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Corner Store is open! It is week seven and rosters are still affected by DL stints and upper-echelon players who continue to under-perform. Therefore, it is important that you are fluid and dynamic in your ability to fill the voids and get positive results. Do not grow roots with the first replacement player you picked up off the waiver wire this season. It might be better to go with the hot hand. However, it is important to find the right fit and make a decision. By the time most average fantasy managers are ready to dip more than their big toe in, the waiver wire waters have turned cold again.

Again, you will not find a commensurate replacement for the corner infielder that you lost. When looking for a replacement or upgrade, identify the needs of your roster and how a player would fit in to improve your roster as a whole, or boost a certain category at the very least. First base and third base are generally the best spots to look to improve your team’s power. From the waiver wire, those individuals will usually come with a poor batting average. The main alternative is players that give you average production across the board. Choose wisely.

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 as well as players that have recently graduated from the parameters. Check your leagues for availability. I've included the recent performance below as well, so you can compare and make a better selection.

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Week 7 Corner Infield (CI) Waiver Wire Targets

Mitch Moreland (1B, BOS) - 32% owned

Top 10. Moreland is ranked in the top 10 among first baseman thus far. He has accomplished that as a part-time player. That is a testament to how well he is performing, yet he gets much less love than other first baseman. Let’s survey the lot. Eric Hosmer, Marwin Gonzalez, Matt Olson, Ryan Braun, Jay Bruce, Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, etc. All these guys are owned in tremendously more leagues than Moreland, but are performing terribly worse. These aren’t the only ones, there’s also Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, and Edwin Encarnacion but no one is going to blame those owners for keeping them in the lineup.

However, the former list of names is causing some managers to drop in the standings. The successful managers find a way to get guys like Moreland onto the roster and start him when he is playing while sitting the under-performing regulars. In the last 14 days, Moreland has hit .371 four homers with seven runs, nine RBI, and a stolen base. On the year, he has slowly increased his walk rate to 11.1% while his strikeout rate remains a respectable 17.2%. Moreland has five right-handed opposing pitchers starting for the upcoming matchups against the Athletics and Orioles. If you can find a way, get him on your roster so you can have at least a small investment in a loaded Red Sox lineup.

Ryon Healy (1B/3B, SEA) - 48% owned

Ryon Healy is a repeat player on the waiver wire article. It is surprising that despite the performance, people are hesitant to buy into the stats he is providing. The problem is that hot streaks do eventually cool off. By the time you ultimately decide to take the plunge, it might be too late. Fortunately, all aspects are pointing toward Healy performing well for a little while longer.

Healy has continued to improve his underlying metrics and weaknesses. His BB% is now up to 4.7 and his batting average has increased to .282, even with a .288 BABIP. Healy is also now sporting an upgrade in hard hit rate (38.1%). Again, if OBP is a category in your league, Healy might not be as attractive of an option for you. But, consider that Healy has been hitting at the bottom of the lineup up until now. The injury to Robinson Cano could adjust the lineup and Healy could benefit from it. He should be owned in more leagues, especially with upcoming favorable matchups against Minnesota (one game), Texas, and Detroit.

Last 7 days: nine runs, three HR, six RBI, .333 AVG

Jedd Gyorko (1B/2B/3B, STL) - 20% owned

Jedd Gyorko is a guy that will never give up. You have to respect and appreciate those types of guys. He has been beat up left and right in the fantasy community, particularly after not meeting expectations following a 30 HR season in 2016. Gyorko had a letdown season in 2017, like only fantasy fans can know, in the form of 20 HR, six stolen bases and a .272 batting average. Still without a dedicated spot in 2018, Gyorko continues to accrue positional eligibility and has surpassed expectations of a replacement player.

Gyorko is currently filling in for Matt Carpenter who is having a terrible season. In 62 plate appearances, Gyorko has a .348 average with four homers and a slash line of .348/.466/.652. He is hitting the ball harder (40%) and increasing his fly ball rate (42.9%) more than he ever has in his career. Gyorko has also benefitted from hitting in the fifth spot in the order. If he continues this type of production, the Cardinals will have little choice but to find a spot for him in the lineup. Minnesota and Philadelphia aren’t the most ideal matchups but it could easily be worse.

Last 7 days: four runs, two HR, two RBI, .316 AVG

Risky Business

Daniel Palka (1B/OF, CWS) - 2% owned

Across the board production is the category for this young man, who is only given an opportunity because of a hamstring injury to Avisail Garcia. Daniel Palka has a .295 batting average with six runs, four homers, and 11 RBI to go with one stolen base in 44 at-bats in 2018. Palma has shown that he can hit; he has a .270 average across five minor league seasons. Palka also has 108 HR and 48 SB so he also brings power and speed. Thus far in the majors, he has show the patience to hit the ball to all fields as well.

Palka is not without his flaws though. Two of his detractors are a lack of walks and playing time. Currently, he has a BB% of 2.2, but he has shown to be able to walk anywhere in the range of 7-13% which is more that satisfactory considering the skills he brings. The other interesting issue is a lack of consistent playing time, which is particulary vexing considering the amount of insufficient quality players on the White Sox roster to block Palka. When he has been in the lineup, the 26-year-old rookie has been slotted into the fifth or sixth position. Currently, he offers both first base and outfield eligibility so Palka provides more flexibility for your roster.  His upcoming opponents of the Pirates and Rangers are also quite favorable. Consider rostering Palka in deep and AL-only leagues.

Last 7 days: two runs, one HR, three RBI, one SB, .500 AVG (in 12 at-bats)

 

Performance of Other Corner-Infielder Options

C.J. Cron (1B, TB) - 36% owned

Cron is making the most of his job as the Rays first baseman. He has 10 hits in his last 27 at-bats. Cron is not known for his power, but already has eight homers this year. Despite an increased ground ball rate (43.1%), he is hitting the ball harder (40.4%) and achieving more success.

Last 7 days: three runs, one HR, three RBI, .375 AVG

Yulieski Gurriel (1B, HOU) - 27% owned

Gurriel continues to get plenty of at-bats in a potent Astros lineup. Don’t worry about his lack of power. Keep in mind, Gurriel isn’t that far removed from having hamate bone surgery in his left wrist. The Angels and Indians will not be the most accommodating of opponents in the next two series.

Last 7 days: six runs, zero HR, four RBI, .286 AVG

Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY) - 44% owned

With the hype train came an abundance of love and a plethora of bandwagoneers. Now that Andujar has hit a minor rough patch, many of those have tucked-and-rolled their way to greener grass. Of course, the grass is always greener above a septic tank. Find your way back to the wagon. One thing to point out is that he just faced daunting pitching staffs from the Indians, Red Sox, and even the Athletics. Greener pastures lie ahead in Washington, Kansas City, and Texas.

Last 7 days: four runs, zero HR, one RBI, one SB, .276 AVG

Jeimer Candelario (3B, DET) - 33% owned

Candelario is day-to-day with an injured left wrist, but his MRI came back clean. Hopefully he will return soon, as Miguel Cabrera is slated to be back in the near future.

Last 7 days: two runs, one HR, two RBI, .211 AVG

Jesus Aguilar (1B/3B, MIL) - 3% owned

Aguilar is sliding all over the top of the lineup, but remains in the position to get more at-bats and increased stats that come with it. Unfortunately, upcoming series in Arizona and Minnesota aren’t the most optimal locations to take advantage of Aguilar’s production.

Last 7 days: three runs, one HR, four RBI, .342 AVG

Matt Adams (1B/OF, WAS) - 74% owned

Adams graduated from the list and it seems only Arizona could slow him down, likely thanks in part to the humidor. He heads back home where he has six homers and a .298 average to take on the Yankees and Dodgers.

Last 7 days: four runs, three HR, eight RBI, .250 AVG

 

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