Twenty not-so-essential players who shouldn’t be dropped

Last week, I covered toxic assets in fantasy baseball—players that fantasy managers may feel tempted to drop but resigned to keep as the baseball season gets out of the gates.

Now that spring training is over, some players owned in many leagues have failed to win starting gigs, others have been sent to the minors, and some are starting the year on the disabled list. We suspect that in the coming weeks, fantasy baseball managers may be forced to make some hard decisions as they see and read about players on the waiver wire whose hot April tease entices a rash decision.

So here’s a list of 20 players with little or no immediate value who we’d recommend to hold steady. We’ve left off players like Alex Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, and John Lackey, who we couldn’t imagine anybody would be tempted to drop.

The catchers:
1. Matt Wieters
2. Kelly Shoppach
3. Mike Napoli

The pitching prospects:
4. David Price
5. Thomas Hanson

The injured question marks:
6. Ervin Santana
7. Scott Baker
8. Kelvim Escobar
9. Troy Glaus
10. Joel Zumaya

The middle relievers:
11. Chris Ray
12. Carlos Marmol
13. Jose Arredondo
14. Grant Balfour
15. Rafael Perez
16. Manny Corpas

The players without an everyday starting gig:
17. Ian Stewart
18. Elijah Dukes
19. Denard Span
20. Travis Snider

The above players offer enough upside to hold onto in lieu of a hot April hand. Some players who are less essential and we recommend can be dropped include middle relievers who are injured or in the minors (Joey Devine, Chris Perez), Nick Swisher, Sean Gallagher, Dallas McPherson, and Justin Duchscherer.

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  1. Samg said...

    Yahoo Fantasy League: SabermetricStats
    Password: tomtango
    Using points scoring, values taken from Tango.

  2. Mad Bum said...

    What about Rasmus? It seems a waste to leave him rotting on the bench in StL, but I have my doubts about Chris Duncan and/or Ankiel playing the whole year, though they certain should see the majority of the action during the first month or 2. thoughs?

    Also, the entire Minnesota outfield situation seems to be unclear. In addition to Span, Gomez, Delmon Young and Jason Kubel all seem like solid options, but none seems to have their job sewn up, though right now Young is the odd man out. Cuddyer is the one guy there who seems to have it made, and he’s has the least upside of the bunch (it pays to be a vet, I guess.) I agree about holding on to Span, what about Gomez, Kubel and especially Young?

  3. Finn said...

    If I had to pick out a “one of these players is not like the other…” on here, it’d be Denard Span.  Is he really deserving of being on here?  The answer could certainly be “yes,” I just think he’s considerably lesser than the other guys on here.

    He did make excellent contact and has great speed, and flashed a bit of pop… but is he even Carlos Gomez?

  4. Mad Bum said...

    I’d give Span the edge over Gomez due to batting average and on base. they both can steal, but Span, who will get on base a lot more than Gomez, will have more chances to steal. He’s been properly installed as a the leadoff guy. Gomez may have a bit more pop in his bat, but that’s not why you’re putting him on your team, and the difference is negligible.

  5. SuperBro said...

    Clay Bucholz? I really like him and wish the Sox didn’t sign Penny so he’d be the 5th starter. W/o injury to Penny (or any other Boston starter) Bucholz doesn’t seem to be in line to get much time in the majors this year, unless it is out of the bullpen, which would be a waste.

    Is he a guy to stash? I’m in a rather deep league with deep benches, but I don’t want to hold on to him for long if he’s not going to see much action this year.

  6. Jeff W. said...

    LOVE THT.  Glad I discovered it this off season.

    We could be here all day adding to this list, but I wanted to raise a couple of other names for discussion:

    Adam Lind
    Could he be in the “without an everyday starting gig” list?  Or, I suppose, he is the everyday DH.  Could we recast “Back to the Future” with the role of “future Travis Snider” being played by Adam Lind?  If only I could find Doc Brown’s DeLorean!  I am very curious about his ultimate ceiling . . . everybody seems to say he’s a 20 HR max guy, but he seems to have a smooth power stroke that could project for more . . .

    Neftali Feliz
    Would he compare favorably to David Price/Thomas Hanson in the “pitching prospects” list above?

    Justin Duchscherer
    Could he be considered for the “injured question marks” (a.k.a. the DL All Stars) list?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  7. Tyler said...

    Duchscherer is due for some major regression. While I wouldn’t necessarily drop him outright (as his injury isn’t expected to keep him out too long), I wouldn’t consider him an “all star” of any merit, at least this year.

    He might even end up back in the pen, depending on whether the A’s think he’ll be healthier there.

  8. EDUB said...

    I like the Rasmus mention and i’ll say Dexter Fowler as well.  He will get the opportunity to get a starting job.

  9. Jeff W. said...

    Thanks for the feedback Derek!

    I acquired Lind in my 12-team mixed keeper league and made the mistake of trying to identify a favorable matchup with him against Detroit’s RHP yesterday.  Lind, of course, went 0-for-4.

    How did I make room for Lind?  I benched Pence (thinking that Theodore Roosevelt Lilly would give him the business) and Nate McLouth (knowing that he hasn’t had great success in the past against Wellemeyer) and started Lind and Willy Tavares (thinking I could start getting some steals).  McLouth and Pence, of course, went yard.  At least Tavares had a pinch-hit triple.

    That doesn’t cool my enthusiasm for Lind, it just reminds me of a basic rule:  especially in April, play your best players every day and wait for the upside bench guys force their way into your lineup.  Don’t try to play the matchup game this early in the season—there is too little data out there and April is a screwy month.

    It’s kind of like trying to time the stock market.  Once in a while you get lucky with a hot stock, but more often you sell yourself out of good gains on stock with more solid fundamentals.

  10. Derek Carty said...

    Jeff W,
    I actually think Lind is a good bet for 25 HRs this year, and I certainly don’t see 20 HR as his upside.  Good job bringing him up.

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying THT smile

  11. Derek Carty said...

    The Sox have a lot of pitchers, but I do like Buchholz if he can work his way into the rotation.  I can’t see Penny and Smoltz lasting a full year.  He’s definitely worth stashing in an AL-only league; I’m not sure if that’s how deep your league is or not.

  12. Eriq Gardner said...

    The last few players on my list are certainly arguable. Mainly, as far as the offensive guys, I picked players who I expect will establish every-day roles soon enough. At a certain point, say May, I probably wouldn’t hesitate to drop them if they haven’t. That day hasn’t come yet.

    The question in my mind, as I formulate this sort of thing, is to try to judge replacement level. What can’t you get off of free agency during the season that might make holding onto these guys worth it? Snider has the potential to be Toronto’s best batter soon, and could hit high in the lineup. There’s a lot of one category speed guys who are available throughout the season, but few who have the on-base ability of Span.

    In terms of middle relievers, I picked guys who could contribute in the meantime, even without save opportunities.

    In terms of injured and prospect starting pitchers, I tried to identify guys who I believed would be ready from day 1 to contribute to fantasy teams when they make their debut. I like Neftali Feliz, but and I think he’ll eventually be better than Hanson, but I think the latter is much more ready.

    To address a few other questions:

    I actually like Kubel more than Young. (Great splits by Kubel)

    I like Bucholtz as a stashee in deep leagues, but I wouldn’t go too hard on stashing pitchers because the quality of SPs on waiver wire tends to improve as the year goes on.

    In fact, the other side of this is who to pick up…

    I wrote an article on my blog about spot starting in the early going. Check it out here:

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