10 Important Stories From 07/25/20 Box Scores: Will These “Names” Produce Value (Bundy/Votto), Breakout Targets? & More

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Zack Wheeler impressed in his Phillies debut, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP against the Marlins. Luis Castillo showed why he’s emerging as one of the elite, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 11, over 6.0 IP. Tommy Pham continued his torrid SB pace, going 1-2 with 1 R and 2 SB (he already has 4 SB on the season). What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) Corbin Burnes inefficient in start…

You wouldn’t classify Burnes’ start as “bad”, but it also is difficult to call it good as he needed 75 pitches to get through 3.1 innings against the Cubs. He allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, as he threw 42 strikes vs. 33 balls. He threw first pitch strikes to 9 of the 16 batters he faced, so that sums up the issues fairly well. There was a lot of hype surrounding Burnes entering the year, and there is still time for him to get things right, but this is certainly going to dampen the excitement a little bit. He needs to find his control and become more economical if he wants to thrive as a starter.

2) Has Alex Cobb turned back the clock…

Remember when Cobb was a viable fantasy option? It feels like a lifetime ago (though it was really 2017), and pitching for the Orioles it’s hard to expect much to change. That said we can’t take anything away from yesterday’s performance, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, against the Boston Red Sox. He was missing some bats (10 swinging strikes), and he generated 7 groundballs vs. 4 flyballs. It’s the swings and misses that’s truly important,as he owns a career 8.3% SwStr%. If he can continue to get some swings and misses there’s a chance he at least becomes a streaming option, though he’s not a name to focus on.

3) Does Ryan Yarbrough deserve a rotation spot…

We all know the Rays like utilizing an “opener”, but did Yarbrough deserve a consistent spot in Tampa Bay’s rotation as well as some fantasy attention? Needing 69 pitches he made it through 5.1 shutout innings, allowing 4 H and 1 BB. He did a good job generating groundballs (11), but he also wasn’t missing many bats (8 swinging strikes) leading to just 1 K. He only posted a 7.43 K/9 over 141.2 IP last season, courtesy of a 10.2% SwStr% and he also isn’t generally a groundball machine (40.8% career groundball rate). He gets the job done with his control, but 1 of 3 skills isn’t going to garner much attention (nor should it from fantasy owners).

4) A dominant Dylan Bundy silences the A’s…

Bundy has long been a pitcher full of hype, though short on production. He got his season off to a good start against Oakland, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 IP as he outpitched Sean Manaea (4 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 4.2 IP). At the same time you can argue that Bundy got awfully lucky in his production, as he generated just 11 swinging strikes while he generated 12 flyballs vs. just 1 groundball.

5) Didi Gregorius homers again…

Two games as a Phillie, two home runs for Gregorius (he’s now 3-7 with 2 HR and 2 RBI on the season). It would’ve been fair to have concerns after he struggled upon returning in ’19 (.238 with 16 HR over 324 AB). Obviously it’s just two games, but fully healthy there doesn’t appear to be any reason to worry. A healthy Gregorius is among the better shortstops in the league, and there’s a good chance he gets back up to that level before long.

6) Taijuan Walker struggles in his return to Seattle…

There was a time that Walker was viewed as a potentially elite pitcher, but injuries have derailed his career. He returned to Seattle, where there was likely a little bit of optimism, but that likely disappeared quickly. Taking on the Astros he allowed 5 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 3.1 IP as he generated just 3 swinging strikes. Clearly he’s a pitcher to completely ignore in all formats at this point.

7) Steven Matz and Max Fried with impressive pitcher’s duel… 

While neither pitcher ultimately factored in the decision, they both were impressive:

  • Steven Matz – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K
  • Max Fried – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Fried was pulled after 67 pitches, as the Braves have clearly eased their starters into things. Matz tossed 93 pitches and posted a solid 14 swinging strikes. He made one mistake, a HR to Adam Duvall, and that has been the issue throughout his career (1.52 HR/9 in ’19). If he can keep the ball in the ballpark the upside is there, so watch him closely.

8) Has Joey Votto rediscovered his swing…

Votto has hit a total of 27 HR over the past two years (15 HR in ’19), but after going 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday he’s now homered in each of his first two games of the season. Obviously no one is about to jump to any conclusions off of two games, especially for a player who has generally struggled to put a significant number of balls in the air and who posted a pedestrian 88.8 mph Exit Velocity last season. Still, in the sprint that is 2020 any type of prolonged hot streak could be the difference between winning and losing. In other words, ride him while he’s hot.

9) Did Brady Singer put himself on the map…

Taking on the Indians he allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP. The team’s first round pick in 2018, he pitched in High-A and Double-A last season showing enough of all three skills we look for:

  • Strikeouts – 8.37 K/9
  • Control – 2.37 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 50.9%

Obviously we’d like to see more than a 9.9% SwStr% and, as we noted when we gave him a “C+” grade prior to the season, a limited arsenal and his delivery could ultimately lead to a role in the bullpen. This is a good first step and he deserves to be on radars, though don’t do anything dramatic to acquire him.

10) Victor Robles helps to pace the Nationals offense…

After looking awful on Opening Day, the Washington offense erupted in Game #2 for 9 runs on 13 hits and making it an extremely short day for James Paxton (3 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 1.0 IP). While there were a lot of contributors, Robles’ performance was most noteworthy. He finished going 3-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R, and while he’s more of a speed guy let’s not forget that he slugged 17 HR to go with his 28 SB a year ago. As long as he’s making contact there’s a lot to love, though he already has 3 K vs. 0 BB over his first 6 AB. Obviously there’s a lot to like, but let’s not overlook the potential negative as well.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Savant

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