However, there are other players that you cannot afford to wait around on for much longer. A lot of that has to do with expectations and upside, something many owners hang onto until it’s too late. Giving up on a player does not necessarily mean that you need to drop them. You need to think about trading them for whatever you can get or replacing their spot in your lineup. It is time to pack it in on the following five:
1. Jason Heyward has been a Fantasy tease for quite some time now. He is a massively frustrating player to own because of his high offensive ceiling and continual failure to reach it. We should keep in mind that he does not turn 26 until August and could certainly have better production ahead. Since his stellar 2010 debut, he has not taken too many steps forward (both literally and figuratively). He walked 91 times in 2010, and has not had more than 67 in any season since. His numbers in 2012 were very strong; easily the best of his young career, but inconsistency has been rampant. Heyward has topped 20 HRs just once and while he owns two 20 SB seasons, he has no more than 11 in any other year. After being traded to the Cardinals for Shelby Miller, Heyward was expected to flourish with a change of scenery. While he is on pace for double-digit HRs and SBs this season, there is not too much in his numbers to get excited about at the moment. It just does not appear that the breakout we have been waiting five years for is coming in 2015. He is a better than average player even without much improvement, though, which means you should not just cut him outright. It is time to shop him to every owner in your league. There has to be a Heyward optimist among them.
2. Unlike Heyward, Josh Harrison had little fanfare as he ascended to the majors. As a platoon player for most of his career, he was simply not on the Fantasy radar. That changed in 2014, when Harrison broke through as a super-utility player. The first time All-Star batted .315 with 13 HRs and 18 SBs, as he more than doubled his previous at-bat high of 249. With a full-time spot locked up this season, Harrison was a prime candidate to disappoint based on his draft position. He is batting .263 with 28 Runs, four HRs and four SBs thus far. While not awful, it profiles as a player you want on your bench, not in your starting lineup. In shallow leagues, Harrison can be dropped. If you are in a deeper mixed league or NL-Only, let it be known that you are looking to move on from him and see what you get for offers. While his name brand is not as strong as a Jason Heyward, expectations for a rebound could get you more in return than you might think
3. The shortstop position is brutally unproductive this year and that makes it hard to give up one with potential for double-digit HRs and SBs. You need to upgrade from Jimmy Rollins before it is too late. Stud prospect Corey Seager is knocking on the door loudly and Rollins’ pathetic .215 average got him moved to the bottom of the order recently. At 36 years old, Rollins still has impact speed and double-digit pop, but his overall game has been slowly declining for some time now. Could he start to turn things around a bit? Absolutely, he is a veteran playing in something other than a Phillies jersey for the first time in his career. If he does not start to pick it up and Seager keeps scorching in Triple-A, you might have a real life bench player on your hands by the All-Star Break. Feel free to shop him around; you never know what someone might give for him. Most likely the answer will be next to nothing or not interested. If Seager is already owned in your league, you need to comb the waiver wire for a new starter. Rollins’ time should be ticking away with every at-bat.
4. It does not take a scout to tell you that Taijuan Walker is a very talented pitcher with the potential to one day develop into a major league ace. Just look at his last two starts, where he went eight strong innings versus the Yankees and Indians. Unfortunately, that lowered his ERA to 5.80 and his WHIP just under 1.5 on the season. Needless to say it has been a season of ups and mostly downs for Walker and his owners. For as much upside as he has, expect that rollercoaster ride to continue. Maybe this is a tipping point? Perhaps, but I’d rather try to convince another owner of that in a trade than believe it myself. At this point, you need to hold him for another few starts because of what he just did. Prior to his recent successes, though, he has struggled to go deep into games because of control problems, pitching more than six innings in just three of 11 starts. The strikeout rate and ultimate upside are very appealing, but the damage to your ERA and WHIP along the way could be too much to endure. Of course, in a dynasty league you need to hold tight and take your lumps. Re-drafters should be shopping the future ace after back-to-back impressive outings.
5. Joe Mauer was once on the top of the Fantasy mountain, as a catcher that could lead the league in batting average while scoring and knocking in 80-plus runs a season. With all he brought to the table, you can certainly live with the modest power (outside of 2009 of course). Today, he is little more than a name. Mauer is still a quality hitter, but offers little in the way of power along with pedestrian run and RBI totals. With the loss of catcher eligibility, a first baseman that hit just four HRs in 455 ABs last year is not going to cut it for your team. Mauer is not doing anything right now that warrants he be dropped immediately, but he is not exactly doing anything to earn his roster spot either. He is a decent bench option at best, but not someone you should think twice about cutting if you need the space.