10 Important Stories from 06/12/19 Box Scores: What To Make Of Young Starters & Their Mixed Results (Yamamoto, Woodruff, Plesac) & More

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After leaving his previous start after taking a ball off the forearm, Miles Mikolas struggled against the Marlins allowing 5 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP (so was it the injury or is it time to give up on him).  Michael Soroka had his worst start of the season, albeit in a no decision, allowing 5 ER on 10 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP (everyone is allowed a poor start).  Justin Verlander allowed 3 HR, but he also struck out 15 over 7.0 IP in a no decision against the Brewers.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Ramon Laureano fills the box score with a breakout day…
He entered the day hitting .256 but exploded to carry the A’s to a victory, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 R and 2 SB.  It was an impressive day for a player who had a lot of hype entering the season but wasn’t producing up to expectations.  The question now is if this was a one game flourish or if he can maintain it moving forward?  There has been far too much swing and miss, entering the day with a 12.3% SwStr% and 32.9% O-Swing%, and when coupled with a pull heavy approach (20.0% Oppo%) and the appearance that he’s trying to hit for more power (38.9% fly ball rate, up from 31.5% last season) the struggles aren’t a complete surprise.  Unless he can adjust the approach (and a 10.9% SwStr%, 50.0% fly ball rate and 14.3% Oppo% in June there aren’t signs that it’s happening) this would appear to be more of a one game surge as opposed to something to expect continuing. 

2) What does Zach Plesac’s poor start mean for his future outlook…
It was a disappointing performance against the Reds as he allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5.1 IP.  That said he was plagued by 3 HR, something that screams of an aberration considering his 7 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls on the day…  Of course he entered with a 41.5% groundball rate over his first three starts (and had a 32.7% mark over 20.0 IP at Triple-A prior to his recall) so maybe it wasn’t much of a stretch after all.  When coupled with his .235 BABIP and 91.6% strand rate, as well as the lack of swings and misses (8.5% SwStr% entering the day, 9 swinging strikes yesterday) and it’s easy to envision this just being the beginning of the downturn.  He’s a control pitcher who could continue to struggle and ultimately be removed from the rotation.  In other words, don’t look towards him as a fantasy mainstay.

3) Is it time to believe in Cole Hamels’ resurgence…
He tamed Coors Field yesterday, firing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 9.  He is now 6-2 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 84.2 IP on the season.  He hasn’t allowed an earned run in three straight starts (22.0 IP), and has 19 K over 15.0 IP in his past two.  The southpaw entered the day with an 8.58 K/9, 3.36 BB/9 and 53.3% groundball rate (the latter being a career best), just further fueling the speculation.  That said he also entered with a 37.3% Hard%, making a regression possible in his .270 BABIP, and given his lengthy history are we really buying into the sudden spike in groundballs (he had 7 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday)?  While he should continue to be a viable option moving forward, it’s far more likely that he stumbles at some point.  Consider selling high based on the name.

4) Has Merrill Kelly truly turned the corner…
Pitching against the Phillies, on the road, Kelly was spectacular.  He outpitched Zach Eflin (8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 9 K) en route to his third straight spectacular start, tossing 7.2 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 0 BB while striking out 5.  Kelly has now allowed 2 ER over his past three starts (22.1 IP), though this one was against a better offense (he had previously faced the Mets and Blue Jays).  Overall Kelly owns a 3.73 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, neither of which is going to blow you away, and entering the day he hadn’t shown any one particularly impressive skill (7.02 K/9, 3.03 BB/9, 43.2% groundball rate).  He has 2 BB over this three start stretch, which is promising, and he did generate 14 swinging strikes yesterday (and two starts ago he racked up 10 K).  If he could find consistent groundball stuff there is actual upside.  He’s hardly a must grab waiver claim, but there’s at least a little bit of intrigue.

5) Chance Sisco gets a start at DH and in the cleanup spot…
It’s interesting to see the Orioles give him a start as the designated hitter, as it keeps his bat in the lineup, and this marked the third time in the past five games that he was hitting fourth (he sat out the other two games with a southpaw on the mound).  Considering the state of the catchers around the league that’s going to add value, especially after he delivers like he did yesterday (2-4, 2 RBI, 1 R).  He has struck out 8 times over his first 18 AB, and that’s something that needs to be monitored closely (22.3% strikeout rate at Triple-A), but has walked three times and is slashing an impressive .278/.435/.611 (he has 3 doubles and 1 home run).  He may not be elite, but he’s a solid option in all formats.

6) An impressive debut from Jordan Yamamoto…
There was plenty of help from the offense, especially Garret Cooper (3-5, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R), but Yamamoto still tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 5.  He had made 12 starts prior to being called up, posting a 3.58 ERA though the “skills” behind it aren’t going to open eyes (8.82 K/9, 3.44 BB/9, 45.6% groundball rate).  In 68.2 IP in the minors last season he showed a little bit more swing and miss stuff (13.0% SwStr%, though it was 10.1% in ’19) and pinpoint control (1.83 BB/9).  Is that enough considering most of it came at Rookie Ball (11.0 IP) and High-A (40.2 IP)?  It’s a stretch, and he lacked swing and miss (9 swinging strikes) and groundballs (4 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls yesterday).  It was impressive and he could be a strong start at home, the risk outweighs the reward.

7) Is it time to give up on Mitch Keller…
It wasn’t a pretty game for any pitcher, as the Pirates and Braves combined for 15 runs on 28 hits highlighted by Josh Bell (2-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R) and Austin Riley (3-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R).  It was the pitchers who were the biggest story, and for the second time in the Majors Keller posted an ugly line.  He lasted just 3.0 innings and allowed 6 ER on 10 H and 2 BB, striking out 2.  He was missing bats, with 9 swinging strikes, but that obviously isn’t enough.  It’s highly disappointing, especially after the Pirates had said that they wanted him to stick in the Majors the next time he arrived.  He has little left to prove at Triple-A and the Pirates could still give him another shot to start at the highest level, especially given the questions in their rotation, but he also doesn’t deserve it off this one.  Time will tell what the team does, but the upside remains.  As long as he’s in the Majors fantasy owners should show patience.

8) Brandon Woodruff delivers a strong start in Houston…
He settled for a no decision but the results were solid, as he allowed 3 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 6.  He now owns a 3.87 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 81.1 IP on the season, and while he wasn’t getting swings and misses yesterday (7 swinging strikes) he entered the day with a 10.90 K/9 courtesy of an 11.7% SwStr% (including a 13.7% mark since May 15).  Couple that with solid control (2.42 BB/9) and there obviously is going to be upside.  The bigger question is going to be whether or not he can continue to keep the ball in the ballpark, with a 0.97 HR/9 despite a 41.5% groundball rate (8 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls yesterday).  That’s a little bit of a red flag, and while a .322 BABIP and 73.9% strand rate makes you think that his luck may improve a 38.2% Hard% tells a slightly different story.  He’s not a must start, but he also isn’t someone to run from.  He should be solid, just expect a few bumps.

9) Shed Long delivers a big day at the dish…
Long started in left field yesterday, as the Mariners look for a way to get his bat in the lineup even after the return of Dee Gordon (2-5, 2 R).  Long delivered, going 1-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  Just how long they want to be creative remains to be seen, especially as he’s hitting .231 with 1 HR and 3 SB over 65 AB in the Majors.  He does have 10 BB, which is promising, and entering the day with a 28.8% O-Swing% is promising as is his willingness to use the entire field (30.2% Oppo%).  At the same time there’s been a bit too much swing and miss (11.5% SwStr%), as there was at Triple-A prior to his recall (21.3% strikeout rate).  There’s a little bit of upside here (he has 15/15 potential), if he can cut down on the strikeouts, but that unfortunately is not something we can count on.  Outside of deeper formats he’s more of a player to monitor than one to move on.

10) Shaun Anderson stars for the Giants…
He was matched up with Joey Lucchesi (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K) and he delivered a strong start going 6.0 IP allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, to earn the victory.  He was getting opposing hitters to consistently bury the ball into the ground (9 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls), something he had shown both at Triple-A (52.6%) and in the Majors (47.3%).  He also has consistently shown solid control (2.83 BB/9 prior to his recall, 2.57 entering the day in the Majors), the question is going to be if he can start generating more strikeouts (6.6% SwStr% entering the day, leading to a 5.14 K/9).  Even if he can get the number just into the 7.0-7.5 range there is enough upside, and he does have that potential.  He’s not going to be an ace, but he should be a solid option as a matchup play (with the potential for a little more).

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

4 COMMENTS

  1. Been offered Blake Treinen and Yasiel Puig for Charlie Blackmon. 5×5 scoring and we can keep 4 players. Blackmon clearly the best player here but could use the saves. Thoughts?

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