Yesterday, I identified and discussed the five players most added in CBS Sports leagues. So today of course, I’ll check in on those players being dropped. Often I find the dropped players are better than the added players as fantasy owners love to weight the last two weeks of performance infinitely more than the player’s entire body of work. So let’s see if owners are making the right moves when dropping these guys.
Drew Smyly – 75% owned last week, 53% owned this week
What did I say about owners only looking at the last two weeks? Smyly has gotten the boot in many leagues after allowing nine runs over his last two starts. He still owns a respectable 3.88 SIERA, though that may be close to streamer material in shallower formats. Smyly was a popular sleeper choice as he shuttled from the bullpen back into the rotation this year, but fantasy owners may have forgotten that his skills would be in for a decline as a starting pitcher. His strike type percentages are similar to his first year when he started games and he’s actually throwing a higher percentage of strikes, but his walk rate has spiked. I think that will come down a bit, but he might remain a hot potato as he possesses a solid, albeit unspectacular skill set.
Rafael Montero – 43%, 24%
Surprise, surprise. Everyone picks up the recent hot rookie and then drop him when he has a bad start and their hopes of having uncovered the next Jose Fernandez are dashed. Montero was demoted to the minors, which was probably a slightly larger driver of the mass exodus, but he wasn’t really the type to pin your mixed league dreams on.
Clay Buchholz – 58%, 41%
Whether it’s been injury or the luck dragons taking back everything they gave Buchholz last year, he has been quite the disaster. His sudden ability to induce called strikes last year has predictable vanished and his swinging strike percentage is at a career low. His overall strike percentage is actually fine, and suggests his walk rate should come down some. However, the walks per nine rate is inflated due to that .384 BABIP which has extended innings and caused him to face more batters per inning. Since he was clearly lucky last year and it was the only time he’s ever even posted a SIERA below 4.00, it would be silly to continue holding him expecting any sort of rebound when he does eventually return from the DL.
Brandon McCarthy – 38%, 23%
McCarthy has been discussed a lot on these pages over the last month and a half and he still holds the highest HR/FB rate among all qualified starters in baseball. He’s never had such an issue before, so it’s curious. McCarthy was likely added in a lot of leagues after his two straight outings in which he allowed just one run in each, but then promptly dropped after following those up with two starts where he gave up five runs apiece. Something has gotta give here. Either his skill set is going to tumble and cause his SIERA to rise toward his ERA, or his fortunes are going to change and he’s going to be one of the best and most surprising performers over the rest of the season. Since I always bet on skills, I think he remains a prime buy candidate in all leagues.
Seth Smith – 65%, 52%
A career high BABIP driven by a Joey Vottoian zero infield fly balls, coupled with a career low strikeout rate and highest ISO has led to one of the quietest career seasons so far. Of course, Smith still doesn’t face lefties, so his fantasy upside is capped being a straight platoon player. His batted ball distance is slightly above the league average and not really at a level that would excite anyone. It’s hard to imagine him sustaining that 14% HR/FB rate and without much speed and a weak supporting cast, it means he still doesn’t have any real shallow mixed league value. I think his current ownership rate is right, but may still be too high.
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.