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Deep League Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Targets for Week 16

With each new week, it seems a new crop of viable waiver wire targets emerges in a key position with high talent scarcity. In previous weeks it was the outfield and last week it was middle infield. Now, this week, it’s with the catcher position. That’s why we’ve included two targets for only leagues, along with several other positional waiver wire targets, to help those playing in deep fantasy baseball leagues make the right player pickups.

Deep League Waiver Wire Targets for Week 16

15-Team Mixed League Targets

1. Kyle Higashioka, C, Padres

There may be a Wally Pipp situation playing out presently with the San Diego Padres catcher position. The prolonged injury absence of Luis Campusano has created new playing time opportunities for longtime backup catcher, Kyle Higashioka. In this new role as the primary catcher, Higashioka has stepped in with dominant power production. In June, he hit eight home runs and drove in 19 runs, all while maintaining a .275 batting. While this is well above his career norms, it is reflective of the path William Contreras took in his ascension. It’s a gamble worth taking to see what can transpire for Higashioka for the remainder of the season in most mixed deep leagues.

2. Derek Hill, OF, Rangers

It seems 2024 is the year of longtime minor leaguers finally getting their first real shot in the big leagues. Most recently it’s been Daniel Schneeman and Ben Roertverdt. Now it’s Derek Hill getting the best opportunity of his career at the ripe age of 28 years old for the Rangers. Alike the other names mentioned, Hill is also making the most of his chance to prove himself a viable major leaguer. In his first five games since returning to the lineup he’s hit three home runs and added a stolen base. Hill has shown sneaky power and speed throughout his long minor-league career. He’s already amassed eight home runs and seven steals in 42 minor league games this season. This is the type of fantasy profile that has given the edge to contending deep-league fantasy teams.

AL-Only League Targets

1. Willie Calhoun, OF, Angels

It seems the Angels have found a unique approach to rebuilding after losing Ohtani by acquiring numerous post-hype players. We previously featured Miguel Sano in this article and now it’s time to feature a couple more once-prominent prospects with Willie Calhoun and Keston Hiura. We’ll start with Willie Calhoun as he is currently on the big league roster and contributing as of late. In fact, over the last seven games he has a .278 batting average and a .435 OBP. While that’s a small sample size, it’s not too far off from his season pace of .277 and .333. While Calhoun won’t provide much in the way of power or speed, his on-base ability should lead to meaningful counting stats for runs and RBI.

2. Keston Hiura, 1B, Angels

Once upon a time, Keston Hiura was one of the most promising young fantasy baseball players, commonly placed in the top 50 of dynasty rankings. As fast as he broke out in his rookie season to become a fantasy star he seemingly disappeared just as quickly. Now he’s viewed as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the supposed juice ball era. Hiura hit .303 in 2019 with 19 home runs in just 314 at-bats, then went on to hit .212 in 2020. The struggles continued as he hit 1.68 in 2021 and .226 in 2022 before exiting MLB for the KBO. Now back in the minor leagues with the Angels, Hiura seems to have returned to his early career breakout form. In his latest AAA stint with the Angels’ affiliate, he has 12 home runs and a .450 OBP in just 18 games. Who knows if this is real or not, but likely worth the speculative add in AL-only leagues.

NL-Only League Targets

1. Michael Mercado, SP, Phillies

The recent injury to Taijuan Walker has paved the way for minor league pitching standout Michael Mercado to make his big league debut. In his debut, Mercado carried his steady pitching performance from AAA into the big leagues with six innings of one-run ball and five strikeouts. Most impressive from his start was the .067 WHIP. This outing was right in line with his output in the minors this season where he held a 1.71 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning pitched. If Mercado can continue to pitch effectively for the Phillies, he may have a long-term roster spot in the rotation even when Walker returns from injury.

2. Eric Haase, C/OF, Brewers

Rounding out our list is another favorite of AL-only leagues with catcher Eric Haase. For many years Haase provided unexpected but valuable production as a reserve catcher for the Detroit Tigers. Now with the Brewers, he’s likely going to be finding at-bats in the lineup with designated hitter and outfield appearances. In his first, and only, appearance so far he went two for four with an RBI. For two-catcher NL-only leagues this is your chance to act early to grab a likely meaningful contributor in the second half of the season.

Got a few deep league waiver wire targets of your own? Don’t be greedy! Drop some names in the comments below.

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