Deep League Waiver Wire Players To Add – Week 7

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 O’Hearn – 23%


Realistically speaking, Ryan O’Hearn should probably have a rostered rate at three times this number. Or higher.

With the type of contact and plate discipline he’s shown so far, quadrupling a 23% rostered rate doesn’t seem too far out of the question.

That probably sounds like a lot considering players with rostered rates over the 90% mark are all either first-round fantasy selections, making an elite impact, or both. But Ryan O’Hearn has just been that good this year.

The surface-level stuff is great. A .291 batting average is awesome, so too is a .371 on-base percentage. Five home runs in 89 plate appearances? Fantastic.

But it’s the underlying metrics that point to even more production on the way. And why O’Hearn needs to be rostered in significantly more leagues.

(Side note, O’Hearn doesn’t usually start against left-handed starters. Though, that’s not the end of the world, as platoons can work in fantasy baseball. Really, it’s not even much of a deterrent at this point considering how effective he is when does start, and based on the fact that he’s usually hitting in the top third of a loaded Baltimore lineup when he does play against right-handed batters. Furthermore, he will occasionally come off the bench in games in which the opposing team starts a left-handed pitcher and then goes to the bullpen for a right-handed reliever late.)

(Now back to your scheduled programming about O’Hearn’s underlying metrics.)

Ok, so I lied slightly about that. O’Hearn’s underlying metrics aren’t right here for all to see, they’re just hidden behind a blind resume test.

O’Hearn, spoilers, is Player B.

Player A is Shohei Ohtani.

The other players, in order, are Juan Soto, Kyle Tucker, Bobby Witt Jr., and Mookie Betts.

You probably noticed the glaring hint of which player O’Hearn was based on the fewer plate appearances, but even as part of a platoon for the Orioles, he’s well worth rostering in all fantasy formats given his impact at the plate.

Delving in deeper into the numbers, O’Hearn, Betts, and Soto are the only batters in the league with an xwOBA north of .400 and a higher walk rate than strikeout rate. Vinnie Pasquantino is the only other qualified hitter with a walk rate higher than his strikeout rate and an xwOBA above league average, which per Statcast is currently .318. (Pasquantino’s xwOBA, for reference, is .384.)

The Orioles slugger also ranks in the 99th percentile in both xwOBA and xSLG. He’s in the 97th in xBA and, perhaps crucially, in the 92nd in chase rate.

Ok, so you get it, he’s very good.

Essentially he’s been a top-five, or top-10 overall hitter in real-life baseball this season when he’s played. The longer the summer months continue, the more his counting stats will improve and the more his fantasy production will skyrocket.

This is a run, not walk, type of situation to add him off waivers.


Jesse Winker – 18%


Winker has cooled off a bit following a torrid start for the Washington Nationals, but he’s still in the midst of a strong bounce-back year at the plate, hitting .252 with a .367 on-base percentage, a .350 xwOBA, four home runs and four stolen bases in 147 plate appearances for the National League East club.

And while he’s dropped down to fifth in the lineup in the last few games, Winker has spent the bulk of the year hitting in the top third of the Washington lineup, which means regular plate appearances after fantasy breakout star CJ Abrams.

Abrams’ over-the-fence power, extra-base hit ability, stolen base production, and high on-base percentage give him not just the ability to post strong fantasy numbers in his own right but to also boost the fantasy ceiling of those hitting after him in the lineup.

Generally speaking, that’s meant Winker, who’s often hit second or third this season.

Abrams has a real chance to finish the year with at least a 9.0% barrel rate and 35 stolen bases. Just three players did that last year (Ronald Acuña Jr., Bobby Witt Jr., and Julio Rodríguez). No one did in either of the two seasons prior to that.

It doesn’t all boil down to a player with a .350 xwOBA like Winker hitting after Abrams, but that’s the crux of the appeal here for fantasy managers.


Hayden Wesneski – 12%


After initially starting the year pitching in long relief in the Majors, during which he allowed just one hit in 6.1 total scoreless innings, Hayden Wesneki has stepped into the rotation and hasn’t skipped a beat.

He’s scattered five runs, four earned runs, and four walks in 16.1 innings while logging 14 strikeouts and pitching to a 2.20 ERA and a 2.37 FIP.

The strikeout numbers could, admittedly, be higher, but they play much better from a fantasy standpoint when paired with so few mistakes.

Whether Wesneski remains in the rotation for the entirety of the season remains to be seen, but if he keeps pitching like this, it’ll be difficult to envision him switching back to long relief.

Furthermore, he makes for a solid addition for fantasy managers looking to add a rotation option that isn’t just a one-start streaming option.

Assuming Wesneski stays in the rotation and Chicago’s group of starters continues on schedule without any changes or interruptions, these would be the hurler’s next seven starts: away at Atlanta, home against Pittsburgh, away to St. Louis, away to Milwaukee, home against the White Sox, away to Tampa Bay and home against the Cardinals.

The Atlanta start is probably one to keep Wesneski on the bench for. So too is the Milwaukee one. But other than that it’s an ideal-looking slate for a hurler who has limited walks and has yet to allow a home run this season.


Simeon Woods Richardson – 8%


Simeon Woods Richardson made just one Major League appearance in each of the last two seasons. After four outings in 2024, he doesn’t look like he’ll be departing Minnesota’s rotation any time soon.

The right-hander has been excellent so far, pitching to a 1.74 ERA and a 1.86 FIP in 20.2 innings while adding 21 strikeouts compared to just 17 hits, five walks, and four earned runs allowed.

The 23-year-old has allowed his fair share of hard contact so far, with batters posting a 45.6% hard-hit rate. He’s also logged just a 31.6% ground ball rate so far, but the strikeout and walk metrics give him a quality floor fantasy-wise, especially pitching for a Minnesota team that could provide him with plenty of pitcher-win opportunities. The Twins have scored the 11th-most runs in the league for the season, and the most in the sport in the last two weeks.

In fact, among starters with at least 20 innings pitched this season, the rookie is one of just 18 pitchers with a strikeout rate of 25.0% or higher and a walk rate below the 7.0% mark.

The other 17 are probably rostered in your fantasy league at the moment. They include in total, deep breath, Tanner Houck, George Kirby, Zack Littell, Yusei Kikuchi, Shota Imanaga, Ranger Suárez, Yoshinobu Yamamoto – another deep breath  –  Joe Ryan, Luis Castillo, Chris Sale, Sonny Gray, Pablo López, Tyler Glasnow, Garrett Crochet, Jared Jones, Jack Flaherty, and Tarik Skubal.

Per FantasyPros data, only Kikuchi at 66%, Flaherty at 51%, Crochet at 46%, and Littell at 27% aren’t rostered in at least 80% of leagues.

Depending on league size, it’s possible those four are rostered in most leagues with 14 or more teams.

In other words, it’s difficult to find starters with this kind of upside in leagues, let alone deeper leagues. Add Simeon Woods Richardson off waivers now before his rostered rate gets much higher.


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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