10 Important Stories from 07/05/19 Box Scores: Young Starting Pitchers To Trust (McKay & More), Buy Low Starters To Target & More

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Rafael Devers continued his emergence, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R (he’s now hitting .331 with 16 HR and 61 RBI on the season).  It was another dazzling performance from Jacob deGrom, though he settled for a no decision, as he allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP against the Phillies.  Clayton Kershaw also had a strong start (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 9 K), but it wasn’t enough for a W.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) A surprisingly strong start from Dylan Bundy…
Taking on Toronto he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.2 IP.  It was a nice rebound after he had allowed 9 ER over 9.1 IP in his previous two starts, but he still owns a 4.65 ERA and 1.30 WHIP overall as home runs have been a significant issue (20 HR over 91.0 IP, including the lone run yesterday coming via a solo home run by Brandon Drury).  Entering the day with a 36.4% groundball rate, while pitching in the AL East, is it really a surprise?  That said he has actually been getting weak contact (27.7% Hard%, in part because of a 34.3% O-Swing%, entering the day) to go along with solid control (3.20 BB/9) and an ability to get swings and misses (13.2% SwStr%).  Bundy is hardly a must use option, and is actually nearly impossible to trust, but in the right situation he could bring value as a plug and play option (and could potentially become more if he gets his groundball rate up a little bit).

2) Is Eduardo Rodriguez primed to turn things around…
He allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP.  Of course the performance came against the Tigers, though he also generated 9 groundballs vs. 1 fly ball and he also hasn’t allowed a home run in his past two starts (10.1 IP).  He entered the day with a career best 45.4% groundball rate, coupled with strikeouts (11.5% SwStr%, 34.5% O-Swing% leading to a 9.29 K/9) and solid control (2.81 BB/9).  With the continued ability to generate weak contact (29.1% Hard%, 29.5% for his career) and significant room for improvement in his “luck” (.324 BABIP, 71.9% strand rate) everything points towards a rebound coming.  He may not have a high cost, making now the time to buy if you can.

3) As expected Brendan McKay stumbles against the Yankees…
That’s not to say that he was horrific by any stretch, given the matchup, as he allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP.  The big hit was an Aaron Judge home run (2-5, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R), but he wasn’t getting many swings and misses (5) nor was he generating groundballs (4 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls).  He was getting more swings and misses in his first start (11), though the groundball rate was similar (6 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls).  Groundballs aren’t expected to be a negative (he had groundball rates of 54.9% at Double-A, 57.6% at Triple-A), though there was the potential for him to struggle racking up strikeouts.  That could continue, and will limit his value, but against a tough lineup things are looking up.  The biggest issue could be a limitation on innings, especially if he’s only going around 5.0-6.0 innings a start (which would make it difficult for W).

4) Could Vince Velasquez become relevant…
Taking on the Mets he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP with the one mistake being a home run from Pete Alonso (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R).  Control was always the biggest concern, and he now has 2 BB over 14.1 IP in his past three starts.  Is that enough, though?  He’s allowed a home run in each of these starts, including generating just 2 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls yesterday (he entered the day with a 36.5% groundball rate and 2.10 HR/9 this season).  Throw in being hit hard, with a 45.3% Hard% entering the day, and the upside is minimal at best.  Maybe he posts a decent start or two like this, from time-to-time, but it’s impossible to trust him in most formats.

5) Is it time to believe in the Marlins’ Jordan Yamamoto…
It was a great pitchers duel in Atlanta, as Julio Teheran (6.0 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K) and Yamamoto matched zeros all night long.  Yamamoto went 6.0 innings allowing 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, and now owns a 1.86 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over 5 starts (29.0 innings) in the Majors.  Of course that doesn’t mean that there aren’t concerns, as he’s struggled with his control (15 BB over 29.0 IP) and hasn’t been very good at generating groundballs (34.0% groundball rate entering the day, 5 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls last night).  He should more of both at Double-A prior to his recall (3.44 BB/9, 45.6% groundball rate over 65.1 IP), but that’s not enough to think a significant rebound is coming.  Things will turn, and it could come quickly, making him more of a sell high candidate.

6) Is Jonathan Schoop “back” for fantasy owners…
He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .260 with 14 HR, 38 RBI and 42 R over 281 AB this season.  Obvious the entire Twins’ lineup was raking last night (they scored 15 runs on 20 hits), but that doesn’t take away from Schoop’s performance.  He continues to struggle generating walks (3.7% walk rate) as his plate discipline is abysmal (17.8% SwStr%, 44.3% O-Swing%).  Throw in a pull heavy approach (21.1% Oppo%), which will limit his BABIP upside (.303), and his value is tied directly to his power.  An 18.9% HR/FB isn’t unbelievable, so it’s possible he remains relevant, but value him for what he is.  That’s a power source who hits down in the order and may not provide much else.  That makes him more of a low-end option than someone you want to trust.

7) Christian Walker enjoys a monster day at the dish…
He provided all of the offense Zack Greinke (7.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 9 K) needed to defeat the Colorado Rockies, as Walker went 3-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R.  He’s now homered in back-to-back games and is hitting .263 with 17 HR and 43 RBI overall.  While he does swing and miss a little too much (13.2% SwStr%), it’s not an abysmal mark and he’s doing a significantly better job of staying inside the strike zone (29.8% O-Swing%).  He’s hitting the ball extremely hard (49.8% Hard%), and while he’s been a bit too pull heavy (21.0% Oppo%) he could keep his BABIP in the realm of it’s current .324 mark given the other numbers.  He’s not a .300 hitter, but as a .250 with power there’s value moving forward for as long as he’s in the lineup (they could give Kevin Cron an opportunity at some point)

8) At least Yusei Kikuchi had a better performance…
He lost, but that’s more about the offense struggling against Brett Anderson (6.1 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 K) than it was Kikuchi’s performance.  Going 7.0 innings he allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, with his one mistake being a home run to Franklin Barreto (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R).  It was the first time he allowed fewer than 3 ER since June 13, as home runs continue to be the biggest issue hanging over him (1.74 HR/9).  A 44.7% groundball rate isn’t ideal, but it should yield better results than this.  Of course he also hasn’t been fooling many hitters, with a 9.1% SwStr% and 26.8% O-Swing%, though he showed more upside yesterday with 15 swinging strikes.  That improvement would go a long way, especially as he should improve upon his .300 BABIP and 68.1% strand rate.  He’s hardly a trustworthy option today, but there’s the potential for him to get there before long.

9) Will the Cardinals’ Jose Martinez become relevant again…
He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him a seven-game hitting streak (9-28 with 3 HR, 3 RBI and 5 R).  The home runs have all come in the past four games, and even better during this hitting streak he has just 3 K vs. 1 BB.  With Marcell Ozuna on the IL Martinez is going to continue to see regular AB in the outfield, the question is if they will be there once the team gets healthy.  Of course his ability with the bat was never a question, as he’s a career .304 hitter with 39 HR over 1,055 AB over his MLB career.  The fact is that the Cardinals didn’t really trust him in the outfield prior to the injury and Paul Goldschmidt (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) isn’t going to be supplanted at first base.  Use Martinez while he’s in the lineup, but don’t expect him to become a fantasy fixture for you.

10) Austin Voth isn’t worth your time…
He recently became a seemingly hot waiver add, though he struggled yesterday against the Royals allowing 4 R on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 4.1 IP.  In his past two starts, with the other coming against the Tigers, he’s allowed 7 ER on 11 H and 5 BB, striking out 9, over 8.2 IP.  Considering the matchups it’s been a highly disappointing performance, and despite his performance at Triple-A (9.98 K/9, 2.20 BB/9) he was struggling to generate groundballs there as well (39.9% groundball rate).  Considering his 40.5% groundball rate in his three MLB starts, the fact that he’s struggled and hasn’t allowed a home run over these two starts just makes the outlook that much worse.  He easily could be replaced and isn’t worth being used in any format.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

7 COMMENTS

  1. Chirinos, Alfaro, McCann and Sisco are all available on the wire. Who do you see putting up best numbers rest of season? McCann is the hottest recently, but hasn’t shown much in the past. Chirinos has been showing great plate discipline, but has faded recently, and Alfaro and Sisco are both former top prospects and wondering if they can turn it on in the 2nd half?

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