Lots of roster tweaking going on right now as fantasy owners everywhere are trying to put together the perfect squad. But while most of your league has scooped up the top post-draft talent remaining, there are obviously a few strays lying around that could serve as quality bench guys for you to plug in when needed. With the middle infield positions sitting so thin, you might want to start there.
Ruben Tejada, NYM |2B, SS| Ownership: Yahoo – 7.0% ESPN – 3.1%
As the season was getting started, there really wasn’t much to like about Tejada for fantasy purposes. There’s virtually no power to be had, and while he may be a great contact hitter with some good speed potential, batting eighth was not going to afford him many opportunities. But since Andres Torres went on the DL with a calf injury and Mets manager Terry Collins moved Tejada up to the leadoff spot, he’s gone 5-for-12 (.417) with a pair of walks, two runs scored and two RBI. No stolen bases yet, but hopefully they’re coming soon.
If Tejada can come close to matching some of his peripherals from last season, he’ll make for a great bench guy for your fantasy team. He’s not a primary, but if you’re in a daily league and either need to plug a hole in your middle infield for the day or your starter lands on the DL for a two week stint, then he should be very helpful. His 9.8% walk rate and 13.3% strikeout rate, coupled with a contact rate of 84.8% and a .330 BABIP pushed his OBP to .360 last season. Even if you figure that his BABIP drops closer to .300, he should still find himself on base often enough to be a worthwhile fill-in.
He’s already off to a good start as he’s showing tremendous patience at the plate, seeing a lot of pitches and getting into some deep counts. Hopefully that continues and Collins keeps him atop the lineup even when Torres returns. You’ve already missed his one home run for the year, but there’s still time to grab him for everything else.
Omar Infante, MIA |2B| Ownership: Yahoo – 28.0% ESPN – 44.7%
Speaking of missing someone’s power production for the year, what’s gotten into Infante lately? With three home runs in 19 plate appearances, it feels like someone threw me into their Delorean, gunned it to 88 and brought me back to 2004 when the light hitting second baseman clubbed a career-high 16 dingers for the Tigers. Hard to say that eight years later he’s going retro on us, but his early season performance is encouraging nonetheless.
Infante, like Tejada, isn’t really someone you want as your primary second baseman as he’s failed to crack double digits in both steals and home runs since that 2004 season. However, he’s an outstanding bench guy to own all season long. He hasn’t had a strikeout rate higher than 12.6% over the last four seasons and contributes with a solid batting average — over .300 twice in the last four years and not lower than .276. He’s the full-time second baseman for the Marlins, so he should be, barring injury, in the starting lineup virtually every game which makes him a fantastic option for plug and play purposes. If you can stash some infield depth on your bench, then Infante should prove to be a valuable asset in that capacity.