As if middle infield — particularly shortstop — weren’t stacked enough to start the year, there’s even more intrigue now after this week saw several promotions of top prospects. Who should you add to your fantasy baseball team? Here are four recommendations at the middle infield spots.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 5 middle infield targets
Zach Neto, SS, Los Angeles Angels
Roster percentage: 5%
Neto, L.A.’s first-round pick last year, got the call to the Show last weekend at Fenway Park and was immediately installed atop the Angels’ lineup in front of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. He’s gotten off to a slow start in his MLB debut, but don’t expect that to last. Neto’s carrying tool is his ability to put the barrel on the baseball consistently — he hit .400 each of his last two years in college — and if everything goes well, he could be a five-category fantasy contributor.
None of those contributions will be massive, but something like .280 with 15-20 homers and 15-20 steals will play just fine hitting in front of Ohtani and Mike Trout. If the recent run of shortstop injuries left you with a hole in the middle infield, look no further.
Oswald Peraza, SS, New York Yankees
Roster percentage: 3%
With the recent setback to Josh Donaldson’s hamstring, Peraza — a consensus top-50 prospect in the game — got the call to the Bronx this week for his second taste of MLB action. He won’t provide a ton of power, but he should see regular playing time due to his positional versatility and he stole 33 and 38 bases over the last two seasons in the Minors. He’ll run wild in New York and should score plenty of runs in that lineup.
Mauricio Dubon, 2B/SS/OF, Houston Astros
Roster percentage: 12%
Dubon won’t provide much of any power, but what he can do is run like the wind — and as long as Chas McCormick remains out, he’ll get to utilize that skill to steal bases at the top of the Astros’ lineup. Dubon is now Houston’s regular leadoff man and should remain so moving forward, so if you need runs, average and/or speed, look no further. (His triple eligibility doesn’t hurt either.)
Elly de la Cruz, SS, Cincinnati Reds
Roster percentage: 2%
Prospect nerds rejoice: de la Cruz, a top-10 prospect in the game, is finally back on the field after his spring hamstring strain, and he hasn’t missed a beat.
The knock. The wheels. The new number.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 20, 2023
Top-ranked @Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz rips his first hit of 2023 at 108.7 mph off the bat and jets around to second for the @LouisvilleBats: pic.twitter.com/RMu9omhi0w
His five-category potential is off the charts — he hit 28 homers with 47 steals while hitting .300 in the Minors last year — and while the Reds will likely want to give him some time to build up after he missed most of Spring Training, don’t expect him in Triple-A for long — if you have an NA spot or the roster flexibility to stash him, do so and reap the rewards all summer.