Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for MLB Week 6

Jason Catania@@JayCat11MLB Lead WriterMay 11, 2015

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for MLB Week 6

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    Welcome to the major leagues, Noah Syndergaard.
    Welcome to the major leagues, Noah Syndergaard.Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

    A new week, another batch of waiver-wire additions just the way you like 'em: hot and fresh out of the oven.

    Some players mentioned last week—including Rusney Castillo, Trevor Plouffe, Alex Colome and Blake Swihart—are already owned in many leagues, but they remain quality pickups if they're available.

    In the interest of keeping the names new, though, let's avoid any repeats. Here are the top 10 waiver-wire pickups for Week 6.

Just Missed

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    With injuries hampering other catchers like Jonathan Lucroy, Devin Mesoraco and Yan Gomes, why isn't Miguel Montero owned in more leagues?
    With injuries hampering other catchers like Jonathan Lucroy, Devin Mesoraco and Yan Gomes, why isn't Miguel Montero owned in more leagues?Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

    Jonathon Niese, SP, New York Mets (23.9 Percent Owned)

    James Paxton, SP, Seattle Mariners (12.8 Percent Owned)

    Jung-Ho Kang, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (2.2 Percent Owned)

    Khris Davis, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (20.2 Percent Owned)

    Miguel Montero, C, Chicago Cubs (13.9 Percent Owned)

    Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants (24.1 Percent Owned) 

    Eddie Rosario, OF, Minnesota Twins (0.3 Percent Owned)

    Yasmany Tomas, 3B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (20.3 Percent Owned)

    Yunel Escobar, 3B/SS, Washington Nationals (11.1 Percent Owned)

    Coco Crisp, OF, Oakland Athletics (21.4 Percent Owned)

    Nick Swisher, 1B, Cleveland Indians (0.2 Percent Owned)

    Dilson Herrera, 2B, New York Mets (0.3 Percent Owned)

    David Phelps, SP/RP, Miami Marlins (3.1 Percent Owned)

    Yangervis Solarte, 2B/3B, San Diego Padres (22.9 Percent Owned)

    Logan Morrison, 1B, Seattle Mariners (3.9 Percent Owned)

    Kyle Blanks, 1B/OF, Texas Rangers (12.0 Percent Owned)

    J.A. Happ, SP, Seattle Mariners (24.3 Percent Owned)

    Josh Collmenter, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks (10.7 Percent Owned)

    Rubby De La Rosa, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks (4.0 Percent Owned)

    Chad Qualls, RP, Houston Astros (10.6 Percent Owned)

    Kelly Johnson, 1B/3B/OF, Atlanta Braves (36.9 Percent Owned)

    Carlos Peguero, OF, Texas Rangers (0.2 Percent Owned)

    Yimi Garcia, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers (46.3 Percent Owned)

    Rafael Betancourt, RP, Colorado Rockies (2.8 Percent Owned)

    Billy Burns, OF, Oakland Athletics (2.2 Percent Owned) 

    Preston Tucker, OF, Houston Astros (0.8 Percent Owned)

No. 10: Nathan Karns, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (6.8 Percent Owned)

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Because he battled through so many injuries early in his career after being drafted all the way back in 2009, Nathan Karns is a bit old for a typical rookie at age 27.

    Although he had pitched in each of 2013 and 2014, he's showing now with the Tampa Bay Rays why he remained on the prospect radar despite the doubts over injury and age. The hard-throwing right-hander isn't always the most efficient man on the mound (4.2 BB/9), but he has proved to be tough to make contact against, with only 25 hits allowed against 38 strikeouts in 40.1 frames over seven starts.

    Karns probably fits best as a streaming starter based on matchups, but his stuff offers the upside that could help him stick on your roster while he's throwing well. With that in mind, his next turn might be tricky, though, as he gets the lefty-heavy New York Yankees lineup.

No. 9: Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers (12.1 Percent Owned)

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Now that he's mostly recovered from offseason shoulder surgery and back with the Texas Rangers organization for which he starred for five years after a relapse put him out of favor with the Los Angeles Angels, it's only a matter of time before Josh Hamilton is back in the bigs.

    The soon-to-be 34-year-old has moved his rehab assignment from extended spring training—he went 1-for-5 with a home run last week—to Triple-A Round Rock, where he went 1-for-3 with a single and two strikeouts against former Cy Young winner Barry Zito.

    "Physically, he looked great," Round Rock manager Jason Wood said, per the Associated Press. "He was moving really well in the outfield. It's just nice to see him back on the field again, and in good spirits."

    What Hamilton is capable of is one of the bigger unknowns at the moment, but owners should at least allow for the possibility that he can come close to doing what Alex Rodriguez—another embattled former superstar in the twilight of his career—is doing. In other words, hit for power more so than for average and go through waves of hot and cold streaks.

    The expectation is that Hamilton could make his 2015 debut by the end of May, so if you're in position to try for a Hail Mary, Hamilton fits the bill.

No. 8: Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Texas Rangers (34.4 Percent Owned)

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    Mike Stone/Associated Press

    There's no way to put it other than this: Shin-Soo Choo has had a terrible time in Texas. His first season as a Ranger after inking a massive seven-year, $130 million contract was an all-around mess of injury and ineffectiveness.

    Although it might not have seemed possible, the beginning of Year 2 looked to be even worse. The 32-year-old opened May with a batting average that started with a "0" at .096, and he was in real danger of losing playing time even in Texas' woebegone outfield, especially once the guy on the previous slide shows up.

    Choo still has a long, long way to go, but at least there are signs he might be able to things around. The 11-year veteran has a hit in all 10 games he's played this month and has gone 12-for-41 (.293) with a pair of homers. The Rangers also have moved him back into the leadoff spot, which should provide a boost in runs scored, as long as Choo can continue to get on base at a decent clip.

    Don't go crazy here, because it's unlikely Choo is going to re-emerge as the high-average, 20-20 performer he was for a handful of seasons. In fact, after going just 3-of-7 on stolen bases in 2014, he has yet to even attempt one in 2015. But Choo could do enough to be a capable OF 4 for fantasy.

No. 7: J.J. Hardy, SS, Baltimore Orioles (9.6 Percent Owned)

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    A back injury late in spring training kept J.J. Hardy out for more than a month, but the veteran shortstop is back with the Baltimore Orioles.

    Even better, Hardy homered Sunday, his fourth game of 2015, which is a good sign after he failed to knock one out at all in 2014 until—remember this?—June 21, which was his 65th game of the season.

    The 32-year-old might have missed too much time to reach the 20-homer plateau, but he has gotten there five times before in his career, including each of 2011, 2012 and 2013 prior to last year's outage when he finished with nine. Don't forget about him if you're hurting to find a starting shortstop.

No. 6: Jimmy Nelson, SP, Milwaukee Brewers (25.7 Percent Owned)

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    We covered Jimmy Nelson as a waiver-wire pickup back in Week 2 after his seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts in his initial outing, but it's time to hit on him again.

    The nearly 26-year-old lost a lot of fantasy fans when he threw up a clunker his third time out (2.1 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 5 BB), but that's been his only bad game so far. (OK, it was more brutal than bad, but you get the idea.)

    Granted, we can't actually take that away, but if we could, Nelson's 4.25 ERA and 1.11 WHIP would drop to 2.67 and 0.86, respectively. Oh, and he has struck out almost exactly one per inning with 35 over his 36 frames, including 11 over seven innings this past Friday.

    This is a potential SP 5 in fantasy, but at the very least, Nelson should remain owned and deployed in good matchups—like Wednesday, when he goes against the Chicago White Sox, one of just two teams yet to crack the 100-run mark for the season.

No. 5: Carlos Rodon, SP, Chicago White Sox (20.8 Percent Owned)

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    PAUL BEATY/Associated Press

    Like Jimmy Nelson, Carlos Rodon was in the top 10 of this column already—a week later, in fact—and is deserving of another go here.

    After pitching out of the bullpen upon being promoted in mid-April, the 22-year-old top prospect made his first-ever big league start on Saturday, and he turned in a quality one. The lefty limited the Cincinnati Reds to just two runs on four hits while striking out eight. Rodon also walked four, and his shaky control is going to lead to a subpar WHIP and the occasional blowup.

    But given Rodon's stuff, including an upper-90s heater and wipeout slider, he is one to roster for the massive strikeout potential as long as the Chicago White Sox are starting him. Given the continued struggles of Hector Noesi (6.06) and John Danks (5.12), as well as the Sox's desperation for some sort of spark to get out of their early-season funk, that seems like a good possibility.

    Add Rodon now and monitor the situation, which could include another start Friday in Oakland, a tasty spot to use him for fantasy.

No. 4: Torii Hunter, OF, Minnesota Twins (42.8 Percent Owned)

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Look, Torii Hunter is ancient by baseball standards, making him something like the opposite of appealing for most fantasy owners. Except Hunter, who turns 40 in July, has been too hot to ignore any longer.

    Back this season with the Minnesota Twins, the team that drafted him in Round 1 a whopping 22 years ago, Hunter has continued to be his usual productive, oldie-but-goodie self with a .287 average, 18 runs, five homers and 19 RBI. His May has been particularly impressive to date, as Hunter has gone 18-for-42 (.429) with 12 runs, four homers and 12 RBI.

    What's more, the Twins offense has been better than you think as the sixth-highest scoring unit in baseball. So Hunter could turn in yet another fine campaign as a fourth outfielder in fantasy.

No. 3: Marlon Byrd, OF, Cincinnati Reds (35.4 Percent Owned)

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Owners understandably got fed up with Marlon Byrd's slow start, in which he hit .115 with zero home runs through his first 14 games. Perhaps figuring he was just about done at age 37, they dumped him en masse.

    Well, Byrd hit his first homer of 2015 in his 15th game, and he hasn't stopped hitting since. Over the past 15 contests, the new Cincinnati Red has gone 17-for-52 (.327) with six long balls and 13 RBI, while also scoring 10 runs.

    This is Exhibit 23,879 of how a little patience often pays off in fantasy baseball. After all, while Byrd isn't a stud, he did collect 49 homers with 173 RBI and a .277 batting average across 2013-14. He might struggle to approach that last mark, but another 20-homer, 80-RBI campaign—which would be his third straight—seems very plausible.

No. 2: Avisail Garcia, OF, Chicago White Sox (32.4 Percent Owned)

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Yes, this is the third repeat player of the week, but that's because it's clear that this is the point in the season when too many owners for some reason don't want to buy into a breakout candidate just yet for who knows what reason.

    Apologies for another retread, but it's for a worthy cause, as we implore you again: Pick up Avisail Garcia, the soon-to-be 24-year-old outfielder we highlighted in Week 3.

    All Garcia has done this year is hit .327 with a solid 17 runs to go with two homers and 10 RBI. The power production leaves something to be desired, but expect an uptick once the Chicago White Sox's moribund offense gets going.

    If you need more motivation to add Garcia at this point, try this: Over his past baker's dozen games, the outfielder is hitting .392 (20-for-52).

No. 1: Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets (28.0 Percent Owned)

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    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    This is the one we've been waiting for. Noah Syndergaard, arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball, is set to make his MLB debut for the New York Mets on Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs.

    The 22-year-old is filling in for the injured Dillon Gee in the rotation, so there's a chance he'll merely be up for a spot start or two before returning to the minors. But there's also the possibility that Syndergaard—affectionately known as "Thor" for his superhero-sounding last name and flowing gold locks—could continue his hot streak in the majors and become a permanent part of the five-man.

    After a slow start, the 6'6", 240-pound right-hander has used his electric arsenal to toy with Triple-A hitters, posting a 1.82 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 34 strikeouts over 29.2 innings across five starts. He has been especially nasty in his past three, tolerating just two runs on 13 baserunners with 27 whiffs in his last 22 frames.

    Syndergaard is this week's No. 1 pickup because he has the pedigree, profile and goods to perform like an SP 3 in fantasy from here on out. Even if he hits a few bumps in the road along the way, he's going to be worth owning the rest of the season. Let's just hope the Mets are smart enough to keep him up for good.

    All ownership percentages courtesy of ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Players owned in more than 50 percent of leagues were not considered. Statistics are accurate through Sunday, May 10, and courtesy of MLB.comBaseball-Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

    Need more fantasy baseball help? Come pepper me with your questions on Twitter today at 11 a.m. ET @JayCat11