Week 16 Cut List: Players on the Chopping Block

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Welcome back to the Cut List. Each weekend from now until the end of the season, I’ll be offering my thoughts on players who don’t deserve to keep drawing a nonexistent salary on your fake baseball teams. As we go deeper into the season, expect this list to become more ruthless, but also note the widening of scope to include players who may still have trade value in many leagues.

In addition to the players on the Cut List, we'll also spotlight a player on the Hot Seat: Someone whose situation is worth monitoring, even if it’s not time to hit the ejector seat just yet. Without further ado, here are your Week 16 cut or trade candidates.

Let's get to it.

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The Cut List: Week 16

Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies

Story was pacing toward a 40 HR, 100 R, 100 RBI campaign as a rookie last year before injury ended his season. His follow-up performance has been…well, Homer Simpson said it best. Story’s hitting just .222/.301/.393, carrying a strikeout rate north of 35 percent, and has just three home runs since the end of May. In the Rockies’ first game coming back from the break, Story didn’t start. He came in as a pinch-hitter and stayed in the game at short after, striking out in both of his at-bats. It’s just one night, of course, but kicking off the second half with a game that’s emblematic of your first-half struggles...not a good look.

Matt Kemp, OF, Atlanta Braves

After homering for the second consecutive game, Kemp finished the month of May with a gaudy .345/.381/.613 line, 10 homers, and 55 R+RBI in 41 games. While nobody could have reasonably expected him to maintain that level of production, Kemp’s regression has been swift and brutal. He’s slashed a pitiful .220/.283/.315 with just two homers and 19 R+RBI over his last 35 contests. That he’s seen a drastic change in his batted ball profile during this extended slump (the dreaded ground ball spike) could just be Kemp’s notorious streakiness at work, or it could be injury-related. The veteran’s overall numbers still look good, and he’s a big name, so it’s likely he still holds a decent amount of trade value in most leagues.

Aaron Sanchez, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Sanchez has missed most of the season with blister problems, and he hasn’t been very good on the rare occasions he’s taken the mound.  Sanchez has logged just 32 innings across seven starts, posting a 3.94 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. He has just 22 strikeouts against 15 walks, and has allowed six homers. That’s after a decent showing on Friday against the Tigers – he permitted only one unearned run in six innings of work, but nine batters reached and he struck out just four. You probably tied up a valuable DL spot in stashing Sanchez all this time, but if an owner in your league is willing to pay something close to full freight on last year’s performance, it’s definitely worth thinking about. Sanchez was unlikely to repeat that showing even before blisters wrecked him, and we all know how annoyingly recurrent those can be.

 

The Hot Seat: Week 16

Johnny Cueto, SP, San Francisco Giants

Speaking of blisters, Cueto was just placed on disabled list on Saturday with a couple of his own. The smoke around the juiced ball theory (slicker with lower seams) continues to grow. He’s expected to miss just the minimum 10 days, but Cueto hasn’t been right all season. His performance (4.67 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) has been a microcosm of the Giants’ nightmarish 2017 season. Cueto is running his worst walk and homer rates since his rookie year back in 2008. To be fair, he’s been a reliable fantasy asset for most of the decade. Between his lackluster numbers and the DL stint, you’re unlikely to find much of a market for him right now, but keep an eye on how he does once he returns.

 

Last Week

Obviously not much has happened in the way of actual games since last week’s installment, so we’ll suspend the review portion of our program and cover last week’s Cut List dishonorees in an expanded edition next time around.

 

More Week 16 Lineup Prep