MLB: One Man's Trash... (Week 25)

MLB: One Man's Trash... (Week 25)

This article is part of our One Man's Trash series.

Throughout the season, I've been looking at some of the players being dropped by fantasy managers to see if their decisions were a little rash. Some of the players dropped will provide fantasy value going forward. Someone who will remain nameless decided it was a good idea to drop Robbie Ray and Tyler O'Neill last year in the first couple of weeks.

The players I'm looking at this week are a mix of immediate adds and those who are just a tweak or two away from taking a step forward.

For the information, I'm going to focus on players dropped at the NFBC and CBS. Both Yahoo and Fantrax's add and drop numbers are based on the past day or so and can be dominated by streaming starters. CBS and NFBC are based on the past week. 

As a general rule, I will stay away from injured players and just focus on players expected to play.

Hitters

Josh Jung (32 NFBC Drops, -3% at CBS)

I'm certain that Jung wouldn't have been on this drop list if there was more than a week left to go in the season. Usually, top prospects are highly sought after, and Jung's power potential would have kept him on teams, even if it was just the bench. His issue is that, for some teams, he could be a major drain on their batting average.

So far this season, he's hitting .229/.250/.500 with five homers and two steals. The problem is that he's showing

Throughout the season, I've been looking at some of the players being dropped by fantasy managers to see if their decisions were a little rash. Some of the players dropped will provide fantasy value going forward. Someone who will remain nameless decided it was a good idea to drop Robbie Ray and Tyler O'Neill last year in the first couple of weeks.

The players I'm looking at this week are a mix of immediate adds and those who are just a tweak or two away from taking a step forward.

For the information, I'm going to focus on players dropped at the NFBC and CBS. Both Yahoo and Fantrax's add and drop numbers are based on the past day or so and can be dominated by streaming starters. CBS and NFBC are based on the past week. 

As a general rule, I will stay away from injured players and just focus on players expected to play.

Hitters

Josh Jung (32 NFBC Drops, -3% at CBS)

I'm certain that Jung wouldn't have been on this drop list if there was more than a week left to go in the season. Usually, top prospects are highly sought after, and Jung's power potential would have kept him on teams, even if it was just the bench. His issue is that, for some teams, he could be a major drain on their batting average.

So far this season, he's hitting .229/.250/.500 with five homers and two steals. The problem is that he's showing no plate discipline, with a 40 percent strikeout rate and a 3 percent walk rate. He's making the free-swinging Javier Baez look like Joey Votto

Pitchers are just feeding him non-fastballs at a 60 percent clip, well above the league average of 51 percent. He struggles the most against sliders (32 percent seen, 21 percent swinging strike rate). With too many strikeouts and not enough walks, I'm tracking the rate of pitches he swings at out of the strike zone. Right now, he's at 38 percent, while the league average is 33 percent. If there's any improvement, it will be seen here first. 

Even with all the power in the world, Jung could struggle without plate discipline, just like Jo Adell (4 percent walk rate, 37 percent strikeout rate) and Aristides Aquino (6 percent walk rate, 37 percent strikeout rate). Speaking of Aquino...

Aristides Aquino (56 NFBC Drops, -3% at CBS)

Aquino seems to be a replacement-level hitter, as he was added in 17 NFBC leagues (one of them mine) in addition to his 56 drops. Aquino's lack of plate discipline (6 percent walk rate, 37 percent strikeout rate) makes him a streaky hitter who relies on the whims of BABIP to be productive. In August, he struggled to a .512 OPS, but he's up to a .796 OPS in September. 

The deal is that Aquino has shown some improvement with his plate discipline as the season has gone on.

 MonthK%BB%
April54%4%
May35%0%
June42%4%
JulyDNPDNP
August36%7%
September29%9%

Those final numbers are close to what Giancarlo Stanton (30 percent, 11 percent) and Byron Buxton (30 percent, 9 percent) have posted this season. 

While his plate discipline is in question, his power definitely isn't. In 756 career PA, he has a 21 percent HR/FB and a total of 41 home runs. 

Aquino's demand next season will be determined by how much people value his recent plate-discipline improvement. 

Jake Fraley (47 NFBC Drops, -4% at CBS)

Fraley will always seem to be in demand when fantasy managers extrapolate out his stats to a full season. In 159 career games, he has 20 homers and 16 steals to go with a .218/.326/.388 slash line. The deal is that almost all that damage is against righties. For his short career, he has a .843 OPS against righties and just a .493 OPS against lefties. No respectable major league manager is going to let him hit the 600 times in a season.

These platoon players are so tough to roster because they just don't supply the RBI and runs that full-time hitters do. They become streamers when they are scheduled to face several opposite-handed hitters. There will be exceptions every season (e.g. Seth Brown), but usually platoon batters need to be considered on a week-to-week basis. 

Josh Bell (23 NFBC Drops, -2% at CBS)

After posting a .877 OPS with the Nationals, Bell only has a .573 OPS with the Padres. While most of the dropoff is BABIP-driven (.324 to .220), the decline wouldn't be such a big deal if he wasn't also losing playing time. Over the last 10 games, he's only started five times. With the limited starts and batted ball struggles, he probably should have been a drop in all leagues considering there was no time for him to turn around his season. 

Bell seemed to change his approach at the plate after he was traded. His swing rate dropped from 48 percent to 41 percent. When he did swing, he's made less contact (83 percent to 78 percent). I'm not sure why he made the adjustment. 

While he shouldn't be on anyone's roster to end the season, it will be interesting to see how he gets valued next season depending on his role. 

Starters

Jose Suarez (65 NFBC Drops, -4% at CBS)

Suarez has been a surprise this season but probably ended up getting let go with just one start coming up against Texas. His season-long stats haven't been the best (8.6 K/9, 4.06 ERA, 3.93 xFIP, and 1.31 WHIP). However, he did make three major improvements as the season went on.

In the first half of the season, he posted a 5.60 ERA, 9.0 K/9 and 1.58 WHIP. Since then, he's cruised to a 2.84 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and 1.11 WHIP. The first major improvement was in mid-July, when he started throwing strikes, dropping his BB/9 from 4.4 to 1.7. 

Besides allowing fewer walks, he featured his slider more, a pitch which produced a 14 percent swinging strike rate. The final change was raising his groundball rate from 32 percent to 46 percent, thereby dropping his HR/9 from 1.8 to 0.6. 

I could see some scenarios where Suarez was used this week. The managers dropping him must have had better options. 

Brayan Bello (33 NFBC Drops)

Bello's drops came down to him having just one more start this season, which comes against the Blue Jays. These drops are specific to end-of-the-season roster decisions, when guys are rostered if they'll be starting the next week and are dropped otherwise. Just a handful few guys need to be stashed for next week's three games.

With Bello, there's been some good, some bad and very little in between. On the good side, a 56 percent groundball rate has him with a 0.2 HR/9. Additionally, his 8.6 K/9 is respectable considering all the groundballs. Finally, he's gotten better as the season has gone on, posting a 4.92 xFIP in the first half that dropped to 3.71 in the second. 

As for the bad, the walks are just a disaster at 4.2 BB/9 for the season. Even with some improvement, they still stand at 3.8 BB/9 in the second half. He'll also always have a high BABIP because he's a groundball pitcher. When the weak singles are paired with the walks, it leads to his insane 1.69 WHIP.

Bello's long-term fantasy value will be determined by him getting his walks under control.

JP Sears (28 NFBC Drops)

I never understood the hype around Sears. Maybe it was because he was available on the wire. Maybe it was because he had a 1.42 ERA in the season's first half (in just 19 innings) even though he had a low 6.6 K/9 and hadn't allowed a home run despite a merely average 44 percent groundball rate. The honeymoon came to an end in the second half, as he's posted a 5.40 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 1.51 WHIP.

It is so tough for a starter to be have much fantasy value with so few strikeouts even if he limits walks. His 9.0 percent K%-BB% is comparable to Chad Kuhl, Madison Bumgarner, and Zach Davies. Those three should not be rostered. Neither should Sears.

Any pitcher can have a three- or four-game stretch where they look great, but eventually, the ball will start dropping for hits. The results can then get ugly fast.

Reliever

Seranthony Dominguez (43 NFBC Drops, -2% at CBS)

I'm not sure why Dominguez was being dropped. He seemed to be the Phillies' closer and has posted great numbers (2.76 ERA, 10.8 K/9 and 1.04 WHIP). Jose Alvarado did get the team's last save and the Phillies haven't always used just one closer. Even with those considerations, I think some fantasy teams no longer needed saves and Dominguez was their worst closing option. 

It seemed like several other borderline guys were dropped like Brandon Hughes and Clay Holmes. Hell, some idiot even dropped Edwin Diaz in a couple of his leagues. 

Fantasy teams just have to do what is best for them in order to win their league.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Zimmerman
Zimmerman writes analytics-focused baseball and football articles for RotoWire. He is a three-time FSWA award winner, including the Football Writer of the Year and Best Football Print Article awards in 2016. The 2017 Tout Wars Mixed Auction champion and 2016 Tout Wars Head-to-Head champ, Zimmerman also contributes to FanGraphs.com, BaseballHQ and Baseball America.
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