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Fantasy Baseball Playoffs: Cutting the Dead Weight

This is it. Everything you have done this season all boils down to the final four weeks of the season. At this point the only thing that matter is production. Unfortunately, even five months into the season, fantasy owners are still hanging onto, and in some case even playing, players that they spent a high draft pick on. News Flash:

  • Name value no longer matters. If you’ve been holding a big name player that has not lived up to expectations, the odds are slim they will come around in September.

Before you head into these final weeks, you need to do a thorough examination of your roster.Those name brand players that are not producing could be the only thing standing between a championship and an agonizing defeat. There could be a player right now on waivers that might help you more than that struggling star. All you need to do is bite the bullet, admit defeat, and cut that dead weight. 

With that said, the following players should be dropped, or at the very least, be riding the bench for the playoff rounds. Deeper leagues may have little choice, but if you have or can pick up an alternative, do it.

1B: Miguel Cabrera – There are at least 50 first base eligible players that can help you more than Cabrera. He has not come around, and his .218 second-half batting average shows things have gone from bad to worse. Sadly, the only thing separating Cabrera from David Freese is four home runs and 10 RBI, and Freese is owned in less than 10% of leagues.

I am not recommending you pick up Freese; this is just to shine a spotlight on how bad the season has gone for Cabrera. Joe Mauer, Matt Olson, Chase Headley and Jose Martinez have all produced better numbers this season are were top-25 first basemen in August. The only reason Cabrera is still owned in over 90% of leagues is his name. He is not ever a worthy corner infielder at this point. It”s time to admit defeat and move on.

OF: Carlos Gonzalez – If you have not dropped Gonzalez by now I don’t know what you are waiting for. The batting average came around some in August, but he managed just two home runs, one steal, and scored only eight runs. If you need a stern slap of reality of just how bad CarGo has been, here’s a little player comparison.

BA HR RBI R SB
Gonzalez .247 8 46 54 3
Jose Iglesias .268 6 52 53 7

That’s right, Gonzalez is so bad he is being outplayed by 3% owned, Jose Iglesias. How are you feeling about your fourth/bench outfielder now? I can’t even say hold him for home games (.297) since 10 of his next 13 games are on the road – 13 of 16 if you count this weekends series against the Dodgers. Time to cut bait and run, even in keeper leagues.




SS: Trevor Story – Sticking with Colorado, I’ll turn my attention to strikeout king, Trevor Story. OK, that honor belongs to Chris Davis, but this is one time coming in second is not a good thing. Strikeouts aside, how valuable is Story to your fantasy squad?

He does have 19 home runs which puts him in the top-1o for one category. Runs – he has 55; that barely gets him into the top-25 for shortstop and outside the top-40 middle infielders. RBI – his 64 rank outside the top-12 and just inside the top-20 for middle infield. Finally we have batting average (.225) where there are 24 shortstops and 49 total middle infielders ahead of him – that’s just the qualifying players and not overall.

Story doesn’t even crack the top-30 on the ESPN player rater and is outside the top-50 for middle infield. Freddy Galvis (15% owned on Yahoo) is a better shortstop this season, as is Brandon Crawford whose ownership is half that of Story. With the playoffs on the line you can’t afford to hope he has a big month.

OF: Kyle Schwarber – If you play on Yahoo where Schwarber is catcher eligible I can see some value here. But, if he is strictly an outfielder he is a bench bat – at best. His best batting average months were July (.250) and August (.238). That only brought his season total up to .201. He scored double-digit runs in just two of five months, and drove in more than 10 once. You can point to the lack of at bats, but with a top-10 strikeout rate and horrific average he is not going to get an additional at bats any time soon.

Schwarber is a borderline top-12 catcher with a value equal to Seattle’s Mike Zunino. As an outfielder he is not even a worthy bench bat. Don’t expect any World Series heroics from him in September.

1B: Chris Davis – This isn’t the first time Davis has had a power outage and hit below the mendoza line. These things tend to happen when you strike out as much as Davis does. A .242 average with five home runs in August hinted he might be coming around. He is 3-23 this month with just one home run. Among first base eligible players he just makes the top-50, and his 23 home runs doesn’t even rank among the top-25. If there is no power then there is no value – plain and simple. It’s 2014 all over again.

2B: Ian Kinsler – His batting average has dropped every single month. A .278 in May was his peak, followed by a .264 and a pair of .232. He is 5-30 this month, and last night he hit his first home run since August 27 giving him 15 for the season. There are 20 second base eligible players with more home runs and 43 with more RBI. His lone value comes from runs (77) which rank among the top-10 at the position. With Detroit slumping as a whole there is little hope we see Kinsler turn the corner over the final weeks. There are, or should be, plenty of options on waivers that can give ou more production.

1B: Hanley Ramirez – His best month was July with a .271 average and six home runs. Even with the mediocre average and slight power boost he only managed to drive in 10, and the 11 RBI in April were a season high. A .213 post-all star average and 4-24 performance so far in September highlight the type of season Hanley is having. None of his run, home run, and RBI totals rank in the top-25 for the position which means Hanley isn’t even a worthy corner infield play. Yonder Alonso is owned in half as many leagues and putting up better numbers, even with the move to Seattle.

OF: Matt Kemp – Kemp isn’t completely useless; he is batting .286 on the season. However, his 17 home runs put him in Melky Cabrera territory as far as fantasy value. He hit 10 home runs over the first two months, but has seven from June on. Since the all-star break he has scored 11 runs and driven in 17 – there are lowly bench players who have produced more than that. And while the overall average is nice, he did have two months below .240 and is 5-24 this month. He does have three home runs in September, but nothing else.

There are over 50 outfielders with more home runs and RBI, and 75 with more runs scored. If that doesn’t make you drop Kemp now I don’t know what will.

1-3B: Todd Frazier – The move to New York did little to rejuvenate the bat. Frazier hit .207 in Chicago and is batting .213 over 136 at bats since the trade. He has six home runs since the all-star break along with a paltry 19 RBI. A better than average walk rate has helped him scored 24 runs in New York, but that is about all he is good for. Even the duel-eligibility at both corners doesn’t give him an advantage like in years past.

We tolerated the lower average in the past because he was giving us 35 plus home runs. This season he will be lucky to reach 25. You would be better off with C.J. Cron, Matt Olson or Cory Spangenberg.

OF: Jose Bautista – Bautista scored runs – 82 for the season which ties him for 15 with BIlly Hamilton among outfielders.. Is that enough to warrant an 88% ownership rate on CBS and 68% on Yahoo? Not when your home run total doesn’t crack the top-35 for outfield and your RBI total doesn’t even rank in the top-50. And that batting average – his .238 so far in September is just the second month it has been above .200. I don’t know about you, but my team doesn’t need run support that bad. A .156 post-all star average is the icing on the cake.

*****

If you still own any of the above players and somehow managed to make it to the playoffs or are near the top of the standings in your roto league, congratulations on your good fortune. Now do yourself a favor and drop these players for some much-needed depth or streamer options to help give your team that final push towards championship gold.

 

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Jim Finch
The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball. You can also find me at FanRagSports.com
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