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Week 21 Waiver Wire - First Base (1B) and Third Base (3B)

By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Rosters are ever-changing and player values continue to rise and fall, depending on the flavor of the moment. Consider making a couple of moves to keep your team competitive. If you're in jeopardy of missing the playoffs, take a risk to get a player that could make the difference.

The corner infield spots generally offer power bats. However, waiver wire players come with as much downside as they do upside and these power bats could come with their own distinct issues. In this article, I'll discuss waiver wire targets for first base and third base in week 21. This week we cover a few guys that cover the age spectrum, others that are on a little hot streak while at least one other has enticing matchups.

Key points - the primary focus of this list is on players who are owned in less than 50% of leagues. Below are some names that might be available.

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Week 21 Corner Infield (CI) Waiver Wire Targets

Todd Frazier (3B, NYM) 32% owned

At 32 years old, Frazier is a forgotten man who is seemingly passed along until the Mets scooped him up. They have a recent tendency to ride players until they are old and gray, regardless of performance. However, Frazier is making their choice appear like a smart one. In two weeks, Frazier has two homers, 11 RBI, and a .348 batting average. He has also chipped in two stolen bases. As history has demonstrated, Frazier continues to sell out for pull-side power this year. He continues to generate a 41.6% fly ball rate and a great 42.5% hard-hit rate. He has come on in the second half with a slash line of .298/.369/.474.

Take advantage of Frazier’s performance while he is hot and has favorable matchups. He has a full schedule this week against the Giants and Nationals, all at home. Unless the Mets have a management overhaul, we cannot expect a youth movement. Therefore, Frazier will likely be the third baseman through the end of the season, providing at least playing opportunity with potential dirt-cheap power.

David Freese (1B/3B, PIT) 5% owned

Freese is doing just enough to get a fantasy squad into the playoffs. He continues to hit for a very high average. Unfortunately, the other counting stats will depend on his teammates. In the last two weeks, Freese has one homer with six runs, five RBI, and a .344 AVG. He is also hitting .324 overall in the second half, which should give optimism that he can produce. The Pirates believe so because even though he isn’t a traditional power bat, they often have him in the cleanup spot. Freese has very good plate discipline. He plays mostly within the strike zone and doesn’t chase many pitches outside the zone (25.8%). He is only striking out at a reasonable 20% rate and the confidence continues to increase.

Freese has decent matchups in his six games this week. He is slated for three games at home against Atlanta followed by three games in Milwaukee. Freese gets to face four righties this week, against which he is hitting .300. Of course, he is also hitting .294 against left-handed pitchers. Despite his success, the Pirates have recently been resting him against righties, so be prepared to have an alternate if that trend continues.

Risky Business

Tim Beckham (2B/3B/SS, BAL) 12% owned

Beckham, who is already 28 years old, is having a rollercoaster season, with most of the ride going down. He is currently struggling at the plate with only seven hits in the last 43 at-bats. During that time he has run into four homers and six RBI. His struggles could be expected considering he had to face off against the aces of the Red Sox, Mets, and Indians during that time. For his own part, Beckham has adapted to the fly ball revolution (34.2%) but his 30.5% hard-hit rate doesn’t translate to success. He needs to improve upon his plate discipline; currently, he is swinging at too many pitches outside the zone (32.9%)

Beckham is routinely slotted in at the bottom third of the lineup. Thankfully AL lineups churn over quicker than NL lineups giving him more at-bats, which might be beneficial this week. Three games in Toronto could provide an opportunity for Beckham to get back on track so he can be a decent addition in deep leagues. The second series, four games at home against the Yankees, is against a pitching staff that can be exploited as well.

Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB) 17% owned

Bauers started off his rookie campaign quite strong. In the first half, he hit .252 with five homers, 25 runs, and 18 RBI. He also added 13 doubles and a couple of stolen bases. But, the league has made adjustments and now he must do the same. The second half, contrary to the first half, has been a mixed bag. He has nearly matched the first half numbers with four homers and 16 RBI. However, it is accompanied with an atrocious .165 batting average. Other numbers that have changed are his groundball rate (increased from 40.8 to 54.2%), hard-hit rate (reduced from 48% to 33.3%), and his OBP (dropped from .368 to .271). Somehow he has been able to maintain his walk rate (12%). The last 19 at-bats have been a primary indicator of his struggles. Bauers has one hit, one run, and one RBI.

Bauers has a full schedule at home against the Royals and Red Sox this week. Luckily, he only faces one lefty on the schedule. If there were a silver lining or a glimmer of near-term hope it is that he faces six right-handed pitchers this week. As crazy as it might look, he is a better hitter against righties, with a .215 batting average. Bauers still has promise and is definitely an addition in dynasty leagues.

Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX) 4% owned

Despite all the success of younger rookies, the 23-year-old Guzman has had what should be considered a successful rookie campaign. He has demonstrated an ability to hit for power. In 297 at-bats, Guzman has 13 homers and 47 RBI. His power occurs despite a 30% hard-hit rate; however, he does distribute the ball all over the field (38%pull, 36%center, 26%opposite field). Guzman’s developing power does come with an increased strikeout rate (29%). This stems from his tendency to swing at pitches outside the zone (38%). He also has a below-league-average swinging strike rate of 14%. Guzman does have a league-average walk rate (8.2%) though.

In the last 14 days, Guzman has four homers, six RBI, and a .281 batting average. This was powered by a three-homer night against the Yankees. Guzman has a six-game schedule on the road against the Athletics and Giants. To his benefit, he will see more lefties this week, against which he is hitting .254. He doesn’t benefit from the hitter-friendly confines of Globe Life Park, but he will be playing in parks that are expansive enough for him to be successful.

Tyler White (1B, HOU) 2% owned

Keep an eye on Tyler White as he continues to perform when he is in the lineup. With the return of George Springer from the disabled list, there are fewer spots for Yulieski Gurriel, Marwin Gonzalez, and White to occupy. Even with only 11 at-bats in the last week (partially due to a five-game schedule), White hit two homers, four RBI, and a .364 batting average. The Astros have a favorable six-game schedule on the road this week against the Mariners and Angels. If you can, find a way to stream White when he is in the lineup.


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