Many potential fantasy waiver wire gems emerge during the initial weeks of every season. This year, I constantly see recommendations to pick up the likes of Steven Kwan, Tylor Megill, Jesus Luzardo and many other players who started the season on waivers in most leagues before producing inspiring April statistics.
Unfortunately, rosters don’t grow in size after Opening Day, and every addition means that someone needs to go. Based on early season numbers, here are some commonly-rostered players in Yahoo! leagues who can be considered for a drop. Please remember that I am not insisting on dropping these players, but I have identified them as having a higher roster percentage than they deserve.
Jesse Winker (OF, 93 percent rostered)
Because he is unable to hit lefties, Winker will not produce the necessary volume of counting stats to help those in three-outfielder leagues. Also, the move from Great American Ball Park to Safeco Field will take a negative toll on the slugger’s offensive numbers. Winker will have some value this year, but not enough to make him a roster lock in the shallowest formats.
Cody Bellinger (OF, 91 percent)
Bellinger was a complete bust last season (.542 OPS), hit .179 in Spring Training and was off to a poor start this season before homering on Wednesday. The former NL MVP has a level of upside that is worth waiting for in some leagues, but I wouldn’t argue with anyone who wanted to move on and stream his roster spot until they find someone who is playing well.
Tommy Edman (2B/OF, 92 percent)
Edman lost a massive amount of fantasy value when Cards manager Oliver Marmol moved him from the leadoff spot. The switch will cost the speedster many plate appearances, runs and stolen bases, which makes him a marginal option in leagues of 12 teams or less. I understand that some roto teams will need to keep Edman for his speed potential, but I would be on the lookout for an upgrade.
Jake McGee (RP, 83 percent)
We needed just one week of regular-season action to figure out that Giants manager Gabe Kapler is using a closer committee. McGee is a part of the ninth inning picture in San Francisco, but his role is not good enough to make him a must-roster player in shallow leagues. Managers can consider dropping McGee for someone who may soon become a full-time closer. And I could say the same thing about Camilo Doval, who is rostered in 71 percent of leagues.
Joey Gallo (OF, 83 percent)
Gallo is going to give you 30-40 homers and destroy your batting average along the way. You don’t need to sign up for that tradeoff — drop Gallo now and start looking for a power hitter who can bat .240 or better.
Gleyber Torres (2B, 78 percent)
Torres is stuck in a crowded Yankees infield that includes Josh Donaldson, DJ LeMahieu, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Anthony Rizzo. He may not get enough volume to break out of his long-term slump, which includes just 12 homers 67 RBIs and 67 runs scored in 169 games across the 2020-21 seasons.
Hyun Jin Ryu (SP, 73 percent)
Ryu faded in the second half of 2021 (5.50 ERA) and struggled in his first start of this season (3.1 IP, 6 ER). The 35-year-old has always survived without strong radar gun readings, but his time as an effective Major League starter may be nearing its end. And because he logs low strikeout rates, Ryu needs low ratios in order to help fantasy teams.
Stephen Strasburg (SP, 71 percent)
Strasburg has thrown just 26.2 innings since the outset of the 2020 season and isn’t worth waiting around for in most leagues. I’m fine with stashing the right-hander in an open IL spot, but I would send him to waivers as injuries pile up and those spots become precious in the coming weeks.
Eugenio Suarez (3B/SS, 63 percent)
Suarez is the infield version of Joey Gallo — he can get you plenty of homers but will kill your batting average along the way. And the 30-year-old’s new home park is less favorable than his old one. I would move on now; start looking for a power hitter with a better batting average.
Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF, 47 percent)
Kirilloff underwent season-ending wrist surgery in 2021, started slowly this year and is now on the IL due to continued wrist problems. I believe that the 24-year-old still has long-term potential, but he could take some time to shake off the effects of the surgery and was never viewed as someone who will be a fantasy superstar.
Jonathan Villar (2B/3B/SS, 41 percent)
Villar will likely have stretches of mixed-league relevance this season, but he will need the Cubs to run into some injury issues for that to happen. For now, the veteran speedster should sit on waivers in leagues of 12 teams or less.
Patrick Wisdom (1B/3B/OF, 41 percent)
See Gallo and Suarez. Wisdom has a small sample size of MLB success, and he will hurt your batting average even when things are going well. There is no wisdom in keeping this slugger on your roster (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Akil Baddoo (OF, 37 percent)
This is one of my most controversial choices, but Baddoo is batting at the bottom of the Tigers lineup and has not shown an ability to hit lefties. Although the sophomore has a nice power-speed blend, he needs more opportunities to show off those skills. I’m not ruling out the possibility that Baddoo spends time in the Minors this year.