An early-season dinger fest has subsided in Seattle as the Mariners offense has largely came back to earth over the last 10 days. The M’s have dropped eight of their last nine, averaging just 3.2 runs per game while hitting .211 as a team. The team-wide rise and fall is best personified by Daniel Vogelbach, whose regression has him as our focus in this week’s Droppables.
The beefy 26-year-old got off to a blazing start, bashing five homers in a four-game stretch from April 2 to April 8, and slugging an outrageous 1.091 through April 13. But Vogelbach has experienced a significant power outage in his last 14 games. He’s hit just one homer since April 21, while logging just three extra-base hits in 48 plate appearances. Vogelbach is hitting .175 and slugging a paltry .300 in the process. One of baseball’s best early-season breakouts limped through late-April into the first week of May.
Vogelbach’s power is for real, and chances are strong that he’ll on a few dingers through the rest of the month. We’re talking raw power, however, not game power. What was lost during his hot start to the season was the fact that he slugged just .315 before 2019 in 146 plate appearances, getting most of his time as a pinch-hitter and injury replacement rather than a regular starter. Vogelbach is an easy player to root for, but not someone to keep in your fantasy lineup moving forward.
With that, let’s to the rest of this week’s Droppables.
Brian Dozier, 2B, Nationals
Washington jumped at the chance to sign Dozier to a one-year, $9 million deal in January, but the Nationals second baseman has failed to generate even passable production through his first 33 games. The one-time fantasy star is slashing .196/.308/.348 in 126 plate appearances. He has just one extra-base hit in his last 55 trips to the plate along with 16 strikeouts. Washington has lost 11 of its last 14, sliding down the NL East standings as Dozier struggles.
Dozier should bounce back from his alarming slump to some degree, yet he’s unlikely to approach his 2015 All-Star form. The 31-year old’s slugging has dipped in each of the last three seasons and his soft-contact rate has rocketed to 27.4% in 2019. Dozier has lost much of the power that made him so valuable just a few seasons ago, and there’s no guarantee he remains the team’s regular second baseman. Better to cut bait early than wait for an unlikely revival.
Travis Shaw, 2B/3B, Brewers
The Mayor of Ding Dong City was seemingly in line for another big year in the power department, entering 2019 with 63 homers between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Instead, Shaw has been one of the most disappointing players in the league this year. He’s slashing .172/.264/.297 with four homers in 144 plate appearances, last homering on April 23. What’s more, Shaw’s playing time has been cut in recent weeks, often heading to the bench when lefties take the hill. The Brewers can easily shift Mike Moustakas over to third and slide in Hernan Perez at second when they face lefties. Additionally, middle infielder Keston Hiura, the team’s top prospect, is hitting .336/.395/.741 with 11 homers in 129 plate appearances at Triple-A San Antonio. Milwaukee’s depth is great for the team, but terrible for Shaw’s fantasy value.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets
Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto are providing the Mets with strong production in the corner outfield spots, but the team hasn’t gotten anything out of center field. Brandon Nimmo has failed to follow up on last year’s mini-breakout, slashing .200/.333/.336 in 133 plate appearances. The modest power he flashed last year has yet to show up—he has three homers and a .136 isolated slugging percentage—and has a 32.3% strikeout rate. Additionally, Nimmo’s upside isn’t high enough to make him worth a gamble, especially with the possibility that Mickey Callaway could turn to Juan Lagares more often in center field.