by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Obviously seeing someone like Ivan Nova, Matt Moore or Jose Valverde atop a list of most dropped players makes sense. They have either been lost for the year or, in Valverde’s case, has lost his closing job with little hope of regaining it. How about some of the other names that owners are fleeing from? Is it too early to give up on them? Are they worth grabbing if someone did cut them? Let’s take a look (all drop percentages are as of Tuesday evening):
Justin Smoak – Seattle Mariners
CBS – Down 20%
ESPN – Down 28.2%
After getting off to a hot start, Smoak has cooled off considerably over the past few weeks. In fact, three games in he had 2 HR and 7 RBI. Now? He has 2 HR and 10 RBI to go along with a .227 average (and seven consecutive games without an extra base hit).
He was bound to slow down (.292 with 3 HR this spring) and the issues he’s currently showing could be easily fixable. He’s not striking out significantly more than expected (24.7% vs. 22.0% for his career) and he also is still drawing some walks (8.2%). Throw in that he’s not popping the ball up excessively (6.3%) and there are things working in his favor.
The bigger issue is that he’s hitting the ball into the ground more (51.0%) and not in the air (32.7%). That’s something that you would think could be corrected and, when it does, the power and other numbers will come with it.
It’s easy to cut bait and give up on him due to his track record, but I wouldn’t be so quick to do so. If you have the room on your bench, keep him stashed for now and see if he can turn things around.
Kolten Wong – St. Louis Cardinals
CBS – Down 13%
ESPN – Down 8.4%
Wong has started finding his way to the bench as he’s offered no power (.288 SLG) with a touch of speed (3 SB). Granted, the average is lower than we would’ve expected (.237), but we can’t say that we are completely surprised by his struggles either.
Going into the season you knew his value was going to be capped and he’s done nothing thus far to make us think otherwise. Maybe he gets his average up, though a .275 BABIP based off a 14.0% line drive rate isn’t very promising.
He’s simply never going to be a source of power and 15-20 SB may just be his upside (23 is career high). It’s nothing we didn’t know, the only difference is that now his playing time is in jeopardy.
Given his limitations, I wouldn’t be opposed to moving on as long as you have a viable alternative.
Sources – CBS Sports, ESPN, Fangraphs, MLB.com