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Deeper Hitter Pickups for Fantasy Baseball - Waiver Wire Report for Week 5

Alek Thomas - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB News

We’re rounding around week five of the fantasy baseball season. I know it takes some time to settle in, but there is no time to waste. Fantasy baseball necessitates hyper-vigilance, especially in deeper leagues where the waiver wires are quickly stripped of talent. This weekly article will outline the upcoming schedule, two-start pitchers, and a few waiver targets that are rostered in less than 5% of leagues.

It’s good practice to maximize at-bats and starts. A quick look at upcoming schedules for the fifth week of the MLB season could end up giving you the edge in this week’s play. There are plenty of two-start pitchers this week who should end up providing great value.

This article will discuss some deeper-league fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups for week five, April 24 through April 30. Often, guys who make hot starts typically extend them until at least June, so even if it is just the fifth week of the season, the waiver wires are the hottest they’ll ever be. Rostered percentages can change quickly. So be quick to check your leagues for their availability. Key point - this list will focus on rostered players in less than 5% of Yahoo! leagues.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Fantasy Baseball Schedule Outlook

This week has some great schedules to target for fantasy. We still haven’t gotten a team with eight games, but there’s only one team with five games on the docket. There are plenty of AL teams with a full slate of games this week.

In this week’s weather report: the West Coast is to see sunny skies. A bit of rain in the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast -- but nothing to be concerned about. For now, it looks to be a cancellation-free week for major league baseball.

  • 5 Games - SD


Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers

With the season settling in, there are starting pitchers of varying quality in this week’s two-start list. For more insight, check out Justin Raffone’s article on this week’s two-start pitchers.


Deeper Infield Waiver Wire Pickups

Pavin Smith (1B/OF), Arizona Diamondbacks

3% Rostered

2017 first-round pick Pavin Smith has dispelled the bust allegations.

Filling in for the injured Kyle Lewis, the 2017 first-round pick has slashed .333/.448.708 with two home runs and 10 RBI in eight games. It is too early to overreact to statcast data, but a 17.2% walk rate signals improvement in his plate discipline. With Kyle Lewis’ 50% K rate and Jake McCarthy’s .202 wOBA, Smith may have done enough to warrant an extended stay with the major league squad. Ride the hot bat with Smith.

Jose Trevino (C), New York Yankees

5% Rostered

Jose Trevino missed a few games with a toe injury but is now back on the field. I wouldn’t expect many people to know that he missed time, especially considering even Yankees fans don’t even recognize the All-Star catcher.

In 12 games this season, he is slashing .220/.256/.341 with one home run and an average exit velocity of 85.2 mph. Despite this early season slump, you should still have faith in the 30-year-old. A look back to last season should alleviate concerns. Trevino is last year’s platinum glove winner. While defense doesn’t win (fantasy) championships, it’ll keep Trevino on the field during this hitting slump.

He’ll cede some starts to Kyle Higashioka, but he’ll be playing more often than not. Of all backup-level fantasy catchers, Trevino is the most reliable for at-bats.

Edmundo Sosa (SS/3B), Philadelphia Phillies

2% Rostered

Let it be known, Edmundo Sosa can hit. He said so himself this Friday after a game-winning RBI against the Rockies.

In his five seasons of big league ball, he has been known for his glove and nothing else. It has kept Sosa in the mix; you can tolerate a guy with a .664 OPS when he also has 10 OAA.

This season, his bat has been the star. Through 15 games, he is slashing .316/.341/.553 with two home runs, six RBI, and five barrels. An early platoon role is why Sosa is still in the trash bin of many fantasy leagues. But with Korey Clemens riding the pine for five straight games, it looks like Sosa has an everyday role at third base.

With an xWOBA that is 100 points lower than his actual wOBA, it may just be luck. Maybe he’ll regress, but he is, at worst, an average hitter. An average hitter with everyday playing time is a starter in most deep leagues.


Deeper Outfield Waiver Wire Pickups

Alek Thomas (OF), Arizona Diamondbacks

2% Rostered

Alek Thomas isn’t having a great season, slashing just .190/.266/.328. But if there’s anybody who looks like they’re ready for a breakout, it’s Alek Thomas.

The 22-year-old’s baseball savant page is redder than one would expect from a player batting below the Mendoza line. He has a .301 xBA, .368 xwOBA, 50% hard-hit rate, just a 15.6% K rate, a 28.4 ft/sec sprint speed, and an average exit velocity of 91.5 mph (80th percentile). With Statcast data like that, you can infer that Thomas has been subject to bad luck.

Even if this string of bad luck continues, his elite defense (seven OAA in 2022) will keep him on the major league roster. Expect better production from the Chicago native.

Randal Grichuk (OF), Colorado Rockies

5% Rostered

Randal Grichuk has never been among the flashier names, but there’s a reason he’s been in the league so long.

Grichuk has just completed rehab for a groin injury that took him out to start the season. In 2022, he slashed .259/.299/.425 with 19 HRs and 73 RBI. With five 20+ HR seasons under his belt, that stat line isn't surprising. With little exit velocity regression in 2022, expect a similar stat line from Grichuk in 2023.

You know what to expect with Randal Grichuk. Add him if you need reliable outfield depth.

Colton Cowser (OF), Arizona Diamondbacks

3% Rostered

Like clockwork, Colton Cowser has reversed a cold start. After starting the Triple-A season 2-for-24, he has since gone 17-for-46 with six RBI, seven walks, four extra-base hits, and 15 runs.

The 23-year-old has been of the minor league's best hitters. In 2022, he slashed .278/.406/.469 with 19 HRs, 66 RBI, and 94 walks while ascending from High-A to Triple-A. And for what it's worth, he struggled in his first few Triple-A games before closing the season with a .932 OPS.

Terrin Vavra (.190/.292/.190) and Ryan McKenna (.200/.278/.267) are stinking it up on the offensive end, so they'll want Cowser up soon. The 2021 first-round pick is a solid stash.

Joey Wiemer (OF), Milwaukee Brewers

4% Rostered

Most people have hopped off the Joey Wiemer bandwagon after a poor start. After being gassed by many in the baseball community, many were expecting a better stat line than .207/.303/.310. Fantasy baseball moves quickly; it isn’t criminal to drop a struggling player.

His Achilles heel right now is breaking pitches. On 120 pitches, Wiemer has a batting average of .080 on breaking pitches. And while that should be concerning, this is his first go-around. It takes time to adjust to sweepers with 18 inches of horizontal break. I, for one, am still firmly seated on that Wiemer bandwagon. And I'm confident he'll take me to the promised land.

You have to remember what made people so high on Wiemer in the first place. His 29 ft/sec sprint speed has already gotten him two stolen bases. His OAA is in the 99th percentile. His K rate has decreased to a passable 21.2%. And he’s punishing fastballs with a .402 wOBA on a count of 102 fastballs.

With injuries to Sal Frelick, Tyrone Taylor, and Garrett Mitchell, Wiemer has an extended leash for the next few weeks. Give him that kind of leash in fantasy, if you can.

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