Fantasy baseball Waiver Wire: Second base is thin, so stash Logan Forsythe
- Yes, Forsythe may currently be on the DL, but he's slated to return next week, and he's better than many of the other available options at 2B.
Second base has been a bit of a trouble spot this season. The top players at the position, such as Jose Altuve, Daniel Murphy, Trea Turner, Robinson Cano, Brian Dozier and Ian Kinsler have delivered as expected. Matt Carpenter, Dee Gordon, Jean Segura and D.J. LeMahieu have mostly played to script, as well. Gordon owners could be a bit disappointed with his OBP, while LeMahieu owners were likely expecting more in the batting average department, but it’s impossible to say either has been a disappointment.
The next tier, however, has let down the fantasy community. Rougned Odor is hitting .194 with a .243 OBP; no amount of homers can save those rates. Jonathan Villar is doing well in the counting stats, but is hitting .211 with a .274 OBP. Jason Kipnis and Dustin Pedroia have combined for zero homers. Jose Peraza has seven steals, but not much else, as well as a .248/.275/.286 slash line. There’s likely a couple of owners struggling to figure out second base, or middle infield, in every fantasy league.
That’s why it’s so hard to understand why Logan Forsythe is so readily available across the fantasy landscape.
Yes, Forsythe remains on the DL with a fractured toe. Yes, he left a rehab game with High-A Rancho Cucamonga earlier this week because of tightness in his hamstring. Still, anyone struggling at second base or middle infield would be wise to grab Forsythe now for the price of the worst player on his or her roster, and stash him on the DL until he is able to return, which the Dodgers still believe will be next week.
Forsythe had 54 plate appearances before his injury, going 13-for-44 with two doubles and six walks. That translates to a .295 batting average and .407 OBP, numbers that play incredibly well when you’re leading off for any team. When Forsythe returns, Dave Roberts will slot him right back atop the Dodgers lineup, in front of Corey Seager and Justin Turner, who have combined to hit .332/.412/.510 this season. If Cody Bellinger can stick in the lineup, too, Forsythe will have no shortage of mashers behind him.
That makes Forsythe a bankable two-category play, no matter what rate category your league uses. If that doesn’t sound extremely special, it’s because it isn’t. There’s a reason why Forsythe was a late-round pick in March, and why he’s a free agent in a majority of fantasy leagues. He’s good, but certainly not great. Still, given what many fantasy owners are dealing with at second base and middle infield right now, good but not great is a significant upgrade.
Fantasy owners know exactly what they’re getting out of Forsythe, and there’s value in that comfort and reliability. If you’re still running Odor, Kipnis, Pedroia or Peraza out there every single day, stash Forsythe and give him a shot when he returns from the DL.
Cody Bellinger, OF, Dodgers
No matter what the Dodgers do with Bellinger in the near future, he needs to be owned in fantasy leagues. The 21-year-old is 13-for-41 with four homers in the first 41 plate appearances of his career, more than holding his own in his first few weeks in the majors. Even if he goes back to Triple-A Oklahoma City at some point, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be out of the Dodgers plans for long. He got a short-term boost with Adrian Gonzalez going to the DL, but when Gonzalez returns the Dodgers have to find a spot for Bellinger. The bottom line is that any contending team needs its best 25-man roster available for as much of the season as possible, and there’s no question that Bellinger is one of those 25 players. If he’s still available in your league, or if his owner drops him if and when he goes back to the minors, you would be wise to act.
Yuli Gurriel, 1B/3B, Astros
Gurriel can’t stop hitting, with his slash line sitting at .309/.343/.447 through 99 plate appearances. It would be nice to see a bit more power, but he’s delivering at the bottom of the Houston lineup. He has hit sixth in each of his last eight starts, bringing him one spot closer to the star power in the middle of the order. That should increase his RBI opportunities, making him even more attractive as a fantasy commodity. First and third base may be hard fantasy positions to crack, but he’s well worth your attention.
Didi Gregorius, SS, Yankees
Gregorius returned from the DL last weekend, and is 9-for-28 with a pair of doubles in his first seven games. Shortstop is deeper than it has been in a long time, and there’s no guarantee Gregorius will stick as a mixed-league starter all year. Still, he’s worth a shot if you’re struggling at the position. Joe Girardi has moved him all over the lineup, hitting him second, fifth, sixth and seventh. It would be great if he could remain toward the top of the lineup, with the Yankees offense performing much better than expected, but we’ll just have to wait and see if he settles somewhere, or if Girardi continues using him as a sort of Swiss army knife in the lineup.
Domingo Santana, OF, Brewers
Forget about the rates for a second and consider the dingers. Santana has five homers in 100 plate appearances, including three in the last week. He has walked 14 times this season, as well, so he’s a much easier player to stomach in OBP leagues. Remember, Santana hit .256/.345/.447 with 11 homers and 14 doubles in 281 plate appearances last year. Those are rates you can live with if he hits with that sort of power over a full season. He’s going to play mostly every day for the Brewers, and has hit fifth in the vast majority of his starts. Santana is a good bet to make at this point of the season.
Marwin Gonzalez, 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, Astros
Heading into this season, we had seen 1,639 mostly nondescript plate appearances from Gonzalez. He amassed a .257/.298/.389 slash line in those 1,639 trips to the plate, and didn’t give any reason to expect that the next 1,639, or however many he would get in his career, would be any different. Then the 2017 season began—Gonzalez homered in his first game of the year and hasn’t looked back. He’s hitting .269/.375/.701 with nine homers and 21 RBI in 82 plate appearances. There’s a better than average chance that it isn’t for real, but there’s nothing wrong with riding the hot hand, especially when you can place that hand in literally any position in the fantasy game. Gonzalez’s OBP is an asset, and owners in batting average leagues can stomach his rate if the power is legitimate.
Tyson Ross, SP, Rangers
Ross will take the next step in his rehab from thoracic outlet surgery, throwing a two-inning simulated game this weekend. If that goes well, he’d likely go out on a rehab assignment next week. The Rangers have already said they’d like him to get three or four starts in the minors before activating him from the DL, which would put him on a timetable to join the rotation in early June. Stashing a player on your DL always makes sense if you have the space to do so. It makes even more sense when the player you’re stashing struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings across 391 2/3 frames in 2014 and 2015 combined.
Hector Neris, RP, Phillies
Kyle Barraclough, RP, Marlins
Adam Ottavino, RP, Rockies
Justin Wilson, RP, Tigers
Hector Rondon, Cubs
David Phelps, RP, Marlins
As always, we will keep a list at the bottom of our weekly waiver wire column of relief pitchers who are not closers, but can still be fantasy assets because of their strikeout rate, ERA and WHIP. The relievers are listed in order of fantasy value.