10 Important Stories from 06/05/19 Box Scores: Young Pitchers We’re Buying Immediately (Duplantier/Turnbull), Buy Low Bats (Polanco) & More

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It was another miserable start for Kevin Gausman, who allowed 7 ER over 5.0 IP against the Pirates and now owns a 6.15 ERA on the year.  Charlie Morton continued to look like one of the better pitchers in the game, albeit against the Tigers, as he tossed 7.0 shutout innings (5 H, 0 BB, 8 K) and is now 7-0 with a 2.30 ERA.  Chris Sale tossed a gem against the Royals, with a complete game shutout allowing 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 12.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Is it time to buy into Anibal Sanchez…
There was hope prior to the season, but he was terrible including a 5.10 ERA before hitting the IL after his May 16 start.  While he settled for a no decision yesterday he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 5.1 IP against the White Sox and has now posted back-to-back strong starts (11.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 14 K).  It’s easy to forget how good he was last season, posting a 2.83 ERA behind solid skills across the board (8.89 K/9, 2.77 BB/9, 45.0% groundball rate).  The key to his struggles this season had been control issues, which he has corrected itself over the past two starts, as well as a lack of groundballs.  The latter is still an issue, even over these two starts (7 groundballs vs. 12 fly balls), and that will continue to limit his potential upside thanks to home run concerns.  For now he’s more of a streaming option, but if he can get that mark back into the 40+% range the upside is there.

2) Are we buying what Jon Duplantier is selling…
He’s made two starts in the Majors this season and both have been solid.  Taking on the Dodgers yesterday he allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP and has now allowed 5 ER on 9 H and 3 BB over 10.0 IP as a starter.  There was never a question about his ability to generate strikeouts (he had 11 swinging strikes yesterday) and groundballs (though yesterday he had 3 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls, he had a 47.7% groundball rate entering the day and a 53.3% mark at Double-A last season).  The issue is his control, including a 3.76 BB/9 over his 14 starts at Double-A last season, but if he’s throwing strikes the results will be there.  He may not be an ace, but he has all of the skills to be a solid option in all formats.  Now is the time to buy, before it’s too late.

3) A second straight awful outing from Jake Arrieta…
Taking on the Padres Arrieta allowed 5 ER on 7 H and 5 BB, striking out 3, over 4.2 IP.  He’s now allowed 5 ER in each of his past two starts (10 ER over 9.2 IP) and 4+ ER in five of his past eight starts.  He now owns a 4.29 ERA and 1.43 WHIP over 79.2 IP, with the biggest issue has been a lack of swing and miss stuff, as he entered the day with a 7.7% SwStr% and managed to generate just 6 swinging strikes yesterday.  While his control was bad yesterday that hasn’t been the norm (3.24 BB/9 entering the day) and he also has done a good job generating groundballs (50.9%, before 8 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls yesterday).  That gives a sense of hope, though without the strikeouts and having been hit relatively hard (38.8% Hard% entering the day) the results may never be there.  While there’s name value and a little bit of upside, ultimately the value is going to be minimal at best.

4) Gregory Polanco shows signs of life…
Many owners have grown frustrated with Polanco, and rightfully so, but it’s hard to argue that the upside value isn’t still there.  He showed it to us yesterday, going 3-4 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 2 SB, and is now hitting .260 with 5 HR, 16 RBI, 19 R and 2 SB over 127 AB.  We have to remember that he got a late start to the season due to injury and it’s possible that the slow start is more tied to him simply rounding into form as opposed to any real issue.  He entered the day showing a far worse approach than ever before (13.5% SwStr%, 34.0% O-Swing%), so it’s easy to point towards the late salt in that regard, but he continues to show more of a fly ball approach (48.0% flyball rate last year, 45.5% entering the day).  That’ll cause issues in his BABIP upside, especially with a pull heavy approach (20.5% Oppo%).  That’s not to say that there isn’t upside and value, just know that there are risks.

5) Has Martin Perez lost his usability for fantasy owners…
Taking on the Indians yesterday he allowed 5 R (2 earned) on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over 4.2 IP.  That’s back-to-back clunkers, though a lot of yesterday was due to the defense behind him, as he’s allowed 8 ER over 7.1 IP over his past two outings.  He was generating groundballs (9 groundballs vs. 5 flyballs yesterday), though the swinging strikes disappeared (4 swinging strikes).  The latter is an aberration, as even in his previous struggle he was fooling hitters (13 swinging strikes over 2.2 IP against the Rays) and his 11.5% SwStr% and 33.6% O-Swing% entering the day help to support the spike in strikeouts.  The biggest concern is his control, but it’s not enough to avoid him.  Expect a bounce back coming, and therefore don’t make a knee jerk reaction over a pair of underwhelming outings.

6) Are we still buying the Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull…
Taking on the Rays it was a fairly poor showing, allowing 3 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP.  He still owns a solid 3.01 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 71.2 IP, showing nearly a strikeout per inning (68 K).  He entered the day showing all of the skills that we look for from a pitcher, with an 8.64 K/9, 3.24 BB/9 and 48.1% groundball rate, and even yesterday was doing a tremendous job getting opposing hitters to pound the ball into the ground (10 groundballs vs. 1 flyball).  The key to his success is going to be his control, and while he wasn’t very good yesterday that hasn’t been the norm this season.  If he can continue on his current pace he will continue to have usefulness, and be a solid option moving forward, just don’t count on many wins pitching for the Tigers.

7) It was a poor return for Jimmy Nelson…
Taking on the Marlins in his first start off the IL he struggled, allowing 5 R (4 earned) on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over 3.0 IP.  He made one big mistake, a home run to Brian Anderson (3-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB), though the issues obviously go beyond that.  Of course how big of a surprise is it that he stumbled in his first start in the Majors since 2017?  Prior to the injury he was beginning to look like one of the elite pitchers in the game and there’s reason to believe that he can get back there, though it could take a lot of patience.  Expect a few stumbles along the way, and for now he’s not worth trusting in your starting lineup.  Keep him stashed on your bench and let him get up to speed for now.

8) David Bote erupts for a monster game, but do we care…
He led the way on the assault of German Marquez (5.1 IP, 8 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K), having a career day at the plate.  Bote went 4-4 with 1 HR, 7 RBI and 1 R, and is now hitting .289 with 7 HR and 30 RBI over 149 AB.  He was hitting eighth and playing 2B yesterday, and he’s seen a lot of time at both 2B (20 games) and 3B (29 games) this season.  Will he continue to get regular AB?  If he’s hitting like this the Cubs will get the bat into the lineup, though how real is it?  He entered the day showing a bit too much swing and miss (13.9% SwStr%), but an ability to draw a walk (9.8% walk rate).  Couple that with a 42.3% Hard% and 17.6% HR/FB, both believable marks, and the upside starts to look for real.  He was showing off the power last season (13 HR over 263 PA at Triple-A) and appears to have fixed the groundball issues that plagued him last season (57.5% in ’18, compared to 49.0% entering the day).  There’s enough to believe, and it’s possible that he’ll only get better and entrench himself into the lineup.  In deeper formats roll the dice.

9) Is Shohei Ohtani ready to explode at the plate…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him home runs in back-to-back games.  He’s hitting just .250 over 96 AB and the only extra base hits have been his 5 HR (0 doubles and 0 triples).  That’s obviously a concern, as is his 29 K.  That said the underlying numbers are all promising, like the improved approach at the plate that he has shown (10.0% SwStr%, 26.3% O-Swing% entering the day), ability to hit the ball hard (44.8% Hard%) and willingness to use the entire field (28.4% Oppo%).  It’s clear that he can hit for power, though we’d like to see a few fewer groundballs (53.7%) and a few more in the air (17.9%, down from 32.9% in ’18).  It’s easy to be down on him given some early season struggles, but don’t make that mistake.

10) Does Randal Grichuk hold any appeal moving forward…
He enjoyed a big day yesterday, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R.  He has 12 HR, 25 RBI and 32 R over 229 AB this season, so there obviously is some value, but he also owns a meager .227 AVG and .288 OBP.  The big problem has been an abysmal approach, as he entered the day with a 14.4% SwStr% and 35.0% O-Swing%, leading to a 28.2% strikeout rate.  Throw in a pull heavy approach (15.9% Oppo%), helping to limit the upside in his BABIP, and struggles to hit the ball hard (31.8% Hard%) and the overall appeal is minimal.  Sure he’ll hit some home runs, but is that enough with power up across the game?  It’s not likely and therefore fantasy owners will want to look elsewhere.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

12 COMMENTS

  1. Professor I have Carrasco and am afraid he may be lost for the year. In my league, Lynn, Gibson, Matz, Teheran, Pivetta, and Trevor Richards are available. How would you rank them as possible Carrasco replacements?

    • Piverra / Richards / Matz / Gibson / Teheran / Lynn. Not great options, but never going to be a good replacement for Carrasco

      • Thanks! That order surprises me. I was leaning towards Gibson (decent ERA/Ks, pitches in weak AL Central). Curious as to your rest-of-year outlook for Pivetta?

        • I was extremely high on Pivetta prior to the season and the last start showed us what he’s capable of doing. Pitching in the NL he definitely has the highest upside

  2. Hello Professor,

    12 Team 6×6 H2H OPS Redraft

    Fletcher or Kingery as my only bench bat for positional flexibility?

    Thanks

  3. I’m thinking of offering Devers for Ozuna in a keeper league of mine. I already have Bregman and need OF. In looking at the fan graphs projections, looks like ozuna should slightly beat Devers in HR (20 vs 16 rest of year) and RBI (65 vs 53) and Devers should chip in a few more SB.

    These guys look very similar overall, would you rank them as such?

    Would you make that offer? Looks like Ozuna’s BAPIP is low, so maybe even more potential than what we’ve seen so far this year.

    • I actually prefer Ozuna (though I know I’m in the minority). Especially if you are looking at this season it’s definitely a fair deal

  4. Dear Professor, Is it time to start believing in Yu Darvish again? I’m in first place in a 16 team league and I’ve had him on the bench for at least a month but I can’t bring myself to drop him. I feel like he could blow up at any moment.

    • I def. wouldn’t drop him. There’s value, even if it’s just as a matchup play, especially in a league that deep

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