2020 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Waiver Wire: Five and Dime

by Dennis Sosic
2020 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Waiver Wire

Welcome Fantasy friends and foes to the 2020 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Waiver Wire.

As we move closer to the MLB Trade Deadline on August 31st, many teams will be looking for great bargains in acquiring players. Fantasy managers should have a similar mindset by picking up players to improve their rosters. Every team needs to improve.

I came up with five players that you can obtain cheaply off the waiver wire that can improve your Fantasy rosters. Find out who and how they can help in the 2020 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Waiver Wire: Five and Dime.

2020 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Waiver Wire

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Hitters

Jake Cronenworth, 2B/SS, San Diego Padres

Infielder Jake Cronenworth came to the San Diego Padres as part of the Hunter Renfroe for Tommy Pham trade. Cronenworth was forced into an everyday role at first base with Eric Hosmer (gastritis) on the injured list. He stepped in and never looked back. The former Tampa Bay farmhand is hitting .328/.400/.597 with 12 extra-base hits out of his 22 hits to start his big league career.

With Hosmer now back in the Padres lineup, the Padres shifted Cronenworth to second base to keep his hot bat in the lineup. He has not been disappointed by hitting .400 (10-for-25) with five runs scored in his last ten games.

Cronenworth, who owned a .949 OPS at Triple-A last season, provides positional flexibility, including second base, shortstop, and first base. His bat continues to prove that he should be in the lineup every day. Cronenworth should unseat the .202 hitting Jurickson Profar at second base for the Padres. He is a player who should provide sneaky CI and MI value for Fantasy managers.

Brad Miller, 2B/3B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals

Brad Miller joined the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason on a one-year deal to provide a left-handed bat to the bench. This is his sixth MLB team in his career, and he can play all infield positions as well as the outfield.

The St. Louis Cardinals have been devastated by COVID-19, and they are still attempting to fill out their daily lineups with healthy players.

Miller has filled in at shortstop, third base, and DH since his return from the Injured List due to a right ankle injury earlier this month. He is currently slashing .348/.497/.696 with two homers, 10 RBI with one stolen base in his nine games this season.

Miller is a short-term fill-in for Fantasy owners looking to replace D.J. LeMahieu, Kris Bryant, or Gleyber Torres while those players are on their Injured List. Miller provides some pop in his bat, so grab him now while he is hot.

Pitchers

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Matt Barnes, RP, Boston Red Sox

Following the trade of Brandon Workman to the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, it would seem that Matt Barnes would be the favorite for the closer role for the Boston Red Sox. Barnes owns a 1-1 record with a 5.06 ERA in his 10.2 innings of work so far this season.

Barnes is a mixed bag as a reliever. His strikeout rate had escalated from 9.6 per nine innings in 2016 to 10.7 in 2017, 14.0 in 2018, and 15.4 last season. However, his walk rate has also climbed during that same period, from 3.6 per nine in 2017, to 4.5 in 2018, and 5.3 last season.

His inability to trust his stuff along with tying in how his usage affects his effectiveness should not be overlooked. The right-hander tied a career-high with 70 appearances last season, but the frequency of usage and its effects stood out to me. Barnes owns a 5.40 ERA when pitching on zero days of rest but dips to 2.95 ERA with three days rest, and 0.46 ERA with four days rest.

Every Fantasy manager chases saves and Barnes will probably the most added player in Fantasy in your category leagues. The closer carousel stops at Matt Barnes in Week 5.

Triston McKenzie, SP, Cleveland Indians

There is plenty of turmoil surrounding the Cleveland Indians' starting pitchers Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger after the two violated COVID-19 protocols and the team's club code of conduct during a road trip to Chicago earlier this month. The dissension in the clubhouse has the Indians' front office evaluating their options with the MLB trading deadline approaching August 31st.

To fill the rotation spot of Zach Plesac, the Indians called up one of their top pitching prospects, Triston McKenzie. McKenzie, who was the Indians' second draft pick in 2015, hasn't pitched a game since the second half of the 2018 Class AA Akron season. The 22-year-old right-hander missed all of the 2019 season with a strained right rotator cuff and pectoral muscle.

In his big-league debut against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field, McKenzie made a dream debut by striking out ten batters over six innings, allowing one run, two hits, and one walk to earn his first major league win.  He produced 16 called strikes and 17 swinging strikes across 80 total pitches.

Despite his impressive debut, it's uncertain what McKenzie's role will be in this remarkable Indians' rotation. McKenzie, who was rated as one of the team's strongest prospects, has been quite impressive in Cleveland's minor-league system. He owns a career .268 ERA and 10.8 SO/9 in the minors. 

McKenzie has earned at least one more start, but his 2020 role is still undefined. If he remains with the Indians, he is definitely worth the immediate add. However, Fantasy managers will have to bank on McKenzie building upon his impressive big-league debut and scoop him up in your league's next waiver run. You don't want to miss out on a potentially viable starter for the rest of the season.

Elieser Hernandez, SP, Miami Marlins

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For the second consecutive week, a Marlins starting pitcher makes the Waiver Wire recommendations. Last week, Pablo Lopez was a no-brainer recommendation in my Week 4 Waiver Wire. However, this week, I am digging a little deeper for the next Marlins starter, Elieser Hernandez.

Hernandez posted a 3-5 record and a 5.03 ERA for the Marlins last season as a fifth starter and in long relief. However, so far in the four starts this season, Hernandez has been strong on the mound. He owns a 1-0 record with a 2.29 ERA and a .0763 WHIP in  19.2 innings. He also carries an 11.4 SO/9 and is backed up by a 3.37 FIP which is a massive improvement from his 5.58 last season.

His continued development is encouraging, albeit in a small sample size. His high strikeout ability provides Fantasy value, and Hernandez is an advisable pickup for favorable streamable matchups.


Check out the rest of our 2020 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

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1 comment

2021 Fantasy Baseball; AL Central Division Preview February 10, 2021 - 7:00 am

[…] that Fantasy managers should put in their queue come draft time. Zach Plesac was in the middle of a COVID-19 protocol violation that forced him to miss three weeks of action. However, when he was on the mound, Plesac went 4-2 […]

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