Week 5 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups: Cold, Hard Cashner

With just about a month in the books, we are seeing more and more younger guys come into their own and become viable fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups. There’s nothing I love more than a player who is building on stellar numbers in the minors (as opposed to a player who has the skills, but not the numbers to back it up) and today we have a handful of great looking former top prospects moving up in the world of fantasy relevance. Let’s take a look at some highly recommended pickups for week five.

fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups
San Diego Padres relief pitcher Andrew Cashner pitches sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park Jake Roth USA TODAY Sports

Nolan Arenado (Owned in 33% of Yahoo Leagues): Arenado is a top 100 prospect who has risen nicely through the Rockies organization each year. He owns a .299 career batting average and .818 OPS. His best season came in 2011 in High-A when he batted .298 with 20 home runs, 122 RBI, 82 R, 32 doubles, and just 47 strikeouts. At the same time, he fell back last year hitting just 12 home runs and driving in 56 in the same amount of games in Double-A—so there is definitely some concern as well. He’s off to a hot start this season in Triple-A, going 24 for 66 with three home runs, 21 RBI, 11 2B, and 14 R. He figures to play third every day for the Rockies from here on in and could be a very nice pickup at a fairly shallow position.

Andrew Cashner (24%): Cashner is likely the most talented pitcher in the Padres rotation and he’s moving back into the rotation. So far this season, Cashner is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 19 K in 19.1 IP. The former top 100 prospect has had his ups-and-downs in his first 130 MLB innings but put up a 2.76 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 8.4 K/9 over his minor league career.

Carlos Ruiz (29%): Ruiz made his return from the suspended list on Sunday, hitting a double in four at-bats against the Mets. Last season, Ruiz batted .325 with 16 home runs, 68 RBI, and 56 R in just 372 at-bats. While he has not shown that kind of production too often before, he was a top 10 catcher last season and is worth a pickup in most league formats.

Justin Grimm (10%): Grimm has skyrocketed through the Rangers farm system after first starting in 2011. In his first season he went 7-3 with a 3.39 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 8.1 K/9. The following season he played in Double-A before being promoted to Triple-A, putting up an 11-6 combined record with a 2.81 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 6.9 K/9. He only made one start in the minors before being called up this season and has so far gone 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 15 K in 17 IP. He’s looking like a really good option for more than just AL-only and deep leagues but at 24 and with just two years of pro experience it’s hard to say how he’ll play a full Major League season.

Dan Straily (18%): Straily has been called up to make Brett Anderson‘s Monday start against the Angels. So far in his Major League career, Straily is 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 43 K in 46 IP. After being sent down after a single start this season, Straily pitched 18.2 innings in the minors, winning all three of his starts while giving up just two earned runs and striking out 20. He looks ready to break out this season and even if Anderson only misses one start he is worth stashing for his inevitable recall.

David Phelps (4%): With Ivan Nova headed to the disabled list, David Phelps will return to the Yankees rotation – at least temporarily. Last season in 11 starts, Phelps went 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 8.5 K/9. He’s off to a rough start this season in the bullpen, giving up 10 earned runs, two homers, 17 hits, and eight walks in just 17 innings – though he has struck out 22. He has the potential to be a very solid starter but for now should only be picked up in deeper and AL-only leagues.

Brian McCann (72%): I don’t include guys with the level of ownership as McCann on this list but with nearly 30% availability I feel I have to remind everyone to go snatch this guy up before he returns. Even with a down season last year in which he only batted .230 (.279 career hitter), McCann still put up 20 home runs, 67 RBI, and 44 R. He is poised to have a nice comeback in the much-improved Braves lineup and should be owned universally.

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