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May 24, 2013 posted by Matthew Dewoskin

Fantasy Baseball Singles Only: Week 8 Edition

Fantasy Baseball Singles Only: Week 8 Edition
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Both Ian Kinsler and Chase Utley have hit the DL. Josh Rutledge is still in Colorado, but the problem for fantasy GMs is that he’s in Colorado Springs and not Denver. The Escobar Brothers (Alcides and Yunel) are both awful. Danny Espinosa is playing like a man who wants to spend the second half of the year in Syracuse and could lose his job to Steve Lombardozzi. Jedd Gyorko…has rebounded after his brutal start and appears like he’s going to keep his job for the majority of the year. Hmmm. Didn’t see that one coming.

Middle infield is a tricky position to get right in fantasy leagues, but winning fantasy GMs tend to get elite production from unusual places. Finding success in the middle infield can be a key to winning a league. There’s a really good chance that one of the top three teams in your league has Jean Segura on their roster.

We’re not going to focus on success this week. This week, we’re going to try to recover from middle infield gone wrong.

A lot of fantasy GMs who lost Chase Utley or Ian Kinsler to the DL are probably going to go after Jurickson Profar if they haven’t already. This probably won’t be a winning strategy in the long term. First, Profar is stuck in a platoon with something called “Leury Garcia.” He’s not guaranteed regular at bats and could wind up spending more time on the bench than in the field.

Second, prospects rarely work out their first time around the league. Everyone thought Anthony Rizzo might suck after his first cup of coffee. Guys like Justin Smoak and Brett Wallace still haven’t figured out the big leagues. Want some middle infield examples? Fine. Jemile Weeks, Reid Brignac and Scott Sizemore were all once hot prospects who have seen their careers stall. Profar is a better prospect than Weeks, Brignac or Sizemore were, but there’s a solid chance that he won’t produce to the levels he’s capable of in the time he will be given.

Some will turn to Philadelphia warm body, Freddy Galvis. He doesn’t hit for power ( he has exactly one minor league season with an ISO over .100). He doesn’t steal bases (one steal in 83 career games at the major league level). He doesn’t hit for average (.239  career batting average with a .268 career BABIP). He just makes outs. He’s waiver wire fodder and deserves to be there. Owning Freddy Galvis is like having a crazy girlfriend/boyfriend. Your friends will look at you and say, “You can do better.”

So, if fantasy GMs don’t look to uber-prospects like Profar or, erm, people wearing baseball uniforms like Freddy Galvis, where should they look?

Well, speaking of Jedd Gyorko…Jedd Gyorko. Gyorko is still occupying 56% of the waiver wires in Yahoo! fantasy leagues. He has an .801 OPS with five homers so far this year. I guarantee most middle infield guys don’t have an .801 OPS or five homers and this one is available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues.

Luis Valbuena qualifies all over the infield, but he’s spending most of his time at third base for the Cubs right now. The Cubs don’t really have a front runner for the third base job, so it’s basically Valbuena’s for the taking. He’s already blasted five homers. Valbuena has shown pop in the minors and it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him compile his way to a 15+ homer season. He’s only owned in 2% of Yahoo! leagues.

Yuniesky Betancourt appears headed for a Yuniesky Betancourt-type season. Betancourt will never hit for a high average (.265 career actual, .276 career BABIP with a 1.04 career GB:FB ratio), but he’s shown power in the past (.172 ISO last year) and always seems to drive in more runs than he should. Betancourt is available in 65% of Yahoo! leagues.

Minnesota Twins infielder Pedro Florimon looks like he’ll get the majority of playing time at short and could wind up with 20+ steals. He’s already six for six in stolen base attempts. He’s essentially a poor man’s Alcides Escobar who could end the season with basically the same numbers as Escobar.  Florimon is only owned in 2% of Yahoo! leagues.

Ryan Roberts has already worked his way into 108 PA’s and appears to have the super-sub job in Tampa. Roberts is two seasons removed from a 19-homer/18-steal season. He’s shown that he could produce in the past and could work his way into playing time in the ever-malleable Tampa Bay Rays lineup. He won’t hit for average, but he has enough pop and enough speed to warrant attention as a injury replacement. He’s also barely owned in Yahoo! leagues.

Finally, for those sabrmetrically inclined, Alexei Ramirez has a 2.2% HR:FB ratio so far this year, but he owned an 8.7% mark for his career. He’s only owned in 49% of Yahoo! leagues. He also has eight steals in nine attempts. He’s likely to pop a few more homers in the coming months and he’s been useful on the base paths.

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