10 Important Stories from 06/26/19 Box Scores: Breakout Bats To Buy (Gurriel & More), What To Make Of Young Starters (Gallen/Strahm) & More


Chris Sale surprisingly struggled against the White Sox, allowing 5 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP.  The breakout of Franmil Reyes continued, going 2-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R (and he was joined by Fernando Tatis Jr., who went 2-4 with 1 R and SB).  David Dahl had a big day at the dish, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Is it time to believe in the emergence of Lourdes Gurriel Jr…
While the Blue Jays ended up falling short against the Yankees, it doesn’t take away from the monster game from Gurriel.  He finished the day going 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, with both home runs coming against James Paxton (4.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 4 BB, 3 K).  He’s now hitting .304 with 12 HR and 30 RBI over 161 AB.  He’s been exceptionally hot of late, with five straight multi-hit games (12-24, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R) and six multi-hit games in his past seven.  He entered the day with a .350 BABIP and 20.8% HR/FB, so even with a 40.7% Hard% it’s easy to envision a regression coming.  Couple that with a poor approach (14.3% SwStr%, 35.5% O-Swing%), leading to a 26.0% strikeout rate and 5.9% walk rate, and the outlook gets a little bit lower.  There is power and he could continue to produce, but it’s unlikely he maintains this type of production.  Selling high isn’t crazy, if there’s a market, but he also won’t be a complete disaster.

2) Has Trevor Bauer finally figured things out…
He had a stellar performance against the Royals, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 12, over 6.2 IP against the Royals.  It was an important rebound after he struggled against the Tigers in his previous outing (5 ER on 10 H and 1 BB over 4.0 IP), and with 18 swinging strikes and 6 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls, it was a great outing all the way around.  His control hasn’t been great overall this season (3.69 BB/9 entering the day), though he has 3 BB over his last 19.2 IP.  He also has struggled with home runs, thanks to a regression in his groundball rate (40.3% entering the day compared to 44.5% last season).  That could continue to be a risk, though improved control and swing and miss stuff would go a long way into overcoming it.  There’s one big additional caveat, and that’s the 40.3% Hard% entering the day, despite benefiting from a .254 BABIP.  He may not be able to overcome that, and it could keep him unproductive moving forward.  He’s not a player to avoid, but cashing out may not be crazy.

3) Matt Strahm fails to impress against the Orioles…
He wasn’t the only unimpressive starter in this one, as Dylan Bundy allowed 5 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 4.0 IP.  That said Strahm was the pitcher more people were interested in, and while he did get the W he allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 6.0 IP.  While the ERA wasn’t good, if he had kept the ball in the ballpark (2 HR allowed) the results and impression would’ve been a lot different.  He’s now allowed 2 HR in each of his past six starts and has allowed 16 HR over 74.2 IP overall, so that’s obviously the biggest issue behind his 4.94 ERA.  Considering his 35.6% groundball rate entering the day (4 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday) as well as his 46.0% Hard%, is there any hope for a turn around?  He’s given up home runs regardless of where he’s pitched and these underlying numbers all but eliminate any appeal.  It’s hard to expect much moving forward.

4) Eduardo Escobar does it all as he backs up the breakout…
He filled the box score yesterday, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB, putting him at .283 with 18 HR, 62 RBI, 54 R and 3 SB on the season.  It’s basically locked him into the 3B job (though he could move to another position) and left Jake Lamb struggling to find AB in his return (he went 0-4 with 3 K yesterday in his first game off the IL).  He entered the day with a .307 BABIP (courtesy of a 39.6% Hard%), 20.4% strikeout rate and 8.3% walk rate, all of which are inline with what he did last season.  His approach is a bit questionable (13.1% SwStr%, 40.3% O-Swing%), though that was questionable as well, but the biggest question is whether or not he can maintain the inflated HR/FB of 15.5% entering the day.  Considering that number doesn’t scream of a regression, it’s not impossible.  He’s emerged, and it doesn’t appear like he’s disappearing any time soon.

5) German Marquez got the win, but should that convince anyone…
Taking on the Giants, in San Francisco, he allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP.  While those numbers are underwhelming but he was missing bats (15 swinging strikes) and generating groundballs (8 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls).  He entered the day with a 53.2% groundball rate and 13.3% SwStr%, yet a 1.14 HR/9 and 9.05 K/9 so there is significant upside in both marks.  While his 37.9% Hard% isn’t great, it’s right where he was last year (37.3%) and all of the metrics point towards an improvement over his 4.29 ERA (his 70.5% strand rate is the biggest one that can improve).  While it’s easy to be down on him, this actually creates an ideal buying opportunity.

6) Another unimpressive outing from Nick Pivetta…
He allowed 4 ER on 9 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 5.2 IP as he allowed home runs to Jeff McNeil (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R) and Dominic Smith (3-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB).  After looking like he had turned the corner, Pivetta has now allowed 4+ ER in three straight starts (14 ER over 17.2 IP) allowing 7 HR in the process.  While home runs were always a little bit of a risk, his 2.15 HR/9 seems extreme (especially since it got even worse after yesterday) though getting just 3 groundballs vs. 11 fly balls yesterday it’s going to continue to be an issue.  He’s also been showing less strikeout stuff (10.3% SwStr%, before just 8 swinging strikes yesterday).  Couple those two things with a 43.3% Hard% and what is there to really like?  There’s more upside than this, but for now it’s impossible to use him until he shows otherwise.

7) Mike Minor tosses a gem in Detroit…
Sure it was against the Tigers, but he outpitched Matthew Boyd (7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 11 K) in the process.  Minor tossed a complete game victory, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, to improve to 8-4 with a 2.40 ERA and 1.12 WHIP.  Before we get overly excited, let’s not overlook that he’s benefited from an 87.4% strand rate (and that was before yesterday’s gem).  While he’s showing an improved SwStr% (11.9% before 15 swinging strikes yesterday) and groundball rate (42.3%, before 9 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls yesterday), is that nearly enough to get excited about?  It’s nearly impossible to expect him to maintain this production, especially given the 37.0% Hard%, and an implosion is coming.  He could easily be dealt at the deadline, and the receiving team will prove to be disappointed.

8) Despite the loss, Zac Gallen pitches well…
He was outpitched by Patrick Corbin (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K), but that doesn’t detract from the performance.  Gallen allowed 3 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 5.0 IP, and he certainly proved capable of generating swings and misses (15 swinging strikes).  Of course he didn’t get a single groundballs (7 fly balls), similar to what he did in his first start (3 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls).  He did show more groundball stuff over his 14 starts at Triple-A this season (46.2%) to go along with strikeouts (11.04 K/9) and control (1.68 BB/9).  Obviously he wasn’t going to maintain his Triple-A numbers (.197 BABIP, 86.5% strand rate), but that never meant that he wasn’t going to produce.  There will be some highs and lows, but he should provide value in all formats moving forward.

9) Has J.P. Crawford finally found his footing…
He went 3-5 with 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday with all three hits going for extra bases (2 doubles and 1 triple).  He has been on quite a roll over his past three games, going 9-14 with 1 HR (as well as 2 doubles and 2 triples), 9 RBI and 4 R.  Overall he’s hitting .318 with 2 HR, 21 RBI, 16 R and 1 SB over 110 AB in the Majors.  He’s never going to be a significant source of power nor does he steal a significant number of bases, so the value is going to come from his batting average and ability to produce towards the top of the order.  He entered the day with a 25.2% strikeout rate, though a 9.3% SwStr% and 22.4% O-Swing% help to support an improved number.  He was using the entire field (30.3% Oppo%), though not hitting the ball extremely hard (31.6% Hard%).  What does all that mean?  He should be productive, but likely not quite at this rate.  Ride him while he’s scorching hot, but don’t expect him to be quite this good.

10) Is it time to give up on Framber Valdez…
It was an ugly outing against the Pirates, who ultimately scored 14 runs after hitting 4 HR.  It was ugly from the start for Valdez, who allowed 6 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over just 3.0 IP and he’s now allowed 11 ER on 12 H and 4 BB over 6.1 IP over his past two starts.  While a poor outing against the Yankees is easy to overlook, how about this one?  It’s a bit harder to swallow, though his ability to generate groundballs (60.2% entering the day, 5 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls yesterday) and potentially miss bats (10.8% SwStr% before 8 swinging strikes yesterday) brings potential.  It’s no guarantee that he sticks in the rotation, but if he does there’s enough upside to continue stashing him to find out.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs


  1. re: Trevor Bauer – he’s sporting a 50% ground ball rate for June. I have no idea what he’s doing differently, but this seems like a massive spike. His BB/9 is also down to 2.5 for the month. So – something positive has been happening, just not sure what.

  2. I don’t typically comment but it’s a little disingenuous to cite Minor’s hard-hit rate and not provide context. Minor’s hard-hit rate (35.5% per Fangraphs this morning) is 20th best among qualified starters (76 total SP), with Cole sitting at 18, Greinke at 19, deGrom at 21, and Corbin at 22.

    Now, correlation doesn’t equal causation, but you’re overlooking some major things with Minor – he’s fundamentally changed his pitch mix, throwing his curve and change more and FB less, and he’s got elite spin on his 4 seamer and curve.

  3. Think it’s worth swapping Odor for Pivetta in a dynasty league? They’re both struggling, but I want off of the Odor train….

    • It’s not crazy, though I think Odor has a higher upside. I’d rather wait until he gets hot and then try to swing a trade


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