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:
Joe Nathan, RHP, Tigers
Something seems wrong with Nathan and owners need to be looking elsewhere for saves. Nathan checks in as the No. 81 pitcher overall and the No. 14 closer in the latest HVaC ranks for the rest of the season. If you plan on carrying two closers, then he still has value, but it is flimsy at best. There are plenty of issues to choose from. While his HR/FB rate of over 15 percent seems high, he has had a figure in double digits in three of the last five years. Nathan’s K/9 is at its lowest level since 2011 and is below 9.00 for only the second time since 2003.
When you look at pitches, Nathan is leveraging his curveball more than in years past and is almost exactly at the expense of his fastball.
While batters are not offering at it explicitly, he has only generated three swings and misses on the pitch all season and it has given him just one of his 19 strikeouts. While he has been able to have a three of the last six years where his BABIP has been below .240, he has also had three where the average has been better than .275.
Nathan has been too good for too long to seemingly struggle the way he has, but with batters swinging at fewer pitches overall and being able to lay off pitches out of the strike zone more effectively, his time may be short should there be a better option available in Detroit.
Khris Davis, LF, Brewers
Davis has seen his ownership jump nearly 60 points in the last seven days across ESPN leagues, but caution is advisable. The HVaC does not like the lack of runs he will generate or the RBI total he is expected to produce the rest of the year. Both put him a full deviation outside of the mean. It makes sense to add him as a short-term fill-in. Just be ready to cut ties just as quickly.
Xander Bogaerts, 3B, Red Sox
People seem to be adding Bogaerts because he is picking up third base eligibility. The concern would be that position requires power that he has not yet shown. The hot corner is expected to produce the most RBI the rest of the way. Hitting toward the top of the order in Boston, Bogaerts will not have that level of opportunity and projects nearly three deviations from the mean – an extreme negative outlier. The long ball has not been his friend either.
Though he has shown a turnaround in hitting approach, expecting him to provide the level of production needed to be an average player at third base would be unfair at this point.
Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals
Second base has the highest average of runs scored among starters the rest of the season. Wong is projected to be way outside of average and produce one and a half fewer runs per week than an average starter. Add in struggles in RBI and light power totals and Wong is buried in the rankings. Additionally, he is pounding fastballs right now to the tune of .297 (17 for 58). Pitchers will adapt to this and the number of breaking pitches he sees will increase to account for it.
Wily Peralta, RHP, Brewers
The clock looks ready to strike 12 on Peralta. The Milwaukee starter has been able to get away with a strand rate that has been at 81 percent so far this season after being 66 percent last year and 77 percent the year prior. Peralta’s BABIP has been far closer to .300 over the course of his career in both the majors and minors as well. With an FIP almost a run and a half higher than his 2.73 ERA, it is no wonder Peralta is outside the top 75 pitchers from here on out.