10 Important Stories From 08/06/20 Box Scores: Moving On From “Flashes In The Pan” (Chatwood), Potential Waiver Wire Targets & More

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Jose Ramirez paced the Indians’ offense, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R. Nate Pearson’s second MLB start was nearly as impressive as his first, allowing 3 ER on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP in a no decision against the Braves. Christian Yelich went 1-2 with 1 HR (an inside-the-park HR), 1 RBI and 3 R (as well as drawing 4 BB). What else happened on the diamond? Let’s take a look:

1) Could this be the start of a turnaround for Gregory Polanco…

He was 1-19 entering the day, and while it wasn’t a spectacular day he went 1-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday (his first home run of the season). Of course he also struck out twice, and he now has 12 K over 23 AB. Obviously it’s a small sample size, but the SwStr% has been trending in the wrong direction in recent years:

  • 2017 – 8.9%
  • 2018 – 9.7%
  • 2019 – 14.7%
  • 2020 – 24.2% (entering the day)

We’ll have to wait and see if he can turn things around, but one swing certainly doesn’t indicate it.

2) Can Mauricio Dubon become a viable option…

He was hitting ninth yesterday, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. He’s now hitting .276 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 5 R over 29 AB. Of course he also has 9 K vs. 1 BB as he’s shown terrible command of the strike zone (he entered the game with a 13.3% SwStr% and 41.8% O-Swing%). If he’s not going to walk much his value will be minimal, especially since he doesn’t have significant power (despite the HR yesterday) and he hasn’t been showing as much speed in recent years. In other words, why is there reason to get all that excited?

3) Are we buying Dylan Bundy off of an absolute gem…

Granted it came against the Mariners (who gave Kyle Lewis the day off), but Bundy still tossed a complete game allowing 1 R on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 10. He made one mistake (a home run to Dan Vogelbach), but he generated enough swings and misses (16) and groundballs (10 GB vs. 7 FB). Strikeouts have never been a concern, nor has his control (though he now has 2 BB over 21.2 IP this season), it’s been home runs that have plagued him. He entered the day with a 26.7% groundball rate on the day, and 35.8% for his career, so that’s going to continue to be a concern. There’s enough here to make him potentially solid, but there’s also reason to be cautious in certain matchups/locations.

4) Carlos Carrasco has returned to ace status…

It seems clear that Carrasco should be considered among the top tier of pitchers, after he twirled another gem. He outpitched Luis Castillo (5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 9 K) to improve to 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 4 BB, striking out 9. While the walks do stand out, he had walked 2 over his first 12.0 IP so it’s not a big concern (especially with his 23 K overall and 16 swinging strikes yesterday). In fact he’s always shown all three skills we look for, with strikeouts (9.39 K/9), control (2.25 BB/9) and groundballs (48.4%). Once again healthy, he has the potential to be a difference maker in the short season.

5) Will the real Jordan Montgomery please stand up…

Montgomery made his second start of 2020 yesterday, and it was a complete 180 from his first:

  • 07/31 (vs. Boston) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K
  • 08/06 (at Philadelphia) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 K

There’s no positive takeaway, outside of maybe the control, as he wasn’t missing bats (7 swinging strikes) or generating groundballs (4 groundballs vs. 6 flyballs). Obviously it’s just one start so we don’t want to push the panic button, as the truth likely lies somewhere in between the two starts. That said, his next outing will be very important.

6) What happened to Tyler Chatwood?!…

Coming off his last start and with what appeared to be a favorable matchup on the horizon, Chatwood was a highly sought after waiver wire grab. Unfortunately there’s a reason why the game is actually played. Taking on the Royals this one can only be labeled as a disaster, with Chatwood failing to get out of the third inning. Getting just 7 outs, he allowed 8 ER on 11 H and 0 BB, striking out 4. Home runs, which weren’t a problem over his first two starts, became an issue as he was taken deep twice. He also was likely due for a clunker, as it will help to normalize both his BABIP (.250) and strand rate (90.0%). In other words don’t let this one debacle completely alter your opinion. We all knew he wasn’t as good as his 0.71 ERA entering the day and the upside we had seen is still there.

7) Touki Toussaint shines against Toronto…

While he settled for a no decision, Toussaint allowed 3 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 6.2 IP. That’s actually back-to-back impressive performances, after he allowed 6 ER over 2.2 IP in his ’20 debut, and the control is the most promising takeaway from this one. He entered the day with a 5.94 career BB/9 in the Majors, so if he could bottle what he did in this one it could go a long ways towards him seeing success. There hasn’t been a serious question about his strikeout rate (10.24 K/9 entering the day) or groundball rate (45.8%), so if he can come close to this type of control he’s going to be able to sustain success.

8) A wasted gem for Zac Gallen…

Taking on the Houston Astros it was a tremendous outing for Gallen, though the bullpen coughed it up and led to a no decision. Ultimately he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP as he made just one mistake (Altuve took him deep). Surprisingly Gallen only generated 9 swinging strikes in this one, though that obviously isn’t a concern (he entered the day with a 12.9% SwStr% in the Majors). The issue has more been about his control, and it will take more than just one start to prove that he’s overcome that. Throw in a 40.9% Hard% as well as the 98.2% strand rate he entered with, and it’s obvious that he’s heading for a significant bump at some point in the not too distant future.

9) Renato Nunez just continues to slug…

He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him 4 HR and 8 RBI on the season. It’s easy to forget that he hit 31 HR a year ago, courtesy of a realistic 16.7% HR/FB. He’s going to struggle with strikeouts, entering the day with a 13.3% career SwStr% and 37.1% career O-Swing%, and last season he also looked to be taking a bit of a flyball-centric approach (46.3% flyball rate). The latter may have been fixed, but if the strikeouts remain an issue (and it appears they will) he’s going to be a bit of a one-trick pony.

10) Josh Lindblom shows signs of production…

Taking on the White Sox he was solid, allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP. He generated 12 swinging strikes, which is a solid number given the length of the outing, and it’s obviously a step in the right direction overall. At the same time, he once again failed to generate many groundballs (2 groundballs vs. 4 flyballs). Considering his 22.2% groundball rate after his first start, home run issues could easily become an issue (and he did allow a home run to Avisail Garcia yesterday). In other words while this was a step in the right direction, it’s hardly a glowing review that should make you run out to grab him.

Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN

4 COMMENTS

    • I wouldn’t panic on him quite yet, but I’ll be digging into some of the disappointing starts over the weekend!

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