Week 21 Deep League Waiver Wire – 8/19

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 Freddy Fermin, Ryan Jeffers, Stone Garrett, and Jake Bauers 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.


Freddy Fermin – 11%


Not a lot has gone right for the Kansas City Royals this season.

They entered play Friday with a 39-84 record. There’s the -164 run differential, the third worst in baseball ahead of only the A’s and the Rockies. Salvador Perez is posting an fWAR below the 1.0 mark (0.3 to be exact) with over 400 plate appearances for the second straight season. Vinnie Pasquantino is out for the year due to injury. M.J. Melendez has struggled with strikeouts.  The team had little to deal at the trade deadline for future prospects.

You get it. It’s been bad.

But there have been a few bright spots, most notably Bobby Witt Jr.’s breakout. The club has also seen a breakout campaign from one of their younger catchers, except it hasn’t been Melendez.

Instead, it’s been Freddy Fermin, who’s quietly putting together a strong season in Kansas City, both for the Royals and for fantasy managers alike.

Fermin is hitting .298 with a .330 on-base percentage in 183 plate appearances so far, adding nine home runs for the American League Central club. And while we’re still dealing with a somewhat small sample size, there’s plenty to like about what Fermin is doing at the plate.

There’s the 10.9% barrel rate, which is obviously good and points to potential continued power production. There’s also the .346 xwOBA, which is equal parts quality and reasonably close to his .357 wOBA.

However, the key thing here, and it is admittedly in a smaller sample size, is that Fermin is doing damage against a variety of pitches and not just obliterating fastballs, as can sometimes be the case with rookies who get off to fast starts.

Freddy Fermin’s Pitch-Type Splits

Fermin is also slowly working his way up the lineup, which certainly helps fantasy-wise. The catcher started the year mainly hitting in the bottom third of the order but has mostly hit fourth, fifth, or sixth for the better part of the last month.


Ryan Jeffers – 7%


Sticking with American League Central catchers thriving in relatively smaller sample sizes, we switch to Ryan Jeffers, who’s provided a boost at the plate at the catcher position for Minnesota.

Twins Catchers This Season

The difference here, compared to Fermin at least, is that Jeffers has a bit of a track record in terms of having done this before. He’s logged double-digit barrel rates in each of the last three seasons and has registered reasonably similar hard-hit and line drive rates. The key difference here is that his BABIP is playing nice.

Mitch Garver Since 2021

What’s more, Minnesota seems committed to getting his bat in the lineup more often than not. Or at least it would appear that way on the outside looking in.

Jeffers has nine starts at catcher to Vazquez’s six this month and has seen three of his six appearances at designated hitter this season in the last two weeks. Crucially, those starts at designated hitter have all come when Vazquez has started behind the plate.

Both Fermin and Jeffers have the potential to be top-15 catchers down the stretch and are at worst must adds for fantasy managers in search of streaming options behind the plate.


Stone Garrett – 10%


At this point in the organization’s rebuild, the Washington Nationals are at the point where they’re giving considerable playing time to former well-regarded prospects originally from other organizations who haven’t been able to stick in the Majors just yet and players who’ve had considerable success in the upper minors without an extended look at the game’s highest level.

That practice has produced quality fantasy contributors in past seasons, namely with the Cubs in 2021 in the form of Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel, and with these same Nationals last year with Joey Meneses.

Washington’s 40-man roster currently includes the likes of Blake Rutherford, Jeter Downs, Michael Chavis, and Hunter Harvey, though arguably none have had as much of an impact as Stone Garrett.

The former Marlins prospect, who made his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2022, isn’t quite tearing the cover off the ball as Meneses or Schwindel did, but he’s doing more than enough to be rostered in more leagues. Or rather, he should be on significantly more fantasy rosters.

The 27-year-old is batting .271 with a .347 on-base percentage, a .348 wOBA, nine home runs, and three stolen bases in 253 plate appearances for the Nationals this year. And while he’s striking out 30.4% of the time, nothing about his production looks unsustainable.

Entering play Friday, the outfielder was also sporting a .341 xwOBA, but he’s also logging a 10.3% barrel rate to go along with a .452 xwOBAcon and a 48.6% hard-hit rate.

That aforementioned strikeout rate is obviously unideal, but the fact that Garrett is avoiding hitting the ball on the ground at a high rate is certainly helping his cause, especially when paired with the hard-hit rate.

Among batters with at least 250 plate appearances, the former Diamondback had the 15th-lowest ground ball rate in the league with a 32.9% metric.

As long as he continues to avoid grounders, he should be a quality option for fantasy managers, especially those in leagues where on-base percentage is part of the scoring.


Jake Bauers – 2%


Fantasy managers in search of power production, whether it be from a streaming option, a long-term injury fill-in, or via a lineup regular, need to look no further than Jake Bauers.

Bauers, who’s seen big league playing time with the Rays, Guardians, and Mariners in parts of four career Major League seasons dating back to 2018, is taking full advantage of his current opportunity with the New York Yankees.

The 27-year-old is currently sporting just a .213 batting average and a .289 on-base percentage in 228 plate appearances, but he’s also supplied 11 home runs and a .233 ISO during that span.

The power production, on the surface, is obviously a positive, but it’s the type of contact that Bauers has been making at the plate that is particularly encouraging and should, in theory, lead to more home runs as the summer weeks wear on.

Bauers is sporting a 20.5% (!) barrel rate as of the start of the day on Friday. It’s a number that’s bettered on his team by Aaron Judge, who owns a 27.7% barrel rate, and elsewhere in the league by Wisdom, who has logged a 21.4% barrel rate. But no one else.

Literally, that’s it. Those are the only players, with a minimum of 200 plate appearances, who have a better barrel rate than Jake Bauers this year in the Majors.

MLB Barrel Rate Leaders, Minimum 200 Plate Appearances

With a slightly unfavorable .276 BABIP and a nearly .040 point gap between his wOBA (.313) and xwOBA (.357) there’s some serious positive regression potentially on the horizon.

What’s more, Bauers continues to play a key role for the Yankees. He’s hit leadoff more often than not in the past month, and 137 of his 228 plate appearances have come either hitting first or fifth.

Admittedly, he’s only really been an option against right-handed pitching, but given his power production, the potential for positive regression, and batting order placement in New York, he makes for an ideal waiver-wire addition, even if he isn’t starting full-time.

Jake Bauers 2023 Splits


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login