- Making moves on your league's waiver wire? These players are expendable.
By many metrics, Harrison Bader is the same player this year as he was while finishing sixth in NL Rookie of the Year voting last year. Bader’s OPS is at .744 compared with his .756 mark from a year ago, and he’s on pace to surpass last year’s total of 12 homers. But while 2018 provided optimism for a breakout in St. Louis, Bader has instead stagnated, falling behind a long list of players at fantasy’s deepest position.
The Cardinals’ center fielder is hitting just .161 in his last 67 plate appearances with 20 strikeouts. His .386 OBP through May 2 gave him a case for being the Cardinals’ leadoff man, but he’s counteracted that by posting a .284 OBP since May 30. He has a .489 slugging percentage against lefties, but is failing to take full advantage of the platoon advantage with a .200 batting average and .294 OBP. Finally, speed was supposed to be a huge part of his fantasy game, but he has just three steals—while being caught three times—in 191 plate appearances. His glove keeps him in the lineup most days, but that doesn’t matter in the fantasy world if his bat can’t do any damage.
With that, let’s get to the rest of this week’s Droppables.
Joe Musgrove, SP, Pirates
Musgrove was the victim of one of the most bizarre ejections of the season, getting tossed after grazing Josh Donaldson’s jersey and having a few words with the third baseman. His next start came against the Braves, and he didn’t fare well in the revenge opportunity at SunTrust Park, allowing six runs on nine hits in four innings. The Braves aren’t the only team to jump on Musgrove recently. The Brewers lit him up for five runs on 11 hits on May 30. The Dodgers tallied six runs on 10 hits five days prior. Musgrove sports a 7.59 ERA in his last nine starts, allowing a .298/.360/.538 opposing slash line. Hitters are teeing off against Musgrove, and he should be dropped in most leagues.
Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Phillies
Cesar Hernandez couldn’t exactly fill the void left by Andrew McCutchen after he tore his ACL on June 3. The 29-year-old slashed just .189/.268/.351 in nine games atop the Phillies’ lineup, quickly earning a demotion back to the lower-third of the order. He has brought his punchless bat down there with him, hitting.140 since June 4 and just .200 in his last 30 games. What’s more, the stretch isn’t necessarily an aberration. Hernandez finished 2018 with a .362 OPS in 708 plate appearances, striking out 155 times. Hernandez is a passable hitter in spurts, but his current struggles warrant a trip to the waiver wire.
Buster Posey, C, Giants
Die-hard readers of this column (big thanks if you exist) will note we featured Buster Posey in April, marking him as a prime bust candidate in a weakened Giants’ lineup (he was also featured as a faller in Michael Beller's Stock Ticker this week. Thus far, our prediction has come true. It’s not a pleasant revelation, but Posey’s fantasy relevance resides solely on his name recognition. Were he a youngster, he’d already have been cut loose in most leagues. Yet, his ownership rate remains north of 60% in leagues on all three of the major game providers.
Posey returned to the Giants’ lineup after 11 days on the Injured List on June 1, smacking a homer while drawing two walks against the Orioles. He’s followed up the dinger with just three hits in five games, though, failing to register an extra base hit. The short dry spell is reminiscent of Posey’s production prior to his trip to the IL.
Posey slugged just .306 in 15 games from May 6-31 with zero homers and three extra-base hits. His OPS has tumbled to a career-worst .704. Of the 25 catchers to log at least 150 plate appearances, only three have fewer homers than him, and only four have driven in fewer runs. Posey ranks 16th among the 25 in both slugging and OPS.. Meanwhile, players like Robinson Chirinos, Josh Phegley and Omar Narvaez have emerged, making Posey expendable. It’s time to forget about his name brand.