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Corner Store is open! It is week eight and some primary starters are returning to your lineups. However, some regulars are still underperforming. 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 get 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.

When looking for a replacement or upgrade on the waiver wire, 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 8 Corner Infield (CI) Waiver Wire Targets

Jesus Aguilar (1B/3B, MIL) 20% owned

Last 7 days: seven runs, five HR, nine RBI, .310 AVG

Aguilar has made the list for the last couple weeks and has raised his ownership from 3% to now 20%. He has brought the thunder this last week and it is still mind-boggling why his ownership is still so low. Aguilar was originally splitting time with Braun at first base with Eric Thames on the disabled list. However, Braun ultimately hit the DL himself. Now Aguilar has the spot all to himself and he has been batting third for the last week, routinely between Christian Yelich and Travis Shaw.

Over the last couple of weeks, Aguilar has increased his fly ball percentage to 45.5. He also has a 40.3% hard hit rate and makes average contact (76.4%). His walk rate (9.6%) and strikeout rate (21.7%) are also average so he isn’t a tremendous liability in either category. He carries a slash line of .333/.395/.608 that should give you confidence to claim him and slide him in your lineup.

In case you were curious about splits, let me reassure you that Aquilar is equal opportunity destruction to all pitchers. He is hitting .333 against lefties and .324 against right-handed pitching. As for home/road splits, he is hitting .317 on the road. More importantly for this week, Aguilar is hitting .343 at home. The upcoming matchups against the Diamondbacks and Mets aren’t as challenging they would seem, as he will go up against only a couple of elite arms.

Christian Villanueva (3B, SD) 37% owned

Last 7 days: three runs, three HR, six RBI, .412 AVG

Look who is back on the waiver wire list, only thanks to the love-hate relationship with unproven young talent. Fantasy owner are fickle. It is almost justified because every day is a day to earn an edge or catch up in lagging categories. However, you cannot jump ship when the tides are rough and be frustrated when a player has a bounce back. You have to stay the course. But, you must know what you're you should expect.

Villanueva's recent power output has moved him back into the cleanup spot, which should produce plenty of RBI opportunities. His season average stands at .250 after the slump; however, he does have a .377 wOBA and BABIP of only .269. He has improved his strikeout rate ever so slightly down to a more manageable 28.8%. Another positive is Villanueva continues to be a fly ball hitter (51.2%) so sustained homers seems to be inevitable when he does make contact. Therein lies part of his issue though. He has poor plate discipline and struggles against same-sided pitching. Villanueva swings too much, particularly at pitches outside the zone at a rate of 37.5% and only has a contact rate of 69.9%. Villanueva also has a batting average of .176 against right-handed pitchers.

Thus far, his approach and success at the plate is dictated by his streakiness. If he is successful making contact, as he has been the last week, then he has the potential to maintain his streak. Regardless of the duration, you must be honest with what type of player Villanueva is becoming. He will have his fair share of strikeouts. At the same time, he will also run into quite a few homers as well. If your roster can stomach that, then Villanueva is your guy.

One last note, people are attracted to homers. So, Villanueva should not just sit idly on your waiver wire. Assuming there is no restriction on waiver wire additions, claim him to take advantage of the hot streak and potentially use as a trade chip.

Josh Harrison (2B/3B/OF, PIT) – 27% owned

Harrison just returned from the disabled list and was immediately placed into the leadoff spot and went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in his first game back. It appears the cause of his DL stint, a fractured finger in his left hand, is no longer a concern. Harrison provides power and speed and is benefitted by hitting at the top of the order.

In 69 plate appearances, Harrison has three doubles, a homer, and 12 runs to go with a .295 average. Although he only has one stolen base on the year, Harrison steals double-digit bases annually. He also has great plate discipline as he has a strikeout rate of 13%. Harrison is also a line-drive hitter (26.5%) that can hit it hard (40.8%) so he will continue to put himself into positions to score and drive in runs should the offense around him improve. That is the biggest issue at the moment. Starling Marte hit the DL and Gregory Polanco has slowed down in the last week. Harrison takes on the Reds and Cardinals this week which should present offensive opportunities.

Mitch Moreland (1B, BOS) 32% owned

Moreland lacked playing time this last week, only starting in three of the seven games. Subsequently, he didn’t have a great week of play. Do not let that discourage you from owning Moreland. Keep in mind three things. One, he is splitting time with Hanley Ramirez, who is performing well, himself, but has a history of ailments that slow him down. If that happens, Moreland will get the majority of the playing time. Two, Moreland has been downright raking this season. He is batting .319 with 15 runs, six HR, and 21 RBI. He still maintains a 1.010 OPS so Moreland will not sit idly by and let the stats come to him. Third, he is playing for the Red Sox who will just churn through their lineup so often that Moreland will just rack up the counting stats. With all that said, there are only four right-handed pitchers on the schedule when Boston takes on Tampa Bay and Atlanta this week. Moreland should still be owned to plug in when he is starting.

Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY) 39% owned

Last 7 days: three runs, one HR, three RBI, one SB, .350 AVG

A foundational piece in an explosive offensive lineup is not owned in half of the leagues. It doesn’t make any sense but let’s dive in. Andujar is batting .286 with 13 doubles, two triples and four homers. He has also added 20 runs and 16 RBI. There are a couple of areas we would like to see improvement from Andujar. First, he hits the ball on the ground too often (48.7%), albeit at a decently hard rate (37.4%). He needs to work on getting the ball in the air more. Second, Andujar only walks 2% of the time and has a very low OBP (.296). Third, he has bad pitcher splits. Andujar is batting .194 against left-handed pitchers but .302 against right-handers. Until Andujar develops more, he is a third baseman to stream against righties. He faces off against Texas the Los Angeles Angels in the coming week, which should have him lined up to face four righties.

Swimming In Deep Waters

Johan Camargo (2B/3B/SS, ATL) 2% owned

Last 7 days: two runs, zero HR, three RBI, .278 AVG

Camargo has the job. Playing time is important when looking at guys on the waiver wire. The Braves released the project signing of Jose Bautista. Even manager Brian Snitker stated that Camargo will be the team’s every day third baseman. So, what does that mean for the fantasy manager? In 82 games in 2017, Camargo had a good rookie season. He hit four homers with 30 runs, 27 RBI and a .299 batting average. He even had a good eye at the plate and only struck out 19.9% of the time. That success has yet to translate in 2018.

Camargo is not the prototypical power third baseman. Camargo has never hit more than four homers in a season in the minors. In 24 games, Camargo is only hitting .226 with two homers and 13 RBI. He has been more selective at the plate and improved his walk rate to 17.1% while only striking out at rate of 18.4%. Camargo swings at only 41.2% of pitches but makes contact at a 80.5% rate. It is also worth noting that this six foot, 160 pound third baseman is hitting the ball with a hard rate of 52.1%.

So, the underlying metrics show someone who is a good hitter and will smack the snot out of the ball when he gets a chance. Now that he has a full-time job, he should be more comfortable and his play will improve. Camargo doesn’t have a tremendous amount of upside but the fact that he is hitting in a young dynamic Atlanta offense will improve all of his categories, sans stolen bases, which have never really been a big part of his game. In deep leagues, Camargo is not a bad choice to roster. In dynasty leagues, he would have to play very well to keep Austin Riley from taking over the position from his on-deck assignment at Triple-A. The other consideration is that Atlanta has surprisingly put itself into a position to compete this year. Therefore, they might want to dabble in the trade market to see if there is someone out there that is better than Camargo for the final push. Until that time, keep an eye on Camargo over the next week and jump on him if he is taking advantage of the opportunity.

 

 

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