Well, folks, we are past the MLB trade deadline, which means there are less than two months left in the regular season. If you are going to make a push for a championship, the time to pounce is now, making in-season management of your roster critical. Recently, we looked at some buy-low players that you could acquire to help you down the stretch. Today, we’ll look at a different roster-management question from the opposite end of the spectrum: which hitters should you sever ties with? These five hitters may have experienced high points at some part of the season, yet it is very unlikely you will get similar production from them from the rest of the season. Hey, maybe you could use the extra roster space provided here to add one of those buy-low players! Before someone beats you to the punch on these roster moves, let us dive into the five players that you should cut ties with!
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5 Hitters You Can Safely Drop
UTIL Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays
- Current Statistics: .215/.316/.350, .134 ISO, 7 HR, 3 SB, 83 wRC+, .294 wOBA
Remember when there was serious debate as to whether Cavan Biggio would be a more valuable Blue Jay than Vladimir Guerrero Jr. It is safe to say that this is no longer a debate. Drafted as the 54th overall player in Fantrax leagues, Biggio was invested in as a foundational piece of one’s roster, and by far had the highest expectation of any player on this list. Alas, things have not gone as planned for the 26-year-old.
With an 83 weighted-runs-created-plus (wRC+) and -0.1 fWAR, Biggio has not only been a well-below-average hitter, but a below-replacement level player in general. Really, there isn’t a category he’s providing you with significant value in. An overall passive approach (20% called strike) leads to him getting in a lot of two-strike counts, which is suboptimal given his problems hitting off-speed pitches; 33.3% whiff vs breaking balls, 50% vs offspeed. This has all resulted in a 26.9% strikeout rate and less power (5.8% barrel), the latter of which has taken a hit from a less pull-happy (34.1% pull) approach.
Right now, Biggio is hurting you in the batting average and power categories, is hitting at the bottom of Toronto’s lineup, and is currently on the 10-day injured list. At this point, expecting him to meet the investment made in him with a premium pick would be exhibiting a sunk-cost fallacy. The positional versatility is nice, but that feels like the icing on a cake that wasn’t fully baked.
OF Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers
- Current Statistics: .252/.296/.485, .233 ISO, 23 HR, 8 SB, 111 wRC+, .332 wOBA
As a rebuilding organization, the Rangers have the luxury of providing players of different backgrounds with the opportunity to play, hoping to find a diamond in the rough. We’ve seen this work for the Giants, Astros, and other teams in the past, so it was easy to buy into the idea that they had struck gold in Adolis Garcia. With a 166 wRC+ and 11 home runs in the month of May, the 28-year-old took home the AL Rookie of the Month award and became a highly-coveted fantasy asset.
Unfortunately with Garcia, there was always trepidation as to whether he’d be able to sustain that success. It isn’t impossible for hitters who strike out a lot and don’t walk much to be productive players, but the odds are generally stacked against them. Even during that hot stretch, his K-BB numbers (5.2%, 26.1% K) were not ideal. His strikeout rate currently sits at 30.6%, making it difficult for him to post a high batting average. Then, there are his statistics since May:
- .222/.272/.394, .172 ISO, 2 SB, 82 wRC+, 5.2% BB, 31.9% K, 82 wRC+, .288 wOBA
Compared to his overall numbers, this is a stark difference. Whether this is pitchers figuring out how to pitch to Garcia or him simply regressing to his true talent level, it is unlikely he gets back to his May form. Furthermore, the Rangers have overall run less as a team, and there will be fewer opportunities to score if he’s not getting on base, especially without Joey Gallo hitting behind him. Really, you’re keeping him on your team for some power, yet even that hasn’t been where you’d like it to be. The peak was fun, but sadly, all good things come to an end eventually.
3B/1B Patrick Wisdom, Chicago Cubs
- Current Statistics: .278/.342/.585, .307 ISO, 16 HR, 3 SB, 144 wRC+, .389 wOBA
For years, the Cardinals have been able to find hidden gems with an unparalleled type of consistency, compared to other teams in the league- “devil magic” as they called it. Yet, given how many former Cardinals have gone on to perform (Luke Voit, Randy Arozarena, Adolis Garcia), are we sure this magic isn’t now working in reverse? In that sense, Patrick Wisdom’s emergence is certainly helping.
As the 52nd pick in the 2012 MLB draft, Wisdom was seen as a future big-league contributor for the Cardinals, but after being cut loose by the team in 2019, it is actually the rival Cubs that have enjoyed his services. With Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo all being traded, it would make sense to immediately target him based on his overall numbers, right? Unfortunately, it is a bit more complicated than that. I expressed concern about Garcia’s strikeout rate, but Wisdom’s sits at 37.8%. Just to post a .278 batting average, he has relied on a .387 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), and with that likely to regress, so will the batting average. The same can be said about his 32% home run/fly ball rate, while I especially worry about his BABIP with his 58.3% pull rate, making him easier to defend.
Then, there is the fact that Wisdom, similarly to Garcia, hasn’t been able to sustain the hot stretch he experienced earlier in the season. In the month of July, his wRC+ slipped to .109, while his barrel rate and batting average dipped. That aligns with him seeing fewer fastballs (53% July vs 60%), which was to be expected; pitchers weren’t going to groove him fastballs forever. His overall numbers and increased playing time might make him an intriguing addition right now, but I’d be careful to not fall into that trap.
OF Tyler Naquin, Cincinnati Reds
- Current Statistics: .247/.312/.426, .179 ISO, 13 HR, 5 SB, 95 wRC+, .318 wOBA
Let me know if you have heard this before: a player surprises with a strong performance upon getting the opportunity to play, and eventually regresses over time. It has become a theme of this list, but with Tyler Naquin still rostered in 60% of Fantrax leagues, it is still a story worth telling.
When Naquin posted a 138 wRC+ in April with a .297 ISO, 17% barrel rate, I thought there might be something here. After all, this wasn’t a player who lacked talent. Rather, he had just been very unlucky when it comes to injuries, and he seemed to be gearing his approach to hit for power. Instead, he’s mustered just an 84 wRC+, .149 ISO, and a 7.7% barrel. Meanwhile, he’s started to lose playing time, and with more players (Nicholas Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, Nick Senzel) returning to the Reds shortly, the team may eventually run out of patience for him.
As someone who chases pitches out of the zone (37.7%) at the rate that Naquin does and makes contact at an average rate on those types of pitches, it was always going to be difficult for him to sustain his success. As a platoon player who could eventually be out of a starting spot altogether, it is unfortunately time to start wishing for April to come back. Heh, at least Aristedes Aquino is getting playing time!
C Yadier Molina, St.Louis Cardinals
- Current Statistics: .254/.295/.381, .127 ISO, 8 HR, 3 SB, 84 wRC+, .293 wOBA
Buster Posey’s resurgence this season has been one of the top storylines, but for two months, Yadier Molina also wanted to be part of the “old catchers’ party”. With a 120 wRC+ and .227 ISO in that span, he seemed to be well on his to doing just that! Then, he started to make too much contact.
Wait, what? Molina clearly was attempting to hit for more power early on, adopting a more aggressive swing. Yes, it led to a 16.5% swinging-strike rate, but it was coming with a boost in power, which was well worth it. Regrettably, he has reverted back to the player he was expected to be since then. Molina is making more contact (10.7% swinging strike) over the past two months but is it coming at the expense of power. His barrel rate during that time frame sits at a lowly 1.4%, while his ISO is down to .037. All of a sudden, he’s been the same hitter he’s been since the start of 2019- a catcher with a wRC+ about 15% lower than league average.
Does this sound like a player that should be rostered in 77% of Fantrax leagues? I’d much rather looks towards the likes of Mitch Garver, Max Stassi, or even Luis Torrens, who might need get the consistent playing time that Molina gets, yet provide significantly more power production. Is this the end for Molina? Hopefully not, but we have to make objective decisions with regards to our fantasy baseball teams if we want to aim for first place, and that might mean letting go of a potential future Hall of Famer.
Trust me, it is much more exciting to consistently write about undervalued players and be ultra-positive about every player. Sadly, if we are going to acquire those types of players, we’ll need to cut bait with some players to clear up roster space. In my opinion, these five players fit that bill. We’d love to continue to ride the high points with these players, but the good times may have come to an end for this season. Could these players surprise? Of course! That’s the beauty of fantasy sports! That said, as you look to make a championship push, these players might not be able to trusted. I hate to say “cut bait”, but, unfortunately, here we are!
Thanks for checking out this week’s article. Be sure to check out Eric Cross’s updated Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects.
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