By Sam McPherson
It happens every spring: Fantasy baseball owners pick a sure-thing player in the draft, and that player has the worst season of his career. Or, team owners gamble on a risky player, hoping to beat the others in the league to the punch—and that risk fails miserably.
As Major League Baseball enters its seventh week of regular-season play, it’s time to assess which of your beloved draft picks is failing this season and accept it now before a player (or multiple players, if you’re unlucky) sinks your chances of winning the league before June even starts.
Players to Get Onto Your Roster Now
1. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Oakland Athletics: With 12 home runs already this year, Alonso has set a career-high mark at age 30. He’s not a great hitter, and his best season came in 2012 in San Diego (nine HRs, 62 RBI). We cannot guarantee Alonso’s hot streak will last, but you might as well ride his hot bat for as long as it lasts.
2. Justin Wilson, RP, Detroit Tigers: He’s the new closer in Motown, so if you need saves, he’s worth the pickup. Wilson has never closed before, really, but his lifetime MLB strikeout rate is good (9.3 Ks per nine IP). Detroit has the ability to win a lot of games, so Wilson should be able to net you some serious saves in the next few months.
3. Alex Wood, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers: This is the Wood we’ve expected to see for years now. At age 26, he’s finally putting it all together with career-best marks in hits allowed (6.3 H/9) and strikeouts (12.1 K/9). Furthermore, Wood isn’t giving up a lot of HRs, either. The Dodgers can ride this guy all the way to October.
4. Tommy Pham, OF, St. Louis Cardinals: He has started nine straight games for the Cards, currently, and Pham is making the most of it. He’s been up and down with the club since 2014, but he may stick this time in St. Louis. With three HRs and three stolen bases so far, he’s a threat to go 20-20 this year with regular playing time.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
1. Russell Martin, C, Toronto Blue Jays: A four-time All-Star catcher, Martin is now old, injured and hitting under .200 this season. At age 34, his best days could be behind him. Depending on the size of your league, you may not want to drop him, but if you’re in a 10-team league, chances are there are better-hitting catchers on the waiver wire.
2. Jeurys Familia, RP, New York Mets: He’s injured and probably will not be back to the bigs until August or September now, if at all. Familia led the National League in games finished each of the last two seasons, even though his innings totals weren’t super high. But that’s a lot of bullpen throwing preceding those appearances, and his shoulder is very unhappy. Seek saves elsewhere now.
3. Brad Miller, IF, Tampa Bay Rays: Now, Miller does lead the American League in triples and walks right now, but he’s also hitting just .194 this season. We know he hit 30 bombs last year, but he has just two this season. Miller is in a slump, and you probably don’t want to waive a guy with 30-HR power. Bench him until he finds his groove again.
4. Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets: We hate to pick on the Mets, but they’re a mess right now. Harvey is going downhill, both mentally and physically. He’s won just six games since the start of the 2016 season, and that includes a 5.09 ERA for a guy that started last year with a career mark under the 3.00 threshold. Maybe you can trade him to a Mets fan in your league, but otherwise, it’s time to let him go.