10 Important Stories from 06/07/19 Box Scores: Which Breakouts Are We Buying (Dahl, Soroka, Boyd), Young Pitchers Impress (Plesac) & More


Gerrit Cole had to settle for a no decision despite tossing a gem, as he allowed 3 R (1 earned) on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 14, over 7.0 IP against the Orioles.  Clayton Kershaw took a hard luck loss, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP against the Giants.  The trend for Jacob deGrom seems to continue, as he pitches well with no run support (he lost despite allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP to the Rockies).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Is it time to believe in Cole Hamels once again…
He tossed a gem yesterday against the Cardinals (his second straight impressive outing against St. Louis) with 8.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 10.  He’s now 5-2 with a 3.24 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, with 74 K vs. 29 BB over 77.2 IP.  He had the swing and miss working (22 swinging strikes) and was getting ample groundballs (8 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls), both of which would make you believe in his overall success.  He entered the day with an 11.1% SwStr% and 53.5% groundball rate, the latter of which would’ve been a career high, though there’s nothing in his pitch usage that would back up the sudden spike and impressive results.  He continues to get hit hard (38.3% Hard%) and could see a regression in his BABIP (.277) and potentially his HR/9 (0.90).  In other words while it’s hard to ignore the numbers, there’s a good chance that he can’t maintain it.  Selling high makes sense if you can.

2) Could Merrill Kelly be finding his footing…
It was his second straight strong start, this time against the Blue Jays, as he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 innings to earn the W.  He made one mistake, a home run to Teoscar Hernandez (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), but otherwise was rolling.  That said he wasn’t generating many swinging strikes (8), something that’s been an issue all season long (8.9% SwStr% entering the day, leading to a 7.35 K/9).  He also hasn’t been a groundball machine (43.1% groundball rate entering the day) or a control artist (3.07 BB/9), so what are we buying?  Over his past three starts he has 29 groundballs vs. 13 groundballs, but is that enough?  There could be some value, at least as a streaming option, but he may never become a set him and forget him option for your lineup.

3) Is it time to sell high on David Dahl or is the breakout for real…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R against the Mets last night, extending his hitting streak to 9 games (19-37 with 2 HR, 10 RBI and 12 R).  The key is that he has struck out just 4 times over this streak, while drawing 4 walks.  It’s been a tremendous run, but there are a lot of warning signs in the underlying numbers entering the day like his SwStr% (15.8%), O-Swing% (40.5%) and BABIP (.450, despite an underwhelming 33.6% Hard%).  Given the past hype it’s easy to get excited during this incredibly impressive stretch, but can we really expect it to continue?  We’ll take a much deeper look into the numbers shortly, but the bottom line here is that it’s a perfect storm to sell high.

4) The long ball costs Matthew Boyd against the Twins…
Of course he’s not alone in that regard, as home runs from Mitch Garver (3-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R) and C.J. Cron (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R) were the big blemishes.  He finished allowing 3 ER on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP though he was saddled with the loss.  He’s now 5-5 with an impressive 3.08 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, with 105 K vs. 15 BB over 84.2 IP supporting the success.  He entered the day with a career best 13.4% SwStr% (20 swinging strikes yesterday), as the increased usage of his slider continues to fuel the breakout.  There’s going to be a concern about home runs, as he entered the day with a 39.2% groundball rate (3 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls yesterday) and a 0.93 HR/9 (after a 1.43 in ’18).  In other words there’s a lot to like, especially if he continues to show this control, but there will be bumps.  Think of him more as a SP2/SP3 (Top 30ish type starter) as opposed to a potential ace.

5) Can Zach Plesac run with the opportunity handed to him…
As the injuries have mounted for the Indians it has meant opportunity for others.  Plesac is among them and he delivered a strong start against the Yankees, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP to earn his first victory.  That said the underlying metrics weren’t overly impressive in this one, with 10 swinging strikes and 6 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls.  Does that take away from what has been an impressive threw start run, with a 1.86 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over 19.1 IP including a start in Boston?  It shouldn’t, especially as he’s shown impressive control both in the Majors (3 BB) and minors (1.45 BB/9 at Double-A, 0.45 at Triple-A).  That’s going to bring value, but he also won’t remain this good moving forward.  Keep that in mind before dubbing him a breakout, as there will certainly be ample bumps along the way (he entered with a .219 BABIP and 93.0% strand rate over his first two starts).

6) Yonny Chirinos delivers a gem against the Red Sox…
Getting the start (as opposed to entering after an opener) Chirinos was spectacular, tossing 8.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 2 BB while striking out 6.  He was generating ample groundballs (!2 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls), something that hasn’t been the norm this season (37.6% groundball rate entering the day), and there also are going to be questions about his luck (.227 BABIP).  Those two things could lead to a regression, though home runs have already been a problem (1.48 HR/9) so how much worse can it get?  While he hasn’t been a strikeout machine (7.23 K/9) there is some upside (10.6% SwStr% entering the day, though just 8 swinging strikes yesterday), and he’s shown impressive control (1.62 BB/9).  There is some risks, especially having posted just an 8.8% SwStr% in May, pitching in the AL East and it’s worth selling high if the return is there.

7) Is there any stopping Michael Soroka’s ascent to ace status…
Sure it was against the Marlins but he was spectacular.  He entered the ninth inning with a shutout but ultimately allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 8.0 IP as he was a groundball machine (13 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls).  He entered the day with a 57.1% groundball rate over 57.1 IP, helping to support his spectacular 1.38 ERA and 0.87 WHIP.  He’s paired that with control (2.35 BB/9 entering the day) and some swing and miss stuff (11.1% SwStr%, though just 11 swinging strikes yesterday), creating an ideal skillset to thrive in the Majors.  Granted he’s going to have a bump or two along the way, with a .228 BABIP and 79.9% strand rate entering the day, but that isn’t enough to run from.  He’s proving that he has ace-type potential and needs to be owned in all formats (though selling in redrafts isn’t crazy).

8) Brandon Woodruff just continues to win…
Taking on the Pirates he allowed 3 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP to improve to 8-1 with a 3.87 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.  Having taken a beating from the Pirates in his previous start (6 ER over 4.0 IP) this was a highly impressive rebound.  There hasn’t been luck behind the numbers (.324 BABIP, 74.8% strand rate entering the day), and he’s been showing an improved groundball rate as the season has progressed (37.2% in April, 43.2% in May and 9 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls in two June starts).  The continued improvement there will help if the control starts to waiver a little (2.50 BB/9 entering the day), but it’s enough to believe that he can at least maintain this type of production.  Maybe that’s not an ace, but it’s more than enough to make him a solid, dependable option.

9) Could Domingo Santana produce, or will he revert to last season’s production…
Santana had a big day, going 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .270 with 13 HR and 47 RBI on the season.  He now has three straight multi-hit games and a modest four-game hitting streak (7-19, 3 HR, 5 RBI and 5 R), but that’s hardly enough to get you excited once again.  He entered the day benefiting from a .346 BABIP, though a 41.2% Hard% and 28.2% Oppo% help to support the elevated number.  He also has shown plenty of power (19.6% HR/FB entering the day), which is consistent to what he’s done in the Majors (24.9% for his career).  He also has cut down the swing and miss from last season (15.8% to 13.7%), and while strikeouts will be part of his game it also doesn’t eliminate the appeal.  This year’s mark is right on par with what he did in ’17 (when he hit .278 with 30 HR) and while there will always be risk it’s starting to get harder and harder to ignore.

10) It was a monster day at the dish for Marcus Semien…
He was hitting atop the lineup and went 4-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R, putting him at .270 with 9 HR, 32 RBI, 41 R and 5 SB over 256 AB.  He’s showing an improved approach at the plate this season (7.5% SwStr%, 23.7% O-Swing%) while hitting the ball hard (36.6% Hard%) and using the entire field (27.7% Oppo%).  That’s a great combination, if he can maintain it, and while he’s putting the ball on the ground more (48.8%) he’s showing more power (12.5% HR/FB) and could see an improvement in his BABIP (.294).  While he generally flies under-the-radar, everything is pointing towards a potential breakout (and one that we’ve seemingly been waiting for).  It may not be too late to buy, though that window is closing quickly.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball


  1. I have a chance to get David Peralta for Royce Lewis. My outfield is depleted with injuries. Do you like Peralta? I feels he’s underrated.

    • It’s tough. I like Syndergaard a lot and think long-term he’s the better play. I’d call it team dependent

  2. I have Domingo in dynasty and I’ve been patient with him. I’m glad he’s coming around butdebating selling high since I’m going through a bit of a rebuild and could use some help on pitching. Thoughts?

  3. Hello Professor,

    12 Team 6×6 H2H QS Redraft 3OF

    Still waiting for Puig to give me reason to hold on. With Yelich, Brantley, Domingo, Puig, K. Matte and Fletcher with OF eligibility and needing to add a pitcher soon, is it time to let go of Puig or hold until ASB?

    Thanks in advance for your response

    • I wouldn’t drop him. I’d try to trade him depending on what’s available (though I’d rather sell high on Santana)

  4. Lance Lynn has been dominant over the past month, but against weaker teams.. He’s decreased his walk rate, but is getting hit hard. I was looking at him and Yonnys for pickups, and I like Lynn’s peripherals better. Thoughts?

      • What do you think of Josh Naylor. He’s hitting well (needs to start walking though) and news he might stay up. I need 1B, currently playing Renato, but can move Whit over from 2B. I’m in a keeper league where you can keep 6. Unlikely Naylor will crack my top 6, but young/upside always a plus.

        • Yea, I don’t think he’d be good enough to be a Top 6 keeper, but there’s enough intrigue that if he’s up he’s well worth rostering to see if he can be a solid option the rest of the way

  5. Trying to pursue two trades in a 14tm deep H2H league

    I currently only have Soto in my OF w/ Reddick & Cooper, trying to upgrade OF so trying to get Judge & Stanton while a buy low opportunity is available with the injuries

    I am trying to trade some combination of these four players for the two of them, Hunter Dozier, LaStella, J. Flaherty & DJ Lemaheiu

    Do you think these guys would be enough for me to net Judge & Stanton? The two of them are on two different teams in my league right now and both of those teams are at the bottom of the standings currently.

    Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

    • I highly doubt that it will be enough, but I guess you never know (I’d also be upset to move Dozier, who I believe in as a breakout candidate). It’s worth a shot, but I’d be shocked if it worked

  6. You must get your stats from ESPN. Boyd and Jimenez were both given Ls by ESPN for the game last night. Boyd left when the game was 3 to 3. ESPN site is a train wreck this season.


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