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Fold these Cards
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While baseball is extremely unpredictable, I thought I at least had St. Louis Cardinals hitters Matt Holliday and Allen Craig figured out -- .290-.300, 20-25 home runs for Holliday, .300-.315, 15-20 home runs for Craig, 100 RBI and an .850 OPS for both.

Nope. The two are hitting a combined .256 and slugging .374.

Craig has been the worse player of the two, hitting .243 with seven home runs, 43 RBI, 34 runs and a .650 OPS.

His average season per 162 games over the previous three seasons was .312 with 23 homers, 114 RBI and an .863 OPS.

Pitchers have thrown Craig more fastballs and targeted the inner third of the plate more often against him this season than they did from 2011-13. He hasn't been able to adjust.

From 2013, Craig's line-drive rate is down from 26.9 percent to 19.9 percent, his ground-ball rate is up from 45 percent to 56.3 percent. More weak contact has led to his BABIP declining from .351 over the previous three years to .285 this season.

Craig isn't a home-run hitter and he doesn't steal bases, so his stock was largely driven up by his run production the past two years. However, his RBI totals were inflated by an absurd .427 batting average with runners in scoring position. He's hit .261 with RISP this year.

Craig hasn't displayed any signs of improvement in July. In his last 10 games, he's batted .108 (4-for-37).

Holliday still has fantasy value because he's driven in 45 runs and scored 50, but his power has vanished.

His HR/FB is just 6.0 percent, a career low by a wide margin. His average fly- ball distance has decreased from 305.15 feet in 2012 to 289.42 feet last season to 279.78 feet this year, according to baseballheatmaps.com.

Holliday has been one of the easiest-to-predict players in all of baseball the past five years. In that span, he hit between .295 and .313 with 22-28 home runs and an OPS between .877 and .922 every year.

But power doesn't usually go back in the opposite direction once it starts to wane, especially for 34-year-old hitters.

Fantasy owners can probably still sell Holliday for something of value, as he's been a very good hitter for much longer than Craig. Plus, he has a career .942 OPS after the All-Star break and his numbers haven't completely cratered like Craig's.

Both Holliday and Craig have been superb fantasy options in the past, but it's time to fold these Cards.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.