10 Important Stories from 06/30/19 Box Scores: Buy Low Starters Worth Targeting & Others To Avoid, Breakout Batters & More

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Shane Bieber dominated the Baltimore Orioles, tossing 8.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 11.  Blake Snell rebounded from some disastrous performances by shutting down the Rangers, allowing 2 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 12, over 6.0 IP to earn the W.  Max Scherzer may have had the performance of the night, though, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 14, over 8.0 IP to defeat Detroit.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Is it time to give up on Eduardo Rodriguez…
Obviously the stadium in London was more geared towards offense, but that doesn’t give Rodriguez a pass as it doesn’t explain his 4 BB.  Ultimately he wasn’t awful, allowing 2 ER over 5.1 IP with 5 K, but he yielded 4 H and 4 BB and wasn’t inducing groundballs (3 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls) so it’s easy to say that it was more based on luck than anything.  Sure he surprisingly kept the ball in the ballpark, but over his past three starts he’s now allowed 11 ER on 18 H and 9 BB over 18.2 IP.  He entered the day with a 44.3% groundball rate, leading to a 1.46 HR/9, though he continues to induce mostly weak contact (28.8% Hard%) and that should lead to better luck metrics (.329 BABIP, 71.3% strand rate).  Pair that with strikeouts (9.45 K/9) and control (2.63 BB/9) and better days should be ahead.  In fact, those starved for pitching would be wise to try and buy low.

2) The time has come to part ways with Aaron Sanchez…
You can argue that the time came long ago, but he had his latest debacle against the Royals yesterday as he allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 4 BB, striking out 3, over 3.0 IP to fall to 3-11 with a 6.31 ERA and 1.77 WHIP.  He’s now allowed 5+ ER in five straight starts (and 4+ ER in six straight).  Clearly it’s been a disaster, as he continues to struggle with his control (5.14 BB/9 entering the day), doesn’t feature significant strikeout stuff (7.39 K/9 entering the day, courtesy of an 8.9% SwStr%) and the groundball rate continues to fall well short of elite (49.8% entering the day).  Pitching in the AL East, is there anything in that skill set that makes you want to buy?  Is it possible a move to the bullpen could be in his future?  It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise at this point.

3) J.P. Crawford continued his breakout performance…
The Mariners put up just one run against Gerrit Cole (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 10 K) and the Astros, but at least it came courtesy of Crawford (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R).  He finishes June going 22-65 with 2 HR, 17 RBI and 10 R, with just 12 K vs. 8 BB.  He entered the day with a 9.2% SwStr% and 23.1% O-Swing%, making hi 23.2% strikeout rate likely to improve (16.9% in June entering the day).  Granted he likely can’t maintain a .400 BABIP, but he’s shown a willingness to use the entire field (29.3% Oppo%) and should be able to chip in a little bit of power and speed.  That’s not to say that he’s going to continue as a .300+ hitter, but he could go .275/10/10.  That’s not elite, but that is at least usable for those in deeper formats.

4) Just another debacle from Robbie Ray…
Taking on the Giants you were likely hopeful that he could post a strong start, even if a W was going to be tough as he matched up with Madison Bumgarner (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 9 K).  However Ray once again fell flat, going just 4.0 IP and allowing 4 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, to fall to 5-6 with a 4.10 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 98.2 IP.  We all know that he features strikeout stuff (129 K), but that’s not enough to overcome his putrid control (49 BB) and risk of home runs (40.1% groundball rate entering the day).  He’s now allowed home runs in six straight starts (9 HR) and is there any reason to believe that he’s going to suddenly become a trustworthy option?  Strikeouts or nice, but they simply aren’t enough.

5) Matt Chapman has a monster day at the dish…
Hitting second he finished the day going 3-5 with 1 HR, 6 RBI and 2 R, helping lead Oakland to a 12-3 lead over Andrew Heaney (6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K) and the Angels.  Chapman is now hitting .268 with 21 HR, 52 RBI and 55 R over 317 AB, leaving up to the preseason hype that he received.  Considering the impressive approach (8.5% SwStr%, 23.5% O-Swing%), it’s no surprise that he’s seen his strikeout rate fall (19.4% entering the day) and his walk rate rise (11.1% entering the day).  Couple that with a 45.9% Hard%, which should lead to an improvement in his .279 BABIP, and a believable 20.8% HR/FB and what’s not to like?  He has the potential to be among the elite hitters in the game in the second half, and while buying low is unlikely he’s well worth targeting in all formats.

6) A solid debut for Lewis Thorpe, but should we care…
He didn’t earn the W, as Lucas Giolito was simply better (5.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 K), but that doesn’t take away from Thorpe’s performance.  He allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP.  He made one mistake, a home run to Yoan Moncada (3-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R), but that was it.  He had made 14 starts at Triple-A prior to his recall (69.1 IP), and while his 5.71 ERA was ugly he did own an 11.42 K/9 and 2.73 BB/9.  Both strikeouts and control have generally been a strength, including a 14.3% SwStr% prior to his recall, but his 38.5% groundball rate helped to do him in (1.43 HR/9).  Over 282.0 IP over the past three seasons he posted a 37.0% groundball rate, so it’s no aberration.  The other numbers show upside, but if he’s going to be giving up a significant number of home runs his viability will be minimal.

7) Was the performance from Miles Mikolas reason to believe in a turnaround…
Taking on the Padres on the road he allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP.  It was a solid outing, though he settled for a no decision, though he’s now strung together three straight solid starts (4 ER on 21 H and 2 BB over 17.0 IP).  Obviously a 4.34 ERA and 1.25 WHIP aren’t very impressive, though there is reason for at least a little bit of optimism.  He’s shown more than enough control (1.71 BB/9 entering the day) and an ability to generate groundballs (50.5% entering the day), which should yield better than a 1.41 HR/9.  Those two things alone make you want to believe, especially if he can find any type of strikeout stuff (6.55 K/9).  A 9.0% SwStr% isn’t going to impress you, though he did generate 11 swinging strikes yesterday.  Maybe he falls short of the preseason hype, though his WHIP should improve and with it there should be some solid performances.  Don’t push the panic button.

8) Is there any reason to still believe in Trevor Richards…
He wasn’t awful against the Phillies, but he also wasn’t particularly good as he allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP.  It continues a rather rough stretch, as he’s allowed 15 ER over his past 20.2 IP, including three starts with 3 K or fewer.  Overall he owns a 4.02 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, but the most concerning mark is his lack of groundballs (37.1% entering the day, before getting 3 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday).  You would think that would lead to more home run troubles, as he entered the day with an 1.11 HR/9, especially as he’s been hit hard routinely all season long (41.7% Hard%).  Favorable home ballpark or not, that’s simply not going to hold up.  Throw in the likely regression in his .267 BABIP and 77.2% strand rate, as well as only pedestrian control (3.85 BB/9 over 215.1 IP entering the day), and why would we buy into him?

9) Can Bobby Bradley turn things around for the Indians…
He arrived with a little bit of hype, as there was hope that he could help to turn Cleveland’s offense around (joining Oscar Mercado, who has found a home in the #2 spot and went 3-5 with 2 R yesterday).  Instead he’s been abysmal, and you have to wonder if a return to Triple-A is on the horizon.  He went 0-4 with 2 K yesterday, leaving him with a .125/.192/.208 slash over his first 24 AB.  Even more concerning is that he has at least 1 K in each of his seven games, totaling 11 K vs. 2 BB while failing to hit a home run.  The strikeout rate was always going to be the biggest red flag, and his 18.2% SwStr% only helps to highlight the issue.  There’s still a little bit of upside long-term, but for those in redraft formats he’s pretty easily ignored.

10) Will the Braves soon move on from Max Fried…
Neither he nor the returning Noah Syndergaard (5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 K) were very impressive, but Fried is the one who could find himself in jeopardy.  He ultimately allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP.  Sure he’s 9-3, though we all know wins and losses can easily skew the outlook, as Fried owns a 4.04 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 93.2 IP.  He finishes June with a 5.68 ERA over 31.2 IP, having allowed 40 H and 12 BB.  That said the overall skillset still looks promising, having entered the day with an 8.53 K/9, 2.74 BB/9 and 54.1% groundball rate, though given the number of options the team has it’s not impossible that the Braves at least give him a rest (he worked 111.1 IP last year, so he may get just 145-150 innings this season.  Keep that in mind, but don’t completely lose hope.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

12 COMMENTS

  1. Keeper 5×5 league: I am thinking of offering DJ LeMahieu and Tommy Pham for Aaron Nola and Victor Robles. DJ seems like a sell high at this point. Nola and Robles have been under performing but I like them long term. Thoughts?

  2. Can I drop Peraza? I have him in a keeper league but he’s just been completely useless this year with no sign of turning it around. I feel like his roster spot would be better used on a hot hitter or SP.

  3. This is one with a bunch of ? marks. Would you give Gallen and Minor for Clevinger? I could use the open spot for C. Smith coming back. Thanks!

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