10 Important Stories from 04/24/19 Box Scores: Are We Buying Emerging Young Starters (Soroka/Paddack), Buy Low Candidates (Junis/Mazara) & More


Blake Snell returned from the DL and struggled, allowing 3 R (2 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 3.1 IP.  The emergence of Josh Bell continued, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R (he’s now slashing .299/.385/.623 with 5 HR and 17 RBI).  It was a dominant showing for Justin Verlander, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 8.0 IP to defeat the Twins.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Jakob Junis pitches well on the road…
He only threw 75 pitches, having to be pulled due to a bruised hand, but he made the most of them.  Going 5.0 innings against the Rays he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP to improve to 2-2 on the season.  His ERA still sits at an unsightly 5.57, but he was generating swings and misses (11) and groundballs (7 groundballs vs. 1 fly ball) to get you optimistic about the outlook.  He entered the day with an 8.56 K/9, 2.63 BB/9 and 49.4% groundball rate, showing off all of the skills that we look for from a pitcher.  A lot of the issues can be tied to poor luck (.354 BABIP, 63.9% strand rate), and while a 40.2% Hard% is a little bit discouraging there’s enough here to make him worth targeting.  Monitor the news to make sure the injury isn’t going to have a negative impact moving forward, and if it’s not he should be considered a solid buy in all formats.

2) An impressive outing from Jefry Rodriguez…
Asked to make a spot start Rodriguez delivered, albeit against the Marlins, as he allowed 1 R on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 IP.  While he was a groundball machine (13 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls), the fact that he generated a meager 3 swinging strikes is a red flag that can’t be overlooked.  He didn’t show much strikeout stuff in the Majors last season (6.75 K/9 over 52.0 IP), nor was he showing this type of groundball stuff (42.3%).  Is there at least a little bit of intrigue?  Perhaps, but unless the strikeouts are going to climb there wouldn’t be much appeal regardless.  The fact that there likely won’t be many starts just further hinders the outlook, and barring something changing he can easily be ignored.

3) Are we buying into Raimel Tapia as a viable option in Colorado…
He was playing left field yesterday going 2-4 with 3 RBI, ending a streak of three straight games with a home run.  Over 57 AB he’s now hitting .281 with 3 HR, 10 RBI and 4 R, though entering the day with a 16.7% SwStr% and 38.6% O-Swing% are significant red flags that can’t be ignored (he currently has 18 K vs. 4 BB overall).  There also is going to be significant questions about his playing time, as you would think that Ian Desmond would start to turn things around and force his way back into the lineup.  Throw in a poor 25.7% Hard%, as well as unsustainable marks in both his BABIP (.344 entering the day) and HR/FB (23.1%) and what is there to get excited about?  Ride him while he’s hot, but be ready to move on when things start going the other way.

4) Nomar Mazara finally showing signs of turning things around…
In what was likely his best day of 2019 to date, Mazara went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  Of course he’s still hitting just .219 with 4 HR and 15 RBI overall, but he is 4-9 with three extra base hits over his past two games (he added a double on Tuesday).  While he has been swinging and missing a little bit more thus far, his 11.4% SwStr% entering the day isn’t a prohibitive mark and isn’t far off from his career mark of 10.3%.  He also has been hitting the ball incredibly hard (50.0% Hard%, 25.9% line drive rate) and even if the power doesn’t develop should quickly improve upon his .231 BABIP.  With the potential for the power to also take a step forward as the season progresses (50.0% groundball rate), there’s a lot to like moving forward.  Hopefully you aren’t too late, but if you can buying low makes a lot of  sense.

5) A gem from Chris Paddack against Seattle…
Felix Hernandez did his best to keep up (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 K), but he made one mistake to Ian Kinsler (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) and that was enough.  Paddack needed just 83 pitches to throw 7.0 shutout innings, allowing 1 H and 1 BB while striking out 9.  He’s allowed 1 ER in four of his five starts this season, while this was the first time he struck out more than 7 (his previous career high, which had come in his first start).  He’s walked 1 batter or fewer in four of five starts, which is a strong sign, though he’s also been lucky that he hasn’t been burned by the long ball (38.3% groundball rate entering the day, 5 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday).  Obviously pitching half of his games in San Diego is going to help his cause, but that’s something that’s going to have to be watched closely (especially when he takes his show on the road).  There’s obviously value, just know the risk involved moving forward.

6) Another solid outing for Mike Soroka, further cementing a rotation spot…
We’ve often talked about the uncertainty in Atlanta’s rotation, given the significant number of alternatives that they have.  Soroka is doing his best to separate himself from the pack, locking himself into the backend (at least for now).  Taking on the Reds on the road, he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 5.2 IP.  He has walked a few too many batters (5 BB over 10.2 IP), though that has never been an issue and shouldn’t be a concern long-term.  It looks even better as he has been generating strikeouts (13 K) and groundballs (he had 6 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls yesterday, after a 7-to-3 ratio in his first start).  As it is he’s a strong option, but if the control comes around as expected?  He could emerge as a Top 40 option, if not better, and is well worth owning.

7) Are we now buying Vincent Velasquez…
It was another strong start, this time against the Mets, tossing 5.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 6.  He now owns a 1.99 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over 22.2 IP (5 appearances, 4 starts), with 22 K vs. 7 BB.  Of course health has often been an issue for Velasquez, so that’s a risk that isn’t going to be wiped away based off a handful of starts.  He also entered the day with a .222 BABIP and 93.8% strand rate, despite a 39.6% Hard%, as he continues to be hit hard fairly regularly (23.4% line drive rate, compared to a 22.6% career mark).  What about that makes you think that he can continue to produce as he has of late?  It’s always nice to see, but there’s a blowup coming and you don’t want to buy in only to catch it.  While there is some potential reward, there’s far too much risk to make the investment.

8) Has Ketel Marte fully emerged as a must start option…
He was hitting atop the Arizona lineup yesterday, going 2-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, and while his .247 average isn’t ideal he’s added 6 HR, 20 RBI, 12 R and 2 SB.  Of course before you get overly excited he does own 22 K vs. 4 BB over 97 AB, though an 8.7% SwStr% isn’t a red flag and his 35.7% O-Swing% isn’t ideal but it also isn’t crippling.  His 46.1% Hard%, after a 36.0% mark last season, shows just how hard he’s hitting the baseball, and his 20.0% HR/FB may be elevated but it’s possible he can maintain it (10.9% last season).  The biggest issue is his pull heavy approach (18.4% Oppo%), making him prone to the shift, and if there is any regression in his Hard% and HR/FB the average could quickly plummet.  He is definitely a must own and someone to use while he’s playing this well, but don’t become infatuated with because the bottom can fall out at any moment.

9) Eduardo Rodriguez is finally rounding into form…
Granted this outing came against the Tigers, but he pitched well allowing 1 ER on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP as he was generating ample swinging strikes (18).  After a rocky start he’s now allowed 3 ER or fewer in three straight starts, lowering his ERA from 12.38 to a still ugly 5.88.  Home runs have generally been an issue, and while his 42.3% groundball rate is better than he’s shown before (37.6% for his career), it’s still an issue and could lead to problems.  That said his 14.6% SwStr% and 30.7% O-Swing% have helped him to a solid 9.69 K/9 and 3.46 BB/9, while he’s also continued to limit the Hard% (32.1%).  Those things should continue to lead to strong results, and a 59.9% strand rate only helps to reinforce that thought.  Unfortunately the time to buy may have come and gone, but if you can still get him at a discount it’s well worth exploring.

10) Andrelton Simmons breaks out the power bat…
He hit 2 of the 3 HR allowed by CC Sabathia (5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 K), finishing the day going 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  He’s now hitting .267 with 3 HR and 13 RBI over 101 AB, though he’s added 9 doubles while striking out 10 times.  His ability to make contact has never been a question, but he’s a pull happy hitter (12.1% Oppo%) who doesn’t walk often (2 BB) and has never been one to hit for much power (6.5% career HR/FB, 9.4% entering the day in ’19).  It was a nice day and his additional doubles gives a sense of hope, but expecting him to be a difference maker would be a significant mistake.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs


    • I’d go with Chavis iin the short-term, as the ceiling is much higher. Problem is there’s a good chance he gets a return ticket to Triple-A

    • I prefer Soroka as long as he’s in the rotation. As for Hampson, I’m just not sure he’s going to get enough AB regularly. You’d think he’d have value, but if you need the spot you have to do what you have to do

  1. Hey Prof’ – Conundrum – 12 team roto – I have McMahon who’s about to become 2B eligible. I’m a big believer in Adam Frazier who is struggling lately and held out of today’s lineup in favor of Cole Tucker (maybe they are just resting him due to back issue). Odor is still sitting on our waiver wire and about to be activated. I couldn’t pick him up prior because I have 2 other position player injuries and need my flexible bench. Odor is off to a really bad start, but I’m wondering if I should suck up the near-term pain for future rewards by dropping Frazier or McMahon for Odor, though keeping Frazier also makes sense because he’s OF eligible, and I have two OF’s hurt. Any thoughts on how to resolve my 2B situation moving forward?

  2. I could keep any of them for $6 next year
    This is a 10 team league
    I like Tucker’s speed and that’s all I hear about this guy but he hasn’t attempted a steal yet.

    • You have to give him a little bit of time to adjust to the Majors. In that shallow of a league I’m OK dumping Jones, as he should be replaceable and isn’t a bargain for next season


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