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The Cut List - Time to Let Go? Week 19

Welcome back to 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.

If you weren't paying attention, the MLB trade deadline passed and boy, it was a wild one. Pretty much every team not named the Rockies made a significant move this week and quite a few will impact fantasy leagues this year. As a consequence, we'll be focusing on some players who might be worth cutting as a result of the trades this week. We won't focus too much on bullpens as lots of bullpens will have multiple question marks for a few days at least. We'll still be covering the most popular names from last week's Reddit thread too.

I'm a strong advocate for not making knee-jerk reactions. A bad week or two shouldn't be a reason to push the panic button and dump someone for a random player who is on the only hot streak he'll ever have in his career. Every team has played over 100 games now so we have more than enough of a sample size on most players to base our decisions on. All stats and rostered rates (taken from Yahoo!) are reflective of when this piece was written.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Worth Dropping and Replacing

Didi Gregorius - SS, Philadelphia Phillies - 46% rostered

Possibly one of the least exciting moves before the deadline saw the Phillies reunite with Freddy Galvis after trading for him from the Orioles. Given Galvis is on the IL and hitting .249/.306/.414 this year, it might seem a strange move but the Phillies are looking to improve their defense and add some infield versatility. Being on the IL means he's not an immediate threat to anyone's playing time but Gregorius looks most likely to see his starts drop when Galvis does return.

Gregorius is only hitting .202/.258/.369 with eight homers in 55 games and is on course for his worst season in the Majors. He's also got a career-high 19.8% K% and in the final year of his two-year contract, will find it difficult to get a lucrative offer this offseason. Despite his offensive struggles, it's his defensive issues that likely made the Phillies pull the trigger on acquiring Galvis.

Of the 28 shortstop eligible players who have played at least 400 innings on defense, Gregorius' 11 errors are the seventh most and given everyone above him on the list has played between 35-48 games more than him, that's a concern. Galvis has played in 72 games and made just four errors. Of those 28 shortstops, Gregorius has an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of -1.9 (24th) while Galvis has a UZR of 2.1 (ninth).

The expectation is Galvis will move around the infield a bit and be a utility player but it makes much more sense that he plays shortstop and just fills in at third or second base when they want to put Gregorius into the lineup. Given how he's performed this year at the plate and in the field, and that he'll be a free agent at season's end, Gregorius might not find himself in the lineup very often.

Verdict - The fact Galvis has outperformed Gregorius this year should tell you all you need to know. Gregorius is 6-for-43 since the All-Star Break and the Phillies traded for a player on the IL which suggests his days as a regular starter are numbered. There will likely be a better middle infielder on waivers to replace him with for your fantasy teams.

 

Gavin Lux - 2B/SS, Los Angeles Dodgers - 38% rostered

In the biggest trade of the week, the Dodgers acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Nationals. Lux is currently on the IL and is expected back around next weekend but when he does return, it's unlikely he'll see much time on the field and could even find himself sent back to Triple-A. That's because not only did the Dodgers get an All-Star shortstop on Friday, they also welcomed the return of their own World Series MVP shortstop from the IL in Corey Seager.

The expectation is Seager remains at shortstop with Turner playing second base and maybe seeing some time in center field. Either way, Lux appears to be the odd man out in the Dodgers middle-infield this year. He's not made the most of his playing time this year either as in 82 games, he's hit .227/.307/.349 with eight homers. Without an injury to Seager or Turner, it's difficult to see how Lux gets into the Dodgers lineup.

Despite his struggles at the plate, Lux maintained some fantasy relevance by scoring 39 runs and driving in 37 himself. He ranks 20th in runs and tied-28th in RBI among second basemen and tied-21st in runs and tied-13th in RBI among shortstops, giving him middle infielder relevance in deeper leagues. The dual-position eligibility also helps but all that becomes meaningless if he doesn't play more than once or twice a week the rest of the season.

Verdict - In redraft leagues, Lux can be dropped. If he's sat on your IL and you don't need the spot, you can leave him there in case something happens to Turner or Seager before Lux returns. Even then, he's not really performed well enough to warrant rostering in anything but the deepest leagues. In dynasty leagues, I'd still look to hold onto him.

 

Jonathan Villar - 2B/3B/SS, New York Mets - 32% rostered

Villar has made the most of the Mets injuries this year having played in 84 games and put together a .240/.320/.413. He's predominantly played at third base (61 games) due to J.D.Davis being injured but has most recently been playing shortstop in the absence of Francisco Lindor. Following the Mets trade of Javier Baez, that's muddied Villar's playing time moving forward.

The expectation is for Lindor to return in mid-August and until then, Baez will fill in at shortstop. When Lindor returns, he will slot right back in at shortstop with Baez most likely covering second base. Given the Mets currently have Jeff McNeil as well as Villar and Davis, their infield is going to be pretty crowded and even now, they could field Pete Alonso, Baez, McNeil and Davis in their infield and leave Villar on the bench. Villar did start at third (and hit leadoff) for the Mets on Saturday with McNeil playing second and Baez starting at shortstop.

Davis is a below-average third baseman defensively but the reason why Villar sitting for him is possible comes down to Villar's July struggles. He returned from a calf injury on July 04th and since then, he's hit .225/.286/.423 (23 games). He is hitting .333/.417/.381 this week but only has one run and one RBI to show for it. Villar's biggest fantasy asset has always been his speed but his last stolen base came on June 16th (30 games since then) and he's only attempted one steal since then. Maybe his calf injury is restricting him a bit.

Villar could find playing time harder to come by with the addition of Baez and when Lindor returns, will likely see it diminish further. He's not provided much fantasy value since returning from injury and the fact he's only 8-for-13 in stolen base attempts this year hasn't helped his cause.

Verdict - In deeper leagues, Villar can be rostered at least until Lindor returns. In shallower leagues, you can monitor the next few days to see how the infield playing time pans out but Villar hasn't really done enough in July to warrant much consideration in fantasy leagues.

 

Hold For Now

Wil Myers - 1B/OF (76% rostered) and Eric Hosmer - 1B (63% rostered) San Diego Padres

Myers and Hosmer have been paired together as the Padres acquisition of Adam Frazier earlier this week has made predicting the Padres lineups an impossible task. The belief was that Frazier would fill in at second base (moving Jake Cronenworth to first base) as well as spotting time in the outfield.

In the five games since Frazier moved to San Diego, he's started four times (two in left field and two at second base). Hosmer has also started in four of those games (at first base) and Myers has started in three in right field. So why am I singling out these two in particular?

Starting with Hosmer, in the days following the Frazier trade, stories were coming out of San Diego that the Padres were willing to listen to offers for Hosmer in a bid to get rid of his contract and would also package up a prospect or two for anyone willing to take on his contract. If a team is willing to trade away a solid prospect just to move on a player, they aren't too enamored with said player.

There weren't any takers so Hosmer will remain with the Padres this year. Given this is his fourth year with the Padres and he's got a total 0.1 fWAR in that time, you can see why the Padres are looking to move him on. He's got a pretty respectable line of .274/.337/.383 this year but his slugging percentage is on track to be his worst since 2012 and his eight homers in 98 games gives him a 162-game pace of 13 which (other than last year's shortened season) would be his lowest since 2014.

Among all first basemen, Hosmer's 49 RBI ranks 18th and his five stolen bases are tied fourth most so he has at least provided some value as a corner infielder in fantasy, albeit not worthy of his preseason ADP of ~150. With the reoccurrence of Fernando Tatis Jr.'s shoulder injury sending him to the IL, there might be some more moving pieces in the Padres infield which will keep Hosmer in the lineup almost every day. But he's only been a corner infielder in deeper fantasy leagues when he does play.

The reason Myers was dragged into this discussion was given Frazier's ability to play in the outfield. Trent Grisham and Tommy Pham have been having marginally better seasons than Myers so he could be the odd man out when Frazier does play the outfield. If we compare the three outfielders' numbers this season, we can see how similar they have been.

Name G PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG K% wRC+ fWAR
Tommy Pham 103 394 11 61 35 13 0.255 0.365 0.409 22.60% 116 1.9
Trent Grisham 79 325 11 39 39 10 0.25 0.342 0.433 23.10% 114 1.9
Wil Myers 97 337 12 33 45 6 0.253 0.335 0.432 27.90% 109 1

From a fantasy perspective, a look at the ESPN Player Rater will give us an indication of how the three compare. Among eligible outfielders, Pham is ranked 21st, Grisham 44th and Myers 51st. That does mean Myers is still worthy of rostering in standard leagues but the lack of steals will be frustrating for his fantasy managers. Just six in 97 games when he had 77 in 550 games between 2016-19 (162-game average of 23) means reaching double-digit steals might not materialize this year. The only seasons in which he's failed to get ten steals have been years when Myers failed to play more than 90 games.

Although Myers has been the least productive of the trio, it's marginal and Pham and Grisham have also both sat out a game since Frazier's arrival. It appears as though the Padres will continue to rotate them all. As mentioned, Tatis Jr. is going to miss time which could see Cronenworth play shortstop and Frazier play second base almost every day which would make all of this a moot point for now. On Saturday, Cronenworth and Frazier did cover the middle infield but Jurickson Profar played in right field with Myers sitting out.

Even in shallow leagues, providing you roster five outfielders, Myers is still worth keeping and without excelling in any statistic, he's chipping in across the board. He's very much a "boring" player in fantasy to that extent but someone I wouldn't consider dropping for the most part. In daily lineup leagues, he's much easier to roster given the fluidity of the Padres lineups.

Kendall Graveman - RP, Houston Astros - 61% rostered

I know I said I'm not going to focus on bullpens but I've made an exception with this one. Graveman was absolutely dominant with the Mariners having an 0.82 ERA from 33.0 IP, largely due to his sinker which he's thrown 64.1% of the time and has a .108 SLG against it. Following his trade to the Astros, it appeared as though he'd be utilized as a setup guy with Ryan Pressly still closing.

That certainly seems like how things will pan out as on Friday night, Graveman came in to get the final out of the seventh and maintain the Astros two-run lead. He then pitched a perfect eighth, finishing with three strikeouts from his 1.1 IP. Pressly then pitched the ninth with the Astros up by four runs but did allow a run on three hits before sealing the win.

The reason I include Graveman as a "hold for now" is due to how well he's pitched, he can still provide fantasy value even if he's only picking up the odd save when Pressly is unavailable. It's quite likely he'll pitch four scoreless innings in a week, give up 2 walks and a hit while tallying four strikeouts and picking up one save. If you pair him with another reliever, say Andrew Kittredge (40% rostered) who has a 1.40 ERA and can also throw four scoreless innings a week with four strikeouts, you've basically got yourself a top-tier starting pitcher (à la @RowdyRotoJB's FrankenAce method). Those two have combined for 11 wins this year too.

I'm keeping Graveman in all but shallow leagues to help with ratios and pick up the odd save. If something happens to Pressly, Graveman will also be vaulted into a top-5 fantasy closer.

 

On the Hot Seat

Luke Voit - 1B, New York Yankees - 74% rostered

Voit is a regular name I'm asked about as to whether or not he should be dropped given how little he's played this year due to injuries. Being on the IL makes it an easier decision as providing you have the space on your IL or bench, you can just leave him there. Given he's currently on his third IL stint of the year, that's becoming more and more difficult. But he is due back soon and could return for the Yankees series against Baltimore early next week.

Considering Voit led MLB in home runs last season (22 in 56 games) and has 60 homers in 242 games since joining the Yankees, it seems strange to even consider dropping Voit. Yet, here we are as the Yankees went out and traded for Anthony Rizzo on deadline day leaving Voit without a clear path to regular playing time. There were plenty of stories coming out of the Bronx suggesting the Yankees were willing to listen to offers for Voit too.

The Yankees first two games since acquiring Rizzo have been at the Marlins which has led to them starting Giancarlo Stanton in left field. That could be an option moving forward which would let Voit be the DH but it's highly unlikely the Yankees will let Stanton play left field for their remaining 59 games. In fact, even ten more games in left field might be a stretch. Even if they do, they'd probably want to give guys like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez days as the DH.

The Yankees also haven't been averse to playing DJ LeMahieu at first base while filling out their infield with Gio Urshela, Rougned Odor and Gleyber Torres so they have options at the position. But does Voit's performances warrant benching him?

His first spell off of the IL saw Voit hit .182/.280/.250 with one homer in 12 games. His second spell off of the IL was considerably better and saw him hit .281/.361/.453 with two homers in 17 games. Given his performances last year and since joining the Yankees, it does seem harsh that he's going to be resigned to a bench role. But the Yankees have been crying out for left-handed bats and Rizzo is also a Platinum Glove winning first baseman. Homering in each of your first two games will also help.

There's obviously no guarantee that Stanton stays healthy and it remains to be seen if the Yankees do in fact intend to keep him in the outfield moving forward. Given Voit's performances since joining the Yankees, it's not easy to just drop him in fantasy and I'd suggest waiting until he's activated off of the IL and see what their plans are with the lineups.

If it becomes clear he's the odd man out and doesn't play more than a couple of games a week, Voit is an easy drop in shallow leagues. Given the Yankees recent history of injuries, Voit is a nice stash if you have space on your bench to do so, especially in daily lineup leagues so you can still start him when he plays. That's assuming Voit stays healthy the rest of 2021, which is far from a sure thing considering he's had three IL stints already. I just wouldn't jump the gun until we know more of what Voit's role will be on his return.

 

The Reddit Requests

Here are some names from the readers following last weekend's post on Reddit. If there is anyone who you want to include here on next week's Cut List, drop their names on the Reddit thread and there's a good chance they will feature.

Matt Chapman - 3B, Oakland Athletics - 80% rostered

Chapman has been a regular on The Cut List this year and continues to be a highly rostered disappointment. He's currently hitting .216/.307/.378 with 14 homers in 103 games. He's found himself hitting seventh in the lineup recently following a 15-game stretch to start July in which he hit .172/.250/.190 with six runs and no RBI. Since then, he has homered three times in his last eight games but still only has a .194 batting average in that time.

His xBA on the season is .209 while his expected SLG and wOBA are almost identical to his actual numbers, so he can't even blame misfortune. If you've read prior editions of The Cut List, you will know I've mentioned his preseason hip surgery as a possible source of his struggles and I still believe that's very plausible. Among third basemen, he does rank 14th in homers, tied-12th in RBI and tied-ninth in runs. Despite that, his batting average is a negative which leaves him as the 26th third baseman according to the ESPN Player Rater. He's only really rosterable in deeper leagues or in shallow leagues if you can offset the negative impact he has on your batting average.

Dylan Cease - SP, Chicago White Sox - 72% rostered

Cease had been having a stellar season with a 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and a 7-3 record at the end of June. His 29.3% K% was considerably better than his MLB career 21.5% K% prior to the season. Things haven't gone so well for him in July as his five starts (27.0 IP) have combined for a 5.33 ERA and an 0-3 record. Despite that, his K% has maintained at 29.4% and his BB% of 7.6% in July is lower than his 9.3% BB% on the season. His five July starts also have a 3.95 xFIP and 3.59 SIERA so he appears to be a victim of bad luck this month.

Cease goes into August with a 4.14 ERA but his 3.88 xERA, 3.96 xFIP and 3.78 SIERA on the season all suggest July's bad luck shouldn't detract from his season as a whole and providing his misfortune doesn't continue, he should still finish the season with an ERA below four. Given his K% ranks in the 80th percentile and he's on one of the best offensive teams in MLB, unless we get word that the White Sox are looking to limit his workload,  Cease should still be rostered in pretty much all fantasy leagues.

Cavan Biggio - 2B/3B/OF, Toronto Blue Jays - 70% rostered

Like Chapman, Biggio has been something of a regular here. With a .221/.318/.358 slash line, seven homers and three steals in 75 games, it's understandable. He suffered a cervical spine ligament sprain earlier in the season which is why he's only played in 75 games but worryingly, looks like he's going to miss more time moving forward as the Blue Jays have benched him for their last two games, both against left-handed pitching (LHP). Given he's hit .175/.222/.263 in July and has a wRC+ of 29 for the month, it's understandable if the Blue Jays want to bench him completely, especially given his replacement in the lineup Santiago Espinal is hitting .311/.359/.407 this year.

If we look at Biggio's splits, it becomes even more apparent as to why he's finding himself sitting against LHP. While he has a .232/.333/.398 line against RHP this year, he's hitting just .186/.269/.237 against southpaws and all seven of his home runs this year have come against righties. I've said Biggio is droppable in shallow leagues and if this new development holds up (and why shouldn't it given the numbers), Biggio becomes droppable in deeper leagues especially those with weekly lineups. I'd still hold him in dynasty leagues and in the deepest leagues with daily lineups given his positional flexibility but he's going to find himself on more fantasy waiver wires than rosters in the coming weeks.

Luis Urias - 2B/3B/SS, Milwaukee Brewers - 44% rostered

Urias headed into July having a bit of a breakout season. He ended June with a two-homer game and was hitting .247/.338/.433 with ten home runs in 76 games to start the season. Given he only had six homers in his first 124 games coming into 2021, the power emergence was a pleasant surprise. Urias also found himself batting leadoff which made sense given his 11.1% BB% this year is in the 80th percentile. Unfortunately, like so many others, July hasn't been kind to Urias as he's hit just .198/.323/.358 this month and has been on the bench for two of the Brewers' last six games.

He has still hit three homers and stolen two bases this month (taking his season tally to five steals) but he's dropped back down the order and has been hitting between the sixth and eighth spot in the lineup. Urias started the season as the main shortstop but moved to third base when the Brewers traded for Willy Adames. Now they've acquired Eduardo Escobar (who has played third base and first base in his two games since joining), there's more competition for infield spots and Urias could find himself as a utility infielder rather than an everyday player. There are still likely just enough at-bats to keep him relevant in deep leagues, especially given his positional flexibility. In shallower leagues, Urias can likely be dropped as there should be better options on your waiver wires.



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Delivers Value In DFS At Darlington Raceway
RANKINGS
C
1B
2B
3B
SS
OF
SP
RP

RANKINGS

QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF

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