Leashes getting shorter for slumping Fantasy mainstays
With the season nearly half over, some early round picks may be wearing out their welcome, even with the most patient of owners.
I lean towards being patient with the players I drafted, keeping them on my active rosters through extended early slumps, but by the time June rolls around, even my patience starts to thin. When it comes to benching a disappointing Jean Segura, I'm apparently not alone, as a caller on Monday's edition of Fantasy Today Baseball asked us if we would recommend sitting him for up-and-comer Eugenio Suarez. (Skip to the 10:00 mark of the above clip for the question and response.)
Both Scott White and I recommended starting Suarez, and I made that actual move in a 12-team mixed points league for this week. Segura looks like he overachieved with both his batting average and extra-base power last season, and his poor steals efficiency (13 for 20) so far this year is also a concern. I hold out hope for some batting average and stolen base improvement, but for now, there's little point in starting him in standard mixed leagues.
Segura is just one of several players taken in the first few rounds of this year's drafts who are making owners think twice about starting them. While I will continue to stand by players like Joe Mauer and David Wright, whom I expected to be elites at their positions, there are others who are a notch below in terms of potential who present tougher dilemmas. Here are three in particular whom I am starting to doubt.
Jay Bruce: Though he is starting to heat up and appears on the verge of one of his crazy power binges, I wouldn't be opposed to sitting Bruce in the near future. Up until 10 games ago, he had been on a wild strikeout pace -- 58 in 161 at-bats -- that was high even by his standards. He's cut that rate back by collecting just six Ks over his last 39 at-bats, but as soon as he reverts to being a human windmill, I'm looking for a way to get him out of the lineup.
Ben Zobrist: The stolen bases have been slowly evaporating for Zobrist, and last season, we saw his home run power drop dramatically. It hasn't returned this year, and the doubles are drying up, too. Zobrist still walks, doesn't strike out too much and offers multi-position eligibility, but that's hardly enough to justify starting him, even in a points league.
Allen Craig: He has been slowly increasing his batting average after a miserable April, but Craig has yet to get on track as a power hitter. In fact, he has hit for less power in June than he did during the first third of the season, with no home runs and five doubles in 80 at-bats. Craig has hit 10 home runs going back to last July, and while his Lisfranc injury from late last season is responsible for part of that paltry total, it doesn't explain all of it. He has morphed into a ground ball hitter this season, with his grounder rate zooming up from 46 to 56 percent, and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight for this trend. Craig can still hit for average and provide some doubles, but at first base and outfield, that isn't going to cut it in many leagues.
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