Fantasy Baseball 2020: Players to Target on Waiver Wire for Week 5

Martin FennCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2020

Miami Marlins' Miguel Rojas, left, reacts after rounding third base on his three-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Washington. Marlins third base coach Trey Hillman, right, looks on. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Chances are if you are a fantasy baseball player, your roster is dealing with some injuries right about now.

A number of marquee players have hit the Injured List in the past few days. The New York Yankees announced both shortstop Gleyber Torres and left-handed starting pitcher James Paxton were being sent to the IL.

Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals' defense of their 2019 World Series championship will only get tougher after it was announced right-hander Stephen Strasburg would be undergoing season-ending surgery to address issues caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.

Other stars, like Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, are still playing banged up. In any case, hawking the waiver wire for impact players has become more important than ever in a shortened season, particularly as the 2020 campaign approaches the midway point.

Here are a few players likely to be available in your fantasy leagues who should be scooped up either to fill a need or even start full time.



Waiver-Wire Players to Target For Week 5   

SS Willy Adames, Tampa Bay Rays   

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

It might not come as the biggest surprise that Willy Adames is still available in 83.1 percent of all ESPN fantasy baseball leagues given the talent at the shortstop position throughout the league.

However, those now missing Torres might want to consider his American League East counterpart.

Adames has quietly been one of the better hitters in Tampa Bay. The 24-year-old has not been the biggest of run-producers, with just two homers and eight RBI entering play Saturday. But the counting stats are not the best indicator of Adames' success this year. He is striking out more, but he is also drawing more walks and currently has a career-high 142 OPS+.

The Dominican's ability to get on base has been crucial, as he ranks second on the Rays in runs scored. The run-scoring, paired with the slugging upside and speed, should make Adames a popular commodity among those looking for depth at shortstop.



SS Miguel Rojas, Miami Marlins   

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Miguel Rojas is rostered in just 12.8 percent of all ESPN leagues, but that figures to change in the immediate future.

The veteran has been on a tear for the Miami Marlins, with a pair of homers and eight RBI in his first four games entering play Saturday.

Granted, Rojas is a hard player to evaluate given the sample size. However, he has an average exit velocity of 95.1 mph on 12 batted ball events (BBE) and also has a hard-hit rate over 58 percent, per Baseball Savant.

Nearly half of Rojas' hits have gone for extra bases. He also already has a stolen base on his 2020 resume. In short, he is doing it all for a surprisingly competitive Marlins team.

It seems likely the 31-year-old will cool off. Still, he is the kind of player you can ride while he is hot or stash on the bench for later usage.



OF Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees   

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Mike Tauchman was one of the guys who established himself as a strong contributor for an injury-riddled Yankees club in 2019. He is seemingly replicating that value in 2020.

The 29-year-old is available in nearly 90 percent of all ESPN leagues, which is astonishing given his multi-dimensional skill set for one of the highest-scoring offenses in baseball.

Tauchman entered play on Saturday slashing .333/.404/.431 with five doubles, seven RBI and five stolen bases. While he has yet to hit a homer, his 131 OPS+ is even higher than it was last season, when he hit 13 homers in under 300 plate appearances.

Given the Yankees are missing a number of key offensive pieces, it seems likely Tauchman will continue to get regular playing time. He can hit for average and power, and he also steals bases, making him the perfect replacement outfielder for any number of owners.


All stats obtained via Baseball Reference and all fantasy information via ESPN unless otherwise noted.