Maybe you drafted an underperforming middle infielder. Cano, Dozier, or Peraza to name a few. Or yours got injured. Looking at you Gennett, Murphy, and Turner owners. One of the thinest and hardest positions to fill in fantasy (MI) hasn’t been getting easier as some of these guys have been producing next to nothing for teams. I certainly have been in that position this year, so I have actively been seeking middle infield reinforcements. Thankfully there have been some guys contributing that have been able to fill in. Below are 4 guys under 40% owned on ESPN that can serve as viable options going forward.
McNeil hasn’t exactly been used as a middle infielder this season, having played only one of his 15 games at 2B. However, he will retain 2B eligibility all season and can be a useful option at the historically weak position. Or he can bring a great deal of versatility to your roster as he also holds 3B eligibility and will soon add OF eligibility to the mix. McNeil has enjoyed a hot start to the season, slashing .404/.475/.519 with 10 runs batted in and 8 runs scored in his first 15 games. This includes multi-hit efforts in 7 of the last 9 games played. He has yet to record a home run or stolen base, but those should come soon enough. McNeil was able to swipe 7 bags and hit 3 homers in 248 plate appearances last year after getting called up. In his 63 games in 2018, he slashed .329/.381/.471 and his 137 wRC+ was best among all 2B with at least 200 plate appearances. He has never been one to strike out a ton, and his 9.8% K rate through his first 78 MLB games suggests that will continue at the top level. The Mets are 4th in the MLB in runs scored, which should allow McNeil to continue creating runs.
ZiPS ROS: .282/339/.432 with 69 R, 12 HR, 59 RBI, and 9 SB in 545 PA
While Pinder may not have a set position for the A’s, his bat has been working him into the lineup nearly every day. Through his first 17 games, Pinder is slashing .308/.327/.558 with 3 home runs, 8 runs batted in, and 10 runs scored. He has recorded 2 or more hits in 4 of his last 6 games played, and is currently the 9th ranked 2B on ESPN. While it is not ideal that he has only walked one time in his 55 plate appearances, it is comforting that he has only struck out 7 times. The lack of walks may make him less appealing in OBP leagues, but outside of SB he should contribute across the board offensively. He has sat out the last couple, but if he continues to hit as well as he has he should continue to start in most games. Pinder is worth an add for owners who need someone to put in the MI slot, and his OF eligibility is a plus.
ZiPS ROS: .246/.301/.436 with 47 R, 15 HR, 43 RBI, and 2 SB in 378 PA
I was a bit skeptical of Galvis at first, seeing as though he is a career .248 hitter. However, Galvis has flashed a modest speed-pop combo we all love in H2H in years past and has been settling into his new home nicely. Freddy is off to a hot start, slashing .339/.369/.645 with 5 home runs, 1 SB, 11 runs batted in, and 9 runs scored in 17 games. His .372 BABIP is much higher than his career .289 mark and holds only a career 5.6% walk rate, so some regression is in store. Even so, Freddy could put together a solid 20-25 HR+SB this year which would be warmly welcomed. Galvis has recorded one hit or more in 10 of the past 11 games. In fact, he has recorded a hit in 14 out of the 17 games thus far. In doing so, he has worked his way to the top of the Blue Jays lineup. It may not be the most potent one out there, but it will still maximize his plate appearances and opportunities to produce runs. Ride him while he’s hot, and hope his success sustains over the course of the season.
ZiPS ROS: .256/.303/.397 with 57 R, 13 HR, 62 RBI, 10 SB in 561 PA
Lowe is one of the hottest hitters in April, batting .364 with 4 home runs, 8 runs scored, 10 runs batted in, and 2-for-2 in stolen base opportunities. He has added 3 doubles, and has walked 5 times in his 50 plate appearances. On the year, Lowe is slashing .302/.356/.585 in 15 games played out of a possible 16. The Rays have been one of the biggest surprises of the year, as they currently lead the AL East by 5.5 games. Their offense has been potent, which bodes well for Lowe’s counting stats going forward. They are currently 9th in batting average and on base percentage, while scoring the 15th most runs. His .302 mark will likely come down, as strikeouts (30.5% thus far) remains a weaknesses. Nevertheless, he is a solid option if you are in need of some help at the 2B/MI slot. An added plus is that he may gain 1B eligibility with Joey Wendle set to come back, and Lowe having received plenty of reps at 1B in the spring.
ZiPS ROS: .243/.319/.427 with 60 R, 18 HR, 62 RBI, and 7 SB in 503 PA