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The Cut List (Week 17) - Time to Let Go?

With the All-Star Break now firmly in the rear view mirror, the July 31 trade deadline is the next milestone. With no more August 31 waiver deadline, even fringe players will get traded and see their valuations change.

For now, rumor and conjecture rule the day, so it's not a major factor in this week's cut list. But it's something to keep in mind and by next week, there may well be some impactful trades.

Stats are through Friday, July 19. Weekly reminders: Recommendations are for mixed leagues. Recommendations in one league size obviously apply to smaller leagues. You can also feel free to drop a shallower suggestion in a deeper league, but the dividing line is generally there for a reason. And, as usual, you can find ideas on how to replace your cut candidates at the Waiver Wire Pickup List.

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10-Team Cut Candidates

Eric Hosmer (1B, SD)

Hosmer is having an okay season at the plate, .285/.334/.437. That batting average is valuable in standard fantasy even if the overall line isn't great. But it's also not clear what else Hosmer is providing. He does have 63 RBI in 96 games. But the 13 home runs and complete disappearance of steals -- zero after a previous career low of four from 2014 -- are not ideal.

Hosmer also appears to have been recently dropped in the San Diego batting order. For the longest time, Hosmer hit second, but on July 19, he was dropped to sixth while Manuel Margot took the second spot, and the Padres used the same order on the 20th. Hosmer will lose out on counting stats if that trend continues.

If your batting average is lagging or otherwise needs Hosmer's .285, holding is reasonable, although be aware that Hosmer's BABIP is about 15 points above his career mark. If there are other stats you need more than BA, it's okay to move on.

Joey Lucchesi (SP, SD)

This is a tough call, but that happens in shallow leagues. After Saturday's start, Lucchesi is working on a 4.27 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Looking peripherally, his SIERA was already 4.26 and likely climbed. He's provided some strikeouts (99 in 105 1/3 innings), but not a lot in this day and age. Even after allowing a .529 BABIP on Saturday, his season mark of .273 has room to climb. His average velocity maxes out around 91.

In a 10-teamer, Lucchesi could be your least impressive starter, and if you can afford to drop a starter even without replacing him, consider it. Otherwise, make sure there's someone desirable out there before you make this move. It's possible you won't find a wire-available pitcher out there who offers better.

Lucchesi has some potential but being one of the dreaded soft-tossing lefty category, plus the average-to-mediocre results backed up by peripherals, makes him a borderline 10-team pitcher.

Ian Kennedy (RP, KC)

This would be a bit of a get-out-ahead-of-a-trade move. You can probably squeeze another save or two out of Kennedy, but if you have more pressing needs than saves, he's probably the safest current closer to dump. He's not terribly widely owned already.

There's a chance the Royals, being the Royals, will keep Kennedy around. Even if that happens, he's built a shaky foundation for his success this season: home run prevention. Kennedy entered Saturday with a 2.33 FIP but a 3.73 xFIP. He hasn't shown any home run repressing skill in the recent past, with at least a 1.50 HR/9 rate each year from 2015-18. His velocity bump this year is good news, but it's unlikely that alone is keeping the ball in the yard.

Kennedy may already be on the wire in your 10-teamer, but if you have him in 12, that probably shouldn't stop you from looking for a new use of his roster spot. (Again, unless you need every last save you can get.)


12-Team Cut Candidates

Austin Riley (OF, ATL)

Not in keeper leagues, of course, but in redraft leagues, the sheen has worn off enough that Riley's presence on your roster is worth questioning. Even when Riley was crushing baseballs upon his May 15 call-up, he had major swing-and-miss issues.

They have not gone away, and now the power is dormant. Since June 22, Riley is hitting .188/.241/.363 with four home runs and 33 strikeouts (with just three unintentional walks) in 87 plate appearances. Arbitrary cutoffs are arbitrary, but for a rookie, you have to respect the possibility that a number decline is due to the league adjusting. Riley has also gone from usually hitting fifth or sixth to usually hitting seventh or eighth, and he's 0-for-2 stealing bases so that will not be an element to his game.

Riley is still a power bat and if you need home runs and want to bank on him readjusting, go ahead. But if he doesn't, and remains low in the order, the occasional home run is all you'll get. Barring a desperate need for home runs from any source, consider moving on.

Nicholas Castellanos (OF, DET)

Castellanos has been more useful as a hitter in real life than fantasy, or at least roto/categories, with a .280/.340/.467 slash line but only 10 home runs and two stolen bases. If there's a league where doubles count, he does have 32 of those, which is where his hitting success has originated, rather than in the home runs everyone else seems to have binged on.

In other formats, while he may be traded, right now Castellanos is basically Hosmer -- batting average and not much else -- but in a worse team situation, since Detroit has arguably the worst offense in the league. The runs (54) have mostly been there, but the RBI (35) not so much.

Like most players at this point in the season, what to do with Castellanos is heavily affected by statistical needs. In leagues where doubles don't matter (most of them) and you need homers and RBI, you can look to cut Castellanos, although you may also find it preferable to make sure he's not traded before making the move. He'd be worth more in most other settings than the Tigers' offense.

Nomar Mazara (OF, TEX)

Mazara is borderline even in 14-teamers. He has yet to post a league-average season on offense, and this year would be his worst. He's started to lose playing time, sitting on both July 17 and 20. The Rangers gave him a long run as the cleanup hitter, but he's now hitting sixth if July 19 is any indication.

Mazara is walking less than ever (6.0%) and striking out more than ever (23.0%), so it's no wonder he's struggling. Because of his ballpark and the offense around him, he does have 51 runs both scored and driven in, in 87 games played. But his 12 homers and .254 batting average are a drag.

Mazara's loss of playing time could also be warning signs of an eventual demotion, which has been rumored lately. It won't hurt to bail ahead of time.


14-Team Cut Candidates

Wil Myers (OF, SD)

Myers batted sixth went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts on July 4. The next day, the Padres declared their independence from Myers, not by designating him for assignment but by having yet to return him to the starting lineup. Not even once.

Despite yet another year as a "combo meal" threat (12 HR, 9 SB), Myers is in the midst of by far his worst season as a Padre, hitting just .216/.314/.398. If Margot (.308/.416/.615 since June 17) cools down, Myers could start to see playing time again. But with now over two weeks of nary a start, it's time for fantasy owners to move on from Myers in all leagues.

Rick Porcello (SP, BOS)

If you're allowing more than a run per inning to the Baltimore Orioles, safe to say you're not doing your job very effectively. Imagine what might happen when you face the Yankees, as in your next scheduled start.

Porcello is now sporting a 5.61 ERA and 1.46 WHIP after posting his fifth consecutive ineffective start. His peripherals back up the disaster this season has been (5.28 xFIP, 5.02 SIERA prior to Saturday's game). He doesn't offer strikeouts (87 in 110 2/3 innings).

Porcello's value last year was in 17 wins, which you can do pitching for Boston almost no matter your ERA. But 4.28 (last season) is a far cry from 5.61. Porcello throws a mediocre fastball almost 60% of the time. Even in deeper leagues, it's not clear what he's offering this year. Certainly in standard 12-teamers he can be gone.

Blake Treinen (RP, OAK)

This one probably hurts more than most non-closers-in-14-teamer recommendations. Treinen is still very widely owned. He lost his job due to injury more so than performance (albeit he wasn't performing well). He dominated last season.

But relievers are fickle people. The problem with Treinen is, although it's a very small sample, his control since returning on July 3 has not returned. In 4 1/3 innings, he has walked four while striking out two. This has lifted his walk rate to 14.1% on the season. Only 35.7% of his pitches have found the strike zone since his IL return.

Treinen hasn't shown yet that he can be the 2018 version this year. Going back to his days with the Nationals he has always been inconsistent. His current situation is no different than any other struggling, non-closing reliever, and it's okay to move on.

Last Week's Updates

Player Last Week (links to piece) This Week Reasoning
Hunter Dozier Cut in 10 Hold Was already a borderline cut based on category need, but .435/.500/.739 changes that
Noah Syndergaard Cut in 10 Hold At Miami and at S.F. are not difficult match-ups, but now two straight strong starts is cause for some optimism
Kyle Schwarber Cut in 12 Cut in 10 Went off for three home runs but that was already his strength and last week's issues remain
John Gant Cut in 12 Cut in 12 No change in profile
Billy Hamilton Cut in 14+ Cut everywhere Bubba Starling call-up has ended Hamilton's regular playing time
Brad Keller Cut in 14+ Cut in 14+ No change in profile

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