Week 2 Cut List: Players on the Chopping Block

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Welcome to the inaugural edition of the 2017 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.

A column like this can be a tricky thing so early in the year. We’re looking at maybe 25 plate appearances and one or two starts and trying to draw meaningful conclusions, and that’s just silly. So until we get a bit deeper into the season, this space will likely feature me mostly doubling down on my preseason valuations and yelling at you for rostering guys I dislike who are off to crummy starts. If only you’d listened the first time.

In addition to the players on the Cut List, we'll also spotlight a player on the Hot Seat: Someone who may not be a cut yet, but whose leash is extremely short.

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The Cut List: Week 2

Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

Cut in: Points leagues, shallow mixers

That said, we’ll start off with a player who doesn’t fall into the aforementioned category. Buxton is just 23 years old, and boasts pedigree and tools that still seem like they ought to translate into a quality major leaguer at some point. Unfortunately, he has been – and I want to use the technical term here – complete garbage so far.

Buxton finally got his first extra base hit of the season on Saturday, and it was only the third time he’d reached base in 23 plate appearances. He’s already struck out 13 times. Given that this is an area in which he’s consistently had trouble, and one that stabilizes relatively quickly, the tiny sample might be more telling than it would normally be.

 

Mitch Moreland, 1B, Boston Red Sox

Cut in: All but deep and AL-only leagues

Going from David Ortiz in the cleanup spot to Moreland is like having dinner at Eleven Madison Park one night, and going to Golden Corral the next. It’s like attending to a double feature that screens The Godfather and then Troll 2. It’s reading 1984 and then picking up Fifty Shades of Grey, or listening to Mingus Ah Um before spinning anything by Nickelback.

What I’m trying to say, here, is that Moreland is bad. He has exceeded 60 RBI one time, never scored more than 60 runs, and is a career .253 hitter. If he ends the season as Boston’s cleanup hitter, or even as their starting first baseman, it will be a shock.

 

Michael Pineda, SP, New York Yankees

Cut in: Standard mixers

It was only one start, but Pineda’s 2017 debut looked a lot like his disappointing 2016. He racked up strikeouts and avoided issuing a free pass, but was tagged for eight hits (including a home run) and failed to make it out of the fourth inning. He still needs better command, he still needs a third pitch, and he still needs to get the hell out of Yankee Stadium, where he gives up three times as many homers as he does anywhere else.

 

The Hot Seat: Week 2

Sam Dyson, RP, Texas Rangers

On thin ice in: Points leagues, shallow mixers

It’s never a good sign when the manager is forced to issue a vote of confidence for his closer in the season’s first week. Dyson has pitched twice so far this season, facing 12 batters. Nine of them reached base, and eight of them scored. You may be shocked to learn that the Rangers did not win either game, and that Dyson was saddled with the loss in both contests.

Texas went through a similar situation last season with Shawn Tolleson, who had been fantastic as the closer in 2015 and is now a person who, when you plug his name into Google, one of the related searches is “where is Shawn Tolleson.” Entering the year, Dyson was a mid-tier fantasy closer at best due to his lack of strikeout upside, and there are multiple potential usurpers to his throne.