Far Side Waiver Wire: Third Base, Shortstop, and Craft Beer

Happy Friday everyone, and welcome back to Baseball and Brews. This is the last weekend before the All-Star Break, and special guest columnist Aaditya is back to give us his take on the thin waiver wire for 3B and SS, and an Imperial IPA review to wash it down. Thanks, Adi!

3B and SS Waiver Wire + Imperial IPA

Friday, July 7th, 2017

By Aaditya V.

The waiver wire for third base and shortstop has been unforgiving this year, especially after last season when it felt like every team had a potential rookie of the year SS. So this week we’re going to take a look at the barren landscape of your infield waiver wire and give you a tasty hard hitting beer that can help you forget the miserable year that some of the bigger names are having (see Addison Russell).

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Addison Russell fondly remembering 2016

Short Stop Waiver Wire

Andrelton Simmons, SS (LAA) – 74%/55% Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season: .277 AVG / .331 OBP / 37 R / 7 HR / 33 RBI / 13 SB

Simmons now in his 5th year in the majors is still only 27 years old. He has been one of the best defensive SS in the majors, receiving his 4th consecutive Fielding Bible award last year. Defensive prowess might not move the fantasy needle, but it does help guarantee playing time. Simmons has also emerged as a great fantasy asset this year; slashing a respectable .277/.331/.409. He’s seen his walk rate increase from 5.8% last year to 7.7% this year. Additionally, his hard contact rate has risen from 23.4% to 30.9% all while still having a fairly consistent BABIP (.298 vs .290). He has already surpassed his stolen base number from last year and we’re not even halfway through the season yet! Based on his defensive skills alone you know he has job security, and his hot bat and speed on the basepaths make him a must-add in all formats. If he’s still on your waivers and you need SS help grab him up ASAP.

Sir Didi Gregorius, SS (NYY) – 65.6%/53% Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season: .316 AVG / .335 OBP / 30 R / 10 HR / 38 RBI / 1 SB

Didi is a really interesting player. He came into the spotlight in the Big Apple very suddenly after Jeter’s retirement (imagine trying to fill those shoes). In his third season with the Yankees, Didi has been quietly having a career year, and just narrowly missed an All-Star selection.

Since missing the first month of the season due to a shoulder injury sustained in the WBC, Sir Didi has been racking up the hits (and yes, he is an actual knight) and counting stats. Mr. Gregorious gets even more interesting when you look at his stats a bit closer. What are Didi’s “true numbers”? What I mean by that is Didi has spent roughly 6 years in the majors for 3 different teams and over that time has recorded pretty average stats. However, in his two full seasons with the Yankees he has seen his yearly averages increase while setting personal-best marks in hits (155), doubles (32), home runs (20), and RBIs (70) during that tenure. Furthermore, this year in particular the team around him has developed into a playoff caliber team, providing ample RBI opportunities and lineup protection. Before last year’s 20 HR breakout, Sir Didi had never finished a season with double-digit HR totals. This year he’s continuing the trend with 10 bombs in an injury-shortened first half. Is this power here to stay, and is this the real Didi? Where the plot thickens further is when you do assume his career stats are his “true numbers”. He is typically a .266 career hitter, which means his average may be in line for a regression. Additionally he is benefiting from a career high BABIP of .329 and many of his peripherals (hard contact rate, walk rate, fly-ball rate, groundball and soft contact rate) have all moved into negative territory compared to last year. I think the jury is still out but I would recommend riding the Didi Express till it gets to its last stop.

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Franklin Barreto, SS (OAK) – 17%/17% Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season: .308 AVG / .357 OBP / 3 R / 1 HR / 2 RBI / 0 SB

Barreto was acquired from the Blue Jays in the trade that sent All-Star slugger Josh Donaldson to Toronto. Barreto was promoted to the majors this year on 6/24 to take over for an injured Marcus Semien. Since then, he has gone 4/13 with 3R 1HR and 2RBIs and 4 strikeouts. While this sample size is fairly small, his minor league record provides a bit more insight. His minor league record this year has been inconsistent. Similar to Moncada, Barreto struggled to produce at the plate in early June and suffers from a high strikeout rate. However, since early June Barreto has been cutting it up, posting a .303/.361/.394 slash line. Oakland is 28th out of 30 teams in steals this year with the 26th-best success rate, indicating a relative unwillingness to run, so I wouldn’t expect Barretto to add a substantial number of steals to his stat line despite his relatively decent speed. The safe bet is on Barreto taking some time to mature into a productive hitter. However, the reality of the shortstop position in fantasy baseball is such that anyone with upside can be worth a flier.

Ketel Marte, SS (ARI) – 1%/1% Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season: N/a

Career: .267 AVG / .309 OBP / 81 R / 3 HR / 50 RBI / 19 SB

Way back in November of 2016, Mariners finalized the massive trade that sent Marte and Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks for Segura, Haniger, and Zac Curtis. Marte was kind of underwhelming in his 2 seasons with the Mariners, but it’s not surprising to see Marte get the call-up with Nick Ahmed heading to the DL with a fractured hand. In 2015 Marte usurped the starting SS job from Brad Miller by posting a .283/.351/.402 slash line, showing all-around offensive promise. Marte struggled in 2016, however; only hitting .256 in 119 games. Cumulatively, in 656 at bats with the Mariners, Marte has accrued 80 R’s and 50 RBI’s. This year, Marte has been hitting a sizzling .338/.391/.514 with six homers and seven steals, albeit in the Pacific Coast League. He posted a 34/25 K/BB rate while in minors this year. He warrants fantasy consideration for those in deeper formats especially since the team around Marte in Phoenix is pretty good. Marte provides good upside in the RBI and SB categories.

Orlando Arcia, SS (MIL) – 6%/6% Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season:  .276 AVG / .317 OBP / 29 R / 6 HR / 25 RBI / 5 SB

22-year-old Orlando has started to heat up in June and now owns a .276/.317/.409 batting line on the year in addition to five homers and five steals. Arcia made his major league debut in August of 2016 so his season stat line is not reflective of his potential upside. In his five seasons in the minors, Arcia accumulated 2278 plate appearances, and hit 30 HRs batting .282. In his 2 seasons in the majors Arcia has accumulated a .251/.298/.384 slash line. Over the past 14 days however, Arcia has been raking it in, hitting an incredible .378 with 5R, 2HR, 5 RBIs and 1 SB on a hot-hitting Milwaukee lineup. Though Arcia has a low walk rate, which has dropped roughly 1.5% points since last year, he has increased his hard hit rate which has resulted in more flyballs and power. This has resulted in a higher wRC+. I personally believe that this might be buoyed by a unsustainable .330 BABIP, but his improved Hard Hit rate could be contributing to that. In his first full year in the majors Arcia has carved out a nice chunk of playing time and only offers a modest fantasy floor and a low ceiling.

Tyler Wade, SS (NYY) – 3.5%/11 Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season: .200 AVG / .273 OBP / 2 R / 0 HR / 1 RBI / 0 SB

Tyler Wade is yet another top prospect in the Yankees farm system, getting promotion when Starlin Castro went down with a hammy injury. It’s unlikely that he will stay with the big league when Castro comes back, but he’s worthy of a stream. In the 5 seasons Tyler spent in the minors he slashed a mediocre .274 / .356 / .359. But it’s this season at AAA that makes him a juicy waiver pick up. In 71 games in AAA Wade hit .313/.390/.444, driving in 25 and scoring 59 in addition to 24 SB. If wade catches fire expect Girardi to try and keep him in the line-up.

Third Base Waiver Wire

Josh Harrison, 3B (PIT) – 60%/51% Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season:  .295 AVG / .374 OBP / 33 R / 9 HR / 27 RBI / 10 SB

Harrison doesn’t really have a permanent home on the diamond in Pittsburgh; having exclusively played at second base in June and racking up 32 games at 3B and 6 games in left field. Marte returns soon which would push current left fielder Adam Frazier into a part-time role, which could include second base.  But Harrison who is hitting .294/.374/.463 in 72 games this year, is not leaving the lineup any time soon. He offers good all-around numbers with a strong slashline and the ability to hit for average and power while swiping 10 bags in 14 tries.

Scooter Gennett, 2B/3B (Cin) – 32%/47% Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season:  .307 AVG / .348 OBP / 32 R / 11 HR / 40 RBI / 1 SB

Gennett has batted an astounding .474 over his four-game hitting streak, raising his season average from .287 to .308. He’s just three homers shy of tying his career-best of 14. So who the heck is Scooter and where the hell did he come from?

Rschultzy20 from SB Nation wrote an interesting article on Scooter and to quote him “[With Milwaukee Scooter] was worth 0.2 fWAR in 2015 and 0.1 in 2016. Last season in Milwaukee was about as average as they come with a 91 wRC+, 21.0 percent strikeout rate, 14 home runs, and .317 OBP. In 2017 however, his ISO has risen to a career-high .277 because of an impressive .306/.344/.584 slash line. He’s getting more hits, getting on base at a better rate, and hitting for more power. That’s pretty good, and it’s helped him raise his wRC+ to 137 for the season. His move towards better contact based on the change in launch angle can be seen through a 5.8 percentage point decrease in ground balls in tandem with a 1.3 percentage point increase in line drives and 4.4 percentage point increase in fly balls. Even with a 21.6 percent HR/FB that’s bound to regress, the underlying improvement of putting balls in the air should allow his increased level of power to continue. That may manifest itself in more doubles than home runs, but that’s still a productive profile.”

Scooter has show no signs of slowing down, and you should ride the Scoot-train as long as it lasts.

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*Additional scooting joke here*

Yuli Gurriel, 1B/3B (HOU) – 28%/29% Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season:  .278 AVG / .305 OBP / 31 R / 8 HR / 32 RBI / 1 SB

Yuli played for a Cuban team for 15 years before being signed by the Astros for a cool $47M. He quickly climbed through the Astros farm system and made his major league debut last year. For the season as a whole, the International League veteran is slashing an impressive .278/.305/.443 with eight homers and 32 RBI in 66 games. He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games. Yuli and super-utility man Marwin Gonzalez are the only two first basemen on the Astros which means consistent playing time.

Danny Valencia, 3B (SEA) – 28%/29% Owned (ESPN/Yahoo)

Season:  .276 AVG / .335 OBP / 32 R / 8 HR / 40 RBI / 1 SB

The veteran 1st baseman had a strong showing in the month of June. He has eight hits in his last 11 at-bats and through 83 at-bats in June, Valencia has been hitting .325 with six extra-base hits, 16 runs scored and 20 runs batted in. Over the course of 8 seasons in the majors Valencia has slashed a respectable .272/.319/.430, and is having a 2017 that lines up nicely with those career averages. Valencia has been particularly strong at home this season, hitting .306 with 27 RBI in 31 games at Safeco Field. Valencia is inching closer to fantasy relevancy and has created value for himself in deeper leagues and AL-only leagues. Danny’s number are supported by a .337 BABIP. In 70 games this year Danny has hitting towards the bottom of a power packed Mariners lineup. You can expect his number to go up with the return of Segura and Haniger in the lineup.

The Beer

90 Minute IPA – Dogfish Head

Imperial IPA

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I am not usually a fan of IPAs, especially ones that remind me of mulched grass. This beer however, is one of the best IPAs I have ever had. This beer has a bronze/amber color with a white head and slightly hazy opaqueness. 90 Minute, similar to its cousins 60 and 120 Minute, has been continuously hopped which gives it a strong pine and citrus smell along with a 90 IBU rating. 90 minute denotes the length of the boil in which hops are continually added.

It has an incredibly complex fruity taste which is only enhanced with an almost smoky, malty taste. The malt works to support and counter the bitterness. Coming in at 9% and roughly $10 bucks for a 4 pack, this beer packs a punch in both physically and financially.

One of the things that makes this beer so divisive is that unlike its cousin the legendary 60 Minute IPA, this beer doesn’t have just a strong hoppy taste it has a strong malty and caramel-y taste which, I guess if you’re buying a relatively expensive imperial IPA you wouldn’t expect.

Prost,

Adi

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