MLB: One Man's Trash... (Week 6)

MLB: One Man's Trash... (Week 6)

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 brash. Especially this early in the season with player evaluations up in the air, 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.

Hitters

Edward Olivares (178 NFBC drops, -5% at CBS)

Coming into this weekend's FAAB run, there seemed to be an abnormal number of players not playing, so Olivares was a reasonable cut. There is just no way to roster him since he's out six weeks with a quadriceps injury.

Between Triple-A and the majors last season, he hit 20 homers and stole 14 bases. In 38 MLB PA this year, he had a .907 OPS with two steals. While

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 brash. Especially this early in the season with player evaluations up in the air, 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.

Hitters

Edward Olivares (178 NFBC drops, -5% at CBS)

Coming into this weekend's FAAB run, there seemed to be an abnormal number of players not playing, so Olivares was a reasonable cut. There is just no way to roster him since he's out six weeks with a quadriceps injury.

Between Triple-A and the majors last season, he hit 20 homers and stole 14 bases. In 38 MLB PA this year, he had a .907 OPS with two steals. While he didn't get a chance to prove himself in the majors last year, he was getting full-time at-bats right before going on the IL.

His overall profile – especially the steals – will be a nice late-season addition. 

Taylor Walls (84 NFBC drops, -1% at CBS)

I've rostered Walls a few times so far this season for the steals (5) and third-base eligibility. Otherwise, he's been a complete black hole as a fantasy hitter (.174/.290/.267). A 29.8% strikeout rate. Sub-.100 ISO (.093). In 104 PA, he accumulated just three RBI. Additionally, he's a little frustrating to roster since he's only started three-quarters of the time (27 of 36 games). 

He's so tough to evaluate. With stolen bases at a premium, it feels like he can't be ignored, but he must be. The batting average is such a drain and he doesn't have a noticeable platoon split to exploit. The stolen bases aren't worth the headache. 

Nicky Lopez (78 NFBC drops, -4% at CBS)

Lopez probably won several fantasy managers their leagues last season with his 14 second-half steals while being a net positive in batting average (.300). The success from last season has not extended into 2022. Almost all the struggles have come so far in May.

It's a lot of individual small declines that have his overall game down. His strikeout rate is up three percentage points as of this writing. His groundball rate is up two percentage points. The Statcast HardHit% is down from 27% to around 21%. His sprint speed is down. It's almost like he's hiding an injury.

It's definitely time to move on from him, but he struggled to start the season last year (.626 OPS on May 31). He hit .326/.384/.403 over the rest of the season. Just check in every once in while to see if he's warmed up and enjoy that hot stretch. 

Nathaniel Lowe (66 NFBC drops, -11%)

I had no idea how much Lowe was struggling. I determined I need 25-30 homers from my first base/corner spot during drafts, so I never rostered Lowe. So far this season, he's hitting .236/.287/.315 with two homers. Not good. 

His struggles center around him hacking at everything. His Swing% is up five percentage points. The percentage is the same for pitches in and out of the strike zone. At the same time, he has been able to maintain a constant Contact%. 

This hack-at-everything approach has his walk rate down from 12.5% to 6.6%. His ISO is down to .058. Not good.

I'd hope there would be a better option at first base than Lowe available in your league. Some first basemen available in 50% or more NFBC Online Championship leagues (12 team leagues) who I'd roster over Lowe: 

Even Miguel Cabrera is more enticing. Move on past Lowe.

Starters

Glenn Otto (146 NFBC drops, -3% at CBS)

I hate to see Otto being dropped, but he's forcing his fantasy managers' hands. All of his struggles (6.38 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 7.9 K/9) come down to him not finding the strike zone. 

His Zone% has dropped from 59% last season to just 46% this year. Since he can't find the plate, his strikeouts are down (10.8 K/9 to 7.9 K/9) and walks are up (3.1 BB/9 to 4.9 BB/9). 

The strike zone issues just started in his last two starts. In his first two, he had a 51% Zone% and a 19% K-BB%. In the last two starts, it's a 41% Zone% and a -2 K%-BB%. 

He's been messing with his pitch mix during that time. Here the percentages thrown in his first and last start. Included are each pitch's Zone%

Pitch: Usage change, Zone%

  • Four-seam: 43% to 18%, 60%
  • Sinker: 0% to 32%, 37%
  • Change: 7% to 17%, 37%
  • Slider: 28% to 25%, 45%
  • Curve: 23% to 9%, 35%

Currently, the four-seamer is the only pitch he can throw for strikes. He's got to have a combination that'll work, he just hasn't found it yet. Possibly just four-seam, slider, change. Stay tuned.

Nick Martinez (99 NFBC drops, -5% at CBS)

Martinez was having an OK season (3.38 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 1.43 WHIP) until his last start (5 ER in 4 IP). His walks (4.4 BB/9 on the season) finally caught up with him even though he struck out a season-high eight batters.

Like with Otto, Martinez's pitch mix is all over the place. In his last start, he leaned into his changeup (26% Swstr%) and curve (73% GB%) more. Besides the change, everything is getting hit around, especially the cutter (1.100 vsOPS) and four-seamer (1.290 vsOPS).

Like with Otto, I think some pitch combination should work. His changeup is one of the few best in the game. He could lean on it with a couple of pitches that can be thrown for strikes.

Tanner Houck (73 NFBC drops, -6% at CBS)

Houck's usage (long reliever or starter) and results have been all over the place. He's been a disappointment compared to last season with his strikeouts down and walks up.

On the surface, nothing has changed. He's throwing his fastball harder and at the same rate as last season. He throwing as many pitches in the zone. 

Digging a little deeper, his first-pitch strike rate is down from 61% to 53%. Additionally, he's not generating as many swings-and-misses (13.4 SwStr% to 10.0% SwStr%). 

He's taken a major step backward and the only obvious answer seems to be to throw more first-pitch strikes. 

Reliever

Josh Staumont (99 NFBC drops, -4% at CBS)

For a while, Staumont looked to at least have a share of the Royals' closer role when he got two saves in late April. Since then, he hasn't got one save and has blown two save chances.

For the season, he's been OK. The 97 mph fastball and 12.6 K/9 are a nice foundation. His only issue is a 4.0 BB/9. It's tough to believe in a closer who walks a batter every other inning. His groundball rate is just 17.9%, meaning about every ball in play is in the air – a potential home run or line-drive extra-base hit. 

Currently, he has little fantasy value, but if Scott Barlow happens to lose his job as the closer, it will likely be Staumont who steps in. 

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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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