Most MLB teams have played between 25 and 30 games this year now, which means the season is substantive enough to know which players are having good years—and which ones are not. Likewise, take a look at your team in the standings of your fantasy league, and if it is still scuffling, time has come today to overhaul your roster.
We do preach patience here for the first month of the season, but most hitters will have a hard time recovering from a sub-.200 start to the season. They may hit .250 the rest of the way to finish in the .240 range for the whole year, but you need more than that to win your league.
That’s just one example, statistically speaking, yet it’s symbolic of the fact that if you wait too long to change out struggling players in your lineup, it will be too late soon to make a difference in the overall season standings come September.
Players to Get on Your Team Now
1. Dwight Smith, Jr., OF, Baltimore Orioles: Look, he hit well enough in two cups of coffee with Toronto (2017-2018) to warrant an MLB job, and now he has one in Baltimore. In 104 at-bats with the Blue Jays, he posted an .833 OPS. Now, in 97 ABs with the Orioles, he has an .835 OPS. He is 26 years old, which is old for a “rookie”—but he has the blood lines. His dad should have been National League Rookie of the Year in 1989.
2. Frankie Montas, SP, Oakland Athletics: Where do the A’s find these guys? Montas was mediocre last year in 11 starts for Oakland (1.462 WHIP), but he’s turned a corner this spring already. His strikeouts are up; his walks are down. Montas also is giving up fewer hits per nine innings this year than ever before in his career. Those are good signs that in his age-26 season, he has put it all together finally.
3. Omar Narváez, C, Seattle Mariners: Good-hitting catchers are hard to find in fantasy baseball, and some old standby players are now getting old (see below). Enter Narváez. His OPS has gone up every season of his career now, and last year with the White Sox, he posted a 119 OPS+ in 97 games. This year, he’s full time in Seattle, and that OPS+ is now 135. If you need a reliable catcher, he may be the solution.
4. Héctor Neris, RP, Philadelphia Phillies: Need saves? Most owners often do, either due to injuries or ineffectiveness of the relievers already on the roster. Neris has 19 Ks in just 12 1/3 innings this year. He has just four saves, but with his numbers and the Phillies’ talent, he’s going to end up north of 30 total for the season. Just depends on when you grab him, how many of those will belong to your team in the standings.
Players to Drop to Waivers Now
1. Matt Shoemaker, SP, Toronto Blue Jays: This guy has to be the most unlucky pitcher in MLB. It seems like he always gets hurt. This year, he is leading the majors in WHIP and fewest hits allowed per nine innings, and he tears an ACL. Gone for the year. Drop him and pick someone else up, as soon as possible.
2. Cody Allen, RP, Cleveland Indians: Hopefully, you did not draft him anyway, but if you were desperate and did, it’s been painful. He lost his stuff last season, and now Allen is hurt, too, after losing his closer role in Cleveland. Let someone else risk it with him if and when he comes back from the disabled list. Closers come and go (see above).
3. Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants: For all his career accolades, Posey is losing it at age 32. Last year, he posted the worst OPS of his career, while hitting just five homers. This year, he’s hitting just .247 with one HR so far and an OPS even lower than last season. He is a streaky hitter, so it’s up to you. But remember not to keep veterans around when they stop producing just because they were once fantasy studs.
4. Jurickson Profar, UTL, Oakland Athletics: There were big expectations for Profar this year, after the A’s traded for him. We are not sure why, considering his .240 lifetime average after five seasons with the Rangers. Whatever he was last year (20 HRs, 77 RBI), he is not this year (.162 BA, .495 OPS). Hey, the Coliseum isn’t that bad of a hitters park.