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Fantasy Baseball Category Pickups & Waiver Wire Targets: Week 5 (2023)

Fantasy Baseball Category Pickups & Waiver Wire Targets: Week 5 (2023)

Are you guys ready for a Tampa Bay – Pittsburgh World Series? You can bet MLB’s sponsors aren’t, but with all the excitement surrounding the Pirates’ 13-year Minor League journeyman, maybe the public would tune in for a Pirates’ World Series. (The Drew Maggi story is actually pretty cool and you should check it out if you haven’t yet).

Well, these two powerhouses may not be the most popular but they do roster plenty of excellent waiver-wire targets. They’re actually set to face off against each other this week, beginning on Tuesday, so if you haven’t already, contact your local cable company and demand access to what could go down as one of the greatest series in the history of sports. A battle for the ages, if you will.

Ok, enough of that, but these two teams have come out of the gates with their hair on fire. The Rays and the Pirates have a mind-boggling 43-13 record. Many will point to favorable schedules, but that shouldn’t take away from what these smaller market teams are doing. The Rays have been competitive for a while and thus, most of their productive players are already rostered in fantasy leagues. However, many of the Pirates players are still flying under the radar. So while others aren’t paying attention, now is the ideal time for you to swoop in and add as many of them as you can. At least while they’re still riding the victory wave.

Continuing with our weekly series, this next group of fresh waiver-wire targets are broken down by categories. Many will help you in multiple ways but their primary contributions should come under the category in which they are listed. All players are rostered in 50% or less of Yahoo Leagues.

Fantasy Baseball In-Season Management

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Targets by Category

Here are players to target on the waiver wire for each of the 10 most common categories used in fantasy baseball leagues.

Runs

Mauricio Dubon (2B, SS, OF – HOU): 44%

As long as Jose Altuve remains on the shelf, Dubon should have value. The one-time highly-touted prospect is finally producing regularly in a Major League lineup. Leading off for the Astros, the 28-year-old Honduran has collected at least one hit in 19 games already. His batting average currently sits at .315 which not surprisingly has led to a solid 18 runs scored.

Anyone who leads off for the Astros and hits for over .300 is an excellent source for those seeking runs scored. Dubon could cool off at any moment but in the meantime, he’s deserving of a roster spot in all leagues.

Batting Average

Connor Joe (1B/OF – PIT): 26%

Joe deserves a spot somewhere on this list and it might as well be under batting average. He’s hitting .304 at the moment with a .416 wOBA and a 163 wRC+. He’s been a major part of Pittsburgh’s offense ever since Oneil Cruz broke his ankle. Over just 79 plate appearances Joe’s already registered 24 RBIs + runs scored. He’s also launched three home runs.

Joe was a fantastic hitter throughout his Minor League career, consistently putting up a .300+ average. He did well in the first half of last year as well, hitting over .280 as the Rockies’ leadoff hitter. Like the other Pirates on this list, his production will likely fade as the season gets deeper, but for now, he’s a fine waiver-wire add.

RBI

Rodolfo Castro (2B, 3B, SS – PIT): 15%

Castro was a sleeper of mine coming into the season because he hits the ball hard and possesses a good eye at the plate. He also qualifies for some of the hardest positions to fill. The only question entering the year was if he’d garner enough playing time, but with injuries mounting, Castro’s settled into an everyday role.

Over the last 10 days, Castro has amassed eight RBIs. He won’t blow you away in any single category, but as a second baseman capable of reaching 20 homers, 10 steals, and 65-70 RBIs, he is a nice find in deeper leagues. Castro regularly bats toward the middle of the order and can be counted on to contribute most weeks.

Randal Grichuk (OF – COL): 6%

Grichuk was just activated off the IL and it couldn’t have come at a better time with so many players going down with injury. Grichuk has always been a good, not great hitter who can be relied on to get you a healthy amount of RBIs and a decent number of home runs. Playing in Colorado also doesn’t hurt his cause. He’s available in nearly all leagues, so if you’re in need, now is the time to pounce.

Home Runs

Joey Gallo (1B, OF – MIN): 50%

Gallo did it! He finally made this list. I’m sure it’s been keeping him up nights not seeing his name in this column. Well, no more Mr. Gallo! You have proven to once again be a force at the dish, capable of putting any type of offering into the seats. (He’s hit four heaters and three breaking pitches for home runs).

I’m always weary of players who bring down other categories, but with Gallo playing like he did in 2019 (before he got hurt), he is a must-add in all leagues. His Statcast page is ridiculous, with five offensive categories ranking at either 99 or 100% and his batting average is up to .245 (a fine number for Gallo).

You had to know the shift ban was not only going to help his balls-in-play average but also help him on the mental side of his game. If nothing else, not seeing five guys all scattered around his pull side was going to give him confidence. The strikeouts, while still abundant, have also improved and the seven home runs are good for third in the league. (Can you believe Brent Rooker is second with eight?) Add Gallo immediately.

Jake Bauers (OF – NYY): 1%

I have to quickly mention Bauers here because he was absolutely demolishing Minor League pitching. I know, he’s never been good at the Major League level, but with the short porch in Yankee Stadium custom-made for powerful lefties, Bauers was worth a dart throw in deeper leagues. Unfortunately, he got hurt in the first inning of last night’s game, but If he’s able to recover quickly, Bauer is someone to keep an eye on.

Stolen Bases

Ji Hwan Bae (2B, OF – PIT): 40%

Yes! Another Pirate! That’s right, the Pirates are not only making things happen at the dish but on the base paths as well. The speedy outfielder/second baseman is already up to 10 steals on the year. He’s scored a whopping 16 times over just 76 at-bats and has even clubbed two home runs. Bae always seems to be in the thick of big innings and deserves your attention in all leagues where speed matters.

Fantasy Baseball Lineup Assistant

Wins

Tanner Bibee (SP – CLE): 29%

I was bummed when I missed out on Bibee in the draft. I was able to snag Logan Allen later (more on him in a minute) but Bibee was my favorite Cleveland prospect to target. Allen is ranked slightly higher according to most reports, but I had the pleasure of witnessing Bibee’s performance firsthand when he played for Akron (Double-A) last year. It was only his first year in the Minor League’s but his slider looked downright filthy. Maybe it was all the awkward swings and misses he got, but the opposing team looked helpless against him. He reminded me a bit of Zac Gallen with his stuff and poise and I knew he was going to be a target of mine entering this season. He also went to CSF which has produced more than a handful of successful big-leaguers.

Bibee was lights out in his first-ever game in the Major Leagues. He lasted 5.2 innings against the Rockies and racked up an impressive eight strikeouts. He held Colorado to just one run on no walks and six hits while skating to victory. He also won two out of three starts in Triple-A this season while allowing a total of three runs. Bibee’s scheduled to take on the Bronx Bombers on Tuesday and without Aaron Judge, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a repeat performance.

Strikeouts

Logan Allen (SP – CLE): 29%

I briefly mentioned Allen last week as the news broke for his call-up. Well, the 24-year-old Southpaw did not disappoint. He struck out eight batters over six innings of work while limiting the Marlins to a single run that came off of a solo homer. The Guardians have a knack for drafting and developing excellent young arms and Allen is another to add to the list. He features a four-pitch mix with a nasty changeup that falls off the table. He is someone you absolutely want on your fantasy squad.

WHIP

Yusei Kikuchi (SP, RP – TOR): 48%

Can we once again count on Yusei Kikuchi? He’s always been able to miss bats but now that he’s consistently throwing strikes, he’s re-entered the fantasy conversation. His LOB rate is extremely high, which will eventually come back to bite him, but as long as he’s limiting free passes (he’s currently allowing just 2 per 9) then his 1.11 WHIP will play nicely. Add that to his 26.4 K% and his likelihood of picking up wins pitching for Toronto and you’ve got yourself a winner. Just don’t expect that ERA to stay where it is (3.00) while he’s giving up so many home runs and getting lucky with runners on base.

ERA

Brandon Pfaadt (SP – ARZ): 25%

The 16th overall prospect (FanGraphs) is giving up his fair share of home runs down on the farm. Fortunately, it’s the PCL (aka Triple-A West) where simple cans-of-corn fly out of the stadium at will so they can pretty much be ignored when analyzing stats. Other than the homers, Pfaadt has been dominant, striking out 29% of batters faced while limiting walks to just 5.7%. His ERA currently resides at 3.91 and his WHIP is 1.18 – excellent numbers considering the pitching conditions.

With Mad Bum shown the door and Zack Davies still on the shelf with a severe oblique strain, Pfaadt’s call-up could be just around the corner. The Diamondbacks already have two other rookies in their starting rotation but Pfaadt is by far the most talented of the group. Arizona won’t need a fifth starter until May 9th but since Pfaadt is hardly a well-kept secret, it may be wise to consider adding him if not now, at least by the end of this week. The D’backs are currently leading the NL West, so they’re not going to want to delay bringing their top young arm up.

Saves

Carlos Estevez (RP – LAA): 49%

With Jose Quijada hitting the injured list, Estevez doesn’t have much in the way of ninth-inning competition. After such a dreadful start to the season, the former Rocky has righted the ship and is rewarding those who believed in him. The 30-year-old is a perfect five-for-five in saves over the last 2+ weeks and has only given up one run. His fastball averages 97 with good late movement and his slider has produced positive results. Add the Angels closer everywhere you require saves.

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Assistant


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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.

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