10 Important Stories from 07/19/19 Box Scores: Potential Waiver Wire Targets, Can We Trust These Upside Rookie Starters (McKay, Gallen) & More

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Justin Verlander tossed a gem against the Rangers, allowing 2 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 12, over 6.0 IP to improve to 12-4 with a 2.99 ERA.  We keep waiting for the regression but Hyun-Jin Ryu just keeps producing, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP to defeat the Marlins.  It was more of the same for Jacob deGrom, who tossed a gem with 7.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 10, but didn’t get a W.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) David Price lays an egg against the Orioles…
Considering the matchup this one becomes an even bigger concern, as he allowed 6 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 4.0 IP.  Things got off to a bad start, allowing a three-run home run in the first inning, and they simply never got better.  He did generate 6 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls yesterday, though he entered the day with a 42.9% groundball rate and 0.82 HR/9 so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the home run issues continue.  How about the sudden control issues (10 BB over 20.0 IP in his past four starts)?  Overall he owns a 3.61 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 92.1 IP, and behind that has come both strikeouts (106 K) and control (25 BB).  However the threat of home runs will continue to hang over him and while he may win plenty of games there could continue to be some bumps down the stretch.

2) Could Adam Haseley make an impact this time around…
He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday (the second hit was a double), giving him home runs in back-to-back games (and at least 1 RBI in three straight).  Since returning after the All-Star Break he’s gone 6-21 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R, but more importantly he has just 3 K.  Of course he hasn’t drawn a walk and entered the day with a 16.3% SwStr% in the Majors, though a 10.8% walk rate and 10.5% SwStr% between Double and Triple-A prior to his recall gives at least a sense of optimism.  If he can keep his plate discipline in check he could get an opportunity with Jay Bruce sidelined and while he may not be a Top 40 outfielder he did hit .275 with 10 HR (26 extra base hits) in 268 PA in the minors this season.  In deeper formats he’s worth keeping on radars.

3) Brendan McKay returns to the Majors, but stumbles…
Recalled prior to the game he allowed 6 R (5 earned) on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 3.1 IP.  The big game came courtesy of Leury Garcia (4-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R), but it was an ugly outing all the way around.  He continues to show an ability to consistently throw strikes, as he has 1 BB over 19.1 IP in the Majors (after a 2.02 BB/9 over 66.2 IP in the minors), and he also can miss bats (15.5% SwStr% in the minors).  He owned a 45.2% groundball rate in the minors, and he only generated 2 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls yesterday, and especially pitching in the AL East home runs could prove to be a problem.  Still there should be much better days ahead and while he’s not a set him and forget him type option, he should prove to be a viable plug and play as long as he’s in the Majors.

4) It was another big day for Oscar Mercado…
The Indians offense seems like it goes with Mercado, as he’s proving to be a spark plug recently (he and Francisco Lindor combined to go 8-10 with 2 RBI, 5 R and 2 SB yesterday).  Mercado went 5-5 with 2 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB yesterday, and over his past five games he’s gone 10-19 with 3 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R and 3 SB.  Obviously that type of pace isn’t sustainable, but is it really hard to believe in him as a true five category performer?  He’s consistently shown 10/30 potential coming up through the minors, and now getting comfortable he’s showing off the speed on a consistent basis in the Majors.  Couple that with a 40.9% Hard% and 26.4% Oppo% his .318 BABIP should continue to rise, and while we’d like to see better than an 11.4% SwStr% there’s more than enough here.  Throw in hitting behind Lindor and at the top of the lineup, bringing ample RBI/R, and he’s a potential difference maker down the stretch.

5) Marcus Stroman delivers an ace-like effort at the perfect time…
With the Trade Deadline nearing there is going to be a lot of speculation surrounding Stroman, so he picked the right time to toss a gem.  While it did come in Detroit Stroman was excellent, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 5.  He wasn’t generating many swinging strikes (8) nor was he getting groundballs (8 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls), so it’s fair to chalk this one up to a little bit of luck.  That said he entered the day with a 57.9% groundball rate, leading to a 0.81 HR/9, and his 2.77 BB/9 is a solid mark.  Obviously a limited strikeout rate is going to continue to cap his value (7.16 K/9 courtesy of a 9.9% SwStr%), though if he gets dealt to a more favorable situation his stock is only going to improve.  While he may never be an ace, he could be a valuable piece over the final few weeks.

6) Ryan Lavarnway signs with Cincinnati and immediately makes an impact…
In a slugfest with the Cardinals, as the two teams combined for 23 runs and 30 hits, it was Lavarnway’s performance that stood out most.  A day after signing with the Reds, since they had three catchers on the IL, he drew the start and erupted to go 3-4 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R.  There was once a lot of intrigue surrounding him, though the now 31-year old was hitting .213 with 3 HR over 129 PA for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate prior to being released.  He did hit .288 with 9 HR (as well as 23 doubles and 1 triple) for the Pirates’ Triple-A team a year ago and even during his struggles with the Yankees he had 26 K vs. 17 BB.  There has always been a little bit of power in his bat and it’s possible that the Reds catch lightning in a bottle.  He’s not likely to be a long-term solution, but in two-catcher formats he’s worth having on your radar if you have a need.

7) Mike Minor proves to be homer prone against the Astros…
He allowed 4 solo home runs, finishing allowing 4 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP in a losing effort.  He was generating plenty of swinging strikes (18) after entering the day with a career best 11.9% SwStr%.  That said his control hasn’t been standout (3.25 BB/9 entering the day) and while he owned a 0.96 HR/9 prior to yesterday a 43.8% groundball rate (5 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday) indicates that home run issues could continue (let’s not forget his 1.43 HR/9 last season).  Throw in an 85.4% strand rate, indicating an overall regression, and Minor may be tough to trust moving forward.  That said he is a potential trade candidate and if he lands in a favorable location the results may be there.  Keep an eye out to see how this plays out, but he could be a solid sell high candidate.

8) Has Eduardo Escobar truly emerged…
He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him a modest four-game hitting streak (6-20, 3 HR, 9 RBI and 4 R).  Overall he’s hitting .291 with 22 HR, 77 RBI and 63 R, and throwing in some positional flexibility (2B/SS/3B) only adds to the appeal.  He entered the day with a 15.6% HR/FB, just a modest bump from last year’s 11.9% (12.8% the year before) when he added 48 doubles and 3 triples, so there’s no questioning the power.  He also has been hitting the ball hard (40.5% Hard%) and his .317 BABIP doesn’t point towards a lot of luck.  We’d like a bit better plate discipline (12.9% SwStr%, 41.3% O-Swing%), but he continues to make consistent contact (20.1% strikeout rate, compared to 19.7% for his career).  The name may not be sexy, but make no mistake his production is for real.

9) Zac Gallen struggles with his control against the Dodgers…
He still pitched fairly well allowing 2 R (1 earned) on 3 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 5.1 IP.  While he owns a 3.63 ERA over 22.1 IP in the Majors, he’s now walked 9 batters over his past 10.1 IP.  That’s a significant red flag, even though he posted a 1.68 BB/9 in 14 starts at Triple-A (let’s not forget that he had a 3.24 BB/9 at Double-A last season).  Throw in the potential for him to struggle with home runs, even pitching in Miami (30.5% groundball rate, though just a 0.81 HR/9), a possible innings limit (he’s thrown 113.2 IP this season after 133.1 last season) and difficulty getting W and it’s easy to say that the risk outweighs the potential reward for the remainder of this season.  Long-term there’s value, just be careful if you are looking solely at 2019.

10) Daniel Vogelbach explodes for Seattle…
While Mike Leake will get much of the attention, carrying a perfect game into the ninth inning (he then promptly allowed a single and a walk), it was Vogelbach’s performance that was much more noteworthy for fantasy owners.  He finished the day going 2-4 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 2 R, giving him 23 HR and 57 RBI on the season.  Of course he’s hitting just .239, though it’s not due to a poor approach (7.5% SwStr%, 21.9% O-Swing%).  You can ague that he’s taken a far too fly ball-centric approach, with a 49.1% fly ball rate, though a 43.9% Hard% should still yield better than a .249 BABIP.  Even if he were hitting just .250-.260, with his power he’d be a viable fantasy option.  There’s reason to believe he can get there, and if you are looking for some under-the-radar offense he’s worth rolling the dice on.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

3 COMMENTS

  1. I urge you to watch Gallen’s Start vs Dodgers. Umpire was insane with his K zone. Gallen walked Bellinger on a 3-2 pitch where ball 4 was belt high two ball lengths inside the K zone. 8-10 pitches weren’t even close. Well inside the K zone.

  2. Do you think Mercado is a top 30 OF next year? I’m thinking of my keepers and he’s right on the borderline as my last (12th) keeper in a 12 team roto league.

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