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Week 5 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Targets

Here are some waiver wire targets ahead of matchup number five that you should consider adding. The following recommendations are organized here as deep and shallow league targets. The players you choose to add and drop from your team should largely depend on your league size and roster construction.

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Deep League Waiver Targets

C/1B Christian Bethancourt – TB

Christian Bethancourt’s bat has finally started to come alive. As of writing, the catcher has four home runs, 11 runs, nine RBI, and a .286 batting average.

Bethancourt’s HR/FB rate of 25% is more than double his career average, but an increased launch angle, improved hard contact, and a higher flyball rate than last season support an increase in the rate of homers.

If Bethancourt had enough at-bats to qualify, he would have the second-highest barrel rate (19.4%) among catchers and first basemen, and he would be tied with Bryan Reynolds at 12th overall.

His 61.1% HardHit rate would rank fourth overall, second among catchers, and first overall at first base.

Beyond just absolutely mashing the ball, Bethancourt has improved his discipline by cutting down his chase rate and swinging strike rate. Despite that, his batting avereage is likely to regress with his BABIP, plus he is still chasing balls 36% of the time.

Bethancourt could be a sneaky source of power at a super thin position and is an excellent waiver wire option who is eligible at two spots.

2B/OF Chris Taylor – LAD

Chris Taylor’s .163 AVG looks ugly on the surface, but underneath are signs that the tide may turn.

He possesses a .125 BABIP supported by a career low 7% LD rate, but his batted ball percentages are uncharacteristic of what he has done over his career, it is likely that with more time, those percentages self-correct.

For example, his line drive rate for his career is 24.6%, 17.5% higher than his season total. That extra percentage has turned into identical 46.4% GB and FB rates, both about 8%-9% higher than his career norms. As those (hopefully) adjust and he drives the ball more, his AVG should get better.

On a good note, Taylor has a career-best 17.2% barrel rate and a solid 37.9% HardHit rate. He is clearly making good contact, just not at the trajectory to rack up hits.

And despite an increase to a career-worst 31% chase rate and 38% K rate, Taylor has improved his overall contact from last season and cut down on swinging strikes. This could also bode well for his AVG.

Now is the time to pounce on Taylor if he is available on waivers.

3B Spencer Steer – CIN

Spencer Steer is overlooked likely because he plays on the last-place Reds. Instead, you should not overlook him and consider adding him from your waiver wire today.

Steer has a firm grasp on a starting role in one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball. He has no legitimate competition for playing time except for prospect Elly De La Cruz, who is batting .056 in AAA.

With his playing time, Steer has two homers, 11 runs, nine RBI, a steal, and a .274 AVG. His AVG is propped up by a sky-high .340 BABIP, so expect the AVG to regress some.

Steer has made a number of improvements from his rookie season in 2022, including to his chase, contact, swinging strike, walk, and strikeout rates. He cut down on groundballs and put more balls in the air, they just have yet to turn into homers. That should change as he has also increased his HardHit rate from last season.

Steer is a young player who is only getting better, playing in a great ballpark, with no threat to playing time. If you need corner infield depth, check if he is on your waiver wire and add him now.

OF Colton Cowser – BAL

This is very speculative, but Colton Cowser could get the call from the Orioles sooner rather than later. The team called up Kyle Stowers for a stint earlier in the season, but Cowser has far outperformed Stowers in AAA so far.

Cowser has shown excellent discipline in his 96 minor league PAs this year with a 16.7% walk rate and a 24% K rate, resulting in a .291 AVG compared to Stowers’ .239 AVG.

Cowser has collected four homers, 25 runs, 15 RBI, and swiped two bags as well.

Austin Hays and Cedric Mullins appear locked in to everyday roles in Baltimore, but Anthony Santander and the rest of the outfield crew for the O’s have underperformed. Cowser could take hold of a spot in the near future, so if you have room on your bench for a speculative stash, Coswer is worth the add.

SP Brandon Pfaadt – ARI

Another speculative add is Arizona starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt. Many suspected he would get the call when the team designated Madison Bumgarner for assignment, but the Diamondbacks looked elsewhere.

Now, with Drey Jameson demoted and a rotation spot opened up, Pfaadt could get the call.

There are many things to like about the young pitcher, who has an 11 K/9 rate in 20 innings this season in AAA. So far this year, Pfaadt has stranded runners at a 93% clip, while inducing grounders 43.4% of the time and walking just four batters.

Pfaadt possesses a fastball, slider, and changeup combo that should translate well to the MLB, and he appears more than ready to handle major league hitting.

If you have room to stash him, he is worth a waiver add today.

Shallow League Waiver Targets

1B/OF Connor Joe – PIT

After hitting eight homers and batting .285 in 211 PAs in 2021, Connor Joe regressed in 2022. He ended that season with 467 PAs, but just seven home runs and a .238 AVG to show for it.

Currently, Joe has two homers, 13 runs, eight RBI, a steal, and a .328 AVG in 71 PAs. While the AVG is likely to regress, as is his .409 BABIP, fantasy managers may start to see an increase in homers thanks to a few changes.

The Pittsburgh outfielder has modified his approach at the plate with his new team, swinging nearly 6% less often than he for his career between San Francisco and Colorado. Joe has dramatically decreased his chase rate from last season to what would be a league-best 16.5% if he qualified.

Not only that, but Joe has nearly doubled his career barrel rate to 13%, and his 52.2% HardHit rate is 13% higher than his prior season best from 2021.

Since Joe is driving the ball so well and is hitting so hard, he should be able to maintain a high average, and with some added hard contact, he could see a few more balls leave the park than in past seasons.

Joe is a great waiver wire target and is criminally underrated.

2B/3B/SS Jon Berti – MIA

Many fantasy managers may be scared away from Jon Berti because of his .233 batting average, and the fact that he only has four steals after 23 games.

After 23 games last season, Berti had six steals, but ended up with 41 to finish out the year, along with a .240 AVG.

Do not be afraid of his AVG from last season or this one. Berti has made improvements this year that have yet to reflect. He has a 23% LD rate, his best since 2019, and has yet to pick up an infield hit despite reaching on infield hits nearly 10% of the time for his career. Because of this, his .259 BABIP is far under where it should be and is a major reason for his low AVG.

Berti also has a career-low 17.4% chase rate, and his best contact rate since 2020, which has resulted in a 17.5% K rate – the lowest of his career. This also supports the idea that his AVG does not reflect his true performance.

Now is the time to get on the Berti train and grab him off waivers, especially if you need cheap steals.

OF Jack Suwinski – PIT

Jack Suwinski was a hot waiver wire name at points last season but cooled off to turn in a 19-homer season with a .202 AVG in 372 PAs.

This season could be different, as the outfielder has made adjustments early in his sophomore season.

Suwinski has cut down on strikeouts and groundballs and has a 16.7% chase rate in 65 PAs so far in 2023. He has also increased his walk rate, showing signs that he is a more disciplined hitter in year two.

The power for Suwinski looks legit. He has a 21.6% barrel rate and a 51.4% HardHit rate, both of which are elite. Where he could regress is in his batting average.

Suwinski has just a 16.7% LD rate that does not support a high BABIP. And while his .281 BABIP is not high for the league, it is high for him, especially in years where he has not driven the ball well. His AVG could also be boosted because of his nearly 30% HR/FB rate, resulting in five home runs.

Unless he begins to drive the ball better, his batting average will likely drop, but he is still worth an add from waivers because of the power potential and his general upside.

SP Josiah Gray – WAS

Ignore the expected stats for Josiah Gray. His xFIP is 4.71 and his SIERA is 4.48 compared to a 2.93 ERA. Will his ERA stay this low forever? Likely no. But these xStats are not taking into account what he has done to improve this season.

Those stats assume that he will regress to his career averages in BB/9, LOB%, GB%, and HR/FB%, but perhaps he can sustain his improvements. Gray has improved to career bests in each of those stats while lowering his HR/9 rate as well by nearly a homer per nine innings from last season.

Part of his success is due to some changes in his pitch mix. He has nearly cut out his sinker and changeup, two of his worst-performing pitches from last season. Gray is leaning more on his fastball and slider, which is working extremely well. Those two pitches have a .235 and .167 batting average against respectively and both have a sub-.200 xBAA.

Gray has induced an incredible amount of whiffs with his pitches as well. He has four pitches with a whiff rate of 23% or higher. Here is a recent outing of his showing him striking out nine batters, using his entire arsenal to do so:

Josiah Gray has the pitches to get both righty and lefty hitters out, and may finally be turning a corner on limiting home runs, something that has troubled him for years.

This could be the Josiah Gray breakout year, and he is still widely available on waivers, go get him before it is too late.

RP Bryan Abreu – HOU

Ryan Pressley has been unavailable to save games this season, picking up just one save so far. While he is dealing with his health issues, Bryan Abreu has been called upon to close out games.

His two saves lead the Astros relievers. Abreu is sixth among all Astros pitchers in strikeouts, with 19 in 12.1 IP, giving him an eye-popping 13.8 K/9 rate.

There are some concerns about Abreu’s command and control, as he has 4.39 BB/9 this season and a 4.4 BB/9 rate for his career.

Despite that, he appears to be the favorite for save opportunities when Pressley is unavailable. This makes him a prime waiver wire target, especially in leagues that value holds.


Hopefully, these players are available for you and you can use them to improve your team ahead of your next matchup.

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