Each week, Collin Hager uses his HVaC Scoring System to let you know whom to start and drop this week in head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues. This week’s players to avoid:
Cincinnati’s Devin Mesoraco should be among the top 15 catchers in HVaC for the duration of the season, but expecting his continued tear to continue is not realistic. Mesoraco, who’s on pace for a 25-homer year, has not produced at this level at any point in his career and cannot be expected to sustain this level of production over a full season.
With an ISO of .347 that’s 50 points better than even his best season in the minors coupled with a BABIP of .343, there are concerns for owners.
Further review shows more potential issues. Mesoraco has a HR/FB rate of almost 30 percent, three times higher than his last two seasons despite hitting more fly balls than at any point since 2011. He is doing his damage across all pitches, but he is feasting on fastballs. Six of his 14 home runs have been on four-seam fastballs and he is 20 for 43 against the pitch so far this season.
Interestingly, Mesoraco’s contact rate on pitches inside the strike zone is down this year and every year since 2011. His swing rate at those pitches is the same, though he has shown better discipline on pitches off the plate. With a swinging-strike percentage up 33 percent along with a strikeout rate at 23 percent, owners should be looking to sell high on the Cincinnati catcher.
Kyle Gibson, RHP, Twins
Gibson has looked good overall, showing improvement in his strikeout and walk rates this season compared with his 10 starts last year. But he has issues here with potential sustainability. Gibson is holding batters to a .232 average and .258 BABIP, levels that he has only shown in the minors when he had a strikeout rate north of 20 percent. Without that, and coupled with a HR/FB rate that is half of his number last year despite fewer fly balls, Gibson will struggle and remains outside the top 100 pitchers.
Chris Johnson, 3B, Braves
Johnson has been a hot add across ESPN leagues, but owners need to beware. The third basemen is ranked 23rd at his position and the signs of improvement are not there. While Johnson has shown a consistent ability to get on base with his high BABIP, the rest of the package is an issue. His projections for runs and RBI put him at least two deviations to the left of the curve. The home run numbers are not much better.
Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies
Brown keeps falling down the HVaC board, now checking in at No. 32 overall in the outfield the rest of the way. His values have come down significantly and pushed him more than two deviations south in terms of H/PA and better than one for runs scored. Brown’s run projections are one fewer per week than the positional average and reduce his value overall to fantasy owners. His continued drop should have owners selling.
Josh Reddick, RF, A’s
Earlier this year, Reddick was a buy option. Now owners need to cut him loose if they haven’t already. Reddick’s numbers are simply not what they could or probably should be. He has fallen to No. 70 overall, largely because his performances in three of the five major categories are well outside one and a half deviations in the wrong direction. Reddick’s lack of power and his having run and RBI numbers more than one fewer per week than the average the rest of the way are reason enough to move on.