The air is starting to get a bit crisper (well, in the north at least). The real-life and fantasy trade deadlines have come and gone. September is almost upon us. The marathon of the 2023 MLB season has become a sprint to the finish, and right now is winning time for those of you lucky enough to still be in contention in your fantasy baseball leagues. With precious few weeks to shore up holes and make up ground in the standings, smart adds become even more important: Hit on an under-the-radar free agent, and fantasy hardware awaits; miss, and you’ll spend the winter wondering what if.
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. Next up: the corner infield spots.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 22 corner infield targets
Royce Lewis, 3B/SS, Minnesota Twins
Roster percentage: 8.3%
I wish I knew how to quit this guy. Every time Lewis gets regular run in the Majors, he flashes the massive upside that made him a top prospect for years ... only to suffer some sort of injury that short-circuits his momentum. The former No. 1 overall pick just missed six weeks with an oblique strain, but he returned this past week and picked up right where he left off with two multi-hit games. In 40 career games in the Majors, Lewis has compiled a .331/.362/.507 line with six homers and two steals — he’s guaranteed the third-base job, and at this point, the only question is whether he can stay on the field for an extended period of time.
Nicky Lopez, 2B/3B/SS, Atlanta Braves
Roster percentage: 2.9%
At this point, I’m not sure there’s a player out there who wouldn’t turn into a star in this Braves lineup. Lopez was a dangerous baserunner and versatile defender with the Royals, but he was below-average at the plate — until he was sent to Atlanta at the trade deadline and immediately caught fire, hitting .412 with a four-hit game and a three-hit game over his first week. It’s been Lopez, not the recently promoted Vaughn Grissom, who’s gotten the bulk of the playing time at second in Ozzie Albies’ absence, and while he’ll never offer much of any power, he’s a real stolen base threat and counting stat monster in a lineup that’s scoring at a historic rate right now.
Jon Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
Roster percentage: 0.5%
How’s this for full circle. Acquired by Houston as part of the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies way back in 2010, Singleton became the team’s top prospect, only to flame out amid several positive drug tests for marijuana. But the big first baseman kept grinding, eventually finding his way back to the Majors with the Brewers this season after an eight-year hiatus. Milwaukee let him go, but he signed on with his old squad last month — and now finds himself with regular playing time in the wake of Jose Abreu’s spine injury. Singleton has made the most of the chance, with a .344 OBP and three homers in his first week, and he figures to keep seeing at-bats as long as Abreu remains out. The batting average will always be a liability, but he has game-changing power and could rack up RBI in a stacked Astros lineup.
Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Los Angeles Angels
Roster percentage: 0.0%
Want to know how desperate the Angels have gotten as their season circles the drain and Shohei Ohtani’s free agency draws closer? L.A. just called up Schanuel to the Majors — several weeks after drafting him 11th overall in the 2023 MLB Draft. Granted, they had pretty good reason: Schanuel was thought of as possibly the most MLB-ready bat in his class, and he made mince-meat of low Minors pitching with a .370/.510/.493 slash line (including 21 walks to just 10 strikeouts) across low-A and Double-A. Obviously there’s a big gap between that and the Majors, but Schanuel has put up comical numbers everywhere he’s been so far, and he figures to get a real look with C.J. Cron battling a back injury and the Halos increasingly pivoting toward 2024. Don’t expect a ton of power, but he could be a real plus in average, OBP and RBI.