10 Important Stories from 07/04/19 Box Scores: Resurgences Worth Buying (Ramirez & More), Those To Ditch & More

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Luis Castillo tossed a gem, throwing 7.2 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, to defeat the Brewers.  The breakout of Dansby Swanson continued, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R (hitting one of five home runs by Atlanta).  Could a breakout for Rougned Odor potentially be coming, after he went 2-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R?  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Is Jose Ramirez finally starting to turn things around…
He went 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, his second multi-hit game in his past three.  He’s now hitting .217 with 7 HR, 33 RBI, 37 R and 18 SB, so it’s going to take a lot more big days to salvage his season.  There are multiple reasons for his regression, most notably a significant fly ball approach (50.0% entering the day) which is going to help to suppress his BABIP (.233 BABIP).  That doesn’t explain the lack of power (3.8% HR/FB) and his solid approach continues to bring promise (5.9% SwStr%, 27.6% O-Swing%).  Even if he is swinging for the fences he should be better than he’s shown and with his speed that’s going to bring value.  He may not be the player we had thought he was a year ago, but he’s going to improve.  Don’t make the mistake of selling low now.

2) What to make of the mixed bag from Matthew Boyd…
Taking on the White Sox Boyd allowed 4 ER on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 13, over 5.1 IP.  Obviously he gave up a few too many hits, including a pair of home runs (one came courtesy of Eloy Jimenez, who finished 1-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R), but he didn’t walk a batter and racked up 21 swinging strikes.  That basically has been the story of his season, entering the day with an 11.42 K/9 (courtesy of a 13.7% SwStr%), 1.77 BB/9 and 1.50 HR/9.  Considering his 35.8% groundball rate (before 1 groundball vs. 2 fly balls yesterday) that shouldn’t come as a surprise and it’s also something that’s not going to disappear.  That said there’s nothing in the luck metrics (.298 BABIP, 78.1% strand rate) that indicates that he can’t maintain his success (3.87 ERA, 1.12 WHIP).  If he can keep the ball in the ballpark he could rise to a Top 20-25 type option, but even as is he’s a solid SP3.

3) Brandon Woodruff pitches well in a tough luck loss…
He was outpitched by Luis Castillo, but that doesn’t take away from the strong performance.  Going 6.0 innings he allowed 1 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 6.  It’s his second straight stellar start (2 ER over his last 13.2 IP) and he’s now walked 1 batter or fewer in four straight starts (2 or fewer in seven of his past eight).  He was generating enough swings and misses (13) while generating groundballs (7 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls), though that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any questions moving forward.  He entered the day with a .320 BABIP, though his 36.1% Hard% indicates that an improvement there should come.  The bigger potential issue is home runs, having entered the day with a 0.88 HR/9 despite a 42.7% groundball rate.  Considering his 47.0% groundball rate in June and his performance here there is hope there as well.  It all comes together for a potential stud moving forward, and while there can be some ups and downs he’s well worth the investment.

4) Marcus Semien continues to make a significant impact…
Hitting atop the Oakland order he went 2-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .272 with 13 HR, 46 RBI, 58 R and 5 SB.  He’s now on a seven-game hitting streak and entered the day showing an improved approach at the plate (6.9% SwStr%, 24.1% O-Swing%).  He’s also been hitting the ball harder than ever before (38.6% Hard%), while showing enough willingness to use the entire field (25.2% Oppo%).  Those numbers actually support better than his .292 BABIP, though we’d like to see more line drives (17.6%).  Still it’s possible that the average rises and with his power seemingly returning from where he was prior to his injuries and the potential to steal some bases what’s not to like?  Remember he’s hit as many as 27 HR in a season before and with his approach he could prove to be a Top 10 options at his position.

5) Is it finally time to write off Michael Wacha…
It was a poor start against the Mariners, allowing 4 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 0, over 3.1 IP.  He allowed a pair of home runs and now owns a 5.54 ERA and 1.64 WHIP.  Sure he had seemingly strung together a few solid starts but he hasn’t struck out more than 4 batters in an outing since April 17 and has allowed far more home runs (18 HR over 76.1 IP).  It’s noteworthy that Daniel Ponce de Leon came in and was lights out, tossing 2.2 shutout innings allowing 0 H and 1 BB while striking out 3.  Could he step back into the rotation, sending Wacha into a relief role?  It’s something to watch very carefully and seems to be a likely outcome at this point.  If you own any shares of Wacha, feel free to move on.

6) Were there any positives from Zach Eflin’s performance…
While Michael Soroka’s start may have been more frustrating (4.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 6 K), Eflin was flat out worse.  Going 3.0 innings he allowed 7 R (6 earned) on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 3.0 IP.  He did generate 11 swinging strikes, though he also gave up 2 HR.  He’s now allowed 6 ER in two of his past three starts, watching his ERA jump from 2.83 to 3.78.  He now has a solid 2.34 BB/9, but his 7.47 K/9 and 1.53 HR/9 are significant red flags.  Maybe his 9.4% SwStr% gives the impression of a little bit more upside, but there’s no guarantee there, and a 40.7% groundball rate indicates that the home run issues could continue.  Throw in a .292 BABIP and 79.0% strand rate, courtesy of a 38.4% Hard%, and the red flags hanging over him grow.  Maybe he has a solid start or two, but he’s nearly impossible to trust.

7) Danny Jansen continued his turn around, but just how good is he…
He went 3-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R yesterday (the additional hit was a double).  He’s now homered in three straight games (7-12, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R) and five of his past seven.  Obviously he’s still hitting just .208 with 8 HR and 26 RBI, but he was hitting .166 on June 22 so it’s obvious how hot he’s been of late.  The transition to working as a Major League catcher was a slow one, and maybe he takes a step backwards at some point, but he’s actually been hitting the ball hard all season (43.0% Hard%) while showing a strong approach (8.7% SwStr%, 27.2% O-Swing%).  He hasn’t struck out since June 21 and could continue to improve upon his 20.4% strikeout rate.  He also has significant upside in his .228 BABIP and there could even be growth in his 13.3% HR/FB.  He has Top 5 upside at his position so make sure to grab him in all formats.

8) Griffin Canning takes one on the chin…
Taking on the Rangers he allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 3.1 IP.  By all accounts it was a disappointing start, causing his ERA to jump from 3.79 to 4.43.  Of course the other numbers remain positive, with a 9.55 K/9 and 2.35 BB/9 courtesy of a 14.5% SwStr% and 33.1% O-Swing%.  The problem is that the home runs are starting to pile up, having allowed 13 HR over 65.0 IP and owning a 35.8% groundball rate.  Throw in that he’s consistently been hit hard (41.0% Hard%), which indicates a further regression in his .248 BABIP is coming, and there is significant risk moving forward.  Rookie pitchers often have highs and lows, and this could be just the start of the struggles for Canning.  He’s hardly a must sell, but it’s worth kicking the tires to see what you can get in return.

9) It was a solid return for Dinelson Lamet…
Making his ’19 debut he allowed 3 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP.  His big mistake was a home run to Max Muncy (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R), though he never had a chance for a W given the impressive start for Hyun-Jin Ryu (6.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 K).  Before we get too excited and go rushing to grab Lamet, talk has been that he’s going to be handled extremely carefully the rest of the way as he missed all of 2018 (there’s a chance he isn’t allowed to go past 5.0 innings often, from what we’ve read, and that’s going to make wins very hard to come by).  Let’s also not forget that he had control issues prior to his injury (4.25 BB/9 in the Majors in ’17) and struggled with home runs (37.1% groundball rate leading to a 1.42 HR/9).  That makes him extremely hard to trust, despite the apparent upside.

10) Is there reason for optimism for Elieser Hernandez…
Taking on Washington he allowed 3 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 4.1 IP to take the loss.  In 28.2 IP in the Majors he has 32 K vs. 7 BB, and his impressive 13.4% SwStr% and 37.2% O-Swing back up the numbers.  He has struggled generating groundballs (37.2%), which has led to some significant home run issues (1.88 HR/9, including 2 HR allowed yesterday).  That’s something that can’t be overlooked, and depending on the matchup and location he is going to be a solid plug and play option.  That said he’s not going to be a pitcher to set into his lineup and when the Marlins get healthy he could easily get sent back to the minors.  There’s some potential value here, just know when/where to utilize it.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

10 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Professor,

    In a 15-team dynasty league, would you retain Odor or Bader? Both have been frustrating to own. Think one of them figures it out? What are your long-term thoughts on Barreto and do you think G. Polanco can return to relevance? Thanks again, Professor.

    • For me it’s Odor, who has at least shown signs and should keep being run out there regularly

      Barreto – There’s some upside, but not enough to intrigue me. I still believe Mateo is going to get a shot before long.

      Polanco – Absolutely

  2. Moved from 4 July column:

    Prof,
    I’m concerned about Cease’s command issues. Would trading Cease be smart if he could bring Syndergaard? German? Woodruff?
    (Redraft H2H pts league)
    T

  3. I’m thinking of acquiring Jorge Polanco. He’s been pretty bad over the past month. Do you think it’s a good buy low opportunity now?

    • I think he’s a solid player but he’s not nearly as good as he looked early on. It all comes down to how low

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