https://ftnfantasy.com
Bettings
article-picture
article-picture
MLB
Fantasy

Drops & Disasters: Fantasy Baseball Roster Moves (6/9)

Share
Contents
Close

While big moves up and down the standings in fantasy baseball are still possible, they are becoming less frequent as we get into the heart of June. With 40% of the season complete, fantasy managers should have a good idea of their teams’ strengths and weaknesses. For teams that are struggling, now is the time to address categorical weaknesses, take stock of “dead weight” on your rosters, and try to scope out a path for moving up the standings. For teams that are doing well, self-evaluation of strengths and weaknesses is equally if not more important. For instance, if your team has a lot of pitching points because several marginal starters are massively outperforming their peripherals, do not become complacent and assume the good times will last – players rarely get lucky for an entire season and regression is a powerful force. To maintain your place or move up the standings, managers may perceive a need to be bold although, sometimes, panic-driven moves often are worse than doing nothing and standing pat. Here are a few traps to avoid in evaluating potential drops:

  • Never “rage drop” a player. Simmer down; do not do something you may regret later. The player in question may deserve to be dropped, but make that decision dispassionately, based on a reasoned evaluation of his prospects moving forward and not the emotion of a crappy performance or string of performances.
  • Do not drop players based solely on their surface stats. Look under the hood. At the end of April, Garrett Crochet had a 1-4 record and 5.97 ERA. Ugly stats to be sure, but fantasy managers looking under the hood saw (at that time) a 32.9% K% (third among qualified starters) and 26.6% K-BB% (fourth), and a pitcher who was being hammered by an unsustainably low 56.3% LOB% (dead last among qualified starters). Fast forward to now and Crochet’s ERA has dropped by over two runs, he has a WHIP under 1.0, and is among the league leaders in strikeouts.
  • Be careful about dropping solid players who may be slumping for marginal players enjoying a hot streak. Every week, I see examples of this type of transaction. While some of these drops may be smart decisions that improve teams, they often are regrettable. I think during the heat of the competition, if things are not going well, fantasy managers looking to alter their team’s glide path sometimes outweigh recent performance and underweight longer-term track records. One quick sanity check is to compare the ADP of the potential acquisition with that of the potential drop. For instance, a fantasy manager contemplating dropping a player with a 175 ADP for an undrafted player should think twice about what has changed over the course of a few months to give up on a highly drafted player for someone no one wanted in March. To be clear, in some cases (for example, changes in skills and/or roles), such transactions may make perfect sense. In other cases, however, giving up on a better player for a temporarily hotter one is the type of transaction that can come back to bite managers in short order.
  • Do not drop players without evaluating the overall composition of your roster if the contemplated transactions are made. One mistake I used to make years ago was allowing FAAB moves to create positional “creep” on my rosters. For instance, I might start out with 13 pitchers (4 bench arms) on my roster. Among my pitchers, I ideally would have at least ten usable starters. As the season would go by, however, I occasionally would drop an underperforming starter for a hot hitter and/or a prospective closer, and one or two of my better starters would get hurt and, the next thing you know, I’d be down to only six or seven healthy starters, forcing me to rely on FAAB to stream starting pitching. Two things I do currently to try to avoid this type of positional creep are: (1) after identifying potential drops, map out my starting lineup for the following week, making sure that I have at least nine (and preferably ten) pitchers that I am comfortable starting; and (2) try to only drop a starting pitcher for another starting pitcher.
  • Do not drop players without looking at their upcoming schedules. Before dropping a player, take a look at their upcoming schedule; it could impact the timing of your decision. For instance, I have never been a big Chris Paddack fan for fantasy. He had an excellent rookie debut in 2019, throwing 140.2 innings with a 3.30 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Since then, however, he has never reached 115 innings in a season or had an ERA below 4.00 or WHIP below 1.20. I think he is no more than a matchup play in 15-team leagues and normally would have little interest in 12-team leagues. Like many other starting pitchers this season, the Yankees shelled Paddack this past week, allowing 7 earned runs in only 4 innings. The performance left Paddack with a 5.26 ERA and 1.42 WHIP for the season and, for many fantasy managers, he may be a potential drop this run. Before doing so, however, managers looking at Paddack’s upcoming schedule will see that he is lined up for two home starts against the Rockies and the A’s this coming week. That fact alone probably would cause me to hold off dropping him until next week.
  • Do not be afraid to forego making transactions. Once the draft is over, fantasy managers can only help their teams through FAAB and lineup decisions. FAAB happens once each week and there are multiple weekly articles and podcasts advancing recommendations on which players to acquire. For managers, composing bid strings with proposed drops is a weekly ritual. While there is an expectation and desire to make transactions, some weeks the best transaction may be the one that is not made. Remember, we are merely accumulating roto stats; adding or dropping a player to or from your fantasy team is not going to “motivate” your team or alter its “chemistry.” Transactions also cost FAAB dollars – it amazes me how much some managers bid to add players that appear no better than the ones being dropped. A major factor in setting bids should be the extent to which the targeted player is likely to improve your team over the player being dropped. If the transaction represents a material upgrade, you should be prepared to bid aggressively; conversely, however, if the transaction only constitutes a modest improvement, the bidding should be tempered, even if unlikely to result in a winning bid. Additionally, managers should not be afraid to employ short FAAB strings. If there are only one or two players in FAAB that truly are better than the potential drop, then utilize a short bid string and be willing stand pat if your bids are unsuccessful.

Some of the players who should at least be considered as potential drops this week are below in the following two tables – the first includes hitters and the second includes pitchers. In addition to the player’s name, team and position, the tables include the player’s ownership percentage in the premier 15- and 12-team contests: the NFBC’s Main Event and Online Championship, respectively. Finally, the tables list my rankings as to how strongly – or not – I feel each particular player should be dropped in those 15- and 12-team formats, respectively. The key to these rankings, from 0-4, is as follows:

0 = Do not drop
1 = Team context dependent; probably should not be dropped on most teams
2 = Team context dependent; compelling arguments to drop and not drop
3 = Team context dependent; probably should be dropped on most teams
4 = Drop

Potential Hitter Drops

Name Team Position Roster% (15tm) 15tm Drop? Roster% (12tm) 12tm Drop?
Evan Carter TEX OF 90% 2.5 80% 4
Cedric Mullins BAL OF 100% 2 95% 3
Kris Bryant COL 1B/OF 98% 2.5 38% 4
Max Muncy LAD 3B 98% 0 97% 1
Gabriel Moreno ARI C 98% 1.5 88% 2.5
Zack Gelof OAK 2B 100% 1.5 95% 2.5
Bo Naylor CLE C 90% 2.5 54% 3.5
Michael Busch CHC 1B/3B 88% 1.5 74% 2.5
JoséSiri TB OF 77% 1.5 22% 2.5
Nolan Schanuel LAA 1B 72% 2 12% 3.5
MJ Melendez KC OF 60% 2 19% 4
Miguel Vargas LAD 2B 42% 3.5 6% 4
Brendan Rodgers COL 2B 100% 1.5 43% 3

On May 28, Evan Carter was placed on the IL with what was described as lower back tightness. This week, we found out that the injury is worse than first expected and now is being referred to as a stress reaction. Carter is expected to be out at least a month. Carter previously missed time May 11-17 with a back issue though was not placed on the IL. In 2021, Carter missed time in the minors with a stress fracture in his back, so this seems to be a recurring issue. The Rangers promoted Carter to the majors late last season, and he was fantastic, compiling a 5/15/12/3/.306 stat line in only 75 plate appearances. Carter then hit .300 in the playoffs, helping the Rangers capture their first World Series title. Based on such success, Carter was a hot commodity during draft season, but he has done little other than flounder this season. Over 162 plate appearances, Carter’s 2024 stat line of 5/23/15/2/.188 leaves much to be desired. At this point, I think Carter is an easy drop in 12-team leagues and, while perhaps not as easy a call, also is droppable in 15-team leagues. First, Carter is going to be out for at least a month. Second, there is a chance he will be out longer, with a risk of setbacks. Third, even if a fantasy manager’s roster can handle a monthlong stash, should they tie-up that roster spot for a struggling hitter who is a platoon player? In only 40 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, Carter has an .081 average (3 base hits, all singles). While Carter’s .227 BABIP this season indicates that some positive regression is possible, his .412 BABIP last season similarly indicates that he may not be quite as good as he looked in his brief, late-season call-up (he now has a career .223 average with a 28.3% K%). If I’m going to tie up a roster spot for a month or longer, I’d prefer to have more confidence that the stashed player is a going to be a fantasy asset when he returns.

One of the potential drops I’m wrestling with this weekend is Cedric Mullins. When healthy and playing, Mullins has real upside, with power and speed. Mullins had a breakout 2021 season with an amazing 30/91/59/30/.291 stat line. (Since 2013, the only players with 30/30 seasons are Jose Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Ronald Acuña Jr., Christian Yelich, Julio Rodríguez, Francisco Lindor, Bobby Witt Jr. and Cedric Mullins. In other words, 30/30 seasons do not happen by accident.) Although Mullins came back to earth in 2022 and 2023, he still has been very useful for fantasy (Mullins had 16 HR and 34 SB in 2022, and 15 HR and 19 SB in only 116 G in 2023).  With 40% of the season complete, Mullins has 6 HR and 12 SB, but that’s where the good news ends. Mullins is hitting well under .200 and has gone from a full-time regular, to a platoon player who sits against lefties, to a part-time player who also sits against many righties. While it is impossible to prove that the sporadic play has hurt Mullins’ performance, it certainly does not help. I still believe Mullins is a potential fantasy asset, and that with regular playing time can provide decent power and plenty of stolen bases. Importantly, however, the Orioles that gave Mullins over 670 plate appearances in 2021 and 2022 are not the Orioles of today. Today’s team is much better, with multiple players capable of taking and holding onto the playing time previously occupied by Mullins. Thus far, I’ve elected to hold Mullins, hoping that a few good games strung together would be all that is needed to regain meaningful playing time. That hasn’t happened and while I’ve periodically kept Mullins on the bench, I am starting to conclude that continuing to roster him is not a sign of patience, but stubbornness about not wanting to be wrong on a player I liked coming into the season. Absent a reason to believe that Mullins’ playing time and performance will improve materially in the near future, it may be time for fantasy managers – including me – to move on, at least on teams that otherwise are solid in stolen bases.

Kris Bryant went back on the IL this week with an injured back. Fantasy managers can be excused if they did not realize Bryant had been active to start the week; he was only activated from his prior IL stint May 21 and missed a number of games between the two IL stints. Bryant has only played in 24 games this season. Making matters worse, he’s been ineffective when active, hitting .186 with two home runs. In the Rockies’ 388 games since the start of the 2022 season, Bryant only has played in 146 of them. In those 146 games, with Coors Field as his home park, Bryant has produced a 17/69/55/0/.247 stat line. The former Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player has become nothing more than a mediocre bat with recurring health issues, middling power, and no speed. While the lure of starting Rockies hitters at home is strong, I am not sure Bryant is worth rostering in 15-team leagues and am skeptical he is in 12-team leagues.

Max Muncy suffered what was described as a Grade 1 oblique strain May 15. After some initial optimism that the injury was not serious, Muncy was placed on the IL two days later and is still inactive. With a big divisional lead and playoff spot practically assured, the Dodgers have little incentive to rush injured players, including Muncy, back into action. According to manager Dave Roberts, Muncy is on a “slow program” and only recently started taking dry swings. Even if all goes well, Muncy is 2-3 weeks away from returning to action. At the time of his injury, Muncy was having a typical season for him – 9 home runs, 52 runs + RBIs, but with a .223 average and 30% K%. While it may be challenging for fantasy managers to continue to stash Muncy, I think he’s a hold in the vast majority of 15-team leagues and probably 12-team leagues as well. Muncy can be streaky, but he is a legit power bat in a season where home runs are down. Muncy has hit at least 35 home runs in four of the last five full seasons (excluding the shortened 2020 season). In 2023, Muncy posted a fantasy-helpful 36/95/105/1/.212 stat line. He will harm batting averages, but managers should have known and accounted for that when drafting him. In my experience, the alternative third base options in most leagues are far from stellar and unless teams somehow have acquired two other solid third basemen and are strong in power, Muncy seems worth stashing. Even if not back until the beginning of July, managers holding Muncy should get three months of solid or better three-category performance in one of baseball’s best lineups.

Let’s cover two major disappointments at catcher, Gabriel Moreno and Bo Naylor. Moreno did not exhibit much power in his first year in Arizona (7 HR) but as a 23-year-old hit .284 and chipped in 6 SB (which is golden from a catcher). In the postseason, Moreno belted 4 HR in 17 games, giving fantasy managers hope that power would develop. Moreno had an ADP of 167 in Main Evens and 161 in Online Championships and, thus far, can be considered a bust. Coming into today’s game, Moreno only has 2 HR and the strong average and speed have disappeared (.236 AVG, 0 SB). I think Moreno can be dropped but would be choosy in doing so. The skills Moreno demonstrated last season still exist within him and, at 24, his best days almost surely are ahead of him. The Diamondbacks’ lineup has not been as strong as expected, but it is a long season and that can change as we enter the summer months. Thus, to the extent a solid alternative becomes available in 15- or 12-team leagues, I think it is reasonable to bid on them and try to upgrade from Moreno. Importantly, however, I would not drop Moreno merely for the sake of doing so; think twice about dropping him for a lower-level catcher who may just be enjoying a hot week or two.

Like Moreno, Naylor has taken a step back this season. A highly rated prospect, Naylor burst on the scene last season with 11 HR and 5 SB in only 67 games. Fantasy managers took notice and Naylor had Main Event and Online Championship ADPs of 176 and 174, respectively. Thus far, Naylor only has 3 HR and 1 SB, and is hurting teams with a .170 average. Naylor is pressing badly, as his walk rate has fallen from 13% in 2023 to 8.7% this season, while his strikeout rate has jumped from 23% to 35.3%. Naylor is losing playing time to an emerging David Fry, while Austin Hedges continues to catch a game or two every week. At some point, possibly soon, the Guardians may demote Naylor until he is able to get back on track. Between Fry’s bat and Hedges’ glove, the Guardians do not seem to need whatever it is that Naylor is providing. While I would be careful about dropping Moreno, I think Naylor is a clear drop in 12-team leagues and am more comfortable dropping him in 15-team leagues.

Potential Pitcher Drops

Name Team Position Roster% (15tm) 15tm Drop? Roster% (12tm) 12tm Drop?
Trevor Williams WAS SP 100% 2.5 63% 4
Pablo López  MIN SP 100% 0 100% 0
Joe Musgrove SD SP 68% 2 66% 3
Blake Snell SF SP 98% 0 96% 0.5
Jordan Montgomery ARI SP 98% 1 94% 2
Michael Wacha KC SP 70% 2 43% 3.5
Robert Gasser MIL SP 100% 4 94% 4
James Paxton LAD SP 98% 3.5 81% 4
Griffin Canning LAA SP 91% 1 7% 2.5
Alek Manoah TOR SP 21% 4 21% 4

This week’s writeup on pitchers is extensive and focuses exclusively on starters of the disappointing and/or injured variety. Let’s start with the healthy but enormously disappointing Pablo Lopez. In 2023, López was fantastic, pitching 194 innings, winning 11 games, racking up a whopping 234 strikeouts, and compiling a 3.66 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. With Main Event and Online Championship ADPs of 25 and 37, respectively, López was many fantasy managers’ ace to start their rotations. While the first 40% of this season has been marked by stellar performances by late-drafted and undrafted starting pitchers, López has burdened his managers with a 5.45 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. While López remains 100% rostered in 15- and 12-team formats, his managers have mentally cut him (and worse) numerous times this season. So, is all lost? López is a great example of my warning above not to drop players based solely on their surface stats. Right now, López arguably is the unluckiest pitcher in baseball. His 5.45 ERA is more than two runs higher than his xERA (3.18) and SIERA (3.29). López has a strong 26.3% K% and career-best 5.7% BB% (his K-BB% is 14th best among qualified starters, ahead of players such as Zack Wheeler, Corbin Burnes and Luis Gil). López’ home run rate is up (1.65 HR/9) and left on base rate is down (64.1%); both those rates often normalize over the course of a season. López is a clear hold in all formats, and after a rough start to the season, I’m hopeful that his managers (including myself) will enjoy next week’s home two-step versus the Rockies and the A’s.

Michael Wacha is a hold/drop decision that illustrates the differences between 15-team and 12-team formats. Wacha is a perfectly cromulent starting pitcher who usually will not stink – and occasionally surprise to the upside – in most matchups, while being an easy sit against the league’s best-hitting teams. Thus far in 2024, Wacha has 4 wins in 12 starts, with a 4.24 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 68 innings. Wacha was placed on the IL June 2 with a non-displaced fracture in his left foot and is expected to miss about four weeks. In 12-team leagues, there always are pitchers equal to or better than Wacha available in FAAB, and so he can be viewed as a streamer in that format and dropped when facing a monthlong IL stint. In 15-team leagues, however, whether to drop Wacha is very team dependent. The appealing starting pitching options in FAAB usually are more limited, and if possessing the roster space, I can understand a manager holding Wacha, particularly given that the injury is unrelated to his pitching arm, elbow and shoulder. To be clear, while a case can be made for holding Wacha under certain circumstances in 15-teamers, he also is eminently cuttable if managers have better options and/or need the roster space.

Trevor Williams was having the best season of his career (5 wins in 11 starts, with a 2.22 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 56.1 innings) when he unexpectedly was placed on the IL this week with a flexor muscle strain. Williams has been shutdown from throwing for two weeks and so probably will be out for at least four weeks, assuming his recovery goes smoothly once he is able to resume throwing. In this case, Williams’ recovery duration seems uncertain, and fantasy managers making hold/drop calls on him should account for the risk that Williams may require more time – possibly considerably more – before being activated. For other, struggling players, I’ve referred to the backs of their baseball cards in recommending patience during slumps; here, I do so in support of cashing in on winnings and dropping Williams. While he has tweaked his arsenal and improved in certain ways, Williams’ career ERA and WHIP over 916.1 innings are 4.34 and 1.37, respectively. Williams has never averaged a strikeout per inning, and his current 0.32 HR/9 is less than half his prior career-low rate, which suggests regression is coming (his 3.98 SIERA also is 1.7 runs above his current ERA). I would be cutting Williams in 12-team leagues and most 15-team leagues (unless possessing an extra roster spot and believing in a skills change).

Jordan Montgomery is a tough call. For years, Montgomery has been a solid if unspectacular fantasy asset. From 2021 to 2023, Montgomery exhibited superior durability, making at least 30 starts each season and 94 starts over the three-year period. During that time, he won 25 games, compiled 486 strikeouts in 524.1 innings, and pitched to a 3.48 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. This year, following a late signing with Arizona, Montgomery has been awful, compiling a 6.80 ERA and 1.73 WHIP over 46.1 innings. Montgomery’s strikeout rate has fallen from the 21%-24% range to 13.8%, while his 8.6% walk rate would be his highest since a brief appearance in the majors in 2018. If searching for encouraging signs, one can point to the fact that: (1) Montgomery’s .357 BABIP appears unlucky and is much higher than his career .295; and (2) many of his underlying metrics (EV, Barrel%, HardHit%, HR/FB) are well within his historic norms. Putting aside sabermetrics and listening to what my eyes are telling me, Montgomery is struggling mightily and probably should be benched in all formats, at least until he shows tangible signs of improvement. For now, managers with strong pitching staffs and/or very limited roster flexibility probably can move on in 12-team leagues, although I’d be reluctant to drop Montgomery in 15-team leagues, erring on the side of giving him more time (from the bench) to get things right in the hopes of having a solid rotation piece for the second half of the season.

This week, Joe Musgrove went on the IL for the second time due to an injury to his pitching elbow. After an initial diagnosis of continued inflammation, additional imaging revealed a bone spur and a bone bruise in his elbow. Musgrove was given a platelet-rich plasma and cortisone injection and shut down from throwing for at least two weeks. Surgery for the bone spur is an option, but one that the Padres and Musgrove are hoping to avoid. Following the two-week shutdown, Musgrove will play catch and then determine if he’s able to commence a throwing progression. According to Musgrove himself: “It’s more based on symptoms. If I can go out there and throw pain-free – or even if there’s a bit of discomfort, but if I can have a clean delivery and feel confident about letting the ball go – we’ll probably start looking at progressing. But right now, I can’t let the ball go. I don’t trust anything that’s coming out of my hand.” Musgrove is different from many injured players because, in his case, there is a very wide range of potential recovery periods. It sounds like four weeks is an absolute minimum here, but there’s a very real risk that it will be longer, possibly significantly longer. In deciding whether to hold or drop Musgrove, it should be considered that, when healthy, he is a top-30 starter. From 2021 to 2023, Musgrove’s ERA ranged from 2.93 to 3.18 and his WHIP ranged from 1.08 to 1.14, and he compiled 484 strikeouts over 459.2 innings. I think whether Musgrove should be dropped now is very team dependent. The case for dropping Musgrove obviously is stronger in 12-team leagues, and teams with strong pitching and lacking roster flexibility may be better off not tying up a roster spot for weeks on a player who may require surgery and never make it back this season. In 15-team leagues, a team needing pitching upside that can spare a roster spot should consider holding. Given a healthy Musgrove’s upside – which is higher than all or the vast majority of pitching prospects that will excite fantasy managers over the coming months – seeing whether the injection and rest work in allowing him to start a throwing progression might be well worth sacrificing a roster spot for several weeks. Under a best-case scenario, Musgrove is back around the All-Star break and is a strong contributor to fantasy teams in the second half.

Blake Snell was sent to the IL with a left groin strain. The injury is less severe than his prior adductor strain and he already has resumed throwing. The good news for his fantasy managers is that Snell may be back in just a few weeks; on the other hand, based on how he has pitched this season, a quick recovery may not be good news. Like Montgomery, Snell was a late-signing and his performance for the Giants has been abysmal. The defending Cy Young has managed only 23.2 innings over his first six starts, pitching to a 9.51 ERA and 1.94 WHIP. There is real upside to a healthy Snell, which is why managers should treat him as a hold for now. Last season, after a slow start, Snell had a dominant second half, finishing the season with 14 wins, 234 strikeouts over 180 innings, with a 2.25 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. That noted, like Montgomery, I’d be inclined to keep Snell on my bench until he shows signs of real improvement. While Montgomery and Snell can be assets to fantasy teams, right now they are pitching like shells of their former selves and best left on managers’ benches.

The Brewers’ Robert Gasser is on the IL with an elbow injury, and now is seeking his third opinion on it. Apparently, Gasser received conflicting opinions from team doctors and Dr. Neal ElAttrache and will visit Dr. Keith Meister in the coming days. According to a recent report: “ElAttrache saw the strain in Gasser’s elbow – which the Brewers also have seen – and, though the ulnar collateral ligament is still intact, indicated concern about the long-term viability of the ligament.” Gasser reported that while ElAttrache recommended surgery, he did not rule out that rehab also could be possible given the UCL is not ruptured.” While I have no idea whether Gasser needs and/or will undergo UCL injury at this time, I do know that: (1) he will be out for a while; and (2) I no longer want him anywhere near my fantasy teams this season. With this news, I consider him a clear drop in both 15- and 12-team formats.

When it comes to fantasy baseball, I think of myself as a high-stakes player first and foremost and as an analyst second. The player in me wants to encourage all others to continue rolling out James Paxton start after start but, as an analyst, I cannot do so. Honestly, every week it shocks me to see how widely Paxton is still owned in 15- and 12-team formats. Managers are placing too much weight on the name in the front of the unform (and not enough weight on the name on the back). The 2024 version of Paxton is terrible. Yes, he has 5 wins in 11 starts, but that’s where the positive news ends. Paxton’s 4.19 ERA is mediocre, his 1.49 WHIP is atrocious, and his 14.2% K% and 12.9% BB% are terrible. Let me try to place Paxton’s performance in perspective this way: there currently are 72 qualifying starting pitchers and the worst K-BB% among them – Patrick Corbin’s 5.3% – is four times higher than Paxton’s 1.3%. If anything, Paxton has been lucky – his xERA and SIERA (5.13 and 5.68, respectively) each are over a run higher than his current ERA. There, I’ve done my job, now please feel free to keep starting Big Maple!

Finally, the Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah will be undergoing season-ending UCL surgery June 17 and should be dropped tonight in all formats.

Potential Disaster Starts

Set forth in the table below are starting pitchers that I believe have real disaster potential for the coming week. In order to make this section of the column as actionable as possible, pitchers that are sparsely rostered have been excluded. Instead, I am going to challenge myself by focusing solely on pitchers that are at least 90% rostered in the Main Event or at least 60% rostered in the Online Championship. The pitchers are ranked from 1 to 10 for disaster potential in the coming week, with the highest numbers reflecting pitchers I am highly unlikely to start and who strike me as the biggest potential disasters.

Pitcher Team Matchup #1 Matchup # 2 Disaster Level Notes
Reynaldo López  ATL @ BAL 5.5 Now around his innings totals for each of 2021-2023, at BAL is among toughest matchups
Albert Suárez  BAL v ATL v PHI 6.5 He’s pitched above his skis (SIERA 2 runs above ERA); here comes the reckoning
Brayan Bello BOS v NYY 8 Even at home, I’m trying to avoid the Yankees with marginal SPs; Bello is marginal
Kutter Crawford BOS v PHI v NYY 7 Incredibly difficult two-step for SP with three rough outings in a row
Triston McKenzie CLE @ CIN 8 xERA & SIERA approaching 5, walks aplenty, visiting Great American Smallpark – no thanks
James Paxton LAD v TEX 7 This is more a vote against Paxton than any particular fear of TEX on the road
Taijuan Walker PHI @ BAL 9 Stay far away from this one; may be bad enough to get Turnbull back in the rotation

Week 11 was the second consecutive strong week for me picking disasters despite several poor selections (Jared Jones and Chris Bassitt) and two of my picks getting hurt (Blake Snell and Kenta Maeda) before they could compile undesirable stats. For the week, my selections tallied a 4.43 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, despite the strong starts by Jones and Bassitt. In the interests of accountability, set forth below are the results of my “Disaster” picks thus far. Week 11 shows results through Saturday’s games and will be updated next week to include Sunday’s stats.

Week IP H+BB ER Wins Strikeouts ERA WHIP
Week 2 55.2 69 28 2 60 4.53 1.24
Week 3 33.0 55 14 2 30 3.82 1.67
Week 4 40.0 55 21 3 36 4.73 1.38
Week 5 36.0 32 11 2 38 2.75 0.89
Week 6 46.2 56 19 4 34 3.66 1.20
Week 7 52.1 70 30 0 49 5.16 1.34
Week 8 32.2 43 12 3 30 3.31 1.32
Week 9 34.1 38 9 4 23 2.36 1.11
Week 10 40.0 64 22 1 57 4.95 1.60
Week 11 40.2 57 20 3 40 4.43 1.40
Season 417.1 544 188 25 400 4.05 1.30
Previous 2 Late-Round Picks to Avoid in Best Ball (and Better Alternatives) Next Trust the Gut: Fantasy Baseball FAAB Guide (Week 12)