10 Important Stories from 07/20/19 Box Scores: Starting Pitchers That Shouldn’t Be Trusted, Potential Waiver Wire Targets & More

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Clayton Kershaw tossed a gem against the Marlins, though the bullpen cost him the W, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 10.  Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had the big blow for the Blue Jays, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R.  It was an impressive start for Luis Castillo, albeit in a no decision, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP against the Cardinals.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Should we be concerned with Masahiro Tanaka…
He had thrown five shutout innings, but the wheels ultimately fell off.  It wasn’t enough to cost him a W, but over 6.0 IP he allowed 5 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP.  While he was generating groundballs (11 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls), he entered the day with a 47.6% mark on the season and that’s generally led to home run issues (1.46 HR/9 in ’19, 1.35 for his career).  His strikeouts are also down, with a 7.70 K/9 entering the day and a 10.9% SwStr% (which would’ve been tied for the lowest mark of his career).  While he has excellent control, if he lacks strikeouts and is homer prone (especially in Yankee Stadium) he may struggle.  Throw in a 41.0% Hard% and .269 BABIP and now may be the time to sell high if you can.

2) Is Joey Lucchesi going to make an impact…
He certainly didn’t look the part of an impact starter yesterday, allowing 6 ER on 10 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 4.1 IP against the Cubs.  The big blow came courtesy of Javier Baez (3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R), but it was an all-around ugly effort.  He had allowed 2 ER or fewer in five of his previous six starts and still owns a solid 1.19 WHIP (though his 4.27 ERA isn’t ideal).  He entered the day with a .257 BABIP, so seeing a regression shouldn’t come as a surprise.  At the same time his 8.55 K/9 and 2.50 BB/9, courtesy of an 11.3% SwStr%, are solid numbers and his 47.6% groundball rate should play well at home (at the least).  Considering his 2.83 ERA at home compared to his 5.79 on the road he’s got to be considered more of a plug and play option (definitely at home and in select road starts).  There’s more potential long term, but for now that’s all he is.

3) Should one big day make you believe in Jackie Bradley Jr…
He went 2-5 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him back-to-back multi-hit games.  Of course he’s still hitting just .232 with 11 HR and 7 SB over 310 AB on the season.  He had been even worse in July, entering the day at 10-51 with 0 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R, so while this is a welcome sight is anyone really willing to bet on him moving forward?  He entered the day with the worst SwStr% of his career (15.1%), his groundball rate sat at 51.4% (which will limit his home run potential) and he hasn’t been hitting the ball particularly hard (32.7% Hard%).  Outside of being able to draw a walk what “skill” is actually supposed to excite us?

4) Joe Musgrove gives a flash of brilliance…
Taking on the Phillies he was fantastic allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP to improve to 7-8 with a 4.08 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.  It was a strong rebound after he had allowed 5 R over 4.2 IP against the Cardinals and got his ERA down to the lowest it’s been since the middle of May.  He entered the day with a 7.76 K/9, though there was more upside than that (11.5% SwStr%) and he showed it last night (14 swinging strikes).  Couple that with a 34.4% O-Swing%, which has helped to a 2.24 BB/9, and there’s reason for optimism.  We would like to see a few more groundballs (43.4%) and for him to reduce his Hard% (41.5%), and both of those things will help to continue to cap his value.  There’s upside and potential, but there also could be some bumps along the way.

5) Jakob Junis wins a surprising pitcher’s duel…
Who would’ve bet that Junis vs. Adam Plutko would’ve yielded the pitching matchup of the night.  Plutko made one mistake, a solo home run to Hunter Dozier in the first, allowing 1 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP.  Junis was simply better, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 7.  Of course he wasn’t getting many swings and misses (9) nor was he getting groundballs (4 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls).  While he’s been pitching better lately (3 ER over 20.0 IP in his past three starts), home runs have been a consistent issue (1.67 HR/9), though that’s been the story of his career (1.57 career HR/9).  He’s also been hit hard (41.7% Hard%) and generally hasn’t been able to get the consistent swings and misses (10.5% SwStr% entering the day).  There’s enough to at least consider him a streaming option, but he’s no more than that at this time.

6) Is it time to take notice of Mark Canha…
While the emergence of Ramon Laureano (3-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R) gets more attention, Canha has been just as hot lately.  He went 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday extending his hitting streak to four games (5-15, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R) and hits in eight of his past nine games (12-33 with 4 HR and 6 RBI).  Overall he’s hitting just .255 but he has 16 HR in just 192 AB.  He’s only added 8 doubles and it’s fair to wonder if he can maintain the 22.1% HR/FB he entered the day with, especially considering his 30.8% Hard%.  Canha has taken a step forward in his approach, entering with a 7.6% SwStr% and 22.6% O-Swing%, and that does help to sell a potential breakout.  Of course even while he’s been raking he owns just a 27.0% Hard% in July so keep your expectations in check.

7) Could Jose Urquidy build on an impressive outing…
While he hadn’t shown much in his first two starts (7 ER on 14 H and 1 BB over 6.0 IP) he was fantastic yesterday against the Rangers.  Going 7.0 IP he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, as he made one mistake (a home run to Shin-Soo Choo).  Over 81.2 IP between Double and Triple-A he owned a 4.08 ERA, but had shown plenty of strikeouts (12.01 K/9) and elite control (1.76 BB/9).  A 36.0% groundball rate tells us that home runs could be a significant issue at the highest level (he generated 5 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday).  There’s also a good chance that the Astros acquire rotation help ahead of the deadline, which would either lead to a move to the bullpen or a return to Triple-A for Urquidy.  It was an impressive start, but don’t expect him to make an impact.

8) Gio Gonzalez struggles in his return from the IL…
Making his first start since May 27 Gonzalez was unimpressive, allowing 3 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over 4.0 IP against the Diamondbacks.  It’s disappointing, considering he hit the IL with a 3.19 ERA, but does anyone truly believe that he’ll be a difference maker?  He’s not going to be an elite strikeout pitcher (he owns a 6.94 K/9 in his seven starts this season, after owning a 7.79 last season), and he also is going to consistently have questions about his control.  Throw in not being an elite groundball pitcher (45.6%) and exactly what are we getting excited about?  Sure there’s going to be a chance for W and he has generally limited hard contact, but that’s not enough.  He’s more of a streaming starter and nothing more.

9) Does a strong start for Griffin Canning bring optimism…
Taking on Seattle on the road Canning was impressive, though he settled for a no decision, as he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP.  In his 14 starts in the Majors he’s continued to show strikeouts (9.71 K/9, courtesy of a 13.8% SwStr%) and control (3.03 BB/9), though a 36.5% groundball rate and 1.64 HR/9 is going to help to limit his upside (though he’s now kept the ball in the ballpark in back-to-back starts).  Of course a 40.0% Hard% yet just a .258 BABIP screams for a regression, just further complicating the situation.  There’s potential value, at the least in a streaming role, but don’t be surprised if he stumbles.  If you are simply looking at ’19 there’s more risk than potential reward.

10) An abrupt end to an impressive start for Miles Mikolas…
He had cruised for 6.0 innings but stumbled in the seventh, ultimately take a loss.  His final line was unimpressive, as he allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP.  We all know the limitations of Mikolas, who has struck out more than 4 batters just once in his past nine starts (6.45 K/9 overall).  There had been hope that a late season surge could lead to better results, but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case.  He does still bring elite control (1.50 BB/9) and enough groundballs (50.7%), but without the strikeouts his value is going to be limited.  You also have to throw in the noteworthy split, with a 2.15 ERA at home compared to a 7.04 on the road.  Given the limitations, only plan on using him for home starts.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

8 COMMENTS

    • Munoz has a safer role. Urquidy could easily lose his role and carries a lot of risk. I’d probably lean towards the trustworthy reliever as opposed to the potentially mediocre starter.

  1. Been offered Andrew Benintendi for Kershaw in a keeper league. Thinking Benny is a better long term hold but also in the hunt for a championship this year. Also, Benny seems to be trending down and Kershaw trending up (especially after last night’s start). Thoughts?

    • For this season it’s hard to say Kershaw isn’t the better option (though his health is always an issue in the back of our minds). Long-term it’s Benintendi, hands down, so it really is a matter of your situation and how you want to play it

    • I’d go Mercado, Laureano and Santana, though the top two are close. Mercado just has more upside in the speed department, which is harder to find at this point

  2. Looking to add a hitters next week for best overall production-

    Eaton, 4 vs Colo and 3 vs LA with two left handers
    F.Reyes,
    Scooter, Winkler ( Facing all right handers)
    A.Simmons,
    CJ Cron,

    Which two or three do you like best.

    Thank you and have a nice Sunday

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