• Making moves on your fantasy baseball waiver wire? These players can be on the wrong end of those transactions.
By Michael Shapiro
May 16, 2019

There’s likely a pretty sizable overlap between Jason Heyward fantasy owners and those who are prone to getting back together with an ex. With an attractive left-handed swing and a 10-year career spanning three high-profile franchises, Heyward remains an intriguing fantasy prospect each year. Yet once again, his numbers through nearly two months fail to live up to the expectations.

Heyward enters Thursday with a respectable .250/.355/.438 slash line, but the solid overall numbers obscure a terrible slump. Heyward slugged .529 through May 1, crediting his hot start with adjustments in his swing. Since then, he’s hitting .093 with a .426 OPS in 11 games, striking out nine times with one home run.

The latter stretch feels more indicative of future performance than Heyward’s tear to start the season. He’s hit worse than .270 in three of the first four seasons, last hitting more than 15 home runs in 2012. Heyward remains a plus defender, and that’s going to get him plenty of playing time, especially with the strength of the Cubs lineup around him. As a fantasy asset, though, he’s a firm Droppable in all but the deepest leagues.

With that, let’s to the rest of this week’s Droppables.

Collin McHugh, SP, Astros

There’s little question as to the quality of McHugh’s stuff as he struggles to start in 2019. The 31-year-old right employed a newfound slider to great effect in 2018, striking out 94 batters in 72 1/3 innings as a reliever. McHugh moved back to the Astros’ rotation in 2019 after the Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel departures, but his success as a reliever hasn’t moved with him.

McHugh has surrendered 30 earned runs in 44 2/3 innings this season. His home-run rate is at a career high, as is his walk rate and hard-hit percentage. Even with one of baseball’s deepest lineups behind him, a 6.04 ERA in eight starts isn’t going to cut it. And don’t hold your breath if you were holding out for a late-May revival. McHugh is heading back to the bullpen, slashing his fantasy value even if he returns to his 2018 form. It’s likely time for McHugh owners to cut their losses.

Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Rangers

Choo started this season hot, and is still hitting an impressive .288/.392/.493 with five homers, 11 doubles and 15 RBI in 171 plate appearances. He has struggled recently, however, slashing .182/.333/.318 with 18 strikeouts in his last 54 plate appearances. What’s more, the roster accounting could be working against him. The Rangers are four games under .500 and unlikely to compete for a playoff spot. The team recalled Willie Calhoun earlier this week, and they didn’t do so for him to sit on the bench. Choo turns 37 in July, and it’s clear he won’t be part of the next contender in Texas. His best bet for maintained fantasy relevance is a trade.

Tim Beckham, SS/3B, Mariners

Beckham sprinted to the top of the fantasy leaderboards in March with three homers and six RBI in his first 23 at-bats. Yet the middle infielder has slumped predictably of late, mirroring the fall of the Marimers. Only three teams have struck out more than Seattle in May, and just a trio of teams sport a worse OBP. The whiff-heavy Mariners subsist on the home run, and despite a 22-homer campaign in 2017, nobody will mistake Beckham for, say, Joey Gallo. He’s not a base stealer, either, and has a career slash line of .253/.305/.433. Beckham is a serviceable shortstop option for Seattle and a potential depth piece in fantasy leagues due to his versatility, but in an era where shorstops, writ large, are among the best offensive players in the majors, he’s not a viable fantasy option in most leagues.

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