter. Don’t jump off just yet.

Howie Kendrick (Phi, 1B/2B/3B/OF): 21% owned

Kendrick is also day-to-day right now, after he suffered a hamstring injury late last week. He still managed to appear in two games since, collecting a pinch hit in each of the two, and he had 10 hits in the four games before the injury, so show some patience with Kendrick as well. He’s having a great bounceback season.

Joe Panik (SF, 2B): 11% owned

A recent stretch of road games has allowed Panik to post some of his best numbers of the season. Panik has an OPS of just .595 at home this season (before Monday’s action) compared to .848 on the road. It is almost to the point of starting him on the road and benching him at home. This has been a pattern - albeit to not as much of an extreme - throughout his entire career (.722 OPS at home; .769 on the road).

Eduardo Escobar (Min, 3B/SS): 12% owned

Escobar had a quiet week, but his full-season numbers are still solid, and his batted ball profile is borderline elite. He’ll stay on here unless that line drive rate (24.8%), groundball-to-fly ball rate (0.84) and hard hit ball rate (35.0%) start to seriously drop.


Last Chance

Adam Frazier (Pit, 2B/OF): 10% owned/Jordy Mercer (Pit, SS): 8% owned

These two are consistent but boring. They each post an OPS in the .700s each week with about seven RuBIns (runs+RBI). If you haven’t added them by this point, you’re likely not coming here dying to read about these two. They’ll have to do something crazy to stay on this list in the future.


Cut Bait

Yangervis Solarte (SD, 2B/3B): 27% owned

Solarte went on the DL with an oblique injury and with the depth of position players this season, it’s not worth using a DL spot to hold onto a hitter with as low a ceiling as Solarte. Use it on a pitcher or a higher-upside hitter.

Whit Merrifield (KC, 2B/OF): 22% owned

Merrifield is a guy I have been lower on than most, and he has an OPS of just .688 over his past 23 games. His floor is relatively high because of his strong contact abilities, but his ceiling is Joe Panik. That’s not a great ceiling.

Chase Utley (LAD, 1B/2B): 3% owned

Sorry advanced metrics, you can only tell me so much when this dude is slashing .229/.332/.386 in reality. If he starts to heat up at some point feel free to jump on him in deeper leagues, but he doesn’t have value in really any leagues right now.


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