The editors would like me to write a fantasy drops column this year, and we’ll be rolling it out to you every few weeks. But first, let’s establish some ground rules.
One size never fits all on this stuff. What is good for you may not be good for some. Season. Outside advice is worth considering, but it’s just a suggestion. At the end of the day, it’s your decision. Make the best possible decision.
Some leagues allow you to trade some of these drops. In other pools this may be difficult or even impossible. You know your competition better than an outsider.
Okay, let’s get to the point.
Drops to consider
Patrick Wisdom, IF, Cubs
It’s not breaking news when a player like Wisdom has a boom in April and a slump in May. He’s a power-hitting, high-strikeout player, the very definition of a volatile roto asset. But the magnitude of Wisdom’s May swoon should be noted – he slashes .163/.293/.327 with just two homers and a whopping 29 strikeouts. That Christopher Morel established itself, Wisdom is not guaranteed to begin every day. In fact, Wisdom has started in just nine of 16 games for Chicago, and at times even ranks seventh or eighth in the lineup.
I don’t mind going for a pop player that hurts me on average, but I need something close to full-time play time. Wisdom no longer offers that.
James Outman, OR, Dodgers
On the surface, Outman looks like one of the roto winners for 2023. He was cheap in the March draft, and so far has returned nine home runs, five steals and an acceptable .245/.333/.497 slash. And the Dodgers still have a zoning violation, even if they’re not quite the boomers we’ve seen in previous years.
Unfortunately, Outman hit the skids in May, with a .179/.273/.328 crater. With that, the Dodgers don’t consider him an automatic starter — serial tinkerer Dave Roberts has rested Outman four times in the past two weeks. And the batting data doesn’t validate Outman either. Statcast says he should have a .214 average and a .388 slugging percentage, steep drops from his current numbers. Outman’s April was a dream, but there’s a legit pumpkin risk here.
Taylor Ward, VAN, Angels
This feels like an obvious call that most of you may not need to read, but I note that Ward is still ranked in 61% of the Yahoo competitions, so we’ll push him in the column.
Ward’s base stats favor the cut – .226/.300/.322 slash, just four home runs and one steal. But there’s another problem for Ward these days: Mickey Monica. Ward and Moniak are essentially in a quasi-platoon, with Ward getting the shorter side of the timeshare. That’s an automatic pink slip when you’re trying to navigate mixed competition.
Ward does himself no favors in court, striking out 13 against zero walks in the last 16 days. Perhaps the Angels accept that he is closer to a fourth outfielder than he is someone you can play against on a daily basis.
Taj Bradley, Rays
I didn’t land any Bradley stock in the spring, and I’ll openly admit my FOMO about it. He’s a valued prospect and his swing-and-miss things have flashed in the majors. No, a 4.44 ERA doesn’t pay the rent, but he has a 1.15 WHIP and 34 strikeouts against only four walks. Maybe that ERA is a stone fluke and destined to come down.
All that established, the Rays treat Bradley with care. He still has to work beyond 5 1/3 innings on every start, which is a dangerous game when you’re chasing wins. Miraculously, Bradley still won his first three starts, but that’s a tight period to hit. Tampa Bay routinely goes on the hook when Bradley hits pitches in the mid-80s; his high for the year is a lowly 86. Later in the season, we’ll likely hear about a potential innings cap for Bradley.
The wise move with any possible discount, especially if he has some roto respect in your league, is to consider a trade. Bradley’s pedigree and secondary stats may be attractive to one of your rivals. But if you’re on a shallower format and Bradley looks like the most removable member of your bench, I’d urge you to pick up any player you see fit at the moment. In those shallower pools, the relief cable is often your trading partner.
Bradley ranks fourth in this column for a reason — he’s more of a “consider the downside” player than someone I’m bashing the cutting table over. Work out those trading circles first.