10 Important Stories from 06/19/19 Box Scores: Are We Buying These Hot Bats (D. Santana, Contreras), Moving On From Struggling Starters (Snell, Strahm) & More

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The Nationals got a pair of strong pitching performances to lead to a double header sweep, with Patrick Corbin (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 8 K) and Max Scherzer (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 10 K) both earning W.  Mike Trout had himself a day, finishing by going 3-6 with 2 HR, 7 RBI and 2 R.  Josh Donaldson continued his home run binge, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R (he’s now homered in five of six games and has a 9-game hitting streak).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look: 

1) Is it time to lose hope in Blake Snell…
Sure it was a tough matchup against the Yankees, in New York, but does it get any worse than this?  He managed to get just 1 out and was charged with 6 ER on 2 H and 4 BB, as he threw just 19 of 39 pitches for strikes.  He’s now struggled in three of his past four starts, being charged with 16 ER over 14.0 IP and watching his ERA rise from 3.06 to it’s current 4.40 mark.  He’s also struggled with his control (8 BB over 3.2 IP in his past two starts), though that hasn’t been the case for most of the year (he entered the day with a 2.87 BB/9).  We all knew there was going to be a regression from last year’s Cy Young campaign, but a .327 BABIP and 73.3% strand rate is extreme (especially since the numbers got worse after yesterday, and his 31.6% Hard% doesn’t back them up).  This is as frustrating as it gets, but there should be better days ahead.  Don’t lose hope now.

2) Another solid start from Chris Bassitt en route to a W…
The start came against the Orioles, but that shouldn’t take away from it as he allowed 2 ER on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 5.2 IP to improve to 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 64.1 IP.  Before you get excited though keep in mind that he entered the day benefiting from a .245 BABIP and 78.0% strand rate, neither of which are likely sustainable.  He also had an 8.74 K/9, despite a 9.0% SwStr% (he had 12 swinging strikes yesterday), another mark that could easily regress.  Couple those two things with pedestrian marks in his control (3.68 BB/9) and groundball rate (42.0%, before 6 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday) and what is there to get excited about?  Use him while he’s going well than move on.

3) Yet another struggle from the Padres’ Matt Strahm…
Taking on the Brewers he allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP and has now allowed 4+ ER in three straight starts (17 ER over 12.2 IP).  The biggest issue has been the long ball, and after allowing 2 HR yesterday he’s now allowed 2 HR in each of his past five starts.  He entered the day with a 36.4% groundball rate, so these types of problems shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Strahm has shown an ability to get strikeouts (8.48 K/9) and throw strikes (2.12 BB/9), though working as a starter his velocity is down (90.9 mph average fastball) and he’s been hit extremely hard (46.6% Hard%).  Those two things with the propensity to allow home runs is going to keep him from thriving consistently and make him more of a lower end option for the remainder of the season.

4) Domingo Santana breaks his power drought in a big way…
Santana went 3-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, snapping a 10-game homerless streak and putting him at .279 with 15 HR and 54 RBI over 298 AB on the season.  He’s shown the power potential throughout his career, and his 23.1% HR/FB is right along the lines of his career mark (25.6%).  He also has hit the ball extremely hard (43.2% Hard%) and is using the entire field (27.7% Oppo%) helps to support his bloated .356 BABIP (.359 for his career).  As long as he can keep the strikeouts in check (28.6%) there’s reason to believe in his production, though his 13.6% SwStr% gives reason for pessimism (and entering yesterday it was at 14.2% in June).  There’s power and speed, which is going to give value, but he may be more of a .240-.250 hitter as opposed to a near .280 hitter.

5) Brian Dozier enjoys a big day, but is he for real…
He homered in both games of the double header, finishing 3-7 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R.  Of course his average is still a meager .235, though it’s come with 12 HR and 28 RBI overall and he’s been significantly better in June (16-49 with 5 HR, 11 RBI and 12 R).  He continues to show a solid approach at the plate, with a 10.1% SwStr% and 23.2% O-Swing% (though he entered the day with an 8.7% SwStr% in June, much more inline with his career mark).  He’s also hitting the ball extremely hard (40.9% Hard%) and his overall .270 BABIP and 15.8% HR/FB aren’t unreasonable, and in terms of his BABIP it should be able to improve.  Throw in the potential to add a little bit of speed (he had 12 SB last season) and there’s reason to believe in his rebound.  He may not be the All-Star he once was, but at least for now he’s worth utilizing while he’s showing signs of being the player he once was.

6) Trevor Williams turns in disastrous outing in his return…
He squared off with the Tigers and another returning pitcher in Jordan Zimmermann (4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K), which gave fantasy owners the thought that Williams could have a solid return.  Instead he was a complete disaster, allowing 7 ER on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP.  Is this an example of why we are cautious with pitchers just off the IL or is there a deeper cause for concern?  He’s never shown the ability to miss many bats (6.94 K/9 over his career, so even with a 10.6% SwStr% this season it’s hard to get excited) and home runs are always going to be a risk (he allowed 2 HR yesterday and owns a 38.9% groundball rate this season).  Those two things are going to mean that there will be risk, and while you may want to believe that he can return to last year’s mark you shouldn’t be too optimistic.

7) Is it time to give up on Andrew Heaney…
It was a game where both pitchers were miserable, as Aaron Sanchez struggled as well (3.2 IP, 7 R, 9 H, 2 BB, 0 K).  Heaney has given people reason to believe, but yesterday wasn’t it as he allowed 5 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 2, over 3.2 IP.  The biggest blow was a home run to Rowdy Tellez (2-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R) and he now owns a 5.68 ERA over his 5 starts since returning (5 ER allowed in two of his past three starts).  While he showed strikeout stuff over his first three starts it has disappeared in his past two (4 K over 8.2 IP).  Overall the southpaw owns a 14.9% SwStr%, showing that there is potential there, but he’s been hit hard (46.9% Hard%) and hasn’t generated many groundballs (26.6%).  The latter has led to significant home run issues (7 HR over 25.1 IP), and that alone is going to keep him from usability.  If the strikeouts don’t come back?  There’s enough to believe he’s worth stashing in deeper formats, but for now it’s impossible to trust him until he gives us reason to believe.

8) Willson Contreras leads the way for the Cubs…
There was reason for concern taking on Lucas Giolito, but they took him deep 3 times and handed him his second loss (he allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 9, over 4.1 IP).  Contreras did a lot of that damage, finishing going 2-3 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, and is now hitting .293 with 15 HR and 42 RBI over 205 AB on the year.  He has a modest four game hitting streak (7-14) and while it’s fair to wonder if he’s truly rediscovered himself or if a regression is coming.  Obviously strikeouts continue to be a concern, with a 14.2% SwStr% and 34.0% O-Swing%, and his .352 BABIP and 29.4% HR/FB both could regress significantly.  That doesn’t mean that he’s unusable, but he also isn’t quite this good.  It was a big day, but one that he may not be able to replicate moving forward.

9) Should we be back aboard the Jason Kipnis train…
Remember when he was among the better fantasy 2B in the league?  That feels like a lifetime ago, but Kipnis has quietly grown red hot.  He went 2-2 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him three multi-hit games in his past four (7-15, 3 HR, 10 RBI and 4 R).  Can he continue to produce at this type of level?  Overall he’s still hitting just .235, and his .253 BABIP is right in line with what he’s done over the past few seasons.  Even with this hot streak he’s still hitting a meager .216 in June as an extremely pull happy hitter (9.1% Oppo%).  That hasn’t generally been the case over the course of his career (25.5% Oppo%), but if he can’t correct that he’s not going to see a rebound in his BABIP.  The moral of the story?  Ride the hot streak, but don’t be surprised if he stumbles in short order if he doesn’t adjust.

10) Eduardo Rodriguez gets the W, but is there value…
Taking on the Twins he allowed 4 ER on 8 H and 3 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP to improve to 8-4 with a 4.71 ERA on the season.  He allowed a pair of home runs, including one to Willians Astudillo (3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), and that has been a running trend of late (he’s allowed at least 1 HR in four straight and 9 HR over his past six starts).  He is inducing more groundballs this season (44.1% groundball rate), and that at least gives a sense that he can improve upon his 1.36 HR/9.  He also should see improvement in his .338 BABIP and 72.0% strand rate, especially considering his 29.6% Hard%, and there’s reason to believe in his strikeouts and control (12.0% SwStr%, 34.4% O-Swing%).  In other words there should be better days ahead, and while the overall numbers don’t look great he is well worth the investment.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

12 COMMENTS

  1. Zac Gallen getting called up today. The numbers are impressive in the pcl. 4 pitch mix and good control and favorable home park has me interested. Would you cut Matt strahm for him?

  2. Watched the E-rod start, and he pitched much better than his stat line. A few of the hits were dinks and dunks, and he was squeezed on 1 or 2 of his walks. I had him benched since it was the Twins, and they did hit a few hard balls off of him, but overall, I was pretty encouraged by the start. It was one of those E-Rod starts where he could have imploded early, but battled and pitched 7 IP, even though he was already at 97 pitches after the 6th.

    • Metropolitan Fan;

      I wish more fellow roto-fans offered this sort of perspective on actual games. One thing that is impossible to underestimate is eyes on the game assessment: how many times does a SP have a “dink and dunk” bad luck game that results in a terrible line and abstract sell signal, when it shouldn’t.

      • I agree, but it’s unfortunately impossible to watch every game. I try to consume as much as I can, and it does factor into the decision and the way I analyze people. The eye test is just as important as anything

        • Yeah, there’s no way to have a great perspective on every game, but you do good work here and manage to cover so much ground.

          I just chime in here and there, with additional perspective, when I think it actually adds something to the mix. Hopefully, it does.

  3. Simple (I hope) question for today:
    Where can I find league average statistics (including, if possible, peripherals and projections)?
    /T
    P.S. I can’t seem to manipulate Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference to do it.

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