10 Important Stories from 05/11/19 Box Scores: Candidates To Sell High (Eflin, Diaz & More), Breakouts Coming & More

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It was a tough luck no decision for Trevor Bauer who allowed 2 R (0 earned) on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP against Oakland.  After his rough start Jacob deGrom continued his resurgence, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP to defeat the Marlins.  Walker Buehler continues to round into form, despite settling for a no decision, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Does Charlie Tilson offer under-the-radar value for fantasy owners…
He went 2-4 with 2 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday, putting him at .381 with 2 RBI, 4 R and 3 SB over 21 AB.  It’s the SB that obviously jumps out at you, though he had gone just 3-for-4 over 111 PA at Triple-A prior to his recall.  Of course he has stolen as many as 46 bases in a season (2015), and that has always been seen as his strongest asset.  When you pair it with a reasonable strikeout rate (18.9% prior to his recall) and there’s at least a little bit of potential.  He’s not going to maintain this type of pace, though that should go without saying, though finding speed on the waiver wire is no easy task this season.  If you are short on stolen bases there’s enough of a reason to roll the dice and see if you can catch lightning in a bottle.

2) Is there any reason to buy into Zach Davies…
He took a no decision against the Cubs, in a game that ultimately went 15 innings, though he continued to pitch well.  Over 6.1 IP Davies allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, leaving him with a 1.54 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 46.2 IP.  Of course his 31 K vs. 15 BB isn’t going to impress anyone, and with a career 6.51 K/9 and a 6.7% SwStr% this season (he had 11 swinging strikes yesterday) there’s little reason to get excited.  In fact that alone would completely cap his potential upside, but when you add in his relative lack of groundball stuff (43.2% groundball rate entering the day, 6 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls yesterday) and having benefited from an 87.6% strand rate entering the day there’s little reason for optimism.  Things can only regress, and without strikeouts it could get extremely ugly.  You’d be better off moving on too soon than suffering from a drubbing.

3) Miles Mikolas continues to re-emerge as a strong option…
He unfortunately took a loss yesterday, but that shouldn’t detract from what was another strong effort.  Over 7.0 IP against the Pirates he allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, and he’s now allowed 2 ER or fewer in three straight starts (and four out of his past five).  Overall he now owns a 3.83 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, plus he’s struck out 12 batters over his last 14.0 IP.  The latter may be the most notable development, though even yesterday he generated just 11 swinging strikes (after entering the day with a 7.3% SwStr%).  That said if he can continue forward with something reasonably close to this type of strikeout rate there should continue to be strong results given the solid groundball rate (48.0% entering the day, 10 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls yesterday) and elite control.  Those who showed patience are now starting to reap some benefits.

4) Should we sell high after a big day from Yandy Diaz…
Taking on the Yankees he went 2-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, giving him a season slash of .267/.357/.550 to go along with 9 HR and 22 RBI.  Let’s not forget that he had hit just 1 HR over 265 AB in the Majors over the previous two seasons and even this year he’s been continually hammering the ball into the ground (52.4% groundball rate entering the day).  With that in mind can he continue the power surge (he entered with a 21.2% HR/FB)?  He does have a good approach (9.1% SwStr%, 22.1% O-Swing%) and hits the ball relatively hard (39.0% Hard%), so he should continue to be a productive player (.265 BABIP, in part due to a pull heavy approach with a 22.9% Oppo%).  That said if the power regresses his overall appeal will be limited.  Selling high isn’t the worst idea.

5) Is this the start of a Michael Conforto hot streak…
This was supposed to be the year when Conforto put it all together, but instead he’s been relatively disappointing once again.  That said he went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him home runs in back-to-back games (he’s gone 5-6 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 4 R over this stretch).  Obviously no one is going to get excited off of two games, though hitting .274 with 8 HR and 18 RBI overall isn’t too bad.  He also continues to show an improved approach (he didn’t strikeout yesterday and entered the day with an improved 9.9% SwStr%) and should see his 15.9% HR/FB continue to improve.  He needs to make sure he doesn’t get too flyball happy (44.9%), but there’s little reason for concern.  He should continue to get better and should end the year among the Top 20 outfielders.

6) Another gem from Zach Eflin, but are we buying the breakout…
This came against the Royals but the performance was impressive all the same, as he tossed a complete game shutout allowing 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 7.  He’s now 5-3 with a 2.47 ERA and 1.02 WHIP over 51.0 IP, and he’s allowed 1 ER or less in three straight starts (including a pair of complete games).  Of course home runs have been a little bit of an issue (7 HR), and while he was generating groundballs yesterday (14 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls) that hasn’t generally been the case (he entered the day with a 41.4% groundball rate).  He also wasn’t getting many swings and misses (9 swinging strikes) and a 9.2% SwStr% doesn’t offer much hope.  Control is nice, but without either of the other two skills this success isn’t likely to continue.  Sell high if there is someone who is willing to pay for the perceived breakout.

7) Are we buying or denying Merrill Kelly off of a solid start…
Taking on the Braves he allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP.  It wasn’t enough, as Kevin Gausman was better (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K), and while he was beat up in his previous outing (7 ER over 4.0 IP against Tampa Bay) he’s now allowed 3 ER or fewer in three of his past four starts (and six out of eight overall).  While there is a little bit of intrigue and the potential for a solid season, he has managed just 36 K vs. 17 BB over 46.0 IP and hasn’t shown much propensity to generate swings and misses (9.3% SwStr%, before just 9 swinging strikes yesterday).  Throw in having allowed a home run in all but one of his starts and the downside likely outweighs the upside.  He has the potential to at least be a streaming option, but for now he’s impossible to trust.

8) Hunter Pence just continues to hit…  And hit…  And hit…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, doing the only damage against Gerrit Cole (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 12 K), and he’s now hitting .338 with 7 HR and 24 RBI on the season.  He’s homered in four of his past five games, driving in 11 runs in the process, and it’s getting harder and harder not to buy into the production.  He entered the day with a 33.3% HR/FB, and considering his 50.0% groundball rate it’s hard to envision him maintaining this type of power surge.  He also continues to show swing and miss stuff (11.7% SwStr%), and there’s a good chance his strikeout rate regresses (16.0%, before 2 K yesterday).  This has been an impressive stretch, and while it could continue in the short-term there’s going to be a limit to his potential (even with a 51.7% Hard%).  Ride the streak while you can, but be prepared to move on when the time comes.

9) Control problems plague Spencer Turnbull…
While C.J. Cron may have had the best day in the double header (5-8, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R), it was the performance from Turnbull that was most notable.  Taking the ball in the first game of the double header he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 6, over 5.2 IP in a no decision.  He now owns a 2.42 ERA and 1.21 WHIP to go along with 44 K over 44.2 IP.  His control had generally been good this season (3.23 BB/9 entering the day), though he had a 3.65 BB/9 over 98.2 IP at Double-A last season so there could be more days like this in his future.  He also may not be able to maintain a 0.46 HR/9 (even with a 47.7% groundball rate), so the question is can he continue generating a strikeout per inning and even if he can, is it enough?  He did enter with an 11.2% SwStr% and had 15 swinging strikes yesterday, so there is reason for optimism.  That doesn’t make him a great option, especially with an 80.9% strand rate, but the strikeouts and an ability to avoid hard contact (26.9% Hard%) gives reason for optimism.  He’s far from an ace, but he’s viable all the same.

10) Don’t let the numbers for Rick Porcello completely deceive you…
Obviously a 5.15 ERA is unsightly, but considering he allowed 11 ER over 7.1 IP over his first two starts (14 ER over 11.1 IP in his first three) it’s going to continue to be a long climb back to getting the numbers respectable.  It looked like it would be another implosion yesterday, after he allowed 4 runs in the first, but he settled down and ultimately got the W allowing 4 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 6.2 IP.  That said he allowed another home run (8 HR over 43.2 IP) as the once groundball machine continues to see the ball put into the air (5 groundballs vs. 11 fly ball yesterday).  He could be productive in spite of that, but an 8.5% SwStr% doesn’t help.  No groundballs and limited strikeout upside?  Don’t get too excited, even if he does string together a few sold starts.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

5 COMMENTS

    • I still believe in Winker. Pederson may have slightly more upside, but he’s going to continue to platoon most likely

  1. Hey Prof,
    Who would you look for in return for Eflin? Another pitcher like Paxton? Any outfielder like Soto? Just curious where you’d put his value.

    • I wouldn’t put him at anywhere close to that value. I’d shoot high, but I doubt the other owner would agree.

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