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2016 Fantasy Baseball: Waiver Wire Series — Third Base Edition

When you get through the first month of the season you usually get to the point where you are ready to cut the cord on some underperforming veterans. At third base, Kyle Seager owners just aren’t as proud as they used to be. Granted, the power numbers are there, but his batting average is frightening a number of his owners and some are willing to take a look at the waiver wire.

First, let’s take a look at our ground rules. The first thing we are going to do is look at the positional averages coming into the season. At each position, we look at all of the regulars and their numbers over the past four seasons. Then we take the average of their norms and create a positional average. Granted, this will include some players that will never play in a mixed league, but it gives us a baseline to compare players that went undrafted in at least 75 percent of ESPN and Yahoo leagues.

Positional Averages

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
Catchers .255 11 40 45 2 31
First Basemen .269 21 63 73 3 55
Second Basemen .272 10 62 52 12 36
Third Basemen .270 15 59 61 4 41

Looking at positional averages gives us an idea of what we should expect from players at a particular position. Sometimes, we can get caught up in looking at global numbers and end up expecting too much from a player on the waiver wire. In general, you want a player that isn’t going to kill you in any particular category. With third basemen, we see that speed is not really much of a concern, so we should look at the other four major categories (with walks being an extra for six category players).

Waiver Wire Possibilities 

Yahoo ESPN AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
Trevor Plouffe 25% 11.4% + + + +
Yunel Escobar 16% 21.1% M +
Martin Prado 14% 11.1% + + + + M
Danny Valencia 10% 25.4%
Yangervis Solarte 9% 10.3% M +

For those new to the waiver wire series, the symbols are really pretty simple. When a player has a + in the category then his four year average exceeds the positional average. When you have a minus then it is below the positional average. If a player has a M then his numbers are virtually average. It would seem like these players leave a lot to be desired, but we have to remember that in a twelve team league, at least 15 to 16 guys are drafted at third base. So, this represents what is left over. Let’s take a look at each individually.

Trevor Plouffe

It’s shocking to see Plouffe available in so many leagues; no he’s not a brilliant player, but I thought more people would have added him for depth. He’s put up a .248/18.5/61/68/2 average the last four seasons. In today’s game that’s not half bad and compared to the average third baseman Plouffe is a better than average performer. He is due to come off the disabled list this week, so you shouldn’t feel too uncomfortable about adding him.

Yunel Escobar

Escobar has always been a personal favorite. No, he will not hit for power, but you have to remember that waiver wire guys are going to have some warts. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be on the waiver wire. He registers as a minus performer officially in all of the statistical categories that matter, but he is close to the average in all of them. You are usually adding these guys because of injuries or your regular is struggling. He will at least keep you afloat until you are ready to put them back in.

Danny Valencia

A bet on Valencia is a bet on spec. His four year average is underwhelming because he hasn’t had enough playing time overall. 2015 changed that as he seemed to find a home in Oakland. So far, he’s found a home on the disabled list, but he is slated to come back this week. His 162 game average reveals a pretty darn good player when he gets the opportunity. The question is whether he is capable of playing every day.

Martin Prado

Prado checks all the boxes because Prado is a steady every day performer. Prado will not dominate in any particular category. I’m surprised he’s available in as many leagues as possible, but there is a possibility that he will get some games at second base now that Dee Gordon has been suspended for 80 games. That gives him some positional flexibility in some platforms and that could give him the edge if you are looking for a flexible bench option.

Yangervis Solarte

Solarte is another disabled list member that is due to come off the list soon. Solarte is one of those players that teams use when they have no one else. Their goal is to replace him with someone better, but you wake up one day and he’s been a ten year regular. He will likely approach the positional averages if he plays regularly. He is also eligible at first base in just about every platform and second base in some.

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