The Ditch List: Is It Time To Lose Hope & Move On From These Struggling Young Hitters? (Eloy Jimenez & More)

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Eloy Jimenez is quickly becoming one of the most questioned players in the league, as he’s battled injuries and posted numbers inferior to what had been expected (.235 with 18 HR over 297 PA) . His ability to make consistent contact was always the biggest concern, and a 15.0% SwStr% highlights it. He’s also consistently had problems making contact on anything besides fastballs (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 10.89%
  • Breaking – 22.00%
  • Offspeed – 21.74%

Just to make matters worse he’s hitting .217 against sliders, .133 against curveballs and .158 against cut-fastballs. In other words anything that moves is giving him issues, and that’s what pitchers are going to continue feeding him. Thus far he’s seen just 49.77% “hard” pitches and 39.84% breaking balls. That’s not going to change, and therefore it could continue to handcuff his potential upside value.

Whether or not you stick with him long-term depends on your format. In dynasty/keeper leagues there’s little reason to think that long-term he won’t be able to figure it out and be a highly productive option. There’s going to be a learning curve, however, and don’t be surprised if he struggles for the remainder of ’19 (especially with his average).

That doesn’t make him a drop candidate, but in redraft formats it isn’t the craziest notion (depending on what’s available on the waiver wire).

Other players you may be on the fence of “ditching”:

  • Garrett Cooper (1B/OF, MIA) – He hit the ground running, including hitting .372 with 4 HR in June, but he hit the wall in July (.247 with 4 HR) and he’s gone hit-less in his first 9 PA in July. Of course the June production was unrealistic (.484 BABIP) and there’s always going to be questions about his power (56.3% groundball rate plus playing half his games in Miami). In this case moving on isn’t crazy.
  • Austin Riley (3B, ATL) – Remember when he was making quite the impact? In 53 PA since the All-Star Break he’s hitting .184 with 1 HR (and he has 3 HR since June 30). The biggest issue is the strikeouts, which have been there ever since his debut in the Majors (35.3% courtesy of a 21.0% SwStr% and 42.5% O-Swing%). Considering his “best” Whiff% is 17.81% against hard pitches, it’s impossible to imagine a change being made any time soon. In dynasty/keeper leagues there’s still value, but for 2019 there could be continued struggles (would a return to Triple-A be completely crazy).

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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