Week 5 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top MLB Free-Agent Pickups Include Nate Pearson

Last Updated: Apr 26, 2021

Here is The Game Day’s Week 5 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top Free-Agent Pickups. Set these key Week 5 MLB Pickups for your waiver wire list this weekend, then follow along with our full fantasy baseball tips page all MLB season.

Week 5 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top Free-Agent Pickups To Target

Week 5 MLB Waiver Wire: Priority Adds

Nate Pearson, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (40% rostered on Yahoo!)

MLB Pipeline’s No. 10 overall prospect’s return is on the horizon.

The 24-year-old righty is armed with an electric arsenal, headlined by his heater. FanGraphs grades the pitch a 70, while MLB Pipeline tabs it an 80 offering on the 20-to-80 scouting scale. Pearson’s slider is also a plus pitch, and his curveball and change earn differing grades.

He didn’t make a seamless transition to the majors last year, but he flashed his upside, shining brightest in a two-inning relief appearance in the postseason. He struck out five hitters across two innings, needing only 28 pitches for two perfect innings of work.

Nate Pearson Waiver Wire Tip: Pearson’s upside is immense, and he’s worth a FAAB bid of between 15-20 percent now instead of waiting and spending more upon his return.

Luis Arraez, 2B/3B/OF, Minnesota Twins (45%)

There were some questions about how playing time would shake out for Arraez this year with the addition of Andrelton Simmons. Still, his versatility — as well as an injured list stint for Josh Donaldson and now Simmons — has helped him regularly find his name penciled into the lineup. Not only is he a regular in the lineup, but he also sits atop the order against righties.

The leadoff gig helps maximize his greatest contribution to fantasy baseball teams, his batting average. Arraez is hitting .309/.409/.400 this year, and he’s a .329/.392/.426 hitter through 553 plate appearances since debuting for the Minnesota Twins in 2019. Hitting first also aids him in scoring runs.

Luis Arraez Waiver Wire Tip: He’s a two-category contributor (runs and batting average) with position versatility and worthy of a FAAB bid of 15% or a pinch more.

Kyle Gibson, SP/RP, Texas Rangers (37%)

Gibson was roughed up for five runs in just 0.1 innings on Opening Day. He’s been locked in since then.

The 33-year-old righty’s allowed just two runs (one earned) over his last three starts spanning 21.0 innings. Gibson has a sparkling 0.43 ERA, 3.59 SIERA, 0.81 WHIP, 3.8 BB%, and 21.5 K% in those starts. He’s induced a grounder on 50 percent of his balls in play, and he’s limiting hard contact.

Even including his disastrous first start, Gibson ranks 33rd out of 68 qualified starters with a 29.3 CSW%. He’s unveiled a new cutter this year, and the early returns are promising. Gibson has a pair of challenging starts coming up against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night and the Boston Red Sox next week.

Kyle Gibson Waiver Wire Tip: If he had more favorable matchups upcoming, I’d suggest a more aggressive bid, but as it stands, a 15-20% FAAB bid to see if his enhanced repertoire continues to lead to success.

Week 5 MLB Pickups: Texas Rangers starting pitcher Kyle Gibson could potentially be a Week 5 Fantasy Baseball waiver wire target. (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

Week 5 MLB Waiver Wire: Sleeper Pickups (6-15% FAAB)

  • Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds (43%)
  • C.J. Cron, 1B, Colorado Rockies (40%)
  • Michael Kopech, SP, Chicago White Sox (49%)
  • NEW — Seth Brown, 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics (2%)
  • Zach McKinstry, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (47%)
  • Omar Narvaez, C, Milwaukee Brewers (38%)
  • NEW — Carson Kelly, C, Arizona Diamondbacks (39%)

(UPDATE: 4/23/21, 11:30 p.m. ET: Strike McKinstry from your list of waiver-claim-worthy players. He’s on the injured list with a strained oblique.)

Votto and Cron should be rostered in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixers with corner infield and utility roster spots. Prioritizing between the duo, Votto’s superb batted-ball data gives him the edge. Cron’s gotten off to a slow start and has seven games on the road next week, but playing time hasn’t been a problem, and he should eventually start taking advantage of the luscious hitting conditions at Coors Field.

A path to the rotation isn’t clear for Kopech yet, but he doesn’t need one to help fantasy baseball teams. He’s taken like a fish to the water as a multi-inning reliever this year, fanning 17 batters in 10.2 innings with a tiny 1.69 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, and 42.5 K%.

Brown has followed a linear development path, raking at each minor-league stop. He opened the year at the Oakland Athletics’ alternate site, but it appears he’s laying claim to the heavy side of a platoon with Stephen Piscotty. The left-handed hitter’s above-average lumber has made the big-league trip with him, as he’s hitting .265/.342/.559 with three homers. Further, he’s showing off a discerning eye with a 10.5 BB% and 23.7 K%.

Injuries have awarded McKinstry unexpected playing time, and he’s taken advantage of the opportunity by hitting .296/.328/.556 with three homers through his first 58 plate appearances this season. He hit at a high level in the upper minors (Double-A and Triple-A) in his last stop at those levels in 2019, and he’s nearing adding second base eligibility. He’ll eventually likely be squeezed out of playing time when the Los Angeles Dodgers are fully healthy, hence, my unwillingness to suggest a loftier FAAB bid despite his solid showing so far.

I plan to avoid holdovers in this piece, but Narvaez is on too few rosters and warranted another shoutout. He’s a top-15 catcher for the rest of the season and should be on rosters in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixers using a single catcher.

NEW — While I prefer Narvaez’s established track record of success, Kelly is in the same tier. Playing catcher entails a lot, though, and sometimes it takes a bit for their bat to play to its potential in the majors. Kelly already flashed a useful stick in 2019, but he’s been a stud this year. He’s mashed five taters, walked 13 times against only 10 strikeouts in 58 plate appearances, and is slashing a staggering .341/.517/.756. He should be universally rostered.

Week 5 MLB Waiver Wire: Depth/Streamers (0-5% FAAB)

  • Alejandro Kirk, C, Toronto Blue Jays (8%)
  • Mike Brosseau, 1B/2B/3B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays (4%)
  • Kyle Zimmer, RP, Kansas City Royals (3%)
  • Lucas Sims, SP/RP, Cincinnati Reds (21%)
  • NEW — DJ Stewart, OF, Baltimore Orioles (1%)

Kirk has the potential to hit his way into single-catcher viability, but he’s a stellar second-catcher option in two-catcher formats. The BABIP gods are holding his batting average under the Mendoza line at the moment, but his ability to make contact and batted-ball profile paint a rosier picture.

Brosseau is a Swiss-Army-Knife type with four-position eligibility. He’s most useful in leagues with daily lineup changes and no games played maximums. The right-handed-hitting utility player crushes lefties, but he’s not an embarrassment against righties and has started in two of the Tampa Bay Rays’ last four games facing a right-handed starter.

Five players have at least one save for the Kansas City Royals this year, including Zimmer, and only Greg Holland and his ghastly 6.43 ERA have more than one save, nailing down two saves. I don’t believe Zimmer is necessarily knocking on the door for claiming the closer gig for himself, but this situation appears wide open, and Zimmer’s pitched well as a reliever. In 31.2 innings of relief since last year, he has a 2.27 ERA, 3.48 SIERA, 1.01 WHIP, 9.9 BB%, and 28.1 K%.

(UPDATE: 4/23/21, 11:30 p.m. ET: Zimmer assuaged any concerns about his messy outing on Tuesday night by firing a perfect inning on Friday night. He needed only 16 pitches to retire three batters, striking out two, protecting a four-run lead in the eighth inning of their win.)

The Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen has been a roaring tire fire with the top closing candidates doing everything in their power to squander their chances. In Sims’ defense, he pitched in a downpour for one of his poor showings and retired the only two batters he faced to finish the ninth inning in a tie game before getting touched up after going back out to start the 10th inning in his most recent chance. He’s my preferred dart throw in this bullpen.

Stewart is a batting-average liability, but he has above-average power and hits in the heart of the order. He’s helped by his homer-friendly home digs and his recent start starting against a southpaw on Friday night, during which he homered. Stewart’s worth a look in 14-team mixers or larger formats.

After reading our Week 5 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire, make your pick for these Week 5 MLB pickups over at Monkey Knife Fight. Play DFS at MKF and get an Instant First-Time Deposit Bonus of up to $50 with the code “TGD."


Josh Shepardson

Josh is a fantasy gamer of roughly 20 years and a fantasy pundit for more than 10 years. He's experienced in numerous season-long baseball and football league types and a daily fantasy sports grinder, too. Additionally, Josh is a recreational gambler who has a soft spot for futures and prop bets. He studied and completed his Bachelor's degree in Sport Management at the State University of New York at Cortland, and he remains in Central New York, residing in Auburn.

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