Week 15 Waiver Wire - Second Base (2B) and Shortstop (SS)

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With the natural break of the All-Star Game, we’re going to take a slightly different approach with this column. For the first half of the season, it was a list of six or seven players that appeared week after week, with three new names getting a deeper dive each week.

That was a fine format for the first half of the season, but if you’re not improving, you’re getting worse; so we’re going to make a slight change to hopefully improve the reader's experience. Instead of bringing the six-to-seven returning players back each week, we’re going to have five deep dives that are different each week (there will be repeats eventually since there are only so many middle infielders in baseball, but no one will be in back-to-back weeks). The returning players’ write ups ended up being rather repetitive, and the deeper dives were often the more telling, so we’ll be doing more of that. I’ll also be adding what league size I would consider adding this player in - these will not always correlate perfectly with ownership because Yahoo owners don’t always know what they’re doing.

What we won’t be changing is the Yahoo ownership cut off to get into this column. Players still need to be available in at least 60 percent of Yahoo leagues to be eligible for this column. Without further ado, let’s start it up with our new format.

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Week 15 Middle Infield (MI) Waiver Wire Targets

Brad Miller (TB, 1B/2B/SS): 35% owned

12-team leagues and deeper

If you drafted Miller with hopes for another 30-homer season, you have been severely disappointed this season. Miller has just three home runs in 45 games, despite the rest of the league going absolutely bonkers with the long ball. He’s also hitting just .209 and has been a complete disaster for much of the season.

So why is he on this list? Well, he went 4-for-9 with a long ball in his three games since returning from the DL, and even before his injury (groin) there were some signs that he could show improvement in the second half. Miller’s hard hit ball rate (40.6 percent) has been excellent in 2017, actually higher than it was in 2016 when he hit 30 homers. Despite that, his HR/FB rate is nearly four percent lower than his career rate (and less than half of his 2016 figure), so he should begin to hit a few more long balls in the second half. He’s also been surprisingly solid in OBP leagues, as his .355 OBP is quite strong, more than 50 points higher than last season. If he gets a consistent spot in the Rays lineup and some of that fly ball regression, he could be a solid add for the second half.

 

Paul DeJong (StL, 2B/3B/SS): 35% owned

10-12 team leagues while hot, otherwise 14-team leagues and deeper

DeJong is a classic Cardinal diamond in the rough, slashing .313/.331/.602 with nine homers and 37 RuBIns (runs+RBI) in just 36 first half games for St. Louis. DeJong is riding quite a bit of good luck, but he’s worth owning in shallower leagues while he is running hot.

DeJong has a BABIP of .378 right now, and a HR/FB rate of 24.3 percent. His 36.3 percent hard hit ball rate and consistently-high minor league HR/FB rates make the power a bit more believable. The BABIP is supported by a 26.4 percent line drive rate, but his 38 strikeouts and just four walks mean the BA should plummet pretty soon. DeJong has some definite holes in his plate discipline profile, but his batted ball profile is strong, and he definitely has some legit pop.

 

Jose Reyes (NYM (3B/SS): 13% owned

Desperate 12-team leagues, most 14-team leagues

Reyes has had an extremely hot-and-cold 2017 season, and he is currently running hot. In the past week, Reyes hit a pair of homers and carried a .313 batting average. Reyes is still hitting just .215 for the season, but with eight homers and 10 steals, he actually hasn’t been that bad in a fantasy sense.

He’s basically a poor man’s Jonathan Villar at this point, which can have value in deeper leagues. Reyes should see an uptick in his average as well, as his BABIP (.222) is miles lower than his career rate (.307), and his plate discipline profile is actually stronger than any season since 2013. Finally, Reyes is still getting very consistent at bats despite his struggles, and that alone can have real value in deeper leagues.

 

JT Riddle (Mia, 2B/SS): 1% owned

NL-Only leagues

Riddle is certainly not going to draw attention in anything but the deepest of leagues, but for those in NL-only leagues, he has some nice intrigue. He’s fresh off a nine-hit week in which he had six RBI, bringing his slash line to .255/.286/.365. There’s some room for improvement there as well, as his 34.1 percent hard hit ball rate is actually quite strong, and if he can just start to elevate his swing a bit (52.7 percent ground balls; 29.7 percent fly balls), he could start to leave the yard a bit. He’s never been the most powerful hitter, but hey neither was Scooter Gennett. Riddle has been getting full time in the Marlins lineup since early May to boot.

 

Johan Camargo (Atl, 2B/3B/SS): 2% owned

NL-Only leagues

Camargo has been drawing a bit of attention of late, as he has a .327 batting average in 40 games with the Braves this season. The 23-year-old doesn’t have much pop, and his BABIP (.413) is bound to come back down to earth a bit, but it’s hard to ignore a player with a 119 wRC+ who is owned in just two percent of leagues. Camargo peaked as high as the number eight prospect in the Braves system after the 2014 season, and while he lost a bit of his shine with a tough last couple seasons, he does have a bit of pedigree. His 21.0 percent line drive rate in the majors this season is nice to see, and while his 26.8 percent hard hit rate suggests his .500 slugging percentage is due for a tumble, he could definitely supply a nice average and some decent RuBIn totals while he’s in the Braves lineup.

 

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