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2B and SS Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 19


Well, the trade deadline came and went, and as many of us sat glaze-eyed for hours endlessly refreshing the internet search results to view incoming deals, we found ourselves sourly disappointed until nearly the final hour. Even with blockbuster deals that saw the swapping of Zack Greinke, Yasiel Puig/Trevor Bauer, Shane Greene, Nicholas Castellanos, and many of baseball's top prospects, the market was mostly comprised of small, gap-filling acquisitions, and the middle infield market was no different. That being said, there was still enough action to open a few windows of advancement wide open for several players of impact, and a few guys have used their on-field performance to remain on our minds among the headlines over the past couple of weeks. With the start of August having finally arrived, there's not a moment to waste in identifying who is poised for a big finish.

As always, the second base and shortstop positions are notoriously lacking in waiver wire depth and are therefore quite fickle to navigate. Each week of the season, we will look at a slew middle infielders who are worthy of acquisition (or strong consideration at the very least) and are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo Leagues. Staying on top of the injury, roster, and statistical trends regarding the middle infield positions will ensure that your team has robust year-long depth and is ready if a crisis were to arise.

With that, let's have at it and take a look at a fresh batch of second base and shortstop waiver-wire targets for Week 19.

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Pickups for Most Leagues

Bo Bichette (SS, TOR)

45% Owned

Wow, call it bold, brazen, or exactly as many predicted, but Bo Bichette's confidence in his own abilities has translated to the major league playing field in an amazingly short time. After expressing his frustrations and readiness for promotion to the media and the Toronto Blue Jays organization, they finally cleared some room in the infield by moving Eric Sogard to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, and the highly-ranked shortstop took his rightful place on the big league diamond alongside fellow highly-touted young Jays. He made a fantastic first impression too, as he has already crushed a ball into the stands while netting a 1.133 OPS over his first 30 plate appearances.

The 21-year-old native of Orlando, Florida has practically never stumbled since the start of his professional baseball career, posting 37 home runs, 73 stolen bases (in 96 tries), and a .321/.380/.515 slash in 1,302 minor league AB. Bypassing Double-A New Hampshire completely in 2019, Bichette cemented the inevitability of his call-up by raking at Triple-A Buffalo to the tune of 26 XBH (eight homers, two triples, 16 doubles), 15 stolen bases (in 20 tries), and a .275/.333/.473 slash in 222 AB.

If every nook and cranny of his minor league track record isn't enough to grab Bichette before it's too late, his Herculean 92.1 MPH exit velocity and 436-foot distance on his first MLB blast should cause internal alarm bells to go off. Maybe it is the guys with MLB lineage, but quick learning and adaptation is a pretty useful skill for a rookie in the spotlight to have, and it's what will cause Bo Bichette to finish the year on such a promising note.

 

Josh VanMeter (2B/3B/OF, CIN)

40% Owned

Josh VanMeter has been around for a number of years within the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds farm systems, and has gradually stepped his game up with each passing season and consequential promotion. It may have been a long, unheralded road for VanMeter, but he is still just 24 years old, and he has continued his trend of steady advancement towards by far the best campaign of his professional baseball career.

After excelling at Double-A Pensacola and moving to Triple-A Louisville during the 2018 season, he picked up right where he left off in Louisville with 14 home runs, eight steals (in eleven attempts), and a .348/.429/.669 slash in 181 AB. Several injuries and struggling players (like Jose Peraza) coaxed the Reds into promoting VanMeter to the majors, and from there, his emergent season continued in emphatic fashion with four home runs, three swipes in five tries, and a .286/.388/.488 slash in his first 98 MLB plate appearances.

There's nearly no room for complaint in his spectacular, albeit brief debut: his inflated strikeout rate reflects his rawness at 21.4%, but he also has walked at a tuned-in clip of 12.2%, and he has applied a crushing 49.2% hard contact rate and just 14.3% soft contact on batted balls. By also averaging a 90.3 MPH exit velocity and producing an air-heavy 68.2% combined line drives and fly balls, he is well suited for life in Great American Ball Park, and his skill set has laid the foundation for maintenance of his .339 BABIP and .202 ISO. With Scooter Gennett now out of the way and momentum on his side, Josh VanMeter is something surprising to be excited about in Cincinnati's present and future.

 

Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, COL)

31% Owned

Yet another 24-year-old batter on the come-up, Ryan McMahon has truly made the most out of his recent opportunities at the plate. He will have an impactful volume with Brendan Rodgers out for the rest of the season and Garrett Hampson relegated to the reserves. While he has put up some roller-coaster numbers from month to month, and no one wants to add a player to their lineup with that level of surveillance required, he is finally starting to break that pesky cycle.

During the month of July, McMahon clobbered ten XBH (four home runs, one triple, five doubles), stole a season-high two bases, and produced a fantastic slash of .313/.371/.550 in 80 AB, and he has already crushed his first homer in his brief time at the plate in August. He continued to strike out at a high 28.1% clip this past month, but McMahon's best month of the year was spurred on by a good eye for the zone (as evidenced by his 9% walk rate). He also benefitted from a few key batted-ball peripherals that support "McDoogle" as a secure asset on offense for the remainder of 2019 in spite of his .404 BABIP for July.

He hits for a lot of soft contact (21.4% last month), but he applied a potent level of hard contact with 42.9%, and he produced an effective 32.1% line drives over that same period despite his GB/FB ratio sitting at a seemingly dirt-heavy 2.80. With a 91.3 MPH exit velocity and far-reaching 423-foot average home run distance, Ryan McMahon is tailoring his game for finding the gaps and the bleachers in notoriously liberal Coors Field. Even if the power subsides, he provides the safety net of steady base-hitting and has the physical ability to pepper in some sneaky steals as well (by the way, did you know his dad's name is Jim McMahon, but it isn't the Jim McMahon?)

 

Giovanny Urshela (3B/SS, NYY)

29% Owned

It's been an ideal coming-out party for previously little-known Gio Urshela, and at 27 years old, his ascent came at just the right time for a New York Yankees squad that found itself surprisingly short-handed in the left infield. The long-running sentiment on Urshela was that his run of offensive success would eventually come to an end or that his playing time would, and so far, neither has happened. In fact, the opposite occurred: the Columbia native has gotten more dangerous with the bat and his spot on the field, more secure, as the Yankees impending postseason draws nearer.

After a brief slump in June, Urshela exploded with an insane month of July, complete with 15 XBH (five home runs and ten doubles) and a .333/.360/.681 slash in 75 plate appearances, and he has kept the ball rolling through his brief sample in August with five total hits (one double and four singles). In a month of excellent at-bats and for a guy who strikes out so little (14.7% for July), Urshela drew a surprisingly low rate of walks at just 4%, but his power-game (once thought to be ultimately non-existent), helped to lift him to a new level of offensive proficiency since the end of June.

His .347 ISO and .339 BABIP last month seem lofty and a little naive, but it seems more than reasonable when taking into account that Urshela produced his first sub-1.00 GB/FB ratio of the campaign at the same time (65.6% combined line drives and fly balls), and he was applying a robust 42.6% hard contact (albeit, in conjunction with 21.3% soft contact) on batted balls. With a 90.7 MPH exit velocity and a 13.9-degree launch angle, Gio Urshela is starting to hit pitches out of the park on top of his artillery-like base-hitting. On an offensively astute club that will continue to call on him as they bulldoze towards the playoffs, that should translate to sizable statistical contributions across the board.

 

For the Sneaky and Savvy

Cavan Biggio (2B/OF, TOR)

26% Owned

Cavan Biggio's rookie slash of .212/.343/.373 in 193 AB for the young Blue Jays definitely carries some room for improvement, but his eight home runs and eight stolen bases (in eight tries) on the year have done more than enough to suffice through the rough patches. Thanks to the rebuilding efforts of Toronto, the Jays young-guns have a green light to play through the problems and develop at the big-league level for the remainder of 2019, and that is plenty of time for Biggio to catch heat again (and again, and again).

The occasional rough patches have popped up due to Biggio's high rate of strikeouts (27.7% for the month of July) and some waning quality of contact on batted balls (his hard contact rate fell from 59.3% in June to 38.2% in July with 20% soft contact). However, he has been able to take walks at an excellent clip all year while also avoiding grounders as evidenced by his 61.8% combined line drives and fly balls this past month. With a 19.2-degree launch angle being applied to pitches and an 89.5 MPH exit velocity, Biggio should be able to sustain a BABIP higher than his July figure of .264 moving forward and continue to hit for extra bases in the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.

 

Gavin Lux (SS, LAD)

11% Owned

The Los Angeles Dodgers were unusually quiet at the trade deadline considering their drive for a World Series run and their apparent need of back-end bullpen help, and it was reportedly because the price tag attached to available closers like Felipe Vasquez was Gavin Lux. The Dodgers recently lost both Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez to the IL and consequently made the move to bring in Jedd Gyorko from St.Louis as utility depth, but highly-touted Lux has been playing like a man possessed (and who wants the call-up) in the minors for 2019.

He hit for 13 home runs, stole seven bases (in ten attempts), and conjured up an .896 OPS in 259 AB for Double-A Tulsa, and most encouragingly has crushed nine pitches into the stands along with a ridiculous .458/.536/.856 slash in 118 AB for Triple-A OKC (he seems to be quite comfortable in Oklahoma). LA just called up top-rated Dustin May, and the concept of Gavin Lux's MLB arrival has been more and more trenched in reality as we enter the homestretch. Keep a focused eye on him, because you want to be a part of the welcoming committee when the Dodgers dial the 21-year-old blue chip.

 

Austin Nola (1B/2B, SEA)

8% Owned

Nobody, not even his ace brother Aaron, could've expected 29-year-old Austin Nola to arrive in the majors for the Seattle Mariners in this fashion. Do you know what Nola's career figures are for his time in the minor leagues? In 2,654 AB he stole more bases (32 swipes in 48 attempts) than he hit home runs (only 22 across all platforms) and produced a woeful slash of .252/.340/.339. You wouldn't exactly paint him as a candidate for late-blooming based on that line, and you certainly wouldn't believe that he had any inkling of power, but he has exploded for some very out-of-character numbers since the start of 2019.

He hit seven bombs, stole four bases (in five tries), and produced a .327/.415/.520 slash in 196 AB for Triple-A Tacoma, and has impressed tremendously over his first 87 MLB plate appearances with four dingers and a .966 OPS. Yes, we all can agree that this superlative play is very suspicious, but the home run hitting makes sense with Nola applying 34.4% hard contact to a 0.75 GB/FB ratio (with an ISO of .253). With this area of his game catching up to his base-running and traditionally competent BA/OBP, he is well worth a roll of the dice over the season's final months.

 

Just Checking In...

  • Dansby Swanson was recently placed on the IL with contusion in his left foot, and though he was expected to return as early as possible, some lingering discomfort appears to be delaying the process. That's highly unfortunate for the Atlanta Braves and fantasy baseball managers alike, as Swanson has put together the best season of his career with 17 home runs, seven steals in eleven tries, and a .798 OPS.
  • It took him most of 2019 to return from the IL, but Scooter Gennett was able to get back on the field (though he didn't do much in his time back) for the Cincinnati Reds before being dealt to the surprisingly contending San Francisco Giants at the deadline for cash. Gennett is likely going to be an improvement at second for the Giants over Joe Panik, and he was able to smack a double in his first showing for San Fran.
  • Another untimely IL transfer, Kike Hernandez had strung together several competent months of power-hitting for the Los Angeles Dodgers across nearly every defensive position on the field. With fellow defensively versatile infielder Chris Taylor also working back from injury, this was very likely a catalyzing factor in the Dodgers acquisition of Jedd Gyorko (not to mention their unrelenting reluctance to part with Gavin Lux).

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers


Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!




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Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor? Coming into the season this was the biggest question for fantasy GMs, both dynasty managers who were thinking long-term and redraft managers who wanted to know who would be better for this season. There were many different theories and believe me when I say, both sides thought they were 100%... Read More


NextGen Stats - Quarterback Breakdowns and Takeaways

It's been a month since the last time we took a look at our beloved quarterbacks. Numbers are numbers, and numbers don't lie. You can twist them, but looking at them objectively, numbers say that no matter what, rushing the ball is almost always a worse option than passing it in today's game. That's why... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New... Read More


Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right? Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift. Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain. The... Read More


FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs. In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only... Read More


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Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More