Week 5 Waiver Wire - Second Base (2B) and Shortstop (SS)

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We are officially into May, which means every article you read will mention that readers will get to see the words “small sample size” and “stabilization point” with far less regularity, but breaking that very promise by mentioning that they won’t mention them. It’s that time of the baseball season.

Speaking of stabilization, the own percentage of players are beginning to settle in, meaning there will be less players graduating and being demoted from this article than normal. We have only one graduate and one dropout in this week’s article. There will still be three players introduced, it will just mean that in future weeks, the cut list will have to be a bit stricter so that this list doesn’t get out of hand. At some point, if you haven’t added a player after a month, there’s no need continuing to tell you to add him.

Friendly reminder, we are using Yahoo ownership percentages and position eligibility. On to the middle of the infield!

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Week 5 Middle Infield (MI) Waiver Wire Targets

Didi Gregorius (NYY, SS): 33% owned

Gregorius is back in the lineup for New York, and he has picked up right where he left off in 2016. The 27-year-old set career highs in nearly every statistical category last season, hitting .276 with 20 home runs. He had 68 runs, 70 RBI, seven steals, and it was easily the best season of his young career. There were a few warning signs coming into 2017, such as a 3.7 walk rate and a rather pedestrian 24.5 percent hard hit ball rate. That being said, he’s in his prime age-wise and will have a consistent spot in what is turning out to be a loaded Yankees lineup. His home stadium is incredibly homer-friendly, and he has a nice ground ball/fly ball rate - especially for those short fences. Gregorius likely won’t reach all of the highs from 2016, but he should be owned in more than a third of leagues. Look to give him an add, especially while he’s hot.

Josh Harrison (Pit, 2B/3B): 20% owned

Harrison is one of those guys who has seemingly been on the fantasy radar forever, but he’s still under 30 years old, and his versatility and ceiling as a five-category contributor have him fantasy relevant once again. Harrison has four homers and two steals this season, and has nice 12/12 to 15/15 potential if he is getting regular at-bats for Pittsburgh. Harrison is hitting more fly balls than any other time in his career right now, and the elevated swing hasn’t taken anything away from his batting average, which sits comfortably above average. Harrison is also pulling the ball more than in seasons past, only more reason to trust the two homers from a hitter who had just four each of the past two seasons. With Starling Marte suspended, Harrison, the ultimate utility player, should see plenty more action. He has been in the starting lineup every game but once since the suspension, even appearing in that game as a late-game substitute.

Orlando Arcia (Mil, SS): 5% owned

Arcia has the type of big-prospect pedigree to grab your attention when he succeeds even in small samples. Over the past week, Arcia hit .368 with two homers and 10 RBI. Arcia has cut 10 percent out of his ground ball rate from 2016, turning it directly into fly balls; a good sign that the power he has flashed to start 2017 is legitimate. We know the speed is legitimate, as he stole at least 20 bases each of his past four professional seasons. If he starts to draw a few more walks, his steals total could jump up. A 15/15 season could be in the works thanks to a homer-friendly home ballpark. Arcia is still just 22, so there could be some bumps in the road, but his ceiling is extremely high, so he’s worth a flyer in deeper leagues.

 

Graduated

Brandon Phillips (Atl, 2B): 49% owned

Phillips had a few days off during the past week, but he’s still worthy of a roster spot, as proven by his continually increasing own percentage in Yahoo.

 

Keep Adding

Taylor Motter (Sea, SS/OF): 31% owned

Motter only had one RBI in the past week, but he added his first steal of the season. He is still hitting the ball as hard as anyone in this tier of ownership.

Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM, SS): 38% owned

Cabrera didn’t get a lot of hits in the past week, but he stole his second and third bases of the season; a nice little bonus considering he had just five all of last season.

Ryan Schimpf (SD, 2B): 22% owned

Last week Schimpf was in the “Last Chance” tier, but he has moved back into the “Keep Adding” tier thanks to a three-homer week in which he hit .263. In the last five games, he has managed to raise his slugging percentage over 150 points.

Joe Panik (SF, 2B): 21% owned

Panik had a rather pedestrian last week, but he’s still hitting over .300. His batted ball profile is right back around where it was in 2015.

Andrelton Simmons (LAA, SS): 15% owned

Simmons was one of the guys we looked at closely last week, and while he wasn’t out of his mind by any stretch over the past week, he scored three runs and continues to be a decent deep-league add.

Kolten Wong (StL, 2B): 6% owned

Wong has been getting regular at-bats in the St. Louis lineup, and is doing well with those at bats, sporting matching walk and strikeout rates and an OPS over .800.

Jed Lowrie (Oak, 2B): 4% owned

I’m about two posts away from being named Head of the Jed Lowrie Bandwagon, so I don’t plan on jumping off soon. Last week Lowrie had eight hits (.320 BA), four runs, and a homer. Where is the love?

 

Last Chance

Jorge Polanco (Min, 2B/3B/SS): 12% owned

Polanco’s OPS is down to .669 on the season, as he has had a couple of cold weeks in a row. More disturbingly, it appears as though he is trying to elevate his swing a bit too much. Polanco’s 30.7 percent line drive rate in 2016 was his sexiest feature, and with that figure down to 13.7 percent, there’s certainly reason to worry. He is turning over 10 percent of those line drives into fly balls, maybe in a hope for more power. Considering Polanco has only one home run on the season hopefully he settles his swing back into the level it was last year when the line drives were flying off his bat left and right.

 

Cut Bait

Scooter Gennett (Cin, 2B): 5% owned

Gennett was near the bottom of the list last week, and after getting only two starts in the past week, he’s officially off the list until he starts getting more regular playing time.

 

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