Back in April when players were cold, the common response to owners was to relax… it’s only April. When May rolled around we preached patience for those early to mid-round picks, but were quick to judge those late round pick. Then the calendar flipped to June, which means those mid-round picks were no longer safe – free to be dropped at your own discretion. Well…, it’s now July – time for fantasy owners to give some serious thought to whether they are better off with or without that name brand player that has done nothing but take up valuable roster space (looking at you Buster Posey and your 75% Y! ownership rate).
Nobody like to admit defeat when it comes to a player – doing so would not only prove you are wrong, but dropping said player would give your opponent an extremely valuable commodity should they turn things around. On the other side of the coin, holding that player all year for (maybe) one good month wouldn’t help your cause much. Best case scenario is your opponent picks up the player you dropped hoping for a bounce-back second half, and wastes a roster spot for 4-6 weeks while doing so.
It’s time to cut the cord, bit the bullet, kick the can to the curb, rip the band-aid off (insert your own analogy) and accept the fact that the failing player you drafted – almost regardless of where you drafted him – needs to go. Maybe you could get a decent player in trade for the early draft guys – someone should be willing to give you a player above replacement level for your Jose Ramirez (and his .112 ISO). With the exception the stolen bases, the rest of Ramirez’ line is a mirror image of Jose Iglesias (bad year for guys names Jose).
Below are the players I’ve either dumped our would do so if you haven’t yet
(owned in 75%+ of Y! leagues). Stats through June 30
- Jose Ramirez
As I mentioned above, Jose Ramirez is someone owners need to move on from. Dropping is a last/worst case scenario – as I said, someone will give you something. You will, in no way (except in a keeper league), get close to full value so accept that fact – this is first and foremost. As you’ve read many places, his struggles can be traced to the middle of last year so hope has all but faced he will improve his metrics and bottom line.
Some can point to his unlucky .232 BABIP as reason for optimism. He posted a similar BABIP in 2015 with poor results, but he also posted a .252 BABIP last year with career high results in all the fantasy relevant stat categories. A .112 ISO decreases the chance of a return to power despite an increase in fly balls and solid, albeit lower, hard hit rate than last year. And that hard hit rate has decreased each month and sat at 31.8% at the end of June. He’s also swinging more outside the zone with less success – still good, but not in line with what he has done in the past.
The player being offered in return may not be who you were expecting or even considering, but if they can help you and have the potential to provide solid/decent production over next three months, seriously consider (and accept) the offer.
Is Ramirez droppable? Let me put it this way. Kolton Wong, owned in 18% of Yahoo leagues, has scored the same amount of runs with two more home runs, three more RBI, four fewer stolen bases, and .025 points of batting average. Would you right now drop Wong for someone on your wire? If the answer is yes and you get no trade offers – buh-bye.
- Paul Goldschmidt
Like Ramirez, Goldy isn’t a player you want to outright release. He still has some value to you, especially in leagues that use a CI slot, but he is far from a must start as a first baseman. Goldschmidt is also suffering from a decrease in ISO, although not as bad as Ramirez (.159 can still be serviceable if everything else checks off). The same goes for the BABIP which is still above .300, but well below that .340+ we’ve come to expect. What is troubling is that Goldy is swinging more, particularly outside the zone, but with a zone contact below 80% (it hasn’t been below 80.2% since his debut). Then there is the decrease in walks (for the fourth straight season), increase in strikeouts (for the third season in a row), and a career high soft contact rate.
A career high hard contact percentage and fly ball rate will keep the home runs coming, but if things continue down the current path – last year’s totals look like a best case scenerio, minus about 20 runs, a handful of home runs, and about 40 points of average. Oh, and did I mention he is 0-1 in stolen base attempts? Yea, not only is Goldy only a 4-category player this year, he has been an average one at best.
As I said, he is still serviceable so don’t drop him. However, I would entertain all offers in an attempt to improve for the second half run. For those that think Goldy’s numbers aren’t that bad, Eric Thames has a better average with a few more RBI, and I’m confident he would pass the run and HR totals if given another 100 at bats to match where Goldy is at now. Yup, Eric Thames has provided more value than Goldschmidt this year – sad but true.
- Lorenzo Cain
Remember when I compared Jose Ramirez to Konton Wong? Well, short of the runs scored category, Cain has also been every bit as good (or bad) as little owned Wong. He is still scoring runs and is on pace to surpass last year’s total, and will top last year’s RBI output as well. However, he has just 10 steals and is batting .050 lower than we expected. Not only has Cain’s ISO disappeared (.102), his hard hit rate has fallen back to slightly above career levels, as has his contact%, walks, strikeouts. We’ve also seen more ground balls (both this year and last), but this year his soft contact rate is above 20% – combine that with a low ISO and that negates some of the infield singles damage. He’s also back to chasing more outside the zone with lesser results. And while Cain does have 10 steals he has been caught four times (lower success rate). And now Cain has been moved down in the order so the potential of passing last year’s run total appears in jeopardy.
Over the last 30 days you could have gotten far better production from little owned JaCoby Jones. Kevin Pillar is also on a streak in San Fran and might be worth a look. I guess this would make Cain droppable, but shop him first in case there is a taker (there should be in 15 team leagues with 4-5 active outfielders). Odds are, though, that most will be skeptical of a 33-year-old showing signs of a decay, in which case those waiver options might be your best bet.
- Daniel Murphy
The appeal before the season started was Murphy’s new home – Coors Field. Murphy hasn’t taken advantage of his home park (6HR, ZERO at home), and it’s beginning to look like his 2016/2017 seasons were the outliers and not the expected norm. Currently Murphy is on pace to hit 12 or so home runs; that puts him in the 2013-2015 range and covers 2018 as well. The hard hit rate is not in the mid to upper 30s; it’s in the range of the other years, and that 32% isn’t getting many balls over the fence. His average has also sunk – granted not to an unbearable level, but 20+ points below what we’ve come to expect. And that .280-ish average is in line with… you guessed it, his pre-2016 level. His contact rate, while still high, is at its lowest point, and the zone contact is at a career low.
Put all these things together and you’ve got an average journeyman who changed his plate approach, had a few good years, and then went back to being a decent batting average pinch hitter. On top of that, Murphy is still receiving the occasional day off despite his hot June batting average (thanks in part to a .392 BABIP). Given his power decline can be traced back to last year I see little hope of a second half surge. Without the power Murphy is an average/runs guy with an average RBI total – you can do better in most leagues. Freddy Galvis, Danny Santana, and even Cavin Biggio have produced equal or better numbers over the last 30 day to put things into contexts.
Maybe his recent streak will increase his trade value. If not, check the wire and see what’s out there.
- Matt Carpenter
Carpenter gets a stay of execution with his Tuesday DL posting, but it is only delaying the inevitable. His batting average is just over his weight (.216) with just 10 home runs and 28 RBI at the halfway mark. Extrapolated over the second half that’s 20 homers and 56 RBI – those are injury waiver wire replacement level numbers. A .263 BABIP says there has been some bad luck, but he posted a .274 in 2017 and managed just a .241 average.
Reasons to doubt a second half surge. Strikeouts increased for the third straight season. The ISO is at a 2013 level (.163), back when you were thankful he reached double-digits in home runs. The contact rate remains below 80% for the second year, and while Carpenter is swinging at pitches inside the zone at a career rate his zone contact is at a career low. His hard contact, while still above 40%, is nowhere near where it was in 2018. You’re looking at 2017-18 power output so double his current 10 is a best case scenario given his ISO. The recent back issue only clouds his second half potential.
Yandi Diaz, Renato Nunez and Eric Sogard are just a few names of players who have outperformed Carpenter to date. I’m not suggesting you drop him for any of these men, but if they are owned in under 40% of leagues then why is Carpenter owned in over 80%. You can DL (I don’t like the IL term yet) for now and give one of the above a whirl. However, when he gets close to a return you’ll still have to make a choice. If you can’t find a trade partner I would be highly tempted to just cut and run – rip off the band-aid so to speak.
- Dee Gordon
Gordon does have 14 steals, but that .268 average combined with 47 combined runs and RBIs is a little disheartening (to say the least). On paper you’re looking at a repeat of his 2018 season, except with fewer runs and a handful more RBI (be thankful if they come close to breaking 100 combined). A 10% spike in fly balls (31.4%) doesn’t help things since there is zero power here. There is nothing frightening in his underlying metrics, and by that I mean there are no real major drops from what we’ve come to expect.
Gordon should get close to the 30 steal season we expected, and if steals are what you need then he’s your guy. And his average will not kill you so there is that. However, if you sacrifice those steals I’m 99.9% sure you can improve in R, RBI, HR and BA with what might be on waivers. I mentioned a few when discussing Murphy above, and I’ll throw in David Fletcher and Kevin Newman as well (I’ve been riding the Newman train for weeks now). Remember, steals are only one category. Would you sacrifice four pitching categories just to get saves?
- Buster Posey
Part of me thinks it’s sad that so many people still own Buster Posey. I was one of you at one point, but released him during his IL stint, did not look back, and haven’t regretted my decision one bit. I fell into a bit of luck as an owner, dealing with a roster crunch, had to drop his back-up catcher Omar Narvaez. Had Narvaez not been there I would have happily settled for the Indians Roberto Perez or even a part-time catcher like Tom Murphy and Tyler Flowers (both of whom are ranked above Posey on the ESPN player rater.
Why is Posey owned in 75% of Y! leagues? His name and playing time… that’s it. Posey is chasing at a career rate yet is posting contact numbers outside the zone not seen since his 2009 debut (translation, not good). Another uptick in strikeouts, decreased walk and solid (but not career level) BABIP suggest the average will not come up much. The power has dropped steadily since 2014 so there isn’t much hope for a power boost. And given the Giants best hitter right now is Kevin Pillar (how long will that last) I see little help coming in regards to runs and RBI. And then there are the little nicks and digs Posey is dealing with, making it likely he sits more often in the second half.
If you are in a two-catcher league I can see holding Posey. In single catcher leagues with 12-16 teams there is zero reason to be running him out there on a nightly bases. If you have the room I still like the combo of Flower and Brian McCann, starting whichever is in the lineup that night. Regardless of who you settle on, he has to be better than Posey at this point.
Looking for pitchers? I’ll be back soon with a list of those to cut (I just released Raisel Iglesias). Until then, starting cleaning your house and take out the trash.
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