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The Cut List (Week 25) - Time to Let Go?


Only two weeks to go! Not much time in roto, but enough if things are close, or if you're entering crunch time in a head-to-head playoff. If you're facing those circumstances, you know it's no time to get casual.

The players themselves don't have much time to turn things around either. Players do go through stretches where they don't perform like they are capable, but regression is often a long-term process of adjustments, not something that necessarily happens on a whim. When you're holding a player in May, the reward is much more likely to come than when you're holding a player now. A two-week slump can easily be a four-week slump, but not necessarily a four-month one.

Stats are through Friday, September 13, unless otherwise noted. Weekly reminders: Recommendations are for mixed leagues -- redraft, unless otherwise noted, as keeper leagues have their own rules. 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.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

10-Team Cut Candidates

Eddie Rosario (OF, MIN)

Rosario continues to bat in the heart of the Minnesota lineup but he's in a poorly-timed slump that makes him a questionable hold for the final two weeks. The home run Saturday is nice, but it was his only hit in the doubleheader. Rosario entered the day with just a .221/.225/.279 slash line since August 17 and, unbelievably, not a single unintentional walk in the bunch.

Even Rosario's season line, including Saturday, is only .272/.296/.487, which is barely league average. With 29 home runs and only four steals, he hasn't been as productive all year as you might think.

You'll want to see what else is available before sticking with the slumping Rosario in the final two weeks.

 

Yuli Gurriel (IF, HOU)

The Gurriel show appears to be sputtering to the finish line. Gurriel put up a dumbfounding .377/.425/.783 slash line from June 23 to August 28 after he had hit an anemic .258/.293/.389 all year prior to that. From August 29 to September 6, he hit .231/.355/.385, hardly enough to move on. But he started dealing with a hamstring issue that kept him out nearly a week and he's 2-for-12, both singles, since then.

As amazing as Gurriel's streak was, it always felt like it should end at any moment, as out of character as it was with his entire career. But if he were still at clear full health, that wouldn't make him a cut, and he is still only worth considering one for in the shallower leagues.

But if you suspect that either the amazing ride is over, or that the hamstring injury could be a bother in the final two weeks -- or both -- you might look for a safer bet. As usual it depends on your category needs, but it can still be hard to predict how the Astros might protect his health for the postseason and potentially limit his counting stats. A lot of factors at play and it's the kind of decision you have to look closely at as the end of the year nears.

 

Lance Lynn (SP, TEX)

As impressive as Lynn's season has been on the whole, he has a brutal schedule to wrap up the season: the Astros, Red Sox, and Yankees.

Additionally, the impressiveness of Lynn's season has faded of late. Although he turned things around with a strong start against the Rays on September 10, that start still only brought his 5-start ERA down to 4.71.

Lynn is especially cut-worthy if you need to chase wins, because he is a very poor candidate to get any while pitching for the faded Rangers against two AL juggernauts and another always-dangerous lineup.

 

12-Team Cut Candidates

Edwin Encarnacion (DH, NYY)

Encarnacion's fantasy value is one of the standard victims of September's lack of IL-use. (A fantasy benefit of next year's 28-max September rosters should be increased usage of the IL in the final month.) In most cases, he'd be a player you'd stash on the IL and hope to get back, but that won't work now.

Even if Encarnacion comes back before the season ends, he will be a big question mark with the oblique injury. If you need steady production, he won't be the surest source of it.

Hesitation might come from his showing no signs of sapped power after his last injury, the broken wrist. Nonetheless each injury is a new experience and as long as Encarnacion isn't playing, that's other lost opportunities as well.

 

Lorenzo Cain (OF, MIL)

Cain was a 10-team cut a couple months ago. With two weeks left and no sign of improvement, considering releasing him in 12-teamers now too.

It's just been a disastrous year and two weeks isn't much time to turn it around. Not only is his .251/.318/.349 line bad, but it also means he can't score runs despite leading off still. He has scored 69 times in 134. And with Christian Yelich gone, it will only be harder for Cain to score runs as the season concludes.

Only 16 steals have provided any value, so if you need more steals, you might keep Cain around. Otherwise, it's time to say bye (and arguably has been).

 

Mike Fiers (SP, OAK)

Don't bother to wait and see whether Fiers will make anymore starts after he left Saturday's with an injury, especially if your league has weekly moves. The risk is not worth the reward and to do so is to play with Fiers. (Play with fire, see.)

Fiers was running on a total lack of strikeout stuff all year (116 in 170 innings entering Saturday), and it's really "burned" him in the last couple starts. He allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings Saturday but also nine in a single inning against the Astros. Yes, the Astros, but that's a lot.

So there's several possibilities here -- he could start again before the year ends and be fine, he could start before the year ends and get blown up again, or he could be done for the year. Two of those are bad and the good one is also the least likely, so you probably want to pass here now.

 

14-Team Cut Candidates

Andrelton Simmons (SS, LAA)

Simmons has been a batting average-only play for a couple of years now. This year, he's hit .256. He's also missed a lot of time, playing in just 90 games due to injuries to his left ankle. Since he last returned from the IL on August 23, he's only mustered a .167/.231/.217 slash line.

The one thing Simmons does have this year is a 10-of-11 record stealing bases. But his combined 72 runs and RBI in 90 games wouldn't cut it as a full season pace, nor of course would the average or the six home runs.

No matter the league size, Simmons is tough to roster in the last two weeks. Also not helping is limited positional eligibility.

 

Edwin Diaz (RP, NYM)

Yes, Diaz has probably been somewhat unlucky this season, with a 3.06 xFIP that doesn't mesh at all with his 5.77 ERA. But that's been enough to clearly have cost him his closer job at this point. Since he blew consecutive save chances on September 3 and 6, he's only pitched once, on the 8th. Seth Lugo then wrapped up a two-run save on the 9th and Justin Wilson followed him with a save on the 10th.

Saturday was also interesting. The Mets were tied 0-0 through seven and brought Lugo in. He struck out the side and the Mets scored three their next turn at the plate. For the save, the Mets went with Wilson.

And so Diaz is on the high-leverage outs. And as unfair as his ERA might be, it makes him hard to trust for ratios too. If you need saves, you'll have to look elsewhere.

 

Ivan Nova (SP, CHW)

Frankly, Nova hasn't been very rosterable for a while now. He doesn't strike anybody out or play for a very good team. Thus, he needs decent ratios to provide value even in the deepest of leagues. But a 4.69 ERA and especially a 1.425 WHIP won't cut it.

Nova starts Sunday against the Mariners, so it may be too late to drop him for that start. He'll get Detroit after that, which is usually a good offense to target, but Nova can't be trusted there and is likely to then make his final start against the Indians, a clear pass.

Sometimes the schedule matters, but for someone as fringe as Nova who's still on a number of rosters, you won't miss much.

 

Last Week's Updates

Player Last Week (links to piece) This Week Reasoning
Manny Machado Cut in 10 Cut in 10 Revived somewhat at Coors including home run Saturday, but he's still hard to trust for two weeks outside of that environment
Andrew Benintendi Cut in 10 Cut in 12 Starting to lose playing time (did not start September 9 or 14) and unlikely to recover reasonable form without full time
Jose Berrios Cut in 10 Hold Surprise strong performance vs. Washington and now a surprise 2-start week against the White Sox and Royals
Danny Santana Cut in 12 Hold Immediately got four walks and three steals in a week
Luke Voit Cut in 12 Hold Encarnacion injury opened up extra playing time and he's taken advantage of it
Cole Hamels Cut in 12 Cut in 12 Struggled with baserunners against San Diego's own struggling offense
Dansby Swanson Cut in 14 Cut in 14 Struggles continue
Hunter Renfroe Cut in 14 Cut in 14 May return in final couple weeks, but the slump was so bad it's not a chance worth taking
Carlos Carrasco Cut in 14 Cut in 14 Still just an uneven reliever

 

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