Week 3 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.

A column like this can be a tricky thing so early in the year. We’re looking at a few dozen plate appearances or a couple of starts and trying to draw meaningful conclusions, and that’s just silly. So until we get a bit deeper into the season, bear that in mind.

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 3

Leonys Martin, OF, Seattle Mariners

Martin's sitting on a .120 BABIP, so there's certainly some noise in his awful start. But he's also not putting all that many balls in play, period. He's struck out 12 times and walked only once in his 38 trips to the plate. Like most of the hitters in Seattle, Martin is struggling right now. That isn't going to help him move up out of the bottom third of the order, where he's been slotted in every game so far. The veteran does have a couple of stolen bases, but he's just not providing anything else of value to fantasy owners at the moment.

 

Tommy Joseph, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies

Joseph had a little bit of sleeper buzz heading into 2017, but he's stumbled out of the gate. Again, a BABIP below the Mendoza line is certainly making things ugly here...and again, there are plenty of other troubling signs. Joseph has 10 strikeouts against only two walks, and just four hits to this point. His line currently sits at an uninspiring .156/.200/.281, and it would look even worse if he hadn't finally hit his first homer of the year on Friday. Joseph doesn't hit for average or run well (though he somehow has a stolen base to his credit already), so unless he's putting balls in the seat, he's of no use to you.

 

Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, Seattle Mariners

Iwakuma has a 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP through his first two starts of the season. That's good! He's also only punched out four batters while walking six in 12 innings. That's bad. Lest you think we can continue this Simpsons reference, there's really nothing else but bad news here. Iwakuma's velocity is down over two miles per hour from last season, which means he's averaging 85 on his heater. The veteran has been a solid fantasy performer over the last few years, but always had trouble with the long ball. That's not going to get any better if he's consistently throwing in the mid-80s. Neither is his pedestrian K rate, especially if he's no longer flashing pinpoint control. Get out while the getting's good.

 

The Hot Seat: Week 3

Blake Snell, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

Like Iwakuma, Snell's currently boasting solid ratios (3.18 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) that belie how poorly he has actually pitched thus far. The young lefty's already untenable walk rate has gotten even worse in his sophomore season, only now he's not striking anyone out. It's only two starts, but Snell's K% is literally half of what it was in 2016. That's, uh...concerning. And he's got the Red Sox and Astros to deal with this week. There's too much talent here to bail out just yet, but benching him seems like a wise decision.

 

Last Week

Byron Buxton still looks awful, and fantasy owners are quickly losing patience; he's the most dropped player on ESPN over the past week.

Mitch Moreland actually had a pretty good week, going 9-for-22 and hitting his first homer of the season on Saturday. He is still not very good.

Michael Pineda, of course, did his Jekyll and Hyde thing and took a perfect game into the seventh in his last start. He could do it again on Sunday against the struggling Cardinals, or he could give up eight runs in 2 1/3. With Pineda, everything is always on the table.

Sam Dyson has lost the closer role in Texas, but their bullpen is kind of a dumpster fire at present, so a couple of clean innings might put him right back in the driver's seat.