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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire and FAAB Recommendations for MLB Week 5

We would all love to win our league on Draft Day, but that’s simply not possible. The fantasy baseball waiver wire is a necessary tool for fortifying your roster. How much FAAB should you be willing to spend on some of the hot adds? Here’s a look at some of the players, generally owned in 50% or less of leagues, who may be worth considering.

More great fantasy baseball advice and analysis: Waiver Wire & FAAB Recommendations | Daily MLB Injury Report | MLB DFS Picks | Line-up Analysis | Dynasty Rankings and Strategy | MLB Bullpen Updates | MLB Player Props | Prospect Rankings & Analysis | Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers

Fantasy Baseball FAAB Recommendations

Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox

There was a time when Duran was a highly regarded prospect.  While he’s lost a bit of shine, he has been highly productive over his first 10 games in ’23.  Over 40 PA he was hitting .400 with 1 HR and 2 SB.  Is he this good?  Probably not, considering a .542 BABIP.  Can he be a useful player?  Well…

Duran has been hitting the ball extremely hard (96.0 average Exit Velocity).  While he’s struggled with strikeouts (30.0%), his approach has actually been solid.  Thus far he’s posted a 9.7% SwStr% and 27.6% O-Swing%.  Neither of those numbers supports such an inflated mark.

So, while the BABIP is going to regress significantly an improvement in the strikeout rate will help to offset that.  He has speed and should benefit from the bigger bases (he had 25 SB combined last season).  He also should be able to produce double-digit home runs, as he already has piled up 5 doubles this season.

It’s an extremely small sample size, but could he have figured things out at 26 years old?  It’s well worth buying now and finding out.

Verdict – Must own
FAAB – 5% (I’d be willing to go higher if you feel it’s necessary)

Tanner Bibee, RHP,  Cleveland Guardians

It was an impressive MLB debut for Bibee, who stymied the Rockies on Wednesday.  Over 5.2 IP he allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, to earn the win.  He showed both strikeouts (11.33 K/9) and control (1.83 BB/9) over 132.2 IP in the minors in 2022.  The major question was if home runs would be an issue, given his 35.8% groundball rate.  That wasn’t a problem in his debut, but it remains one to monitor.  It’s not like he was generating more groundballs at Triple-A (36.4% in three starts).

There also is the question as to whether or not he can stick in the rotation.  Shane Bieber is a lock.  After that?  There are endless questions, considering their starters ERA of 4.53.

Bibee has the upside and is a solid option if the matchup is favorable.  That said, if it is a slugging lineup the risk may outweigh the reward.  Consider him more of a back-of-the-rotation option, despite the success, and bid on him accordingly.

Verdict – Matchup play starter
FAAB – 2-5% (he’s more of a streaming option, so think no more than $25 in $1,000 FAAB)

Yennier Cano – Baltimore Orioles

Cano made some news when he earned a save this week when Felix Bautista was unavailable.  It’s just the continuation of an unbelievable start to his 2023 season.  Whether it’s been Triple-A or the Majors, he’s been nearly untouchable:

  • Triple-A – 3.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 4 K, 1 BB
  • Majors – 8.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 10 K, 0 BB

He’s clearly earned a high-leverage role, adding 4 HLDs on top of the save.  His control has always been the biggest question, and if he’s throwing strikes he has the potential to continue to thrive.

Obviously, he’s not yet close to overtaking Bautista in the role of the closer.  Do we think Bautista is a lock to hold down the role all season?  No, but over 77.1 IP for the Orioles the past two years he owns a 2.09 ERA.  He’s earned some rope, so it will take more than this for Cano to get regular opportunities.

Verdict – Pickup & Stash
FAAB – $0 bid (no more than $5 in $1,000 FAAB)

Nick Senzel – Cincinnati Reds

Remember him?  He’s consistently disappointed, but he appears to be putting together a strong stretch.  Between Tuesday and Wednesday, Senzel went 5-8 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, and 1 SB.  Obviously, it’s just two games, but given the previous potential, it’s worth paying attention to.

At the same time, while it’s a small sample (48 PA) his underlying metrics are not impressive:

  • SwStr% – 12.2%
  • Exit Velocity – 86.2 mph

The truth is that he hasn’t been a productive player since 2019 (his rookie season).  At 27 years old maybe he’s finally figured it out?  While it’s not impossible, is that really a gamble you want to pay a significant amount of FAAB on?

Verdict – Short-term plug-in (with upside)
FAAB – $0 bid (no more than $5 in $1,000 FAAB)

Bryan De La Cruz – Miami Marlins

It’s a little surprising that he’s still available in 66% of CBS formats.  De La Cruz has settled into an everyday role for the Marlins, consistently hitting in the middle of the lineup.  Entering Thursday he was hitting .295 with 2 HR and 1 SB.

That said, it’s not to say that De La Cruz SHOULD be owned.  Just consider these facts:

  • He’s never shown impressive power (20 HR in 659 PA) or speed (6 SB)
  • De La Cruz has benefited from a .396 BABIP
  • There’s been far too much swing and miss to his game (14.6% SwStr%)

Can De La Cruz be a solid short-term plug-in?  Absolutely, but don’t get enamored with him.  The bottom will drop out before long.  Ride him while he’s productive, but ditch him quickly.

Verdict – Short-term plug-in
FAAB – $0 bid (no more than $5 in $1,000 FAAB)

Joey Lucchesi – New York Mets

Lucchesi stumbled a bit in his second start, ultimately being charged with 3 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 5.1 IP.  That feels a lot more realistic, despite his impressive 2023 debut.  He’s never been an ace and coming off Tommy John surgery, he’s not likely to suddenly morph into one.

Once the Mets are healthy Lucchesi will also be out of a job, making him hard to invest heavily in.

Verdict – Streaming option, at best
FAAB – $0 bid

Vince Velasquez – Pittsburgh Pirates

After a poor start, Velasquez has put together three straight strong starts.  In total he’s gone 19.0 IP allowing 3 ER on 10 H and 7 BB, striking out 23.  He’s always flashed the upside potential, but do we truly believe that he’s suddenly put things together?

The strikeout stuff is there…  The control remains questionable…  He continues to be a huge risk of home run issues (31.5% groundball rate).

Consistently an injury risk, Velasquez is better than a streamer.  He also isn’t a pitcher that we’d trust to run out there every time out.  If you are in a deep league he’s worth trying to play the matchups, but be careful.

Verdict – Matchup play
FAAB – 1%

Sources – Fangraphs,

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