Ottoneu Cold Right Now: May 28, 2024

Cold Right Now (CRN) is a weekly Ottoneu feature focused on players being dropped or who should be dropped in Ottoneu leagues. In this feature we will break down players into three sections:

  1. Roster Cuts: Analysis of players who have been cut in a high percentage of leagues.
  2. Recent Injuries: A look at the implications of recent injuries (not all, just some high-profile ones).
  3. Cold Performers: Players with a low P/G or P/IP in recent weeks.

This article will typically run once per week and will help fantasy managers keep track of players that need to be given extra attention to improve rosters.

Roster Cuts

Garrett Whitlock, Leagues with a Cut (7 days): 39.4%

This is really a shame, because Whitlock was delivering on his promise. Yes, it was only four starts and 18.1 IP, but he had a sub-2 ERA! I know his underlying performance doesn’t match that ERA, but even under the hood, it looked like he was turning into a solid mid-rotation-type SP. That doesn’t have a ton of fantasy value, but it was still exciting to see. Instead, we won’t see him again this year, as he is undergoing an internal brace procedure on his elbow. All of that makes him an easy cut in Ottoneu leagues – there is just no reason to hold that profile all season and off-season.

Xander Bogaerts, Leagues with a Cut (7 days) – 38.8%

Another one that is a shame, for totally different reasons. Bogaerts was off to a terrible start, which happened last year, as well, but over the last 9 days leading up to his injury, he had a 144 wRC+. He was hitting the ball harder and getting real results – no BABIP-inflated hot streak here. That brief showing isn’t enough to say he was back or that he would be back, but it was a good sign from a talented hitter who put up a stellar second half after a year ago after a similarly bad start. Now he has a fractured shoulder (first of all, that sounds really unpleasant) and is expected to miss 2-3 months. That leaves him sidelined until at least late July and maybe late August. So I get cutting him.

But I’ll be putting him on watchlist and if I need MI help in August, I will look towards him. Bogaerts showed in the second half last year that he can still hit. He could be a nice late-season pickup that costs only cap space.

Robert Stephenson, Leagues with a Cut (7 days) – 30.6%

Last week, he was in the Hot Right Now, as managers were reauctioning him to reduce cap penalties. Well, those guys end up in the Cold Right Now when those auctions end. And here he is.

Eloy Jiménez, Leagues with a Cut (7 days) – 23.8%

What else is there to say about Eloy? We all know how talented he is and the kind of offensive performance he is capable of. But he is hurt, again, and will miss another month with this hamstring injury. And we are also now on 635 PA over two seasons of .318 wOBA. That, to be blunt, isn’t good enough. And maybe he just can’t get in a rhythm with all this missed time, but maybe the injuries have just taken their toll and he isn’t capable of what he once was.

If you need cap space, he is an easy cut. If you don’t need cap space, I can understand waiting (again) but when you bought him, you were hoping for all-star level production and I don’t think you can assume that he’ll provide that, even when healthy. I had him on one team, I cut him during the last injury, and someone else picked him up. I am glad to be done.

Injuries

Ronald Acuña Jr. – Torn ACL

You knew this would be here and he’ll be in this article again next week, as the cuts have already started rolling in. Acuña tore his other ACL and will be out the rest of 2024. He’ll be back in 2025, but who knows if he’ll be back to start 2025. Last time he tore his ACL, it was late July and he was back by late April. This injury happened almost two months earlier, so opening day seems like it might be a possibility, but that is just speculation at this point. You also have to consider that 2022, coming off that surgery, was a down year for Acuña. With one freshly-repaired knee and another that was repaired a few years back, it isn’t hard to imagine 2025 being a down year, as well (especially given how 2024 started).

As a result, his $60+ pricetag right now simply isn’t something you want to hold on your roster. He isn’t a keep for 2025 at that price and he’s eating up valuable cap space right now. He’s a cut. And it sucks.

Cristian Javier – Forearm discomfort

Javier hit the 15-day IL and while “forearm discomfort” isn’t inherently problematic, it is often the precursor to Tommy John Surgery. But that is getting ahead of ourselves. For now, Javier is injured, and it is more instructive to look back. Because over his last 196.2 IP, dating back to the start of 2023, he hasn’t been good. And that is making his 2022 look like more and more of an outlier. If you roster Javier and need innings, I wouldn’t rush to cut him. But I wouldn’t feel bad letting him go. And making that move quickly might increase the likelihood that someone else picks him up and clears a cap penalty for you.

old Performers

Cold performers are marked by measuring low P/G or P/IP in the last 14 days.

Evan Carter, -2.0 P/G

Man, was I excited about Evan Carter in the off-season. And last season. And even the season before that. And boy has he disappointed. I was curious if maybe he was seeing a different pitch mix, but that isn’t really the issue – his performance has been much worse against all pitch types. He is making more contact this year, bringing down his K%, but he is chasing more and swinging in the zone less, which may be contributing to much lower hard-hit and barrel-rates.

Last year, in 75 PA, Carter had exactly two balls in play on pitches outside the zone. In 162 PA this year, he has 13. Those balls are not as easy to punish (he has 0 barrels on those 13 balls in play). Carter still has a low chase rate at 21.6%, but he may benefit from being more aggressive in the zone and putting more of those pitches in play, ideally leading to fewer PA in which he has to swing at pitches he can’t hit hard.

Edouard Julien, -0.8 P/G

Julien was due for a correction on his BABIP and HR/FB rates from 2023. but things have not gone at all as I expected or hoped. He’s striking out more and walking less. His hard-hit rate is down, but his barrel rate looks fine. And last night he went 2-2 with a walk, so maybe he is turning things around? I am not ready to cut him.

Edwin Díaz, -3.5 P/IP

Things seemed pretty much fine until 10 days ago. Maybe not peak-Edwin-Díaz-good, but not bad. He started the year with 15.2 IP, 13.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, and a 2.30 ERA. A high HR/FB rate (21.4%) left him with a 3.44 FIP and a 2.22 xFIP and it felt like either the HR would come down or the runs would pile up.

Well, the HR didn’t come down. Since then he has allowed two more HR in 4.1 IP, and has exacerbated it by walking three hitters, as well. I think Diaz is too talented for this to continue, so I would probably hold him, but I can understand why you might want to bail. Ben Clemens wrote a great piece a week ago that does a nice job of diagnosing what is going on with Díaz and it sounds like a fix should be feasible, but you might have to wait for it.

 





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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CC AFCmember
17 days ago

I hate the acuna situation. I don’t want to cut him because I don’t want to give someone else the chance to pick up for $30 something and have an amazing keeper. And I don’t need $60 worth of cap space. There’s nothing to spend that on right now. I may cut him later but I’m not going to do it before I have something spend the $$ on.

artiefufkinmember
16 days ago
Reply to  CC AFC

Someone will have a good keeper but will also have a lot of their money tied up on an injured player this season.

CC AFCmember
16 days ago
Reply to  artiefufkin

Yeah, but there’s already rebuilding teams. Or teams that will start rebuilding soon. I think that’s true in most leagues at this point. They could get him in without changing the dynamics for 2024 much

O'Kieboomermember
16 days ago
Reply to  CC AFC

No way he gets thru waivers under $40 in any active/serious league, and there will be a lot of question marks on the guy with two rebuilt knees going into 2025. Good gamble for a rebuilding team but no reason to hold if you’re competing.