10 Important Stories From 08/05/20 Box Scores: Big Name Pitchers To Run Away From, Intriguing Breakout Options & More

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While he settled for a no decision, it was an outstanding performance from Aaron Nola as he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 12, over 6.0 IP. Fernando Tatis filled the box score, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB. Mike Trout had a monster day, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) Is it time to buy into Randy Dobnak…

Dobnak had a relatively strong start against the Pirates, as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings 3 H and 0 BB. He was a groundball machine, generating 11 groundballs vs. 5 flyballs, and that’s clearly been his strength this season (68.0% groundball rate over his first 9.0 IP). Of course there also are significant questions about his strikeout rate, as he got just 1 K yesterday and had a 7.00 K/9 entering the day. He generated a miserable 4 swinging strikes, and that will obviously limit his potential upside long-term. In other words he’s shaping up to be more of a streaming option as opposed to a player worth trusting.

2) Is it time to cut bait with JA Happ…

It was another miserable performance, this time against the Phillies, as he allowed 4 ER on 3 H and 6 BB, striking out 1, over 3.0 IP. He’s made two starts (the first came against the Orioles, and he’s now allowed 8 ER on 7 H and 8 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 IP. He’s also allowed 3 HR as he’s generated 5 groundballs vs. 13 flyballs on the season. IS he better than those types of numbers? Absolutely, but in a short season there also is reason to quickly lose patience. At the very least, bury him on your bench until he gives us a reason to use him again.

3) Despite getting the W, is there concern for Mike Clevinger…

Clevinger did toss 5.2 shutout innings against the Reds, allowing 2 H with 4 K. However he walked 5, and now over his past two starts (9.2 IP) he’s walked 10 batters. It’s obviously a small sample size, but it’s still concerning considering he posted a 3.02 BB/9 in ’18 and 2.64 in ’19. It is a small sample size and you would think he’d be able to get it worked out, but it’s something that needs to be monitored regardless. If he can’t get the control on track, considering his 40.0% career groundball rate (4 groundballs vs. 7 flyballs) if home runs also become an issue the results could really go south. Watch him closely, just in case.

4) Could Elieser Hernandez take advantage of an opportunity…

With the Marlins’ roster decimated by COVID-19, there are going to be opportunities. Hernandez looked the part of an MLB starter yesterday, out-dueling Alex Cobb (5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 7 K). Hernandez was pulled after 66 pitches, tossing 4.1 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 5. Of course some of the underlying numbers don’t impress:

  • Swinging Strikes – 8
  • GB // FB – 2 // 6

The swinging strikes shouldn’t be a concern (11.6% SwStr% in the Majors last season), but the groundballs are a different story. In his 82.1 IP in the Majors last season he allowed a 2.19 HR/9 courtesy of a 33.8% groundball rate. With those home run concerns continuing, he’s more of a pitcher to monitor than to trust.

5) Despite L, Kris Bubic puts name on radars…

Taking on the Cubs Bubic went 6.0 innings allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 6. He generated 13 swinging strikes while getting 6 groundballs vs. 4 flyballs. Let’s not forget that Bubic is making the jump directly from High-A, which makes the performance that much more impressive. Even at High-A (101.2 IP) we saw the signs of a pitcher who could produce in all three skills we look for:

  • Strikeouts – 9.74 K/9 (12.3% SwStr%)
  • Control – 2.39 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 42.4%

Obviously there’s going to be a lot of risk, as the soon to be 23-year old tries to be productive after the huge jump in competition. A better fit for those in keeper/dynasty formats, he could still have streaming appeal in yearly formats.

6) Has the Adrian Houser breakout fully arrived…

While Dallas Keuchel was outstanding for the White Sox (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K), Houser was able to get the W. Houser went 7.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, as he was a groundball machine (9 groundballs vs. 3 flyballs). In 12.0 IP he owns a 0.75 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, though there’s little chance he maintains those types of marks. It’s not enough data to draw definitive conclusions from, but his .192 BABIP and 100.0% strand rate have nowhere to go but south. That said, the skills are there for a successful pitcher who has value.

7) Are we moving on from Robbie Ray…

Sure he got the W over the Astros, in a game that saw the teams combine for 8 HR. Still it was another ugly outing for Ray, who allowed 6 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP as he allowed 3 HR. He’s now made 3 starts (13.1 IP) and things are simply the status quo:

  • Strikeouts – 17
  • Walks – 11
  • Home Runs – 6

So while he’s getting strikeouts, he continues to struggle with his control and isn’t keeping the ball in the ballpark. That’s a terrible combination and will continue to lead to an ugly ERA/WHIP (9.45 ERA, 1.95 WHIP). He’s a tough drop, but he’s impossible to trust.

8) Matt Olson shows why he is one to stay patient with…

It’s been a slow start to the season but Olson erupted yesterday, going 2-3 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, though he’s still hitting just .179 with 3 HR and 9 RBI on the season. You can argue that a lot of the concerns from last season remain, as he’s pulling the ball far too much (19.2% Oppo%) and he’s a flyball heavy hitter (46.2% flyball rate). The fact that these issues were there last season only adds to the concerns, because we aren’t talking about such a small sample size anymore. He should still improve on his .174 BABIP and we all know he has power, so buying him now for a big push in ’20 makes sense (but over the long haul, know there are limitations).

9) Joc Pederson carries the Dodgers offense…

After a day like this you know the Dodgers are happy they didn’t trade Pederson this offseason, don’t you think? He went 2-3 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 3 R yesterday, raising his season totals to .258 with 3 HR and 7 RBI. The left-handed hitter has struggled with strikeouts (14.9% SwStr%) and he continues to be a strict platoon player (only 1 AB against a southpaw this season). There’s no questioning that he could have some big days, like this one, but don’t get overly excited. There are obvious limitations that are going to keep his value suppressed.

10) Kyle Seager shows why he still has value…

He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .326 with 2 HR and 14 RBI on the season. He’s always shown a strong command of the strike zone, but he’s been even more impressive this season (5.3% SwStr%, 21.1% O-Swing%). Maybe those marks take a small step backwards, as could his 53.5% Hard%, but he should continue to be a viable option all season long. At the very least, maximize the current hot streak before things start to slow.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

13 COMMENTS

  1. RP: Has Clevinger lost any veto? If you remember, earlier in his career before his veto spike, he was a walk machine; he still had great stuff, but without the veto he seemed to always nibble himself to a 3-5 game.

  2. Hello Professor,

    12 Team 6×6 OPS QS Roto Daily

    I currently roster Castillo, Darvish, Lynn, Gallen, Canning, Montgomery, Ray, and Kikuchi so I’m getting enough strikeouts already.

    Your thoughts on dropping Ray @COL next for Peterson vs MIA next?

    Thanks in advance for your response

  3. If you are trading Bichette and Melancon, would you rather get back Conforto or Soler? Or do you feel the price is too steep for either?

    • It’s not crazy price, but I prefer Conforto. He’s the better all around player and arguably has the higher ceiling

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