The Fantasy Baseball Droppables: Whom to send packing before Week 11

The editors would like me to write a fantasy drops column this year, and we'll roll it out to you every couple of weeks. Let's establish some ground rules first.

One size never fits all with this stuff. What might be right for you might not be right for some. Season to taste. Outside advice is worth considering, but it's just a suggestion. At the end of the day, it's your decision. Make the best one you can.

In some leagues, you might be able to trade some of these drops. In other pools, that could be difficult or perhaps impossible. You know your league better than an outsider could.

One other concept to keep in mind — if you never make a regretful drop at some point in the season, you’re playing far too conservatively. Being afraid to make a mistake IS the mistake. The goal isn’t to bat 1.000; the goal is to have a positive hit rate, to get to the good stuff before your opponents do. And to achieve that, you need to make some cuts. If you want a tasty omelette, you gotta break some eggs.

OK, let's get to it.

Bryce Miller, SP, Mariners

Starting pitching is always difficult to find, and Miller likely has trade juice in some leagues. I’d try to offer him around before a cut, and never identify a player by name when you’re shopping him, unless he’s a demigod. Tell your opponents you want to “move a pitcher,” and see if the conversation organically comes to Miller.

Miller has a 4.46 ERA but a sterling 0.97 WHIP, and when ERA and WHIP don’t tell the same story, we like to trust the WHIP. But his Baseball Savant profile has some wonkiness under the hood — he’s struggling with hard contact and barrels. When you hash out all of the batted-ball numbers, his expected ERA is a problematic 4.02. Sometimes the extreme strike-throwers have too much control for their own good.

The two Miller misses of late came against the Yankees and Rangers, nasty matchups. Perhaps he’ll settle back into being a positive-matchup play. Again, he’s more of someone to shop, not someone to cut. Just be mindful that his strikeout rate has tumbled since that delightful, 10-whiff debut against the Athletics. See what the market will bear.

Alek Manoah, SP, Blue Jays

I don’t mean to kick a guy when he’s down, and maybe a trip to the minors can fix Manoah. But it’s going to take time, and maybe you don’t want to waste any more time. Manoah has been the most destructive pitcher in fantasy baseball this year, checking in with a 6.36 ERA and 1.90 WHIP. He has just two quality starts. And this is all despite Toronto’s park shockingly playing as a pitcher-friendly yard. It’s good work if you can get it, but Manoah’s control problems and strikeout drop will follow him anywhere.

Manoah has been dropped here and there in recent days, but he’s still rostered in 60% of Yahoo leagues. Hope is a good thing — maybe the best of things — but it could be misplaced here. Manoah has to pitch well enough to earn a recall to Toronto, and then he probably needs multiple MLB-level starts before you can trust him again. I don’t like tying up my roster while waiting for this sort of miracle. Prove it to us first.

I’m in six Yahoo leagues, and Manoah is still rostered in five of them. Fine with me. If my opponents want to play a man down, that’s their business. I wouldn’t wait around.

DEEP-LEAGUE CUT: Mickey Moniak, OF, Angels

Moniak’s roster tag is under 10% in Yahoo, so you might wonder why I’m bothering to write him up. Two reasons: I want you to grasp the basic concept, and I want to discuss players I’ve recently cut on my own rosters. It stings because I promoted Moniak on some platforms in recent weeks. But the trend is moving in the wrong direction.

Moniak’s play hasn’t been bad — .304 average, four homers, two steals over a modest 56 at-bats. But he’s just not starting enough. Moniak automatically sits when the Angels face a lefty, and that doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker; LaMonte Wade Jr., to name one player, is making things sing in San Francisco as a strong-side platoon guy. Alas, Moniak isn’t an automatic start when the Angels face a right-hander, either; he was rested in four of 10 games in that recent sample.

We should also mention the swing-and-miss to Moniak’s game (19 strikeouts) and a modest two walks. Perhaps that’s why he moved down to the eighth spot two days ago, though he did bat first Wednesday. If the Angels found a 75% role for Moniak in the future, I’m willing to reevaluate things. But I’m not going to wait for the sea change to happen.

DEEP-LEAGUE CUT: Nick Senzel, 3B/OF, Reds

Senzel’s pro case is a lot like Moniak’s — a post-hype sleeper who offered plausible upside. The case for cutting Senzel is a lot simpler: He went on the injured list this week while dealing with a knee problem. The Reds are optimistic that Senzel might return after the minimum stay on the 10-day IL.

But I wonder what Cincinnati lineup Senzel will be returning to in a week or so. Elly De La Cruz is up, and he’s a spectacle, a power-speed combination guy with an enormous ceiling. Obviously, Jonathan India is going to play somewhere. Kevin Newman has just enough OBP skills to merit a look in the lineup. Stuart Fairchild can steal a base. Spencer Steer is rocking a 127 OPS+.

Part of my Senzel angle was the idea that the Reds had finally committed a regular job to him. Has Senzel done enough to keep that job? He’s slashing .258/.332/.380, which hashes out to an OPS+ of 89 (the league average is 100; it’s an indexed stat). Four homers and four steals are useful, but this isn’t a fountain of category juice. I had some deeper-league Senzel shares that I finally liquidated this week. Even with IL slots, I thought others were more deserving of a wait-and-see stash.