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Well-Known Fantasy Baseball Players - Drop, Hold, or Sell Low? (Week 12)

Josh Lowe - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, MLB News

Sometimes the hardest decision that fantasy managers will have to make throughout the year is whether or not to drop well-known players. That has occurred all season long so far, as many managers contemplated dropping veterans like Paul Goldschmidt and Bo Bichette after their early season struggles.

This week, we will look at five more well-known players and determine what to do with them in fantasy. These players are all highly rostered in all formats, so dropping them could be a really tough choice.

So, let's dive in and find out what fantasy managers should do with these five stars. If you have any other drop questions this week, feel free to reach out to me on X (@joeypollizze).

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

OF, Josh Lowe - Tampa Bay Rays

It has been frustrating to roster Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Josh Lowe this season. He started the year on the injured list after injuring his oblique in spring training. That caused Lowe to miss the first 35 games of the year. However, given his breakout 2023 campaign, he was worth a spot in one of your IL slots. 

Now, though, fantasy managers are wondering what to do with the Rays outfielder. Since making his season debut on May 6, Lowe is batting just .213 with two home runs, five doubles, and four RBI. He also spent another stint on the IL in late May/early June with an oblique issue. Things are certainly not trending up for Lowe either, as he has sat out three of the past six games since returning from his second oblique injury on June 4.

Nonetheless, fantasy managers should not give up on Lowe just yet in fantasy. The 26-year-old broke out last year behind a 20-home run, 83-RBI, and 32-stolen base season. While the start of his year hasn't gone according to plan, it's best to remain patient with the young outfielder. The upside and potential is there for him to put up big numbers in the second half. That's why you should be holding him in fantasy right now.

 

RP, Edwin Diaz - New York Mets

Like Lowe, it hasn't been easy to roster New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz in fantasy this season. After missing the entire 2023 season with a knee injury, Diaz has been shaky in the bullpen for the Mets in 2024. He has blown four saves already while currently owning a 5.40 ERA. The right-hander is also on the IL with a shoulder injury, so his rostership continues to decline.

It has been a wild season so far for Diaz, especially considering what he did during the 2022 campaign. He totaled 32 saves and 118 strikeouts while finishing ninth in the National League Cy Young voting. But a year off from pitching has showcased some rust from the right-hander.

However, fantasy managers shouldn't give up on Diaz just yet. Keep him in one of your IL slots for now, and see how he looks in his first couple of appearances back. Maybe the time off while rehabbing his shoulder will help him the rest of the season. As a result, he is a hold in all fantasy leagues right now because of his potential to be the closer he was two years ago.

 

OF, Tyler O'Neill - Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox outfielder Tyler O'Neill was the hottest hitter in baseball to begin the season. Through the first 20 games, O'Neill was hitting .329 with nine HRs, one double, and 12 RBI. However, the slugging outfielder has cooled off significantly since then.  He is batting just .186 (16-for-86) over the last 24 games with two home runs, six RBI, and 40 strikeouts.

On top of that cold streak, O'Neill has battled injuries during the past month. He landed on the injured list on May 29 (retroactive to May 26) with right knee inflammation that caused him to miss 10 games. But, only days after his return, the 28-year-old re-injured that same knee. He has been out of the lineup for the Red Sox in two straight games and could miss more time if his knee doesn't progress.

With the recent slump at the plate and his knee injury, he is worth selling low in fantasy right now. His season numbers aren't terrible -- .250 average, 11 HRs, and 18 RBI -- so you might be able to get more than you think for the Red Sox slugger. His metrics are also great, as he ranks in the top half of the league in expected slugging (.499), barrel rate (17.7%), and walk rate (12.7%). However, injuries continue to be a factor in his career, so it's best to trade him now while he has some value. O'Neill has only played over 100 games once in his six-year career.

 

SP, Bailey Ober - Minnesota Twins 

Those who drafted Minnesota Twins pitcher Bailey Ober before the season had high hopes for him in 2024. He finished the 2023 campaign with a 3.43 ERA, and that consistency was important for fantasy managers. However, Ober has been anything but consistent in 2024.

After giving up eight runs in his first start of the year, the right-hander bounced back nicely by giving up two runs or fewer in his next four starts. Just when fantasy managers thought the Twins pitcher was turning a corner, though, he delivered a subpar performance against the Chicago White Sox, giving up four earned runs across six innings. Since that start against the White Sox, Ober has a 5.71 ERA over his last eight outings.

It has been tough to start Ober in fantasy recently, especially since he has given up at least four earned runs in three of his past five outings. The strikeouts also don't appear to be there, as the 28-year-old has struck out more than five batters just twice since May 1. Still, fantasy managers should not be panicking about the 6-foot-9 right-hander just yet. He is a hold in most formats right now due to his upside atop Minnesota's rotation. A start against the Oakland A's in Week 12 should get him back on track.

 

OF, Taylor Ward - Los Angeles Angels

The last player we will talk about here is Los Angeles Angels outfielder Taylor Ward. Ward started the season red-hot after hitting .312 with six HRs, two doubles, and 21 RBI in the first 18 games. Nonetheless, the past month and a half has not been kind to the 30-year-old veteran. 

Ward is batting just .216 with five HRs, nine doubles, and 13 RBI over the past 46 games -- dating back to April 18. With that recent cold stretch at the plate, he has lowered his average to .247 on the season with 11 HRs, 11 doubles, and 34 RBI. Those numbers are not bad by any means for the outfielder, considering he is on pace to finish with career numbers.

With the Angels also not in contention and Ward on a one-year contract, there is a strong chance we could see him traded at the deadline. That would certainly boost his fantasy value, especially if he lands with a team like the Atlanta Braves. Despite being in a recent slump at the plate, fantasy managers should hold Ward for a couple more weeks to see if things turn around for him. If not, he could be a potential drop candidate in 10-team leagues.



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