Fantasy Baseball 2013: Underperforming Stars You Should Dump Early

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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Underperforming Stars You Should Dump Early
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It's been a surprising start to the MLB season, especially in the fantasy world.

Chris Davis, John Buck and Matt Harvey, players that most likely weren't the first players chosen on anyone's draft board, have taken the league by storm over the first week.

And a few other more recognizable names have let down their managers, both in major league and fantasy baseball.

Some may just be off to a rough start. But there are a few players whose struggles should be red flags to any astute fantasy owner.

Drop the following five players as fast as you can.

Carlos Marmol

If you're a Cubs fan or know one, then you're very familiar with the phrase, "This is finally the year!"

That's what many fantasy owners were thinking when taking Carlos Marmol, the Joey Chestnut of closers (he usually manages to get the job done, but the process is painful to watch). 

He had a reasonably promising second half to the 2012 season, saving 20 of 23 games overall and striking out 72 in 55.1 innings.

But in 2013, like every other season, Marmol has hit a speed bump, this time at the beginning of the season.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Carlos Marmol is no longer a viable option as a fantasy baseball closer

And this time, don't expect the Cubs to give him another chance anytime soon.

With Kyuji Fujikawa set to take over for Marmol as the Cubs closer, only keep Carlos on your roster if you desperately need strikeouts.

Once again, this is not the year for the Cubs or for Marmol.

Ryan Howard

This will be a much tougher drop for most fantasy owners, as Ryan Howard, unlike Marmol, has been truly great for stretches of his career.

However, his start to the 2013 season is not one of those stretches.

The All-Star first baseman has only four hits in 27 at-bats, and none of those hits went for extra bases.

He's part of a Phillies offense that has struggled as a whole, so don't look for him to be falling into many RBI opportunities either.

While the potential for power is still there, Howard still has yet to prove that he can play at the same high level he consistently showed before his Achilles injury in 2011.

No need to completely abandon him just yet, but he shouldn't be in your starting lineup anytime soon.

Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo has been one thing fantasy baseball owners love throughout his career: consistent.

Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images
Ryan Howard must prove to fantasy owners that he's the same player he once was

Gallardo has been a solid, dependable starting pitcher each of the past four seasons, and looking at his statistics, there are very few outliers (just look at his eerily similar strikeout totals each year) that would indicate any change in his ability.

That's what makes his start so frightening. 

Hitters are batting .396 against Gallardo. That's the highest BAA of any pitcher who's thrown more than five innings.

123 pitchers have thrown more than five innings.

Gallardo was a member of the Mexican team for the World Baseball Classic, and the effect the contest has on its pitchers has yet to be fully determined.

He pitched well in spring training, so this could potentially just be a blip on the radar.

But having the worst anything of 123 pitchers is something that cannot be ignored.

Pedro Alvarez

Like the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates offense, Pedro Alvarez has endured a disastrous start to the 2013 campaign.

He has just two hits in 25 at-bats, neither of them for extra bases, and he's currently sitting on one RBI.

Pedro's 12 strikeouts are one off the major league lead, and his rate of one strikeout for every two at-bats is up from his radically consistent mark of one strikeout every three at-bats each of his past three years.

Norm Hall/Getty Images
Pedro Alvarez may never live up to the hype he received as a prospect

As long as he's been an up-and-coming talent, he's surprisingly still only 26 years old, and he has plenty of time to get his season turned around.

But the dramatic increase in his K/AB ratio that has been rock solid throughout his career while completely losing his power should set off alarms in the heads of fantasy owners.

Watch that ratio and his power numbers very carefully while quickly searching for another third baseman.

Roy Halladay

A 35-year-old pitcher coming off his worst season in over a decade and a poor spring training imploding in his first two starts of the year?

Run, run away fast.

Roy Halladay is a Hall-of-Fame pitcher whose accomplishments are noteworthy, but if you were hoping he'd be the man to save your weak fantasy pitching rotation, you were wrong.

Last season was his first with less than 30 starts since 2005. If a workhorse like Halladay failed to meet the numbers he so consistently hit, it wasn't a fluke.

No matter what he claims about his physical state, something has gotten worse that isn't going to get better.

Halladay may not be done as a starting pitcher, especially on the Phillies, but he is without a doubt done as a valuable part of any fantasy baseball team.

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