Hold or Fold - April 20, 2017
Welcome to the “Hold or Fold” here at BigGuyFantasySports.com. Using poker terminology, I am going to give you a couple of players each week that you should either hang on to or cut bait with. Since it is early in the season, patience is generally stressed, but there are a few players out there that I am ready to drop immediately. For those of you that worry easily, I hope to put your mind at ease as you stare down the barrel of Miguel Cabrera’s .107 average. Without further adieu, let’s get into it!
Dylan Bundy, SP, Baltimore Orioles
If you’re looking for a feel-good story early on this season, look no further than Dylan Bundy. After Tommy John surgery, a calcification in his shoulder, and general elbow soreness, Bundy is finally back where he belongs: starting games for the Orioles. In 2016, Bundy split time as a starter and a reliever and posted a 4.02 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 109.2 innings pitched.
This season, over his first three starts, it would appear that Bundy is on the cusp of a true breakout. He currently owns a 1.86 ERA and a 1.61 FIP along with 17 strikeouts and just three walks in 19.1 innings pitched. Much of Bundy’s success can be attributed to his 28.6 percent usage of the cut fastball he added back to his arsenal this season.
You couldn’t have scripted a better start for Bundy this season. The glaring question is whether Bundy can continue his success or whether it is time to bail. Obviously, Bundy cannot be dropped, but he can certainly be traded. Based on what we have seen through three starts and the underlying numbers that accompany those appearances, that would be a mistake. It would be in your best interest to HOLD Dylan Bundy as the makings of his long awaited breakout are ever apparent.
Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
Signs of life do not always mean sustainability. It would appear to be the circumstance in the case of Byron Buxton. After batting .277 with seven home runs in September of last season, Buxton has been absolutely lost at the plate early on this year. He is batting .085 over his first 50 plate appearances and has struck out 46 percent of the time. His numbers are downright despicable.
Look, flashes are great and his final month of the season last year was certainly something fantasy owners can put to as a sign of hope, but Buxton is a guy that struck out 35.6 percent of the time a season ago—and he’s doing worse this year! Buxton isn’t going to bat less than .100 the entire season, but I’d be shocked if he hit .230. The Twins claim they aren’t planning on sending him to Triple-A, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cut bait. It’s time to FOLD Byron Buxton as it would appear his career is already on life support.
Patrick Corbin, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Cases like Patrick Corbin are always fun to dissect as a fantasy analyst. To the average fantasy player a 2.81 ERA is something that can be worked with. The problem now is that there are fewer and fewer casual players. With so much knowledge, great minds, and a wealth of information available, it is quite easy to see that Corbin’s ERA doesn’t match up well with his underlying numbers. First off, Corbin currently has a K/9 and a BB/9 of 3.94. That is not a typo. In 16 innings, he has seven walks and seven strikeouts. Ugly. Pitching half of his games at Chase Field isn’t going to do him many favors either. His HR/FB ratio currently stands at 4.8 percent, a number that has sat at 12.9 percent throughout his career. If a couple of fly balls left the yard, we’d see a much different ERA. His numbers will adjust soon, so don’t hesitate to FOLD Patrick Corbin now before he starts giving up dingers and his earned run average takes a big jump.
Jonathan Villar, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
There are few things more frustrating than a second or third-round pick struggling out of the gate. With Jonathan Villar, that’s exactly the situation fantasy owners are facing. In 65 at-bats, Villar is batting .138 with 26 strikeouts. After hitting .285 last season, it would be a stretch to think that he will repeat that number in 2017. There are a couple of silver linings that should put the minds of fantasy owners at ease. Villar currently has a BABIP of .167, which means he’s been extremely unlucky. Also, Villar has already clubbed three home runs and has four stolen bases. Once that BABIP evens out, we should see a nice jump in average in addition to the counting stats that we drafted him for. It’s not time to panic yet—HOLD Jonathan Villar and wait for the coming breakout.