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Justin Morneau leads players to avoid in fantasy baseball

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

We are pleased to introduce the HVaC Scoring System, a scoring system that will allow those in head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues the ability to judge players based on the value they will add over the average starter at the position.

HVaC scoring systems ranks players on a scale of 1-100 — the lower the value, the more value add the player brings to a lineup — based on standard 5×5 league factors that leverage ZiPS projections. Categories are weighted by position and positions are weighted based on standard lineup needs (1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 SS, 1 3B, 1 CI, 1 MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, 7 P).

Here are five players to keep out of your lineup this week:

Justin Morneau (14.77)

Morneau has seen a 60 point increase in ownership recently. Yes, he is on a hot streak, but do not focus on Morneau’s batting average of .346 so far this season (against a career mark of .278, mind you)  because as a first baseman it is not as statistically significant as other categories. We do need to be concerned with the power categories. With the positional average of 29 home runs, Morneau’s 19 home run projection put him on the outside looking in as do his run totals. Even the RBI marks are much less than we would expect from an average player. This is nothing more than riding a hot streak. Do not buy into the trend.

Carl Crawford (40.39)

Some players continue to get by on name recognition alone and Crawford is one of them. This is not the same player that was seen in Tampa Bay. Instead of 50 steals, owners are looking at less than 20. While his ownership has dropped 15 points, it is not nearly far enough for head to head owners. While I would expect a bump in average the rest of the way given his BABIP of .265 is 40 points off his career mark the last two seasons, his likelihood of playing less than 130 games will keep his run totals down, further depress his steals, and keep him in single-digit home runs. There is little return on the value here when it comes to owning Crawford.

Rajai Davis (37.96)

Rajai Davis has been splitting time between the top and bottom of the order and hitting well regardless. The move to leadoff helps him leverage his speed more effectively, but overall Davis owners need to be cautious. His early BABIP of .345 is better than in any year since 2009 and his strikeout rate is down considerably in the early going.

Add in the fact he has only missed 20 of the 268 pitches he has seen all season and that his contact rates on pitches out of the strike zone is up five points against his career mark of 64 percent while his overall mark of 83 percent is the highest in his career since 2010 and you have a major reason why Davis was buried at 191 amongst all outfielders. Speed is all that keeps him afloat. If you want to ride the hot streak, go for it, but this is a sell-high if there ever was one.

Jedd Gyorko (20.92 at 2B, 13.59 at 3B)

Weird to see a guy that was talked about so highly be dropped just as quickly thanks to a slow start. There were plenty of expectations here that Gyorko has not been able to live up to. The book on him is to get him out down in the strike zone, and, more specifically, down and away. Gyorko is seeing far more sliders than he did last season and it is taking him time to adjust. Even if he does, though, there are issues here. In RBI (70 compared to an average of 81 at Third Base) and H/PA (.212 against a Third Base mark of .241), Gyorko is way below average, driving down his value at Third Base. At Second Base, the numbers get worse. Gyorko is a negative outlier in H/PA and struggles to produce effectively in terms of runs scored.

Khris Davis (33.08)

We are seeing Davis get dropped like a bad habit across many leagues. Quite simply, the expectations were too high. HVaC had him as the 80th ranked outfielder overall heading into the season and a lot of that was because his hits per plate appearance (H/PA) was way off compared to others at the position. While the top-50 put up .242 H/PA, Davis has only .224. His increased strikeout rate this season of 29.5% vs 22% in time last seasonand the steady diet of down and away pitches he is receiving are keeping him down. Davis is seeing plenty of sliders and 94 of the 164 pitches he has seen have been out of the zone low.

When pitchers keep the ball down on him, he struggles. Thirteen of his 23 strikeouts have come on pitches in the lower part or out of the strike zone while only one of his extra-base hits has been found there. Add in a BABIP of .347 early on and there seems to be only room for regression. Drop him.

Collin Hager is a fantasy baseball writer for FantasyPros911. You can follow him on Twitter: @CWHager 



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