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Waiver Wire Friday: Platooning for Pop

With all the injuries piling up, it can often be a struggle to find space to capitalize on part-time players on your fantasy squad, but those of us with a little bench space to get creative can gain quite an advantage from turning to platoon bats to boost your lineup. Typically in this space, we like to highlight a player in particular who has grabbed our attention lately, but today we’ll play a little bit of the platoon game…

How about a pair of first baseman to start:

Player A: .275/.347/.514 with 6 home runs in 109 at-bats

Player B:  .253/.331/.506 with 8 home runs in 162 at-bats

Not much difference between these two guys, eh? Well Player B is universally owned Edwin Encarnacion and Player A is 8%-owned Garret Jones when right-hander on the mound.

Let’s give it a try behind the plate:

Player A: .292/.386/.467 with 18 runs and 21 RBI

Player B: .317/.400/.537 with 14 runs scored and 9 RBI

Our second group highlights everyone’s No. 1 backstop, Buster Posey. On a per-game basis, however, Posey’s numbers can’t quit keep up with John Jaso when he steps in against righties.

And one last time in the outfield…

Player A: .282/.361/.492 with 90 runs, 21 home runs, 78 RBI and 6 steals per 162 games

Player B: .285/.339/.474 with 88 runs, 25 home runs, 93 RBI and 14 steals per 162 games

We took a larger snapshot for the final comparison, taking a look at career numbers normalized on  a per 162-game basis. Of course, all this number hacking is a bit of a roundabout way to say that using the red-hot Seth Smith (22%-owned) against right-handed pitching for his career can provide you fairly comparable numbers to having 95%-owned Hunter Pence in your lineup.

So, are you truly desperate for an all-start caliber bat in your lineup? All it takes is a little bench space and some spare time to cobble you way to fantasy success. Not quite all of our pickups this week require this much care, but if you are in a league with daily lineup changes, you simply must have a look at just how good many of the guys can be.

Each week we’ll provide a position-by-position roundup of the top talent on the wire. To qualify, players must have an ownership rate below 50% in standard 12-team Yahoo leagues. For our deeper formats, we’ll also throw out names with under 15% ownership. Check out last week’s list to find a number of other options who may still be out there on the waiver wire.

Working The Waiver Wire

Catcher

Wilson Ramos (50%): Ramos is back behind the dish for a Washington Nationals tema that is in desperate need of an offensive spark. He’s yet to show much this season, but after putting up a .272/.307/.470 line in 78 games this year, Ramos certainly has the ability to make a strong impact.

John Jaso (6%): We highlighted his platoon success in the lead and will also point out Jaso’s  .433-8-3-5-0 in his past 14 games. His platoon-mate Derrick Norris is also hitting well, but Jaso will still get his — the A’s may just use one of these guy’s at DH.

First Base

C.J. Cron (15%): The rookie is making a strong impression in his first taste of the big leagues, notching 12 hits in his first 33 at-bats with a pair of dingers. He slugged .636 in Triple-A prior to a promotion this season and has hit the ground running with the Angels.

Garret Jones (8%): You’ll need to play the matchups to invest in Jones as he’s not a useful asset versus left-handed pitching. Still, the .521 SLG he’s posted in May thanks to seven doubles and a pair of home runs in his past 14 games.

Ike Davis (7%): Davis and platoon-mate Gaby Sanchez have helped turned Pittsburgh’s black hole at first base into a fairly productive lineup spot. Ike is a .313 hitter this year once we remove his 14 hitless at-bats versus southpaws.

Chris Carter (20%): Though prolific K-rate has scared off quite a few owners, Carter’s power bat is finally waking up at the dish. He’s rocking a nice little five-game hitting streak and has a .524 SLG in the month of May.

Middle Infield

Dusting Ackley (23%): Dustin Ackley the infielder did little more than disappoint fantasy owners time and time again. Dustin Ackley the outfielder is batting .323 in his last 10 games with three home runs and a solid 5:4 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Better yet? Many fantasy owners can still use this improved Ackley in that middle infield spot.

Derek Dietrich (2%): Dietrich popped his fourth home run last night and continue to garner playing time against right-handed pitching for the Marlins. He moved up into the two-hole Thursday and would see an even greater bump in value if he sticks there.

Third Base

Juan Francisco (35%): The Blue Jays have shown an affinity toward grip and rip sluggers over the past couple of season and Francisco fits the mold, pounding out seven bombs in his first 82 at-bats with the club. He’ll continue to see plenty of time at the hot corner against right-handed pitching and is a nice boost to your lineup. Francisco is a must-add in rotisserie formats for the short-term power potential and can provide some value as a stop ga in head to head formats.

Chris Johnson (41%): Johnson has picked things up in May, batting .367 over 49 at-bats after failing to find a groove in April. We’ll take the under on 15 home runs for the year but he should be good for some average and solid run production as he continue s to hit right in the middle of the Braves lineup.

Mike Aviles (15%): With Jason Kipnis ailing, Aviles is locked into a spot in the Cleveland lineup and can plug holes all over your fantasy roster, carrying 2B, 3B and SS eligibility. He always brings a decent combination of power and speed and is rocking a .366-6-1-6-1 line over his last 14 games.

Outfield

Seth Smith (22%): Smith is simply tearing the cover off of the ball and while he’s certainly a more attractive platoon bat long-term, the Padres will keep rolling him out there as they search for some kind of spark on offense.

Carlos Quentin (20%): Sticking in San Diego, give Quentin a look if you need some pop. He hasn’t yet done much and is not a great bet to stay on the field, but the power always shows up when CQ is healthy…

Drew Stubbs (6%): Yet another platoon option, give Stubs and his excellent .355/.400/.677 line against left-handed pitching a look whenever he is in the lineup.

A.J. Pollock (17%): Pollock is batting .345 over his past 10 games with a home run and five steals. He isn’t going to birng a ton of pop, but can get on base and swipe a bag every now and again.

Starters

Ubaldo Jimenez (46%): Good Ubaldo has shown up for three staright starts and he’s racked up 20 stirkeouts with just five walks over those turns. There is, of course, a blowup or two coming down the line, but when Ubaldo is on, he’s a very nice fantasy play.

Drew Smyly (39%): Smyly is finllay finding a groove with a 2.22 ERA, 1.07 WHIp and 22 Ks against 8 walks in his last 24.1 IP.

Dalls Keuchel (21%): If he were pitching in New York or Boston, Keuchel would likely be 75% owned at this point. The numbers say it all: 3.06 ERA, 1.11 WHIP to go along with strong 4.27 K/BB rate.

Trevor Bauer (14%): His name is going to stick on this list until he’s promoted or you pick him up… we’re excited about both prospects.

Editor’s Note: About 20 minutes after publication, word broke that Danny Salazar was sent to Triple-A. Presuming that Bauer gets the nod, this could be your last chance to scoop him up.

Closer Carnage

It will be a constant race to the wire to go mining for saves, here’s how we see it.

Go get ’em: Hector Rondon (38%), Joe Smith (42%), Bryan Shaw (36%), Sean Doolittle (29%), Darren O’Day (13%)

Keep an eye on: Cody Allen (40%), Brad Ziegler (12%), Zach Britton (23%), Jenry Mejia (19%), Jeurys Familia (10%), Jason Motte (5%), Jake McGee (5%)

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