10 Important Stories from 05/17/19 Box Scores: Big Name Bounce Backs Coming (Albies & More), Sell High Starters & More


Kris Bryant enjoyed a monster day at the dish, going 4-6 with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 3 R (and he’s now hitting .277 with 11 HR and 31 RBI).  It was a miserable day for Jacob deGrom, against the Marlins of all teams, allowing 7 R (6 earned) on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP.  Vladimir Guerrero Jr. delivered again, going 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, and there’s reason to believe that the emergence is here.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Should we be buying Kyle Schwarber, or should we be ignoring…
He was part of the Cubs’ big night (14 runs on 18 hits), as he went 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R.  Overall he continues to post a subpar average, hitting .220, but he’s getting on base to the tune of a .345 OBP.  Interestingly he has actually cut down the swing and miss, entering the day with a 9.8% SwStr% (12.1% for his career), and he’s been more willing to use the entire field (32.5% Oppo%).  That means improvement in his 26.8% strikeout rate and .269 BABIP are highly likely, and we all know that there’s power in his bat (16.7% HR/FB, compared to a 23.5% career mark).  In other words there could be a huge surge coming, so now is not the time to be losing hope or cutting bait.  In fact looking to buy makes sense, depending on the cost.

2) The Jon Gray confusion continues with a stumble on the road…
It wasn’t an easy matchup against the Phillies, but he still allowed 5 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 8, over 4.2 IP.  He’s now allowed 5 ER in each of his past three road starts (18 ER over 21.0 IP over his past four starts in total), including allowing 6 HR.  We keep waiting for Gray to turn the corner and emerge as a must start option, despite calling Coors Field home, and these types of consistent struggles on the road just cloud the issue.  He does generate enough groundballs (48.4% entering the day) and there’s swing and miss to his game (12.3% SwStr%, 12 swinging strikes last night), but the control has taken a significant step backwards (3.51 BB/9 entering the day) and he’s been hit hard once again (38.2% Hard%).  That’s not a good combination, especially with the home run issues, and pitching in Colorado that may never disappear.  That makes him a pitcher to keep stashed due to the potential, but not one that you want to have in your lineup.

3) Jefry Rodriguez with an uninspiring start against the Orioles…
He had been a hot addition recently, though giving up 4 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 6.2 IP isn’t going to make him seem all that attractive.  That said over 5 starts (31.1 IP) he owns a 3.45 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, though he’s done it without strikeouts (20 K) and having benefited from a bit of luck (.253 BABIP, 80.2% strand rate entering the day).  He has been showing a general ability to generate groundballs (53.9% groundball rate entering the day), but that wasn’t the case yesterday as he was burned by 2 HR.  That definitely clouds the issue, especially since the control could take a step backwards (2.92 BB/9 entering the day, 23 BB over 49.0 IP at Triple-A over the past two years).  There could at least be some streaming value, but he’s hard to buy into a must start option.

4) Frankie Montas falls an out shy of a complete game…
Sure it was against the Tigers but does that take away from the performance?  He allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, over 8.2 IP and is now 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.  Everything about the outing was impressive, including 18 swinging strikes and getting 13 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls.  He has now gone six straight starts without allowing a home run, having entered the day with a career best 51.9% groundballs rate (maybe working in a split finger fastball for the first time has helped create this new profile).  Pairing that with both strikeouts (8.34 K/9 entering the day) and control (2.18 BB/9) there’s no questioning the potential, especially pitching half his games in Oakland, and a .318 BABIP and 73.0% strand rate tells you that he hasn’t benefited from luck.  The time has come to buy in to the breakout.

5) A dominant performance from Rich Hill…
The question for Hill always comes with the caveat of his health, because when he’s on the field there’s little reason to not believe.  He was dominant last night, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 10.  He clearly had the strikeout stuff working, and in four starts he has 24 K vs. 3 BB over 21.0 IP.  He also was getting groundballs (6 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls), at least for one night as that has never been the narrative for him (37.6% career groundball rate).  He’s an obvious play when he’s taking the ball, but he hasn’t thrown more than 135.2 IP in the Majors since 2007 so you know that he’s going to miss time at some point.  Just keep that in mind and have an alternative plan in place for when the inevitable comes.

6) Did Ozzie Albies give us reason to believe a turn around is coming…
It’s been a struggle recently, with Albies being dropped to eighth in the batting order yesterday.  That said he responded by going 3-3 with 1 RBI and 2 R, giving a sense that he could turn things around in short order.  In fact all of the underlying numbers line up with what he did last season, besides chasing outside the strike zone a little too much (41.8% O-Swing%, up from 38.2%).  That said he’s also actually hitting the ball harder (37.2% Hard%) and that, coupled with his speed, should lead to a BABIP better than a .289 mark.  As it is he’s still hitting .266 with 7 HR and 4 SB on the season and it’s possible a little hot streak leads to a quick move back up the batting order.  Don’t make the mistake of writing him off, as a turnaround could come quickly.

7) The Texas Rangers obliterate Miles Mikolas…
He allowed 7 ER on 9 H over 1.1 IP, with the biggest blow coming from Rougned Odor (1-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R), so what exactly is there to say?  It’s been disappointing overall, now owning a 4.88 ERA, but what makes this one even more frustrating is that he had seemingly found his groove.  Over his previous three starts (20.0 IP) he had allowed 3 ER on 13 H and 2 BB, striking out 16.  Needless to say this was an ugly bump in the road for a pitcher that had a lot more expected from him, but he’s continued to show elite control (1.63 BB/9) and the ability to generate enough groundballs (48.3%).  He’s also avoided significant hard contact (33.9% Hard%) and you can argue that there’s been bad luck (69.6%).  The biggest knock is his 6.02 K/9, but the results should still be better than this.  Things should get better, and while he may not be an ace he should continue to be a solid option for fantasy owners moving forward.

8) A strong start from the under-the-radar Merrill Kelly…
Of course the Giants aren’t the toughest opponent, but Kelly still tossed 5.1 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 4.  He’s now allowed 3 ER or fewer in five of his past six starts, though his 4.21 ERA and 1.42 WHIP isn’t going to excite you.  He’s now thrown 51.1 innings so we should have a pretty good read on his skills, and while he’s shown signs is a 7.01 K/9, 3.16 BB/9 and 40.5% groundball rate really going to excite anyone?  What makes it even tougher is that it’s impossible to point towards poor luck, considering a .301 BABIP (behind a 38.4% Hard%) and 79.6% strand rate, and he also hasn’t shown the ability to miss nearly enough bats (9.1% SwStr%).  In other words consider him more of a streaming option and not one that you should be counting on.

9) Jordan Lyles outpitches Joey Lucchesi to earn the W…
Lucchesi was good (7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 K), but Lyles was dominant.  Going 7.0 innings he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 12, to improve to 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 45.2 IP.  He generated an impressive 21 swinging strikes yesterday, and also got 6 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls.  Sure there’s been a bit of luck behind the numbers, with a .252 BABIP and 87.3% strand rate, and the strikeout rate could easily be called an aberration (even with this performance, he owns just a 9.7% SwStr%).  So the luck is going to regress…  The strikeout rate may fall (9.26 K/9)…  The control (3.15 BB/9) and groundball rate (43.0%) are generally underwhelming…  Is that really a pitcher you want to believe in moving forward?

10) Martin Perez continues to roll…
If you weren’t a believer in Perez’ breakout it’s getting harder not to be, as he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 IP to improve to 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA.  Obviously the control was off last night, though it’s the first time he’s walked more than 2 batters in a start this season (he had some control issues working out of the bullpen earlier in the year).  Obviously there are some risks involved in investing, as there could be some impending home run issues (41.3% groundball rate, 0.68 HR/9) and he also has benefited from some luck (80.1% strand rate).  He has shown a spike in swing and miss ability (11.4% SwStr%), but the questions may outweigh the potential reward.  Ride him while he’s hot, but don’t be surprised if things turn the other way before long.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs


    • He’s hitting the ball hard and putting a few less in the air, but a lot of this is strictly due to luck (.387 BABIP). It’s easy to envision things falling off a cliff quickly, so don’t go crazy about it.

    • Unless you need SB I’d lean ODor. I was higher on him prior to the season and it’s nice to finally see the patience paying off

  1. Hey Roto P. I was offered Machado for Gary Sanchez. Standard points keeper league. I already have Rendon.
    I feel like it sounds like a no brainer, but I’m afraid Machado will never be the same again in SD.

  2. Professor,

    Oh boy. I think my “fears” are right. Evidence now exists on local level that Mercado won’t be playing regularly, and not because he’s getting eased in:

    “Indians apparently not ready to make Oscar Mercado an every-day player” – Mark Podolski, News-Herald (Greater Cleveland)

    “Mercado knows he won’t be in the lineup everyday” – James Rapien, Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan (WKRK-FM Cleveland)

    The talent and history are there but it’s hard to imagine sufficient opportunity. Even if he stays up when Naquin returns, the balance remains the same. Seems too complicated for fantasy value.

    Question is: Wait it out and hope for a change in real world circumstances, or replace, for example, with Willie Calhoun or Gregory Polanco?

    Your thoughts?


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