2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 1 Drop List: Moving On

by Dennis Sosic
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 1 Drop List

Every Fantasy owner should know that being successful with the waiver wire is the most important component to winning a Fantasy championship. Regardless of how you perceive your team, you can make it even more successful by adding the best players off the waiver wire. Additionally, this strategy also assists you in blocking your opponents from picking up players that would make their teams stronger.

There are countless sites and services that provide advice on which players to add, player waiver priority, and how much to bid on a player in FAAB. Can you guess what part of that equation is missing? Now the Fantasy owner has to ask themselves, who do I drop to add this hot player off the waiver wire? Well, that's where I come in.

I will be providing a weekly article showcasing which players (other than those players on the DL) don't deserve to keep a roster spot on your team. Wasting a roster spot on your Fantasy team is forbidden and it prevents you from picking up players who could help you right now. There are better and higher upside options available, so let's take a look at five players that you should definitely move on from.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 1 Drop List

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Brad Brach, RP, Baltimore Orioles

Brad Brach was assumed to be the Orioles' primary closer in the absence of Zach Britton, who went underwent surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles tendon. The latest is that Britton will not be back until possibly after the All-Star Break. Brach played the closer's role several times last season as Britton missed significant with other injuries. He posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 68 innings while recording 18 saves last season.  Over the last three seasons, Brach has compiled 21 saves, the most on the team behind Britton, in 33 opportunities. That comes out to a horrible 63.6 percent save rate.

Last season, Brach saw his K/9 drop from 10.48 to 9.26, his BB/9 jump from 2.85 to 3.4. Additionally, his O-Wing% dropped from a career-high of 37.9 percent in 2016 to 30.3 percent in 2017. Unfortunately, on Opening Day, Brach couldn't hold a two-run ninth inning lead. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks for his first blown save of the season. Manager Buck Showalter has now decided that Brach will split save opportunities with Darren O'Day and Mychal Givens. O'Day is a veteran with closing experience. Givens is coming off of the best season of his career. He posted a 10.07 K/9 and he did it while boasting a 2.86 BB/9, a marked improvement from 2016 (4.34 BB/9).

The remaining issue with Brad Brach is that if the Orioles do not win early and a lot, there will be a fire sale in Baltimore. Brach would definitely be a trade piece if the Orioles fall out of contention. He will be used in a set-up role making him less valuable in Fantasy than he is now.

Drop Brad Brach and Pick Up Hunter Strickland, Giants; Brad Boxberger, Diamondbacks; Greg Holland, Cardinals.

Alex Claudio, RP, Texas Rangers

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Left-hander Alex Claudio finished last season as the Rangers' closer. Claudio led the team with 11 saves last season after Sam Dyson and Matt Bush couldn’t keep the job. He was the bullpen leader in appearances (70), innings (82 2/3) and ERA (2.50). He seemed to be the clear leader in the bullpen based on his performance last season when he took over as the game-finisher.

Manager Jeff Banister believes Claudio is more valuable to work multiple innings, at other times in a game, not just the ninth. While he might get some save opportunities during the season, most of his work will come between the sixth and eighth innings. Claudio doesn't have traditional closer stuff with a fastball that sits in the upper 80s.

The Rangers will open the season as Keone Kela as their closer with Kevin Jepsen, a veteran right-hander taking over if needed. While Kela is talented and has tons of upside, his inability to stay healthy has always held him back in regards to securing a closer's role. The Rangers finally believe he is ready. That leaves Alex Claudio out of the closer's role and not valuable in Fantasy. Based upon last season's success, the general thought was that Claudio would head right back to getting all of the saves. Since we now know otherwise, there is no reason to roster Alex Claudio.

Drop Alex Claudio and Pick Up Keone Kela, Rangers; Greg Holland, Cardinals. 

Hector Neris, RP, Philadelphia Phillies

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The Phillies bullpen is considered the strength of this ballclub. It was even bolstered by the additions of veteran right-handers Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter. Hector Neris was a huge reason for the bullpen's success last season. He followed up his outstanding first full year in the majors by posting a 3.01 ERA while converting 26 of 29 saves. He rode late-season success to 20 straight converted saves to close out 2017.

Unfortunately, both Neshek and Hunter began this season on the DL. That fact didn't stop new manager Gabe Kapler and the Phillies to set a major-league record by using 15 pitchers in their first two games. You would think that a bullpen missing two prominent players would make him less inclined to go to his bullpen so frequently, but that was obviously not the case. In fact, the Phillies had to bring in a position player to pitch because the rest of the relievers has been overused.

Neris was given the first shot at saving a game, but he surrendered a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth in the Phillies' Opening Day loss. Kapler has hinted that he may elect to play the late-inning matchups on a day-to-day basis, rather than stick to pre-determined roles for his relievers. Furthermore, Kapler has stated that there is a possibility of using Neris in a flexible bullpen role this season. This welcomes the thought if Kapler trusts Neris? But the real question should be is if the Phillies can trust their new manager Gabe Kapler? There is enough potential risk here to look away from the Phillies especially at Hector Neris as the possible closer on your Fantasy team.

Drop Hector Neris and Pick Up Hunter Strickland, Giants; Brad Boxberger, Diamondbacks; Brandon Morrow, Cubs.  

Danny Duffy, SP, Kansas City Royals

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Danny Duffy is the unquestioned ace of the Royals' starting rotation, but there have to be concerns regarding his latest outings. He had a rocky Spring Training. The left-hander tossed just 15 innings and had an ERA of 8.40. In addition to those bad numbers, he had an injury scare with shoulder tightness in his final Spring start. It was deemed that it was only just tightness, and he still pitched in his second consecutive Opening Day start.  Duffy took the Opening Day loss after giving up three homers in the span of four batters against the White Sox in an eventual Royals loss.

Duffy has never been known for his durability. He seems to struggle to stay healthy. Immediately after the 2017 season, Duffy underwent a procedure to remove loose bodies from his pitching elbow. Additionally, he has had some off-field issues including a well-known DUI incident.

He had his breakout season in 2016, tossing 179.2 innings with a 25.7 strikeout rate and a 3.51 ERA. He took a step back last season including and more importantly his 1.8 mile-per-hour drop in his fastball velocity.

Duffy is a mid-tier starter on a Royals team headed for a rebuild. He is their biggest trade chip and will likely be traded sometime this season. When conversations about players start off as "When Healthy", more than likely the risk outweighs the reward. There is a limited upside with Duffy and with his history of arm issues. It is time to say goodbye to Danny Duffy as a fantasy relevant player.

Drop Danny Duffy and Pick Up Jake Junis, Royals; Miles Mikolas, Cardinals; Andrew Triggs, A's. 

Kendrys Morales, DH, Toronto Blue Jays

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Morales has been out of the lineup for consecutive days while 3B Josh Donaldson was forced to occupy his designated hitter spot due to a dead arm. Finally, Donaldson returned to the lineup this week, freeing up Morales to return to the lineup. Morales is a slightly below-average hitter leaving him with no fantasy value. Yes, I know he hit 28 home runs last season, but everyone was hitting home runs last season. Even Elvis Andrus hit 20 home runs last season!

He is a one-dimensional player who handcuffs your fantasy roster. A rotating DH allows for tons of lineup flexibility and is essential in larger fantasy formats.

His -0.2 WAR makes me look away as a fantasy owner. In addition, the real threat of a decline might be showing its ugly face here with Morales. He hit only .204/.258/.279 with one home run and eight strikeouts in 29 at-bats this spring. The aging Morales was below his career numbers in nearly every single offensive category in 2017. He only had a .308 OBP and his lowest batting average in three years. The Blue Jays will have a hard time getting rid of Morales because of his huge contract. Fantasy owners, please do the wise thing, and drop Kendrys Morales.

Drop Kendrys Morales and Pick Up Jose Martinez, Cardinals; Mitch Haniger, Mariners; Tyler Austin, Yankees. 

Check out the rest of our great Fantasy Baseball content.

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1 comment

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - Fantasy Baseball Links - FantasyRundown.com April 4, 2018 - 9:11 am

[…] names some of the players you can drop already in your fantasy […]


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