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The Cut List (Week 5) - Time to Let Go?


Welcome to the final week of cuts in which you can still be told, "It's only April." However, you will not be told that. About one-sixth the season is now complete; that's still not much in the big scheme of things, but if you wait too long, suddenly it's the All-Star Break and someone has killed half a season worth of stats for your team. Okay, there's plenty of time yet before that happens, but you get the point: it's only early for so much longer.

Stats are through Friday, April 26. As we say every week: Remember that these recommendations are for standard leagues up to 12 teams, which of course means the players can be dropped in shallower leagues than 12. However, formats like dynasty or AL/NL-only are a completely different ballgame (so to speak).

And, of course, a link to the Waiver Wire Pickup List will be provided at the end of each cut suggestion.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Week 5 Cut Candidates

Chris Taylor (2B/SS/OF, LAD)

Taylor broke out in 2017 with a .288/.354/.496 line, 21 home runs and 17 stolen bases. Last season did not go quite so well: .254/.331/.444, 17 HR, and needing 15 attempts to steal only nine bases.

So far in 2019, it's even worse. He's only attempted one steal (albeit successful) with a single home run as part of a .175/.257/.254 line. Although the steals could still come back with a 91st percentile sprint speed, Taylor is a) working on the second year of a downward trend in steals and b) not getting on base.

The worst thing about Taylor's April is that he's actually been lucky to do so well: his .235 wOBA is 12 points better than a .223 xWOBA and he's got a .244 xSLG and .151 xBA. For those scoring at home, that's third percentile, third percentile, and zeroth percentile, respectively, in the x-Stats.

Taylor is playing roughly every other day and batting seventh when he does. He need not need to stick around your fantasy team.

Suggested pickup: Josh Reddick. More on Reddick here.

 

Jose Peraza (SS, CIN)

Despite what our guy Ellis Canady has to say at the end of his recent article about cheap steals, and Peraza's ability to provide them, you should consider being the one to cut Peraza and let someone else have the steals. If you have a steals surplus, then it should be an easier decision.

For one thing, Peraza has been providing 1997 Shawon Dunston-level plate discipline in 2019: a single walk in 76 plate appearances. (Dunston walked eight times in 511 PA in '97.) Combined with the fact that his seventh-percentile .190 xBA this year is nearly 100 points lower than his .288 batting average last season, steal opportunities are going to be few and far between unless Peraza picks it up. He's 2-for-3 so far this season.

The most significant change for Peraza, however, has been his spot in the batting order. Last season, he led off 50 times and batted second in another 72 contests. So far this year, he's only batted in the top two in the order twice. With Cincinnati's addition of Yasiel Puig and Jesse Winker looking fully healthy, Peraza is going to be stuck near the bottom of the order without an injury or two. Jose Iglesias is starting to eat just a little bit into Peraza's playing time as well.

The only thing that might save Peraza is that most promising middle infielders are either more widely owned or hurt. Check your specific league's wire and be willing to aim higher.

 

Julio Teheran (SP, ATL)

Teheran has been in a bit of a fantasy purgatory for a few years now. He's almost always on the mound, starting 30+ games every year from 2013-18, and he put up a 3.03 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in the first two of those seasons, but since then has developed a home run problem. He's allowed 1.3 HR/9 from 2014 through right now, and as a result his ERA from 2014-19 is 3.98, and the WHIP 1.24.

Teheran is seeing a nice bump in K% this year so far, at 25.4% which would be a career high but his 12.0 BB% would also be a career high, slightly above the 11.6% from last year, which was well above his previous career high of 8.9% set...the year before that.

His xFIP and SIERA have gradually improved over that time frame, the former going from 4.96 to 4.72 to 4.58 while the latter has traveled from 4.89 to 4.67 to 4.55. Nonetheless, the mid-4's is still very bad. The 5.40 ERA through six starts will improve, but not by enough to justify ownership given how rough a ride it's been for Teheran from 2017 to now.

 

Jhoulys Chacin (SP, MIL)

Like Eflin's Phillies (see below), Chacin's Brewers had to demote a promising starting pitcher recently in Corbin Burnes. Chacin may still have more natural job stability than Eflin still, but has pitched even worse. The Brew Crewman has a 6.35 ERA, 6.14 FIP, 5.35 xFIP, 5.19 SIERA, 8.2 K-BB%, and 2.22 HR/9 through six 2019 starts. He's only made it 28 1/3 innings in those starts, less than five per contest. His never-impressive velocity is down to 89.5 mph this year from 90.1 last year and 91.4 the year before that. There are no readily apparent positive signs, and with Gio Gonzalez and Jimmy Nelson looming, the rotation could get crowded even without Burnes.

Chacin's 15 wins last season and his status as the opening day starter led some to draft him as more than a streamer, and he is still rostered in several leagues. He need not be and there is no reason to wait until he loses his job to cut loose.

Suggested SP pickups: Luke Weaver, Vince Velasquez, Mike Soroka. More on Weaver here, Velasquez here, and Soroka here.

 

The Watch-Out List

Jesus Aguilar (1B, MIL)

Normally, it would still be a little too early to punt on someone who hit 35 home runs last season. However, now that the Brewers have all but given up on Aguilar, you can consider doing the same. Aguilar has not started a game since April 21.

His .191 wOBA is a bit unlucky given a .284 xwOBA, but that latter mark is still bad (21st percentile), and 90 points short of Aguilar's .360 wOBA last season. Even the fact that his wOBA from 35 homers was .360 demonstrates that when Aguilar isn't hitting for power, he's useless on offense. And despite a league-average exit velocity (49th percentile), Aguilar has only a 17th-percentile expected slugging rate. So the zero homers is no result of terribly bad luck.

If you're still on the fence about cutting last year's fifth-leading NL home run hitter, the key is playing time. If the Brewers continue to sit Aguilar for long stretches like they did this past week, you'll have no choice but to cut loose.

 

Jurickson Profar (1B/2B/3B/SS, OAK)

Every week, someone on Reddit asks if they can cut Jurickson Profar. Of course you can, but should you?

The answer is: maybe. Probably.

The positional flexibility of Profar is nice, but that's about it. The story could have been different had Texas hung on to him, but by sending him to Oakland's much worse hitter's park, the Rangers threatened to doom Profar's fantasy value, and so far it is turning out that way. Although Profar hit nine road home runs last year vs. 11 at home, a respectable split, at home he hit .271/.362/.511 compared to .237/.307/.405 on the road. Through Friday, this year he was hitting a mere .123/.149/.185 in 17 home games compared to .250/.324/.469 and both of his home runs in just nine road games.

Profar has also lost over two mph of exit velocity, going from 87.3 mph last year to just 85.1 mph this season. His xwOBA is down from .325 to .266 while his xBA has gone from .257 to .212. He has maintained his K-rate gains, staying below 15%, but his BB% has tanked from 9.1% last year to just 4.8% this year.

It's hard to distinguish Profar from Marwin Gonzalez (.281 xwOBA, .213 xBA) right now. Both are offering little more than their ability to play multiple positions. Profar is much more widely owned, however, and thus proposes a greater dilemma. If you want to continue banking on last year's breakout, time is running out.

 

Zach Eflin (SP, PHI)

Eflin had an excellent first two starts to the season. Since then, he's been...not excellent. He allowed three home runs at the cavernous Marlins Park in his third start, and has four walks vs. five strikeouts in ten innings in his past two starts.

The overall result has been a 4.91 FIP, 4.33 xFIP, and 4.22 SIERA. Eflin is lucky that former teammate Nick Pivetta was even worse before his recent demotion, otherwise Eflin may start to get in trouble.

Last year, Eflin only managed a 4.36 ERA despite a 4.02 xFIP and 4.02 SIERA. Now, he's pitching like he deserves a 4.36 ERA (and that's giving him credit for his first two starts), and his home park can only make things more difficult. Feel free to wait until Sunday's start at home against Miami before making your final decision, but if he struggles against the anemic Marlins yet again, it's probably time for Eflin to be taken out to sea.

 

Last Week's Updates

If we kept including every past player, this section would get unwieldy. Only a select few players whose profiles have noticeably changed will be included from now on. Players from the week immediately before will all appear.

Player Last Week This Week Reasoning
Brian Dozier Drop in 12 Drop in 12 Showing signs of life but not enough, three K's Friday, overall line still .176/.265/.351
Tyler White Drop in 12 Drop in 12 Still playing rarely
Nick Pivetta Drop in standard Drop in standard Still demoted
Corbin Burnes Drop in standard Drop in standard Still demoted
Trevor May Drop in 12 Drop in 12 Still no save chances, less important than rate stats improving too early to change analysis
Amed Rosario Drop in 10 Drop in 10 No change in profile
Andrelton Simmons Drop in 10 Drop in 10 BA up to .273 (.264 xBA) and a recent 2-HR day not enough to save in shallow leagues
Jose Martinez Hold Hold Return of Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill have yet to hurt playing time
Johan Camargo Drop in 10 Drop in 12 Went from not starting April 21-24th to starting on the 25th and 26th, still scuffling (.220/.291/.360)

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