A little over a month ago, I covered several players who were over-rostered in Yahoo leagues and needed to be sent to waivers. It’s time to check in on that topic again, as the large volume of injuries and recent emergence of exciting prospects has placed roster space at a premium. Here are some hitters who are no longer set-and-forget players. Please note that I’m not saying you have to cut these hitters, but rather than you can consider cutting them, based on your other teams and the options on waivers. I’ll cover pitchers next week.
Gleyber Torres (2B/SS, 92 percent rostered)
The most-rostered player in this article, Torres should be retained in most leagues. Still, I can see a case for dropping him in 10-team points leagues that don’t include a middle infield spot. The 24-year-old has played 77 games since the outset of 2020, hitting .244 with four homers and four steals across that stretch. Although Torres has a bright long-term future, there is no reason to believe that he will suddenly snap into his top form and those who shallow leagues may not want to wait any longer.
Brandon Lowe (1B/2B/OF, 87 percent)
A left-handed hitter, Lowe has been awful this year against southpaw hurlers (.164 OPS), and the Rays are smart enough to limit his exposure to those matchups going forward. And these struggles come on the heels of a forgettable postseason for Lowe, where he was arguably the team’s most disappointing player (.459 OPS) during their run to the World Series. Managers in shallow leagues can get Lowe’s power numbers without having to deal with his batting average.
Cavan Biggio (2B/3B/OF, 86 percent)
I love the way Biggio plays baseball, so this is a tough one for me. But I have to accept the facts as they relate to fantasy value. The 26-year-old’s strikeout rate is way up this year (31.3 percent), and his lowly .206 batting average is higher than his .194 xBA. Biggio has hit all over the Blue Jays lineup this year, but his struggles and the improved health of the roster should relegate him to 7th or lower when George Springer returns. I’m not rushing out to drop Biggio, but I’m open to the possibility.
Jeff McNeil (2B/3B/OF, 74 percent)
In an era where so many players produce a low batting average, fantasy managers tend to love McNeil for his low strikeout rate and high batting mark. And while the multi-position asset continues to limit his whiffs this season, his lack of hard contact (26.7 percent) is ruining his chances of collecting base knocks. McNeil’s xBA is just .248, and he has produced just three homers and one steal. The disappointing numbers come on the heels of a 2020 season where the 29-year-old produced just four homers and zero steals across 52 games. Batting average matters, but not to the point of rostering McNeil in 10-team leagues, especially in light of his recent trip to the IL.
David Fletcher (2B/3B/SS/OF, 56 percent)
Fletcher is a more extreme version of McNeil. Expected to produce a high batting average, the infielder is batting just .250 with a .260 xBA. His hard-contact rate (12.7 percent) is among the worst in baseball, and unless things change right away, Fletcher will become a fixture at the bottom of the lineup. With zero homers and two steals across 40 games, the 26-year-old doesn’t offer enough counting stats to make his batting average potential worth the wait.
Jorge Soler (OF, 67 percent)
Anyone can play a round of “one of these things is not like the other” with Soler’s career power numbers. The outfielder tallied 48 long balls in 2019, which nearly matches his total of 50 in the other seven seasons of his MLB career. Although some managers are rostering Soler in hopes that his power stroke comes back, we have to accept at that this point that it likely isn’t happening. And with no speed and marginal contact skills, Soler is not a mixed-league asset during stretches where his homers aren’t coming in bunches.
Gary Sanchez (C, 67 percent)
Fantasy managers with Sanchez rostered have to ask themselves how badly they need 20 homers from their catcher? The slugger is batting under .200 for the third time in the past four seasons, and his overall average since the start of 2018 is just .199. At this point, expecting Sanchez to produce a respectable batting mark seems like a fool’s errand.
Josh Bell (1B, 57 percent)
Although first base isn’t deep this season, there are players on waivers who are better options than Bell. The slugger was bad last season (.669 OPS) and has been even worse (.605 OPS) in his initial 30 games as a member of the Nationals. Similar to Soler, Bell is someone who flashed out-of-nowhere power skills in 2019 (37 homers) but has otherwise been nothing more than an average slugger who has no wheels and rarely hits for average. It’s time for some Bell managers to start streaming his spot until they find someone better.