Week 14 Waiver Wire - First Base (1B) and Third Base (3B)

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Believe it or not, the first half is almost over and All-Stars have officially been selected. If you're lucky enough to have a few of them on your fantasy squad, you're probably in good shape. If you're reading this article, chances are you have a glaring hole at either (or both) corner positions and need some offensive boost. Look no further, as there are plenty of options left that could give a spark heading into the latter portion of the 2017 season.

The corner infield positions traditionally offer power with the potential for high averages, so you may want to target players that can offer an advantage in those categories to bolster your team. In this piece, I'll identify waiver wire targets for first base and third base in week 14 who should be able to contribute in multiple categories, either as replacements or bench depth. These players are owned in 50% or less of Yahoo! leagues.

We'll also look at the names mentioned in last week’s post, noting which players have graduated off of the waiver wire (ownership higher than 50%), which are still recommended pickups, and which we are dropping off the list entirely.

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Week 14 Corner Infield (CI) Waiver Wire Targets

Nicholas Castellanos (3B, DET) 33% owned

Castellanos went deep Sunday night for the second time in a week. That only gives him 10 HR on the year, which is a slightly disappointing total heading toward the All-Star break. Castellanos has 10 hits in his last 26 at-bats, but is hitting just .247 this season. There's still some untapped potential here, but how long are we going to wait for it to arrive? Some good signs: he's raised his hard contact rate to 48.2% and his .308 BABIP is about 20 points below his career average. If the rest of the Tigers start hitting like they are capable of (looking at you, Miggy and V-Mart), it could be a much better second half in Detroit all around.

Yunel Escobar (3B, LAA) 7% owned

The last time I recommended Escobar, he predictably landed on the DL just days later. Barring a repeat jinx, he remains a solid source of batting average, albeit with little power for a corner infielder. Escobar is hitting .381 in the last week and is creeping toward the .300 mark for the season. Getting Mike Trout back in the lineup should be a huge boost, although he may be moved out of the cleanup spot once that happens. Still, Escobar seems to be a key part of the Angels' otherwise lackluster lineup.

Mike Napoli (1B, TEX) 29% owned

Desperate for power, even at the expense of batting average? Napoli's got you covered. Back-to-back games with jacks have brought him to 16 HR in 229 at-bats, which means he could easily match last year's total of 34. Unfortunately, 101 RBI are a pipe dream at this point, as Napoli has driven in just 35 for a still underachieving Rangers offense. The other bad news is his 0.26 BB/K, which is a career worst. Even if he drags his average up above the .200 mark, it won't be much higher. Stream for the power, but be wary of the strain on other categories.

Tommy Joseph (1B, PHI) 26% owned

If you're like me, you drafted Joseph as a late-round sleeper because you waited on first base, dropped him after a rough April and then picked him up again everywhere once he heated up in May. I find myself keeping him in the CI or Util spot of several leagues because he continues to produce satisfactory power numbers. Two more homers last week gives him 14 on the season. His .249/.309/.457 is just high enough not to hurt you while you extract his power from the waiver wire. While a 24.4% K% isn't great, he doesn't strike out nearly as much as the aforementioned Napoli (33.3% K%) and at 25 years of age, should be trending up.

 

Hold For Now

Brandon Drury (2B/3B/OF, ARI) 44% owned  - Drury is still holding down second base on a nightly basis, so living with last week's 4-for-21 showing might be necessary to wait out his next hot streak. Keep in mind the splits I mentioned last time and utilize him as a spot player for your squad rather than an everyday starter and you'll get more bang for your buck.

Mitch Moreland (1B, BOS) 19% owned - Sure enough, since last week he's got two hits in his last 19 at-bats. Realistically, nothing much changed here though. Moreland will continue to be a safe, unexciting corner infield option who will finish between 20-25 HR this season. He fits the mold of a CI in 14+ team leagues that you can set and forget, not a streamer who will help you catch up on stat categories quickly.

Maikel Franco (3B, PHI) 46% owned - As mentioned last week, this is a risk-reward move you're making by picking up the struggling young slugger. His output could eventually catch up to his peripherals, but it's going to be a process (in Philadelphia? Imagine that...) Hold or monitor for another couple of weeks, but if he doesn't start putting up more crooked numbers in the power column a week after the All-Star break, move on.

 

Cut Bait

Scooter Gennett (2B/3B/OF, CIN) 17% owned

Not for lack of production, but it's time for Scooter Mania to come to an abrupt halt. Starting All-Star shortstop Zack Cozart is back in the lineup and Jose Peraza has been told he'll keep his starting job, so Gennett should spend most of his time as a pinch-hitter and occasional substitute. This effectively kills his fantasy value until another injury comes along.

 

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Check out RotoBaller's entire 2017 fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!


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