Week 23 Waiver Wire Adds – 15% Rostered Or Fewer

These four players can bring added value in deeper leagues.

Each week we’ll look at a handful of different players rostered in less than 15% of fantasy leagues who you should consider picking up. Many of these players will have the most value in deeper 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 Matt Barnes, Shea Langeliers, José Leclerc, and Leody Taveras 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 Sunday afternoon.


Matt Barnes – 13%


Barnes was an All-Star in 2021 and had 21 saves on the season for Boston. He was particularly excellent in the first half, registering a 2.61 ERA in 38 innings. Opposing batters hit just .174 with a .238 on-base percentage and a .225 wOBA against the veteran in those 38 innings.

However, he struggled mightily in the second half and Boston mixed and matched for saves at times. All told in 2021, nine other Red Sox relievers combined for 25 saves.

This season, it’s been a bit of the opposite where Barnes’ effectiveness has been concerned. He struggled in the first half, and while he doesn’t have a significant sample size of work in the second half, he’s been plenty effective.

Matt Barnes In The Second Half Entering Play Sunday

Most importantly for fantasy managers, Barnes has a pair of saves in his last four appearances and three in his last 10 outings. He might cede some saves to Garrett Whitlock and John Schreiber down the stretch, but for managers in deeper leagues looking for under-the-radar saves additions, Barnes is as good as any.

The Red Sox’ schedule is by no means easy down the stretch, but they do have upcoming series against the Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds this week. With saves being in such high demand, Barnes could make a difference for fantasy managers the rest of the season.


José Leclerc – 8%


Leclerc is one of five different Rangers relievers with at least three saves this season, but he looks to be the favorite for saves at the moment, especially with Joe Barlow on the injured list and Jonathan Hernández struggling as of late.

Closing games isn’t anything new for Leclerc. He has at least one save in each of the last five Major League seasons dating back to 2017 and had 26 total saves combined during the 2018 and 2019 campaigns.

The 28-year-old owns a 3.18 ERA and a 4.05 FIP in 39.2 innings to go along with 41 strikeouts, 16 walks, the aforementioned three saves, and four holds.

The slider has always been the right-hander’s best bat-missing offering, and he’s mixed things up in his pitch usage this season, throwing the slider more than his four-seam fastball for the first time in his career. Elsewhere in his pitch arsenal, Leclerc is also throwing changeups at a higher rate than he ever has before.

José Leclerc’s Pitch Usage In 2022

Both the slider and changeup have been crucial in helping Leclerc once again limit hard contact, to the point that many of his underlying metrics are right in line with the elite rates he logged during the 2019 season. So far this season, the veteran’s slider has limited batters to a 21.4% hard-hit rate. The changeup’s hard-hit rate? That would be just 11.8% as of Sunday.

For reference, in 2019, Leclerc finished in the 94th percentile or better in both hard-hit rate and xwOBA.

Plus, as an added bonus, he’s walking batters at the lowest rate of his career.

Furthermore, as of the beginning of play on Sunday, he had the Rangers’ only save in September and three of their eight saves since the start of August. Hernandez is the only other Rangers reliever with more than one save during that span, and he’s surrendered eight walks, six hits, and four earned runs in his last four innings.


Leody Taveras – 13%


Fellow Rangers outfielder Bubba Thompson was mentioned in last week’s column as a potential source of steals for fantasy managers for the remainder of the season. Taveras could have a similar impact, albeit with more production coming in other categories.

The 23-year-old has 10 stolen bases in 272 plate appearances as of the beginning of play on Sunday.  He’s also added three home runs during that span, as well as a .280 average and a .327 on-base percentage.

The .280 average would almost certainly be unsustainable in a larger sample size moving forward, due to the outfielder’s .370 BABIP, a rather low 39.1% hard-hit rate, and a .274 xwOBA. Still, just like with Thompson’s potential to sustain a high BABIP-fueled batting average, there aren’t too many games left. In other words, Taveres’ high average could continue to hold up for the season’s final weeks.

Taveras has also been a smidgen more productive on the road compared to at home.

Leody Taveras Home vs Road Splits

Starting with a doubleheader Monday in Miami against the Marlins, the Rangers will play five of their next seven on the road. They’ll also finish up September and begin October with six straight road games. Depending on when fantasy playoffs are scheduled, those road contests could come at the right time for fantasy managers in terms of Taveras’ production.


Shea Langeliers – 13%


One of the centerpieces of the Matt Olson trade from the offseason, Langeliers logged 402 plate appearances with Oakland’s Triple-A club before making his Major League debut this season.

In those 402 plate appearances with Triple-A Las Vegas, the catcher hit .283 with a .366 on-base percentage, 19 home runs, and five stolen bases.

He hasn’t quite been able to match that production in the Majors yet. He’s collected three home runs in 85 plate appearances to go along with a .210 average and a .224 on-base percentage. He’s also striking out a lot so far, with a 41.2% strikeout rate as a Major League player.

Still, it’s a relatively small sample size and Langeliers could prove to be a useful fantasy option behind the plate for the stretch run.

First and foremost, despite the strikeouts, he’s still hitting for power. Of his 17 hits this year, 10 have gone for extra bases. He has the aforementioned three home runs, as well as five barrels and a 10.4% barrel rate. Small sample size or not, those are the definition of promising.

Elsewhere, he could provide some extra stolen bases. While the catcher has yet to attempt a steal in the Majors, he did have five with Oakland’s Triple-A club and ranked in the 83rd percentile in Statcast’s sprint speed metric as of Sunday.

With the top-heavy nature of the catcher position, plus injuries to Willson Contreras and Tyler Stephenson, as well as ineffective campaigns from Yasmani Grandal and Omar Narváez, Langeliers is certainly worth a look in the right leagues. That’s especially true in leagues where on-base percentage is part of the scoring, as it helps offset his low (at least for now) batting average.


Image adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj 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