Roster Trending: Drop It Like It’s Hot

Yesterday, I analyzed the five players most added in CBS leagues. Was the juice worth the squeeze? For the most part, no. Are fantasy owners also dropping players too hastily? It follows that if fantasy owners love to chase the hot player du jour, they also get too trigger happy when jettisoning players from their rosters. Let’s discuss the five most dropped non-injured players in CBS leagues. Are fantasy owners justified for their decisions and if these players are now available in your league, should you pounce?

Ricky Nolasco – 64% owned this week, 48% next week

Nolasco has made two starts so far with his new American League employer and allowed five runs in each. Although his fastball velocity is actually up from last year, it hasn’t translated into strikeouts or swings and misses. And what happened to his control? Obviously, a tiny sample, but he’s walked more batters than he’s struck out! That’s very unlike Nolasco. Of course, it was really just the result of his second start, as his control was fine in his first.

To hold Nolasco, you have to believe that last year’s neutral fortune for a change will continue, as he has had a history of underperforming his peripherals. On a bad Twins team and now in the American League, I’d side with the droppers, though I probably wouldn’t have drafted him in the first place. Actually, I shied away from him in all my auctions despite the bidding stopping short of my value.

Jorge de la Rosa – 42%, 30%

De la Rosa lucked his way into a sub-4.00 ERA last year, which likely inflated his ownership heading into the season. So naturally after two poor starts, fantasy owners are questioning their decision to put more stock in his ERA than his SIERA. The funny thing is that his velocity is way up to pre-2012 levels. That’s when he was a strikeout pitcher with a slight ground ball tilt. So although the results have been poor so far, I would actually bump his value up a bit now. I wouldn’t consider him in shallow mixed leagues, but he should be a relatively cheap buy low in NL-Only leagues.

Colby Rasmus – 55%, 45%

I guess two hits in 26 plate appearances is just too much for many fantasy owners to take. When combined with the huge uptick in strikeout rate Rasmus experienced last year, the contact trend looks troubling. But c’mon people, it’s been 23 at-bats. Although it’s quite humorous to look at that .087 batting average and .366 OPS, we know what he’s going to deliver. You’ll get a weak batting average, unless he gets some serious help from the BABIP fairy, and a decent home run total given his high fly ball and above average HR/FB rates. If you drafted him, this first week shouldn’t change your opinion whatsoever. He’s not my cup of tea, but if he was yours, he should still be yours.

Phil Hughes – 57%, 47%

Upon his move into the more pitcher friendly Target Field, the hope was that Hughes curbs his home run problem. With good control and an above average strikeout rate to go along with his extreme fly ball tendency, he’s almost like the new Scott Baker. The latter had some fantasy relevant seasons, but Hughes has struggled to strand runners at a respectable clip. If everything falls right, he could potentially post a sub-4.00 ERA. But, he’s merely an AL-Only starter as the risk for a blow up is far too great to trot him out in mixed leagues.

Brandon McCarthy – 36%, 27%

The results haven’t been there in two starts, but the velocity on his sinker has reached a career high and he peaked at 95.4 mph with the pitch. You have to go all the way back to 2007 to find the last time he breached the 94 mph mark with any pitch. So far, the sinker has generated a SwStk% of 5.7%, up from his career average of just 3.8%. That’s pretty significant given how frequently he throws it.

Unfortunately, none of his other pitches are any good in generating swings and misses. But you kinda figured that given his low strikeout rate. He already possesses sterling control and that sinker should induces lots of grounders. The bump in velocity could potentially get his strikeout rate back into the 6.0 range. He’s another cheap buy low option in NL-Only leagues, but doesn’t have enough strikeout rate upside to consider in mixed.

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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I’d stay away from all these guys, no matter how deep a league you’re in. The Twins made some awful investments…yikes.