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


Welcome to Week 11 of the Cut List. This week I’m taking a look at four players who came into the season with huge expectations. All of these players were drafted in all standard formats.

Jonathan Schoop is fresh off a 3.8 WAR, 32 HR season that propelled him to fantasy stardom, Billy Hamilton stole 56+ bases in the past four seasons, Ryan Braun had a decent 2017, and Rafael Devers was one of the most hyped players this offseason. They’ve all drastically underperformed expectations in 2018, so it’s time to let them go.

Want some waiver wire advice to make up for those necessary cuts? Make sure you check out our waiver wire blog for the best pickup consultation around.

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Time to Move On

Jonathan Schoop (2B, BAL) - .224 BA, 21 runs, 5 HR, 15 RBI

Cut in 10 and 12 team leagues

Why you should cut him: Take one quick look at Schoop’s plate discipline metrics and you’ll see nothing out of the ordinary. His contact rates are steady, his swing rates aren’t alarming, and his walk and strikeout rates are in line with his career averages. The problem is that Schoop is hitting fewer line drives, too many infield pop-ups, and he’s 213th in average exit velocity out of batters with a minimum 100 batted ball events. His 14.2% line drive rate is four points lower than his career average, and his 27.3% infield fly rate is eleven points higher than his 16.3% career rate. He’s never been a masher, though, so it’s not like his poor exit velocity is a surprise. Schoop’s poor play is just an unfortunate development. Highly touted 26-year-old players aren’t supposed to look this bad after a career year.

Better 2B options: It’s a tough call because peak Schoop is more valuable than anything sitting on the free agent list. Josh Harrison? Joe Panik?

Billy Hamilton (OF, CIN) - .191 BA, 27 runs, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 10 SB

Cut in 10, 12, and 14 team leagues

Why you should cut him: Billy Hamilton is, without a doubt, one of the five worst hitters in the league right now. This dude is simply terrible, and the only reason he’s barely fantasy relevant is his stolen base upside. That’s not news to anyone. Hamilton is so bad that benching him and hoping he’ll get rolling is a straight-up losing strategy. His strikeout rate is 30.6%, his wRC+ is 55, and his contact rate is 73.8%. That’s not worthy of ownership in any format, but he’s still sprinting well on the base paths. His 30 ft/sec sprint speed score on BaseballSavant is good for third in the league.

Better OF options: Almost literally anyone, but Leonys Martin and Michael Taylor look good right now.

Ryan Braun (OF/1B, MIL) - .236 BA, 22 runs, 8 HR, 29 RBI, 6 SB

Cut in 10-team leagues

Why you should cut him: Braun needs to be owned in 12+ team leagues because of his decent average and power/speed combo, but owners in 10-team leagues should feel free to cut him loose for a hot bat or gas-throwing arm. The early returns on his age-34 season aren’t promising, and it looks like he’s headed straight toward fantasy irrelevance if he doesn’t turn it around soon. Braun is producing career-lows in OBP, wRC+, BA, wOBA, and SLG. You name the metric, and it’s probably a career-low. At the same time, however, his .256 BABIP is well below his career .329 BABIP, so there’s some hope for you deep league Braun owners.

Better OF/1B options: Brian Anderson, David Peralta, Max Muncy

Rafael Devers (3B, BOS) - .229 BA, 24 runs, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 1 SB

Cut in 10 and 12 team leagues

Why you should cut him: Generally locked into a middle-of-the-order spot on one of the most potent lineups in the league, one would assume Devers would continue dominating like he did last season. But after hitting .417 after being called up last July, Devers has only hit .254 since. He mashed lefties last season, hitting .400 in 57 PA, but he’s been awful against them this season. A .218 average against lefties is unacceptable in standard 10 and 12 teamers, and you need to look elsewhere for batting average. Luckily for you Devers owners, third base is pretty deep this year.

Better 3B options: Brian Anderson (can you tell I like Anderson?), Derek Dietrich, Max Muncy

 

Update on Last Week’s Cuts

Kevin Pillar (OF, TOR)

  • 5-for-19 (.263), 3 runs, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB
  • This is the quintessential Pillar output we’ve come to expect. He’s still completely viable in deep leagues and a decent depth outfielder in 12-team leagues with deep rosters.

Adam Duvall (OF, CIN)

  • 4-for-14 (.285), 1 run, 0 HR, 1 RBI
  • It’s worth noting that Duvall’s .510 xSLG and .351 xwOBA suggests a positive regression is on the way. You could’ve probably guessed that, though. Out of the four players I listed last week, I think Duvall is worth holding most based on upside alone. He’s coming off back-to-back 30 HR seasons, but when the production is this bad, you have no other choice but to let him go.

Gregory Polanco (OF, PIT)

  • 1-for-11 (.090), 0 runs, 0 HR, 3 RBI
  • This is absolutely unacceptable production from a guy who supposedly possesses a unique size-adjusted skill set. He cut his strikeout rate down to 14.6% last year, but it’s back up to 23.5% this year. Polanco is simply awful, guys.

Sean Manaea (SP, OAK)

  • 5.1 IP, 2 strikeouts, 4 BB, 2 ER, 4 hits allowed on June 6 start.
  • Manaea’s downfall is an absolute shame and one of a few disappointing post-April regression developments. He’s an automatic cut in 10 and 12 team leagues.

 

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