Yesterday, I discussed the seven players whose ownership rate jumped the most in CBS leagues. Today, I’m going to check in on the dropped players. I often find opportunity here a pitchers coming off one bad start get jettisoned or a hitter in a cold spell are kicked to the curb. The dropped list is a bit tougher to analyze, though, as many of them were bitten by the injury bug and placed on the DL, or demoted to the minors. So I’m only going to include those that are healthy and remain in the Majors.
Yes, Dylan Covey is dealing with a hip issue, but that’s like a minor factor in his mass dropping. The 26-year-old has cut his ERA by more than half on the heels of a velocity jump. Those good results got him added in many a league. But he has been awful over his last two starts, walking nine batters combined, while striking out just three. His SIERA stands nearly a full run higher than his ERA, so it’s fair for fantasy owners to wonder if the magic has finally disappeared. The velocity spike is nice, but his strikeout rate is still sub-20%, his SwStk% is a puny 7.4%, and his control still needs work. The 60% ground ball rate is impressive, though. Fantasy owners are right to be dropping him.
I considered excluding Kelvin Herrera from the list, but he didn’t actually fit into the injury or demoted category, so I kept him here. His appearance is obvious as he loses almost all his value as a now set-up man. Sean Doolittle continues his superb performance, but he’s not exactly the model of good health. There’s no reason to bet on injury, of course, so Herrera could be dropped in all but AL-Only leagues if you’re an owner still hanging on. In mono leagues, solid middle relievers earn far more value than in shallow leagues, so Herrera isn’t worthless.
I’m selling him for anything in AL-Only and wouldn’t touch him in shallower.
I clearly struck a chord with his owners as the majority of the commenters came to his defense. So let’s check out his splits before and after my post:
|Pre-Article (11 starts)||2.85||4.22||16.2%||2.3%||0.246||7.9%|
|Post-Article (5 starts)||8.88||6.07||10.6%||11.5%||0.260||27.3%|
Unsurprisingly, Mengden couldn’t keep up the elite control, as he’s never shown such ability in the past (few have), his fortunate HR/FB rate skyrocketed, and his already unimpressive SIERA surged higher. Amazingly, he posted an 8.88 ERA even with a .260 BABIP! Like Covey, he should have never been owned in over 60% of leagues. Look past ERA and determine the sustainability of the underlying skills driving his SIERA. Even with a microscopic walk rate, his SIERA was still over 4.00 during his good run and there was no way that was going to last. A 46% ownership rate is still too high.
So Steven Wright is easy to explain. He allowed just one run in his first three starts, which got him scooped up in most leagues. Then reality hit and he got knocked around for 10 runs in just 3.1 innings in his last outing. Boom goes the dynamite. So naturally, everyone who picked him up after the good run dropped him just as fast. So he’s a knuckleballer who the rules don’t apply to, I could see an argument for holding on in AL-Only leagues. But anything shallower, he has no business being on a roster. His ownership rate should soon decline below 50%.
Filling in for the many injured Angels starters, Jaime Barria has been quite the pleasant surprise. He has been mostly good in his 10 starts, except for a six run clunker in his second to last start. That’s what likely got him dropped and his following outing in which he allowed just a run in five innings wasn’t enough to get him picked back up. I like the SwStk%, but oddly that hasn’t been enough to push his strikeout rate above the league average. I also love that both his slider and changeup have generated SwStk% marks in the high teens. It comes with a bad fastball though, which is often the case with non-elite starting pitcher prospects. There’s still more downside here given a SIERA nearly a run higher than his ERA, including a BABIP due to rise and LOB% destined to collapse. But, I seriously prefer him to the rest of the names above in AL-Only leagues.
In 2016, Tyler Anderson showed some interesting skills with excellent control and a ground ball tilt. In a home run haven such as Coors Field, the more grounders with no chance of leaving the park, the better. Sadly, his grounders have dried up, and his control has taken a step back. There haven’t been any recent blowups that would explain the ownership decline, but it shocks me that nearly half of all leagues owned a Rockies starter with an ERA nearing 5.00. You need to really wow me to get me to own a Rockies starters, even in NL-Only leagues, as the potential ratio damage is simply too great to risk.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.