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The Cut List (Week 18) - Time to Let Go?

Welcome to the last Cut List before the July 31 trade deadline. Emphasis on dead, because there has still been little action on the trade front.

The next week should be pretty fun if things heat up. For now, however, players are on the team they're on, and judgments should be made accordingly.

Stats are through Friday, July 26, unless otherwise noted. Weekly reminders: Recommendations are for mixed leagues. Recommendations in one league size obviously apply to smaller leagues. You can also feel free to drop a shallower suggestion in a deeper league, but the dividing line is generally there for a reason. And, as usual, you can find ideas on how to replace your cut candidates at the Waiver Wire Pickup List.

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10-Team Cut Candidates

Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD)

Have pitchers caught up with Renfroe, he of 28 home runs? Only one of those has come since the All-Star Break as the 27-year-old has been hitting .186/.283/.302 in the second half. It hasn't been the second half for long, of course, but the quality of Renfroe's contact never quite justified just how lofty his power output was: by Statcast, his .243 batting average is almost entirely deserved, but the .570 slugging average, not so much. (His xBA and xSLG are .239 and .488.)

Renfroe has also been nearly a one-trick pony. Four steals to go with the 28 bombs has been a useful chip-in, but the batting average, 54 RBI, and 46 runs scored -- no doubt a product of San Diego's .308 team OBP, which ranks 13th in the NL, as well as Renfroe's usual fifth spot in the batting order -- have left some to be desired.

This is one of those situations where the line between 10-, 12-, and 14-team leagues is fairly sharp. Renfroe is difficult to let go in anything but a shallow league given the 28 homers. But he's not invincible.

Mike Minor (SP, TEX)

It's been a rough July for Minor, who has posted a 6.04 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in just 22 1/3 innings over four starts as hitters have gone off for a .276/.354/.563 slash line. To be fair, two of those four starts have come against Houston's juggernaut, one at home and one away. He also lost his control in a home start against the Angels, while his most recent start came at Seattle.

Does this amount to a cut case, especially if Minor is traded to a club with a park more suitable for pitching in? That question points out some of the difficulty in making roster decisions with the trade deadline so close. If a player is subject to trade rumors it's probably safest to wait and see what happens before taking action, and Minor falls into that category. If it's August 1 and Minor is still a Ranger, that strengthens the case for cutting him.

Of course, given his full-season performance and what he might still be able to pull in the fantasy trade market, he may be more of a sell in a trade. The flip side of that is the recent struggles could make him less palatable to a potential trade partner. Ultimately, Minor's 4.44 xFIP demonstrates the risk in holding him, especially if he stays in Texas.

Greg Holland (RP, ARI)

By the time this comes out, Holland could already have jumped into the 14-team cut tier. As long as he still officially has the closer job, however, he's difficult to cut.

But not impossible to cut. The 3.51 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 28.6 K% would be just fine in a starting pitcher. For a closer, they are borderline. For a middle reliever or setup man, they are not usable.

The performance plus the risk that Holland is soon demoted makes it not too soon to cut him out of your shallow leagues. Once loss of his role becomes a reality, he can be gone everywhere.

 

12-Team Cut Candidates

Scooter Gennett (2B, CIN)

This is an ex-stash that is not quite working out. Although it's only been 57 plate appearances since Gennett returned, he has struck out 17 times while walking only once to produce a .185/.211/.222 slash line, with zero homers. His playing time has been inconsistent, with Saturday being his third game out of the lineup in the past seven.

And what production are owners holding out for? Yes, Gennett hit .295 in 2017 and .310 last season. It was fueled by a .339 and .358 BABIP, respectively, for someone who was in the .310-.320 range the previous three seasons (2014-16). And it was probably the lucky kind of BABIP, given xBA's of .252 and .259 those two seasons.

So Gennett's batting average was always somewhat a bit of a fluke, and the counting stats -- mid 20's home runs, a handful of steals, solid R+RBI totals (over full seasons) -- were already fine but unspectacular, and will only decline if the hits keep not falling. With the injury possibly still lingering as well, we've seen enough of Gennett this season.

Domingo Santana (OF, SEA)

Things have gotten very thin for Santana of late. He's only been in really big trouble since the All-Star Break, a period of just 10 games thanks to an elbow issue that kept him out from July 24-26, but also of just a .143/.211/.229 line. But he also only has one home run since June 29, and his six steals this season are a bit misleading if used to project going forward: five of those came May 27 or earlier.

Santana provided shades of his 30 HR/15 SB 2017 campaign to begin 2019, but as Seattle's offense has faded (in July they are 8% below average by wRC+), so has Santana's. The Mariners put a claim in on Keon Broxton, which could be a precautionary measure for Santana's elbow or a desperate attempt to infuse new life into the Seattle outfield.

If the elbow issue lingers, that will also be a problem for Santana. The evaporation of his steals since late May is potentially the deciding factor here.

Jordan Yamamoto (SP, MIA)

Two starts ago, Yamamoto was working on a 1.59 and a 4-0 record in five starts. Now, after Saturday, he's 4-2 with a 3.64 ERA. And in those two rough starts, his season BABIP has gone down, from .190 to .182.

Yamamoto's 18th percentile fastball velocity and control issues (a 13.1 BB%) limit his upside, at least in 2019. He throws several different pitches, but hitters appear on their way to catching on.

Posting four wins in his first five starts was also pretty much a fluke, given the team he pitches for. It's not a squad that is going to create many wins going forward, even if Yamamoto finds a way to find the strike zone a little more often.

 

14-Team Cut Candidates

Adam Jones (OF, ARI)

Since April 19, Jones is hitting .258/.297/.390 with eight home runs and two steals. His season line of .271/.320/.434 doesn't look too great anymore either, but it's still being held by a great first few weeks.

Jones' playing time has followed the same long, negative trend. He started in 23 of the team's first 24 games and appeared in the 24th. Since then he's played in 70 and started in just 64 of 80 team games.

When the Diamondbacks called Yasmany Tomas back up, they effectively, at least in part, signaled that Jones' playing time would only decrease further. If Jones is traded he will become a bench piece and, given his performance as well, remaining owners don't need to wait for that to happen to cut loose.

Miguel Cabrera (DH/1B, DET)

This week's "graduate" from Cut-in-12 to Cut-in-14 is perhaps the greatest hitter of his generation (the one immediately preceding Mike Trout's). But that was a long time hence: Miggy is mustering just a .275/.338/.361 line this season. Since the previous check-in on June 23, he's hit an even more unfortunate .217/.283/.277.

This is name-value-only production. In those 23 games, he has scored six times and driven in seven runs. With neither half of a power-speed combo present anymore and playing for Detroit's still-anemic club, it's no surprise. And it won't get better.

Cabrera has also sat to start three times in the past week. Seems like the Tigers are finally going to ease him further into his career twilight. But there's no reason any fantasy manager needs him anymore.

Yusei Kikuchi (SP, SEA)

Frankly, it's a bit late to be suggesting a deeper-league cut of Kikuchi. But he does remain on several rosters. The question is why. The 5.21 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 6.6 K/9, it's all bad. And with a .296 BABIP and 5.14 xFIP, Kikuchi has deserved his fate.

It hasn't always been this bad, which makes the fact that is now this bad only worse. Kikuchi held a 3.43 ERA after May 19. That was his first 11 starts. His next 11 starts: 7.21. The WHIP has undergone a similar ballooning, from 1.08 to a nearly incomprehensible 1.88. It's been fueled by a walk rate explosion from 5.8% to 9.3%.

Kikuchi's most recent start was alright, with two runs allowed in 6 2/3 innings. But it came against Detroit. Lest you did not believe how bad this offense is from the Cabrera entry, note that the team's .232/.290/.381 slash line ranks them last in the American League in OBP, SLG, and OPS, and ahead of only Toronto in batting average. Don't be fooled by that last Kikuchi start; stream his spot.

 

Last Week's Updates

Player Last Week (links to piece) This Week Reasoning
Eric Hosmer Cut in 10 Cut in 10 No change in profile, except he's hit cleanup a couple times, but that's not enough to salvage value
Joey Lucchesi Cut in 10 Hold The usual caveat where if you paid me no mind last week, the recent start shouldn't cause any change in heart
Ian Kennedy Cut in 10 Cut in 10 No change in profile, or in team
Austin Riley Cut in 12 Cut in 12 No change in profile
Nicholas Castellanos Cut in 12 Cut in 10 With the trade deadline closer, you can hold in 12 if you held last week, but even a deal might not save shallower value
Nomar Mazara Cut in 12 Hold Joey Gallo injury, two-HR week, possible trade all reasons to wait-and-see as July 31 approaches
Wil Myers Cut in 14 Cut in 12 Has made a few starts again already and Franmil Reyes is banged up, but struggles not worth it at standard sizes
Rick Porcello Cut in 14 Cut in 14 Held the Yankees down relatively well, but no real change in profile from one start
Blake Treinen Cut in 14 Cut in 14 No change in profile

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