Fantasy Baseball 2021: Waiver-Wire Players to Pick Up for Week 5

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 25, 2021

Fantasy Baseball 2021: Waiver-Wire Players to Pick Up for Week 5

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    The arrivals of Alex Kirilloff and Nico Hoerner should pique the interest of fantasy baseball players.

    The pair of top prospects received calls from the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs, respectively, in the past few days. Kirilloff was inserted right into the Minnesota order Friday, and Hoerner produced a three-hit game in his second appearance of the young season.

    While the young hitters have the attention of waiver-wire explorers, a hurler on the opposite end of the age spectrum should intrigue them as well.

    Adam Wainwright is coming off his best outing of the season, and he has one of the league's most favorable matchups ahead in Week 5.

Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Kirilloff was brought up to Minnesota's major league roster after Max Kepler was placed on the COVID-19 injured list and Miguel Sano went down with an injury.

    The 23-year-old outfielder did not score a hit in his seven at-bats over two games Friday and Saturday versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. But the early struggles should not turn you away from his future as a reliable fantasy contributor.

    After all, we are talking about a player who recorded a .283 batting average and .756 OPS in 2019 at Double-A Pensacola. He also had two straight 100-hit campaigns in the minors.

    Kirilloff and the Twins start off the week with a series against Cleveland, which enters Sunday with the seventh-highest home run concession despite allowing the second-fewest hit total.

    Minnesota should avoid Shane Bieber since he threw in a duel with Gerrit Cole on Saturday, and at the end of the week, it gets a home series with the Kansas City Royals.

    The Royals allow an opposing batting average of .246, which is the seventh-highest among the 30 franchises.

    If Kirilloff takes advantage of the weaknesses strewn across both staffs, his fantasy value could be boosted over the next seven days.

Nico Hoerner, 2B/SS/3B, Chicago Cubs

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Hoerner made more of an immediate impact than Kirilloff following his call-up.

    The Chicago Cubs infielder went 3-for-4 in Friday's clash with the Milwaukee Brewers and he followed that up with a double and two RBI on Saturday.

    Hoerner has benefited from batting in a lineup that is starting to heat up and playing inside Wrigley Field, a stadium that can be favorable to hitters if the conditions are right—like they were Friday.

    The early exploits plus the 23-year-old's positional flexibility make him a more intriguing immediate addition than Kirilloff.

    Hoerner is still widely available in most fantasy leagues and could be in line for a handful of RBI opportunities if the sluggers in the middle of the Cubs order continue to reach base.

    To start Week 5, the Cubs get a chance to feast on an Atlanta starting rotation that has been ravaged by injuries and poor form. Atlanta allowed 25 home runs and had a 4.59 staff era entering Sunday.

Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Wainwright looked like the pitcher he was in his prime with his 10-strikeout gem against the Washington Nationals.

    The 39-year-old has 24 strikeouts over his first four starts. Seventeen of the punchouts have come against the Nationals and he increased his total over each appearance.

    Wainwright should make two starts in Week 5, with the first coming against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.

    The weekend start versus the Pittsburgh Pirates is the most intriguing of the two to fantasy players since the National League Central side has a .224 team batting average.

    Monday's matchup should provide some fantasy value if Wainwright takes advantage of the Phillies' high strikeout rate. They have 194 strikeouts through 21 games.

    Although the Phillies will come into St. Louis after a strong offensive series at Coors Field, Wainwright should be worth the play because of the strikeout potential.

    If he turns in a quality start Monday, Wainwright could finish as one of the best starters in Week 5 if he takes care of the Pirates lineup, like many expect him to.


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