Week 4 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 handful of plate appearances or 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.

Editor's Note: Our friends at RT Sports have best ball leagues with no in-season management. Just draft your team, and that's it! Use your phone for this casual draft by getting emails or texts when you're on the clock. Sign Up Now!


The Cut List: Week 4

Brad Miller, 1B/2B/SS, Tampa Bay Rays

Miller came out of nowhere with a 30-homer season in 2016, but has gone deep just once in his first 19 games this year. The spikes in flyball and pull percentage that supported his power surge have evaporated, and he’s striking out in more than 30 percent of his trips to the plate. Miller had 29 home runs in his first three MLB seasons, so the smart money is on this being more than simply a slow start.

Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves

Swanson’s assured debut last summer had many fantasy owners targeting him in drafts this season, but he’s stumbled badly in the early going. While he’s been unlucky so far with a .163 BABIP, he’s only got two extra-base hits and has 18 strikeouts against just two walks in 70 plate appearances. Swanson has been dropped to eighth in the Braves’ lineup, which will hurt his counting stats. He was always more of a high-floor guy than high-upside, and it’s possible that the floor is lower than we expected.

Kevin Gausman, SP, Baltimore Orioles

The Gausman narrative to this point has been simple and consistent: Great fastball and splitter, awful slider and changeup, too many homers as a result. So far this season, though, he’s throwing more sliders at the expense of the splitter, and it’s gone about as poorly as you might expect. Gausman posted a 23.0 K% and 6.2 BB% in 2016; this year, he’s sitting at 14.0% and 12.9%, respectively. If you’re looking for positives, he’s only given up one homer in four starts. We’ll see if that holds with a start against Boston this afternoon.


The Hot Seat: Week 4

Russell Martin, C, Toronto Blue Jays

Like pretty much everyone on the Blue Jays roster, Martin has been awful so far. He’s hitting a paltry .159/.315/.250 with just one RBI. Of course, he’s struggled like this in April numerous times, including last season. Through May 24 last year, Martin hit .172/.243/.180 with only one (!) extra-base hit, a double. Then, immediately after a certain handsome fantasy writer traded him, he hit two homers in one game and slashed .252/.367/.477 the rest of the way, helping the guy I traded him to finish just ahead of me for second place. Moral of the story: You may regret giving up on him this early. Also, Russell Martin can go to hell.


Last Week

Leonys Martin has continued to struggle at the plate, and has been benched in favor of some guy named Guillermo Heredia the last two games. That’s a paddlin’. (Martin was designated for assignment less than an hour after this article was published. - Ed.)

Tommy Joseph had his best game of the season on Thursday, going 3-for-4 with a double, run scored, and RBI. Otherwise, he hasn’t done much and is still looking for his second home run of the year.

Hisashi Iwakuma got rocked by the Rangers last Sunday, and was lucky to only allow three runs to the Athletics in his last start. He has nine strikeouts and ten walks in 20 1/3 innings, and his velocity is still down.

Blake Snell now has 15 strikeouts and 15 walks in his first four starts, in which he has pitched past the fifth inning exactly once. Most recently, he walked five and allowed two homers in a loss to the Astros. Not great, Bob!

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