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The Cut List (Week 11) - Time to Let Go?


It's June 9, an exciting date to some, because it means another Cut List. (Were you thinking some other reason?) Last week's changeup, which involved cut suggestions in three different league sizes--10, 12, and 14/15 teams--continues.

Stats are through Friday, June 7. New weekly reminders: Recommendations in one league size obviously apply to smaller leagues. You can also feel free to drop a shallower suggestion in a deeper league. Generally, however, the dividing line is there for a reason.

As usual, you can find ideas on how to replace your cut candidates at the Waiver Wire Pickup List.

Editor's Note: Get our 2020 MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our draft kit, premium rankings, player projections and outlooks, our top sleepers, dynasty and prospect rankings, 20 preseason and in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research and tools. Sign Up Now!

 

10-Team Cut Candidates

Joey Votto (1B, CIN)

After some resistance, it's time to go there. Votto remains so widely owned that a trade is probably still the ideal option. But what's left beyond name value?

The strikeouts and walks are a major issue. Here's someone with career rates of a 16.1 BB% and 17.7 K% who is at 11.2% and 22.7%, respectively, this season. It has meant a .343 OBP that is 80 points below Votto's career norm. A .251 average this season has brought his career BA down to .309.

Projection systems still see a lot of the old Votto and like him to be an easily above-average hitter the rest of the year. Unfortunately, that only comes with low double-digits in home runs, a couple steals, and an average somewhere in the .270's. The projections may be on the high end for the 35-year-old, and without much power and speed, even they are not too optimistic about Votto for shallower leagues.

Brad Peacock (SP, HOU)

Things seem pretty good for Peacock on the surface: pitching for the Astros, 5-3 with a 3.20 ERA and 3.19 FIP. However, the risk here in shallower leagues is substantial.

It's not just a matter of the 4.24 xFIP and 4.05 SIERA, although they don't help. Nor is it because he throws 60% fastballs at 92 mph. Nor is it simply because the Astros, with a beat-up offense, are less likely to provide wins in the short term for something like a 4.10 ERA true-talent pitcher. Nor is it just the risk that if Peacock does regress at some point, there are other hurlers that Houston would be willing to use to replace him.

It's all of those things. This is nowhere nearly as clear-cut as last week's suggestion of Marcus Stroman, so by all means continue to ride it out in leagues where pitching is harder to find. But in shallower leagues, you may want to consider getting out too soon rather than too late.

 

12-Team Cut Candidates

Robinson Cano (2B, NYM)

Cano appears to have dodged a bullet recently, nearly requiring a second IL stint for the same quad injury that put him there the first time. However, the reaggravation only points out the fact that Cano's health at this stage of his career is a major question mark.

Add in the performance issues and you have a questionable asset at standard depths. Cano, who turns 37 in October, has struck out in 19.7% of his plate appearances. His current career high over a full season is 15.9% from 2015. As a result he is hitting just .238/.284/.366 with three home runs.

The projection systems and Statcast see roughly league-average hitting for Cano going forward. But for a player who hits in a pitcher's park, does not steal bases, and only has modest power at this stage in his career, even league-average hitting won't have very much fantasy value. Then consider how much time he may miss going forward, and Cano has become more trouble than he's worth in fantasy.

Jake Arrieta (SP, PHI)

This column has been on Arrieta's case from the very beginning. The early-season magic here is gone, as Arrieta has seen his ERA balloon from 2.25 to 4.29 in his last nine starts. Nor is there much to wait up for here. His 4.45 xFIP portends poorly enough, but isn't too much different from the ERA. The 4.76 SIERA, however, starts to get very ugly.

Arrieta just doesn't strike out enough batters. His decline in this area has manifested in two year spurts. He peaked at just above 27% in both 2014 and '15, then dropped to the 23-24% range in 2016 and '17. Last year, he fell to 19.1% and he's continued at a 19.0% pace this season.

Arrieta's walk rate has climbed in the meantime. He pitches his home games in a terrible park for hurlers. You can keeping trying for this in deep leagues for just a little bit longer and not lose a fatal amount at the back-end of the rotation, but in standard formats, it's time to cut loose.

 

14+ Team Cut Candidates

Maikel Franco (3B, PHI)

Franco was hitting .545/.706/1.364 through April 2, .294./442/.706 through April 9, .275/.372/.563 through April 23, and .262/.344/.514 through May 2. Then things got really bad: since May 3 Franco is hitting .149/.208/.255.

With a 15.8 K% and .158 BABIP in that time, he has clearly gotten unlucky. However, it's costing him playing time. Franco started in 47 of Philadelphia's first 49 games but only seven of their last 14. Scott Kingery got three straight starts at third base from June 5-7.

Franco has been Philadelphia's #8 hitter for nearly the entire season, even when he was playing most every day. In a deep funk that his in-real-life team is not letting him work through, there's little reason for fantasy managers to let him work through it either.

Kevin Gausman (SP, ATL)

The rumors have it that Gausman is the Atlanta starter who will lose his job to Dallas Keuchel in due time. Even if those don't bear out, Gausman has also been very bad. Not necessarily a 6.55 ERA bad, with a 4.01 FIP, 4.55 xFIP, and 4.51 SIERA. But those last two, predictive stats don't scream good starter.

Regression to a 4.50 ERA could make Gausman a back-end deep league starter for fantasy teams that need innings. Even if he were to get the chance, however, such regression would be no guarantee. Of course, it's also no guarantee (yet) that Gausman will go to the bullpen when Keuchel is ready. If Gausman does keep his job, however, it's not as if there will be much to miss out on.

His next couple starts line up to be a rematch with Josh Bell, Starling Marte, and the rest of the Pirates, who just crushed him, followed by the Phillies. Whether or not he keeps starting games after that, there is little upside here.

 

Last Week's Updates

Player Last Week This Week Reasoning
Nick Markakis Cut in 10 Cut in 10 This is a profile that won't ever change
Marcus Stroman Cut in 10 Cut in 10 Last start -- 5.2 IP, 4 K, 6 ER, L -- confirms downside
Jose Martinez Cut in 12 Cut in 14 Playing time and batting average continue to regress
Joe Musgrove Cut in 12 Cut in 12 Solid last start still saw 2 HR, continuing questionable peripherals
Chris Archer Cut in 12 Cut in 12 Also solid last start but the overall post-injury results are still just so depressing; need to see more
Jay Bruce Cut in 14 Hold in 12+ Andrew McCutchen ACL suddenly gives Bruce a playing time window. BA still stinks though
Archie Bradley Cut in 14 Cut in 14 Still struggling, no closer to closer role

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