No matter your league size, there’s likely someone on the waiver wire who can give you a boost at second base. This week, I’ve identified three under-owned second-sackers who could bolster your production at the position.
Devon Travis (31% Yahoo, 30.3% ESPN, 66% CBS)
For a while, it seemed like Travis had a shot at leading off for the Jays, as he picked up five starts atop the lineup in Jose Bautista’s absence. However, the 25-year-old was unable to fend off Ezequiel Carrera as the team’s primary leadoff man, and now Bautista is due back soon. Manager John Gibbons recently indicated he’ll likely slot Bautista back into the leadoff spot when he returns.
The dream of “Devon Travis, leadoff hitter” may be a thing of the past, but despite bouncing around between every spot in the order other than third and fourth, Travis is producing well above his ownership rates. Players on CBS have clearly noticed, but there’s no reason he should be so widely available in Yahoo/ESPN leagues. Over the last 30 days, Travis is hitting .325 with three homers, two steals, 15 runs and nine RBI. Pretty darn good for a second baseman who’s likely floating around on your waiver wire.
And who knows? If Gibbons eventually decides to move Bautista down to a more traditional “run-producing” spot in the order, Travis would likely be the guy replacing him in the leadoff spot. After all, Carrera won’t be much more than a bench bat once Bautista returns, and it’s not like the Jays are going to hit Kevin Pillar at the top of the order. It’s still unlikely, but possible, and the upside there would be huge.
Jedd Gyorko (23% Yahoo, 14.5% ESPN, 17% CBS)
The injuries to Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta (again) opened the door for Gyorko to play every day, and the 27-year-old responded by embarking on one of the season’s most impressive weeks. It’s obviously a tiny sample, but Gyorko launched five bombs in a five-game stretch from Monday through Friday, going 10-for-19 with seven runs and eight RBI in that period.
Carpenter was cleared for limited baseball activities on Friday, but remains without a timetable. Peralta still isn’t cleared to swing a bat, and obviously lacks a return timeline himself. Even when either Carpenter or Peralta returns, Gyorko should stick in the lineup over Kolten Wong and Greg Garcia, who are splitting time at second base lately. Only when both Carpenter and Peralta are healthy does the playing-time picture start to get murky for Gyorko.
Gyorko’s been a heck of a reclamation project for the Cards, as his .262/.322/.486 slash is outproducing his breakout rookie campaign back in 2013. He’s always had big power — with 12 homers in 199 PA this season — but now he’s figured out a way to cut down on his strikeouts and get on base more frequently. Especially considering his multi-position utility — he’s eligible at 1B, 2B, 3B and SS on Yahoo — Gyorko really shouldn’t be so widely available.
Ryan Schimpf (4% Yahoo, 2.5% ESPN, 5% CBS)
Schimpf is basically a Three True Outcomes player. The 28-year-old rookie has serious power, with 128 bombs in 733 minor-league games, and five consecutive 20+ homer seasons. He also struck out quite a bit (22.6%) in the minors, while drawing plenty of walks (11.8%). 31 games into his major-league career, Schimpf is displaying all three of these traits to an even greater degree.
The 28-year-old rookie already has nine homers in 106 PA, and his isolated power is a ridiculous .398. He’s also taking walks (13.2%) and striking out (28.3%). His .250 batting average seems like his absolute ceiling, seeing as he hit just .249 in the minors.
In standard leagues, his sub-par contact abilities will probably end up doing some serious damage to your AVG. In OBP leagues, however, I’m cool with picking him up wherever I can, which based on his ownership rates, is pretty much everywhere.
Scott Strandberg started writing for Rotographs in 2013. He works in small business consultation, and he also writes A&E columns for The Norman Transcript newspaper. Scott lives in Seattle, WA.