10 Important Stories from 07/14/19 Box Scores: Must Buy Second Half Surges (Cano, Franco), Sell High Candidates (Berrios) & More

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Shane Bieber had to settle for a no decision, despite pitching well against the Twins, having allowed 3 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, over 6.1 IP.  It was a poor start for Zack Greinke, who got beat up by the Cardinals allowing 5 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP.  The biggest news comes from off the field, however, as fantasy owners wait for the results of an MRI on the calf of Mike Trout.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Is it time to take notice of Michael Brosseau…
He played third base for the Rays yesterday and went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hit 3 HR over this past two games and is hitting .395 with 4 HR and 10 RBI in 38 AB in the Majors.  The 25-year old was hitting .317 with 15 HR and 58 RBI over 292 PA at Triple-A, and while a 10.3% SwStr% did give a little bit of a red flag is it really enough?  Albeit in a tiny sample size he owned an 8.0% SwStr% entering the day, though a 41.9% O-Swing% tells you his aggressive nature could quickly catch up with him.  The fact is that he’s well worth utilizing while he’s going well, but he quickly could fall off a cliff (and playing in Tampa Bay there’s also no guarantee he continues to get AB).  Be ready to move on when necessary.

2) Has Maikel Franco finally turned the corner…
He’s been red hot coming out of the All-Star Break, including delivering a go ahead home run yesterday (he went 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R).  In the three games he’s gone 6-10 with 2 HR (and 1 double), 3 RBI and 2 R,  Of course he’s still hitting just .240 with 15 HR and 44 RBI over 279 AB on the season, though having entered the day with a .229 BABIP it’s easy to envision the numbers rising (34.0% Hard%, 25.7% Oppo%).  Throw in a 9.7% SwStr% and the only “negative” may be that he’s putting the ball on the ground too much (45.6%), but that certainly doesn’t justify the BABIP.  With the power being believable, there’s a chance he posts big numbers in the second half.  If you have the opportunity he’s worth buying.

3) Is it time to be concerned with Jose Berrios…
He posted his second straight lackluster start, this time against the Indians, as he allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP.  Over his past two starts he’s allowed 6 ER on 12 H and 6 BB over 10.0 IP and yesterday he wasn’t generating many swings and misses (10) nor was he getting many groundballs (2 groundballs vs. 7 flyballs).  His SwStr% has been down overall this season (11.2% to 10.5% entering the day) and he’s never been an elite groundball pitcher (40.7% entering the day, 40.2% for his career).  He’s really benefited from elite control (1.77 BB/9 entering the day), but that was always hard to envision him maintaining.  With it regressing recently, the results have become mediocre.   Considering his .276 BABIP and 78.3% strand rate, with a 35.3% Hard%, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the struggles continue.  In redraft formats consider selling.

4) The resurgence of Robinson Cano appears to be upon us…
It was easy to say cut bait and move on, and long-term the contract will prove to be an albatross most likely, but the production of Cano in the first half was far worse than anyone could’ve expected.  He had been showing signs of turning things around, but he exploded yesterday going 4-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R.  He’s now homered in back-to-back games, owns a 4-game hitting streak overall and has raised his average from .222 on June 27 all the way up to .251.  He’s been hitting the ball hard all season long (40.1% Hard% entering the day), so it shouldn’t be surprising that his .279 BABIP is going to rise.  While he may not be a 30+ HR hitter, it’s easy to imagine his 8.2% HR/FB further rising.  If someone in your league gave up on him, don’t hesitate to make the move.

5) Does Brandon Belt represent a must buy…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .240 with 11 HR, 34 RBI and 51 R on the season.  It would be easy to write him off, especially having not homered since June 27 (and he had hit just 2 HR since May 29).  That said he also had been hitting the ball extremely hard (41.6% Hard%) and showing a significantly improve approach (9.3% SwStr%, 25.3% O-Swing%).  You certainly could argue that he puts far too many balls in the air for a player who doesn’t hit for significant power (47.7% flyball rate), and that will help to suppress his BABIP.  That said the other numbers support a better average (and he should have better than a .273 BABIP), and with an ability to draw walks (15.7%) the runs should start to pile up hitting atop the order.  That’s an under-the-radar buying opportunity for sure.

6) Is there reason to buy into Jose Quintana once again…
You can argue that he simply benefited from a big lead, after the Cubs slugged 3 HR against Trevor Williams (8 ER over 5.1 IP), and that he wasn’t particularly great yesterday anyway.  Going 6.0 innings he allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking 4, and he’s now allowed 6 ER over 13.0 IP in his past two starts.  Are those really numbers that are going to inspire you?  He was getting next to no swings and misses yesterday (5 swinging strikes) and having entered the day with a 7.49 K/9 with an 8.9% SwStr% is there really any reason to believe?  Throw in the potential for home run issues (44.7% groundball rate) while getting hit hard (39.7% Hard%), what exactly makes you believe?  He’s posted an ERA above 4.00 in the previous two seasons and now sits at 4.21.  There are simply better investments to make.

7) Brett Anderson delivers third straight strong start…
Taking on the White Sox he allowed 2 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 6.2 IP though he had to settle for a no decision (Rodrigo Lopez allowed just an unearned run over 6.0 IP).  Anderson has now allowed 4 ER over his past 20.2 IP lowering his ERA to 3.79 over 109.1 IP.  He gets the job done with control (2.89 BB/9 entering the day) and groundballs (53.1%, before getting 10 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls), and in some circumstances that will be enough.  The problem is he doesn’t bring much in terms of strikeouts (4.56 K/9 entering the day), nor does he bring much potential to improve in that regard.  Without that he’s simply never going to be more than a potential streaming option, and even that could be a tough sell.

8) Michael Soroka tosses a gem against the Padres…
In a tie game he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the eighth, despite throwing just 83 pitches, but it worked out because Atlanta went on to score and get him a W.  Soroka tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 9 as he had the swing and miss working in this one (18 swinging strikes).  While he entered the day with just a 7.35 K/9, his 10.3% SwStr% showed at least a little bit more potential.  Couple that with his elite control (22 BB over 96.1 IP) and groundball stuff (57.0% entering the day) and is it really a surprise that he’s found success?  Maybe he doesn’t maintain his 2.24 ERA or 1.05 WHIP (he entered the day with a .266 BABIP and 76.5% strand rate), but there’s every reason to believe that he’ll have continued success.  Don’t consider him a must sell, even in redrafts.

9) Are we finally ready to move on from Yusei Kikuchi…
Taking on the Angels on the road he got away with a no decision, but that doesn’t mean it was a strong start.  He needed 87 pitches to go 4.0 innings, allowing 3 ER on 2 H and 4 BB, striking out 3, as he also gave up a home run to Kole Calhoun (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R).  Home runs have been his biggest issue this season (he entered the day with a 1.74 HR/9 and 44.7% groundball rate), though the lack of strikeouts obvious is also a cause for concern (6.68 K/9 courtesy of a 9.1% SwStr%).  If those two things don’t get corrected, and why should we think things will suddenly be different, even elite control wouldn’t matter (and his has only been pedestrian).  If you are looking just to this season, he’s not a pitcher worth investing in.

10) A.J. Pollack continues his strong return…
He went 3-6 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, giving him home runs in back-to-back games.  Since coming off the IL he has hits in all three games he’s played, going 6-14 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R, though he has 5 K vs. 0 BB as well.  He showed an increased strikeout rate last season (21.7%) and that’s carried into his 130 PA this season (21.5%), though his 8.8% SwStr% would be an improvement (10.7% in ’18) so there’s reason to believe of an improvement coming.  There’s some power and speed, so if the strikeout rate does improve he could be a difference maker in the second half as he’s already shown.  Staying healthy is going to be the key, and unfortunately that’s never a guarantee for him.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

7 COMMENTS

  1. I am in a fairly shallow keeper league and need to drop on of the following players now that AJ Pollock is off the injured list: Pollock, Ohtani, LeMahieu, or Justin Turner. Thoughts?

    • It’s either Turner or Pollock depending on need. Regardless of how shallow, the other two can’t be dropped

  2. Professor I have two for you. Cano or Carpenter ROS? In keeper stash Lux or Kieboom (need a second basemen) I think both end up there hopefully.

    • The veteran one is tough, but I’m leaning Cano today

      As for the prospect it depends if you need help this season or not. Kieboom is the play for the short-term, Lux has more long-term appeal for me

    • Just for this season I’m going Cano and Santana (though this is pretty close). I really like Gurriel, but Cano’s upside and ability to get scorching hot the rest of the way is far too appealing

      • Roger. Think I’ll keep a close eye on Cano. Glad to have Santana – he’s a bit undervalued I think.
        Thanks!
        T

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