The Ditch List: Is It Too Early To Cut Bait On These “Failed” Projected Breakouts?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

If you purchased Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide you had the benefits of our list of 25 sleepers.  We’ve hit numerous home runs in the early going, with Patrick Corbin, Mitchell Haniger, Teoscar Hernandez and Miles Mikolas among the recommended options.  Inevitably a few of them have stumbled, but does that mean we should move on just a few weeks into the season?  Let’s take a look at two of the notable “misses” and try to decide:


Bradley Zimmer – Cleveland Indians – Outfielder
2018 Stats – .234 (22-94), 2 HR, 9 RBI, 14 R, 4 SB

Strikeouts have been the biggest issue for Zimmer, who carries a 37.3% strikeout rate.  His SwStr% has increased from 2017, going from 13.9% to 14.3%, with his struggles coming against all types of pitches (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 13.68%
  • Breaking Balls – 20.48%
  • Offspeed – 15.79%

It’s a significant concern, and unless he can cut down on the strikeouts his value is going to be capped.  That said he continues to show an ability to steal bases, a commodity that’s getting harder to find.  He’s also hitting the ball hard, with a 25.0% line drive rate, and there’s room for growth in the power department (5 doubles, 2 HR).

Will the 25-year old be able to learn on the job and scale back the strikeouts, even a little bit?  That remains to be seen and is the only thing holding him back.  That’s enough of a reason to stay the course in deeper formats (and he’s an obvious hold in keeper leagues), but if you play in a 12-team non-keeper or shallower it’s believable to cut bait and move on.


Manual Margot – San Diego Padres – Outfielder
2018 Stats – .185 (17-92), 1 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R, 3 SB

Entering play on Monday, when you look at the underlying marks it’s easy to point towards “luck” as being the biggest reason for his struggles (all metrics are entering play on Monday):

  • Strikeout Rate – 21.9%
  • SwStr% – 9.9%
  • Line Drive Rate – 17.4%
  • BABIP – .206

Even if he didn’t improve on his line drive rate, considering his speed we’d expect a better BABIP.  As it is he was at 20.3% in March/April, and the overall mark has been dragged down by a 0.0% in May.  That’s a good sign and shows what’s possible.

He’s not striking out excessively, he has speed and he also should ultimately kick in some power (he has 4 doubles and 2 triples to go along with the HR).  With better luck the results will be there, and while the Padres have depth at the position there should be more than enough AB for Margot assuming he turns the corner shortly.  In this case don’t make the mistake of losing hope too early in any format, as he should start producing and you don’t want to miss out on the impending hot streak.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings?  Make sure to check it out by clicking here.  

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