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:
Sometimes it takes a slump for owners to realize that there is a bigger issue at play. With one hit in his last six games, Michael Morse has seen his ownership levels fall 12 points in the last seven days. Those looking deeper into the situation will likely join the bandwagon and put Morse on the waiver wire in even more leagues.
By breaking out in 2011, owners expected 31 home runs and a .303 average to be the norm. Since that point, his ISO has not been above .200 until the first 82 games of this season while his strikeout rate has been higher than the 21.9 percent he showed that same year.
Morse’s HR/FB rate is still two points above his career mark and this despite hitting fewer fly balls than he has in four of the last five years. Pitchers also continue to adapt to him. Morse is seeing a jump in curveballs, a pitch he is hitting just .192 against, and change ups, a pitch he hits just .231 against.
The overall situation in San Francisco could make things more challenging as well. With Brandon Belt set to return, it likely pushes Morse back to left field. With Tyler Colvin available to complement Morse’s right-handed bat, it could mean more of a platoon should Morse not get on track quickly.
With his ownership in ESPN leagues up 37 points in the last seven days, owners are jumping on the bandwagon. The HVaC has him as the number 100 outfielder mainly due to concerns regarding plate appearances the rest of the way. Add to this run and RBI totals nearly two deviations to the left side of the curve, and owners should beware. His overall contact rate is down four points from last year and his BABIP of .333 is high given his historical numbers in the minors. Do not buy the hype.
While some are starting to buy into Hardy’s ability to nearly hit .300, the rest of the numbers still do not help his value at the position. Hardy projects to be nearly a full deviation from the mean in terms of runs, RBI, and stolen bases the rest of the way. While his ISO number is still the lowest it has been in any season of his career, he has not shown signs of life to get it back on track.
Minor has been all over the board. While he checks in as the number 31 pitchers, this is a ten spot drop from his pre-season ranking. Certainly his HR/FB ratio should improve, but the bigger concern is an increased reliance on a slider that simply is getting hammered. Last season, batters hit just .220 against it with just three home runs. This year, they are hitting .341 with two home runs already.
Couple this with a strikeout rate that has dropped nearly in half and this is a problem.
Hate to be the guy that comes down on this one, but Arenado still simply does not provide what owners need at third base. His run and RBI projections are more than one and a half less per week than the average starter, putting him two deviations to the left of the curve, and his H/PA is not enough to boost him back up. Why? Third base has the lowest H/PA mark the rest of the way. You just do not need the production from that category at the expense of the others.