Week 6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top MLB Free-Agent Pickups Include Returning Framber Valdez
Here is The Game Day’s Week 6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top Free-Agent Pickups. Set these key Week 6 MLB Pickups for your waiver wire list this weekend, then follow along with our full fantasy baseball tips page all MLB season.
Week 6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top Free-Agent Pickups To Target
Week 6 MLB Waiver Wire: Priority Adds
Framber Valdez, SP/RP, Houston Astros (48% rostered on Yahoo!)
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Framber Valdez this year. Following his breakout 2020, he entered the spring as a top-35 starting pitcher in my books. Then he suffered a fractured finger on his throwing hand that threatened his season.
Now, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports that pitching coach Brent Strom says regarding Valdez’s rehab, “he is way ahead of schedule.” The southpaw’s throwing fastballs, curves, and changeups off the mound and facing live hitters is the next hurdle he’ll need to clear.
Valdez is nearing a return, and the estimated timeline in McTaggart’s piece would put Valdez back in the Houston Astros’ rotation as soon as May.
Framber Valdez Waiver Wire Tip: Valdez is an SP3 with SP2 upside, and he’s worth a FAAB bid of 35-40% of budgets given his immense upside.
Josh Staumont, RP, Kansas City Royals (49%)
Josh Staumont has three career saves. Those saves are the last three save opportunities for the Kansas City Royals, per our weekly Fantasy Baseball Closers and Bullpens report. The 27-year-old righty fits the profile of the modern-day closer.
He’s armed with a four-seam fastball and sinker that sit in the upper-90s and can reach triple-digit radar-gun readings. Staumont backs his stinky cheddar with a bat-missing breaking ball that’s netted a 24.4 SwStr% this year, per FanGraphs.
Staumont was shaky in his debut in 2019, but he has a sterling 1.85 ERA, 3.91 SIERA, 1.13 WHIP, 13.0 BB%, 30.4 K%, and 13.8 SwStr% in 39.0 innings pitched since 2020. He’s pitched well enough to suggest he can hold the closing gig now that it appears he’s entrusted with those responsibilities.
Josh Staumont Waiver Wire Tip: Saves are always in demand, and Staumont has the swing-and-miss stuff needed to offset his below-average control and keep a stranglehold on this job, making him worthy of a 30-35% FAAB bid.
Adbert Alzolay, SP, Chicago Cubs (8%)
Adbert Alzolay’s advanced metrics outpaced his surface stats entering his fourth start. He turned the indicators into better production in that start, holding the Atlanta Braves to two runs on four hits, one walk, and six strikeouts in a six-inning win. He lowered his ERA from 5.40 to 4.71, and his 3.47 SIERA entering Thursday night’s win is a better indicator of his true talent level.
Through four starts spanning 21.0 innings, he’s struck out an eye-catching 28.4% of the batters he’s faced. Strikeouts weren’t a problem last year, but walks were, making his improved control a harbinger of good things to come. He’s pared his walk rate down from 14.9% to 7.4%.
Adbert Alzolay Waiver Wire Tip: Alzolay’s strikeout potential and improved control bode well for his odds of pitching like a top-50 starting pitcher the rest of the year, and gamers should be willing to spend around 20% of their FAAB budget to add him.
Week 6 MLB Waiver Wire: Sleeper Pickups (6-15% FAAB)
- Taijuan Walker, SP, New York Mets (40% rostered)
- Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (33%)
- Gregory Soto, SP/RP, Detroit Tigers (22%)
- Justin Upton, OF, Los Angeles Angels (19%)
- Evan Longoria, 3B, San Francisco Giants (30%)
- Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (3%)
One six-walk showing is greatly inflating Taijuan Walker’s walk rate. He’s otherwise been good striking out more than a batter per inning. Walker’s next two starts are favorable against the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals, as both are below-average and punchout prone against righties.
Among qualified starting pitchers this year, Adam Wainwright’s 32.0 CSW% is the 15th-highest mark. That helps validate his strikeout surge and surprisingly successful season. He’s on the COVID-19 injured list, but he’s still worth a FAAB bid.
Saves are likely to continue to be few and far between for the rebuilding Detroit Tigers, but Gregory Soto’s nailed down the last two chances. He’s not without faults. Still, his ground-ball tendencies and high-octane arsenal help mask his below-average control, and saves are saves.
I’ll lump the greybeards, Justin Upton and Evan Longoria, together. They’re both posting stellar batted-ball data, with Longoria, specifically, ranking among the league leaders. Both have above-average power and hit in RBI-friendly lineup spots. Upton carries some batting-average liability, and Longo’s a bit better in that department.
Gregory Polanco’s .215 batting average is ugly, but he’s smacked three homers and stolen two bases while drawing a walk in 12.2% of his plate appearances. The left-handed-hitting outfielder’s batted-ball data is tantalizing, too, ranking in the 78th percentile in average exit velocity, 98th percentile in max exit velocity, and 85th percentile in barrel percentage, per Baseball Savant. The result of his batted-ball data is a more palatable .247 xBA, hinting at better days ahead.
Week 6 MLB Waiver Wire: Depth/Streamers (0-5% FAAB)
- Jose Alvarado, RP, Philadelphia Phillies (14% rostered)
- Sean Doolittle, RP, Cincinnati Reds (15%)
- Nico Hoerner, 2B/3B/SS, Chicago Cubs (15%)
- Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota Twins (28%)
- Rougned Odor, 2B, New York Yankees (3%)
Hector Neris has done nothing to suggest he’s coughing up the closer gig. Still, Jose Alvarado’s the next man up and pitching at a high-caliber level worthy of rostering even as a non-saves option presently.
Sean Doolittle recorded the Cincinnati Reds’ most recent save, and the entire bullpen has been a roaring dumpster fire. Could Doolittle string together a few consecutive saves and claim the role for himself? Maybe. That’s worth speculating on, but his lackluster performance also creates the risk of him taking a blow torch to your team’s ERA and WHIP with some meltdowns.
Nico Hoerner’s a nifty deep-league target for batting-average help whose value is boosted by his position versatility. He’s capable of chipping in some steals, too.
Ignore Alex Kiriloff’s .115 batting average through his first 26 plate appearances since being recalled from the alternate training site. His 23.1 K% is acceptable, and his batted-ball numbers are outstanding. Eric Longenhagen’s and Kevin Goldstein’s recent scouting report highlights just how impressive his batted-ball data is.
Rougned Odor’s shelf life for fantasy baseball usefulness is nearing expiration, with Luke Voit returning soon. However, he’s a viable streamer in the short term with a six-game week and at least four right-handed pitchers on the docket next week.
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