10 Important Stories from 07/12/19 Box Scores: Hyped Young Pitchers To Avoid, Emerging Hitters To Buy & More

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In one of the more surprising no-hitters Taylor Cole served as the opener (2.0 IP, 2 K) and was followed by Felix Pena (7.0 IP, 6 K, 1 BB) combined to no-hit the Mariners.  It was a second straight strong start for Mike Clevinger, who allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP against the Twins.  Gerrit Cole provides a mixed bag against the Rangers, with 13 K over 6.0 innings but allowing 4 ER due to 3 HR.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Does a surprising pitcher’s duel bring hope for two veterans…
Yu Darvish and Chris Archer squared off in Chicago, with both surprisingly pitching well.  Archer took the loss, allowing 3 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP.  While he was getting swings and misses (17) and had better control, he still wasn’t generating many groundballs (2 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls, having carried a 37.3% groundball rate into the game) and did allow a home run.  It brings hope, but it may not be enough.

As for Darvish he was tremendous, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 8.  Of course he too wasn’t generating many groundballs (2 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls), though that hasn’t been a significant issue (47.2%).  That tells you he should improve upon his 1.86 HR/9.  The bigger concern has been a lack of control (4.55 BB/9 entering the day), though he’s now walked 2 batters or fewer in six straight starts (6 BB over 36.2 IP).  If he’s keeping the ball in the ballpark, with this control and a 30.0% Hard%, the potential is there for a second half surge.

2) Is it time to take Domingo German for real…
Taking on the Blue Jays he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 7.  He was pulled after 78 pitches and has now thrown back-to-back strong starts since returning from the IL (1 ER on 8 H and 0 BB over 12.0 IP).  He’s thrown a total of 158 pitches in the two starts and generally has been held around 85 pitches, and if they keep him limited to that type of pitch count wins/going deep into games could start to become an issue.  Considering his .258 BABIP, despite a 39.3% Hard%, as well as home run issues (he entered with a 1.54 HR/9, courtesy of a 40.2% groundball rate) it’s easy to envision a regression coming.  He’s a viable option, just know the risks moving forward.

3) Nate Lowe helps to pace the Rays en route to a blowout…
The Orioles were buried from the first pitch, as Dylan Bundy was torched for 7 ER on 8 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, over 1.0 IP.  Lowe didn’t take him deep (Tommy Pham did that, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R), but he arguably had the biggest day going 4-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R (he finished a triple shy of the cycle).  Lowe has now homered in three of his past four games and since returning to the Majors has gone 6-17 with 3 HR, 6 RBI and 6 R.  He clearly has power and entering the day, albeit in a small sample size, had proven he could hit the ball hard (42.9% Hard%) and carries a strong approach (9.5% SwStr%, 30.8% O-Swing%).  Considering his 7.5% SwStr% at Triple-A it’s easy to call it for real, giving him the outlook of a strong contributor. 

4) Eduardo Rodriguez dazzles against the Dodgers…
One of our favorite Buy Low candidates at the All-Star Break, Rodriguez came out of the gate in the style.  Going 7.0 innings he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 10, as he clearly had the swing and miss pitch working (22 swinging strikes).  He entered the day showing an improved groundball rate (45.4%) and while he wasn’t great yesterday he did get 5 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls.  That’s more than enough when you generate weak contact (29.1% Hard% entering the day) to go with strikeouts and control.  Considering he had struggled due to a .324 BABIP and 71.9% strand rate, the chance to buy low may have already come and gone.  If it hasn’t, don’t hesitate to buy if you can.

5) What to make of the start from Caleb Smith…
Taking on the Mets he allowed 2 R (0 earned) on 3 H, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP.  That would make you think it was a strong outing, though he wasn’t generating groundballs (3 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls) and he struggled with his control (5 BB).  His control hasn’t been an issue this season (he entered with a 3.00 BB/9), but the home run risk remains high as he entered the day with a 28.5% groundball rate and 1.73 HR/9.  Couple that risk with the luck he’s benefited from (.233 BABIP, 83.6% strand rate despite a 38.0% Hard%) as well as how difficult it could for wins and it’s easy to envision a significant falloff coming.  The name brings intrigue, but if you are playing for ’19 sell high.

6) It was a monster day for Yordan Alvarez…
He went 3-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R, putting him at .363 with 9 HR and 27 RBI over 80 AB since being recalled to the Majors.  The home runs were his first since June 23 and while he didn’t strikeout yesterday he had whiffed 7 times in his previous four games.  Of course, while entering the day with a 10.5% SwStr% and 31.6% O-Swing% isn’t going to blow you away it also isn’t a significant red flag.  He likely can’t maintain the 56.1% Hard% and 37.5% HR/FB that he entered the day with, but he’s quickly proven that he can be an impact bat at the highest level.  Expect a small step backwards, but don’t expect him to disappear and stop being a productive option.

7) Does Daniel Ponce de Leon deserve a spot in the rotation…
Stepping in for the injured Adam Wainwright, Ponce de Leon matched Robbie Ray (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K) pitch for pitch.  He allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 IP and now owns a 1.99 ERA and 0.82 WHIP over 31.2 IP in the Majors.  While those numbers have been impressive, a .175 BABIP and 93.5% strand rate cloud the total picture.  Just consider that he had a 3.90 ERA over 55.1 IP at Triple-A as he struggled to generate both strikeouts (7.64 K/9) and groundballs (38.4%) while walking far too many (4.88 BB/9).  He’s better than that and likely did earn a shot in the rotation, but fantasy owners shouldn’t get overly excited.

8) Jon Gray continues to show he can thrive at Coors Field…
Taking on the Reds he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP with his one mistake being a home run to Eugenio Suarez (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R).  Gray now owns a 3.24 ERA over 50.0 IP at home but a 4.29 ERA over 65.0 IP on the road.  It’s a surprising split for someone who pitches in Colorado, though he continues to show enough in strikeouts (9.47 K/9), control (3.29 BB/9) and groundballs (48.6%) to be a successful pitcher in any locale.  His road mark is skewed be a .331 BABIP as well as a 1.38 HR/9 (.301 and 0.90 at home).  The fact is that he probably should be around the 3.83 ERA he’s currently carrying, regardless of where he pitches, and there’s enough here to utilize him.

9) The emergence of Ramon Laureano continues…
While Mike Fiers is going to get most of the attention (7.2 IP, 0 R, 8 H, 1 BB, 4 K) it was Laureano who deserves it as he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R to put him at .267 with 17 HR and 10 SB over 329 AB.  He now has three straight two-hit games, including 1 HR in each of them, though a 26.7% strikeout rate and 5.0% walk rate do loom large.  He has shown far too much swing and miss (13.1% SwStr%), though that may be the only concern.  His 17.7% HR/FB is right in line with what he did last season (14.7%) and his 40.3% and speed supports his .321 BABIP.  In other words his breakout fully appears to be real.

10) Another underwhelming performance from Dinelson Lamet…
Taking on the Braves he allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP against the Braves and has now allowed 7 ER over 10.0 IP in his two starts.  Home runs have been the biggest issue, as he allowed 2 yesterday (he’s allowed 3 HR in his two starts).  Sure he’s shown strikeout stuff (14 K), but there are more than enough questions hanging over him.  Outside of the home runs, the biggest concern is how deep the Padres will let him work into games.  He’s thrown 5.0 innings in each of his starts, having not thrown more than 82 pitches in either.  Those types of limitations will keep wins hard to come by, regardless of any other skills.  Keep that in mind before fully buying in.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

6 COMMENTS

  1. Do you think Nate Lowe is up for good this time? B Lowe is still on the IL and they just activated Choi. Would you rather own Jackie Bradley or Pollock over Lowe ros? This is an obp league. The playing time is a huge question for me about whether he stays up in the majors and also how much will he play if he does? TB has a lot of bodies for the dh spot and infield. Thanks

    • I don’t think he’ll stay up if he’s not going to play, and for now he’s hot so I’d think they’d find a way to fit him in (it’s not like they don’t need the offense). I’d definitely hold him over Bradley. Pollock is a little bit trickier, but I was down on him entering the season. He’s the “safer” choice, but Lowe has more upside

  2. Good morning, Professor. I’m in a trade quandary. I’m dealing Trea Turner and can get back McNeil with either Lourdes and Musgrove or Jorge Polanco and Boyd. Either package works for my roster so it’s just a matter of value. I could probably also get Altuve with Polanco and Musgrove but I’m leery that the injuries have caught up to him and he’s just not the same player anymore. Plus I need McNeil’s versatility. Which way does this scarecrow go?

    • Honestly, if I’m trading Turner I’m looking for one of the elite, not a package of pieces. Turner’s ability to be a difference maker in SB carries too much value

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