The Ditch List: Is It Time To Give Up On These Struggling Young Hitters (Scott Kingery & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know the players who have disappointed, but the bigger question is if they can turn things around or if it’s best to cut our losses and move on.  In terms of pitchers we have the added “bonus” of at least being able to pick our spots, if the upside remains, though that may be a small consolation prize.  Let’s take a look at three young hitters who we had high expectations for and try to determine how we should proceed:

 

Scott Kingery – Philadelphia Phillies
2018 Statistics – .218 (26-119), 2 HR, 13 RBI, 14 R, 4 SB

It was a big surprise when Kingery inked a long-term deal with the Phillies, allowing him to be on the Opening Day roster without concerns about his years of service.  That said you have to wonder if he wasn’t quite ready and needed a little bit more development time, as he’s struggled across the board:

  • Strikeout Rate – 27.1% (courtesy of a 14.2% SwStr% and 37.9% O-Swing%)
  • Hard% – 31.8% (tied for 131st among qualified hitters)
  • Popups – 17.9%

After flashing power last season he’s struggled with a 5.1% HR/FB.  He’s struggled against all types of pitches, with elevated Whiff%:

  • Hard – 13.80%
  • Breaking – 18.34%
  • Offspeed – 26.00%

It wasn’t what was expected, considering his 9.5% SwStr% last season (including an 8.8% at Triple-A).  Until he makes the adjustment he’s going to continue to struggle.  It wouldn’t be surprising if he ultimately spends time back at Triple-A this season, and in yearly formats it’s not unthinkable to move on.

Ditch List Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Ditch ‘Em
  • 12 Team League – Ditch ‘Em (but not must ditch)
  • 14+ Team League – Hold ‘Em
  • NL-Only League – Hold ‘Em
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Hold ‘Em

 

Michael Taylor – Washington Nationals
2018 Statistics – .186 (27-145), 3 HR, 9 RBI, 19 R, 10 SB

If it weren’t for the stolen bases Taylor would be an easy player to simply cut bait and move on from.  Those who bought him banking on last year’s .271 average have been sorely disappointed, though it really shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Remember he benefited from a .363 BABIP while striking out 31.7% of the time.  What’s changed is the luck, as he’s continuing to strikeout at an alarming pace (32.1%) with significant swing and miss against all types of pitches (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 14.66%
  • Breaking – 21.12%
  • Offspeed – 13.95%

It’s amazing he’s stolen 10 bases, considering he’s hardly an elite walk artist (8.2% in ’18, 6.8% for his career).  Sure he may improve his average a little bit, but he’s not going to be more than a .220-.230 hitter who could lose playing time at any moment.  Unless you are desperate for stolen base help, there simply isn’t enough upside.

Ditch List Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Ditch ‘Em
  • 12 Team League – Ditch ‘Em (unless desperate for SB)
  • 14+ Team League – Ditch ‘Em (unless desperate for SB)
  • NL-Only League – Ditch ‘Em (unless desperate for SB)
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Hold ‘Em

 

Jurickson Profar – Texas Rangers
2018 Statistics – .235 (28-119), 2 HR, 15 RBI, 11 R, 1 SB

Once considering among the elite prospects in the game, injuries have taken Profar out of the spotlight for some time.  A slew of injuries have given him another opportunity, though thus far he’s yet to take advantage of it.  That said, unlike the others on this list Profar has shown a good command of the strike zone:

  • Strikeouts – 17.8%
  • Walks – 10.4%
  • SwStr% – 7.2%
  • O-Swing% – 29.5%

That shows a lot more upside in his average, especially given a 24.0% line drive rate and .277 BABIP.  He also has the potential for a little bit more power (10 doubles and 2 triples) and speed (he’s stolen as many as 23 bases in a minor league season).  There’s enough upside and he’s shown enough to continue utilizing him while he’s guaranteed AB.

Ditch List Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Hold ‘Em (but not must hold)
  • 12 Team League – Hold ‘Em
  • 14+ Team League – Hold ‘Em
  • AL-Only League – Hold ‘Em
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Hold ‘Em

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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

2 comments

  1. Alex says:

    First, thanks for all the posts! Great site.

    Deep Only-leagues are difficult to ditch anyone unless they’re utility fodder like Daniel Descalso or Sean Rodriguez. Even then, those guys do just enough one game a week that one may not want to toss them out of one’s middle infield spot just in case.

    This all points to Michael Taylor as a hold in a NL-only league, especially because of those stolen bases. That is a lot to throw on the wire in a steal-hungry league, and though he may lose time, even a part-time role could get 15 steals the rest of the way. Taylor has also been known to hit for power in the past, so even if it’s been a rough first month or so he should probably still be rostered or at least traded.

    He’s a frustrating player, so no matter what, he still doesn’t look like the 20/20 guy that people have been hoping for the past couple of years, unfortunately.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Fair point, and in most cases you are going to need the SB. At the same time maybe you try to trade them as a way to jettison off your roster and in turn get something of value back

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