As 2017 winds down, the baseball junky within each of us begins thinking about next year and the draft and our keepers and just who we covet, or on the other side of the fence, the players we are looking to drop at worst and avoid at best.
Bearing in mind we have five months till some Spring games, who are the players I am looking to avoid come Draft Day 2018?
Ryan Zimmerman (1B, Nationals): What a great story was the resurgence of Zimmerman this year, a player largely dismissed and undrafted in shallower mixed formats. Zimmerman, who will be 33 next season, had a smoking hot first half of .330-19-63, but his--and a bunch of his colleagues on this list--ran out of steam in the second half. For Zimmerman, that meant a .175-point drop in OPS, and a .051-point drop in OBP, giving a second half line of .246-12-32. Zim does deserve draft consideration next year, but hardly at the inflated price his first half suggested.
Greg Holland (RP, Rockies): Holland's first half was so ridiculously good at 1-1, 1.62 with 28 saves, and while the 31-year-old does have 12 second half saves, so does he hold a 7.08 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Holding a closing job seems to be more and more ephemeral in the Majors as holding a lead these days. Holland will likely have a gig going into 2018, but his recent numbers and injury history are enough for me to run away.
Matt Holliday (DH, Yankees): He's 37 (will be 38 in January) and is having as miserable a second half (.174-3-11) as was his attitude playing in Oakland. I make it a point to try not to wish ill on a human, but it is about time the hits ran out of Holliday's bat. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Mike Napoli (DH, Rangers): Maybe it is just me, but it seems like the 2017 baseball season could be called "The Search for Chris Carter," and Napoli sort of defines the phrase. Yeah, he's hit 29 homers thus far, but with a .193 batting average, a .258 OBP, and just 66 RBI. Seriously, how different would the season have been for the Rangers had another guy taking Napoli's roster spot hit .275-11-60 with a .345 OBP? I suspect a lot.
Curtis Granderson (OF, Dodgers): As long as we are visiting the elder players, Granderson is having a .207-23-60 year, albeit with a much better .321 OBP, but he's hitting just .164-10-23 this second half and will be 37 next season. I would like to say this is getting old, but there are more players to come.
Jose Bautista (OF, Jays): Remember all those questions about why it took so long for Joey Bats to sign? Well, the Jays must have known something as witnessed by the disappointing .208-22-59 season that Bautista has produced. Bautista, who has "enjoyed" a 50-point drop in OBP, has hit .170-8-20 this second half as a 36-year-old.
Eric Thames (1B, Brewers): Thames is a bit different than the rest of this list in that he is a decade younger than the bulk, and with his hot April (.345-11-19) was almost considered Cecil Fielder redux following a successful stint in Japan coupled with the strong start. Since, the numbers are pretty anemic as Thames did hit .284 in July, but not over .221 in any of the other three months of the season leading into September. What plagues him, in my view, and all his hitting buddies noted, is though Thames banged 31 homers, he has only driven in 59, for 60 seems to be the peak of a skill set where 50 walks balance against 150 strikeouts.
Matt Moore (SP, Giants): Remember everyone in your league just being willing to do anything to get Moore, whom we thought would be another Clayton Kershaw when Moore made his 2012 debut as a 22-year-old? I certainly know I traded for him in a couple of keeper leagues, regrettably, I must add. Even with a pitcher-friendly place like ATT as home, Moore is leading the league in losses at 5-14, with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.505 WHIP. Moore has allowed a gaudy 26 homers over 167 innings in a park where the short porch is in right. Good luck with that.
R.A. Dickey (SP, Braves): Dickey, who will be 43 next Opening Day, can toss 175 innings every year, function as an "innings eater" as they say, but giving very little else in return. Dickey is 9-10, 4.41 over 175.3 frames handcuffed to just 128 strikeouts with a 1.432 WHIP. Because Dickey can indeed produce those garbage innings, he will find a job, but no way should you consider him for your team in even the worst of circumstances.
Remember to go to the Tout Wars site for our Friday picks. And, tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Thursday night at 9 PM ET.
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