Fish or Cut Bait? Which Players to Keep and Who to Throw Back

 

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We’ve all experienced it. Poor early season performance out of top players or early round draft picks. It is a fantasy owner’s worst nightmare. There also comes a point when you must decide to either hold onto the player and hope he turns it around or cut him loose (either by trade or waivers).

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Sure, there are superstars who have gotten off to slow starts, but are you really going to give up on Carl Crawford (BOS), Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) or Hanley Ramirez (FLA) just yet? Probably not. However, there are many players that are playing below their expected levels which deserve a closer look. As we approach the middle of May, the “small sample size” argument doesn’t hold as much water. Just because you landed a player with your draft pick, it doesn’t mean you have to keep him. Let’s take a look at some of the underwhelming performers of 2011 so far and see if they are worth keeping or if they should be thrown back:

 

 

Yovani Gallardo (MIL)

He’s had issues with walks in the past but it’s the relatively low K rate (36K/48.1IP) that has owners worried. With Marcum going strong and Greinke back from injury, the Brewers aren’t panicking yet. Neither should you.

Suggestion: Keep This Fish.

 

Adam Dunn (CWS) –

Sure, he’s struggled against left-handed pitching in the past, but in 2011 he has been brutal when facing southpaws. For a guy that can seemingly roll out of bed and hit 40 home runs, he is on pace for about 17 in 2011. Combine that with a horrible average and no speed, and you have a major problem on your fantasy team.

Suggestion: Throw This One Back.

 

Carlos Pena (CHC)

Coming to hitter-friendly Wrigley, many felt he would return to the lofty highs of 2007-2009 where he averaged 39 HRs in Tampa Bay. However, a thumb injury slowed him down to start the 2011 campaign. A notoriously streaky hitter, he is currently on a power surge and if your fantasy team can take the annually low BA, Pena is one to watch.

Suggestion: Keep This Fish.

 

Francisco Liriano (MIN)

Coming into 2011, Liriano was considered by many to be a top 20 pitcher. In reality, he was coming off one good season with no real track record of success. His season ERA stands at 6.61 and his WHIP is a terrible 1.56. Okay, I know what you’re thinking…. “He just threw a no-hitter”. Although it is hard to criticize an outing where a pitcher fails to give up a hit, Liriano actually makes it pretty easy to do so. Out of 123 pitches, only 66 were strikes and he walked 6 batters. To put things in perspective, this was his first complete game at ANY professional level in his career.

Suggestion: Throw This One Back.

 

Vernon Wells (LAA)

The outfielder with the massive contract has not had a truly great offensive season since 2006. Last year, he hit enough to remind some people of what he once was. That was just what the Blue Jays needed to unload his contract on the gullible Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Now, the team with the long name have the player with the long contract and the world is well. The Angels just dropped him to 7th in the order. Consider following their lead.

Suggestion: Throw This One Back.

 

Alex Rios (CWS)

Speaking of Blue Jay cast offs, Rios is another outfielder who was drafted early in many fantasy leagues and has yet to deliver the numbers to justify it. Although off to a slow start at .205/3/8/4, Rios has consistently delivered an interesting power/speed combination that any fantasy team can use in their line up. He has started to show signs of life recently and has too much talent to ignore.

Suggestion: Keep This Fish.

 

Mat Latos (SD)

In his first big league season in 2010, Latos delivered. A lot was expected of him entering this season and so far, the results have been very disappointing. The Padres are hoping the sore shoulder that gave him problems to start 2011 is getting better. The team is limiting his throwing between starts and hope he will come around. You should too.

Suggestion: Keep This Fish.

 

Wandy Rodriguez (HOU)

Wandy’s first half of 2010 looked like this: 3-10, 6.09 ERA. The second half like this: 8-2, 2.03 ERA and 9.5 K/9. Let’s hope history repeats itself.

Suggestion: Keep This Fish.

 

Other fish to keep:

Dustin Pedroia (BOS), Mark Reynolds (BAL), Brett Gardner (NYY), Justin Morneau (MIN), Ted Lilly (LAD)

 

Others to throw back:

Aaron Hill (TOR), Ryan Dempster (CHC), Magglio Ordonez (DET), Derek Lee (BAL), Matt Wieters (BAL)

 

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