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:
Mike Fiers, RHP, Brewers
What is not to like about what Fiers has done? In 28 August innings, he has given up just four earned runs with a WHIP of 0.50 and ERA of 1.29. Everyone is adding him, so you should add him too, right? In my best Lee Corso voice, “Not so fast, my friends.”
Fiers has shown a strand rate of over 90 percent in his time with the Brewers this year. In and of itself that is high, and it is even more so when put in context of the 73 percent rate he saw during 22 starts with Milwaukee back in 2012. His FIP is also a run worse than his ERA and is at the lowest level he has seen at any level in the minors. The strikeout numbers are certainly strong and consistent to what he has done in the past, so those should be maintained.
Still, with less than half his pitches finding the zone and a first-pitch strike rate less than 60 percent, the chances for walks is only going to increase.
While sitting as the No. 20 pitcher overall in adjusted rankings, Fiers is trending down based on projections for the rest of the season. Enjoy the run, but jump off the bandwagon while there is still time.
Russell Martin, C, Pirates
While Martin seems to be a trendy add given his spot in the lineup right now in Pittsburgh, the HVaC is issuing words of caution. He checks in at the No. 19 catcher overall. While the numbers at this point in the year are close, Martin is expected to provide fewer RBI and fewer home runs than the positional average. His other marks are close but largely south of the mean. Avoid him.
Justin Turner, 3B, Dodgers
No doubt Turner has had a good season, but the .316 average is buoyed by a .383 BABIP, which is 60 points better than last season and 80 points better than 2012. The HVaC sees this as the biggest issue and puts him as a negative outlier in terms of H/PA the rest of the season. In addition to below-average power for the position and run projections at nearly half the mark, owners should temper expectations for him going forward. There are far better options available for owner, including one player brought up in this space a lot, Neil Walker.
Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals
The run to add Jay has the HVaC scratching its proverbial head. Jay has seen a 32-point jump in ownership across ESPN leagues the last seven days but ranks 73 in the HVaC scoring for the rest of the season. Those numbers do not even have him as a sixth outfielder in 12-team deep formats. Jay’s ISO of less than .090 and his drop in speed show struggles.
Jay is being sustained by a .364 BABIP but still has numbers falling south of the mean across the board. Avoid the run to add him.
Ian Kennedy, RHP, Padres
With ownership down eight points this week, people are starting to sell on Kennedy. Midnight is about to strike here and owners should be moving him out this way. Is he a top 20 pitcher? Yes, but driven only by his inflated strikeout rate. Normalizing for this number and there is concern due to his potential lack of wins left and an ERA that is likely to hover at or near 4.00. Buyer beware.