We’re officially one third of the way through the 2017 baseball season, and the waiver wire is starting to look awfully slim, especially the middle infield. Today I’m going to break down four guys, three of whom are under 10% ownership, that I believe can help make an impact on your team. I’ll also be reviewing a craft beer from Lord Hobo Brewing out of Massachusetts, which I was fortunate to get my hands on for a special distribution event in the District. Let’s get to it!
Ryan Schimpf, 2B/3B (SD) – 7.4% ownership
Stats: .168 AVG / .296 OBP / 23 R / 14 HR / 25 RBI / 0 SB
Is there any stranger player in baseball than Ryan Schimpf? I’m not even referring to his name, which always seems to give me a craving for shrimp(f), but rather his confusing feast-or-famine approach at the plate.
The average is uglier than an actual shrimp (seriously, have you looked at one up close?), but how about those home runs? Schimpf’s average may seem to preclude him from being rosterable, but if you’re in an OBP league you can pull the trigger without hesitation: Schimpf currently sports a .296 OBP, which isn’t eye-popping in and of itself, but that’s a full 130 points above his putrid average. His career stats support him as a patient hitter (albeit one who never gets hits), as he bats .200 lifetime with a .322 OBP, so expect his average (and OBP) to rise about 40 points as he normalizes to career numbers.
Beyond that, he’s on an absolute tear, mashing 5 home runs in his last 9 games (4/5 were solo shots). Just be aware of what you’re going to get: a terrible hitter (only 3 multi-hit games all season) who walks a lot, and crushes home runs. He’s hitting 5th in a putrid San Diego lineup, so he’ll get a fair shot at what limited RBI opportunities his teammates provide. And oh yeah, don’t expect any stolen bases out of him either!
Jordy Mercer, SS (PIT) – 4.1% ownership
Stats: .251 AVG / .346 OBP / 21 R / 5 HR / 18 RBI / 0 SB
Mercer is a reach, but reaching is what you have to do sometimes when you have a hole to fill. Despite his middling stats and batting 8th in a decidedly “meh” Pirate offense, Mercer has been raking recently: hitting safely in 8 of his last 10 games, recording 7 multi-hit performances during that span, including 3 of his 5 home runs.
Mercer won’t wow you, but it’s safe to add him and ride out his hot streak. He also has a good eye at the plate, with nearly 100 points of OBP on top of his AVG, so OBP leagues should especially take a look at the 30-year-old shortstop.
Whit Merrifield, 2B (KC) – 9.2% ownership
Stats: .294 AVG / .353 OBP / 17 R / 6 HR / 12 RBI / 6 SB
Were you listening last week when I suggested picking him up? If so, you’ve been rewarded as Whit tacked on another 6 games of solid hitting including 4 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, and 3 SB to bring his current streak to 14 consecutive games with a hit. Over that span, he’s recorded 6 multi-hit games and three home runs.
Merrifield bats 5th in the KC lineup, and figures to continue to see his share of RBI opportunities. He also provides some rare speed at the keystone, swiping 6/7 bags this season after recording 8 steals last year. The young second baseman is currently playing out his first full season in the big leagues, and appears to be breaking out.
All of you frustrated Pedrioa owners (like me) take note, and pull the trigger on him sooner rather than later.
Logan Forsythe, 2B/3B (LAD) – 23.8% ownership
Stats: .246 AVG / .384 OBP / 9 R / 1 HR / 6 RBI / 1 SB
Don’t let the low counting stats fool you, as Forsythe has only logged 22 games this year after missing much of April and May with a toe injury. The righty second baseman logged two consecutive career years in Tampa before heading to LA this year, and batting leadoff in a potent Dodgers offense certainly helps his value.
Before hitting the DL in April, Forsythe was headed towards another career year, posting a .295/.407/.748 slashline to start the season. He’s not yet back to form since being activated on May 23rd, but is starting to show up as he’s collected three hits, a home run, two runs, two RBI, and a steal this week in just three games.
Forsythe smacked 6, 17, and 20 homers in his past three seasons, and his numbers support an even higher HR total this year: he’s increased his Hard Hit Ball percentage from 31% in 2015, to 36% in 2016, and now at 39.1% this season. Look for him to return to form and potentially finish the season as a top-10 second baseman if we’re lucky.
The Craft Beer Review
Despite all of the players I highlighted today at the keystone position, I will not be reviewing Keystone Light in this section. Ok, ok, I’ll review it: it tastes like watery garbage. Decent foamy head. Tasting notes include frat basements, shame, and disappointment.
Onto the craft beer: Boomsauce double IPA by Lord Hobo Brewing. This Massachusetts double IPA clocks in at 7.8% ABV, and is certainly unique.
Boomsauce is a slightly hazy New England style brew, and pours light amber/gold with a solid foamy head and good lacing on the glass. The aroma is light, with hints of orange/citrus and a wee bit of pine. Like many of Lord Hobo’s beers, I get an interesting taste of pepper and dry spice that you don’t typically see in IPAs, as well as notes of orange/grapefruit/citrus and a healthy hoppy, earthy, bitterness that sticks in your mouth throughout the drinking process.
Overall, it’s a tasty brew, though I was a bit disappointed after the buildup and the brewery’s reputation. Ignore the hype, and enjoy it for what it is: an above-average, hazy, spicy New England double IPA.