We are already two weeks into the fantasy season and it seems like longer. I do not mean that in a bad way, but the Japan series really threw off my teaming. All I know is I already have the “itch” to fix my teams, specifically the struggling ones. Two weeks of playing time and there are already narratives emerging. Anyone that has Cody Bellinger is giving themselves a congratulatory pat on the back while those who drafted Miles Mikolas are cursing at the wind for thinking he would save their ratios.
I mainly want to focus on guys that you might be thinking of dropping or adding when it comes to this series of articles I plan on dropping throughout the season, but I might throw in a guy that people can’t drop, but want to trade due to an awful performance every now and then. So we can end the article on a good note, let’s take a look at the zeroes so far this season.
Zero #1: Daniel Palka.
- 2018-2019 Offseason expectations: Palka hit 27 home runs for the White Sox last year and was a sneaky guy to draft late to bolster your power. Strikeouts and a low average are to be expected.
- 2019 So far: The strikeouts and low average are definitely there, unfortunately, since his average sits at a cool .000 line on the season, I don’t think he has hit any home runs.
If I ignored power early, Palka was a guy I targetted in drafts during the offseason. With talks of Machado joining the White Sox and an up and comer like Eloy Jimenez on the team, Palka was definitely appealing. Two weeks later, and it is feeling like he is in a race with Chris Davis to see who can hit for a lower average. Palka is sitting at a 5% and 6% ownership percentage on Yahoo and ESPN respectively, so a lot of people either have dropped him, or he simply went undrafted. His 8.3% hard contact rate and 50% soft contact rate don’t exactly endorse him. I don’t want to beat it over your head that these are small sample sizes, as you already knew that. Percentages are not to taken as seriously as when it is the All-Star break, but percentages still have their place.
Thoughts: He was a late round pick, so I honestly don’t feel bad about dropping him. He will likely go through home run binges, but I am not sticking around to see those happen.
Zero #2: Eduardo Rodriguez.
- 2018-2019 Offseason Outlook: Rodriguez drew Spring Training headlines early when it was announced he had retooled his slider with the help of Pedro Martinez and fellow team member Chris Sale. A great Spring helped him ascend the draft boards by the time everyone was drafting real teams and not mocks.
- 2019 So far: To say the Red Sox are stumbling out of the gate would be an understatement. Their pitching staff has grabbed headlines because of Chris Sale’s declined velocity this year, but Eduardo has struggled to even make it four innings in a start.
I bit hook, line, and sinker for Eduardo Rodriguez in the offseason, he fit right in that area of drafting where I didn’t love anyone, so I reached for upside. He has rewarded me with 4.1 innings of five-run ball in his first start and 4.1 innings of six-run ball in his latest start. E-Rod is currently owned in 73% of Yahoo leagues and 76% of ESPN leagues, so I know I am not alone in my frustrations so far. He definitely is walking too many batters early in the season, but taking a peep at the underlying numbers, he is getting unlucky too. A .452 BABIP is a far cry from his 2018’s .301 and 2017’s .299. While there is no presentable evidence that a team struggling as a whole has any effect on the individual; I firmly believe that starters can build off one another when everything is sailing smoothly. I am defintely not ready to give up on E-rod yet and patiently wait for the Red Sox to inevitably turn it around.
Thoughts: There are enough reasons to be patient with Rodriguez, though I would not blame you for benching him until he rights the ship.
Hero #1: Brad Keller
- 2018-2019 Offseason Outlook: Brad Keller had a decent season with the Royals last year going 9-6 in 140.1 innings, but that does not mean that people were excited about him coming into the season. In fact, in shallower leagues, you could be forgiven for not knowing his name.
- 2019 So far: Brad Keller won the opening day nod for Kansas City, but unsurprisingly, their pitching depth is lacking. Keller isn’t an ace, but he has gotten the job done so far in KC. He has made three starts this season and owns a 2.84 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 19 innings.
The strikeouts are nothing to get excited about and likely never will be, however, he excels in limiting the long ball. I know a lot of fantasy players are looking for any guy to fill their rotation and put together a solid outing. Brad Keller might be that guy. He has gone at least six innings in each start so far, so while Kansas City won’t be a hotbed of wins for Keller, the quality starts will be there. Keller sits at 30% ownership in ESPN and 53% in Yahoo.
Thoughts: He could be a fill-in for a player like the aforementioned Eduardo Rodriguez if you chose to bench him. Strikeouts are king in fantasy, but there is value in the contact pitchers too.
Hero #2: Kolten Wong.
- 2018-2019 Offseason Outlook: What was supposed to be Kolten Wong’s coming out party in 2018 after hitting .285 in 2017 never happened. Wong hit .249 with nine home runs and six steals, in other words, not worth rostering. He was an afterthought in 2019 standard drafts.
- 2019 So far: Wong pushed his way onto rosters due to injuries happening at second base. In my TGFBI league, injuries to Scooter Gennett and Jed Lowrie forced me to scoop up a second baseman that had a starting role, in this instance Kolten Wong. Wong isn’t being picked up just to supplant a need at second base this year though, as he has come out of the gate swinging with a .433 average, three home runs, and two steals
Let me get the obvious out of the way, Kolten Wong is a streaky player, especially in regards to power. He isn’t going to continue at his current pace and is more likely to be in the low to mid 400 slugging percentage by the end of the year. He also likely won’t hit .300, though that one is more likely than the first statement. When I picture Kolten Wongs stat line at the end of the year to be somewhere around eight to ten home runs, 15 steals, and a .270 average. Nothing spectacular across the board, but ok to decent production all around. If someone offers you a good enough deal during the middle of this hot streak, I would strongly consider taking it. Regardless, Wong is filling a role that is needed for owners of Lowrie, Gennett, and others.
Thoughts: The wheels defintely won’t just fall off for the rest of the season, I just don’t see him being anything other than a decent player that helps round out your team.