Hold or Fold: Matchup Edition

“Black hole sun
Won’t you come
And wash away the rain
Black hole sun
Won’t you come
Won’t you come” ~ Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun”

The song is just a good song. It’s not completely relevant. I was thinking about black holes of fantasy production, so naturally, a great rock song with those words is going to come to mind.

First off, let’s address the Dansby and Mac Williamson issues from the past few weeks. I can’t really apologize for either. The hot streaks are part of my issue with rostering Dansby. He’s either blisteringly hot and can win a week for you, or he’s in a 3-27 skid. There’s never any consistency. I’m a big advocate of consistency. I’d rather have a guy who averages 1 home run a week and gets 26 for the year than a player who will get 35 home runs by having 8 hot weeks. Yes, the second player has more total home runs, but he actually gave you less for 18 weeks of the season. Hot and cold guys are the hardest guys to value, and Dansby is the epitome of such a player.

As for Mac Williamson, I can only go with what the Giants say their plan is. They said regular at-bats. They gave him a week and a half hitting at the bottom of a miserable line-up, then cut him. Not exactly a prolonged look. There are two lessons to be learned there.

  • Lesson 1: I’m probably an idiot.
  • Lesson 2: Don’t roster any of this year’s Giants.

Now for this week, I’m focusing on over and underutilized players. Hold still means keep them or get them. Fold means you can probably get rid of them without regrets (though I might wait one week for their inevitable “make Seth look stupid” hot streak before they fade into oblivion).

Hold ‘Em Vs. Fold ‘Em

  • Matchup 1

I’m going to give you 4 players. 2 are owned in more than 50% of Yahoo leagues. 2 are owned in less. You can probably see where I’m going with this.

Player W: .257 average, 4 hr, 18 rbi, 0 steals
Player X: .241 average, 3 hr, 13 rbi, 0 steals
Player Y: .268 average, 9 hr, 31 rbi, 4 steals
Player Z: .255 average, 14 hr, 29 rbi, 3 steals

Players W and X are Yuli Gurriel and Robinson Cano. Both are still owned in over half of Yahoo leagues. Players Y and Z are Dwight Smith Jr and Hunter Renfroe. Stop holding onto to recognizable names. The name doesn’t matter. The numbers do. Get Renfroe and Smith onto your rosters, get Cano and Gurriel off your rosters. You’ll be glad you did.

  • Matchup 2

If you thought the first matchup meant people weren’t paying attention . . . you were right. At least Gurriel plays on a former World Champion and Cano has had a borderline Hall of Fame career. Players like that tend to stand out in your memory. It’s more forgivable than this mess.

Player 1: .269 average, 5 hr, 18 rbi, 1 steal
Player 2: .282 average, 4 hr, 27 rbi, 0 steals
Player 3: .241 average, 13 hr, 28 rbi, 1 steal
Player 4: .310 average, 4 hr, 18 rbi, 4 steals

Unlike the prior grouping, everyone here is outfield eligible. What’s ridiculous is the ownership percentages. Player 1 is Nick Castellanos. He is owned in 83% of Yahoo leagues. He has fewer steals, only one more home run, and a substantially lower batting average than Player 4 – AKA David Fletcher. Fletcher is owned in 20% of leagues.

Player 2 is Nick Markakis, owned in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues. Player 3 is Derek Dietrich, owned in a mere 30%. I know Dietrich has Scooter Gennett looming, but Markakis hit 14 home runs all year last season, and that was his best offensive output in 4 years. There’s no upside there from a fantasy point of view. Peraza has been terrible. Joey Votto has been terrible. Yasiel Puig has been terrible. If Dietrich keeps hitting home runs, the at-bats will find him in that line-up. Chip Caray may refer to Nick Markakis as “Old Reliable”, but there’s nothing wrong with looking for something more exciting.

If Dietrich and Fletcher are still around in your league, get rid of Markakis and Castellanos and snap them up.

Griffin Canning vs. Kyle Freeland

Both the Angels and the Rockies need starters to step it up. Last year Freeland was a darling in Colorado, with an ERA under 3.00. However, his FIP was well over 4, and this year he’s been a disaster. That is not a fluke. He got lucky. His 6.71 ERA is probably an overcorrection, but he was never as good as he seemed. If he keeps this up, he may be out of the rotation soon.

On the other hand, Angels’ youngster Griffin Canning has turned in 29 strikeouts in 26.2 innings so far with a WHIP close to 1.00 and an ERA of 3.42. He’s actually owned in fewer leagues than Freeland. So if you still believe in Freeland, stop. He is not a speculative stash either. Go out and get Canning though. There is literally nothing standing between him and a lock on a rotation spot for the rest of the season.


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Written by 

I'm Seth. I love baseball, especially the Braves, and rock n' roll on vinyl. Books, sandals and tacos too, though I find most of my money for those things going to vinyl these days. Once turned Prince Fielder into Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt in a dynasty league. Also ashamed to say I once cut Jose Ramirez. I don't hate your favorite team unless your favorite team is the Nationals or Phillies. May or may not have cried when David Justice hit that home run in game 6 of the 95 World Series - though if you actually ask me, I'll claim I did not.