Roster Trending 7/1/14: Drop It Like It’s Hot

After perusing the most added list in CBS leagues yesterday, it’s time to jump to the other side and look at who you’re jettisoning from your roster. I typically find that fantasy owners are overreacting to a hitter’s slump or a poor start or two from a pitcher. However, this week it’s rather boring, with guys that did deserve to see a decline in ownership.

Chase Whitley – 53% last week, 25% this week

The rookie pinstriper posted a scintillating 2.56 ERA over his first seven starts, but fantasy owners couldn’t care less after he allowed 13 runs over his last two. That’s two more runs than he had given up over that seven-start stretch. Whitley’s fastball isn’t very good and his slider hasn’t been either. But his changeup is splendid, generating both swinging strikes and grounders at marks significantly above the league average. Combine that with good control and the seeds are there for optimism. However, he’s really no more than a deep mixed leaguer or AL-Only guy. In shallow leagues, he’s a borderline matchup play. As usual, a 53% ownership rate was too high, but his current 25% mark is a tad low. I think somewhere in the 30% range is reasonable.

Wei-Yin Chen – 67%, 51%

Chen is performing exactly as expected and quite similarly to how he has in his first two seasons. So it’s curious why his ownership has fallen so dramatically in a week. Ahhh of course, it’s because he allowed five runs in just 3.1 innings in his last start. He’s a pitcher, and just a mediocre one, so these things happen. I have no idea why his ownership rate was at 67% to begin with, so perhaps this last start has reminded fantasy owners that there are more exciting options on free agency.

Ronald Belisario – 30%, 15%

Well this one is no surprise. I guess 15% of leagues either have huge benches or owners on vacation that haven’t heard the news that Belisario has finally lost his closer gig. What’s interesting is that Belisario has actually posted the lowest SIERA mark in the entire White Sox bullpen! But a high BABIP, coupled with a sudden inability to strand baserunners, cost him his role. Of course, neither of those issues should be expected to continue, especially considering he’s never endured those problems in the past. But as we all know, managers don’t manage based on peripherals or the expectation that better results are coming. They manage based on what has already happened. The good news is that the Sox bullpen has no standout closer candidate. But since Belisario was never the prototypical closer, he may not get a chance to get the job back.

Kyle Gibson – 57%, 42%

Last week, I shared my thoughts on Gibson and he immediately goes out and allows just two runs over eight innings. Oddly, that wasn’t enough to keep fantasy owners from dropping him. Perhaps unlike Robin Ventura who is ignorant of Belisario’s expected ERA metrics, fantasy owners are looking at Gibson’s 4.27 SIERA and are underwhelmed. I don’t blame them. I think a 42% ownership rate is far more appropriate for a guy who has posted such a low strikeout rate.

Andrew Heaney – 86%, 72%

Typical. Everyone gets caught up in the hype, blindly picks up Heaney because they hear he’s a top prospect, then give him three whole starts before dropping him? He’s displayed good control, induced lots of grounders and generated a high rate of swinging strikes. What more do you want? Oh, results? That nearly 18% HR/FB rate isn’t going to remain that high, and once that regresses to a more normal level, his low LOB% will creep back up. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of his to begin with and 86% ownership was far too high, at least in a shallow league. But I think it’s silly to drop him after just three starts, especially when his peripherals are just dandy.

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.

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Ugh, had to drop Shelby Miller…he’s just been awful. I won’t regret this, right? Picked up Alexei to help while HanRam is out.


8 team league? LOL