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The Spin: When should you take out a big player in fantasy baseball?

It was a rough start to the season for José Abreu and brought back bad memories for fantasy managers. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

José Abreu has built an excellent career. He was the 2020 AL MVP. He has driven in 100 or more runs in six seasons, he has hit over .300 four times, he has led the league in hits, RBI and slugging percentage. He has made three All-Star teams and won three Silver Slugger Awards.

And today he’s a free agent in one of my major leagues, thanks to a drop from me. One of the biggest keys to being a good fantasy manager is knowing when to move on.

The Spin check-in is coming this weekend.  (Banner by Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)The Spin check-in is coming this weekend.  (Banner by Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)

The Spin check-in is coming this weekend. (Banner by Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)

The first thing you have to accept if you want to move forward is that it is an inexact science. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that Abreu will be added somewhere else in the 15-team league where I just dropped him. He’s a big name. He is associated with the Astros offense, which is a deep group. Maybe my concept mistake will eventually turn into someone else’s pickup win.

But let’s start with the first essential truth as we explore the topic of excluding fantasy players: Often the biggest fantasy mistake a manager can make is being too afraid. of making a mistake. And if you never reject a player who goes on to acquire fantasy value elsewhere, you’re playing way too conservatively. You have to trust your instincts. If you are unable to make a decision before the final evidence presents itself, you will be continually let down by your more aggressive rivals.

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There are logical reasons for an Abreu discount. He is 37 years old and has had a losing year: .237/.296/.383. All of his Baseball Savant sliders are pinned to the left side, the ominous side. Abreu did have 90 RBI last year, buoyed by Houston’s excellent offensive undercurrent, but he no longer enjoys the same real estate in the lineup. The Astros also have a new manager; Dusty Baker retired and Joe Espada took over.

The first two weeks of the season were ugly for Abreu: .111/.180/.133, two walks, 14 strikeouts. He has four easy singles and one double to his name, in which he scored one run. Meanwhile, interesting first baseman Joey Loperfido is crushing at Triple-A: 10 home runs in 14 games, .333/.429/.895 slash. And maybe the Astros can’t wait too much longer to try something different; they are off to a scrappy start of 6-11.

Abreu signs for the 2025 season and will earn 19.5 million in each of the next two years. But at some point, Houston has to consider this as a possible sunk cost. Every win matters, especially in a vastly upgraded AL West. Houston has won this division in six of the past seven seasons, but it is currently only a slight favorite over Texas and Seattle. (I’m not sure the market is right either; I’d prefer the Rangers).

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I realize that the majority of my readers do not play in leagues as deep as my 15-team example; therefore, Abreu’s selection tag is currently listed at a modest 31%. For many of you, Abreu was someone you already cut off, or perhaps someone who wasn’t included in your league. You may be a few steps further in this matter, and for that I salute you.

Who else should we consider dropping? Start with a few closers that have gone bad. José Leclerc has been a mess all season and Rangers have already taken him off the high work. There are several plausible replacements for the ninth inning, including David Robertson and Kirby Yates. I don’t understand why Leclerc is still in 60% of Yahoo pools.

Abner Uribe is a more proactive drop, though his roster title is similar to Leclerc’s: Milwaukee’s temporary closer remains at 64%. But Uribe has coughed up two consecutive save opportunities and sits at a 7.50 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. The Brewers consider themselves contenders, meaning Uribe likely has a tenuous hold on the job. And the hope is that Devin Williams (back) could return around the All-Star break.

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How many starts are you going to give Triston McKenzie? He was terrible in his first three innings (6.23 ERA, 1.77 WHIP), walking 12 batters against just five strikeouts. His fastball is down all the way to 90 mph, and he’s only getting a swinging strike 5.6% of the time. I don’t know anyone who can have success with these peripherals. McKenzie has suffered some declines this past fantasy week, but is still carried by 68% of Yahoo teams.

Hunter Brown was a therapeutic fall for many Yahoo executives last week after he allowed nine runs in a grizzly inning in Kansas City. Brown hasn’t recorded more than 12 putouts in any of his three starts, and obviously you can’t get wins with that profile. The Astros could consider demoting Brown if he doesn’t show anything this week, and the matchup couldn’t be nastier: Atlanta faces them on Tuesday. Brown still has a spot in more than half of Yahoo’s leagues.

Usually I make an addition/deletion with the idea of ​​improving my team, but sometimes it’s just fun to add something new to the roster. Occasionally I drop a player because it also limits my portfolio liability to that player; it’s a diversification play. I also accept that it makes sense to acquire a slumping player in a trade before tying the knot, but if you’re in an experienced, boisterous league, that often won’t work. Sometimes all you have to do is click the shutter and accept that someone else might be trying an upward move.

Again, I beg you: don’t play scared. Trust your instincts. You can’t wait for proof in this game.

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