Is it time to cut Howie Kendrick loose in standard leagues?

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Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes (7) in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We are now two months into the baseball season.  We are roughly a third of the way home.  There are some stars who are struggling, and some better performers sitting out on waivers in your standard league wire.  You are in the middle of the pack, and have an itchy trigger finger.  I get it.  We have all been there.  Some of us revisit that place every season.

Just like you can’t go on autopilot if you have a lead, you have to continue to be dilligent if you are in the middle or back of the pack as well.  You have to work the wire to win the league.

But who do you drop?  Nobody wants to be the one that drops a guy that goes on a hot streak.  But at the same time, you can’t afford to just sit there and waste away in the middle of the pack.  You need to do something.  If you can’t find a suitable trade partner, you will have to work the wire for what you need.

I get it that you form a bond with the players that you picked, but fantasy is no place for feelings of nostalgia and loyalty.  Just because Jose Reyes helped you win a league title a few years ago does not mean you have to keep rolling with him.

Here are some players that can be dropped in standard leagues.  If your league has more than three bench slots, feel free to hang on to these guys.  But in standard leagues, bench slots are usually too important to use on slumping players.  The players listed here are owned in 75 percent or more of ESPN leagues.

This piece will focus on middle infielders.  The outfielders and catchers are here.  The corner infielders are here.  We will do the pitchers tomorrow.

St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) makes an error on a ball hit by Gregor Blanco. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Second Basemen:

Howie Kendrick, Angels: Yes, his numbers on the season are nice at .288 with three homers and nine steals.  However, over the last two weeks he is hitting .212 with only one home run and three RBI.  His last stolen base came on May 11th, nearly a month ago.  He really is not much of an asset right now.

Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks: Some people have started to cut him loose after his most recent slump (.208, 1HR, 4RBI in the last two weeks) has brought his average down to .255 on the season.  His five home runs are kind of nice, but are also replaceable.  Hill might get hot at some point, but you don’t need to keep banging your head against the wall waiting for it to happen.

Jed Lowrie, Athletics: After a promising April, Lowrie had a dreadful May in which he hit just .189 with a lone home run.  He does have four RBI already in June, so maybe the turnaround is happening, but there are better options right now.

Try instead:

Mike Aviles, Indians: He may start seeing a few more days off with Jason Kipnis back and Carlos Santana nearing a return, but when he has been in the lineup, he has produced.  He hit .301 in May with a pair of homers and a steal.

Kolten Wong, Cardinals: Round two has gone MUCH better for the rookie so far.  Since he recall from AAA Louisville on May 15th, Wong has hit .310 with a homer and 10RBI and five stolen bases.  He is worth picking up while he is hitting.  He could score a lot of runs in the Cardinals lineup.

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) hits a single in the third inning. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Shortstops:

Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals: Apparently, his usefulness has worn off.  Peralta is mired in a horrid slump, hitting just .157 over the last two weeks.  His season average is all the way down to .229.  The nine homers on the season are nice, but he hasn’t gone deep since May 20th, a span of 51 at bats.

Andrelton Simmons, Braves: Simmons is hitting just .174 with one RBI and one steal over the last two weeks.  He only has one home run since April 21st.  Until he turns it around, he is doing you more harm than good.

Try instead:

Ruben Tejada, Mets: Tejada has been on fire lately, hitting .389 with half of his career homers this week.  While the power surge likely won’t last, he can still be a good average hitter, and he has a little bit of speed.  He is worth playing until he cools off.

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: Cabrera has struggled through this season and most of last season, but he might finally be heading the the right direction.  He has a pair of homers and six RBI in his last six games.  We all know he has talent.  He was arguably the best fantasy shortstop in 2011, and was in the top five in 2012.  He is worth picking up to see if he can recapture his past glory.

Come back tomorrow for some pitchers that can help you in standard leagues!