I've said it before, and I'll say it again: nothing that's happened so far means anything yet. You may feel like this season is well worn already, with every player's destiny being firmly established, but the truth is it's less than 15 percent done. And in a sport with so little consistency from day to day and week to week that it takes 162 games to sort everything out, 15 percent might as well be nothing.

Just look at how quickly things can change still. Julio Rodriguez and Nico Hoerner entered last week batting .186 and .182, respectively. They exited it batting .276 and .289. That's not to say everything is right as rain with them now, but whatever concerns we might have had are certainly less acute. We've likewise already navigated full-blown freakouts for players like Trea Turner, Pete Alonso, Vinnie Pasquantino and Cedric Mullins and come out on the other side of them. When we're still at a point in the season when a player can completely reverse his fortunes in the span of a week, again, nothing means anything yet.

So when will nothing become something? I've always subscribed to the six-week rule, meaning that only after six weeks should we begin assessing players on their performance. Notice I say "begin." By no means am i suggesting that everything will be known after six weeks. After six weeks last year, Gunnar Henderson was batting .170 with a .651 OPS, and it's fair to say things got better from there.

Henderson was obviously a special case, being a highly regarded prospect in his first full major-league season, and you'll of course want to exercise prudence in such cases. But generally speaking, six weeks is enough time for a player to pull out of an early-season funk, if that's all it is. It also leaves ample time to right the ship if you don't like where it's headed. Were I to put the cutoff at, say, a month instead ... well, here's where some players' numbers stood at that point last season.

  • Bobby Witt: .222, 4 HR, 7 SB, .659 OPS
  • Julio Rodriguez: .239, 5 HR, 6 SB, .743 OPS
  • Mookie Betts: .235, 4 HR, 1 SB, .781 OPS
  • Juan Soto: .202, 5 HR, .757 OPS
  • Francisco Lindor: .218, 4 HR, 2 SB, .762 OPS
  • C.J. Abrams: .225, 2 HR, 3 SB, .678 OPS
  • Luis Robert: .213, 5 HR, .662 OPS
  • Alex Bregman: .219, 3 HR, .697 OPS
  • Josh Naylor: .212, 3 HR, .612 OPS
  • Christian Yelich: .224, 3 HR. 5 SB, .656 OPS
  • Triston Casas: .133, 3 HR, .576 OPS
  • Spencer Torkelson: .206, 2 HR, .575 OPS
  • Marcell Ozuna: .085, 2 HR, .397 OPS
  • Kodai Senga: 4.15 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 26 IP
  • Blake Snell: 5.48 ERA, 1.87 WHIP, 23 IP
  • Chris Bassitt: 5.18 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 33 IP
  • Michael Wacha: 6.75 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 25 1/3 IP

Clearly, a month isn't long enough, and getting back to this season, we're not even a month in yet.

Of course, I've made my share of adds and drops already, as have you, so I'm not saying your team must exist in total stasis until six weeks have passed. But any exceptions to the six-week rule must be applied with the utmost care. More than poor performance, what might cause me to sound the alarm prior to six weeks is if certain skill indicators are trailing, like a lack of whiffs for a pitcher or a lack of exit velocity for a hitter. It's also true that the realities of roster space may force you into a decision before six weeks have passed, at least for your lesser investments. For the early picks, though -- say, your first 10 -- you almost can't be too patient. The earlier you take a player, the longer you should wait for him to come around.

Ultimately, what I'm trying to say here is to chill out already. A number of highly regarded players are underperforming still -- and may be for several more weeks -- but it's totally normal. It doesn't mean there won't be any busts this year, but the numbers to date won't help us much in predicting them.

In the interest of staving off all the but-what-abouts that are sure to follow, I've compiled a do-not-drop list. The concept is pretty simple: these players are too good to drop, regardless of how you feel about their performance so far. It's always precarious putting together a one-size-fits-all list given the various league depths and scoring formats, so to help with that, I've added labels to distinguish between Head-to-Head leagues (which tend to be shallower) and Rotisserie leagues (which tend to be deeper).

And obviously, just because a player isn't on this list doesn't mean you have to drop him. Prudence, people! I promise you have it.


H2H and Roto
1) Adley Rutschman
2) William Contreras
3) Will Smith
4) Yainer Diaz
5) J.T. Realmuto
6) Salvador Perez
Roto only
7) Cal Raleigh
8) Willson Contreras
9) Jonah Heim
10) Luis Campusano
11) Logan O'Hoppe

First base

H2H and Roto
1) Freddie Freeman
2) Matt Olson
3) Bryce Harper
4) Pete Alonso
5) Vladimir Guerrero
6) Cody Bellinger
7) Josh Naylor
8) Christian Walker
9) Spencer Steer
10) Paul Goldschmidt
11) Yandy Diaz
12) Vinnie Pasquantino
13) Triston Casas
Roto only
14) Michael Busch
15) Rhys Hoskins
16) Spencer Torkelson
17) Christian Encarnacion-Strand
18) Jake Burger
19) Isaac Paredes
20) Alec Bohm

Second base

H2H and Roto
1) Mookie Betts
2) Jose Altuve
3) Marcus Semien
4) Ozzie Albies
5) Ketel Marte
Roto only
6) Gleyber Torres
7) Ha-seong Kim
8) Nico Hoerner
9) Andres Gimenez
10) Jordan Westburg
11) Zack Gelof
12) Jackson Holliday
13) Luis Arraez
14) Nolan Gorman
15) Bryson Stott
16) Thairo Estrada

Third base

H2H and Roto
1) Jose Ramirez
2) Austin Riley
3) Elly De La Cruz
4) Rafael Devers
5) Gunnar Henderson
6) Manny Machado
7) Alex Bregman
8) Spencer Steer
9) Nolan Arenado
10) Max Muncy
Roto only
11) Ha-seong Kim
12) Michael Busch
13) Jordan Westburg
14) Royce Lewis
15) Jake Burger
16) Ke'Bryan Hayes
17) Cristopher Morel
18) Isaac Paredes
19) Alec Bohm


H2H and Roto
1) Bobby Witt
2) Mookie Betts
3) Trea Turner
4) Elly De La Cruz
5) Francisco Lindor
6) Corey Seager
7) Gunnar Henderson
8) C.J. Abrams
9) Bo Bichette
10) Oneil Cruz
11) Anthony Volpe
Roto only
12) Ha-seong Kim
13) Nico Hoerner
14) Xander Bogaerts
15) Dansby Swanson
16) Jackson Holliday
17) Carlos Correa
18) Willy Adames
19) Jackson Merrill
20) Thairo Estrada


H2H and Roto
1) Ronald Acuna
2) Mookie Betts
3) Kyle Tucker
4) Fernando Tatis
5) Juan Soto
6) Julio Rodriguez
7) Corbin Carroll
8) Aaron Judge
9) Yordan Alvarez
10) Mike Trout
11) Michael Harris
12) Adolis Garcia
13) Randy Arozarena
14) Cody Bellinger
15) Kyle Schwarber
16) Spencer Steer
17) Nolan Jones
18) Christian Yelich
19) Jazz Chisholm
20) Wyatt Langford
21) Teoscar Hernandez
22) Evan Carter
23) Jackson Chourio
24) Bryan Reynolds
25) Luis Robert
26) Steven Kwan
Roto only
27) Joshua Lowe
28) George Springer
29) Nick Castellanos
30) Colton Cowser
31) Jarren Duran
32) Tyler O'Neill
33) Seiya Suzuki
34) Lane Thomas
35) Christopher Morel
36) Riley Greene
37) Taylor Ward
38) Cedric Mullins
39) Starling Marte
40) Brandon Nimmo
41) Ian Happ
42) Lourdes Gurriel
43) Anthony Santander
44) Jorge Soler
45) Giancarlo Stanton
46) Jung-Hoo Lee

Designated hitter

H2H and Roto
1) Shohei Ohtani
2) Marcell Ozuna

Starting pitcher

H2H and Roto
1) Corbin Burnes
2) Zack Wheeler
3) Luis Castillo
4) Pablo Lopez
5) Tarik Skubal
6) Zac Gallen
7) Logan Webb
8) Tyler Glasnow
9) Cole Ragans
10) Yoshinobu Yamamoto
11) Kevin Gausman
12) Aaron Nola
13) George Kirby
14) Freddy Peralta
15) Dylan Cease
16) Logan Gilbert
17) Max Fried
18) Grayson Rodriguez
19) Chris Sale
20) Justin Steele
21) Framber Valdez
22) Jared Jones
23) Bobby Miller
24) Zach Eflin
25) Blake Snell
26) Jesus Luzardo
27) Joe Ryan
28) Merrill Kelly
29) Chris Bassitt
30) Joe Musgrove
31) Bailey Ober
32) Sonny Gray
33) Mitch Keller
34) Tanner Bibee
35) Walker Buehler
36) Gerrit Cole
37) Jose Berrios
38) Justin Verlander
39) Reid Detmers
40) Hunter Greene
41) Max Scherzer
42) Shota Imanaga
43) Nick Lodolo
44) Kutter Crawford
45) Cristopher Sanchez
46) Jack Flaherty
47) Tanner Houck
48) Kodai Senga
49) Nick Pivetta
50) Nathan Eovaldi
51) Michael King
52) Jordan Montgomery
53) Bryce Miller
54) Nestor Cortes
55) Aaron Civale
56) Ranger Suarez

Relief pitcher

H2H and Roto
1) Cole Ragans
2) Edwin Diaz
3) Josh Hader
4) Emmanuel Clase
5) Camilo Doval
6) Raisel Iglesias
7) Garrett Crochet
8) Craig Kimbrel
9) Jordan Romano
10) Ryan Pepiot
11) David Bednar
12) Alexis Diaz
13) Evan Phillips
14) Ryan Helsley
15) Robert Suarez
16) Clay Holmes
17) Nick Pivetta
18) Michael King
19) Kirby Yates