By Sam McPherson
It’s now May, and the 2015 Major League Baseball season is in full swing—pun intended. That means your fantasy baseball team should be settling in too, and it is time to take a second look at some of those veteran players you have been waiting on to produce their usual numbers.
If they aren’t hitting what you’re expecting in terms of average and home runs, you have to consider cutting them loose. If that starter still has an ERA closer to 5.00 than anything else, there are better hurlers on the waiver wire to grab now. Depending on the injury suffered, it may not be worth it to stash that guy on your disabled list until August—when the season could already be lost for your fantasy squad.
Every week is a tough week in fantasy baseball, but the beginning of May is when the toughest choices are made: Letting go of a favorite player who just isn’t performing well is the hardest thing to do, because you feel deep inside that he’s going to get it right soon—and if you cut him, someone else will pick him up and have their faith rewarded instead.
That happens all the time, though, and it evens out when you snag a player off waivers that some other owner gave up on. So don’t sweat the moves you have to make now; after all, you need numbers in fantasy baseball, and you have to get them whenever you can at the expense of those who aren’t producing any numbers at all.
Players to Get Into Your Lineup Now
1. Jake Marisnick, OF, Houston Astros: He is just 24 years old, and even though he didn’t stick with the Miami Marlins, it looks like he’s found a home with the surprising Astros now. Marisnick showed flashes last year in Houston, but he may be putting it all together right now. He could be the Astros center fielder for awhile. Marisnick won’t hit .379 forever, but he certainly can hit .300 for the rest of the year.
2. Josh Reddick, OF, Oakland Athletics: Forget his 2012 season when he hit 32 home runs for the A’s. Reddick will probably never do that again. But he’s 28 years old now and seemingly healthy for the first time in almost two seasons. Reddick is hitting the ball to all fields and walking more than he’s striking out. He also has a flair for the dramatic with clutch hits that score runs.
3. Hector Santiago, SP, Los Angeles Angels: We’re not sure why he’s still flying under the radar of most fantasy owners, but Santiago is a good source of strikeouts with a good ERA, too. He’s never started more than 24 games in a season before; however, he may be L.A.’s best starter, statistically speaking. Ignore Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. This is the Angels pitcher you want.
4. Travis Wood, SP, Chicago Cubs: Just like Santiago, Wood is overshadowed by his more-famous rotation mates with the Cubbies. But he strikes out a lot of hitters. Wood’s K rates have been climbing steadily, and he was an All-Star in 2013 before a disastrous 2014 season hurt his reputation. Wood could easily surpass those All-Star numbers this year.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
1. Adam Ottavino, RP, Colorado Rockies: Even if his elbow issue turns out to be nothing, the Rockies have a lot of other options in the bullpen for closing out games. Don’t hold on to him, hoping he’ll get the closer’s job back. Let him go now and find another player who will produce for you consistently until the season is over.
2. R.A. Dickey, SP, Toronto Blue Jays: That 2012 season was a nice story, but many fantasy owners have been tricked into thinking that Cy Young season was the new norm for an old dog. Dickey is now 40 years old, and he’s not come close to replicating those 2012 numbers since. Don’t keep hoping he’ll recover the magic; let someone else do that.
3. Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins: He’s young, and Yelich was off to a slow start this year anyway, before hurting his back. He was a trendy “pick to click” in 2015, but until Yelich proves he can actually play at a solid level for 162 games. Let someone else stash him on the bench, waiting for him to arrive. By the time he does, it could be too late for your team.
4. Chris Tillman, SP, Baltimore Orioles: Tillman has been unsightly so far in 2015, posting a 7.58 ERA through four starts. He’s coming off two straight solids seasons, so this may be a momentary bump in the pathway to stardom for him. Bench Tillman for now until he’s proving he can throw consistently. Yes, you may miss a couple of quality starts once he does get it back, but you don’t want any more disastrous starts hurting your team right now.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on a Examiner.com.