Hold or Fold: Week 4

“Hey, come on try a little, nothing is forever. There’s got to be something better than in the middle” ~ The Wallflowers “One Headlight”

It’s a hard time of year to properly evaluate your team, especially this year. If you’re like most owners, you definitely at least tried to draft some of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Matt Olson, Miguel Andujar, Daniel Murphy, Starling Marte, Trea Turner . . . you get the point. Chances are if your team is doing well so far, you’ve escaped a game-changing injury or 7. Most of us haven’t. Most of us are smack dab in the middle, trying to keep from falling too far off the pace before our guys get healthy.

So, as the Wallflowers sang, “Come on try a little, nothing is forever.” You know the drill here. Hold ’em or fold ’em. Hold means keep him if you have him, or get him if you can. Fold means cut him or stay far away.

Hold ‘Em

Hunter Dozier

The latest advanced stats darling, Dozier seems to finally be demonstrating the offensive toolset he was drafted for. How about a multiple choice question:

Hunter Dozier is:

A. Walking 14.5% of the time,
B. Striking out less than 21 % of the time
C. Pulling the ball 40% of the time
D. Hitting the ball on a line or in the air 79% of the time
E. Making soft contact less than 10% of the time
F. All of the above

The correct answer is F. Ergo, hold.

Joc Pederson

I’ve long been a fan of his skillset. I played him up in the preseason as someone who hit the ball much harder than last season’s results suggested. And now we have a Joc Pederson with 10 home runs before May 1.

His strikeout rate has fallen steadily, from 29% in 2015 to 16.7% so far this year. His walk rate is at a respectable 12.2%. He is absolutely demolishing baseballs, making hard-contact a ridiculous 53% of the time. And he’s taking advantage of that hard contact too. He’s only hitting the ball on the ground 14% of the time. He’s pulling the ball 50% of the time.

Lots of line drives and fly balls + lots of pull + lots of hard contact = hold.

Caleb Smith

When your ERA, FIP, and xFIP are all between 2 and 3, a few things are happening. 1. You are pitching really well. 2. You are not getting significantly lucky or unlucky. And 3. You should absolutely be held onto or targeted in fantasy.

Fold ‘Em

Jesus Aguilar

Ah, the delicious taste of crow. I said hold Aguilar earlier, I’m saying fold him now. We’re reaching the point where “at some point” is no longer a viable fantasy option. If he isn’t showing signs of turning it around, it’s time to find production. Aguilar remains a very large, powerful human. You drafted him to be a large, powerful human. But if the powerful part isn’t showing up, there’s nothing else there.

Cedric Mullins

The Orioles optioned Mullins out Monday. Why? Batting average. You’re not supposed to talk about batting average anymore. However, the stat still has its uses. As in “How do you use a guy who can’t muster a hit even 10% of the time?” The answer, of course, is that you don’t.

Mullins was supposed to be a low-end power/speed guy. Maybe 12-15 home runs and 15-25 steals. He is not driving the ball, as evidenced by a hard-hit rate under 20%. And he cannot steal any bases when he is not on base. As bad as he’s been, “okay” probably won’t be enough to see him come back. He is going to have to earn it. I expect he will, but it won’t be soon. Don’t wait it out or see this as a buy-low moment.

Marco Gonzales and Andrew Miller

Results and reasons are at opposite ends of the spectrum. But they both end up in the same place.

Gonzales has generated good results, but he isn’t striking out anyone. That’s a dangerous profile, as evidenced by his 4.88 xFIP. Get something for him in case it all blows up.

Miller isn’t the closer. Miller is also a mess. Unlike Gonzales, he’s still getting strikeouts. However, his 7 walks per 9 and over 4.5 home runs per 9 says FOLD in all caps.


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Seth Bias

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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.