Week 5 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.

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The Cut List: Week 5

Curtis Granderson, OF, New York Mets

A year after logging the fourth 30 home run season of his career, Granderson has gone deep just once through 22 games. He’s hitting an atrocious .138/.186/.238 with just six runs scored on the year. A rash of injuries to teammates has kept Granderson in the starting lineup. That could change when everyone’s healthy, as Michael Conforto is forcing his way into an everyday role, Jay Bruce has been a consistent power threat, and Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda were hitting well before hitting the disabled list. Granderson is 36 and in his walk year, so the Mets should in theory have no qualms about benching him.

Devon Travis, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays

The book on Travis to this point has been that he can’t stay on the field, but he’s productive when he’s out there. That hasn’t been the case so far in 2017. Travis, like most of his compatriots in the Jays lineup, is scuffling at the plate. A .158 BABIP suggests he’s been unlucky, but he also has only three extra-base hits in 20 games. In particular, he’s struggled to catch up to fastballs in the early going, posting the worst results against heaters of any qualified hitter per FanGraphs’ pitch values. Given his injury history, there’s little point in rostering him if he’s not producing.

Jharel Cotton, SP, Oakland Athletics

After getting knocked around by the Astros on Friday night, Cotton is sitting on a 5.00 ERA and 1.59 WHIP through five starts. Strip out his game against the league-worst Royals and those already poor ratios balloon to 6.75 and 1.90. Cotton doesn’t appear to have a feel for his changeup right now, which is a problem since that’s by far his best pitch. As a result, his 5.7 K-BB% is among the worst marks of any qualified starter. If he weren’t doing a great job keeping the ball in the yard right now, things could be even uglier.

 

The Hot Seat: Week 5

Cole Hamels, SP, Texas Rangers

Hamels has established himself as a reliable workhorse over the last decade. Only six pitchers have logged more innings so far in 2017, and he’s got a 3.03 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. So what’s he doing in this spot? Simply put, all his indicators are terrifying. He’s pitching in the zone less than ever, while hitters are chasing less than ever. Hitters are also making more contact and hitting the ball further than ever before in Hamels’ career. All of that explains his ugly 1.25 K/BB and 2.3 K-BB%, and his .219 BABIP is bound to correct sooner or later. Maybe he’s pitching through injury. Whatever’s going on, fantasy owners would be wise to explore a trade before the bottom falls out.

 

Last Week

Brad Miller continues to draw walks at an impressive rate while not doing much of anything else. Still stuck on just one homer, and that came over two weeks ago.

Dansby Swanson isn’t this bad, and his .172 BABIP will rise eventually. That said, he was unlikely to stuff the stat sheet even before being demoted from the top of the order to the bottom. The Braves will be patient, but fantasy owners can be a little more ruthless in redraft formats.

Kevin Gausman is a mess. He has yet to log more than four strikeouts in a start after six tries, and has nearly as many walks (17) as punchouts (20). He’s also given up six homers in his last three turns. Oh, and his next two starts are against the Red Sox at Fenway and Nationals at home. Hard pass.

Russell Martin has gone deep twice in his last three games, probably because some poor bastard traded him in fantasy.

 


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