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The Cut List (Week 9) - Time to Let Go?


Happy Memorial Day Weekend. This the already last Cut List of May. Time flies, and so too can a player's fantasy value.

Stats are through Friday, May 24. As we say every week: Remember that these recommendations are for standard leagues up to 12 teams, which of course means the players can be dropped in shallower leagues than 12. However, formats like dynasty or AL/NL-only are a completely different ballgame (so to speak).

As usual, you can find a replacement for all of these cut candidates at the Waiver Wire Pickup List. Suggestions are also considered below, but if you don't like them, check out the rest of the 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!

 

Week 9 Cut Candidates

Odubel Herrera (OF, PHI)

Herrera was starting 12 out of 13 games for the Phillies as recently as May 5-18. After that May 18 game, his line stood at .236/.299/.368. On the 19th, Scott Kingery returned from the injured list, and he immediately took Herrera's center field position.

Since then, not only has Herrera received inconsistent playing time, but he's gone 1-for-14 to bring his line down to .217/.280/.333. The resulting counting stats, a single home run and a single steal, are just as bad.

Herrera has been a borderline fantasy player ever since his steal total of 25 in 2016 fell to just eight in 2017 and never recovered. With the bottom falling out of both his performance and his playing time, it's time to move on.

Suggested pickup: Derek Deitrich, for reasons you can read here.

 

Howie Kendrick (IF/OF, WAS)

Kendrick has wielded an effective bat all year, hitting .291/.336/.521 in 42 games, with seven home runs and 25 RBI. When the Nationals suffered a slew of injuries, Kendrick played regularly and filled in admirably. At one point, Trea Turner, Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Adams were all simultaneously on the IL. Only Zimmerman remains there, however, and Kendrick has only started two of the team's last six games.

It's entirely a matter of opportunity (or lack thereof) for Kendrick, and with a healthy Nationals lineup, he's not getting enough of it. As long as the team remains dedicated to keeping Brian Dozier (.206/.306/.363) in the lineup regularly, Kendrick won't be getting enough time to demonstrate fantasy value. He's one of the best bench bats in baseball, a player any real team would want, but that's not a standard fantasy league asset.

Suggested pickup: Brendan Rodgers, who plays more, plays at Coors, and is playing some second base. More on Rodgers here.

 

Jerad Eickhoff (SP, PHI)

Eickhoff ownership took off with eight shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 8. In that start he allowed three hits, but also walked three batters and only struck out four. In three starts since then, however, he's only made it a total of 12 innings. And the strikeouts have not come around either: just eight in those 12 innings, making for 12 in his last 20. Eickhoff's strikeout percentage is down to 22.8% while his ERA is up to 3.86 with a 4.54 FIP, 4.74 xFIP, and 4.45 SIERA.

The good news is he won't always be facing the Brewers every other start, Philadelphia's schedule in the near future doesn't include many scary offenses, and Eickhoff appears lined up to miss a series against the Dodgers. The bad news, of course, are the fading peripherals and the unfortunate home park. There's better upside to chase.

Suggested pickup: Kyle Gibson was on a roll even before a strong start Saturday against the White Sox. He's on the upswing while Eickhoff is coming down. More on Gibson here.

 

Billy Hamilton (OF, KC)

Hamilton's fantasy value is so contextual that it's always difficult to recommend an outright cut. But are you really supposed to roster a .244/.298/.331 career hitter (and an even worse .224/.300/.288 hitter in 2019) who always bats ninth?

We know Hamilton's only asset is the stolen bases. But after 56 steals or more for four straight seasons from 2014-17, he fell to 34 last season and is on an even lower pace this year, with nine steals in 49 Royals games. Caught four times thus far as well, his 69.2% success rate would be the worst of his career. It's not as if he met a cliff this season, but rather his performance this year -- at the plate and on the bases -- is worse than last year which was worse than 2017.

Hamilton just costs too much outside of the steals to be worth the headache. He's on pace for 16 RBI and has yet to hit the first of his usual three or four homers in a season. Yes, if you find yourself needing the stat, keep him around, but consider a player who doesn't represent a complete punt of the other four categories. The steal total so far this year isn't necessarily enough compensation, and there are no real signs that he will be stealing more bases going forward.

Suggested pickup: Nicky Lopez is a Royal who will bat up in the order and can also steal a bag. More on Lopez here.

 

Mychal Givens (RP, BAL)

It's hard to drop steals as in the case of Hamilton, and it's hard to drop saves as in the case of Givens. The problem in both examples is that you don't get enough of the stat you want to justify the four you don't. That's a bit less fair for Givens, who has a closer's stuff with a 30.2% strikeout rate this season. But 11 walks have contributed to a 1.43 WHIP and 5.64 ERA.

It's true that Givens' struggles seem a bit unusual. He entered 2019 with a career ERA of 3.12 and a 1.13 WHIP. And he does have a 3.73 xFIP in 2019, as well as a 3.54 SIERA which is actually better than last year's. So a turnaround is possible, and Givens is still someone's closer, after all.

But for Baltimore, that has produced all of four saves. While the rest of the team has four, no Oriole has more than one, so the role would seem to be his. But that's also eight saves out of 15 wins out of 51 games. There's no reason to believe the Orioles won't continue to be terrible, either.

If there were ever a bullpen situation to avoid, that describes one pretty well. It's probably better to chase someone who will get ratios with the occasional save and/or a chance to become closer at the trade deadline. There are several such pitchers around.

 

Watch-Out List

Christian Walker (1B, ARI)

People are bailing on Walker in the aftermath of Kevin Cron getting called up, but a week of patience may be in order with Walker. While its true he only has one home run in the last month or so (since April 23, to be exact), his overall line remains a respectable .256/.332/.489. He retains a 97th percentile hard-hit rate and 96th percentile exit velocity. His 20 barrels rank 17th but his eight home runs are only tied for 79th. Without results, however, the Diamondbacks haven't used him regularly lately, and that use will only go down with Cron around.

The questions are how much and can Walker right the ship. He's shown enough on the course of the season that his hitting ability should not be questioned as much as his recent performance might indicate. It's okay to let go now, but the weekend that Cron's been up is too short a time to know exactly what will happen yet. He may hit immediately; he may not. It's just worth noting how hard Walker continues to hit the ball before casually tossing him aside.

 

Yonny Chirinos (P, TB)

Chirinos is this year's Ryan Yarbrough, Tampa Bay's favorite follower who can back into wins because he need not pitch five innings to qualify. And like Yarbrough, Chirinos is a ticking time bomb, although Yarbrough never exploded last year.

Chirinos has a 3.20 ERA this year thanks to good control, a mere 4.2% walk rate. However, he only has struck out 18.1% of batters faced. That has worked with the 3.20 ERA, but it has also led to a 4.61 FIP. A 4.41 xFIP (the exact same as Yarbrough's 2018 mark) and 4.29 SIERA portend that he's had some bad home run luck, but he also allows a lot of balls in the air with just a 38% ground ball rate. He's allowed just a .209 BABIP, which will come up with time.

Because the follower role helps with wins and the ERA is fine right now, holding on to Chirinos for now is understandable. But you may want to bail at the first sign of trouble.

 

Last Week's Updates

Player Last Week This Week Reasoning
Danny Jansen Cut Cut Showed signs of life with home runs May 17 & 19, but still struggling since and overall
Kiké Hernandez Cut Cut Continues to struggle while racking up the strikeouts (eight in 22 PA from May 17-24)
Marco Gonzales Cut Cut Tamed Texas, but still only three strikeouts; not worth the risk of headache
Miles Mikolas Cut Watch Out At Phillies next may quickly wipe out good feelings of strong start last time out
Jason Heyward Cut Cut Same player as last week; zero RBI since May 8 (until Saturday) not quite his fault but striking
Rougned Odor Watch Out Hold With Calhoun out too as well as Andrus, all jobs safe for now
Nomar Mazara Watch Out Hold See above
Asdrubal Cabrera Watch Out Hold See above

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