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The Cut List - Time to Let Go? Week 1

Lance Lynn - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

Welcome back for a new season of The Cut List. This is our weekly article looking at players who fantasy managers might be considering cutting from their teams and struggling players who need a closer look. We'll look at players who are worthy of a drop, players who are worth monitoring for replacing, and someone on the hot seat who is worth holding on to... for now.

Before you read on, I am in no way advocating dropping a player after two games of the season based on performance. If someone goes 0-for-8 to start the season, don't panic and drop him. At this embryonic stage of the season, we'll check in on some injured players and highlight some largely rostered players who might be on the bench more than the field based on early trends. That still doesn't necessarily mean you drop them, just something we need to monitor during the early stages of the season.

As the season progresses, there will be stronger cases to drop underperforming players. But for now, just sit back, enjoy the fact baseball is back and just make sure your watch list is as well-stocked as your beer fridge. And as per last year, if there's ever someone you want me to take a look at, drop their name on Reddit or reach out to me at Twitter (@Baseball_Jimbo) and maybe you'll see them included next week. All rostered percentages are taken from Yahoo! Fantasy.

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Injured Players

We won't cover every single player who is injured as that is a huge article in itself. We'll just run through some players who have picked up an injury recently or those someone has asked about in the last 10 days.

Lance Lynn - SP, Chicago White Sox - 97% rostered

Lynn is set to miss six to eight weeks following surgery to repair a knee tendon. Four weeks is the recovery time and then he'll need to build himself back up to mound work. Even if he misses April and May, Lynn should still be able to top 100.0 IP this year (barring any setbacks).

Lynn was being drafted as an SP2 prior to the injury and there are no reasons to believe he won't be that from June onward. As frustrating as the injury is if you drafted him in fantasy, he's not someone I'd be considering cutting from my team.

Yoan Moncada - 3B, Chicago White Sox - 88% rostered

Moncada hit the IL just before Opening Day due to an oblique strain. White Sox GM Rick Hahn said he's expected to miss three weeks, which is good news for Moncada and fantasy managers given how oblique strains can sideline players for much longer.

Given that news, there's no reason to drop Moncada if you drafted him and providing he experiences no setbacks in his recovery, an early May return is on the cards. The White Sox should put up plenty of runs and RBI regardless of where he hits in the lineup.

Luis Urias - 2B/3B/SS, Milwaukee Brewers - 50% rostered

Urias suffered a quad strain in Spring Training which has seen him start the season on the IL. It's unclear if he'll return to the Brewers after the minimum ten days or whether he'll need to miss any longer. But there hasn't been any news suggesting he's going to miss an extended period of time.

I was high on Urias this season and surprised he's still only on 50% of Yahoo rosters. He had a breakout campaign in 2021 with 23 homers in 150 games and I see no reason he can't repeat that this year if he's only missing a couple of weeks. If you drafted him, keep Urias on your roster and I'd be checking waivers and putting in a claim as a nice stash if he's available in your league.

Josh Rojas - 2B/3B/SS, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks - 24% rostered

Like Moncada, Rojas has an oblique strain that has sent him to the IL. The Diamondbacks have stated Rojas is set to miss "weeks not days". How many weeks? We don't know but it sounds somewhat ominous and I don't believe we see Rojas until mid-May at the earliest.

His multi-position eligibility is useful in fantasy and if you have empty IL spots with no one else to use them on, by all means, keep Rojas on your roster. If you're in shallower leagues and don't have an empty IL spot for him, he can be cut.

Alex Reyes - RP, St. Louis Cardinals - 19% rostered

Reyes is set to miss 2-3 months with a shoulder injury and despite recording 29 saves for the Cardinals in 2021, he lost the role late in the season. With a career 15.5% BB%, Reyes will probably have difficulty winning the job back.

In deeper leagues of leagues counting holds, Reyes can be stashed on your IL if you have space but he's not someone I'm counting on to contribute and with only 72.2 IP in the five years prior to 2021, health concerns were already prevalent before this latest injury.

 

Playing Time Concerns

This is a quick look at some significantly rostered players who don't appear to have a clear route to regular playing time if the opening days of the season are anything to go by.

Gleyber Torres - 2B/SS, New York Yankees - 83% rostered

Torres was the odd-man-out in the Yankees infield for their delayed Opening Day game on Friday. He pinch-hit and tied the game with a sac-fly then started at second base on Saturday. Aaron Boone said after Torres sat out Friday he could play the next five games so it sounds as though the lineup will be quite fluid moving forward.

Torres should see enough playing time to warrant rostering in fantasy and one injury to another infielder should see him resort to an everyday role. In daily lineup leagues, I'd suggest having an alternative option to Torres to fill in the games he misses. In deeper leagues and weekly roster moves, monitor his playing time closely.

Jonathan Villar - 2B/3B/SS, Chicago Cubs - 55% rostered

Villar didn't start on Opening Day when the Cubs faced the current NL Cy Young, Corbin Burnes. He was then scheduled to start Friday's game at shortstop against Brandon Woodruff, before the game was postponed due to rain. He then failed to make the starting lineup on Saturday when Woodruff took the mound.

It seems as though Villar is the utility infielder who will rotate into the lineup when someone is rested, hurt etc. That will cap his fantasy value considerably. In shallower leagues where his multi-position eligibility isn't as useful, I'd be watching next week's lineups closely and begin to make plans for replacing Villar on your fantasy rosters.

Andrew Vaughn - 1B/OF, Chicago White Sox - 39% rostered

Vaughn started Opening Day as the designated hitter and homered for the White Sox, when they faced off against left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez. He was then benched the following day for Gavin Sheets as the White Sox faced Casey Mize (right-handed pitcher).

AJ Pollock started the first two games in right field, but left Saturday's game with a tight hamstring and was replaced by Vaughn. On the face of it, the White Sox appear to prefer the righty versus lefty and lefty versus righty matchup at the DH spot. If Pollock misses some time with an injury, I expect Vaughn to get the bulk of starts (he went 1-for-2 with an RBI after entering the game).

This is a situation to keep an eye on. If Vaughn does replace Pollock for any extended period, he vaults into relevance in shallower leagues. I do like Vaughn to have a good year so won't be advocating dropping him anytime soon. But if the platoon at the DH persists and Pollock avoids an IL-stint, Vaughn could find himself on this list again.

Alec Bohm - 3B, Philadelphia Phillies - 24% rostered

Speaking of platoons, we appear to have another one in Philadelphia at third base. Bryson Stott got the start there against right-handed pitcher Frankie Montas before Alec Bohm took over the role against left-handed Cole Irvin on Saturday.

Stott can also play shortstop so might replace Didi Gregorius occasionally, leaving third base open for Alec Bohm but out of the gate, this is looking like a straight platoon between the two. Stott went 2-for-4 on debut with a run and RBI while Bohm went 2-for-2 with a walk before being swapped out for Johan Camargo in a defensive switch.

In shallow leagues, Bohm is droppable as the short-side of the platoon and his struggles last year (which saw Bohm demoted) still linger in the memory.

Diego Castillo - 2B/3B, Pittsburgh Pirates - 24% rostered

Castillo received some late Spring helium in drafts but has started the Pirates opening two games on the bench. Ke'Bryan Hayes left their first game with a wrist issue and was replaced by Castillo. But Hayes promptly returned on Saturday and it appears Castillo is just the back-up infielder.

In deeper leagues, he could be worth a stash to see how things play out as the Pirates offense leaves a lot to be desired. But in shallower leagues, there should be plenty of better options than a low-scoring teams' backup infielder.

 

Early Closer Concerns

We close out this week (pun intended) by looking at some relievers who were drafted with the expectation they would see plenty of saves, but their early-season usage suggests otherwise.

Blake Treinen - RP, Los Angeles Dodgers - 78% rostered

Treinen was expected to be the Dodgers closer and was being drafted as a top-10 reliever in fantasy drafts. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced late in Spring that the closer role would be fluid, and then they promptly traded for Craig Kimbrel.

Treinen still has some value due to his high strikeouts (29.7 % K% in 2021) and a repeat of his 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP from 72.1 IP can help your ratios. But outside of deep leagues or those counting holds, Treinen's fantasy value appears to have been capped before we've even got going.

Robert Suarez - RP, San Diego Padres - 50% rostered

With Opening Day looming, the Padres traded for Taylor Rogers and he's been confirmed as the Padres closer. Friday saw Rogers pick up his first save as a Padres player, closing out a 3-0 win with a 1-2-3 inning (one strikeout). The night before, it was a completely different story for San Diego.

Suarez was tasked with closing out the ninth with a 2-0 lead, but left the game without recording an out and with the bases loaded following two walks and a hit batter. Seth Beer ended the game with a walk-off homer off of Craig Stammen. Suarez doesn't hold any fantasy value outside of holds leagues and he'll need to have much improved outings to maintain any high-leverage role.

Paul Sewald - RP, Seattle Mariners - 49% rostered

It's been unclear who would be the Mariners closer this season. Diego Castillo and Drew Steckenrider both figured to feature alongside Sewald while Ken Giles is also expected to feature when he returns from injury.

The first look at their usage saw Sewald pitch in the eighth inning with Steckenrider getting the ninth. The following day saw Castillo get the save after the Mariners took the lead in the ninth inning. All three pitched scoreless innings.

Sewald was tasked with the top of the Twins order so there's a chance things will be fluid and matchup dependent. I wouldn't be dropping Sewald just yet but I'd be keeping a close eye on this bullpen over the next week and if the Mariners continue with Sewald setting up Steckenrider, he can be dropped in non-hold leagues.

Collin McHugh - RP, Atlanta Braves - 21% rostered

McHugh was in the mix for saves when the Braves signed him this offseason until the Braves also signed Kenley Jansen. McHugh excelled for the Rays last year, putting up a 1.55 ERA in 64.0 IP. He debuted for the Braves on Opening Day, coming in for starter Max Fried in the sixth inning.

The Braves trailed 3-1 when McHugh came into the game with two runners on base. He promptly gave up a three-run homer to Brandon Drury, before giving up a single and then ending the inning with a strikeout.

The fact the Braves turned to McHugh as the first reliever out of the pen in a game they trailed doesn't bode well for McHugh's fantasy value. Jansen had a shaky debut, allowing three runs in the ninth inning on Friday with a four-run lead, but he appears locked in as the Braves closer, with Tyler Matzek and Will Smith both more than capable understudies.

Rowan Wick - RP, Chicago Cubs - 12% rostered

The Cubs turned to Wick on Opening Day to start the eighth inning with a two-run lead. He gave up a single, a double and a sac fly before the Cubs brought in Mychal Givens to get the final out of the inning. They then went to veteran David Robertson for the save in the ninth, which he nailed down.

If you read my Bold Predictions piece, you'll have seen I predicted Robertson would be the Cubs closer and providing he stays healthy, it looks like he will be. Wick is only worthy of a roster spot in leagues counting holds.

 

The Reddit Requests

Obviously, there are no Reddit requests this week so just a reminder to head over there each Sunday afternoon where I'll be answering any questions and taking requests for names you want to be included the following week.



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