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  • Making moves on the waiver wire this week? These players can be on the negative end of the transaction.
By Michael Shapiro
June 13, 2019

Michael Chavis emerged as one of the premier rookie pickups of the season shortly after his promotion from Triple-A Pawtucket, adding some serious punch to a previously slumping Boston lineup. The Red Sox posted a paltry .689 team OPS in 20 games before Chavis’ debut on April 20, limping out of the gate to a 7–13 start. But their newest bat quickly helped them turned things around.

Two homers against the White Sox on May 4 capped a torrid start to Chavis’ career. The 23-year-old smacked six homers in his first 14 games, slashing .354/.466/.771 along with 13 RBI. The Red Sox won 14 of their first 20 games with Chavis, and a new star appeared to be shining through in one of baseball’s deepest lineups. Three weeks turned Chavis from a long-term dynasty asset into must-start rookie.

Such a blistering start makes Chavis’ current troubles so startling. He’s slashing .182/.262/.255 in his last 16 games, striking out 28 times in his last 61 plate appearances. Chavis has six multi-strikeout games in June and 12 in his last 17 starts. This is admittedly an aggressive drop, and likely isn’t for owners in deeper leagues. It definitely isn’t for those of you in keeper or dynasty leagues, either, where Chavis’ future is even more important than his present. For owners in standard redraft leagues, though, Chavis is expendable if you need to make moves on the waiver wire this week.

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

Yusei Kikuchi, SP, Mariners

Kikuchi made the most of his pitch-to-contact ways through the first 11 starts of his career, totaling a 3.43 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Over his past three starts, he has surrendered 16 earned runs on 29 hits in just 10 innings, his ERA and WHIP ballooning to 4.99 and 1.42 respectively. Earlier this week, Michael Beller downgraded Kikuchi in his Stock Ticker. Now, I say he’s worthy of an outright drop in all formats.

Seattle manager Scott Servais already skipped one of Kikuchi’s turns in the rotation in early June, and the Mariners could slow-play his development through the rest of the season. Seattle is firmly in the AL West cellar in 2019 and likely already out of playoff contention this year. As such. the team could soon cap Kikuchi’s innings, putting a damper on his fantasy value even if he returns to the mid-May form.

Jonathan Lucroy, C, Angels

The dearth of playable options at catcher should favor Lucroy, but the two-time All-Star’s production of late makes him a clear Droppable nonetheless. Lucroy started the season on a respectable path, posting an .800 OPS through May 24. The wheels have come off since. Lucroy’s OPS now sits at a .668 thanks to a prolonged cold stretch during which he has hit .156/.236/.203 across 19 games. Lucroy has homered just once since May 15 and has driven in just one run in his last 12 games. Despite the lack of position depth, Lucroy is a clear fantasy liability.

Mike Foltynewicz, SP, Braves

Like the Chavis drop, this one won’t be for everyone. It’s understandable to want to hold onto Foltynewicz and hope after his seemingly breakout campaign last year. Unfortunately, there’s been little evidence of Foltynewicz as even a mid-rotation starter this season.

Foltynewicz sports a 6.02 ERA after a five-inning, four-run start against the Pirates on Tuesday. He has allowed four or more earned runs in five of his nine starts, has the fourth-worst HR/9 in baseball (allowing 2.74 dingers per nine innings), and has an unsightly 1.32 WHIP, surrendering more hits than he has innings pitched. Foltynewicz remains stingy with the free pass, but that’s the lone bright spot in his disastrous 2019 to date. Even with Atlanta’s impressive lineup at his back, Foltynewicz’s sudden inability to miss bats—he has 42 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings and his strikeout rate is down to 19.7% from last year’s 27.2%—makes him a clear drop candidate.

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