Week 17 Waiver Wire: Second Base (2B) and Shortstop (SS)

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Howdy, folks. I'm your new host for this weekly feature. You may remember me from such columns as the Outfield Waiver Wire and the Cut List.

Below are some 2B and SS waiver wire options for Week 17 of the fantasy baseball season. We'll be sticking with the format change from the last time around, with one additional tweak - the ownership rate cutoff will rise from 40 to 50 percent.

Let's get to it.

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Week 17 Middle Infield (MI) Waiver Wire Targets

Paul DeJong, 2B/3B/SS, St. Louis Cardinals (48% owned)

12-team leagues, desperate 10-teamers

#CardinalsDevilMagic strikes again. Though St. Louis is currently under .500 and a long shot to make the postseason, they're enjoying yet another great performance from an unheralded farmhand. DeJong has emerged to take the place of last year's model, Aledmys Diaz. He's hitting .287/.302/.569 with 12 home runs in just 179 plate appearances.

While the average is unlikely to persist and the plate approach leaves something to be desired - peep that 0.07 BB/K - DeJong's pop seems mostly legitimate. He hit 22 homers at Double-A last season, then another 13 at Triple-A before being called up this year. The 23-year-old is a flyball hitter with good bat speed and path. As long as he continues to not embarrass himself with the glove, he should keep drawing starts every day at shortstop.

 

Orlando Arcia, SS, Milwaukee Brewers (27%)

12-team leagues, desperate 10-teamers

Arcia has taken a significant step forward in his second season, hitting .281/.325/.411 with nine homers and eight stolen bases so far. Since the start of an 11-game hitting streak to close out the month of May, the 22-year-old has been excellent. During that time, he's posted a .325/.364/.447 triple-slash with five homers and seven steals.

He typically hits eighth in the Brewers lineup, so his run production isn't anything special, but he's contributing enough in the other categories to merit attention in most fantasy formats. Owners have been a bit slow to catch on, judging by his current ownership rate. 

 

Jose Reyes, 3B/SS, New York Mets (26%)

12-team leagues

After going 0-for-4 in the first game of a doubleheader on June 10, Reyes had gone hitless in his last 24 at-bats. His season line at that point: .184/.257/.294, 3 HR, 7 SB. In the six weeks since, however, Reyes has been quietly great. He's hit .298/.338/.550, with six home runs and five stolen bases in 147 plate appearances. While he primarily has hit seventh, this recent hot stretch has been enough to get him penciled into the leadoff spot a few times this month.

Given the scarcity of stolen bases in the fantasy landscape right now, any player who can contribute in that area without murdering your team in the other categories deserves consideration. At the moment, Reyes qualifies. The promotion of Amed Rosario looms, but Reyes can slide over to third base whenever that happens.

 

Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies (16%)

14-team leagues, desperate 12-teamers

Hernandez roared out of the gate this season, posting a .323/.375/.531 line in April. The next two months weren't so kind to him, as he scuffled and then went on the disabled list for five weeks with an oblique strain. Since returning after the All-Star break, however, Hernandez has looked more like the guy we saw in the opening month (and the second half of last season).

He's hit .321/.429/.429 with a homer and a stolen base in seven games, drawing five walks against just three strikeouts. The 27-year-old was immediately reinstalled as the Phillies' leadoff hitter, and their offense has actually resembled a functional major-league outfit in recent weeks. 

 

Cory Spangenberg, 2B/3B/OF, San Diego Padres (14%)

14-team leagues, NL-Only

Long-time RotoBaller readers might recall my championing of Spangenberg as a super-deep sleeper prior to last season. Unfortunately, the Padres' Swiss Army knife dealt with injuries for most of the year and only played in 14 games. This year, however, he's performed well enough to be an attractive target in deep and NL-only leagues.

Since getting called up to the majors in late April, Spangenberg has hit .269/.314/.403 with eight homers and six steals. Half of those home runs have come in the last three weeks, and since the end of May, he's hitting a cool .295/.355/.486. With eligibility at three positions, Spangenberg is the kind of low-key pickup that can make a difference in more challenging leagues.

 

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