MLB: One Man's Trash... (Week 18)

MLB: One Man's Trash... (Week 18)

During the season, I'm going to look at some of the players being dropped by fantasy managers to see if their decisions were a little rash. Some of the players dropped will provide fantasy value going forward. Someone who will remain nameless decided it was a good idea to drop Robbie Ray and Tyler O'Neill last year in the first couple of weeks.

The players I'm looking at this week are a mix of immediate adds and those who are just a tweak or two away from taking a step forward.

For the information, I'm going to focus on players dropped at the NFBC and CBS. Both Yahoo and Fantrax's add and drop numbers are based on the past day or so and can be dominated by streaming starters. CBS and NFBC are based on the past week. 

As a general rule, I will stay away from injured players and just focus on players expected to play.

Batters

Christopher Morel (83 NFBC Drops, -8% at CBS)

Morel's fantasy value has been taking a nosedive over the last month or so. He's been struggling as the season has gone on with his OPS dropping each month.

Month: OPS

  • May: .878
  • Jun: .815
  • Jul: .724
  • Aug: .647

His plate discipline has just eroded, with his strikeouts up and walks down. 

The team has also noticed his struggles and he's only started in six of the last 10 games as of this writing. Low production and limited playing time have pushed him

During the season, I'm going to look at some of the players being dropped by fantasy managers to see if their decisions were a little rash. Some of the players dropped will provide fantasy value going forward. Someone who will remain nameless decided it was a good idea to drop Robbie Ray and Tyler O'Neill last year in the first couple of weeks.

The players I'm looking at this week are a mix of immediate adds and those who are just a tweak or two away from taking a step forward.

For the information, I'm going to focus on players dropped at the NFBC and CBS. Both Yahoo and Fantrax's add and drop numbers are based on the past day or so and can be dominated by streaming starters. CBS and NFBC are based on the past week. 

As a general rule, I will stay away from injured players and just focus on players expected to play.

Batters

Christopher Morel (83 NFBC Drops, -8% at CBS)

Morel's fantasy value has been taking a nosedive over the last month or so. He's been struggling as the season has gone on with his OPS dropping each month.

Month: OPS

  • May: .878
  • Jun: .815
  • Jul: .724
  • Aug: .647

His plate discipline has just eroded, with his strikeouts up and walks down. 

The team has also noticed his struggles and he's only started in six of the last 10 games as of this writing. Low production and limited playing time have pushed him to the waiver wire.

Nelson Cruz (64 NFBC Drops, -7% at CBS)

I moved on from Cruz about a month ago. After struggling in April (.479 OPS), he was performing fine in May until June 9 when he missed some time because of a back injury.  He's been a replacement-level hitter since the injury.

Time Frame: OPS, ISO

  • May 1 to June 9: .856, .145 
  • Since June 9: .628, .102 

One of the root causes for the lack of power is a 52% groundball rate, with his career rate at 42%. Age and injuries may have finally caught up with the 42-year-old.

Aaron Hicks (52 NFBC Drops, -4% at CBS)

Hicks has been a disappointment this season (.222/.346/.313 with six homers and nine steals), but I know in some leagues, he was one of the better available outfield options. 

His production has jumped around as seen by his monthly OPS:

Month: OP

  • Apr: .794
  • May: .394
  • Jun: .719
  • Jul: .890
  • Aug: .379

For managers who ride cold and hot streaks, I can see why they moved on this August. 

As for playing time, he's starting almost every day with Giancarlo Stanton (Achilles) on the IL. Of the Yankees' last 16 games, Hicks has started in 15 of them.

Hicks might be one of those players who is rosterable in 15-team leagues but not in 12-teamers. 

Joey Wendle (49 NFBC Drops, -2% at CBS)

Wendle has never been a fantasy target but is more of a hitter managers settle for as a weekly replacement until they roster someone better. He's not hit much this year (.257/.303/.348), but he does have seven steals in 228 plate appearances.  Part of Wendle's draw is that he's qualified at second, shortstop and third base. 

I wanted to look at his NFBC add and drop numbers since coming off the IL in early July.

FAAB date: Adds, Drops

  • July 3: 84, 3
  • July 10: 28, 18
  • July 17: 33, 18
  • July 24: 113, 2
  • July 31: 39, 20
  • Aug. 7: 8, 49

He has seen both adds and drops, but the adds have outnumbered the drops until this past week. It was time for a market correction, especially with the trade deadline taking everyone's attention. 

Starters

Ross Stripling (144 NFBC Drops, -6% at CBS)

Usually, I don't cover injured players, but Stripling seemed like someone people would hold onto considering the lack of quality available starting pitching. As a starter, Stripling has a 3.01 ERA (3.59 xFIP), 7.0 K/9 and 1.05 WHIP. His 16.5 percent K-BB% ranks 51st among starters with at least 70 innings. The key for his turnaround is getting his walk rate under two (1.6 BB/9) and his groundball rate up (47%) It's not ace-level stuff, but he's rosterable in all formats. 

His hip injury was not expected to keep him out too long and he's already on a rehab assignment. 

To me, some of these drops might have been an overreaction. One possible explanation is that he was just a casualty of the busy week of bidding. I expect all these shares to be picked up next week. 

JT Brubaker (46 NFBC Drops, -2% at CBS)

I've streamed Brubaker this season depending on the opponent and was surprised to see him dropped with Arizona on the docket next. 

He has struggled over his last three starters with a 7.53 ERA and 2.23 WHIP. The deal is that he had a .520 BABIP and just a 3.25 xFIP during that stretch. On the season, a .344 BABIP is fueling a 1.52 WHIP and 4.49 ERA, with his ERA estimators right around 4.00. 

There are two ways Brubaker is getting himself into trouble. First, he allows way too many walks with a 3.7 BB/9 this season (career 3.2 BB/9). Even if he didn't have the high BABIP, the walks would likely push his WHIP into the unrosterable zone

The next issue is that he might run a higher-than-normal BABIP because his pitches don't generate many groundballs or popups. The league groundball rate is 42%. He's at 43%. Only two of his pitches generate any weak contact – his four-seamer (29% GB%) and changeup (24% GB%). They are also his least thrown pitches (7% and 6%).

He's far from perfect, but I think it was worth a chance to see how he performs against Arizona.

Nick Pivetta (36 NFBC Drops, -3% at CBS)

Pivetta hasn't been rosterable for over a month. With Pivetta, his struggles always come back to the walks he allows. After a nightmarish April (7.2 BB/9), he kept the walks under control until late June. From May 1 to June 24, he had a 0.84 BB/9 and 2.23 ERA. Most of that was legit with a 3.20 xFIP to match.

Since that point, he has had a 4.0 BB/9 and 7.24 ERA (4.72 xFIP). There are no obvious red flags (e.g. velo drop, pitch mix change, Zone% drop) that point to why he's again struggling with walks (career 3.5 BB/9). 

It's just tough to know when he might have the walks under control or they will come back to bite him. I just find Pivetta frustrating and try to stay away from rostering him. 

Relievers

Seranthony Dominguez (82 NFBC Drops, +2% at CBS)

I expect all these shares to get gobbled up next week. I think his managers expected recently acquired David Robertson to get most of the save chances, especially after get Robertson got a save in his first appearance with the Phillies. Over the last few days, Dominguez has gotten a couple of saves. Right now, it looks like a shared situation, with Dominguez having a slight lead.

Talent-wise, Dominguez has been lights out this year with a 1.52 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 11.1 K/9 while getting five wins and eight saves. That'll play.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Zimmerman
Zimmerman writes analytics-focused baseball and football articles for RotoWire. He is a three-time FSWA award winner, including the Football Writer of the Year and Best Football Print Article awards in 2016. The 2017 Tout Wars Mixed Auction champion and 2016 Tout Wars Head-to-Head champ, Zimmerman also contributes to FanGraphs.com, BaseballHQ and Baseball America.
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