10 Important Stories from 04/30/19 Box Scores: Breakout Hitters To Buy (And Others To Ignore), Sell High Starters & More

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Luis Castillo continues to step up and emerge as one of the elite, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 IP in a no decision against the Mets.  It was another strong start for Chris Paddack, who beat the Braves allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP.  Gerritt Cole took advantage of a big lead and made it stand, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 3 BB, striking out 11, against the Twins.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Does Spencer Turnbull deserve our attention…
It was a solid start against Philadelphia, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP.  He now owns a 2.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over six starts and hasn’t allowed more than 3 ER in any of them (1 ER over 17.0 IP in his past three outings).  He entered the day benefitting from a 79.0% strand rate and there are questions regarding if he can maintain his strikeout rate (10.7% SwStr% entering the day, 15 swinging strikes yesterday) and if he can continue to keep the ball in the ballpark (he’s allowed 2 HR, but opened the day with a 45.8% groundball rate).  He was better in both categories yesterday (8 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday), so both were promising and if the control is there (he’s walked 2 BB or fewer in five of his starts) the upside will be there.  He’s not going to be an ace, but there could be value as a backend option.

2) Jeff McNeil just continues to hit, but is it time to sell high…
He went 4-5 with 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .370 with a .457 OBP on the season.  Over 100 AB he now has 11 K vs. 10 BB to go along with 1 HR, 12 RBI and 15 R.  The “knock” against him is going to be that he’s produced little in terms of power and speed, meaning his value stems from his average and in turn his ability to score runs (he’s currently operating atop the batting order.  No one is going to argue with his ability to hit the baseball, but let’s keep in mind that his strikeout rate could rise given his 9.7% SwStr% and 31.6% O-Swing% (even if it’s a slight regression) and he entered the day benefiting from a .386 BABIP.  The latter is particularly concerning, considering he entered the day with a 33.3% Hard% and lacks elite speed.  Unless he begins hitting for a little bit more power the value is going to drop significantly and he could start to lose AB.  Keep that in mind before becoming infatuated.

3) Rick Porcello spins a gem against the A’s…
He tossed 8.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 8.  Before we get overly excited, keep in mind that he wasn’t generating many swings and misses (7) nor was he generating groundballs (6 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls).  While the control should continue to improve (5.87 BB/9 entering the day), his strikeout rate should continue to be relatively pedestrian (he entered with a 7.83 K/9) and he could continue to struggle with home runs (1.96 HR/9 entering the day as he has struggled to generate groundballs, with a 43.0% mark).  There is room for improvement, considering he entered with a .382 BABIP and 60.5% strand rate, but that doesn’t make him a can’t miss option moving forward.  Try to capitalize on the correction for another start or two, then be prepared to sell when the value is back.

4) Are we buying into the emergence of Franmil Reyes…
The skills were on full display yesterday, as he went 3-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, hitting both home runs off of Julio Teheran (7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K, but he was victimized by 3 HR).  Reyes is now hitting just .232, though he has 8 HR, 14 RBI and 9 R over 82 AB.  Before we get overly excited and assume that the average is going to rebound, there’s a good chance that his strikeout rate regresses significantly (16.5% SwStr% entering the day, though just a 23.0% strikeout rate).  He also has taken more of a fly ball centric approach, with a 45.0% fly ball rate, and that’s going to help to cap his upside.  Of course the power is for real and his .185 BABIP is going to improve (even if you don’t buy into the 56.7% Hard%), and that will help to offset the other issues.  In other words he could be a .250ish hitter with power, not far off from where he is today, and there’s going to be value in that.

5) Jesus Aguilar does it again…
He only had one hit, but he made it count as he went 1-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R.  Over his past two games he’s now gone 4-7 with 3 HR, 7 RBI and 3 R, and while it’s been a highly disappointing season thus far as the calendar turns to May he’s finally starting to wake up at the plate.  That’s not to say that he’s ever going to match last year’s .274 AVG or 35 HR display, but his .179 BABIP was destined to improve (37.9% Hard%) and we all knew that there would be at least some power.  There is still too much swing and miss to his game (14.2% SwStr% yesterday, 1 K yesterday) and his Hard% was going to regress (last year it was at 44.0%).  There’s value and the rebound should continue, but he also is ultimately going to fall short of last year’s production.  Just keep that in mind and value him accordingly.

6) Is it time to give up on Michael Pineda…
Taking on the Astros he allowed 5 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP.  He’s struggled to generate enough strikeouts (22 K over 29.0 IP) and has now allowed 2 HR in two of his past three starts (he’s allowed 6 HR overall, with HR allowed in four of his past five outings).  He has surprisingly shown the same elite control that we’ve always seen, despite the length layoff, but without both strikeouts (he entered the day with a 10.6% SwStr%, but only 7 swinging strikes yesterday) and groundballs (35.1% entering the day, 6 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday) it’s going to be tough to produce.  In deeper formats it may make sense to continue stashing him, but in 12 team mixed formats or shallower it makes sense to move on (while keeping an eye on him in case he becomes relevant again).

7) Bryan Reynolds comes up big for Pittsburgh…
With Starling Marte (1-6, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) off the DL it could be difficult for Reynolds to find regular AB, though with the DH at their disposal with this game in Texas Reynolds was in the lineup (Melky Cabrera was slotted in as DH).  Reynolds made the most of it, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, extending his hitting streak to eight games (he has at least 1 H in every game he’s played in the Majors this season).  While this was his first home run, he’s added 5 doubles which has helped yield a .423/.423/.731 slash.  Of course the fact that he has 6 K vs. 0 BB over 26 AB is a bit of a red flag, as he entered the day displaying a horrific approach at the plate (25.0% SwStr%, 54.1% O-Swing%) and even in the minors he’s failed to display significant power and speed.  It’s not even worth riding him while he’s hot, because the streak could disappear in a blink of an eye and the playing time could completely disappear.

8) It was a solid, though unspectacular, debut for Griffin Canning…
He only lasted 4.1 innings against the Blue Jays and allowed 3 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 6.  The big mistake came to Brandon Drury in the fifth inning (which was his final inning), and Drury finished the day at 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  As for Canning he generated an impressive 18 swinging strikes and also generated more groundballs than fly balls (4 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls).  Obviously we’d like to see a longer outing (he threw 82 pitches) and better results, but there is some intrigue coming out of this one.  There’s no question that the Angels need help in the rotation and this should be more than a one and done situation.  He may not be an ace, but there’s value and potential to make an impact.

9) Is now the time to buy into Kyle Schwarber…
He went 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .241 with 4 HR and 8 RBI over 83 AB.  He now is on a modest five game hitting streak, going 7-15 with 1 HR and 3 RBI (though he also has 3 doubles over this stretch).  The biggest concern, as always, is his ability to make consistent contact.  He struck out twice yesterday, and has 2 K in each of his past three saves.  That said he’s using the entire field at a better rate than ever before (34.5% Oppo%), has shown a similar approach to what he’s done before (10.9% SwStr%, 24.0% O-Swing%) and continues to hit the ball hard (38.2% Hard%).  He should be able to improve upon both his HR/FB (15.8% entering the day) and walk rate (8.0%), meaning he should continue to improve.  That’s not to say that he’s going to be a Top 20 outfielder, but there’s enough upside to stick with him especially since he could be more than a platoon player (he’s slashing .267/.389/.533 against southpaws this season).

10) Could Zack Greinke be among the elite once again…
Taking on the Yankees he was fantastic, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 7.2 IP to improve to 5-1 with a 3.27 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over 7 starts.  Over his past three starts he’s allowed 1 ER over 20.2 IP and now owns 46 K vs. 8 BB over 44.0 IP on the season.  After allowing 7 ER in his first start he’s clearly righted the ship, the question is how real is this?  Granted he’s going to continue to show elite control, but he entered the day benefiting from a lot of luck (80.7% strand rate, .239 BABIP), hasn’t shown the SwStr% to help justify over a strikeout per inning (8.7% SwStr% entering the day, 12 swinging strikes yesterday) and could continue to struggle with home runs (40.9% groundball rate, 6 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls entering the day).  It’s been a great run, but it’s nearly impossible to expect it to continue.

Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN

9 COMMENTS

  1. I know he didn’t play yesterday but what are your thoughts quick thoughts on Eduardo Rodriguez?

    His BABIP is high, LOB% low, SwStr% entering ace territory (13%+) and his GB% better than last year.

    He’s was just dropped and was thinking of dropping Jon Gray for him.

  2. Do you think it’s time to move on from Peraza. Wavier wire pickups are: L. Garcia, A. Rosario, Buxton, F. Reyes, Bryan Reynolds and Dwight Smith. I would probably try for Reyes or Garcia.

    What do you think.

    Thanks

    • There’s plenty of talent out there, so in a shallower league I’d believe in dropping him. That said, I still believe that he’s going to turn things around and produce at some point.

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