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The Cut List - Time to Let Go? Week 7

Chris Bassitt - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB DFS Picks

Welcome back to The Cut List for Week 7 of the 2024 fantasy baseball season - May 6 through May 12. This is our weekly article looking at players whom 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.

Those of you experienced Cut List readers will know 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. As the year progresses, there will be stronger cases to drop underperforming players.

If there's ever someone you want me to take a look at, drop their name on Reddit, the RotoBaller Discord (which you can join by clicking here), or reach out to me on X (@Baseball_Jimbo), and maybe you'll see them included next week. All stats and rostered rates (taken from Yahoo!) reflect when this piece was written.

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

 

Worth Dropping and Replacing?

MJ Melendez - C/OF. Kansas City Royals - 55% rostered

After being somewhat overhyped in 2023 due to his catcher eligibility, it felt like Melendez was being undervalued coming into 2024. However, his struggles have left many fantasy managers justifiably dropping him. After 30 games, Melendez has four homers, 12 RBI, nine runs, and one stolen base with a .173/.243/.347 slash line. His .191 BABIP does offer hope of improvement in his batting average moving forward.

Melendez has a 162-game pace of 21 home runs, 64 RBI, 48 runs, and five steals. Even if he managed to reach those marks, they aren't exactly league-winning numbers. After the last couple of weeks, it's difficult to see how Melendez will come close to those numbers. His seventh-inning single on Friday ended a 0-for-27 streak. His last hit before Friday came on April 21, two weeks ago.

With no counting stats since April 19, you would have been better off having an empty roster spot rather than starting Melendez over the last fortnight. Two-week periods aren't long enough to base our decisions on, but even that is eye-watering. And that kind of streak is only going to impact his playing time and role. He's already sat against a right-handed pitcher (RHP) and slipped down to seventh in the Royals batting order recently.

Verdict: Melendez was already in a platoon before the recent slump. At least he was on the strong side of it. But everything is trending in the wrong direction for Melendez. I have no doubt his slash line will improve but not to a point he'd be worth rostering in anything except deep leagues. If these struggles don't abate soon, even fantasy managers in the deepest leagues can move on from Melendez.

Jeimer Candelario - 1B/3B, Cincinnati Reds - 40% rostered

After a few years of mediocrity in Detroit, Candelario emerged as a fantasy-viable corner infielder in 2023. He hit a career-high 22 home runs along with a respectable .251/.336/.471 slash line. Moving to Cincinnati this offseason and getting to play in such a hitter-friendly ballpark saw Candelario's fantasy stock grow even more this offseason. So far, he's failed to live up to expectations.

In 28 games, Candelario has hit .190/.274/.360 with three homers, 10 RBI, 10 runs and no stolen bases. Candelario's 32.7% K% is the highest he's ever had and is nearly nine percentage points more than his career mark. If you have held on to Candelario this long, he has at least shown signs of life at the plate this week, going 6-for-18 with a home run. He'll need to continue that pace for a while longer to get back on track, however.

Unlike some other players included this week, we can't consider Candelario as having bad BABIP luck. His .262 BABIP isn't too dissimilar to last year's (.292). Candelario's .182 xBA also ranks in the third percentile. He's already slipped down to sixth or seventh in the lineup after starting the season as the Reds cleanup hitter. Being a switch-hitter will help keep Candelario in the lineup, but he needs to start hitting to avoid seeing the bench frequently.

Verdict: Everything was in place for Candelario to have a big 2024. Things have not panned out that way. Dual-position eligibility does help in deeper leagues and there likely won't be many suitable replacement options in such formats. In shallower leagues, Candelario isn't someone who will likely contribute enough to warrant rostering. Without much history of fantasy success, he can be considered droppable.

 

Hold For Now

Wyatt Langford - OF, Texas Rangers - 87% rostered

Before we begin with the Rangers rookie sensation, if you weren't aware, he left last night's game with hamstring tightness. We didn't get any more news after the game and likely won't hear anything until later today. I'd be surprised if he starts tonight, even if it is a minor issue. Keep monitoring for news as an IL stint is possible so you may have to pivot to an alternative for next week at least.

Even though Langford was only drafted by the Rangers last year, he was a very popular player in fantasy this offseason. He was routinely taken in the middle rounds of drafts (ADP ~118) but hasn't been able to live up to the hype. After 31 games, Langford has one homer, 11 RBI, 13 runs, and one stolen base with a .224/.295/.293 slash line. Although he's yet to perform close to many had hoped, Langford hasn't been completely overawed.

Many of Langford's hitting metrics rank around league average, as we can see from his Statcast Profile. That bodes well moving forward as it's easy to forget that he only had 200 Minor League plate appearances before this year. Langford's expected numbers show us he should have a better slash line. His .298 BABIP does put a bit of a dampener on expecting a batting average over ~.260 for the rest of the season.

Even without dominating at the plate, fantasy managers will be frustrated with the lack of steals. Langford had 12 stolen bases in 40 Minor League games and his speed was a considerable factor in his projections. Langford has been rapid on the bases with a 29.7 mph average sprint speed ranking in the 98th percentile. That should just act as a reminder that you need more than speed to steal bases at the Major League level.

From a fantasy point of view, Langford has been disappointing. He was overhyped in preseason given the lack of professional experience he had. Even with that said, Langford possesses the talent that very few rookies have. There's been enough from him to justify holding on, given his upside. If you only play three outfielders and are in a shallow league, Langford isn't someone I'd continue to hold. Otherwise, your patience will likely pay off over the coming months.

Chas McCormick - OF, Houston Astros - 47% rostered

McCormick had been causing fantasy managers a headache before going on the IL with a hamstring issue. McCormick has a .236/.325/.278 slash line with no homers, eight RBI, six runs, and two stolen bases (21 games). He is nowhere near his projections nor his 2023 campaign, when he missed out on a 20/20 season by one steal. The fact that less than 24 hours before going on the IL the Astros declared him able to pinch hit suggests he won't be out for long.

It's unclear how long McCormick has been dealing with the hamstring issue but his struggles have been since Opening Day. Last year, McCormick hit .273/.353/.489 with 22 homers, 70 RBI, 59 runs and 19 stolen bases (115 games). That's starting to look more like an outlier rather than a breakout. Over the two previous seasons, McCormick averaged 14 homers, 47 RBI, 47 runs, and four steals with a .250/.326/.425 slash line (114 games).

If you have been able to put McCormick on your IL, you may have already picked up a direct replacement. If they perform well and are a viable long-term option, then dropping McCormick makes sense. It's still worth waiting for McCormick to return, give him a couple of weeks to see if he's over the hamstring issue and able to perform well again. The Astros offense hasn't helped matters and shouldn't be this bad for much longer either.

 

On the Hot Seat

Chris Bassitt - SP, Toronto Blue Jays - 88% rostered

It's been an up-and-down start to 2024 for the veteran Blue Jays pitcher. Two below-average outings to begin the season were followed by three much-improved starts. He then got hit hard by the Dodgers before a quality start on Tuesday to get back on track. All-in-all, Bassitt has a 2-5 W-L record, 5.45 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, and 34 Ks (36.1 IP).

The good news is that Bassitt should have a lower ERA. His 4.34 xFIP, 4.48 SIERA, and .356 BABIP suggest he's been a bit unlucky, although a ~4.50 ERA isn't what fantasy managers expected when drafting Bassitt. His 16.2% HR/FB is also a career-high. These all point to Bassitt being able to lower his ERA over the coming weeks. But there are still some concerning numbers that would make me pump the breaks on believing in an imminent resurgence.

Bassitt has a career-high 11.0% BB% (27th percentile). His Statcast profile shows us that he's allowing harder contact than ever and more than the league average. There hasn't been any significant change in his pitch usage with his sinker still dominating (40.8%) his arsenal. But his sinker has been considerably less effective this year.

Last year, Bassitt's sinker had a .251 xBA, .396 xSLG and .315 xwOBA against it. This year, those numbers are .367 xBA, .561 xSLG, and .432 xWOBA. That's despite seeing a 0.7 mph average velocity increase. There's no noticeable change in the spin rate or movement and it has a Stuff+ rating of 97 (compared to 92 last year). The sinker just hasn't been effective. There should be encouragement from the fact that Bassitt had similar struggles to start 2023.

Bassitt had a 5.18 ERA at the end of April last year (33.0 IP). He then had three consecutive scoreless outings and put up a 3.29 ERA over the remainder of the season. I'm not expecting similar results this year, but we should see improvement in his numbers. If we haven't seen signs of that by the end of May, Bassitt may become nothing more than a streaming option in deeper leagues.

 

Reader Requests

As in previous years, we're keen to hear who you want us to analyze. If there is anyone who you want to include here on next week's Cut List, drop their names on the Reddit thread or over on the RotoBaller Discord. Alternatively, you can reach out to me on X and we'll endeavor to cover as many requests as we can each week.

Alex Bregman - 3B, Houston Astros - 94% rostered

The Astros have gotten off to a putrid start in 2024. Only the White Sox have a worse record in the American League. And no one in the lineup has struggled more than Bregman. Except Jose Abreu but we dropped him weeks ago! After 30 games, Bregman has one homer, 11 RBI, six runs, and two stolen bases with a .200/.285/.270 slash line.

Bregman has a long enough track record to warrant giving him more time. He hit .219/.354/.343 in April last year but still ended the season as the fifth-ranked third baseman on Yahoo! and his .222 BABIP  is a career-low, although Bregman's expected stats all rank below the 20th percentile. Possibly the most noteworthy stat of Bregman's so far isn't even scored in most fantasy leagues. His 10.8% BB% is down compared to what we would have expected.

Bregman came into this year with a career 12.7% BB% and he hadn't had a walk-rate below 11.0% since 2017. It didn't take long to find the cause of it. Below is Bregman's "Swing Take Profile" from the last two years. As we can see from the comparison, he is swinging at more pitches outside of the strike zone.

In 2022 and 2021, Bregman swung at 10% of pitches classified as being in the chase zone. Swinging at more pitches well outside the strike zone isn't ideal and won't provide any sort of fantasy value. Bregman's 42.5% Swing% is his highest since 2017 so there certainly appears to be a more aggressive approach this year. It hasn't been working so far.

Hopefully, Bregman reverts to what has brought him previous success and doesn't make holding on to him any more difficult. The early signs are promising as after going eight games without a free pass, Bregman has four walks in his last three games (13 plate appearances). Now we just need that to translate into more production.

Joe Musgrove - SP, San Diego Padres - 89% rostered

Musgrove has been one of the bigger pitching disappointments so far. After eight starts, he's sporting a 3-3 W-L record, 6.37 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 36 Ks (41.0 IP). On Wednesday, he at least rewarded fantasy managers who have kept their patience with him. Musgrove allowed two runs over six innings while striking out a season-high nine batters. It was also the second time in his last three without Musgrove walking a batter.

It's a similar story to that of Bassitt. Musgrove has a 4.27 xFIP, 4.11 SIERA, and .342 BABIP which all hint at bad luck being a factor in his struggles. Musgrove's fastball and cutter have seen a slight drop in their average velocity compared to last year and neither pitch has been as effective as they were in 2023, although the expected numbers against his fastball are better than the actual numbers (.402 xwOBA and .507 wOBA).

You should take encouragement from Musgrove having three quality starts in his last four outings. The one blemish was a big one, allowing seven earned runs against the Phillies (3.2 IP). Four of the eight hits allowed in that start were homers and Musgrove's 22.7% HR/FB this year is the highest among 79 qualified starters. That won't maintain and there's enough in Musgrove's numbers to be confident in him for the rest of 2024.

Jackson Chourio - OF, Milwaukee Brewers - 83% rostered

Like Langford, Chourio came into the year full of helium in drafts (ADP ~132) despite never having a Major League at-bat. Chourio's slash line isn't eye-catching (.223/.270/.359), but unlike Langford, he's been tallying a decent number of counting stats. Chourio has four homers, 13 RBI, 14 runs, and six steals (29 games). He's one of only 16 players to have at least four home runs and six stolen bases.

Chourio has a 162-game pace of 22 homers, 73 RBI, 78 runs and 34 steals. It's safe to say everyone who drafted Chourio would be delighted if he comes close to those numbers this year. The concern has been Chourio's recent struggles and the fact he has looked a little overmatched. His 31.3% K% ranks in the 13th percentile and he was hitting .161/.188/.194 over the previous two weeks before this weekend's series with the Cubs.

The recent slump led to Chourio not starting in back-to-back games, either side of a day off. It appeared as though the Brewers wanted to give him a breather. Chourio did come into the second of those games, going 1-for-2 with a run and a stolen base. He then went 2-for-4 yesterday. Hopefully, the two days off helped Chourio get himself together and he can start to look like the star many thought they were getting when drafting him.

Fantasy managers should take comfort from the Brewers giving Chourio a couple of days off. As with any prospect, he could have been demoted while in a slump. The fact the Brewers are sticking with him bodes well for the rest of the season. The strikeouts will remain a problem but should also improve as he gets more experience against Major League pitching. The power and speed make Chourio still a worthwhile hold in any format.



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Fantasy Football Outlook for New England Patriots RBs in 2024

The New England Patriots will have a different look when the 2024 season begins. Longtime coach Bill Belichick is gone, and first-time head coach Jerod Mayo takes over. The team also has a new signal-caller after selecting Drake Maye with the third overall pick in April’s draft. Several key areas of the team will look... Read More


Rashid Shaheed - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

2024 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers

What's a sleeper anyway? Generally speaking, it's a player who's either lesser-known or undervalued by the market. It could be a guy people aren't thinking about for a variety of reasons. However, each one of these guys highlighted in this article offers some upside at a relatively cheap acquisition cost. They're not going to command... Read More


Bijan Robinson - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

Half-PPR Rankings for 2024 Fantasy Football: Marvin Harrison Jr., Kenneth Walker, Josh Jacobs, Zack Moss, Drake London, Jayden Reed

Hey, RotoBallers, we are back with more fantasy football rankings! The 2024 NFL Draft is over, and free agency is winding down; most players are now reporting to offseason workouts. The heart of fantasy football draft season is a few months away, but it's never too early to start preparing for your fantasy drafts. Today,... Read More


Christian McCaffrey - Fantasy Football Rankings, DFS and Betting Picks, NFL Injury News

PPR Rankings for 2024 Fantasy Football Drafts: Justin Jefferson, Josh Jacobs, Stefon Diggs, Trey McBride, Malik Nabers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Hey, RotoBallers! The 2024 NFL Draft is over, and it's an exciting time for football as players are starting to report to offseason workouts. The heart of fantasy football draft season is around the corner. Week 1 will be here before we know it, and it's never too early to start preparing for your fantasy... Read More


Hunter Renfrow - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Is Hunter Renfrow a Free Agent? Top Landing Spots for Renfrow This Offseason

Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow had a decent start to his NFL career before a 1,000-yard breakout season in 2021 with the Las Vegas Raiders. Unfortunately, he was unable to build on his success over the last two seasons, and he's now in search of a new home. If Renfrow lands with an above-average quarterback and... Read More