Week 18 Waiver Wire - Second Base (2B) and Shortstop (SS)

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With the fantasy playoffs around the corner, now is the time to shoot big and find some hidden gems that can help you the rest of the way. With many middle infield options being owned in most leagues, it's all about finding that player that can strike gold. 

This week's waiver wire will feature middle infielders widely available in most Yahoo leagues. Now is the time to cut bait with players not living up to expectations. No one wants to regret not grabbing a guy off the waiver wire for free who later becomes part of a playoff run. With the deadline over and injuries among us as well as players recovering from injuries, there is a nice blend of available second baseman and shortstop's available for free! Whether it is power, speed or a combination of both, you will find all sorts of help available. 

To be eligible for this article the Yahoo ownership must be 50% or less. As always feel free to contact me on twitter @D_Burd with any questions. 

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Week 18 Middle Infield (MI) Waiver Wire Targets

Ketel Marte (ARI, SS): 1% owned

14-team leagues and deeper mixed leagues

Shortstop Ketel Marte was a hot name in last year's draft but failed to produce to fantasy owners' expectations. Marte was part of the deal that sent Jean Segura to the Seattle Mariners. Marte has spent most of this season in Triple-A where he hit .338 with six home runs, 62 runs scored and 11 stolen bases. He also had a wRC+ of 133 in Triple-A.

So you may be asking, why pickup Marte? For one, he has been on fire over the past week with a .353 batting average to go along with two home runs. With shortstop being a rare position to find a good bat, riding someone like Marte is not the worst idea. He has been hitting for both average and power since he was recently called up to replace the injured Chris Owings (finger) who is on the 60-day disabled list. Not only has Marte been getting at-bats, he is in a very deep and high scoring lineup. He has been in the sixth and seventh spot behind hitters such as Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, JD Martinez and Jake Lamb. As long as Marte continues to hit behind them, there should be plenty of RBI opportunities. It also doesn't hurt that the Diamondbacks play in one of the most hitter friendly ballparks in big leagues. Only 1% owned in Yahoo! leagues, Marte is a worthy flier. Don't expect the power and batting average to stay where it is at, but he is worth riding with while he is hot.

 

Neil Walker (NYM, 2B): 23% owned

10-12 team mixed leagues

Neil Walker is your typical fantasy player who gets overlooked every year and ends up on a playoff team in your league. Walker has been out the past six weeks with a hamstring injury but was activated before Friday's contest.

Walker is in his second year with the Mets and remains a nice source of power at second base or middle infield. He has hit 15+ home runs over the past four season which includes 23 in two of the past four seasons. He might not be the sexiest name out there, but he gets the job done. With a career .273 batting average over eight seasons, Walker has shown his worth. Walker should also be motivated as he is set to become a free agent following this season. He is worth a look for those in need of a solid average/power second baseman, middle infielder or utility play. The only risk is that he has been injury prone over the past few seasons. As long as he is healthy he should be productive. 

 

Wilmer Difo (WSH, 2B/SS): 7% owned

12-team leagues, most 14-team leagues

Washington Nationals infielder Wilmer Difo has been on a mission since shortstop Trea Turner (wrist) landed on the disabled list. Although no one can replace Turner, Difo has a done a respectable job filling in and has overtaken veteran Stephen Drew with his strong play.

In the past month, Difo has hit .391 with three home runs in 64 at-bats. He has also been hitting second on most occasions in a very productive lineup that will help owners pick up some runs scored. Difo has a BABIP of .315 on the season but there should be some regression as the season goes on. However while he is hitting and widely available Difo should be looked at for those in need of a second baseman or shortstop.

 

Cesar Hernandez (PHI, 2B/SS): 19% owned

10-team deep leagues, mixed leagues

Hernandez is another player like Neil Walker who is both undervalued and is coming back from an injury.

Hernandez was out for a few weeks with an oblique injury but hasn't missed a beat since he's been activated. Prior to his injury the second baseman was in the top three for runs scored in the major leagues. He continues to score runs at a high rate since his activation with 11 over the past two weeks. That's a very nice number for a player who is widely available in most Yahoo leagues. It also doesn't hurt that he is hitting .333 in that span and is at .285 for the season. Hernandez has a .281 career batting average and also provides some speed to his game with 15+ stolen bases over the past two years. Hernandez is a player worth owning in most leagues and is a solid source for batting average, runs and stolen bases. Grab him before his ownership climbs up!

 

Kaleb Cowart (LAA, 2B/3B): 1% owned

AL-Only leagues

Since being called up over a week ago, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim infielder Kaleb Cowart has made the most of his playing time. In his first five starts he has three games with multi-hits and five runs scored. The infielder hit .311 with a career best 12 home runs in Triple-A this season. Although the sample size is very small, he is worth keeping an eye in very deep AL-Only leagues. There is a clear path to playing time and with the Angels looking to find their second baseman of the future it allows Cowart to receive a good amount of playing time to prove himself. He is eligible at both second base and third base. He is worth monitoring in AL-Only leagues.

 

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