If you hadn't heard the name Joey Loperfido before this season as a Fantasy Baseball player, you weren't alone. But it's absolutely a name you should be familiar with as the Astros get set to call him up this week. And he should be a big priority when waivers run ahead of Week 6 of the Fantasy season.

Loperfido entered this season ranked outside of the top-100 in nearly every prospect ranking, and was viewed more like a low-end top-10 prospect within the Astros organization. He hit 25 homers, with a .278/.370/.510 line as a 24-year-old last season, but he mostly struggled upon a call-up to Triple-A, which is probably what slowed down any hype that might have built around him after he performed well at Double-A. But he's off to an absolutely absurd start in his second go-round of Triple-A this season, and there's reason to believe it might not just be a random hot streak. 

Loperfido has hit 13 homers in 25 games at Triple-A, which is impressive even for the Pacific Coast League. And he's doing it while notably hitting the ball much harder than he did a year ago; in his 32 games at Triple-A last season, Loperfido's average exit velocity was just 86.9 mph, while his hardest-hit ball was 107.6 mph. This season? Well, he's already hit three balls harder than his hardest from last season, peaking with a 113.9 mph blast back on April 12 that traveled 440 feet. And it's not just playing up at the high end, as Loperfido's average exit velocity so far is 92.3 mph, up more than 5 mph from last season.

Of course, there are plenty of caveats to be had. He's doing this in the PCL, with several ballparks that play more like Coors Field than anything else; it's been the best league to hit in in professional baseball for years for a reason. And, while Loperfido has been too locked in for it to matter so far, his 30.8% strikeout rate is pretty scary; you've gotta be either extremely fast or have truly elite power to be a good hitter with a strikeout rate that high, so the power has to play up immediately if the contact issues are going to remain. 

Which is to say, Loperfido should not be viewed as a sure thing. Heck, Jackson Holliday just flopped so hard that he was sent back to the minors after fewer than 40 plate appearances, and we had every reason to think he was much more of a sure thing than Loperfido is. 

But still, Loperfido should probably be one of the biggest priorities on the waiver wire ahead of Week 6. Not because he's a sure thing, but because if he hits to his ceiling, we could be talking about an impact power bat in a great lineup. There's a chance you're dropping him in two weeks because he strikes out too much to stick in the Astros lineup; but there's a chance whoever you would be dropping him for (or whoever you'd be picking up instead) is being dropped in two weeks, too. At least with Loperfido there might be a chance for difference-making upside. The worst player on your roster probably doesn't have that. 

Here's who else we're looking to add ahead of Week 6: 


Ryan Jeffers, Twins (58%) – One of the sure-fire ways to tell if a catcher deserves to be rostered in all leagues is whether they are playing DH when they aren't catching. Typically, that means you're dealing with a very good hitting catcher who also has a playing time edge on most of the position, and that's where we're at with Jeffers, who has been in the Twins lineup five straight games, three of which have come at DH. And, when he's at DH, he's also been leading off lately – overall, he has started 21 of 27 games. I don't think he can sustain his current .957 OPS, but Jeffers is hitting .278/.372/.501 since the start of last season now, and with his playing time edge, I think he deserves to be more widely rostered than this, certainly. 

Deep-league target: Patrick Bailey, Giants (24%) – Bailey just looked like a defensive specialist last season, but he's hitting .304/.367/.507 so far this season, with dramatically improved underlying stats to back it up. As a No. 2 catcher, he's looking more than fine.

First Base

Nate Lowe, Rangers (70%) – He's only driven in one run, on a solo shot, but Low has been pretty solid in the early going here, hitting .310/.375/.448 in his first eight games of the season. The run production will come in this lineup, and I think he's at least a solid starting CI. 

Deep-league target: Matt Mervis, Cubs (7%) – The Cubs are giving Mervis a real shot, starting him in five of the first six games since his callup. He hasn't done much with it, and might be just a Quad-A player with his contact issues. But he's hit 42 homers with a .949 OPS in 179 career Triple-A games, so he remains an intriguing target for deeper formats.

Second base

Edouard Julien, Twins (69%) – I don't really buy Julien for Fantasy, to be honest. I don't think he's going to hit for much average or steal many bases, and I'm not sure he has the raw power to keep hitting enough homers to make up for it. But he's red-hot right now, hitting .333/.436/.697 over the past 10 games. He's still not playing quite everyday, especially against tougher lefties, and my assumption is that we'll be dropping him in most leagues once he cools off, but as long as he's this locked in, he can be worth adding. 

Deep-league target: Joseph Ortiz, Brewers (10%) – It's been a largely disappointing start to the season for Joseph Ortiz, but he just had a terrific series against the Yankees, going 4 for 9 with four walks. There hasn't been as much power or speed as hoped for, but he had 13 homers and 17 steals in 114 Triple-A games and is playing nearly everyday at this point, so there could be some upside to be found if he gets hot.

Third base

Luis Rengifo, Angels (42%) – It took a while, but Rengifo is starting to emerge as a pretty useful Fantasy option. His playing time was sporadic early in the season, and a hamstring didn't help, but he's started 11 of the past 12 games while hitting .308 in that span after a homer Sunday. He has stolen four bases in that stretch, and if he keeps this up, I still think he could move up in the order – the Angels have struggled to find an answer alongside Mike Trout at the top of the lineup. Rengifo could be that. 

Deep-league target: Nick Senzel, Nationals (6%) – Senzel has four homers in his past three games after his two-homer showing Sunday, and five over his past five. The former top prospect has never really shown much at the MLB level, but he is playing regularly for the Nationals when healthy, so maybe there's something here.


Vaughn Grissom, Red Sox (39%) – Grissom is set to come back from the IL at the beginning of this week, and I remain very interested in his potential with the Red Sox. He's a career .287 hitter (.318 in the minors) and Fenway Park is one of the best places in baseball for hitting for average. He could be a true standout in the middle of that Boston lineup. 

Deep-league target: Zachary Neto, Angels (18%) – The thing about shortstop is, while it's deep in terms of difference makers, it doesn't have quite as much depth on the lower end. So I'll highlight Neto, a young guy who has struggled to make much of an impact so far, but who still has some upside. He's getting hot lately, with eight hits over his past six games, including his first homer. Maybe this is the start of him figuring it out – the 25-steal pace for the season is nice, too.


Andy Pages, Dodgers (51%) – When Pages got called up, I thought he might be a part-time player, but the Dodgers are throwing him into the fire, as he has started all 11 games since his promotion, including five against lefties. Playing time isn't a concern right now, and neither is production, as he's hitting .302 with two homers to date. And, while he wasn't a big base stealer in the minors – 13 in 165 games at Double-A, for example – his 82nd percentile sprint speed hints at double-digit steal potential. I'm adding him in all category leagues, and he might be worth adding in points leagues given his everyday role. 

Wilyer Abreu, Red Sox (53%) – See, now the problem with Abreu is playing time, as he has started just once against lefties. But he's playing everyday against righties right now and he's crushing them, hitting .321/.400/.536 against them with two homers and four steals. That's enough to make him a viable No. 5 outfielder in Roto leagues, at least.

Jesse Winker, Nationals (44%) – I've been skeptical to buy into Winker, but after a bit of a slump, he just went 4 for 13 with a homer and four RBI in a three-game series against the Marlins. He's hitting the ball consistently hard and displaying good plate discipline, and may have rediscovered himself after a few tough, injury-marred seasons. 

Deep-league targets: Tommy Pham, White Sox (7%); Jo Adell, Angels (21%); Mike Tauchman, Cubs (7%) – Pham is always at least useful when he's healthy, and he might be the White Sox's second-best hitter right now, so he's going to play. Adell is showing real signs of figuring things out, cutting his strikeout rate to 21.6% with genuinely improved underlying plate discipline stats, too. I remain very intrigued by his skill set, especially if the plate discipline gains are at all real.

Starting pitcher

Erick Fedde, White Sox (40%) – Typically, players' roster rates spike for two-start weeks, and if you took the chance on Fedde for Week 5, you were rewarded with one of the best two-start weeks of the season by any pitcher. He racked up 20 strikeouts – 11 against the Twins and then nine against the Rays – while allowing just three runs in 14.1 innings of work. He has his ERA down to 2.40 for the season, with 32 strikeouts in 30 innings of work, and while he's benefited from a relatively soft schedule, I think we have to add him in all formats after this week, just in case this is real. Remember, there was some real sleeper appeal for Fedde coming into the season. One interesting thing about Fedde's recent run is how he's succeeded in dramatically different ways – in the start against the Twins, he faded his sweeper entirely, only throwing it five times; he threw it 52 times in Sunday's gem against the Rays. 

Taj Bradley,Rays (34%) – Working his way back from a pectoral injury from the spring, Bradley made his rehab debut Sunday and overwhelmed his Triple-A competition, striking out seven and walking one over five no-hit innings. He averaged 96.6 mph with his four-seam fastball and had 12 whiffs on 65 pitches. He did exactly what he should do against minor-leaguers if you think he has difference-making upside, and despite an up-and-down rookie season, I still think he does. He's well worth stashing if you have any IL spots to play with. 

Reese Olson, Tigers (48%) – After limiting the Royals to just one run over seven innings Friday, Olson has his ERA down to 3.18 through his first five starts. 26 strikeouts in 28.1 innings of work is pretty disappointing, but that's mostly because his first two starts were no good – he has 20 in 18.1 innings over his past three. He's had the changeup and slider both working well lately – four whiffs with the slider, six with the changeup Friday – and sure looks like last season's September breakthrough was for real. In his past 10 starts dating back to last September, he has 53 strikeouts in 59.2 innings, with a 2.26 ERA. He probably won't sustain that kind of run-prevention mark, but I feel pretty confident starting him against most lineups right now. 

Deep-league targets: Simeon Woods Richardson, Twins (11%); Joe Boyle, Athletics (11%) – If you need strikeout upside and strikeout upside only, Boyle is certainly worth a look. His stuff is wicket, and when he can keep the walks low, he has a huge strikeout upside. With two matchups against the Pirates and Marlins, this could be the week to cross your fingers and hope.

Relief pitcher

Hector Neris, Phillies (38%) – The Cubs got two saves after removing Adbert Alzolay from the closer's role on Wednesday and Thursday, and both went to Neris, who had three saves total last week. It's always possible they go back to Alzolay at some point, but Neris is good enough – 3.07 ERA over the past four seasons – that he could just stick in the ninth the rest of the way. 

Jason Adam, Rays (31%) – The Rays have had two save opportunities since Peter Fairbanks was placed on the IL, and Adam didn't get either. They used Adam to set up Garrett Cleavinger for one of them, but Adam faced the 4-5-6 hitters for the Tigers in the eighth inning of that one. And then in the other, Adam pitched the ninth in a tie game, facing the top of the White Sox lineup. Which is to say, I still think Adam is more likely than any other reliever here to get the next save for the Rays, even if he might not end up getting all of them. 

Deep-league target: Garrett Cleavinger, Rays (8%); Reed Garrett, Mets (29%) – If you want to speculate on more of a long shot in the Rays bullpen, Cleavinger is probably the one, but it'd have to be a pretty deep league. I think I'd rather take a chance on Garrett, who isn't likely to get many saves setting up for Edwin Diaz, but who has 25 strikeouts in 12.2 innings and looks like a super-valuable Fantasy option even without saves.