Over the past seven days, Jacob Faria, Kevin Kiermaier, Logan Morrison, Lucas Giolito and Orlando Arcia are the five most-dropped players who aren't on the DL. Of the five, which one do you think has the biggest chance of delivering rest-of-season numbers that make those managers who dropped these players regret their choice?
Tristan H. Cockcroft: I'm torn here between Kiermaier and Arcia, but the latter narrowly escapes with my pick because he's the younger of the two and the less injury-prone. They're my leading two because of the importance of stolen bases and how difficult they are to replace nowadays.
Yes, Arcia is off to a sluggish start, and it doesn't help that he was already ticketed for the seventh/eighth spots in the Milwaukee Brewers' lineup, his slump probably locking him into those spots for the foreseeable future, but is 15 days really enough of a sample size to cast aside a middle infield-tier mixed-league value selected in the 17th round? His batted-ball metrics aren't that far off his 2017 numbers and his BABIP is just .212. If when we've got 30 days in the books his ground-ball rate is still hovering in the 60 percent range, then we'll talk.
AJ Mass: I'm going to pass on the pitchers here, as even if either of the two hurlers end up righting the ship at some point, those managers who cut loose Faria or Giolito are likely to have already found waiver-wire options that will, at the very least, match them the rest of the way. Regrets will be few.
I've always been a Kevin Kiermaier fan, so he'll get my pick here. Even though he's started the season quite cold (3-for-32, 14 K), the reason I believe so many people cut him loose this week was the fear of a trip to the DL. Last Sunday, he fouled a ball off of his right foot and was seen wearing a walking boot. The timing of that situation, combined with the .094 batting average, makes it very understandable why folks would send him packing.
That said, considering the frigid conditions in half of his games thus far, along with the fact that 19 of his 35 at-bats this season have been against left-handers, I'm still quite optimistic that the Rays outfielder will turn things around -- and quickly. Last season his splits showed how much better he performed against right-handers (.289/.348/.502 versus .255/.321/.362) and, now back in the lineup, he should see a trio of RHP this weekend at home against Philadelphia.
Eric Karabell: While I think it is a bit premature to dump any of them -- can we wait until Tax Day, even? -- I do view Kiermaier and Arcia differently. After all, those fellows should not hurt a fantasy team like the others can. Faria and Giolito are walking batters and that is a problem. Morrison could revert to his old self and provide below-average power with a low batting average. Kiermaier's problem is durability, but he showed last September he can provide five-category goodness.
If I had to choose one to keep, it is Arcia. Yeah, he is not hitting for average, but the .277 mark he provided in 2017 was legit. He can be a 20-homer, 20-steal option. I do not like where he bats in the lineup, but that was not a problem last season. It is not about comparing shortstop to outfield, but Arcia is 23 years old and can still improve. He and Kiermaier will be back on most added lists at some point, but Arcia is the one with true upside that can be realized and make a fantasy manager regretful.
Kyle Soppe: Logan Morrison was a big part of many fantasy title runs last season, as he hit more homers in 2017 than in his previous two seasons combined, and guess what...we also saw a run of struggles not too different from the rut he is currently stuck in. Over 15 games from July 7-27, LoMo hit a woeful .135 and struck out multiple times on seven occasions. OK, so his batting average is even worse right now (.088), but he has just one multi-strikeout game and is elevating the ball even more often than he did last season.
The difference? The timing, that's it. We would write this stretch off as nothing to worry about if it was in the middle of the season, but because the glaring season-long numbers are there, people are overreacting. I'm willing to listen to 2017 being the outlier and not the norm, but I'm not there yet and I wouldn't at all be shocked to see the powerful version of Morrison return in rather short order.