We’re nearing the end of April, which means the dust is starting to settle on the 2023 fantasy baseball season. Whether it’s a rash of injuries or unexpected cold starts from key draft picks, everyone has started looking around to see how they can fill the holes on their rosters.
Outfield offers more opportunity than most, with potential five-category contributors on the waiver wire who could swing your team’s fortunes. Here are our four favorite targets for Week 5 in fantasy baseball.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 5 outfield targets
Josh Lowe, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Roster percentage: 40%
It’s funny how the hype cycle works. This time last year, Lowe was a consensus top-100 prospect and potential five-category contributor for the Rays. After struggling badly over 52 games in 2022, though, he almost completely fell off of fantasy drafters’ radars entering the spring.
That was a mistake, as it turns out. Lowe has drastically cut down on his whiff and strikeout rates, showing a much-improved approach at the plate, and that — plus the banning of defensive shifts — have allowed his obvious athletic tools to shine through. The outfielder combines plus power with plus speed, with real 25/25 potential over a full season — and while he’s still sitting against most lefties, it won’t matter for fantasy purposes if he keeps hitting like this.
Esteury Ruiz, OF, Oakland Athletics
Roster percentage: 11%
Look, Oakland is largely a wasteland for both real-life and fantasy, so we can’t blame you for not paying the closest attention. Even the A’s are still running a lineup out every day, though, and Ruiz has found himself atop it regularly this season. It’s not hard to see why: The main prize in the deal that sent Sean Murphy to the Atlanta Braves this winter, Ruiz offers genuine top-of-the-scale speed with just enough feel for hitting to allow him to wreak havoc on the bases. (He stole 85 bases last year in the Minors.)
Ruiz has hit .300 for Oakland so far this year, and as long as he’s able to put the ball in play at a solid clip, his athleticism will allow him to get on base and run wild. There’s little to no power here, and his offensive context will limit his counting stats, but if you need speed he’s as good a source as any.
Joey Gallo, 1B/OF, Minnesota Twins
Roster percentage: 10%
You’d be forgiven for forgetting all about Gallo after how bad his stint with the New York Yankees went. But it’s time to start paying attention again: The slugger is out of the Big Apple limelight with the Minnesota Twins, and he’s crushing the ball to start the season.
Joey Gallo with a MISSILE into the seats! pic.twitter.com/98b01gDdzC— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 22, 2023
Gallo has five homers and 11 RBI through just 10 games, and he’s firmly entrenched toward the top of the Twins’ lineup. The average will inevitably come back to Earth, but the dip in his strikeout rate is noteworthy — if he’s whiffing less than 30 percent of the time, his plus power will keep making it into games.
Connor Joe, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Roster percentage: 8%
Break up the [checks notes] Pirates? We’re not quite sure we believe it either, but Joe’s results so far have been hard to deny.
He’s barreling the ball consistently while swinging and missing far less than in previous years, as all of Pittsburgh hitters have displayed a more patient approach this season. Joe is hitting in the middle of the lineup daily for the Bucs and has the potential to contribute both power and some speed (he swiped six bags for the Colorado Rockies in 111 games last year).