• Another week gone, friends. It feels like yesterday I was doing mock drafts, and like tomorrow I’ll be writing team review’s. 162 games seems to go by in the time it takes to turn off a light. The tense CBA negotiations that went on in the first third of the year are now a distant memory, and it makes you chuckle a bit, the thought that we almost didn’t have any baseball at all this season.

    We do indeed have baseball, and teams will start to hit the halfway point of the regular season this week. There are about 10 weeks left in the fantasy season, depending on when your playoffs start, and I’m finding that certain players are still over- and under-rostered. We as fantasy managers tend to wait too long to move on from players, as we build an attachment to our rosters, and that hesitation can lead to missed opportunities on the waiver wire.

    Some of the guys that I’ll talk about cutting are injured and don’t have much of a chance at standard league value this year, while others are just underperforming and it is time to cut bait. On the other hand, some of the players that you should be adding are on a hot streak, while others can provide consistency on your rosters for the duration of the season.

    Let’s talk about five players that we should all be dropping, and five that shouldn’t be left on waivers much longer.

     

    Drops

    Mark Melancon (68% Yahoo, 32% ESPN)

    The Diamondbacks’ bullpen has been a bit of a mess, and the teams lack of success has led to minimal save chances for Melancon. He has just one in the last month (Ian Kennedy also has one in that time) and he’s become a liability for managers to carry around. He’s got career lows in K% (12.7), AVG (.309) and LOB% (51) and xFIP (4.53).

    He’s 37 years old and it seems like there isn’t much left in the tank. There are several better options available for saves, including one who I’ll talk about below. Yahoo managers in particular need to hit the drop button, before the other available closers are scooped up.

    Jack Flaherty (63% Yahoo, 70% ESPN)

    It’s been a total nightmare for Flaherty and his managers this season, as the 26 year old righty has only managed 8 IP on the season. First, it was shoulder inflammation, then it was dead arm, and now it’s a shoulder strain.

    He’s not expected to even pick up a baseball again until roughly the All-Star Break, and once he gets up to speed again, he’ll need a couple of rehab starts. The best-case scenario seems to be late August, early September and most fantasy managers cannot afford to take the zero for all that time.

    I suppose if you have an empty IL slot, it doesn’t hurt to hold on, but it’s very doubtful he has any standard league value this year. I’d much prefer to grab someone hot off the wire than wait for a miracle with Flaherty.

    Walker Buehler (87% Yahoo, 88% ESPN)

    Buehler was given a 10-12 week timeline after undergoing surgery on his elbow to repair a ligament and to remove bone spurs. That timeline would have him coming back in the first couple weeks of September, and it’ll likely take him a couple of starts to get himself back up to par.

    If he is able to come back during the fantasy season, it would be for an abbreviated start or two either in or right before the playoffs, a time when you need to have everyone on your team performing at a peak level, something that is nearly impossible for him to achieve this year.

    Max Muncy (78% Yahoo, 89% ESPN)

    It’s hard to explain the decline we have seen from the 31 year old Muncy, but there is no denying that he is not the same threat he’s been in years past. Now, we can attribute some of his troubles to his low BABIP (.193) but we’re getting to the point of the year where we have to stop looking at expected production and take a look at what a guy has actually done for you, and in Muncy’s case it’s not a lot.

    He’s batting .166 with 7 HR and 22 RBI. Muncy has never been a huge average guy (.233 for the career) but .166 is a total killer to your teams. We have held on this long in the hopes of a turnaround, but after three months, patience starts to run thin and there are far better bats available on every waiver wire.

    Yoan Moncada (45% Yahoo, 47% ESPN)

    Moncada hasn’t been on the field all that much in 2022. When he has played, he hasn’t been very impressive with a .189 batting average and three home runs in 122 ABs. He has struck out nearly 30% of the time while walking a career-low 4.8%, and his wRC+ is 50. Yikes.

    There is still promise for him in the future, but at a 3B position that’s not lacking in talent, Moncada should be dropped in favor of either a hot hand on the wire or someone who can provide more consistency. Unfortunately for Moncada drafters and White Sox fans, that is just about anybody not named Yoan Moncada.

     

    Pick-ups

    Juan Yepez (41% Yahoo, 16% ESPN)

    Yepez has been a consistent source of power stats since he was called up in early May. He’s got 10 HR, 47 R+RBI, and a .281 batting average. It also doesn’t hurt that he is in one of the best lineups in baseball, usually hitting behind Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. That’s a great way to ensure solid RBI numbers.

    He’s been red-hot as of late, with five home runs and 14 hits over his last 43 ABs. The only thing he doesn’t do is steal bases, but it’s a small concession for someone who contributes in the other four categories.

    Yepez is eligible at 1B, 3B, and OF on Yahoo (only 1B and OF on ESPN) and makes for a strong back-of-the-bench guy who is serviceable as either a starter in your lineup or as someone to plug in when one of your regulars has a day off.

    Santiago Espinal (36% Yahoo, 38% ESPN)

    This has been a breakout season for Espinal, and he is likely on his way to his first All-Star Game. He’s had a bit of a cold stretch recently but take it from me, as someone who watches nearly every Blue Jays game in its entirety, Santiago has been the victim of some horrendous strike calls which has led to him hitting .222 over the past two weeks.

    He has been a steady source of counting stats this season with 66 R+RBI, 6 HR and 3 SB from a second base position that isn’t very deep. His average has dropped down to .268 because of the touch stretch, but Espinal is very capable of batting .300, and he’s in one of the best lineups in baseball.

    He’s more than serviceable and should be rostered in nearly every league.

    Jack Suwinski (13% Yahoo, 5% ESPN) 

    Suwinski has shown fantastic power in his brief time in the majors, with 13 HR in 187 ABs. He’s also got the counting stats rolling with 53 R+RBI and a couple of steals, and with his great sprint speed we could start to see more. He’s never been a massive stolen base guy but he should be able to give you close to 10.

    He will be a bit of a drain on your AVG (currently .214), but his BABIP is currently only .250 and there will undoubtedly be some positive regression. He is a solid target for those of you who like to ride the hot, with five of those home runs coming in his last 42 ABs. There’s a good chance that he ends up with more value this season than his highly touted teammate Oneil Cruz, off of the home runs alone.

    Suwinski has a very good shot at hitting 25 out of the park this year and though he may not maintain his pace for the rest of the year, he is worth adding while he is hot.

    Alex Kirilloff (32% Yahoo, 28% ESPN)

    Kirilloff has been a different man since being recalled in mid-June, with a .275 average and 17 R+RBI in 15 games. He has legit power potential, with a 50.9% HardHit rate on the season, and we should start to see the ball leave the yard more as the season goes on.

    People forget now but he was actually very solid in 2021. He had eight homers and 34 RBI to go along with a .251 average in 215 at bats. The only thing in people’s minds is his slow start and demotion to begin this year.

    He wont play much against lefties, but with eligibility at 1B and OF and a very solid lineup around him, he can be a solid play in 12-plus team leagues.

    Paul Sewald (51% Yahoo, 20% ESPN)

    Sewald has been exceptional this year but is flying under the radar, evidenced by his low ownership. He has provided Top-100 value with his 2.83 ERA, .73 WHIP, three wins, and eight saves.

    Diego Castillo was getting the odd opportunity to close for a while, but Sewald is firmly in the closer role now. If you roster Mark Melancon or even Castillo still, you should be swapping them out for Sewald. It is baffling that some people as of right now are still holding onto Melancon when Sewald is available.

    There’s simply no other widely available closer, and no other reliever on the wire is having the type of season that he is.

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