10 Important Stories from 04/27/19 Box Scores: Is It Time To Give Up On Syndergaard, Breakout Bats To Believe In & More

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Marcell Ozuna continues to prove that last year’s struggles were driven by the injuries, as he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R (he’s now hitting .270 with 10 HR and 26 RBI).  It was a solid performance from Yu Darvish, who beat the Diamondbacks by allowing 1 ER on 2 H and 4 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP.  Rougned Odor showed why you should remain patient, going 1-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Is this the breakout of Max Kepler we’ve been waiting for…
He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, bringing his average up to .263 to go along with 6 HR and 15 RBI over 80 AB.  He’s now hit 3 HR over his past two games and was hitting .240 a week ago, showing that things are starting to turn around.  It shouldn’t come as a big surprise, as he entered the day with a 41.7% Hard% yet just a .268 BABIP (1 16.7% Oppo% doesn’t help his cause, but there’s still hope for at least a little bit of an improvement).  He also has continued to keep his swing and miss in check (9.9% SwStr%) and an ability to draw a walk (10.6% walk rate), only helping his cause.  A .260-.270 hitter with power was always a fair expectation, and that’s exactly what we are getting so there’s every reason to believe.

2) Should fantasy owners be buying what Aaron Sanchez is selling…
He shutdown the A’s yesterday, allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 2 H and 4 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP.  He now owns a 2.32 ERA over 31.0 innings, though there are quite a few red flags.  He has now walked 20 batters overall, and 3+ batters in five of his six starts (4 batters in three of them).  He also hasn’t been generating many strikeouts, entering the day with a 9.1% SwStr% and 7.96 K/9 (he had just 8 swinging strikes yesterday).  Throw in that he hasn’t been able to work deep into games (he hasn’t thrown more than 6.0 innings in any start, and has been at 5.0 or fewer in four of the six) and he also has benefited from a bit of luck (.258 BABIP entering the day).  Throw in pitching in the AL East and it’s obvious that he’s unlikely to sustain the strong ERA.  If you can sell now, and it’s unlikely you’d be able to get a significant return anyways, do it.

3) An impressive performance from Brad Peacock…
Taking on the Indians Peacock allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 innings though he had to settle for a no decision.  While it is an impressive line, we have to keep in mind that he wasn’t generating many swings and misses (9 swinging strikes) nor was he getting many groundballs (2 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls).  Considering he entered the day with a 9.0% SwStr% the relatively unimpressive strikeout rate isn’t a shock (7.29 K/9 and it’s hard to buy into yesterday’s strong number).  He has shown a little bit more groundball stuff in previous outings (45.9% entering the day), though that’s hardly an elite number.  Throw in the potential for fatigue to become a factor, having thrown 65.0 innings primarily as a reliever last season, and is there a great outlook long-term?

4) Hunter Renfroe is making his case for more AB…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday and has now homered in back-to-back games (3-5 with 2 HR).  Overall he is hitting just .239 over 67 AB, though he has 6 HR to go along with 5 doubles and 1 triple.  While he has chased outside the zone a bit too much (40.7% O-Swing% entering the day), he also has shown an improved SwStr% (10.2%) and has been hitting the ball exceptionally hard (57.4% Hard%).  While he’s been incredibly pull happy thus far (61.7% Pull%), that could be a skewed mark due to sample size and we’d expect a little bit of a step backward there.  That’s only going to help, and assuming he continues to keep the strikeout mark in check and hits the ball hard the results will be there.  Playing time is going to be a question, but there’s enough here to keep him stashed and see what happens.

5) Is it time to move on from Trevor Richards…
There were some high hopes entering the season, but it’s getting harder and harder to buy in.  After allowing 5 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 4.0 IP he now owns a 4.64 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over 6 starts (33.0 IP).  We always say not to chase wins, but he’s 0-4 and doesn’t play for a team that’s going to offer much in the way of support.  Home runs are starting to become an issue, with 4 HR over his past two starts, and that’s not a surprise.  He entered the day with a 34.7% groundball rate this season, before generating 3 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday.  That’s going to continue being an issue, and with his control also being an issue (4.97 BB/9 entering the day) and benefitting from some luck (.230 BABIP, 42.9% Hard%) there isn’t much left to hang our hats on.  Even in deeper formats it’s hard to envision someone rushing to the wire to add him, so cut bait and move on for now while keeping an eye on him and seeing if he can figure things out.

6) Is Noah Syndergaard not the ace that we had envisioned…
Maybe he was overvalued entering the season, but did anyone expect things to be this bad?  He allowed 5 ER on 10 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP and now owns a 6.35 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over 34.0 IP.  He entered the day with a 10.55 K/9, 2.17 BB/9 and 50.6% groundball rate, and while yesterday is frustrating the fact that he allowed 2 HR and had 3 BB seems like nothing but an aberration.  There has been plenty of poor luck behind the struggles, as he hasn’t been hit overly hard (32.1% Hard%) yet carried a .346 BABIP and 50.3% strand rate entering the day.  There is no question that there are significantly better days ahead, so giving up on him and selling low now wouldn’t be wise.  Stay the course and keep running him out there, getting the rebound after suffering through all this bad.

7) The breakout of Hunter Dozier continues…
It was slightly frustrating for fantasy owners, as Dozier sat a few days with a back injury, but the absence did nothing to slow down his bat.  He went 4-5 with 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday, chipping in a pair of triples, and is now hitting .350 with 7 HR and 16 RBI on the season.  He’s currently on a six game hitting streak, going 11-19 with six extra base hits (2 doubles, 2 triples and 2 HR).  Even better is during this stretch he has 3 K vs. 5 BB.  He entered the day showing an extreme improvement in his plate discipline, carrying a 7.9% SwStr% and 23.5% O-Swing%, while he’s showing significant power (25.0% HR/FB) and hitting the ball extremely hard (48.3% Hard%).  There is going to be some stumbles, as you can argue that he’s been a little bit too pull happy (22.4% Oppo%) and hitting a few too many fly balls (48.3% fly ball rate) meaning he’s getting too caught up in the power.  That’s hardly a significant red flag, however, and it appears that his emergence is for real.

8) Mike Foltynewicz underwhelms in his season debut…
Finally getting on the mound in 2019 Foltynewicz struggled against the Rockies, allowing 4 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP.  Obviously it wasn’t a horrendous performance, but it also wasn’t particularly strong.  There are high hopes, after he posted a 9.93 K/9 and 3.34 BB/9 over 183.0 IP last season, but can we reasonably expect him to reasonably match those numbers?  As it is the control was pedestrian while there were questions as to whether or not he could maintain that type of strikeout rate (10.3% SwStr% last season, just 10 swinging strikes yesterday).  He also was plagued by home runs yesterday, allowing 2 HR, and considering his 43.1% groundball rate a year ago (39.4% for his career) that too isn’t a surprise.  Foltynewicz should at least be a usable option, but he’s not likely to take another step forward and could easily disappoint.

9) Is Clayton Kershaw “back” and among the elite…
He looked the part yesterday, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 innings against the Pirates.  In his three starts this season he now owns a 2.25 ERA and 0.75 WHIP over 20.0 innings, with 21 K vs. 4 BB in the process.  All 4 BB came in one start, and while he has allowed 2 HR he had generated 8 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday after entering the day with a 61.3% groundball rate.  Obviously the groundball rate is a little bit skewed, but it shows that he should remain solid in that regard.  Couple that with the control and the renewed strikeout stuff (he had a 13.1% SwStr% in his first two starts, before generating 15 swinging strikes yesterday) and what’s not to like?  Maybe he’s not the same pitcher as he once was and there’s always going to be the risk of injury, but while he’s on the mound he’s worth buying as one of the better options around (though there is going to be a step backwards at some point, considering his .172 BABIP and 85.4% strand rate to enter the day).

10) Mike Minor provides the dominant performance of the night…
Sure he was given a huge lead, but does that take away from what was as impressive of a performance as we saw yesterday?  Taking on the Mariners he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 13, over 7.0 IP to improve to 3-2 with a 2.88 ERA.  He generated 19 swinging strikes yesterday, and while it’s impressive just consider that he entered the day with a 6.95 K/9 over his first 33.2 IP.  While you could argue that there was more upside than that, considering a 10.8% SwStr%, is there this much upside?  It’s hard not to consider the performance a bit of an aberration, and having benefited from ample luck entering the day (.205 BABIP) and with home runs being a concern (41.3% groundball rate, the lone run came via a home run yesterday) and it’s easy to say the risk outweighs the reward.  This is the type of performance to try and sell him off of, because the perceived value will never be higher.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

14 COMMENTS

  1. RP: What’s up with Jurickson Profar and is it time to give up? I know his BABIP is anemic, but it seems there’s more to this slump?

  2. Hello Professor,

    You answered my question before asking it. I will be looking to drop Richards for any of the following and yes the wire is thin:

    DeSclafini, Turnbull, Kelly, and P. Lopez.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback

    • Those options aren’t idea, but I’d gamble on the upside of Lopez next (unless Griffin Canning is available, then I’d target him)

    • I wouldn’t be banking on it. He’s the type of player to ride him while he’s going well, but be prepared to move on

      • Yeah, that’s what I thought. I would only consider streaming him in the best of scenarios, and I’ll probably choose other options. But man, is he playing well right now.

        Thanks again.

    • He’s always been an intriguing player and it wouldn’t surprise me if he took over a regular role with Deshields losing his job. Do I think he’s more than a short-term play? Probably not, but there’s enough there to take the gamble

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