Who to send packing ahead of Week 14

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The editors would like me to write a fantasy drops column this year, and we’ll roll it out to you every couple of weeks. Let’s establish some ground rules first.

One size never fits all with this stuff. What might be right for you might not be right for some. Season to taste. Outside advice is worth considering, but it’s just a suggestion. At the end of the day, it’s your decision. Make the best one you can.

In some leagues, you might be able to trade some of these drops. In other pools, that could be difficult or perhaps impossible. You know your league better than an outsider could.

One other concept to keep in mind — if you never make a regretful drop at some point in the season, you’re playing far too conservatively. Being afraid to make a mistake IS the mistake. The goal isn’t to bat 1.000; the goal is to have a positive hit rate, to get to the good stuff before your opponents do. And to achieve that, you need to make some cuts. If you want a tasty omelette, you gotta break some eggs.

OK, let’s get to it.

This is one of those regression cases several managers saw coming ahead of time. Sure, Sandoval posted a 2.91 ERA over 27 starts last year, but the under-the-hood stats didn’t validate him. Statcast data suggested a 3.91 ERA, and that 1.34 WHIP doesn’t jibe with the tidy ERA. When WHIP and ERA conflict, we tend to trust the WHIP.

Things are moving in the wrong direction this year. Sandoval’s control remains messy (3.6 BB/9), and his strikeout rate has dropped by almost six percent. His 4.57 ERA is in line with his 4.48 xERA — Sandoval can’t blame bad luck — and a 1.49 WHIP leaves a mark.

I realize reliable starting pitching is hard to find, but I’m not sure why Sandoval continues to roster around 46% in Yahoo leagues.

Not many Cardinals hit the ground running when the season started, but Gorman was a notable exception. Come the end of May, he was sitting on a .272/.360/.555 slash, with 13 homers and four steals. Cardinals voodoo strikes again.

Alas, since then, the National League has figured Gorman out. He’s at .143/.211/.229 for June, with 30 strikeouts in 70 at-bats. The Cardinals always considered Gorman a quasi-platoon guy, but it’s turned into a hard mandate in recent weeks. He hasn’t started against a lefty this month.

Gorman is also moving down the lineup. During his better days, he settled in as the team’s No. 3 hitter. In six of his last seven starts, he’s slotted sixth or lower. The Cardinals have several moving parts in their lineup, and Gorman is no longer considered one of the destination bats.

Although Gorman’s power is a little better this year, his .235/.319/.461 slash at the moment lines up close to his career stats. Perhaps the ordinary offensive player he looked like last year is the guy he’s likely to be going forward.

I wonder if this fight will last all year. I get it, Lynn struck out 16 batters in that wonderful turn at Seattle two weeks ago, but that’s an isolated appearance. If you look at his last six turns, that Mariners game was the only time Lynn helped your ratio stats in his recent appearances. The other five starts hash out this way: 25.2 IP, 36 H, 25 ER, 10 BB, 28 K, 8.77 ERA.

Lynn’s fastball clocks at 92.2 mph this season, a six-year low. Maybe that overall 6.47 ERA has an unlucky tint to it, but even if he were pitching to his 5.90 FIP or 4.73 xERA, those numbers don’t help us. And obviously, a 1.50 WHIP is hard to unsee.

Maybe this is what a cliff season looks at, as Lynn navigates his age-36 campaign. Perhaps it’s best if we merely ignore that 16-strikeout game, write it off as a fluke; it just doesn’t connect with the rest of Lynn’s 2023 results.

Alvarado was perhaps the most important Philadelphia reliever in the first quarter of the year, but an elbow injury cost him about a month. He’s been something of a carnival ride since his return: 9 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 8 BB, 13 K. He’s recorded one save in June, and the last five Phily saves have gone to someone else.

Perhaps Alvarado will continue to smooth your ratios, but he’s not a good saves bet at the moment. And given where his control is at right now, perhaps the elbow isn’t completely healthy. If your relief strategy is driven by saves over everything else, Alvarado has to be considered a possible cut.

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#send #packing #ahead #Week

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