Ottoneu Cold Right Now: July 31, 2023

Much like Hot Right Now, Cold Right Now will be a weekly Ottoneu feature with a focus on players who are being dropped or who maybe should be dropped in Ottoneu leagues. Hot Right Now will focus on players up for auction, players recently added, and players generally performing well. Cold Right Now will have parallel two of those three sections:

  1. Injuries: Players who are being cut because of IL stints.
  2. Roster Cuts: Analysis of players with high cut% changes.
  3. Cold Performers: Players with a low P/G or P/IP in recent weeks.

There won’t be a corresponding section to Current Auctions because, well, there is nothing in cuts that correspond to current auctions.

Roster Cuts

Only two players were cut in more than 20% of leagues this week, so this will be a relatively short article.

Scott McGough, Leagues with Cut (7 days) – 24.04%

I might be entirely personally responsible for this level of cuts on McGough. I was intrigued by McGough pre-season, but then he was atrocious through the first half of April and was mostly off my radar. But from then until the All-Star break, he was brilliant, established himself as the Diamondbacks closer, and found himself on a large number of my teams.

Then he had another atrocious half month, and I am done. His last two outings have been good – 0.2 IP with a K and then 0.1 IP with a K – but the DBacks clearly don’t fully trust him anymore and neither do I. Even if he settles in again, I am out. The problem is while all relievers have bad days, and you just have to live with that, going 10-14 days on end getting lit up repeatedly just won’t work. And he’s now done that twice this year.

Shane Bieber, Leagues with Cut (7 days) – 22.44%

Bieber struggled this year, relative to what we expect from him, and still managed to stay on rosters until this week. But first he was hurt and then he was moved to the 60-day and if his season isn’t over, it is very nearly over.

You might be tempted to hold Bieber, given he no longer uses up a roster spot, but he is still eating up money. At the start of July, his average salary was over $33. It is now barely $31. And free agent Bieber’s don’t count as $0 or even as cap penalty prices in that average – so what we have seen is the higher-priced Biebers being jettisoned. Which makes sense – he isn’t a keeper at $35 given his performance, let alone new injury concerns, so why hold him if you need the cash?

The one argument I can make for holding Bieber is that there is good reason to think he will pitch well again next year. His velocity was fine and he has already demonstrated an ability to adjust to changes and find a way to succeed. That won’t make him a $35 keeper, but it might make him a good value at $20. If you don’t need the cash, you might be better off stashing him and dumping him in the off-season rather than letting a rebuilding team grab him cheap. If you do need the cash, though, that is a perfectly fine risk to take to clear up some cap space. I have cut one Bieber and held another for just those reasons.

Cold Performers

To measure cold performers this week, I’m looking for players with low P/G or P/IP in the last 30 days.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr., -2.0 P/G:

Putting up negative points on a per game basis is an impressive feat, in a way. Over that two week stretch, Gurriel has two singles and a double over 42 PA. He hasn’t walked once. On the other hand, his exit velocity is up, his hard-hit rate is up, his launch angle is fine, and he has just five strikeouts. His fly ball rate and ground ball rate are up, eating into his line drives, very likely just noise in this small sample. He isn’t hitting more pop-ups. His BABIP is .081.

This is just part of life with Lourdes. These valleys have happened before and will happen again and they are interspersed with equally impressive hot streaks. Bench him, but be patient and wait for him to get hot again.

George Springer, -0.83 P/G:

It’s not quite Gurriel-bad, but that is bad bad. Springer started the year cold, then got going, but has been pretty bad since mid-June and things are not looking better recently. This one frustrates me because I have always been lower than most on Springer and started to buy in, for the first time in his career really, when he was being cut loose early in the year. I rode the hot streak but now? Is it time to jump ship again?

Springer will turn 34 before the season ends and the combination of injuries and playing CF the last few years has likely taken a toll on his body. That said, he’s still hitting the ball hard and his plate discipline is solid. Things are trending in the wrong direction, including his lineup spot, which really hurts in points leagues.

I am not sure I am ready to cut him loose, but he has no long-term value and he probably shouldn’t be in your daily lineup. And if that is the case, well, why am I holding onto him? I guess I am just hoping for a dead cat bounce, pulling him back closer to this xwOBA. But if you wanted to cut, I wouldn’t blame you.

A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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9 months ago

It’s a pity for Bieber for the injuries he suffered as the season progressed