Normally in this space, we focus on players to add. But there's another side to that coin, of course. For every add, there must be a drop.
Those numbers pretty much tell the story. An additional one I like to point for Castillo is that he's scored 13 Fantasy points all year. For those unfamiliar with points scoring, our expectation was that he'd average more than that per start.
Snell's point total isn't quite so egregious, but his troubles are more recent. Over his past two starts, the most recent being Sunday, he's allowed 12 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. My favorite stat to sum up his futility is that he's lasted six innings, the minimum required for a quality start, just once since July 2019, playoffs included.
That one six-inning start came just prior to this rocky two-start stretch, though, and it was a true gem. He struck out 11 while allowing just one run. His whiff rate is still high and his stuff still impressive. For him, the issue has long been efficiency rather than effectiveness, and while I'll hear the argument he's overrated, still coasting on the fumes of his Cy Young 2018 season, I would have entertained it before the season, too. He may not be what you wanted him to be or even must-start, but do a 3.79 ERA and 13.4 K/9, which is where his numbers stood two starts ago, have value? Of course they do.
Castillo, on the other hand, has been close to useless all season long and is of course unstartable at the moment. It's a devastating outcome for someone you may well have drafted in Round 2, and you'd of course redo that decision if you could. The decision you're making today, though, is less about the past two months than the next four.
To that end, I'll point out that his fastball, which lagged early, has climbed all the way back. His changeup, which is his best pitch, has begun generating whiffs again, and his slider has shown some life as well. Two starts ago, he seemed closed to back on track, striking out 11 in five innings against the Giants, but he has struggled to find the strike zone in two starts since. There are still positive signs, though. In this weekend's outing at the Cubs, for instance, he allowed an average exit velocity of only 78.8 mph.
Success at this highest level of baseball requires such precision that the smallest changes to a player's mechanics or approach can make all the difference. I see enough evidence of a quality pitcher still that I could envision one such change taking his season from night to day. I actually have more confidence in Castillo living up to his ADP from this point forward than Snell.
So while I don't think it's beyond the pale to drop either Castillo or Snell at this point, it would have to be for a transformative player. None of the following eight, rosterable though they may be, would compel me to do it.
Just a little perspective for you.
HOU Houston • #59 • Age: 27
Last year's leader in ground-ball rate and starts of seven innings or more (tied with Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks) is back, and his first start went about as well as you could hope for all the time he missed. He put 8 of 11 batted balls on the ground and had more or less his usual velocity. He did forgo surgery on his fractured finger, which raises some concern, but seeing as he was must-start last year, there's no reason to leave him available now.
Tommy Pham LF
SD San Diego • #28 • Age: 33
Tommy Pham's plate discipline has remained excellent throughout his struggles this year, and the Statcast data has all along suggested he deserves better than he's gotten. Looks like it's finally coming together for the 33-year-old, who's batting .325 (13 for 40) with two homers and three steals in his past 10 games. There's something here for points and categories leagues alike.
STL St. Louis • #27 • Age: 26
With three homers and three doubles in four games since returning from a fractured finger, Tyler O'Neill's raw stats are looking impressive and his expected stats (a .300 xBA and .682 xSLG, according to Statcast) even better. In most leagues, it makes all the sense in the world to take a flier and hope for the best, but I'll caution that his deplorable plate discipline and excessive barrel rate (22.7%) suggest regression is coming.
MIL Milwaukee • #24 • Age: 30
Avisail Garcia's latest home run Sunday gives him four in seven games and seven for all of May, which has turned out to be a productive enough month to put him back on the Fantasy radar after a disappointing 2020. He's now batting .248 while slugging .461 for the year, but Statcast has him with a .269 xBA and .507 xSLG.
Tarik Skubal SP
DET Detroit • #29 • Age: 24
Tarik Skubal's latest start was his best of the season so far, but his previous two, both of which resulted in nine strikeouts over five innings, also saw him trending the right direction. Really, his effectiveness has improved for the entire month of May, his swinging-strike rate rising by nearly three percentage points from April, and an improved secondary arsenal is largely to credit. In Sunday's start, for instance, he got seven swinging strikes on his fastball but also four on his changeup and three on his slider.
Brad Miller RF
PHI Philadelphia • #13 • Age: 31
Brad Miller has become more or less an everyday part of the Phillies lineup with Bryce Harper sidelined, but he hasn't stayed put, which is why he's now eligible at four different positions (everywhere but catcher and shortstop). He's been productive, too, batting .321 (9 for 28) with two homers and a steal during his current stretch of nine consecutive starts. He probably doesn't have staying power, but he's fine as a versatile hot-hand play.
TB Tampa Bay • #34 • Age: 28
J.P. Feyereisen's save Saturday was his second in a little more than a week since joining the Rays, and in this latest instance, presumed closer Diego Castillo set up for him. Castillo did work the ninth to preserve a four-run lead Sunday and recorded a save as recently as May 22. The Rays being the Rays, you can never be sure what they're thinking with their bullpen. But Feyereisen has good numbers and may at least be on equal terms with Castillo now.
MIN Minnesota • #38 • Age: 30
With Byron Buxton having to slow his rehabilitation from a strained hip, Rob Refsnyder looks like a fixture in center field for the Twins right now, which means it may be time to start paying attention to the 30-year-old. He used to be a prospect in the Yankees organization, has consistently put up quality numbers in the minors (particularly with regard to batting average) and is clearly making an impact at the big league level. Anyone playing in a league deeper than 12 teams should take notice.