The Ditch List: Has The Time Come To Give Up On These Hyped Options (Brendan Rodgers, Nicky Lopez & More)

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It’s always difficult when players get off to slow starts. What does the future hold for them? Will they be able to turn it around? Could they potentially lose their real? Obviously each case is different, so let’s take a look at a few players and try to determine how to proceed:

Marco Gonzales – Seattle Mariners – Pitcher
Gonzales is coming off a terrible performance against the Angels, allowing 10 ER over 4.2 IP.  It was his second straight disaster (16 ER over 8.2 IP) and third in his past four starts raising his ERA from 3.18 on May 12 to his current 4.89.  Couple that with a 1.44 WHIP and 6.28 K/9 and it makes sense that fantasy owners are running for the hills.

It’s easy to argue that he’s better than this, especially with a 59.6% strand rate, though there are plenty of concerning numbers that we can’t overlook:

  • SwStr% – 8.4%
  • Hard% – 38.8%
  • Groundball Rate – 39.5%

He’s not missing many bats, getting hit hard and faces home run issues (only a 1.05 HR/9 right now).  Does that sound like someone you want to invest in?  He should have a rebound, but the risk far outweighs the reward.

Verdict – Ditch ‘Em

Nicky Lopez – Kansas City Royals – Shortstop
There was a lot of hype surrounding his arrival, as he was promoted at the same time as many top prospects.  However thinking of him in the same class as Austin Riley and others was always going to be misguided.  He’s struggled significantly in his first taste of the Majors, hitting .222 with 0 HR and 0 SB over his first 72 AB and you have to wonder if it’s just a matter of time before he’s returned to Triple-A.

Power was always going to be a question, so it’s no surprise that he’s yet to hit a home run (60.0% groundball rate).  While he has shown an ability to make consistent contact (6.7% SwStr%) and stay within the strike zone (29.3% O-Swing%), he hasn’t drawn many walks (7.7% walk rate) or hit the ball hard (25.0% Hard%).  With those numbers he’s not getting on base at a high enough clip to steal bases, further limiting the upside.

Maybe the potential is there down the road, but for now he seems likely to head back to the minors with an unknown return date.  Unless you are in a dynasty league he’s easy to move on from.

Verdict – Ditch ‘Em

Brendan Rodgers – Colorado Rockies – Shortstop
The Rockies have never shown a willingness to trust their young players.  We’ve seen it time and time again, and it appears that Rodgers may not be an exception to that rule (especially now that Garrett Hampson has returned from Triple-A and Ryan McMahon remains on the roster).  There are only so many at bats to go around, meaning everyone could take a hit.

Even in the opportunities Rodgers has had (45 PA) he hasn’t shown much, hitting .268 with 0 HR and 7 RBI.  The biggest issue has been an abysmal approach:

  • SwStr% – 13.3%
  • O-Swing% – 41.3%

Obviously it’s a small sample size, and he was better at Triple-A prior to his recall (9.3% SwStr%).  An improvement there would go a long ways, and it helps to keep Rodgers on radar assuming the Rockies truly give him an opportunity. 

For now don’t cut him as the upside is there, but don’t be surprised if we get there.

Verdict – Hold ‘Em

Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN

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