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The Cut List (Week 5): Time to Let Go?

Welcome to Week 5 of the Cut List. I think my suggestions have been pretty solid to start the year and I hope your teams are better off as a result.

2018 sample sizes are starting to legitimize and you’ll see more cut-worthy standard league-viable options on these lists as we get further into the season. I’m still preaching patience on a few frustrating players, however. Carlos Santana, Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, Shin-Soo Choo, Adam Jones, Chris Archer, and Jon Gray need to be held in all leagues. Better days are ahead for all of them.

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.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!


Time to Move On

Domingo Santana (OF, MIL) - .247 BA, 7 runs, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB

Cut in 10-team leagues

Why you should cut him: reduced hard hit rate, diminished line drive rate, career-high swinging strike rate, reduced average exit velocity.

Santana’s performance through April has been wildly disappointing for the fantasy managers who spent a top-100 pick on him. He’s locked into the five hole in the league’s most revamped lineup and still has not been able to string together a hot streak to get his season on a roll. It’s worth noting that he hit .197 through April of 2017 and has a career March/April batting average of .233. He’s always been a slow starter, but don’t let a hot waiver wire commodity slip by you as play the waiting game with Santana. He’s droppable in 10-team standard leagues until he heats up.

Better OF options: Max Kepler, Aaron Hicks

Addison Russell (SS, CHC) - .215 BA, 11 runs, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB

Cut in 12-team leagues

Why you should cut him: reduction in strikeout rate and increase in walk rate have not boosted expected metrics and batting average projections, 244th in average exit velocity (min. 25 BBE), 271st in hard hit rate (min. 25 BBE).

At what point do we conclude that Addison Russell just doesn’t cut it offensively? He’s a career .238 hitter with an 88 wRC+ and .307 wOBA. This is his fourth year in the show, guys. You might think he fits the bill of a post-hype hitter, but the results through April have terrible, per usual. Russell is swinging less than he ever has and making contact at a career-high rate, however, and his .69 BB/K is validated by a drastic reduction in swings at pitches both inside and outside the zone. Does this sound familiar to you? It should, because this is exactly what happened to Todd Frazier last year. He cut his swing rate, boosted his contact rate, but only managed to hit .213 on the year. Rather than ditching the disciplined approach, Frazier stuck with his 2017 adjustment and is now hitting .256 with a career-high .400 OBP. When will things turn around for Russell like it did for Frazier?

Better SS options: Daniel Robertson, Eduardo Escobar, Jose Peraza

Sonny Gray (SP, NYY)

Cut in 10 and 12 team leagues

Why you should cut him: throwing fewer fastballs, putrid peripheral metrics (5.57 xFIP, .385 xwOBA), not generating whiffs outside the zone.

Gray is a guy who has always managed to succeed despite having average peripherals and this might be the year they catch up with him. Sheryl Ring from Fangraphs examined Gray’s start to the season and found that his problem has been a reduction in fastballs thrown and a slight windup adjustment. This is promising news for all you Gray dynasty owners out there, but this situation isn’t worth waiting out in standard shallow leagues.    

Better SP options: Sean Newcomb, Tyson Ross, Kyle Gibson, Trevor Williams

Danny Duffy (SP, KC)

Cut in 10 and 12 team leagues

Why you should cut him: career-low fastball velocity, .382 xwOBA, .522 xSLG, and .296 xBA are top-20 worst rates in the league (min. 100 PA), career-low zone rate.

Although he has disappointed through six starts, Duffy isn’t exactly a guy you should rush to cut because of his fantastic track record and tantalizing strikeout upside. He’s a safe cut in shallow leagues because you don’t need to put up with his ineptitude when there are four or five hotter pitchers available waiting to be streamed.

Better SP options: Sean Newcomb, Tyson Ross, Kyle Gibson, Trevor Williams


Consider Dropping These Guys, Too

Batters: Matt Carpenter, Ian Desmond, Eduardo Nunez, Yasiel Puig

Pitchers: Jeff Samardzija and Jacob Faria


Update on Last Week’s Cuts

Matt Davidson (3B/DH, CHW)

  • 10-for-27 (.370), 6 runs, 4 HR, 7 RBI since April 22
  • Well, this sure didn’t go as planned. Davidson is now ninth in the league in barrels per plate appearance (min. 25 batted ball events). He’s a safe re-add in 12+ team leagues.

Chris Owings (2B/SS, ARI)

  • 1-for-13 (.077), 0 runs, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB since April 22
  • Owings has been dropped in 16.4% of ESPN leagues over the past few days. Make sure he stays off your team.

Ian Happ (2B/OF, CHC)

  • 4-for-13 (.307), 3 runs, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB since April 22
  • Happ’s week five stats were inflated by a great outing last Tuesday when he went 3-for-4 with two runs, a homer, and two RBI. He went 1-for-7 in two appearances after Tuesday.

Kole Calhoun (OF, LAA)

  • 1-for-17 (.058), 0 runs, 0 HR, 1 RBI since April 22
  • Calhoun was a mess last week, but his expected stats are somewhat promising. This is a great deep league buy low opportunity, but keep him off your team in standard shallow leagues.

Lucas Giolito (SP, CHW)

  • 5.2 IP, 5 hits allowed, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, and a win on April 26


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