2011 Fantasy Baseball: Jason Heyward and 10 Players You Can Finally Let Go

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2011

2011 Fantasy Baseball: Jason Heyward and 10 Players You Can Finally Let Go

0 of 10

    PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  RY 26:  Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves signs autographs prior to playing against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park on February 26, 2011 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Fantasy baseball owners are starting to grow tired of their unproductive players.

    Whether they drafted these supposedly elite talents in the early rounds of fantasy drafts or took a chance of a rebound month out of free agency, many owners are finally letting go of their roster disappointments.

    Considering we're getting closer and closer to crunch time in fantasy where every win counts, it's hard for teams to consistently start a player who's been on a roller coaster ride the whole year.

    Owners have even gone as far as stashing 2010 breakouts in order to wait out the storm, hopefully reaping the benefits in a month or two.

    However, the year is flying by, making it even more difficult to hold a roster spot for a guy who's batting .200.

    With that said, here are the top ten players you can finally give up on.

10. John Danks, SP, Chiacgo White Sox

1 of 10

    CHICAGO - MAY 06: Starting pitcher John Danks #50 of the Chicago White Sox reacts after the Toronto Blue Jays score two runs in the 5th inning at U.S. Cellular Field on May 6, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blue Jays defeated the White Sox 2-0. (Photo by
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Just because John Danks won his first game of the season doesn't mean he's getting back on track.

    The dude still has a career-high 4.75 ERA, posting a 1-8 record through his first 12 starts.

    Even in his win on Monday, Danks continued to give up hits, and he has surrendered 88 through 77.2 innings this year.

    The fact remains that Danks has been a major disappointment to any fantasy owner that drafted him in hopes of the 26-year-old providing No. 2 starter stuff.

    It hasn't happened.

    And owners need to know that with another alarmingly bad start, Danks might be getting dropped in an array of leagues.

    2011 Stats: 1-8, 4.75 ERA, 77.2 IP, 26BB:52K

9. Scott Rolen, 3B, Cincinnati Reds

2 of 10

    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 09:  Scott Rolen #27 of the Cincinnati Reds watches from the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 9, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Reds defeated the Diamondbacks 6-1.  (P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Scott Rolen is finally showing signs of old age.

    Usually, Rolen would be a productive fantasy start whenever he was healthy and in the lineup, but lately, the 36-year-old hasn't given fantasy owners anything to hang on to.

    He's batting .245 with a lowly two home runs.

    Rolen hasn't struck out much with only 19 on the season, but he's only drew nine walks in 143 at-bats.

    Considered the veteran has been hitting behind Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and the explosive Jay Bruce, a lack of consistency has held Rolen back from performing like a must-start option.

    Only hitting .231 through his first few games of June, Rolen is starting to lose his support.

    And rightfully so.

    Just like John Danks, another bad week and Rolen could be on the deep end of fantasy leagues.

    2011 Stats: .245, 2HR, 20RBI, 35H through nearly 150 AB

8. Gordon Beckham, 2B, Chicago White Sox

3 of 10

    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 16: Gordon Beckham #15 of the Chicago White Sox reacts after striking out to end an inning against the Texas Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field on May 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Rangers defeated the White Sox 4-0. (Photo by Jonathan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Gordon Beckham is starting to get on fantasy owners' nerves.

    He's been able to string together some home runs here and there, but his lack of explosiveness and multi-hit performances have dispelled any hope of a turn around.

    Batting .244, the 24-year-old has yet to regain his rookie prowess when he hit .270 with 14 home runs in only 380 at-bats.

    Like I said before, Beckham has already hit two home runs in the month of June but only averaged that number through the first two months of the season.

    If the second baseman continues his struggles to help out fantasy teams on a weekly basis, he's going to be quickly replaced by a consistent hitter like Darwin Barney.

    2011 Stats: .244, 6HR, 21RBI, 7 Doubles in 201 AB

7. Ryan Dempster, SP, Chicago Cubs

4 of 10

    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 13: Ryan Dempster #46 of the Chicago Cubs walks off of the field after pitching in the 5th inning against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on May 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Cubs defeated the Giants 11-4. (Photo by Jonat
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The main cause for concern for Ryan Dempster so far this season is his inability to limit hits and string together quality starts.

    With a near 6.00 ERA, Dempster has not only disappointed Chicago Cubs fans but fantasy owners alike.

    He has been able to maintain a .500 record at 5-5, but his 89 hits allowed in only 80 innings of work is inexcusable.

    Shockingly enough, Dempster was counted on to perform like a must-start option heading into the season after posting 43 victories over the past three years, but he's been unable to make owners trust his services.

    Be careful, Dempster is closely hovering in the John Danks zone.

    One more bad start and fantasy rosters would have to cut ties.

    2011 Stats: 5-5, 5.96 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 6 QS in 14 GS, 89 HA through 80 IP

6. Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore Orioles

5 of 10

    BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Brian Roberts #1 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on from the dugout during the eighth inning of their 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 28, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Gett
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Why are fantasy owners holding onto Brian Roberts?

    Last time I checked this isn't 2005.

    Roberts has been sidelined with a concussion for the past month and it's been speculated that the 33-year-old veteran will miss at least another four scoring periods.

    Believe it or not, that's not the main reason owners should cut ties.

    It's his lack of production through his first 163 at-bats of 2011.

    Roberts was only batting .221 before he went down in May, adding three home runs, seven doubles, and only six stolen bases.

    Hardly the kind of elite stats that owners have been used to seeing from Roberts over the years.

    It's become evident that his career is on the decline, and with better, more consistent options on the free agent market, Roberts needs to go.

    2011 Stats: .221, 3HR, 19RBI, 6SB, 18R in 163 AB

5. Vernon Wells, OF, Los Angeles Angels

6 of 10

    ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 08:  Vernon Wells #10 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts after striking out in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 8, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Rays defeated the Angels 4-3 in
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Oh boy.

    Just when you thought Vernon Wells could maybe turn things around after getting a fresh start off the DL, he goes 0-for-6 and shows his frustrations at the plate.

    Wells has been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments of 2011, and the Los Angeles Angels are starting to regret giving him a big-time contract.

    The 32-year-old is hitting a horrific .176, with only four home runs and 13 RBI in nearly 150 at-bats.

    With those numbers, Wells is on pace for the worst season of his career by far.

    I'd find it really hard to believe that fantasy owners are still willing to hold onto him, even in AL-only formats.

    Drop him and cut your losses.

    2011 Stats: .176, 4HR, 13RBI, 1SB, 3 Doubles in 37 Games

4. Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland Indians

7 of 10

    CLEVELAND - APRIL 17:  Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians grimaces after being hit by a pitch during the game against the Baltimore Orioles on April 17, 2011 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Fantasy owners are hanging on the thought that Carlos Santana is an elite catcher.

    I did the same thing, but came to my senses before it was too late.

    The truth is that Santana's 2010 rookie campaign was blown out of proportion, and now when he lacks the ability to perform like Brian McCann or even Alex Avila, owners are getting frustrated.

    Santana just isn't producing quality weeks.

    Sure he'll hit a home run here and there and knock in some runs off Asdrubal Cabrera four hit nights, but when it comes down to it, there are better options out there than a struggling sophomore.

    Hence the before mentioned Alex Avila, alongside J.P. Arencibia and Miguel Oliva, who are all better starting options then the Indians' 25-year-old.

    2011 Stats: .228, 6HR, 24RBI, 12 Doubles in 189 AB

3. Alex Rios, OF, Chicago White Sox

8 of 10

    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 01: Alex Rios #51 of the Chicago White Sox argues with home plate umpire Cory Blaser #89 after being called out on stikes in the 9th inning against the Baltimore Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field on May 1, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Ori
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    I've been putting Alex Rios on numerous lists throughout the year.

    It's not a good thing; they've been mostly these kinds of articles.

    Rios has consistently under-produced throughout the entire year, sporting a .204 average with only four home runs and four stolen bases.

    That's puts him on pace for a 9HR-9SB season.

    Considering the 30-year-old had a 20-30 campaign in 2010, he's become one of the biggest disappointment of the year, forcing owners to cut ties.

    If you haven't let go of Rios already, now is that time, unless you can get some sort of compensation via trade.

    2011 Stats: .204, 4HR, 14RBI, 4SB in 225 AB

2. Jonathan Papelbon, CL, Boston Red sox

9 of 10

    BOSTON, MA - JUNE 04:  Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Boston Red Sox is held back by manager Terry Francona #47 in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics on June 4, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    A lot people are still starting Jonathan Papelbon in every league that rewards saves.

    I don't know why.

    Sure, he closes for one of the best all-around teams in the MLB, but his 4.50 ERA sometimes proves deadly in weekly formats.

    Paps is on pace for career low 31 saves and career high 4.43 ERA.

    He's simply giving up too many hits, which has culminated into one of the worst WHIPS the 30-year-old has ever posted at 1.23.

    There are plenty of save opportunities wherever you look, so finding a replacement to supply your team with 15-20 points a week shouldn't be hard.

    It's only a matter of time before Papelbon starts blowing saves by the bunch, clearing a path to the ninth-inning role for Boston's Daniel Bard.

    2011 Stats: 2-0, 12 SV, 4.50 ERA, 27 HA in 26 IP

1. Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves

10 of 10

    PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 18:  Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves watches from the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 18, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    It's now or never.

    Jason Heyward has been hampered with a shoulder injury since mid-May, creating speculation as to when the 21-year-old will make his return.

    Not only don't his teammates have the slightest clues, but fantasy owners are trying to figure out if they should stash the young outfielder.

    The answer is no.

    Chipper Jones has recently called out Heyward for not making an effort to play hurt, creating doubt amongst Atlanta's team and fantasy rosters alike.

    Even before his injury, Heyward was batting a disappointing .214 with 14 RBI.

    His lack of production and absence of nearly a month from the fantasy scene has owners biting their nails when figuring out what to do with the sophomore slugger.

    The fact is, Heyward is probably going to struggle even when he comes back healthy, so looking at possible replacements to help you now isn't as crazy as you think.

    If you can trade him, go for it.  But don't wait around another several weeks for a hitter who was a major underachiever even before he got hurt.

    2011 Stats: .214, 7HR, 14RBI, 4 Doubles, 3 SB in 140 AB