Every add or drop question in Fantasy baseball ultimately comes down to context. "Should I add Andrew Heaney?" Sure, if you have someone worse than him to drop! "Should I drop Gio Urshela?" Not for nothing!
Oh sure, sometimes, there are obvious calls -- if Trevor Rogers is out there in your league, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which he wouldn't be worth adding, and if you've got Trevor Williams on your roster, he's an easy drop even if you don't have someone good to add. But, for the most part, the question is going to be about the replacement cost of adding a player or dropping another one.
We give you the top widely available players to consider adding every morning from Monday through Friday, but we don't always tell you who you should drop for them. Obviously, that's because drops are so team dependent -- not everyone who wants to add Rogers has someone as obvious to drop as Williams -- but it's worth looking at which players we're ready to drop and who we're still looking to hang on to.
Here are some players for every position so you can see which slow starters I'm holding on to and who I'm already ready to move on from this early.
Mitch Garver, Twins: I'm not far from losing patience with Garver, but I'll excuse his slow start for just a little bit longer, because he's still hitting the ball really well. He's just not hitting it often enough, with a 39.1% strikeout rate after last year's 45.7% rate sank him. It's frustrating to see that continue to be an issue, but he's swinging and missing less often this time around, so I'll take that as a positive sign that he can turn it around when combined with his strong quality of contact.
Carson Kelly, Diamondbacks: Kelly is actually off to a pretty strong start, hitting .444/.522/.556, but the problem is, he's splitting playing time pretty evenly so far with Stephen Vogt, who has 20 plate appearances to Kelly's 23. Kelly should be a fine starting catcher, but there are really only around 10 catchers I wouldn't drop at this point -- everyone below James McCann in my rankings. Kelly is fine, but I would drop him for Wilson Ramos, who leads baseball in average exit velocity right now, to name just one.
Andrew Vaughn, White Sox: With Vaughn starting just five of the first nine games for the White Sox, I'm admittedly a bit concerned about the possibility that he may end up sent back to the alternate site to get more consistent work. They clearly don't trust him in the outfield yet -- he's played just one complete game so far -- and they might ultimately decide to let him continue to work on that aspect of his game away from the lights. Of course, he can make that a very tough decision for them by hitting up to his potential, and I want to hang on to him for a while longer to see if he starts to figure it out. Even with the emergence of Yermín Mercedes, the White Sox don't exactly have a surplus of quality hitters.
C.J. Cron -- I wouldn't want to drop Cron, because I do think he can be a very good hitter playing half his games at Coors, but he's hitting just .148/.281/.222 despite playing six of his eight games at home. If I can, I'd prefer to wait at least until the end of the next Rockies homestand, which runs from April 16 through the 25th to see if he can get hot. The problem is, by the time that homestand is done, the Rockies will have just 66 games at home left, compared to 75 on the road. Given the balance of the schedule, Cron kind of needed to get off to a good start, and if you need the roster spot, I won't blame you if you dropped him in a points league.
Cavan Biggio, Blue Jays: I am not a big believer in Biggio's skill set -- I think he's just a physically limited player without much of a margin for error. But I'm not panicking about his start yet -- he's still walking, he's still running fast (despite having no steals), and he's still hitting the ball in the air. It's not a great sign that his strikeout rate is back up to 2019 levels, but it's so early that it's barely worth commenting on. He'll snag a few bases and score some runs this week and you'll feel a lot better about him, I'd bet.
Tommy La Stella, Giants: If I play in a deep enough league, I'd like to give La Stella some time to get back up to speed after a back injury kept him out most of the first 10 days, and it was nice to see him batting leadoff Saturday and Sunday in his return to the lineup. If La Stella stays in the leadoff spot for the Giants, I think he can be a near-elite source of average with 20-homer pop and a bunch of runs scored, but I'm just not convinced he's going to play everyday even when he is healthy.
Yoan Moncada, White Sox: If you were inclined to believe Moncada's 2020 struggles represented the real version and that 2019 was the fluke, he hasn't given you much reason to shake that belief yet. Moncada has certainly fallen back on bad habits yet again, dropping his swing rate to just 39.2% -- and his first-pitch swing rate to 18.8%, both of which were career-highs in his breakout 2019. I think Moncada will always benefit from being more aggressive, and when there's an easy-ish answer like that, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. I am watching a worrying dip in his average sprint speed, though I wonder if a leg injury that limited him late in spring may not still be slowing him down.
Austin Riley, Braves: My preference would be to hang on to Riley, who carries significant upside as a power bat, but the thing is, power is the easiest thing to find in today's game, and if Riley isn't providing it, you shouldn't have any problem finding someone who will. If he figures it out, there's 35-homer potential here, but third base is deep enough that you shouldn't have trouble finding someone with significant upside to replace him with.
Dansby Swanson, Braves: Swanson has an alarming 42.4% strikeout rate in nine games, with just one homer and no steals, and because he's been such an inconsistent contributor in his career, you might be skeptical that he can turn this around. For what it's worth, he's still hitting the ball as well as we've come to expect, and despite the high strikeout rate, he's chasing pitches out of the zone less than ever. He's missing a lot right now, but he's not swinging at pitches he can't get. That makes me believe he'll figure this one out sooner rather than later.
Andres Gimenez, Indians Gimenez batted leadoff Sunday, and maybe that's a change Cleveland will stick with -- it would be good news for his value. However, the truth of the matter is, Gimenez has sat out two of the first eight games for Cleveland and has hit ninth in five of his six starts. If Gimenez sticks in the leadoff spot he could eventually become a solid source of speed and runs, but I'm not sure he's ready to be a good enough hitter to hang on to that top spot -- his 84.2 mph average exit velocity doesn't inspire much faith. I would only hold on to him in Roto leagues with more than 12 teams at this point.
Victor Robles, Nationals: There weren't many who were excited about Robles coming into the season, and given his major struggles in 2020, a slow start might be enough for you to give up hope. I'll just point out that he's still hitting leadoff and still has four walks to just three strikeouts in 25 trips to the plate, a very good start for a guy who has struggled with plate discipline. Robles' value is going to come primarily from steals, and the fact that he's getting on base should lead to more steals so don't give up hope.
Mike Yastrzemski, Giants: I was a bit skeptical about Yastrzemski coming into the season, but like Gurriel, he's earned the benefit of the doubt here -- he had 31 homers, 103 runs and 90 RBI in 161 games in 2019 and 2020, so just have patience and believe in the skill set. His swing is all out of whack right now -- a -10.7 degree average launch angle after being above 18 degrees in his first two seasons -- but I'll give him some time to figure that out.
Lourdes Gurriel, Blue Jays: Gurriel had just five singles in his first seven games before being placed on the IL, so I could understand someone being frustrated enough to want to drop him. However, he's on the IL with side effects from the COVID vaccine, so he should be back any day now, and he's been too solid the last few seasons to overreact to what is effectively one bad week.
Clint Frazier, Yankees: Frazier is a bit of an adventure in left field, but when he was crushing the ball last season, the Yankees could overlook it. However, he's been cold to start the season and has been on the bench in consecutive games for Brett Gardner, which isn't a great sign. If you believe in Frazier, I can't blame you for holding on to him, but I was pretty skeptical coming into the season, and his track record isn't strong enough for me to hang on to him when he's losing PT. His .256 expected wOBA does not inspire confidence that this is just a tough start.
Andrew Benintendi, Royals: I want to believe Benintendi can still turn things around, but he's just 6 for 29 with no extra-base hits and a 28.1% strikeout rate. Benintendi was a pretty fringe-y option coming into the season, so I'm not opposed to letting him go after a slow start. He needs to earn our trust back.
Hunter Dozier, Royals: Dozier suffered a thumb injury on Opening Day and clearly hasn't been right since, as he's played just four games and has five strikeouts in 15 plate appearances. My preference would be to hang on to Dozier, who I still think has plenty of upside, but if he's trying to gut this injury out, I'm content moving on.
Frankie Montas, Athletics: Montas likely helped settle your nerves with Saturday's solid start, so hopefully you didn't panic drop him after his rough first start. He obviously doesn't have the feel for his splitter yet, as he struggled to throw it for strikes in his first start and then used it just 9% of the time in his second, but the fact that he held the Astros offense in check without it is a good sign. Once he gets that pitch working, there's a ton of upside.
Jesus Luzardo, Athletics: I hope nobody is considering dropping Luzardo despite his 6.10 ERA through two starts, but I could see the lack of innings being a concern. He's been a bit too fastball heavy in the early going, but I believe in the stuff and talent enough to bet on him figuring this out very quickly. I'd love to buy low on Luzardo if anyone is selling.
Marco Gonzales, Mariners: Gonzales is exactly the kind of pitcher who tends to be pretty easy to let go of when things are going poorly, and with five homers allowed in 10.1 innings, it's fair to wonder if anyone would even be looking to pick him up if you dropped him, which is always a consideration. However, he's been so solid over the last few years that I'm not willing to give up on him this quickly.
Corey Kluber, Yankees: That Kluber has a 5.68 ERA in two starts isn't particularly concerning in and of itself. However, his average fastball velocity is down about two mph from where he was back in 2019, and he has five walks and a hit batter in 6.1 innings in those two starts after having seven walks and three hit batters in the spring. Kluber may re-discover his command, but I'm not sure he can be a good starter at this point.
Chris Bassitt, Athletics: It was hard to make sense of Bassitt as a top-50 pitcher, but that's where he was being drafted entering the season. After two starts, the skepticism looks warranted, and I don't think there's nearly enough upside here to consider hanging on to him with a slow start. I'd rather take a chance on the likes of Robbie Ray (53%), Griffin Canning (51%), or Yusei Kikuchi (66%).
Tarik Skubal, Tigers: Skubal is super talented, and I definitely don't want to overreact to his early struggles. He'll figure it out eventually, but he still looks like he's kind of far away -- he doesn't yet have a deep enough arsenal to live up to his potential. I have similar concerns about Tigers teammate Casey Mize, who is rostered in a similar amount of leagues, but I want to see a second start from him before sending him off.
Amir Garrett, Reds: This isn't the start we were hoping for from Garrett, who allowed five runs in his first two outings and then walked two in his third. However, he has two saves already, and there's no sign the Reds are thinking about turning to someone else for the ninth inning. The re-emergence of Sean Doolittle as a seemingly elite late-inning reliever again does give the Reds another option, but Garrett doesn't deserve to lose his job or his spot on your roster.
Emilio Pagan, Padres: Pagan has yet to allow a run in five games, and he provided a nice boost for those of you who had him in your lineup in the first week as he picked up a pair of reliever wins. However, Mark Melancon has established himself as the closer and Pagan has swapped setup opportunities with Drew Pomeranz, and it's not clear which would be next in line if Melancon stumbled. Pagan is a great reliever, but he's not the kind of guy you need around if he isn't closing.