10 Important Stories from 05/15/19 Box Scores: Must Buy Youngsters Impress (Calhoun & More), Which Breakouts Are Real (La Stella) & More


Chris Archer returned from the DL and took one on the chin, allowing 7 R (6 earned) on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 3.2 IP.  Domingo German enjoyed a dominant performance, albeit against the Orioles, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP to improve to 8-1 with a 2.41 ERA.  It was a dominant outing from Patrick Corbin, who allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 11, over 8.0 IP to earn the win.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look…

1) Has the time come to believe in Tommy La Stella’s emergence…
It was another big day at the plate for La Stella, who hit atop the Angels batting order and went 4-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hitting .301 with 11 HR, 25 RBI and 24 R over 113 AB.  It’s easy to get excited by the numbers, but it’s hard to envision this to continue.  For starters he had hit 10 HR in his MLB career prior to this season and he entered the day with a 27.0% HR/FB and just 2 doubles.  It’s easy to think some of his home runs will start falling short, and that will obviously have an impact on his value.  Granted he should continue to post a strong average considering his .222 BABIP, 43.0% Hard% and strong command of the strike zone (3.1% SwStr%, 18.4% O-Swing%), but is a .290ish hitter with little power or speed a real commodity?  Ride the power surge while it’s there, but don’t expect it to continue.

2) Eduardo Escobar continues to show that last year’s breakout is for real…
Remember when he was hitting .208 on April 20?  He’s clearly turned things around since, as he’s now hitting .293 with 9 HR and 27 RBI after going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R yesterday.  Maybe the 15.7% HR/FB he opened the day with is slightly inflated (11.9% last year), but let’s not forget that on top of 23 HR last season he added 48 doubles and 3 triples so it’s easy to envision a little bit more power developing.  You also could argue that his approach leaves a bit to be desired (12.6% SwStr%, 37.9% O-Swing%), but a 42.3% Hard% and keeping the strikeouts in check (21.5% is right along the lines of his 19.8% career mark) ease that concern.  Maybe he slows down a little bit, but at the end of the day the production should be there.

3) A strong debut for the Giants’ Shaun Anderson…
He generally doesn’t get much respect as a pitching prospect, but he’s continued to show potential as he’s worked his way up through the system.  Making his MLB debut at home against the Giants he put the skills on display, though he settled for a no decision, as he allowed 3 R (2 ER) on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP.  He also showed an ability to generate groundballs (7 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls, and he had been showing more groundball stuff at Triple-A prior to his recall at 52.6%), and in 176.1 IP in the minors over the past two seasons a 2.25 BB/9 tells us that his control is better than this (MLB debut jitters, perhaps).  He may not be an ace, but at the very least he’ll be a matchup play (especially at home) with the potential to develop into a Top 50 option.  For most he’s worth the speculative add.

4) Gleyber Torres goes home run happy in the double header…
After hitting 2 HR in the first game of the double header, Torres added another in the second to finish the day 3-8 with 3 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R on the day.  He now has a five-game hitting streak (8-18, 3 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R) and at least one hit in 17 of his past 18 games.  You can argue that there’s a little bit too much seeing and miss to his game, having entered the day with a 12.4% SwStr% and 36.1% O-Swing% (especially after he struck out 4 times yesterday), but there’s obviously some power developing and he hits the ball extremely hard (42.7% Hard%).  If he can refine his approach, even a little bit, he could emerge as one of the elite players in the game.

5) Is there reason to believe in a Yu Darvish renaissance…
Take on the Reds he looked like he turned back the clock, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 11, over 5.1 IP.  The big development is obviously in his control, after entering the day with an 8.10 BB/9.  That’s always been his biggest issue, though it had been taken to a whole new level in ’19.  If he can continue to improve there (even at a 4.00 type BB/9) the overall upside continues to be there.  Keep in mind that he entered the day with a 12.3% SwStr%, and he had 11 swinging strikes yesterday, he hasn’t been hit hard (28.6% Hard%) and while home runs were going to be an issue like with his control there was always going to be an improvement (and a potentially significant one, having entered the day with a 1.96 HR/9 despite a 52.8% groundball rate).  Is he going to be the ace that he once was?  It’s not likely, but there’s enough here to try and buy into a surge if someone in your league lost hope.

6) Is this actually a breakout for Victor Robles…
Hitting second he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, his second straight game with a home run, and he’s now hitting .257 with 8 HR, 17 RBI, 28 R and 8 SB on the season.  Based on the previous hype it would be easy to get excited, considering he’s on pace to push for a 30/30 season, but there are red flags that can’t be ignored.  Let’s not overlook the fact that he entered the day with a miniscule 22.4% Hard%, and while speed can help to overcome it there are obvious concerns.  You also have an approach that’s more fly ball oriented (45.3%) and maybe far too much pull to his game (22.4% Oppo%), further limiting the upside of his average.  Throw in not enough walks for a player with his speed (4.3%) and it’s fair to be concerned.  The upside continues to be there, but there also could be some significant struggles.  Don’t overlook that risk moving forward, and if you are playing for ’19 selling high could be prudent.

7) Does Jalen Beeks warrant our attention…
He tossed 3.0 solid innings yesterday, allowing 0 R on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, and earned the win over the Marlins.  Considering that he didn’t throw many innings his 10 swinging strikes was impressive, and he’s now 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 32.0 IP.  Obviously working behind an opener is going to hinder him a little bit (at least if your league values quality starts), though he also has the advantage of being able to get a W despite limited innings of work.  He’s now allowed 1 ER over his past 14.2 IP, striking out 20 in the process.  There is some downside, especially since home runs could begin to become an issue (he entered the day with a 0.31 HR/9 despite a 44.2% groundball rate) and there also could be a regression in his luck (.291 BABIP, 81.5% strand rate despite a 38.8% Hard%).  There is some swing and miss stuff and decent control so there is value, but don’t make the mistake of overvaluing him either.

8) How much longer until Michael Soroka is dubbed a true ace…
Another start, another dominant performance from Soroka who tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, against the St. Louis Cardinals.  He wasn’t generating many swings and misses (6) nor was he getting significant groundballs (9 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls), but he clearly was doing the job.  Obviously he’s not going to maintain his current 0.98 ERA, but he’s generally shown swing and miss stuff (10.2% SwStr%), the ability to generate groundballs (59.0%) and enough control (3.34 BB/9) to get the job done.  Control was never an issue and he’s always been above average in terms of groundballs, so there obviously continues to be a lot to like.  Expect there to be a bump in the road at some point, it’s inevitable, but he’s also clearly emerging as a Top 25-30 starter (if not more).

9) Willie Calhoun returns to the Majors and makes an impact…
It’s interesting that he was thrust right into the middle of the order, hitting third, and he delivered going 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R.  He had seemed to rediscover himself at Triple-A, hitting .304 with 8 HR and 22 RBI over 138 PA prior to his recall.  Even more important may have been his approach, with more walks (22) than strikeouts (19) as he showed an ability to make consistent contact (5.9% SwStr%).  There were a lot of questions hanging over him entering the year, especially after he struggled significantly at Triple-A last season, but it appears that he’s been able to rediscover himself.  There’s an opportunity for him to claim, and potentially make an impact moving forward.  Rolling the dice and seeing if he can bring that Triple-A success with him to the Majors makes a lot of sense.  If he’s available roll the dice.

10) Kenta Maeda does it all in a dominant outing…
Not only did Maeda star on the mound against the Padres, but he also drove in the only two runs (2-3, 2 RBI) in Los Angeles’ 2-0 victory.  On the mound he tossed 6.2 shutout innings allowing just 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 12, to improve to 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 52 K over 51.1 IP.  It’s been an impressive run, but you have to wonder if there could be home run issues at some point (36.6% groundball rate), but a 14.2% SwStr%, the ability to avoid hard contact (29.9% Hard%) and with enough control (3.51 BB/9, though given his 2.72 career mark there could be improvement) there’s reason to believe that he’s going to continue to be a productive option moving forward.  Maybe he’s not elite, but he’s a good play.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs


  1. Hey Professor, Odor is my only 2b and he is killing me. I’m scared they might send him down and there is nothing on the wire. I’m in need of stolen bases. How do you feel about J Ramirez ros and do you think a J Bell for J Ramirez trade is fair? Thanks for the advice!..

    • It’s fair, and I’d expect Ramirez to be the better player. It’s just tough to part with Bell and the amazing numbers he’s putting up

  2. Granted it’s only two games so far but should we expect Cleveland to continue platooning Mercado with Bauers? Not to mention it would potentially be the short (LHB) side of the platoon, and Luplow is also in the possible 3-way mix. Or is this their odd way of easing Mercado in?

    • *Oops. Meant LHP, where Mercado is RHB. And both Bauers & Mercado played Tuesday, adding more confusion. Ugh. Basically any insight on plan for Mercado’s playing time would be appreciated.

    • I don’t know for sure, but it’s hard to envision him coming up just to sit on the bench. Likely just a way to ease him into the mix

  3. La Stella launch angle and swing path, batting stance is different. He put in some work. I’m hoping it will last.


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