10 Important Stories from 04/03/19 Box Scores: Is It Time To Buy Astudillo or Rodon, Giving Up On Ray & More

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It was a surprisingly poor start for Aaron Nola, who allowed 6 ER on 5 H and 2 BB over 3.0 IP, including 3 HR (Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Juan Soto all took him deep).  Corey Kluber was another ace that stumbled, allowing 6 R (4 ER) on 8 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 3.1 IP dropping him to 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA (and with concerns starting to mount).  On the flipside Jacob deGrom continued to dominate, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 14, over 7.0 IP to defeat the Marlins and improve to 2-0 (after last season that’s a highly welcome sight).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Should we be buying what Freddy Peralta is selling…
He was nearly matched pitch-by-pitch by Luis Castillo (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 4 BB, 9 K), but this one was all about Peralta.  He tossed 8.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 11, to earn his first win of the season.  It was a great bounce back after he struggled in his first start against the Cardinals (4 ER over 3.0 IP), though there’s never been a question about his strikeout stuff.  The questions are about his control (4.60 BB/9 in ’18) and whether or not he can keep the ball in the ballpark (30.5% groundball rate in ’18).  We aren’t going to be sold on the control off of one start (he walked 3 batters in 3.0 IP in his first start) and he had 13 fly balls vs. 0 groundballs in this one.  Those two things are going to make him rather inconsistent, and while this was impressive he remains a hard sell as a trustworthy option start in and start out.

2) Another impressive outing for Carlos Rodon…
While Yoan Moncada provided the offense (2-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, as well as drawing 2 BB), it was Rondon who was the star of the show.  Going 6.0 innings he allowed 1 R (0 earned) on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 9.  He had a solid 16 swinging strikes and he now has 15 K vs. 2 BB over 5.1 IP to start the season.  Whether or not he can maintain that type of pace will be the key to his success, and with his first two starts coming against the Royals and a banged up Indians lineup it is hard to get overly excited.  At the same time let’s not forget that he was once a highly hyped prospect with the potential to pile up the strikeouts.  Let’s temper the expectations for now (especially after not showing quite as much swing and miss in his first start), but there’s at least a little bit of hope.

3) Is it time for Willians Astudillo to get regular playing time…
He found himself starting at third base yesterday, before moving to LF.  It makes sense for the team to try and find a spot for him in the lineup, as he went 3-5 with 1 RBI and 2 R putting him at 6-9 with 3 doubles in his three appearances this season.  While he obviously isn’t going to hit .667, the biggest question facing him was where the playing time would come from with three catchers on the roster.  If the team is willing to put him at 3B more often, and maybe even LF, then there’s going to be value.  He’s a unique player who rarely strikes out and rarely walks, and also doesn’t hit for a significant amount of power.  His value is going to come strictly from his AVG, so keep that in mind as well.

4) Will Robbie Ray ever throw enough strikes to become trustworthy…
Taking on the Padres he was charged with 2 ER on 2 H and 5 BB, striking out 3, over 5.1 IP to take the loss.  Over 10.1 innings this season he’s already walked 10 batters, to go along with 12 K.  That’s an awful lot of pitches, and with an inability to work deep into games he also is going to be hard pressed to get many wins.  While we obviously wouldn’t expect him to continue walking a batter per inning, let’s not forget that he posted a 5.09 BB/9 over 123.2 innings last season.  That type of mark is always going to be crippling, especially when it also comes with home run concerns (1.38 HR/9 last season, 1 HR this season).  In other words, he’s more of a stash than a trustworthy option at this point.

5) Matt Boyd dominates the decimated Yankees’ lineup…
Granted the Yankees lineup isn’t as impressive as we’d have thought, but that shouldn’t take away from the impressive display Boyd put on yesterday.  Over 6.1 IP he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 13 (with a massive 26 swinging strikes), though he had to settle for a no decision.  This comes after he struck out 10 against the Blue Jays in his first start, and he now has 23 K vs. 4 BB over his first 11.1 innings.  While this may be a stretch, let’s not forget that Boyd did post an 8.40 K/9 over 170.1 IP last season, with a 10.2% SwStr% helping to support the mark.  His control was also solid, with the biggest issue being the long ball (29.0% groundball rate leading to a 1.43 HR/9).  Obviously he’s not going to maintain this type of strikeout rate, and with 6 fly balls vs. 0 groundballs yesterday the risk of home runs is going to remain.  That’ll be something to watch, as it could ultimately cost him his value (and at least makes him a matchup play for now).

6) Randall Grichuk celebrates his extension in style…
While Matt Shoemaker was putting up his second straight strong start (7.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 8 K), Grichuk was doing the damage at the dish.  He finished going 3-4 with 2 HR (as well as a double), 2 RBI and 3 R.  Of course he’s still hitting just .238 on the season, with all of his hits going for extra bases (2 doubles, 3 HR).  Power has never been a question, including hitting 25 HR last season, but he’s consistently struggled with strikeouts (29.1% for his career).  That’s continued in the early going this season (6 K over 21 AB), and while this was an impressive game his value is likely going to come solely from his power and little else.

7) It was a another solid outing for Trevor Richards…
It wasn’t spectacular, but taking on what’s quickly becoming a difficult Mets’ lineup (especially as Peter Alonso quickly emerges, going 2-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R) it was certainly respectable.  Of course we’d rather not see deGrom take him deep, but at the end of the day Richards allowed 3 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP (though he also hit two batters).  He needs to improve his control a bit, with 5 BB over 12.0 IP to open the season, but he also has 11 K and has only allowed 9 H.  He has been more fly ball oriented, and we’ll want to keep that in mind in terms of ballparks/matchups, but the biggest knock against him is the difficulty getting wins pitching for the Marlins.  Otherwise he should remain solid.

8) Ozzie Albies stars atop the batting order…
After hitting sixth over the first four games he was shifted to the leadoff spot with a southpaw on the mound (Jon Lester) and delivered, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB.  Obviously it’s not like he wasn’t producing hitting lower in the lineup (he’s hitting .500 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R and 2 SB over 18 AB), though there’s obviously more upside if he’s hitting ahead of Freddie Freeman, Josh Donaldson and Ronald Acuna, as opposed to behind them.  With Inciarte struggling (.118 AVG/.211 OBP over 17 AB), could the move up the lineup become permanent?  Maybe not yet, but eventually it should.  For now continue to monitor the situation, though Albies remains among the elite regardless.

9) It was an impressive performance from Mike Minor…
Taking on Gerrit Cole (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 9 K) and the Astros, Minor was impressive as he tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7.  Let’s not overlook that he had just 10 swinging strikes and wasn’t generating groundballs (8 fly balls vs. 5 groundballs).  The latter wasn’t an issue in his first start (2 fly balls vs. 8 groundballs), though he had also struggled to generate swings and misses (7 swinging strikes over 4.2 IP).  It’s not to say that he can’t or won’t hold value without strikeouts, but it’s going to be much more difficult.  He’s never been an elite strikeout artist and the groundball rate is likely closer to his second start than his first (36.9% groundball rate for his career).  There’s value, but he’s more of a matchup play than a trustworthy option.

10) Are we buying what Enrique Hernandez is selling…
He was atop the Dodgers’ lineup and delivered a leadoff home run, finishing the day going 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R.  He’s now hitting .435 with 3 HR, 6 RBI and 7 R over 23 AB, as he’s also posted an impressive 3 K vs. 4 BB on the season.  Let’s not forget that he has always shown a patient approach (career 27.7% O-Swing%) and he also showed an improved ability to make contact last season (8.6% SwStr%).  He’s appeared to take that improvement to another level early on this season, and if he can continue that with the already known power (21 HR over 402 AB in ’18) and there’s suddenly a lot to like.  If he’s surprisingly still sitting on your waiver wire, scoop him up immediately before it’s too late.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

4 COMMENTS

  1. Are you concerned with Milokas yet? Looking at even average pitchers strikeout numbers, he’s not even close and velocity down.

    • Funny you mentioned him, there’s an article posting in about 30 minutes that talks about disappointing starters (and he’s included)

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