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I’m going to be honest: I’m not loving everything I’m seeing so far this year.
You may find it hard to believe because, especially this time of year, we’re so often focused on what we like: splashy performances, risers in the rankings and, naturally, players we’re adding off the waiver wire.
But to add a player, you of course have to drop a player — one who you liked enough to draft in the first place. And while you’re probably not losing sleep over dumping that last pick or two, eventually you run out of wiggle room, particularly if you snagged, say, a Tyler White or Jerad Eickhoff who has since become a mainstay for your team.
And that’s when you kind of just have to trust your gut.
I don’t encourage gut reactions, particularly for the unseasoned Fantasy owner. Not enough time has passed this season for stats to normalize. Everything’s still kind of upside-down right now, so if you base your decisions solely on what has happened in three weeks’ time, you can do a lot more harm than good. (Read: Please don’t drop Chris Archer.)
But for players with questionable track records and questionable upside, I’m just not sure how committed I am. I’ve become disenchanted, and once I reach that point, it’s not much of a leap to swapping them out for the flavor of the week.
So in the interest of stockpiling our rosters with as much breakout potential as we can get our hands on right now, before anyone really knows how the 2016 season is going to play out, I present to you the 10 players I’m most disenchanted with — or at least the ones still owned in at least 70 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.
I want to point out that I don’t often share these sort of visceral reactions — at least not in written, easy-to-republish form — because they can only make me look bad. There’s a special brand of ne’er-do-well who likes to document every misfire and hold it over my head forevermore, and again, we’re at a point in the season where the probability of a misfire is still outrageously high. But becoming disenchanted with a player, or even outright dropping one, doesn’t mean giving up on him. These decisions don’t happen in a vacuum. I’m competing with other people who all have their own gut reactions, many of which are similar to mine, so chances are if one of these players gives me reason to consider, I’ll have a shot to get him back. Does it really matter how I felt about a player in April if he’s winning games for me in July?
A big part of playing Fantasy Baseball is making the best decision you can with the information currently available to you. Often, you’ll be able to right your wrongs when the information changes as long as you act decisively.
But again, please don’t drop Chris Archer. You’re not going to get another shot at that one.
OF / Oakland Athletics (2016 season)
|BA: .180||HR: 1||AB: 50||BB: 2||K: 21|
Truth is I wasn’t excited about Khris Davis in the first place, but, you know, I’ve been wrong before. If the price was right, I might have taken a shot on him, hoping his 20 home runs in his final 53 games last year were a sign of things to come.
So far, though, he has only confirmed my suspicions that he’s hella streaky. He’s not as good as he looked then and not as bad as he looks now, striking out 21 times in 50 at-bats. He is an all-or-nothing hitter, though, who’s only relevant when he’s hot, and his hot streaks will likely be muted now that he’s playing half his games in a pitcher’s park.
2B / St. Louis Cardinals (2016 season)
|BA: .209||XBH: 0||SB: 2||OPS: .503||AB: 43|
I had doubts about Kolten Wong’s playing time from the get-go, but in the spirit of keeping an open mind, I did wind up with him in a couple leagues only to find out it was even worse than I feared. Not only is he sitting against left-handers — two of three the Cardinals have faced so far — but he’s not playing every day against righties either, and not giving the Cardinals much reason to reconsider.
I can talk potential until I’m blue in the face, but hey, Jedd Gyorko has potential, too. If the Cardinals’ resolve is weakening, by golly, so is mine. Bring on Neil Walker and Brandon Phillips!
1B/OF / San Diego Padres (2016 season)
|BA: .273||HR: 3||AB: 66||BB: 2||K: 24|
Now, Wil Myers I did like coming into the year, so maybe the fact he has three homers should be a vindication of sorts. But I can’t deny the way I feel, and I feel underwhelmed.
Maybe it has to do with his 24 strikeouts to just two walks in 66 at-bats. Small sample size and all — I get it — but I have a hard time seeing him break out the way I envisioned if he’s that easy of an out. He’s basically aspiring to be Khris Davis right now, and I’m already disenchanted with Davis, so …
SS/OF / Texas Rangers (2016 season)
|BA: .158||HR: 1||SB: 1||OPS: .471||K: 17|
Ian Desmond was kind of a legacy pick to begin with. He was showing clear signs of decline but wasn’t far removed from being one of the elite at the weakest position in Fantasy, so why not hope for the best?
It makes it easy to dismiss him when he gets off to the kind of start he has, though. What also helps are all the intriguing shortstop options that have emerged on the waiver wire already, from Trevor Story to Eugenio Suarez to Jean Segura to Marcus Semien. If, as a Desmond owner, you snagged one of them, then Desmond is just sitting on your bench, and I’m not sure he’s promising enough to protect in that way.
I’m also thinking he’s the odd man out when Shin-Choo returns from a calf injury, because I doubt Nomar Mazara is.
OF / Kansas City Royals (2016 season)
|BA: .231||HR: 1||AB: 52||BB: 8||K: 22|
Alex Gordon is kind of like Ian Desmond in that his track record earns him some benefit of the doubt, but his value has taken a wonky turn over the last couple years. His OPS during an injury-plagued 2015 was actually his best in three years, but in terms of Head-to-Head points per game, he ranked between Nick Markakis and Cameron Maybin.
Even at his best, he wasn’t a stud, relying on lesser counting stats like doubles, walks and runs to keep him afloat, and now that one of those three (runs) is compromised by his spot in the lineup (sixth), I’m beginning to question my level of commitment. He may turn out to be a viable starter still, but I can’t see myself missing him, really.
SP / Arizona Diamondbacks (2016 season)
|ERA: 8.59||WHIP: 1.98||IP: 14 2/3||BB: 11||K: 10|
My dissatisfaction with Shelby Miller should be pretty obvious, but this is one of those cases where it’s almost good how bad he has been. This isn’t regression at work. Something is clearly wrong, and something gone wrong can be made right again.
But what exactly is Miller when he’s “right?” Surely not an ace. Only his ERA lived up to that standard last year. So why suffer through all the wrong? I mean, I ranked him fairly high to begin with, but that was in the hope that he’d build off last year’s performance with a full-fledged breakthrough. Clearly, he has done anything but, so while I wouldn’t want to say goodbye forever, I’m not feeling the need to commit either.
1B/OF / Washington Nationals (2016 season)
|BA: .256||HR: 1||2B: 3||OPS: .708||AB: 43|
Ryan Zimmerman has a history of salvaging months of misery with a late-season surge. He did it last year and in 2013, with a bunch of injuries in between. So is history repeating itself this year? I think we at least have to entertain the possibility.
And I don’t know that Brandon Belt-like production is worth the wait, especially at a position where, by now, you probably have no shortage of alternatives. Somebody in your league is going to get some use out of Zimmerman this year — that’s all but certain. But is anybody going to be excited to own him? I know I’m not.
SP / Atlanta Braves (2016 season)
|ERA: 5.64||WHIP: 1.39||IP: 22 1/3||BB: 8||K: 17|
The hope was that Julio Teheran’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 2015 would be a distant memory after he ended it with a 2.95 ERA over his final 12 starts. But here he is struggling with control and home runs again, and since he’s not a big strikeout pitcher, well, I’m not exactly sure what he’s doing to help his own cause.
He doesn’t measure up on any of the three legs of the FIP triangle, and those types of pitchers typically can’t hold down a major-league job. What I’m saying is it’s a wonder Teheran is doing as well as he is, and while I’d be reluctant to drop him since he’s just a couple years removed from being a Fantasy mainstay, I wouldn’t count on him rebounding with his average fastball velocity also on the decline.
SP / Los Angeles Dodgers (2016 season)
|ERA: 6.43||WHIP: 1.43||IP: 14||BB: 5||K: 12|
Scott Kazmir has suffered through his own drop in velocity at this early stage of the season, and he may be even less equipped to handle it than Teheran. Yeah, he one-hit the Padres over six innings in his season debut, but the Padres weren’t hitting anybody then. In two starts since, Kazmir has allowed 10 earned runs in eight innings.
And this is when he’s supposed to be at his best. His small frame has shown a tendency to wear down after 130 innings or so — it happened each of the last two years — so for you to redeem any value from him, he’ll need to turn things around soon. Since he’s not going to deliver a high number of innings or strikeouts anyway, I’m not sure he’s worth the wait.
SP / Kansas City Royals (2016 season)
|ERA: 2.81||WHIP: 1.50||IP: 16||BB: 12||K: 17|
Am I really dropping Yordano Ventura? It’s a stretch, I’ll admit. He still has tons of potential and a terrific supporting cast, and he hasn’t had an objectively bad start yet this year, which explains the ERA. But compared to how much I liked him at the start of the year, he’s just another guy on my roster right now.
It’s always two steps forward, one step back with him. He turned the corner with the strikeout rate in the second half last year, but now his efficiency issues are at their worst. If he can’t go six innings consistently, he’s not going to be able to take advantage of that supporting cast because the Royals will have to turn to their lesser bullpen options to bridge the gap.
So he’s a low-inning, high-WHIP guy with iffy win potential? What’s exciting about that?