The Cincinnati Reds have surged to one of the best records in baseball.Â As is usually the case the winning run is built on the strength of the pitching staff.Â They have a 2.59 ERA in July and one-time phenom Homer Bailey is sharing in the success.Â As good as things are in the Queen City the opposite is true in Boston.Â The presumed ace is pitching so poorly he is being cut.
Homer Bailey:Â His 3.53 ERA compares favorably to 2011â€™s 4.43 but his FIP, xFIP, and tERA are all higher in 2012.Â His K/BB is down from 3.21 to 2.71 although it is 4.25 in July.Â Do not trust him as more than a spot starter in standard mixed leagues.
Drop for him:Â Josh Beckett, Anibal Sanchez, Tommy Hanson
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Jon Niese, Phil Hughes, Matt Garza
Danny Espinosa:Â He hit .232 in the first half, outlasting the patience of many owners.Â Those who stuck with him were rewarded with a .322/.354/.533 July line.Â He is close to earning shortstop eligibility in all formats as he fills in for the injured Ian Desmond.
Drop for him:Â Omar Infante, Mike Aviles, J.J. Hardy
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Jose Altuve, Neil Walker, Ben Zobrist
Josh Rutledge:Â His starting status is more secure with Marco Scutaroâ€™s trade.Â With reports that Troy Tulowitzki may not return Rutledge has a long leash.Â He is hitting over .300 since the start of the 2011 season, but with Colorado his .422 BABIP and 3.5% walk rate make his average tenuous.Â He is willing to run with three steals in fifteen games.Â He also stole fourteen bags in 87 games at Double-A.
Drop for him:Â Sean Rodriguez, Ryan Theriot, Evarth Cabrera
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Ruben Tejada, Yunel Escobar, Marco Scutaro
Lorenzo Cain:Â He is hitting .321/.361/.585 in July with three home runs and fourteen RBI in seventeen games.Â His .206 ISO is much higher than any of his MLB marks, but shows reasonable growth from his .185 last year in Triple-A.Â A 6.0 speed score gives hope that steals will come.Â Any team needing a well-rounded outfielder could use him.
Drop for him:Â Nick Markakis, Cody Ross, Carl Crawford
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Matt Joyce, Chris Young, Drew Stubbs
Jon Lester:Â His numbers are sliding steadily from their 2009 peak but a 9.36 July ERA is causing panic.Â His secondary pitches are not as effective and his line drive rate is up from 15.3% to 23.5%.Â He has the leagueâ€™s second highest ERA â€“ FIP, possibly indicating some bad luck.Â Time is running short for him to figure it out and clubhouse discord does not offer much hope.
Drop him for:Â Mike Fiers, Jarrod Parker, Clay Buchholz
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â James McDonald, Ricky Romero, Justin Masterson
Brett Myers:Â Being traded out of a closing job is enough to justify a drop in many leagues.Â His 6.09 K/9 is not ideal for a fantasy middle reliever but he dies have a solid 3.83 K/BB.Â He is prone to home runs, allowing a 14.3 HR/FB in his career.Â This year he is countering it with a 2.21 GB/FB, which will be essential to maintain in order to survive in Chicago.
Drop him for:Â Steve Cishek, Bobby Parnell, Sean Marshall
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â John Axford, Heath Bell, Drew Storen
Adam Lind:Â There has been a slight rebirth since his promotion, he is batting .288/.329/.470 in July.Â A bad back has sidelined him since July 26 though and there will be a DL stint if improvement does not come soon.Â Picking him up is a tough sell given his recent history of underperformance and the depth at first base.
Drop him for:Â Mike Carp, Chris Carter, Ike Davis
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Kendrys Morales, Logan Morrison, Carlos Pena
Alexi Amarista:Â His ownership had been steadily climbing for a month thanks to strong offensive production.Â A 111 wRC+ from a middle infielder is nothing to sneeze at.Â He missed time this week with a thumb problem but unlike Lind was back in action over the weekend.Â His ISO is .123 at home and .215 away, and he is unlikely to sustain a 10.3% HR/FB.
Drop him for:Â Jordany Valdespin, Zack Cozart, Josh Rutledge
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Jemile Weeks, Ryan Roberts, Stephen Drew