10 Important Stories From 08/01/20 Box Scores: Must Add Waiver Target, Which Breakout Bats Are For Real (Jimenez/Swanson) & More

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Luis Robert helped to set the table for the White Sox offense, going 4-6 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. Ronald Acuna may be starting to heat up, finally, as he went 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. Aaron Judge homered for the fourth straight game, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) Miguel Sano shows off his power…

It’s been a slow start to the 2020 campaign for Sano, but he erupted against Carlos Carrasco (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K) finishing the day going 2-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. Those were his first 2 HR of the season, and he’s still hitting just .150 over 20 AB. Of course the biggest question facing Sano entering the season was his ability to make contact, and while his 27.9% SwStr% entering the day should improve it certainly won’t disappear (15.9% for his career). In other words he needs to make contact and that’s hardly a guarantee. It was a nice day, but don’t get overly excited.

2) Is an Eloy Jimenez breakout truly upon us…

He had a huge game, getting Chicago’s offense off to a quick start with a first inning three-run home run. Ultimately he went 4-6 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .381 with 2 HR and 6 RBI over 21 AB. The biggest question facing Jimenez has been his ability to make consistent contact, but thus far he appears to have it under control with 5 K vs. 1 BB. That said he entered the day with a 42.5% O-Swing% and 14.5% SwStr%, albeit in a small sample size but it still brings questions considering his ’19 marks (36.7% and 15.3%, respectively). He has the potential to be a difference maker, but an extended slump due to strikeout issues could come quickly. We’ll continue to monitor him closely before fully dubbing him a breakout.

3) Is Griffin Cannng emerging as a must use option…

Taking on the Astros he was solid, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, showing enough in both swings and misses (11 swinging strikes) and groundballs (6 groundballs vs. 6 flyballs). Obviously the underlying numbers aren’t elite, but they would allow him to be a productive options. However the groundballs need to be watched closely, especially after not generating many in his first start (18.2%), and he’s consistently been hit hard at the MLB level (41.8% career Hard% entering the day). He has the potential to emerge, but he’s not there yet. For now continue to view him more as a matchup play until he proves otherwise.

4) Is Dansby Swanson truly a fantasy difference maker…

He seems to find a way to contribute each day, and that makes him hard to ignore. He went 1-3 with 2 R and 1 SB yesterday, and he’s now hitting .382 with 2 HR, 11 RBI, 9 R and 3 SB. On the surface you’d think he’d be a must use option, but when you start to dig into the numbers his 13 K vs. 1 BB over 34 AB does start to stick out. He did enter the day with a 14.1% SwStr% and he’s been struggling with all types of pitches (including a 15.00% Whiff% against hard pitches). Hopefully he can get that under control, because if he does he should emerge as one of the best options at SS. If he doesn’t? The numbers will go south in a hurry.

5) An inefficient Tyler Glasnow faces off with the Orioles…

We would’ve hoped that Glasnow would’ve been able to work deeper into the game, after being pulled after 4.0 IP against the Braves in his first start and since he was taking on a weaker Orioles’ offense. Unfortunately he last just 4.2 IP, allowing 2 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 4.2 IP. He threw just 49 of 88 pitches for strikes, while struggling to generate a significant number of swinging strikes (8). There are no concerns about his upside, assuming he’s throwing strikes and going deeper into games. Don’t be concerned at this point.

6) Luke Weaver implodes once again, is it time to move on…

While Julio Urias was solid (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K), Weaver and the rest of the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff was watching the ball fly out of the ballpark. The Dodgers hit 4 HR in total, with Weaver yielding two of them as he allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 4.0 IP. This comes after he allowed 6 ER over 3.1 IP in his first start, as he’s walked 5 in his 7.1 IP while allowing 3 HR. There was always risk with Weaver, considering he entered the year with a 42.0% career groundball rate and limited strikeout potential. While he’s better than what he’s shown thus far, he’s hardly a must use option.

7) Has Joey Lucchesi pitches his way out of the rotation…

Last night was always going to be difficult, pitching in Coors Field, but he managed to go just 1.2 innings after allowing 3 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 3. This comes after he was pulled after just 3.2 IP in his first start and there had been questions about his rotation spot to begin with. When right the upside of Lucchesi is tremendous, but he may not get a chance to show it. It all depends on your format, but in shallower leagues don’t be afraid to move on if you need the roster spot (especially if it’s revealed that he’s being shifted to the bullpen).

8) Can Tyler Chatwood continue to be an impressive option…

Who saw this coming? Taking on the Pirates Chatwood was spectacular, tossing 6.2 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 11. He generated an impressive 20 swinging strikes and in 12.2 IP to start the season he’s accumulated 19 strikeouts (vs. 4 BB). It’s just two starts, but he’s been throwing his cut-fastball (27.22%) and curveball (15.00%) more than ever before at the expense of his fourseam fastball (8.89%). It makes sense, with opposing hitters posting a .294 SLG against his cut-fastball and .355 SLG against his curveball (while also being his best two swing and miss pitches). There are going to be bumps, but he looks like he’s unlocked some potential. In the short season he’s the type of pitcher that you grab now to see if this is truly for real.

9) Has Drew Smyly grabbed our attention…

He was solid against the Rangers, allowing 2 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 4.0 IP. He’s still working up his arm strength, being pulled after 71 pitches, but when he was on the mound he showed swings and misses (14 swinging strikes) and groundballs (4 groundballs vs. 1 flyball). The groundball rate would be the new development, and if he can maintain that with the strikeouts he could at least be a streaming option. It’s hard to consider him a potential difference maker, but he’s at least worth monitoring.

10) Yusei Kikuchi finally delivered…

There was hoping entering the year, but Kikuchi fell completely flat in his ’20 debut. In his second start it was a completely different story, as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 9. He had it all working, generating 20 swinging strikes while also getting 5 groundballs (compared to 1 groundball). He’s actually done a good job in both starts in those two regards, the difference was his control. Given his struggles in ’19 we aren’t quite willing to say he’s a must buy to find out, but in deeper formats there are worse ways to fill out your roster. There’s enough upside that if he has figured something out (finally), he could make a difference.

Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN, Brooks Baseball

4 COMMENTS

    • I actually did an article on the young pitchers today, but it didn’t include Howard/Gore.

      I’d put Gore and Howard just ahead of Pearson, behind Chatwood, on that list

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