Many potential waiver wire gems emerge during the initial weeks of the season. I constantly see recommendations to pick up the likes of Nate Lowe or Carlos Rodon, who started the season on waivers in most leagues before logging inspiring April statistics.
Unfortunately, rosters don’t grow in size after Opening Day, and every addition means that someone needs to go. Based on early season numbers, here are some commonly-rostered players in Yahoo leagues who can be considered for a drop.
Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers (86 percent)
Those in leagues with daily lineup changes can keep Williams, but he should head to waivers in shallow formats that have weekly moves. One of the best relievers in baseball last season, Williams is no certainty to repeat his 2020 success and has little chance of getting to five in either wins or saves. His roster spot could be used to speculate on skilled relievers in unsettled bullpens.
German Marquez, Colorado Rockies (79 percent)
I’ll be honest — I’m not a Marquez guy at all. With a career 5.05 ERA at home, he is unusable for half of his starts. And looking around the NL West this season, starting Marquez on the road against the Dodgers and Padres is risky business, too. Additionally, the right-hander is backed by a weak Rockies lineup and a below-average bullpen.
There just isn’t enough upside to make Marquez more than a streamer.
James Paxton, Seattle Mariners (75 percent)
The oft-injured Paxton needed less than two innings to suffer his first ailment of the season. Now dealing with elbow woes after being sidetracked by a forearm injury last year, Paxton simply isn’t worth the risk in shallow leagues.
Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals (74 percent)
The Cards surprisingly went with Alex Reyes as their closer, and there is no reason to assume that their plan will fail. And even if Reyes lets everyone down, Hicks would have to compete with Giovanny Gallegos for save chances. Overall, Hicks’ path to saves is too narrow to be rostered in more than 40 percent of leagues.
Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals (64 percent)
The Royals are using a bullpen committee this year, with Wade Davis and Jesse Hahn picking up the initial two saves. Holland has been used sparingly so far and doesn’t have the skills to stay on mixed-league rosters while in his current role.
Kyle Lewis, Seattle Mariners (83 percent)
Admittedly, I wasn’t high on Lewis during draft season. He can’t be blamed for being on the IL to this point in the campaign, and if you see him more favorably than I do, by all means, stick with him. My recommendation on Lewis is mostly geared towards those who have a high number of injured players and need to make tough decisions. In that situation, the Mariners outfielder is the player I would release.
Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins (80 percent)
Similar to Lewis, this advice is for those who are dealing with multiple injuries in shallow leagues. Donaldson is dealing with a hamstring injury, and we have many times seen the 35-year-old struggle to move past lower-body ailments. Third base offers plenty of reasonable options for those who need help now.
David Fletcher, Los Angels Angels (79 percent)
Fletcher is over-rostered in Yahoo leagues. Like everyone else, I love his ability to hit for average from the leadoff spot in a lineup that includes Mike Trout. But Fletcher’s ceiling is incredibly low, as he is unlikely to reach double digits in homers or steals. With roster spots at a premium, those in shallow leagues can aim higher.
Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Indians (71 percent)
I have Gimenez rostered in some deeper leagues, and there is no way I’m dropping him. But in 10-team or head-to-head formats, it might be time for him to go. The speedster is off to a slow start while hitting at the bottom of the lineup.
Of all the players on the list, this is the one I am most nervous to drop. That being said, his skill set is more designed for roto formats.
Donovan Solano, San Francisco Giants (59 percent)
I understand that a high batting average is getting Solano some attention, but he shouldn’t be rostered in mixed leagues. The 33-year-old may not even reach 10 combined homers and steals, and that lack of counting-stat upside should glue him to waivers.
Jonathan Villar, New York Mets (50 percent)
Villar should be on waivers in every mixed league. The Mets have enough depth to squeeze the veteran out of a high-volume utility role, and he figures to start no more than twice per week until the club deals with a middle infield injury.
Leody Taveras, Texas Rangers (40 percent rostered)
Simply put, Tavares can’t hit. He struck out too often last year and has taken it to an absurd level (60 percent) so far in 2021. His weak plate skills have buried Taveras at the bottom of the lineup, where he can be nothing more than a one-category contributor.
And as they say, he can’t steal first base.