We’ve officially hit the two-month mark of the 2023 MLB season, as hard as that is to believe, and “it’s still early!” is becoming a less and less convincing crutch for fantasy managers wondering whether to stick with a draft pick or start scouring the waiver wire. This is especially true at the corner infield spots, where injuries have hit big names like Manny Machado already. That’s why we’re here to help, with four targets likely available in your league showing signs that they’re in for a big year.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Corner infield targets for Week 10
Owen Miller, 1B/2B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers
Roster percentage: 10.9%
Previously a bench bat who really only got playing time against lefties, Miller was thrust into an everyday role after Luis Urias went down with a hamstring injury and has since emerged as one of the only bright spots for a struggling Brewers offense. He’s gone nuts in the month of May, with a .375/.379/.656 slash line, four homers and two steals over 18 games, and while his .408 BABIP will certainly come down, Miller’s profile — he basically never strikes out and hits a ton of fly balls — will serve him well playing home games at hitter-friendly American Family Field. At 5’11, he’s never going to hit for a ton of power, but he has top of the scale speed and contact skills and could wind up with a 15/15 season and a .280 average when all’s said and done.
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Detroit Tigers
Roster percentage: 7.7%
One of my favorite player types to target is the post-hype sleeper — hello, Jarred Kelenic — and Torkelson fits to a tee. The former No. 1 overall pick went from franchise savior to fantasy afterthought due to a rough rookie season in 2022, but all the reasons to be so high on the Arizona State star were still there, and he’s starting to show it now.
Torkelson’s been on a tear of late, with an .807 OPS for the month of May, and his contact profile suggests that a breakout is imminent: The first baseman ranks in the top quarter of the league in average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit rate and expected batting average. His ground ball rate is way down, his line drive rate is way up, and if he keeps hitting the ball hard in the air, the results will start to come. Torkelson currently sports one of the biggest gaps between his actual wOBA (.298) and his expected wOBA (.342) and you’ll want to buy in before that corrects itself.
Ryan McMahon, 2B/3B, Colorado Rockies
Roster percentage: 9.4%
We know the hole in McMahon’s game: He strikes out a ton, and this year is certainly no exception with an ugly 32.3% K rate. But that weakness has been there for years, and it hasn’t stopped the infielder from showing 20-25 homer power while pitching in a few steals to boot. As long as he plays his home games at Coors Field, this ownership rate is way too low, and there are signs that McMahon is about to bust out. His barrel rate is the best of his career, his max exit velocity is in the 89th percentile and there’s a 30-plus point gap between his expected slugging and his actual mark. Bet on the back of the baseball card here.
Spencer Steer, 1B/3B, Cincinnati Reds
Roster percentage: 7.8%
With all the talk of when Christian Encarnacion-Strand will finally get the call from Triple-A Louisville, people have lost sight of who’s currently playing first base every day in Cincinnati. The Reds were high enough on Steer to make him one of the main pieces of the trade that sent Tyler Mahle to the Minnesota Twins last year, and he’s showing you why, with a tidy .303/.361/.517 slash line this month. He’s making the right kind of contact, hitting far more balls in the air than he had previously while striking out less, and that’s a formula for success in the extreme offensive environment of Great American Ball Park. It looks like he could be a solid source of batting average while chipping in 20-25 homers, especially if Joey Votto remains out.