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Theriot & Casilla: Waiver Wire

Zach Sanders looked at a pair of deep league second baseman earlier today, but let’s look at a pair of middle infielders that don’t require such a deep format…

Ryan Theriot | 2B, SS | Cardinals | Ownership: 38% Yahoo!, 50.6% ESPN

The Cardinals have a powerhouse offense (when healthy), leading the NL with a .335 wOBA and 112 wRC+, and the catalyst for that offense has been Theriot from the leadoff spot. He’s reached base safely in 51 of his last 136 plate appearances (37.5%) and is hitting .328 during that time (.331 BABIP), which is leading to plenty of runs scored opportunities given the bats behind him. You’re not going to get any pop out of Theriot at all (.064 ISO) but he usually makes up for that with stolen bases (20+ in each of the last four years). He only has four steals (in seven chances, yuck) this year, but ZiPS still projects him to pick up another nine while batting a respectable .275 with a .332 OBP the rest of the way. I could see him topping that stolen base projection, though maybe not the average over a couple hundred plate appearances.

Alexi Casilla | 2B, SS | Twins | Ownership: 23% Yahoo!, 47.1% ESPN

I’m not exactly sure whose idea it was to have Casilla play shortstop on an everyday basis, but thankfully that experiment is officially over with Tsuyoshi Nishioka back from the disabled list. Defense is irrelevant in fantasy, so who cares about that anyway. Casilla’s triple slash line sat at a stunningly bad .188/.252/.248 on the morning of May 24th, but the switch hitter has hit .348/.408/.478 with more walks (ten) than strikeouts (nine) in 106 plate appearances since that arbitrary end point. His .378 BABIP during that time is sky high, but his line drive rate has crept up just a touch over the last few weeks and his power numbers are increasing because he’s actually driving the ball with some authority. Casilla won’t give you any homerun production in fantasy, but he’s already stolen ten bags (in 13 tries) and ZiPS has him swiping another ten the rest of the season. It’s not elite production, but you’re not going to find that on the waiver wire this time of the year anyway.