Deep League Waiver Wire Players To Add – Week 14

These four players can bring added value in deeper leagues.

Each week we’ll look at a handful of different players whom fantasy managers should consider picking up in deeper fantasy baseball leagues. Many of these players will have the most value in larger leagues where waiver wire options aren’t as plentiful. Still, they could also occasionally be useful additions in other, more standard-sized leagues depending on your options at their position.

All roster percentages mentioned in this column are via FantasyPros as of Friday afternoon.

All 2024 stats are as of the beginning of play on Friday.


Ryan Yarbrough – 4%


Ryan Yarbrough isn’t going to overwhelm with strikeouts. He’s never struck out more than eight batters per nine innings or posted a strikeout rate above 21%. In fact, this year, his strikeouts per nine innings rate (4.38) and strikeout rate (11.9%) are both on track to be career lows.

Yarbrough has also yet to start a game for the Dodgers, instead working in long relief or as a bulk reliever.

These are all generally things you don’t look for in a fantasy pitcher.

However, the left-hander pitches for the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is the key bit here.

Pitching for Los Angeles down the stretch last season, albeit in a role with a couple more starts, Yarbrough rattled off four pitcher wins and two saves in 11 appearances (including two starts) spanning 38.2 innings.

This season, the hurler has logged three pitcher wins and a save in 21 appearances spanning 49.1 innings. He’s pitched to a 3.28 ERA and a 4.90 FIP while limiting opposing base runners to the tune of a 1.03 WHIP.

Essentially, Yarbrough is a temporary fantasy addition who can siphon off pitcher wins and the occasional three-inning save pitching out of the bullpen for one of the league’s best teams. He’s sort of the pitching equivalent of adding a position player purely for stolen bases. Adding him is entirely a move made with an eye toward counting stats.

But also there’s a chance that the reliever’s role could change a bit. Of course, that’s all entirely speculative, but the Dodgers rotation has been hit hard by injuries so far. And while the former Rays pitcher has just three appearances over four innings this season, if he’s needed to step into the rotation, the veteran would have a similar fantasy upside to Landon Knack, whose name appeared in this column last week.


Zach Neto – 18%


Sticking in Southern California, 2022 first-round pick Zach Neto has enjoyed a solid season at the plate for the Los Angeles Angels.

The 23-year-old is batting .257 with a .310 on-base percentage, 10 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 288 plate appearances, though his plate discipline metrics have been a bit unideal across the board.

Zach Neto’s Plate Discipline Metrics In 2024

And while the plate discipline metrics could be a bit better, Neto has seen incremental improvements across the board from a power standpoint.

And that, well that, and the stolen base potential is the key here.

A bit like Yarbrough in terms of adding a player for counting stats, Neto probably isn’t going to replicate Luis Arraez’s average and on-base percentage this season, but the shortstop brings unique power and stolen base potential.

He’s one of 15 players with double-digit stolen bases and double-digit home runs this season.

There are 14 other players. That’s it.

The potential for a 20-20 season, or even 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases, makes Neto a must-add. You’re just not going to find this kind of potential via free agency or waivers too often.


Porter Hodge – 0%


The 23-year-old rookie has made an instant impact for the Cubs out of the bullpen, pitching to a 1.80 ERA and a 1.96 FIP in his first nine appearances spanning 10 innings. He’s also added 15 strikeouts compared to six walks allowed during that span.

The most crucial of those nine appearances came on Thursday when Hodge earned a 10th-inning save against the San Francisco Giants. Regular Cubs closer Héctor Neris had already pitched in that game, working the ninth in a tie game, so this isn’t necessarily a situation where Hodge is the Cubs’ next closer.

But, that could certainly change in the next month.

Of course, this is all entirely speculative, but the Cubs have struggled to a 38-44 record as of the beginning of play on Friday. If they trade away some veterans in the coming weeks, including Neris, Hodge would seem (at least on paper) to be one of the leading candidates to take over in the ninth inning.

Again, this is all speculative and six other Chicago relievers besides Neris have at least one save this season, but it’s hard to argue with Hodge’s effectiveness so far.

*Currently on the 60-day injured list.

For those looking for potential save stashes in leagues with 14 or more teams, Hodge makes for an ideal addition


Michael Busch – 22%


Michael Busch looked like a league winner early in the season, showing plenty of power to start the year. With that came an inevitable spike in the rostered rate, but that same rostered rate has dropped considerably after a down stretch that lasted much of the month of May.

However, Busch has been back to his productive ways since the calendar flipped to June. Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that he’s been able to not only maintain a high walk rate but also build upon it as time has gone on.

That fact probably gives him a bit more fantasy value and upside in leagues where on-base percentage is part of the scoring. But by the same token in those same leagues, the walks provide a useful safety net in case Busch’s production dips for a considerable stretch again.

Though that being said, it remains to be seen if his production will dip again. If it doesn’t, the infielder should realistically be rostered in more than 70% of fantasy leagues.


Photo by Adobe Stock | Adapted by Carlos Leano.

Ben Rosener

Ben Rosener is baseball and fantasy baseball writer whose work has previously appeared on the digital pages of Motor City Bengals, Bleacher Report, USA Today, FanSided.com and World Soccer Talk among others. He also writes about fantasy baseball for RotoBaller and the Detroit Tigers for his own Patreon page, Getting You Through the Tigers Rebuild (@Tigers_Rebuild on Twitter). He only refers to himself in the third person for bios.

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