We are a little over two weeks into the 2017 baseball season. You are probably still trying to figure out your roster. Should I cut bait with an injured player or let him take up a DL spot? Should I pick up someone like prospect Cody Bellinger and hope the Dodgers call him up?
We look at some players who started out hot, some who are struggling and maybe some guys who should be targeted in your free agent pool.
Before I begin, let’s go over the F/M/K terminology. The guys that I list under “F*ck” are guys that are currently hot and you need to pick them up. “Marry”, are guys that you need to stick with the whole season, even if they are struggling a bit. “Kill”, are guys that need to be dropped for better players in the free agent pool.
Mitch Haniger – Seattle Mariners – 73.9% owned – Haniger started out his career on a tear. He is scoring runs, hitting for power and has speed on the bases. If he’s available in your league, make room for him on your roster. I was thinking about putting him in the ‘Marry’ section cause he could be legit, but at least ride him while he’s hot right now.
Steven Souza Jr. – Tampa Bay Rays – 42.6% owned – Souza was once a well-regarded prospect, but has struggled to consistently hit for a contact. He is doing just that right now and has an average of .321 with ten RBI. I don’t think he can keep this up, but he could have a breakout year if he hits his way out of a possible platoon situation.
Mike Leake – St. Louis Cardinals – 56.5% owned – Leake had a somewhat forgettable season in his first year in St. Louis. He was barely fantasy relevant for most of last season. He looked like the solid pitcher he was on the Reds and Giants. I think he’s worth a roster addition for a few starts. He could be someone you ‘Marry’ at some point.
Luis Severino – New York Yankees – 44.6% owned – The Yankees have been waiting for Sevrino to put together some quality starts in the Majors. Some thought he could be a future ace or he could falter like a few past pitching prospects and end up in the bullpen. Severino currently has 27 strikeouts in 20 innings over three starts. He could be a nice source of strikeouts and his ERA shouldn’t kill you.
Chris Devenski – Houston Astros – 37.6% owned – ‘The Dragon’ is being used as a Swiss Army knife in the Astros bullpen. He pitched extended innings and is in a role Andrew Miller is in on the Indians. Devenski currently has 21 strikeouts in 11 innings with a 0.82 ERA. He ‘could’ eventually take the closer job from Ken Giles if he struggles, but I think the Astros like the role Devenski is in at the moment. The Dragon is a nice source of strikeouts and will help your team’s ERA.
Avisail Garcia – Chicago White Sox – 52.6% owned – Garcia is currently on fire. He is hitting .440 with three homers and 13 RBI. He had at least one hit 11 of his last 12 games. The White Sox don’t have a ton of offense, so this could be a little hot streak you should ride until he goes cold.
Zack Cozart – Cincinnati Reds- 40.3% owned – Cozart is a player you’re not really pumped about having on your roster, but he usually always pulls through for fantasy owners. He is often passed over in drafts, but then is on someone’s roster off an on for the remainder of the season. He has some power that is hard to find for free agent middle infielders.
Cesar Hernandez – Philadelphia Phillies – 60.0% owned – I’ve rostered Hernandez on fantasy teams off and on over the last two seasons. He’s pretty consistent and will give you a little speed and pop for middle-infielder. He is currently hitting .345, scoring 13 runs with three homers and two stolen bases. He’s a nice replacement if your regular starting middle infielder is on the disabled list.
Victor Martinez – Detroit Tigers – 71.6% owned – I know carrying a DH-only player in a standard league is rough, but Martinez will bounce back from his slow start. He’s batting a shade over .200, but he will finish the season with a very good batting average…he always does.
Dexter Fowler – St. Louis Cardinals – 71.6% owned – Fowler was suffering from a little ‘championship hangover’ to start the season. He wasn’t hitting for power or even getting on base much. Well, he went 3 for 4 with two solo homers today against Pittsburgh. Fowler will bounce back and is a nice fourth or fifth outfielder on your team.
Francisco Liriano – Toronto Blue Jays – 23.1% owned – I don’t usually take a lot of stock in Spring Training numbers, but Liriano looked like a beast in March. He’s only pitched 7 innings this season, but gave up seven runs. He will be worth keeping on your roster since he will get on a roll on a team with a good offense. He might be a good source of wins, eventually.
Jharel Cotton – Oakland Athletics – 30.3% owned – Cotton had a rough first start, but then he pitched seven innings with no earned runs in his second start. Some people are comparing his changeup to Pedro Martinez’s…which is huge praise. I think Cotton could have a breakout year. Keep him on your team for the time being. He struggled again in his third start against Texas…Cotton needs to reduce his walks. I think he will still be a solid fantasy option.
Neil Walker – New York Mets – 42.5% owned – Walker is struggling pretty hard right now. He is hitting .220 with no homers and only three RBI. Walker has always been a reliable fantasy player for average and for his position, some power. He will bounce back and is just off to a slow start.
Randal Grichuk – St. Louis Cardinals – 61.5% owned – People are dropping Grichuk for possibly a ‘hotter’ hitter, but Grichuk should be a very steady outfield option. His average will gradually get better and he will hit 20+ homers. Keep him on your roster before he gets hot this Summer.
Kevin Gausman – Baltimore Orioles – 89.6% owned – People are slowly starting to abandon Gausman. He is currently 1-1 with a 7.23 ERA and a 2.04 WHIP. He will get things back on track and be a solid source of strikeouts and ERA going forward.
Jason Heyward – Chicago Cubs – 32.6% owned – He looked like garbage late last season, but he worked the entire offseason on rehabbing his swing. He had success this Spring and he is hitting .300 early this season. I think he could be a nice backup outfielder with the possibility of being a starter at some point. He should be a nice source of offense in a stacked lineup.
Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins – 34.8% owned – Buxton was once a prospect that was ranked above Kris Bryant. Buxton was never expected to be a stud fantasy player, but more of a better overall player with defense added into the equation. He is currently getting killed by Major League pitching. He’s striking out at an unreal rate. It’s time to cut bait with him who may end up in the minors again soon. I don’t know why people still own him right now. He’s hitting .085 with only one run and one stolen base.
Jose Reyes – New York Mets – 13.1% owned – Reyes is only hitting .100 and has shown no signs of his past speed or ability to get on base. I’m glad people are dropping him. Even if he rights the ship, there are better options like Chase Headley right now. You can always go back to Reyes later this season.
Jon Gray – Colorado Rockies – 54.2% owned – Gray has a broken toe and will be on the shelf for 4 to 6 weeks. He’s not worth the DL spot, so I would just dump him. I haven’t been impressed with any of his starts and think he is only a streaming option when he returns.
Jose Quintana – Chicago White Sox – 92.1% owned – Quintana has a lot of upside, he always have, but this White Sox team is not very good. It doesn’t help that he has pitched poorly in his three starts. He’s 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. He is a trade chip for the Sox to move before the trade deadline, so his stock will rise once he is moved. I’d drop him for now or if you have the ability, maybe skip his next start against Cleveland.
Kole Calhoun – Los Angeles Angels – 82.3% owned – Calhoun has been a good fourth or fifth fantasy outfielder, but he has struggled. He is currently 0 for 17 in the last five games. I don’t think he would be picked up if you were to drop him for someone who is hitting better this season.
Carlos Beltran – Houston Astros – 66.8% owned – There are plenty of DH options on the Astros, so Beltran needed to get off to a good start to entrench himself in that role. He is hitting .259 with one run scored, no homers and five RBI. He may start losing at-bats to Evan Gattis if he can get the ball out of the infield.
Curtis Granderson – New York Mets – 55.0% owned – Granderson shouldn’t be owned in standard fantasy leagues. At this point, he might even be on the bubble in an NL-only league. He’s only hitting .170 and hasn’t been getting good contact on the ball. I’d drop him for an outfielder like Steven Souza Jr. or Manuel Margot.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.