Fantasy baseball waiver wire
Player to drop
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, New York Yankees — This may be hard to swallow, given how reliable Rizzo has been over his career and how hot he was to start this season, but we’re going on two months now of absolutely absymal production: Since May 15, the first baseman is slashing .206/.300/.285, with just two homers and 17 RBI across 45 games. His K rate has cracked 20 percent for the first time in his career, and he’s reached the point where it seems like he’s too late on fastballs and too early on breaking stuff. Of course, his track record is considerable, and he hit 33 homers just last year, so maybe there’s a chance he can turn it around. Given his age and injury history, though, I’d be willing to let someone else figure that out.
Josh Lowe, OF, Tampa Bay Rays — Lowe looked like he might be a league-winner early on, slashing .318/.375/.652 with 11 homers and nine steals across his first 38 games. Since then, though, the wheels have come off: He’s slashed just .248/.266/.361 in 39 games since, and while the speed is still there — he’s stolen 11 bases over that span — just about everything else has dried up. Lowe’s prospect pedigree had everyone buying into his early-season hot streak as a post-hype breakout, but it looks as though the league has adjusted — and he’s failed to adjust back.
Lowe is sitting regularly against lefties, so this is an easier call in weekly leagues, but even those of you with daily moves — unless you really, really need the steals — would do well to look elsewhere with your last outfield spot.
Ryan McMahon, 2B/3B, Colorado Rockies — McMahon got off to a dismal start to the season, then got everyone on board with an absolute heater: From May 25 to June 18, he slashed a blistering .405/.485/.798 with eight homers in 23 games. For a guy with multi-position eligibility who calls Coors Field home, that’s awfully enticing.
Except that hot streak came with a .509 BABIP and a 29% strikeout rate, and once McMahon’s batted-ball luck regressed, he cooled off in a hurry. He’s hit .167/.241/.250 with a whopping 28 strikeouts over his last 79 plate appearances (19 games), which brings him back in line with who we thought he was at the start of the season — a guy who’s a useful streamer on homestands but who’s unplayable on the road and strikes out way too much to tap into his considerable raw power.
Jon Gray, SP, Texas Rangers — Gray posted a 1.49 ERA across seven starts from May 2 to June 7, seemingly signaling that the post-Coors Field breakout we’d all been waiting for had finally arrived. He’s put up a 6.75 ERA in five starts since, though, while exhibiting signs that it’s time for fantasy owners to move on. Gray’s main problem? He’s a fastball pitcher whose fastball isn’t particularly good. The righty throws his heater some 43.4% of the time, despite the fact that Stuff+ grades it out at a medicore 81 — 43rd-best among starters. Unsurprisingly, the pitch has gotten lit up to the tune of a .301 AVG and .506 SLG. Gray may still carry some deeper-league value thanks to the offense backing him up, but his 4.32 xERA points to a very fungible arm. You’d be better off taking a higher-upside swing — or just streaming — with the roster spot.