10 Important Stories from 06/14/19 Box Scores: Several Young Bats Post Monster Days (Jimenez, Renfroe), Starters To Consider Moving On From & More

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It was a big day for J.D. Martinez, going 3-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, helping Boston to a blowout victory over the Orioles (they hit a total of 6 HR).  Blake Snell wasn’t at this best, allowing 4 R (3 earned) on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 3, over 3.1 IP against the Angels (though he ended up with a no decision).  Yordan Alvarez continues to make us wonder why it took so long for a recall, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R (he’s hitting .385 with 3 HR in the Majors).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Despite the poor numbers, is there reason to believe in Robbie Ray…
Taking on the Nationals Ray allowed 5 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP.  He now has 1 BB in each of his past three starts (3 BB over 19.2 IP), which has always been the biggest issue facing him.  Of course instead of the control issues he’s suddenly started to yield home runs at a startling pace, with 2 HR allowed yesterday (4 HR over these past three starts).  Of course the home run issues shouldn’t be a surprise, having entered the day with a 40.6% groundball rate (yet a 0.83 HR/9).  Considering his history of problems it’s impossible to fully buy into him suddenly figuring out that aspect of his game and the home run issues aren’t going anywhere.  Throw in a drop in velocity (92.5 mph on his fastball, down from a 93.6 career mark) and the upside doesn’t seem to be there.  He’s more name than substance at this point.

2) Jake Bauers erupts, showing why there’s still upside potential…
It’s been a highly disappointing season, but he showed why the potential remains in his bat.  He finished the day going 4-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, helping to lead the Indians’ to a 13-4 victory over the Tigers (it was nice to also see Jose Ramirez contribute, going 2-5 with 2 RBI and 2 R).  Even with the big day Bauers is hitting just .222 with 8 HR and 26 RBI over 216 AB, though that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still upside that should be ignored.  He entered the day showing a strong approach (8.4% SwStr%, 23.9% O-Swing%) and a willingness to use the entire field (32.2% Oppo%).  The biggest red flag was a 30.2% Hard% (26.3% in June), and in June he had become far too fly ball heavy (58.5%).  Let’s not forget that he owned a 40.5% mark last season and he should ultimately figure it out.  Don’t lose hope.

3) Should we care about Colin Moran’s monster day at the dish…
He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R, providing the standout performance in the Pirates’ 11 R eruption.  Moran is often an overlooked option, though he’s now hitting .275 with 10 HR and 40 RBI over 189 AB.  He is a clear platoon player, with only 20 AB against southpaws entering the day and bringing a meager .300 SLG against them.  He also has some strikeout concerns (12.0% SwStr%, 34.6% O-Swing%) and risk that his .320 BABIP could plummet (18.7% Oppo%, 11.1% IFFB%), so it’s easy to envision his average significantly falling.  There’s going to be a little bit of power and the potential to be a viable option when there are a slew of right-handed pitchers on the schedule.  However given the risk it’s hard to envision him emerging as a must use option.

4) It appears to be time to ignore Tyler Mahle again…
For a little while it looked like he was emerging as a worthy waiver wire grab, but those days seem to have quickly disappeared.  He lasted just 4.1 innings against the Rangers yesterday, being charged with 4 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 4.  He now owns a 4.46 ERA and 1.25 WHIP on the season, though his strikeout potential doesn’t seem very high (9.5% SwStr%, 28.1% O-Swing%) and 8 swinging strikes yesterday doesn’t support him maintaining his strikeout per inning rate.  He also has never shown the type of control he had entering the day (1.90 BB/9) and it’s possible this is just the start of things to come.  It was easy to get excited, but it also shouldn’t be hard to move on.

5) Another disastrous start from Max Fried…
You have to start to wonder how long he’s going to remain in the rotation at this point.  Taking on the Phillies he allowed 5 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 4.2 IP and while he got off the hook and took a no decision that doesn’t help to ease the blow.  Suddenly his ERA is up to 4.11 (four starts ago is was a tidy 2.88) as he’s allowed 17 ER over 20.1 IP over this stretch.  Of course he entered the day with promising metrics, showing ability in all three skills we look for from a pitcher (8.25 K/9, 2.38 BB/9, 54.3% groundball rate).  It makes the home run issues he’s had seem odd (he allowed 2 HR yesterday and has allowed 4 HR over his past three starts) and the .314 BABIP isn’t crazy but also has room for improvement (36.1% Hard%).  The depth of the Braves’ rotation options could lead to him losing his role, but that doesn’t mean he deserves it.  The upside remains to keep him a viable option.

6) Eloy Jimenez has a career day at the plate…
A lot of the attention will fall on Lucas Giolito, who shutdown the Yankees (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H,4 BB, 6 K), but it’s Jimenez who deserves it.  He buoyed the White Sox offense, showing off the upside that we’ve heard so much about, finishing the day going 3-5 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R.  He’s hitting just .247 on the season, though this is the third time in his past five games that he’s posted a multi-hit game (and he has 5 HR over his past six games).  Strikeouts have been an issue, something that shouldn’t be a surprise (he entered the day with a 14.9% SwStr%), but the power is for real and he appears to be finding his footing overall (he entered the day with a 31.5% Hard% on the season, but a 45.8% mark in June).  That’s helped him to a .333 BABIP and .294 AVG for the month (before yesterday) and even more room for growth.

7) Could Robinson Chirinos emerge as a worthy catcher in all formats…
He filled the box score yesterday, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 6 RBI and 1 R, one of many big offensive performers for the team (Alex Bregman went 1-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R while Tony Kemp went 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB).  Chirinos has rather quietly posted a strong season, despite hitting .243, as he has 12 HR and 38 RBI overall and he’s been particularly hot in June (10-38, 6 HR and 16 RBI).  He may never hit for a strong average, as a fly ball heavy (49.1%) hitter without the speed to maintain an elevated BABIP (.272) and potential strikeout issues (13.5% SwStr%).  That said he continues to draw walks (13.7%) and while the power may slow down a bit it’s very much for real (20.0% HR/FB).  He may not be a top option, but even in one-catcher formats he’s well worth utilizing.

8) Kyle Gibson tosses a gem against the Royals…
Brad Keller matched him pitch-for-pitch (7.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 K), though it was Gibson who was the story of this one.  He tossed 8.0 shutout innings allowing just 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, and was rewarded with a W.  He did a good job of generating groundballs (11 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls) and also missed enough bats (12 swinging strikes).  He’s now 7-3 with a 3.70 ERA after an important bounce back performance.  He’s now allowed 1 ER or fewer in three of his past four starts as he’s suddenly found his control (2.27 BB/9) to go along with strikeouts (9.49 K/9) and enough groundballs (46.8%).  There isn’t a big difference in his pitch mix, though both his SwStr% (13.9%) and O-Swing% (35.5%) have taken a step forward.  Can he maintain those improvements remains to be seen, and that makes him a risky play for the long-term.  In the short-term, however, he’s worth considering depending on the matchup.

9) Hunter Renfroe steals the night in a crazy game in Coors…
We’ve come to expect high scoring affairs in Colorado throughout the years, but the Padres and Rockies combined for 28 runs and 39 hits last night, including 7 HR.  In other words there were a lot of offensive starts, but it was Renfroe’s performance that was the best.  He finished going 4-7 with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 4 R, raising his season line to .253 with 21 HR and 40 RBI over 198 AB.  He actually entered the day showing an improved SwStr% (11.9%, down from 13.5% last season) and he was once again showing an incredible ability to hit the ball hard (51.9% Hard%, after a 47.2% mark a year ago).  The latter would make you think his BABIP should be better than it is (.239), though he’s taking an extreme pull heavy approach (10.4%) and power or not his HR/FB could easily decline (31.0% HR/FB).  Obviously there’s going to be value, though don’t overlook the risk that he also carries.  If the power slows the value could completely disappear.

10) A strong start from Marco Gonzales, but does it matter…
Taking on Oakland he allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 IP.  He’s now 7-6 with an underwhelming 4.50 ERA on the season, and the fact that he generated just 5 swinging strikes as well as 7 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls yesterday doesn’t give much hope.  He’s struggled to generate strikeouts all season long (6.40 K/9 entering the day, courtesy of an 8.1% SwStr%), and he also has carried plenty of home run concerns (38.6% groundball rate).  Solid control or not, is that ever going to be a recipe for success?  While this was a solid showing, it doesn’t mean that you should jump back on board.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

3 COMMENTS

  1. I have Bauer’s in dynasty. I was hoping to see more from “votto” light but I’m not competing this year so patience is key.

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