We’re nearly to the halfway point of the 2023 MLB season, and things are only getting wilder with each passing day. The Cincinnati Reds are now America’s team. The Los Angeles Angels seem hell-bent on wasting the absolutely Herculean efforts of Shohei Ohtani. For fantasy baseball players, it’s time for the rubber to hit the road — time to decide whether they’re in or out this year, and what they might need for the stretch run ahead. This is especially true at the middle infield spots, where top picks have been felled by injury (Jazz Chisholm) or underperformance (Trea Turner, Francisco Lindor). That’s why we’re here to help, with four targets likely available in your league showing signs that they’re in for a strong finish.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 15 top middle infield pickups
Ha-Seong Kim, 2B/SS/3B, San Diego Padres
Roster percentage: 20.2%
Kim might not be the sexiest name out there, but he’s triple-eligible, and he’s a good bet to be contributing across four categories for the foreseeable future. He’s been great of late, slashing .333/.392/.622 with four homers, 11 RBI and two steals over the last two weeks — and even hitting leadoff against lefties scoring runs in front of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto. Kim is an on-base machine, he’s a legit stolen-base threat and he has enough pop to reach double-digits. That’s the kind of player you can use to plug holes up and down your roster.
Maikel Garcia, SS/3B, Kansas City Royals
Roster percentage: 4.9%
At 145 pounds — no, seriously, that’s not a typo — Garcia isn’t going to hit for really any power, but he’s hitting the cover off the ball of late, hitting .308 with seven multi-hit games since June 10. When he gets on base, he’s got speed to burn: He swiped 39 bags in the Minors last year, and he’s got 13 steals since making his MLB debut in early May. This Royals team is desperate for anything positive on offense right now, and they love to give their baserunners the green light, so if you’re in need of average and speed help, look no further.
Nick Gonzales, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Roster percentage: 0.7%
The seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft, Gonzales didn’t exactly light the world on fire at Triple-A Indianapolis this season, slashing .257/.370/.450 with six homers and 27 RBI over 262 plate appearances, but that still earned him a surprise call-up to the Majors last week. It wasn’t too long ago that Gonzales was a top-100 prospect, and after going hitless in each of his first two big league games, he’s hit .267 with three extra-base hits — including his first Major League homer — since. He’s not going to be the game-changing type of addition that is going to win you a fantasy league, but the Pirates have no reason to not play him everyday to see what he can do, and it shouldn’t take him long to land a spot in the middle of the lineup with some sneaky pop and speed from the middle-infield positions.
Brice Turang, 2B/SS, Milwaukee Brewers
Roster percentage: 1.5%
The 2018 first-round pick was given a starting job to start the season due to Luis Urias’ injury, but he disappointed out of the gate, slashing an abysmal .205/.254/.307 with a 27.1% strikeout rate in his first 57 games. The Brewers demoted him on June 6, and he responded with a .926 OPS in 15 games with Triple-A Nashville.
Now, Urias is the one heading back to the Minors after an ice-cold stretch, and Turang has been called back up with another chance to stick in the lineup for good. The results haven’t quite been there yet, but Turang has hit the ball much harder since returning to the Majors. Of his 13 batted balls since June 28, eight of them had exit velocities greater than 90 mph. While only three resulted in hits, those balls will start finding grass eventually, and given his top-of-the-scale sprint speed, he could be a difference-maker in the second half.