Deep League Waiver Wire Players To Add – Week 4

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.


Bryan De La Cruz – 13%


Small sample sizes early in the year, combined with bad luck on batted balls, can lead to misleading surface-level stats, one way or the other. For fantasy purposes, it’s ideal to find the batters whose surface-level numbers could be even better.

Bryan De La Cruz is one of those batters.

The outfielder is batting .284 in his first 82 plate appearances this season, with three home runs, a stolen base, and just one walk, leading to a .293 on-base percentage.

The lack of walks in a tiny sample size is less than ideal, but it’s what De La Cruz is doing when he’s making contact that draws the eye here.

Entering play Friday, the 27-year-old was sporting a .375 wOBA, a .309 xBA, a .571 xSLG, and a 15.0% barrel rate.

There’s some obvious swing-and-miss concern here. De La Cruz sits in the 35th percentile (24.7%) in strikeout rate and his 35.8% chase rate and 32.9% whiff rate rank in the 14th and 13th percentiles respectively.

Still, for a player rostered in so few leagues making so much quality contact, he’s very much worth an add. The phrase “must-add” is very close to applying here, especially in leagues with more than 12 teams. You know what, amend that, he is a must-add. Case in point, De La Cruz is one of 17 qualified batters with an xwOBA of .370 or better and a barrel rate of 15% or better.

Many of those players were likely early-round draft picks, while others like Michael Busch and Tyler O’Neill are likely long gone from most waiver-wire scenes after their respective, torrid starts.

And while there was a potential spoiler just then (and earlier for that matter), let’s do a blind resume test. A blind resume test looks at purely the underlying and quality of contact metrics. No counting stats that (while still important) could be impacted by the fantasy ecosystem around each, things like their lineup and home ballpark.

Player A, as you might’ve guessed, is Bryan De La Cruz.

Player B? That’d be Adolis García.

There’s a slight gap in hard-hit rate and xSLG, and the Rangers slugger has drawn a few more walks, with a handful of fewer whiffs, but the duo have been close to the same player when making contact this season.

Garcia, per reference (and via FantasyPros data) is rostered in 93% of leagues.


Lawrence Butler – 1%


Sometime in the coming days or weeks, Lawrence Butler is going to be the priority waiver wire addition in most leagues, whether they’re deeper leagues or more standard-sized leagues.

It’s going to happen because there’s almost no way his current production, which includes a .192 average and a .300 on-base percentage, stays where it is based on the quality of contact he’s made.

This isn’t just a case of a hitter with a low BABIP and some solid quality of contact metrics leading to eventual positive regression.

Butler does have a low BABIP, it’s 0.243, but he’s been elite at making quality contact so far.

The 23-year-old is sporting a .412 xwOBA, a .588 xSLG, a 15.8% barrel rate, and a 50.0% hard-hit rate so far. And while his 37.4% whiff rate is on the higher side of things, the outfielder is offsetting that by drawing plenty of walks (13.3% walk rate) and not chasing too much at pitches out of the zone (21.8% chase rate). And even with the high whiff rate, Butler’s overall 23.3% strikeout rate isn’t too high.

To put it all in context, Butler is one of only four (!) qualified batters in the league to currently rank in the 80th percentile or better in xwOBA, xSLG, barre rate, walk rate, hard-hit rate, and chase rate. The other three? Juan Soto, Kyle Tucker, and LaMonte Wade Jr.

Go add the A’s slugger off waivers. You’ll be glad you did.


LaMonte Wade Jr. – 7%


Speaking of Wade Jr., this is a convenient transition, isn’t it?

As has been the case for pretty much the entirety of his time with the San Francisco Giants, the first baseman and outfielder hasn’t hit much against left-handed pitching.

And as has been the case for pretty much the entirety of his time with the San Francisco Giants, the first baseman and outfielder is producing at a decidedly above-average rate at the plate.

If the season were to end today, it’d be the third time in four years that Wade Jr. has logged an xwOBA of .345 or better, as well as the third time in four years that his walk rate has eclipsed the double-digit mark. During that span, his barrel rate has never dropped below 9.0% in a full season, and he’s already collected four barrels (as well as a 12.5% barrel rate) this year.

And while some might be apprehensive about utilizing a platoon hitter in fantasy, Wade Jr. plays so often that it shouldn’t be an issue in deeper leagues.

The 30-year-old collected 519 plate appearances last year, just 20 fewer than Michael Harris II and 21 fewer than Jake Burger. The number could obviously be higher, but adding Wade Jr.’s production in that kind of sample size is nothing to scoff at, particularly in Roto leagues where the on-base percentage is part of the scoring. Last season, the veteran turned in a .373 on-base percentage and a .363 xwOBA. Only 14 other qualified batters topped the .360 mark in both categories last year.

Switching back to this year, the Giants have hit Wade Jr. in the top third of the lineup in each of his starts, offsetting the fact that he’s not starting to a degree with additional plate appearances. It’s not entirely surprising either for a player who’s sporting a .439 xwOBA so far. That number will probably go down a bit – he’s yet to hit a pop-up, which surely is playing a part – but even once any regression hits, odds are the xwOBA will still be in excellent shape based on the 30-year-old’s track record.


Luis Garcia – 3%


Last week it was Ty France who looked prime for more power production moving forward. This week, it’s Luis Garcia.

The Nationals infielder, who entered the year with 1,255 career plate appearances in the Majors, has never finished with more than 23 barrels or nine home runs in a season, both of which occurred last season.

This season, the infielder has already logged seven barrels. That’s the same number as Riley Greene, Manny Machado, and Elly De La Cruz and more than Aaron Judge, Vladimir Gurrero Jr and Fernando Tatis Jr.

And while Garcia Jr. has just one home run and an expected home run tally in just four parks, he’s also sporting a 53.7% hard-hit rate and a .549 xSLG. Furthermore, the increase in extra-base hits could help boost his fantasy ceiling considerably, especially since he’s moved into the middle of the Nationals lineup as of late.

Entering play Friday, the infielder had hit fifth twice and fourth once in his last three games, and while the Nationals lineup has outscored just three teams so far this year, batting near CJ Abrams (.358 on-base percentage, .361 ISO) and Jesse Winker (.218 ISO, 11.6% barrel rate) should put Garcia in position to provide quality RBI production.

For what it’s worth, Garcia Jr. is hitting .400 with three extra-base hits and eight RBI in 16 plate appearances with runners in scoring position this season.

What’s more, he’s also stolen three bases so far after registering just 13 in parts of four seasons since the 2020 campaign. If the barrels continue at an above-average rate, a 15-home run, 15-stolen base season is a real possibility, especially with plenty of plate appearances to go around in the infield in Washington.


Photos 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.

One response to “Deep League Waiver Wire Players To Add – Week 4”

  1. Nick T says:

    France has done nothing, 1-17 since the recommendation, and still has a grand total of 0 HR’s, with a lackluster 5 Runs & 4 RBI’s!! All from a position (1B) that should be providing your fantasy team with solid production, of which France is not!! I’d rather have a prospect guy (even taking a zero), like a Kyle Manzardo or Joey Loperfido who could get the call any day now with J. Abreu being total inept at the plate then a guy like Ty!!
    Just my opinion!

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