Fantasy Baseball 2017: Top 5 middle infield waiver wire adds

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 02: Tim Beckham
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 02: Tim Beckham /
BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 02: Tim Beckham
BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 02: Tim Beckham /

The middle infield pool of talent is not as deep as some positions when it comes to elite players. Luckily there are some viable options on the waiver wire.

The fantasy baseball season is quickly coming to an end. There are two months left, but there is a lot of baseball to be played between now and then. Hopefully, you’re still in the hunt for a championship, or at least a playoff spot. If not, it’s time to plan for the future in your keeper or dynasty league.

When the season began, the pool for elite second basemen and shortstops was not as deep as the two corner infield positions. I had one middle infielder (Jose Altuve) in my top 10 and two more in my top 20.

Four months later, five middle infielders rank in the top-20 among batters on the ESPN Player Rater. The Player Rater does skew performance by heavily favoring steals because of how rare they are compared to the other offensive stats.

If you were lucky enough to draft one of those top guys, then you have been set at that position. If you weren’t, like the rest of us, you’ve been mixing and matching players trying to get the best output from either one or both of those positions.

The trade deadline created a lot of opportunities to current middle infielders and opened up spots for some new ones. There are some infielders on the DL as well, creating room on your roster for one or two of these up-and-coming players.

While there may be a bigger name available on your waiver wire that you would want to add, the players I list here are owned in less than 40 percent of ESPN leagues.

Honorable mention: Marcus Semien (OAK), Cory Spangenberg (SD)

DENVER, CO – AUGUST 03: Amed Rosario
DENVER, CO – AUGUST 03: Amed Rosario /

After the New York Mets were unable to make a move during the trade deadline, they did the next-best thing, call up Amed Rosario.

As MLB’s top prospect, Rosario was dominating Triple-A. With Las Vegas, he was hitting .328/.367/.466 with seven home runs, 58 RBI and 66 runs. Rosario also had 19 steals in 25 attempts and a 67:23 K:BB ratio.

While he isn’t known for power, he is a guy that will get on base and run around them. He has .336 OBP and 60 steals in the minors.

It hasn’t been the best start for his MLB career, 3-for-12 with two runs and one RBI. I think it’s just big-league nerves. Once they pass, he will be another fast guy with good contact worth adding to your roster.

The Mets lineup isn’t that bad. The loss of Lucas Duda hurts but Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson are still hitting for power and Rosario will have chances to drive them home.

He is owned in 39.3 percent of leagues.

ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 01: Ozzie Albies
ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 01: Ozzie Albies /

Just a day after Rosario got the call, the Atlanta Braves decided to call up their young shortstop, Ozzie Albies.

Albies is a very similar player to Rosario, especially in the minors. In 97 games with Triple-A Gwinnett, he hit .285/.330/.440 with nine home runs, eight triples, 41 RBI and 67 runs. He also stole 21 bases in 23 attempts with a 90:28 K:BB ratio.

His speed looks a little more evident based on his stolen base percentage and triples. He stole 30 bases between Double-A and Triple-A last year.

Albies struggled in his first two MLB games, going a combined 0-for-5. He did score a run though. On Thursday, he went 1-for-3 with a three-run home run.

Albies will be taking over second base duties as Brandon Phillips moves to third base and Freddie Freeman returns to first base. He is still just 20 years old, so I wouldn’t be too disappointed if he struggles early. He is getting a lot of attention early, 7.6 percent increase in his ownership percentage.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 29: Cesar Hernandez
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 29: Cesar Hernandez /

Staying in the National League East, the Philadelphia Phillies have a pair of middle infielders worth picking up in the final months of the season.

Starting at second base, Cesar Hernandez is making good contact with the ball. He is on an eight-game hitting streak with six multi-hit games. Like the previous two players, he doesn’t have a lot of power, just six homers this year.

However, as a more proven option, we know what to expect from Hernandez. He is hitting .293 with 11 steals and 53 runs scored. He is owned in 32.1 percent of leagues.

On the other side is shortstop Freddy Galvis. His average is a little lower, .254, but has a little more power with 11 home runs and 46 RBI. He does have nine steals as well.

Galvis isn’t as consistent as his teammate, two 0-for-5 games in his last six, but can give you some help in the power department in deeper leagues. He is owned in 23.7 percent of leagues, up 8.1 percent over the last week.

BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 02: Tim Beckham
BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 02: Tim Beckham /

Finally talking about the American League. The Tampa Bay Rays had an abundance of middle infielders after acquiring Adeiny Hechavarria. So, they decided to trade Tim Beckham to the Baltimore Orioles.

This is interesting because the Orioles didn’t have a big need. Jonathan Schoop is a solid second baseman and J.J. Hardy is good enough. But, instead of moving Manny Machado back to shortstop, Beckham fills that need.

The good thing is that Beckham has both second base and shortstop eligibility. He also stays in the AL East, which he’s had great success this year.

So far this season, he is hitting .271 with 13 home runs, 39 RBI and 35 runs scored. He isn’t much of a speed guy, five steals in nine attempts, and has a bit of a plate discipline issue, 114 strikeouts in 329 at-bats.

Beckham is part of a better lineup. Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Schoop and Machado. That’s a pretty solid one thru five with Beckham hitting sixth. So far, he is 7-for-12 with five extra-base hits, three RBI and four runs.

If you need power over speed, I’d pick Beckham over the others. He’s owned in just 11.1 percent of leagues.

DENVER, CO – AUGUST 01: Amed Rosario
DENVER, CO – AUGUST 01: Amed Rosario /

A couple of these players are a work in progress. If you want to be the first to jump on their bandwagon, this is the time to pick them up.

The Phillies players are streaky but they put up good numbers over a full season.

The last player is making the most of a fresh start in a new place. He’s at the top of my list.