Week 18 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 18 cut or trade candidates.

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The Cut List: Week 18

Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Washington Nationals

A white-hot start propelled Zimmerman to universal ownership in April, but his overall season line is still being propped up by that early production. Since the end of May, the veteran is hitting just .255/.297/.429 with seven homers. His run production remains solid by virtue of hitting in the middle of the excellent Nationals’ lineup, but Zimmerman’s numbers have declined across the board each month. He’s also seen a sharp uptick in strikeouts in recent weeks.

Scott Schebler, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Schebler homered on Friday. It was the first time he’d done so in three weeks. In July, the 26-year-old is hitting an execrable .145/.211/.301. The lack of production can partly be blamed on a .167 BABIP, but that mark isn’t entirely unearned – Schebler’s hit a ton of pop-ups and is clearly out of whack at the plate. His walk rate has cratered while his strikeout rate has soared. Manager Bryan Price suggested that a shoulder injury Schebler suffered in June has played a role in his slump. Whatever the cause, Schebler simply isn’t getting it done right now.

J.A. Happ, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Happ was a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners in 2016, winning 20 games with solid ratios and enough strikeouts to not be an anchor in that category. This season has seen a predictable regression for the veteran lefty. He missed six weeks with an elbow injury earlier in the season, and hasn’t been especially effective when healthy. While most of his peripherals are in line with last season, Happ has had a lot of trouble keeping the ball in the yard all year. He’s also had some command issues in recent weeks. The Blue Jays’ collective struggles aren’t helping matters, as Happ is just 3-8 on the season.

 

The Hot Seat: Week 18

Josh Donaldson, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

Donaldson’s home run on Thursday was just his second since June 11. In that same span, he’s collected multiple hits in just four games. It all adds up to a pathetic .193/.331/.279 slash line during this extended slump. Donaldson is running career worst rates in strikeouts and pop-ups, and is also making less authoritative contact than usual. It seems clear that he’s playing through injury. Given the pedigree here, it would be foolish to completely write him off, but things are looking bleak right now.

 

Last Week

Ian Kinsler kicked off the week with a couple of multi-hit games, though he’s just 2-for-17 since.

Carlos Gonzalez has an eight-game hitting streak going, and even stole a base on Saturday. Still hasn’t homered since June 20, and most of those eight games were of the “1-for-4 with a single” variety.

John Lackey had a decent game against the White Sox, pitching five innings with two runs allowed and five strikeouts. He’s on the mound against the Brewers today.

Steven Matz, meanwhile, gave up six runs in three innings…against the Padres...at Petco. Yikes.

 

More Week 18 Lineup Prep