deadline. The landscape of the league has shifted dramatically just over the last 48 hours or so: Justin Verlander is an Astro; Max Scherzer (and Jordan Montgomery) is a Ranger; the Dodgers, Rays and Orioles all found themselves a starting pitcher, while the Reds didn’t. The Angels (and Cubs) are all the way in, the Mets are all the way out, and the Twins and Yankees ... apparently did not have cell reception on Tuesday afternoon.
Of course, the real-life game isn’t the only thing that’s been flipped upside down. As it does every year, the trade deadline will have fantasy baseball ramifications that will be felt for the rest of the season, leaving managers with plenty to keep track of as they get their rosters ready for the stretch run. Luckily, our weekly waiver wire recommendations are here to help, with position-by-position looks are players you should consider snagging off the waiver wire as the deadline dust settles. Next up: middle infielders.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 19 middle infield targets
Ronny Mauricio, SS, New York Mets
Roster percentage: 1.6%
In nearly 90 percent of the Mets’ games so far, one of Tommy Pham and Mark Canha has patrolled left field. Both are gone now, with Pham being dealt to the Diamondbacks and Canha to the Brewers, which leaves a big gaping hole for ... well, that’s sort of unclear at the moment. But it just so happens that Mauricio, the prospect who Mets fans have been clamoring to see for months now, has played mostly left field at Triple-A in recent weeks. New York didn’t call him up to fill one of the holes created at the deadline, but that’s likely just a service time game to make sure he doesn’t use up his rookie eligibility; with a .294/.344/.494 line in the Minors, the Mets have no reason not to call him up soon and see what they have for 2024.
Michael Massey, 2B, Kansas City Royals
Roster percentage: 0.6%
The Royals dealing infielder Nicky Lopez to the Atlanta Braves didn’t make too many ways ahead of the deadline, but it clears a path for Massey to be an every-day player down the stretch — and the young infielder is making the most of it so far. The 25-year-old is slugging .490 with four homers and two steals since the All-Star break, and while his average right now is a measly .217, his .253 XBA and 42.6% hard-hit rate suggest that that number should come up in time. Players with double-digit potential in homers and steals don’t come around all that often on the waiver wire, and K.C. would be crazy not to turn him loose for the rest of a lost season.
Jon Berti, 2B/3B/SS/OF, Miami Marlins
Roster percentage: 4.7%
Forgotten for long stretches of 2023 amid Miami’s glut of position players, Berti has caught fire of late, with hits in 11 of his last 13 games and a .419/.444/.535 slash line over that span. Some of that is BABIP luck, but with Berti’s elite speed, making tons of contact is going to inevitably lead to his fair share of base knocks. He’s started eight straight and 10 of 11, and as long as he keeps swinging the bat like this he’s a good bet to remain ahead of the returning Avisail Garcia in the Marlins’ outfield pecking order. If you need a shot of speed and batting average, you could do a lot worse.
Zack Gelof, 2B, Oakland Athletics
Roster percentage: 3.1%
Gelof went yard again on Tuesday night against the Dodgers, his third in four games and fourth in his first 15 MLB contests. Of course, he’s struck out eight times without a single walk over that span, and his 32.8% strikeout rate doesn’t bode well for his batting average moving forward. But the rookie is locked into playing time as the A’s play out the string this year, and he has a swing geared to do damage (47.4% hard-hit rate, 42.1% sweet-spot rate, 19.7 launch angle) plus elite speed (97th-percentile sprint speed). That power and steals potential is a rare thing, especially if you can take the batting average hit.