MLB: One Man's Trash... (Week 1)

MLB: One Man's Trash... (Week 1)

During the season, I'm going to look at some of the players being dropped by fantasy managers to see if their decisions were a little brash. Especially this early in the season with player evaluations up in the air, 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 aren't immediate adds besides possibly Givens. Instead, they will need the season to progress a couple of weeks in order to have roles and their playing time clear up.

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

Cavan Biggio (96 NFBC drops, -4% at CBS): The 27-year-old Biggio has played in all four games so far, but only has only five plate appearances. Santiago Espinal has split the time at second base and has eight plate appearances. Biggio's future was looking great after the short 2020 season when he was on a 162-game pace of 24 HR, 20 SB and a .240 AVG. Since then, it has

During the season, I'm going to look at some of the players being dropped by fantasy managers to see if their decisions were a little brash. Especially this early in the season with player evaluations up in the air, 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 aren't immediate adds besides possibly Givens. Instead, they will need the season to progress a couple of weeks in order to have roles and their playing time clear up.

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

Cavan Biggio (96 NFBC drops, -4% at CBS): The 27-year-old Biggio has played in all four games so far, but only has only five plate appearances. Santiago Espinal has split the time at second base and has eight plate appearances. Biggio's future was looking great after the short 2020 season when he was on a 162-game pace of 24 HR, 20 SB and a .240 AVG. Since then, it has been a 162-game pace of 14 HR, 6 SB and a .221 AVG. 

His 2021 struggles were possibly caused by a spring training finger injury that he never recovered from. The hope was that he'd come back in 2022 and be his old self. His .286/.414/.429 slash line in spring training gave his fantasy managers hope. All that hope now looks to be gone. But is it?

The team might just be working him in since he reported to the abbreviated spring training with a sprained elbow. He still might not be healthy, and may be a great delayed buying opportunity. No one will be targeting him, so wait until he starts hitting for power (monitor his one- to two-week rolling ISO) and then roster him. 

Riley Greene (89 NFBC drops, -4% at CBS): Dropping Greene is a reasonable action in the NFBC where there is no IL and just seven roster spots. Once healthy, he can't be ignored because he has the potential for a 20-20 season with a .300 AVG. He could easily be a league winner. 

The big bluff will be to find that sweet spot when he can be cheaply rostered but will just spend as little time as possible on the bench. Initial reports have him returning in 6-to-8 weeks but it could be even longer. I'd set a notification to check on his progress in four weeks and reevaluate the situation. 

Lane Thomas (81 NFBC drops, -3% at CBS): Thomas is being dropped because he's splitting time with Yadiel Hernandez in left-field. In just over 200 PA after being traded to the Nationals last season, he hit .270 AVG with 7 HR and 4 SB. The hope coming into the season was for him to just triple those counting stats and all would be great. They aren't going to triple with him splitting time. 

Thomas is not projected to be the better hitter. Steamer puts Thomas' projected OPS at .724 while Hernandez's is up at .751. Thomas was getting all the fantasy attention because of his stolen bases but Hernandez might be the better hitter. 

I see this situation working out two ways. First, they split time in left field and neither is fantasy relevant. 

The second, one of the two differentiates from the other one and takes the full-time job. This transition will not happen immediately, but by then, most people won't be noticing every change and the winner can be rostered on the cheap.

Starters

Brady Singer (114 NFBC drops, -4% at CBS): Singer lost out on the fifth rotation spot to Daniel Lynch, so Singer has been relegated to the bullpen. I'm not high on any of the Royals' young arms but I think Singer has the highest upside with his sinker-slider combination. Over his career, the slider has a 15% SwStr% and 50% GB%. The sinker isn't complete trash at 7% SwStr% and 52% GB%. The lack of a third pitch limits his upside, but his competition is falling flat on their faces.

Carlos Hernandez lasted four innings in his first start, allowing four runs while walking two batters while only striking out one. Kris Bubic didn't even last a full inning, allowing five runs to score while walking two batters and not striking out anyone. While Singer allowed four runs in three innings, at least he struck out three batters while keeping the ball on the ground (50% GB%).

While Singer has no value right now, he will get a shot at the rotation, so roster-and-bench him to see how he performs. 

Miles Mikolas (77 NFBC drops): The 33-year-old Mikolas struggled in his first start (3.2 IP, 2 R, 1 K, 2 BB). Those numbers are far from ideal, especially against the Pirates. Additionally, his velocity is down over 1 mph from last season. If everything were rainbows and unicorns, he wouldn't be getting dropped. 

These blowups are going to happen with a contact-heavy pitcher. They just get BABIP'd to death (.375 BABIP), but Mikolas has the advantage of having the league's best defense behind him.

Don't roster him for his next start against the Brewers, but Mikolas should be on everyone's radar to at least be a streaming option in shallower leagues.

Mitch Keller (72 NFBC drops): I might have been behind some of these Mitch Keller drops.

And a couple of those drops were mine (I liked Kyle Wright more than Keller).

Keller raised some heads by adding 3 mph to his fastball this offseason. 

The deal is that he struggled to stay in the strike zone in his start... again. He was just throwing and everything was high in the zone. He walked two batters and allowed six hits with a 2.00 single-game WHIP (1.74 for his career). 

I think he can take a step forward by not trying to place the ball in the zone and instead, just fill it up. The key is to make sure he doesn't throw over 50% fastballs. His slider is well above average and the added velocity makes his curveball acceptable. 

The path for more production is obvious, but it might take a few weeks for him to channel the added velocity to take a major step forward. 

Relievers

Mychal Givens (92 NFBC drops): I think Givens could end up with most of the high-leverage situations for the Cubs this season (1.8 leverage index, 1.1 is good, 1.4 is elite). Additionally, he has a strikeout rate of 13.5 K/9. He might not end up with 30 saves since the Cubs have a couple of other high-leverage options (David Robertson and Chris Martin). 

Givens could be in line for 10-to-20 saves and 5-to-10 wins. In some shallow leagues, this production won't be enough to be rostered, but in 12-team or deeper leagues, he's close to a must roster. If he gets a save and/or win this week, all the drops will be quickly scooped up. 

Jordan Hicks (77 NFBC drops): It's tough to know if Hicks should be a starter or reliever, so I added him to the relievers to keep Givens company. Hicks is being used as an opener and is not expected to go far into the game as reported on his player page.

Manager Oliver Marmol suggested that Hicks will be capped at around 45 pitches in that start, and the Cardinals aren't preparing for him to cover more than four innings in any outing until May.

While Hick's injury history should throw up some red flags, he's been a useful arm, especially out of the bullpen. His Friday start will show a lot about where his talent (and healthy) currently stand.  What is his fastball velocity? Is he throwing strikes? How far does he go into the game?

He's unrosterable until he's within spitting distance of a win, but it would be ideal to add him once he starts getting his pitch count up.

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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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