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Week 26 Waiver Wire - First Base (1B) and Third Base (3B)

It is likely the playoffs in head-to-head leagues have concluded. Hopefully, you are the champion. The season is not over for those in roto leagues. Now is the time to focus on speculative adds for players who may see increased roles or move to a better situation.

The corner infield positions traditionally offer power with the potential for high averages. However, at this stage of the game, to get power, you'll likely get a mediocre batting average. The other route is to get players that are a little more well-rounded. In this piece, I'll identify waiver wire targets for first base and third base in week 26 who should be able to contribute in multiple categories. These players are owned in 50% or less of Yahoo! leagues.

If you have any questions on corner infielders or any dynasty question for that matter, message me directly on Twitter @EllisCan2.

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Week 26 Corner Infield (CI) Waiver Wire Targets

Hunter Dozier (1B/3B, KC) 4% owned

Over the last 30 days, Dozier has four homers, 15 RBI, and a .269 average. It doesn’t sound particularly impressive. However, he is useful in most leagues if you just need power. Dozier has a 46% hard-hit rate, 52.7% against right-handers which he faces the most this week. He also has a .293 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. In the second half, he has made some improvements at the plate. He has increased not only his average (.251), but also his strikeout rate (27%) and slugging (.461).

Dozier plays two games in Cincinnati before returning home to play a four-game series against the Indians. He will see four righties and at least one lefty on the mound as one start by the Indians is still to be determined. It also isn’t confirmed that the Indians will run their aces on the mound for a full start considering their interest in being fully healthy for the playoffs.

Josh Bell (1B, PIT) 42% owned

Bell has been a bag of mixed emotions this year. 2018 has not been what fantasy owners had expected, particularly following a 2017 season in which he hit 26 homers with 90 RBI. The outlook is trending up though even with only 11 homers this year. In 70 fewer at-bats, Bell has already hit 31 doubles, compared to 26 in all of 2017. Bell never demonstrated elite power in the minors but the expectations were that it would improve, given his very good hitting ability. In the second half, he has a slash line of .291/.400/.480 and slightly improved his fly ball rate (34%) and greatly raised his hard-hit rate (44%).

Bell will have a full schedule on the road this week against the Cubs and Reds. He will face off against four left-handed pitchers and three righties this week. Bell is a switch-hitter and while he isn’t terrible against left-handed pitchers (.264), he is better against righties (.272).

Daniel Palka (1B/OF, CHW) 15% owned

Palka has been destroying pitching recently. He has six homers, nine RBI and a .273 average in the last 14 days. His 2018 rookie campaign has brought about 27 homers. Unfortunately, he does need to work on his plate discipline as he has a 33% strikeout rate. Also, he currently doesn’t use most of the field; he pulls the ball 44% of the time.

Palka will have a full seven-game schedule this week, which includes a double-header. The week starts at home against the Indians before he returns heads to Minnesota to face the Twins. It is a schedule loaded with right-handed pitchers. This is a perfect recipe for Palka; 25 of his homers this year have been against right-handers. Thankfully, he shouldn’t be too much of a drain on batting average with a .252 average against righties.

Jay Bruce (1B/OF, NYM)

Bruce has been a big disappointment this year. Bruce is normally known for his power and routinely provides 30 homers annually. Unfortunately, he has just nine this year. Bruce has slowly bounced back to give you the power your roster needs. It would not be wise to acquire him if you have a concern with batting average. In the last 14 days, he has three homers and 12 RBI, but only a .209 batting average.

Bruce has shown improvement in the second half. He has a .256 batting average during that time. He also has a swing that caters to homers with a 51% fly ball rate. You will also benefit from his 11% walk rate and only a 20% strikeout rate. Bruce will enjoy a week at home against the Braves and Marlins. This will match him up against five righties and one left-handed pitcher this week.

Peter O'Brien (1B/OF, MIA) 4% owned

O’Brien isn’t a superstar or a player that you would target in dynasty leagues; he is a 28-year-old journeyman. However, he is hot right now and you need that to improve your fantasy roster here in the home stretch. In the last 14 days, O’Brien is hitting .310 with three homers and seven RBI. He even has a .920 OPS this season. O’Brien’s walk rate (11% is enticing) but it also comes with a 32% strikeout rate. Even his .263 average comes with a .318 BABIP, so likely there is a risk of a batting average drain.

He will be on the road all week against the Nationals and Mets. This will have him facing five right-handers and one left-hander this week. As the schedule has it, it includes Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Noah Syndergaard. If the remains unchanged, be cautious in those starts.


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