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The Cut List (Week 4) - Time to Let Go?

The season is about one-quarter over for the luckiest teams, who have played up to 14 games out of 60. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have played all of five. If only you could have known beforehand which teams would be asymmetrically affected by the current health situation.

But while we're dealing with small samples, they represent a significant portion of the season. The longer you hold onto a stale asset, the more it will hurt, even if you go just a week too long with them. So while it remains difficult to make decisions on what 2020 has shown so far, it still must be tried.

Usual reminders: Stats thru August 6. Recommendations are for mixed leagues -- redraft, unless otherwise noted, as keeper leagues have their own rules. Recommendations in one league size obviously apply to smaller leagues. You can also feel free to drop a shallower suggestion in a deeper league, but the dividing line is generally there for a reason. And, as usual, you can find ideas on how to replace your cut candidates at the Waiver Wire Pickups List/App.

Be sure to check all of our preseason fantasy baseball rankings for Roto, Points, H2H, dynasty, best ball, prospects and more:

 

10-Team Cut Candidates - Shallow Leagues

Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

Benintendi has the third-worst batting average in baseball this season among players with 20 or more at-bats, hitting 2-for-29 for a .069 average. It continues a downward trend for Benintendi, who declined significantly in all five fantasy statistics from 2018 to 2019. Now from 2019 to 2020, he's lost exit velocity (89.1 down to 83.8) and hard-hit percentage (37.8 down to 22.2). His walk rate provides some good news, but outfielders are plentiful, and until Benintendi shows signs of figuring things out, you can probably find a better one on the wire.

Miguel Sano (3B, MIN)

Sano is mainly rostered for homers, and he's producing in his main stat with three so far. Likewise, he has always been a batting average drain. This year has been no exception, and in fact worse than usual: 5-for-34 with 17 strikeouts. Despite the K's, he usually walks about one time in 10; this season, he has one total. That K-BB ratio shows a hitter who isn't seeing the ball very well despite the occasional connection.

Sano's .183 expected batting average by Statcast is in line with the .175 he posted when scuffling through 2018. Maybe you can swing a trade with a HR-desperate league-mate, but if not, batting average league teams don't really have the luxury of a Sano unless they really compensate elsewhere in the lineup.

Mike Minor (SP, TEX)

At 4.60, Minor's xFIP last year was a full run higher than his 3.59 ERA. So far this year he's actually improved the xFIP, which stands at 4.38 through three starts. But the results, no wins and a 6.89 ERA, have disappeared. One thing this indicates is the difficulty pitchers have in outrunning their xFIP over an extended period of time. If Minor is a true-talent 4.50 ERA pitcher--his 4.58 xFIP in 2018 is also consistent with this--that is difficult to use in shallow leagues, and the evidence of his career with the Rangers points to an ERA in something of that range despite good luck prior to 2020.

 

12-Team Cut Candidates - Deeper Leagues

Jean Segura (SS, PHI)

Segura has been a questionable fantasy player for more than just this season. After hitting .304 with 20 steals in 2018, he fell to .280 with 10 steals in 2019. So far in 2020, in just 24 at-bats he is hitting .182 without a steal. The at-bats are low because Philadelphia has missed so much time from coronavirus postponements. Even though they're playing again, those postponements may have affected hitting rhythm.

Segura does appear to be trying to stem the tide of his decline with an average launch angle so far of 19.9 degrees. His hard-hit percentage has also improved. On the downside, he has no barrels and an expected batting average of just .265. It's going to take time if the new approach succeeds, and he's never been the type of hitter who screamed out for hitting fly balls.

Edwin Encarnacion (1B, CHW)

The quality of Encarnacion's contact in early 2020 has been brutal. Here's someone who consistently averages 90 mph of exit velocity but is stuck at 80.1 mph so far this season. A .207 expected slugging percentage is particularly painful for someone known for his blasts.

Also painful: Encarnacion a shoulder injury, a possible excuse/explanation. If the team seemed prepared to put him on the IL, you could possibly stash him there and hope the rest helped. He's now missed four of five games and remains on the active roster, however. And at 37 years old, getting banged up is part of the deal now. As a 1B-only in terms of fantasy eligibility, there is little going for Encarnacion in 2020.

Tyler Chatwood (SP, CHC)

Chatwood became a popular acquisition after fanning 11 Pirates on August 1. He "rewarded" fantasy managers with a 30.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings against the Royals in his next start. The good news was a 4-0 K-BB ratio.

Chatwood's story with the Cubs was a horrible 2018 of mostly starting followed by a more successful 2019 coming mostly out of the bullpen. If nothing else, the early 2020 returns show someone who resolved major control issues in '18: 95 walks in 103 2/3 innings. That said, Chatwood remains a complete wild card as a member of a starting rotation. With Cleveland up next, it may be wise to take a break.

P.S.: Matthew Boyd hasn't made his Friday start as of this writing. If it goes badly against the Pirates right after struggles with the Royals, take a close look at his place on your roster too.

 

14-Team Cut Candidates - Deep Leagues

Enrique Hernandez (IF/OF, LAD)

It's a matter of opportunity. Hernandez has only started about half L.A.'s games this year and when he does start, he is in the bottom third of the order. Not only that, Hernandez has hit poorly this season (.262/.279/.357). Usually in the upper 80's in exit velocity, he is at 84 mph so far this season, and his expected batting average is even weaker than .262 at just .190. The Dodgers have younger more exciting players who should get more time and better performances going forward.

Nomar Mazara (OF, CHW)

Mazara has only hit 12 times so far this season, which only began for him on August 3. In just his fourth game and third start, he got hit by a pitch and is now out of the August 7 lineup. It's difficult to use Mazara's 12 PA of a 71.7 mph exit velocity against him, or that he's only hit one baseball hard this season. But given that he lost so much time early in the season and now faces another impediment to playing time, it may not be too soon to move on from him. What he does produce even in the best of times has been middling at best.

Sean Doolittle (RP, WAS) and Hansel Robles (RP, LAA)

It usually becomes obvious when a relief pitcher is worth dropping. Doolittle lost his closing job sometime last season and has done nothing to get it back in 2020, with two of his performances this year out of three being underwhelming. Robles had saves to start the year, but didn't get the last save chance and is now likely on his way out according to Joe Maddon.



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