Week 18 Deep League Waiver Wire – 7/29

These four players can bring added value in deeper leagues.

Each week we’ll look at a handful of different players who fantasy managers in deeper leagues should consider picking up. 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. This week it’s Ian Gibaut, Jason Heyward, Patrick Wisdom, and Tommy Pham who are worth your time as potential additions in deep leagues.

All roster percentages mentioned in this column are via Yahoo fantasy leagues as of Friday afternoon.


Ian Gibaut – 6%


One of Cincinnati’s most utilized relievers this season, Gibault entered play Friday tied with Alexis Díaz and Buck Farmer for the team lead in total appearances.

Reds Reliever Appearance Leaders, Minimum 10 Appearances

The 29-year-old has logged an even 3.00 ERA in 51 innings this season, and while his 7.76 strikeouts per nine innings, 3.53 walks, and 1.06 home runs allowed per nine frames – not to mention a 4.50 FIP – he’s being utilized in the right situations, at least where fantasy scoring opportunities are concerned.

His eight pitcher wins are obviously significant, though a bit unsustainable, especially considering he’s logged a win every six or so appearances. They’re an added bonus at this point really.

What’s more significant here is the usage.

Gibaut is tied with Lucas Sims for the second-most high-leverage relief appearances on the team behind Diaz, who has 35 such appearances.

Sims and Gibaut have both logged 24 high-leverage outings. No other Reds relief pitcher has more than 16.

And while those types of appearances don’t always lead to holds, they’re often an indicator of which relievers will get the most hold looks moving forward.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gibaut ranks second in the Reds bullpen with 13 holds. He’s also logged a save. And while there isn’t much ancillary save upside here, the veteran should remain a solid option for holds production moving forward.


Jason Heyward – 1%


Heyward was mentioned in this column a few months back as a platoon outfielder enjoying a strong season for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fast forward to today, and Heyward is still enjoying a strong season. His best in years, in fact.

The 33-year-old is hitting .253 with a .349 on-base percentage, 10 home runs, and two stolen bases in 235 plate appearances for the National League West club.

Heyward is also sporting a .324 xwOBA, a 9.0% barrel rate, and a .222 ISO on the season.

His 10 home runs are his most in a season since the 2019 campaign. More importantly, his barrel rate is higher than it’s been in any full season in the last nine years. Same goes for the xwOBA.

And while Heyward still isn’t playing much against left-handed pitching, a player this productive in such a productive lineup absolutely needs to be rostered in more fantasy leagues.

The Dodgers entered play Friday second in the league in runs scored and ISO and third in on-base percentage and wOBA.

Among Los Angeles players with a least 200 plate appearances, only Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, and Mookie Betts have a higher on-base percentage than Heyward (.349). Only those three and J.D. Martinez have a higher wRC+ than the former Cubs outfielder (125).


Patrick Wisdom – 17%


Strikeouts, as they’ve been for much of his Major League career, continue to be an ever-present part of Patrick Wisdom’s stat line. Or rather, to be more specific, a high strikeout rate.

The 31-year-old is striking out 37.6% of the time in 2023, up from 34.3% last season. That’s good for a place in the first percentile league-wide, and the 31-year-old also ranks rather low, in the eighth percentile, in whiff rate due to a 33.9% metric.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the slugger is also sporting a low batting average (.192) and xBA (.214) because of it.

However, if you can get by the batting average, there’s a lot to like here with the veteran in terms of what he can bring to the table for fantasy teams.

Eligible at first base, third base, and in the outfield in Yahoo leagues, the Cubs infielder and outfielder adds plenty of versatility for fantasy managers, and with it some significant power production.

Unsurprising in much the same way that the strikeouts are, Wisdom is once again crushing baseballs when he does make contact.

Patrick Wisdom Since 2021

*Wisdom ranked in the 90th percentile or better in that stat.

Overall, the 31-year-old is batting .192 with a .291 on-base percentage, 17 home runs, and four stolen bases in 245 plate appearances this season. He’s also logged a .229 BABIP so far, which points to a bit of positive regression. Not too much, mind you, due to the strikeouts, but with a low BABIP and decent gaps between his batting average (.192) and xBA (.214) and wOBA (.326) and xwOBA (.342), an improvement (to a degree) in surface-level production seems to be on the horizon. Add him now before that happens.


Tommy Pham – 15%


Around a month ago, well June 24 to be exact, Tommy Pham was mentioned in this column.

At that time he was one of three qualified batters to be in the 90th percentile or better in hard-hit rate, xwOBA, barrel rate, xBA, and chase rate. Aaron Judge and Mike Trout were the other two.

Yet Pham was rostered in just 14% of Yahoo leagues at the time.

It’s now July 28 (as of writing this) and Pham is only rostered in 15% of Yahoo leagues, which by all accounts is an incredibly low number. So please, stop what you’re doing right now and go add Tommy Pham in your fantasy league. I’ll wait.

Ok, so you’ve added Tommy Pham to your fantasy team? Good.

The veteran outfield is batting .266 with a .349 on-base percentage this season, logging a .387 xwOBA and a 47.7% hard-hit rate. Not only is he making a ton of elite contact and plenty of power production (he’s also turned in a .453 xwOBAcon, a 12.2% barrel rate, and nine home runs), but the outfielder has added 11 stolen bases on the season as well.

And it’s not as if his production has fallen off a cliff in the last month either to warrant not being added in more leagues.

Since June 24, Pham is batting .288 with a .381 on-base percentage, two home runs, three stolen bases a .361 wOBA, and a 133 wRC+ in 81 plate appearances while logging a walk rate (11.9%) nearly as high as his strikeout rate (15.5%).

There’s also some real-life trade potential here. Of course, this is all entirely speculative, but if the Mets continue to trade veterans after dealing away closer David Robertson and Pham is moved, a trade to a better lineup certainly wouldn’t hurt his fantasy upside. Entering play Friday, 18 teams had scored more runs than the Mets.


Graphic adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)

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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