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6 Players to Give Up On (2019 Fantasy Baseball)

Jun 19, 2019

Is it time to cut bait with a future Hall of Famer?

Sometimes it’s hard not to be loyal to players, especially when it comes to former fantasy MVPs that lead your previous teams to glory. We’ve all done it, hang on to that player too long and sacrifice the hot new waiver adds. Of course, if you’ve been playing fantasy baseball long enough you’ve probably been burned by a slow starter that turned it on after being cut from your roster.

So, when is it time to give up on players? That is a very tricky question in fantasy baseball, but we’re here to help. We’ve asked our writers to identify players they are ready to move on from.

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Which disappointing player are you ready to give up on?

Joey Votto (1B – CIN)
Votto is a future Hall of Famer, I fully believe that. However, he’s 35 years old and his bat speed appears to be declining. His average exit velocity is sitting at 87.1 MPH which would be a five-year low. He’s never been a hitter with elite Statcast metrics but what has me even more concerned is average exit velocity on line drive and fly balls (LD/FB EV) which is just 89.5 MPH. That ranks 229th out of 257 hitters with at least 100 batted balls. Even during last year’s disappointing season he managed 92.5 MPH on LD/FB. In addition to his declining quality of contact, he’s at an all-time high in terms of strikeout rate (23%) and his 11.5% walk rate is the lowest it’s been since 2008! I wouldn’t recommend dropping him in 12-team and deeper leagues but don’t expect a return on your investment from Votto. He was drafted just inside of 70 overall but might struggle to finish inside the top 200.
– Max Freeze (@FreezeStats)

I own this guy in more leagues than I’d like to admit, and it just kills me to say this. The simple fact is, this dude doesn’t have it anymore. While the power has been gone for a couple of years now, the plate discipline is starting to fall apart too. That’s a recipe for disaster and one has to wonder if he’s fully healthy. I don’t need to go over the stats because Max did a brilliant job of explaining why the downfall has been so prominent. Votto is currently owned in over 80 percent of leagues and that’s hard to understand considering you can find his production off of any waiver wire.
– Joel Bartilotta (@Bartilottajoel)

Aaron Hicks (OF – NYY)
Hicks is batting a paltry .211 through his first 105 PAs since returning from injury. His ISO sits at just .167 in spite of a solid 10.6% barrel rate. One major factor has been that he’s not seeing a lot of pitches in the zone, but he’s also chasing more than usual as a result. Perhaps the addition of the monster power bats of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will help get him more pitches to hit, but he currently carries a 24% K rate and that’s not promising. He’s simply not doing enough with the pitches he’s getting, and he’s barely running either with just two stolen base attempts thus far. Selling low may be your only option.
– Josh Dalley (@JoshDalley72)

Travis Shaw (2B/3B – MIL)
Shaw’s struggles this season have been well documented. After hitting 31 home runs in 2017 and 32 home runs in 2018, he has just five through 48 games (184 plate appearances) in 2019 to go with a .176 batting average. His K% is up to 32.1%, while his BB% is down to a still respectable 12.5%. He escaped a trip to the minor leagues earlier this season by landing on the injured list, but Keston Hiura hit well after being called up and is continuing to hit well in Triple-A after being sent back down when Shaw was activated. The Brewers have already begun sitting Shaw against left-handers, and it feels like only a matter of time before Hiura rejoins the big league squad and takes over the second base job.
– Mike Maher (@MikeMaher)

Mike Foltynewicz (SP – ATL)
Foltynewicz had a breakout season in his 2018 All-Star campaign with 202 strikeouts and a 2.85 ERA. However, his BB/9 sat at 3.3, barely better than the 3.4 BB/9 he posted in 2017 when he finished with an ERA of 4.79. His swinging-strike rate only went up by 1.3 percent, so there was not much to support a 6.5-percent jump in strikeout rate. This year, he’s mostly been a disaster with a 5.53 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. The xFIP (5.04) isn’t much better. His K/9 has dropped to a middling 7.81, and he’s also giving up 43.9% hard contact, the highest rate of his career. The 20.8 HR/FB rate should come down, but that’s about the only positive working in his favor right now. Folty should be marginally better moving forward, but that’s not what you signed up for, is it?
– Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs)

Robinson Cano (2B – NYM)
Cano represents a classic ‘hot potato’ conundrum. He’s an older player with a little left in the tank, but he’s experiencing a steep drop-off this year. As fantasy owners, we do not want to be the ones holding the ‘hot potato’ when that eventual crash landing comes (see Miguel Cabrera for a similar case study). Cano, who turns 37 in October, has struck out in 19.7% of his plate appearances, which is a marked uptick from his career high of 15.9% in 2015. His slash line has suffered as a result, sitting at a meager .240/.288/.375. Also, Cano plays in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, does not steal bases, and is flashing only modest power at this point in his career (just four home runs in 191 plate appearances). To top it off, Cano’s health is clearly a question mark, as he recently returned from his second consecutive stint on the IL with a quad injury. He should continue to see regular playing time if he stays healthy (a HUGE if), but I’m ready to jump ship from a fantasy perspective and try to fill the second base position elsewhere.
– Connor Rooney (@c_rooney_)

Brian Dozier (2B – WAS)
The writing has been on the wall for Dozier over the last 15 months, as his .219/.308/.396 triple slash in 880 plate appearances since the start of 2018 is becoming too loud of a sample to ignore. Now 32 and in an era where his pull-happy ways are increasingly exposed by pitchers, Dozier’s traditional and expected Statcast batting line are not what you want from someone on your fantasy team. Moreover, the renaissance of Howie Kendrick will likely mean significantly fewer plate appearances for Dozier going forward in Washington. Despite all of this, he is still somehow owned in more than 50% of ESPN leagues. It’s time to cut bait.
– Nick Gerli (@nickgerliPL)

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