- Making moves on your fantasy baseball waiver wire? These players can be on the wrong end of those transactions.
Coors Field concerns aside, Rockies starter Kyle Freeland entered 2019 brimming with fantasy potential. He struck out 173 batters and tossed 202 1/3 innings in 2018, finishing fourth in the National League Cy Young race with a 2.85 ERA. His final start of the season marked Colorado’s last playoff victory since 2009, tossing 6 2/3 shutout innings in the Rockies’ 13-inning win over the Cubs. With a playoff triumph in tow, another strong regular season appeared on the docket.
Whatever promise existed before 2019 has all but evaporated through Freeland’s first 10 starts. The 2014 first rounder enters Thursday with a 6.02 ERA, allowing 35 earned runs in 52 1/3 innings. Freeland allowed 17 homers in all of 2018. He’s already given up 12 this season in a quarter of the innings. Adding the fourth-most walks of any NL pitcher creates a dangerous formula, especially at altitude.
Freeland could rebound from the current slump and regain at least a portion of his 2018 form, and he’s certainly a worthy piece to hold on to in dynasty formats. But waiting for a rebound in 2019 could prove dangerous. Riding a Rockies starter is often foolish, and Freeland doesn’t exactly look primed for a turnaround. Consider him a Droppable after a difficult first 10 starts.
With that, let’s get to the rest of this week’s Droppables.
Enrique Hernandez, SS/2B/OF, Dodgers
Los Angeles’s utility piece remained valuable even in limited time last season, smacking 21 homers in 402 at-bats. Hernandez slugged .470 in 2018–the same mark posted by Cody Bellinger–and he hit. .347 in September, playing a pivotal role as the Dodgers zoomed past Arizona for the NL West crown. Amid a deep lineup, Hernandez could feast despite a slate of positional timeshares.
Hernandez’ production hasn’t been worth his dampened opportunity in 2019. He’s slashing an abysmal .164/.224/.230 in May with just one dinger, losing the power potential that enticed owners after 2018. Los Angeles’s offense is rolling behind Bellinger and Joc Pederson, with top organizational prospect Alex Verdugo stealing additional at-bats. Hernandez remains a quality piece for the Dodgers’ title chase, and Dave Roberts will likely need him at some point in the postseason. From a fantasy perspective, though, Hernandez falls firmly into Droppables territory.
Billy Hamilton, OF, Royals
Hamilton is one of the most limited fantasy assets around, never hitting above .260 in a season while his career high RBI total is 48, set in 2014. Simply put, Hamilton isn’t of any true value unless he’s swiping bases. And at the moment, the steals are few and far between. Hamilton has just one steal since April 22, logging zero in his last eight games. Even with a 10-32 mark from the plate in his last 10 contests, the lack of steals severely hampers a power-less bat. Expect Hamilton’s stroke to regress soon, and without a healthy steals tally, he finds himself on the wrong side of the Droppables ledger.
Daniel Murphy, 2B/1B, Rockies
We return to Mile High for our final Droppable of the week, tabbing another disappointment following a strong 2018. Daniel Murphy could have been one of the offseason's top additions after signing a two-year, $24 million deal with the Rockies on in December 2018. He’s instead hitting .190 in 87 plate appearances this season, last homering on April 28 before leaving the yard Wednesday night. Colorado has followed Murphy’s slide, entering Thursday fourth in the NL West.
Murphy won’t be given much of a leash if he continues to struggle. Highly-touted prospect Brendan Rodgers will need open infield slots sooner than later, and Ryan McMahon will continue to siphon at-bats along with Mark Reynolds. It’s a crowded infield in Colorado, and Murphy could find himself as the odd-man-out.