10 Important Stories from 08/07/19 Box Scores: Sell High Youngsters For ’19 (Hiura, Gallen), Potentially Elite Options Emerging & More

2
3229

Ozzie Albies paced the Braves to an 11 run outburst, going 4-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R (he’s now hitting .296 with 17 HR and 11 SB. James Paxton delivered a strong start, albeit against the Orioles, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 IP. While the game was suspended due to rain J.D. Martinez showed off his power, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1)Is Michael Conforto finally evolving into an “elite” option…
He had a big day yesterday, going 2-3 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R. He’s now homered in back-to-back games (while Peter Alonso has homered in three straight, after going 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R), three of his past four and has 9 HR over 92 AB since the All-Star Break. Overall he’s hitting .261 with 25 HR and 64 RBI to go along with an impressive .370 OBP. He’s known as one of the streakier players in the game and he’s clearly entrenched in one of his scorching hot streaks. He’s on pace to set a career high in home runs (he hit 28 HR last year) while he’s improved his approach (10.5% SwStr%, 26.0% O-Swing% entering the day) and is using the entire field (28.4% Oppo%). He has the potential to be a Top 15 type outfielder who could hit .280+ with ample power.

2) An impressive performance from Zach Plesac…
Pitching in Game 1 of what ultimately was a double header sweep over the Rangers, Plesac tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, though he had to settle for a no decision. In 13 starts (72.0 IP) he owns a 3.13 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, though you have to wonder how long he can maintain those types of marks. He currently has 54 K vs. 27 BB, with just a 9.6% SwStr% and 27.7% O-Swing showing his limitations. Throw in a suppressed groundball rate (42.1%), which could lead to some home run issues, and an awful lot of luck (.221 BABIP, 81.8% strand rate entering the day) and the risk far outweighs the rewards. It’s impossible to envision much of an impact moving forward.

3) Two big mistakes cost Brendan McKay…
He was cruising, but a pair of home runs against the Blue Jays ultimately did him in. He ended up going 5.0 innings allowing 3 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, taking the L. He’s shown tremendous strikeouts and control thus far in the Majors, 33 K vs. 3 BB over 29.2 IP, but he’s allowed 6 HR (2 HR in each of his past two starts. He entered the day with a 33.5% groundball rate before generating 3 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls against Toronto. He needs to do a better job there, which will help limit the home run damage, if he wants to emerge as one of the better starters in the league. He has that potential (42.0% groundball rate at Double-A, 48.5% at Triple-A) and starts at San Diego and home against Detroit could help to get him on track. Stick with him, as there’s more than enough upside.

4) Is it time to give up on Martin Perez…
While Max Fried pitched fairly well opposite him (5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 10 K), Perez laid an egg. Going 6.0 innings he allowed 7 R (6 ER) on 11 H and 2 BB, striking out 6. The biggest problem were the 3 HR he allowed. He’s now allowed 8 HR over his past four starts and 18 HR over 122.0 IP overall. His strikeout rate has dropped significantly (8.05 K/9 to 6.43 in the second half, prior to yesterday), though interestingly his groundball rate has actually improved (52.9% in the second half). He also has maintained his solid Hard% (34.7% in the second half). The home runs have been the problem, but they shouldn’t be at the rate they currently are. While he’s tough to trust in the short-term, seeing a significant improvement isn’t out of the question. If a frustrated owner loses hope, stashing him makes sense.

5) Yuli Gurriel has a monster day, but how “real” is it…
He finished going 2-4 with 1 HR, 8 RBI and 1 R, bringing him to .298 with 23 HR and 80 RBI on the season. The power surge is what was truly unexpected, though his 15.0% HR/FB entering the day isn’t going to raise any red flags. Couple that with a 39.4% Hard%, an ability to put the bat on the ball consistently (6.9% SwStr%) and room for improvement in his BABIP (.288) and you get the impression that this is for real, Of course the overall numbers are buoyed by a monster July (12 HR, 31 RBI, .398 AVG) and he hasn’t slowed down in August (3 HR and 12 RBI). Can he continue along this path? That seems like a long shot, so we don’t want to get blinded by what essentially is an unbelievable hot streak. Sooner or later he will slow down.

6) Does Ian Happ belong on our radars once again…
He got the start at 2B and delivered at the dish, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R. Over his past four games he’s now gone 6-10 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, striking out just once in the process. It’s hard to draw any conclusion off of 25 AB, though he is hitting .320 and he’s walked (6) just as much as he’s struck out (6). Let’s not forget that he had been surging prior to getting recalled (.324 with 5 HR and 2 SB over 74 AB at Triple-A) and if he’s going to draw regular starts at 2B he could prove to be an impactful player. The key to the turnaround had been his approach (19 K vs. 17 BB), and he’s continued in the Majors. Keep a close eye on him, but for those in deeper leagues it makes sense to grab him now.

7) Dustin May shows off his potential…
He was matched by John Flaherty (7.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 10 K) so he had to settle for a no decision, but May’s performance can’t be overlooked. Going 5.2 IP he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 7. His lone mistake was a home run to Marcell Ozuna (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), but otherwise it was a highly impressive performance and a big step in the right direction. As we’ve discussed before (click here for our scouting report) the biggest question is whether or not he sticks in the Dodgers rotation, given their depth when healthy. If he’s pitching he’s a must own moving forward, though it’s likely already too late to make the claim.

8) Just how good is Keston Hiura after his latest big day…
Hitting cleanup he went 3-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R, putting him at .307 with 13 HR, 30 RBI and 29 R over his first 192 AB in the Majors. He had been in a bit of a slump, 4-32 with 0 HR, 0 RBI and 1 R over his previous nine games so this was a welcomed sight. Even with the cold streak he entered the day with a .402 BABIP, and even though he’s been hitting the ball hard (45.5% Hard%) it’s easy to envision a regression. He’s also had a significant issue making consistent contact, with a 17.8% SwStr% leading to a 31.3% strikeout rate (even yesterday he struck out once). A regression in his luck coupled with the strikeout issues could lead to more long cold stretches, making him a risk over the remainder of ’19. Long-term he has significant upside, just be prepared for the bumps along the way.

9) Remember when Gio Urshela was thought of as a defensive player…
He was supposed to be a glove only replacement, but at this point fantasy owners are quickly forgetting about Miguel Andujar. Urshela went 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R yesterday giving him home runs in back-to-back games and a 9-game hitting streak overall (17-34, 4 HR, 9 RBI and 10 R) though he didn’t even have an official AB on July 25 so you can argue it’s actually a 12-game streak. Overall he’s hitting .319 with 14 HR and 26 doubles over 298 AB, though you have to wonder if he’ll ultimately be exposed for chasing outside the strike zone a bit too much (41.6% O-Swing% yet just a 15.9% strikeout rate entering the day). He’s been quite the story and he’s well worth owning/using while this continues, just be prepared for him to slow down eventually.

10) A nearly unhittable performance from Zac Gallen…
Making his first start for the Diamondbacks he tossed 5.0 shutout innings against the Phillies allowing 1 H and 3 BB, striking out 6. He generated an impressive 16 swinging strikes and now has 49 K over 41.1 IP in the Majors. That said he hasn’t shown the same control that he had in the minors (21 BB) and pitching half his game in Arizona could lead to significant home run concerns (he entered the day with a 31.8% groundball rate). Throw in the benefits of a .259 BABIP and 80.9% strand rate, as well as the potential for an early September shutdown, and if you are playing for ’19 could there be any more of an ideal sell high candidate? Long-term there should be plenty of upside, so how you view/value him strictly depends on your spot in the rankings and the format you play in.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MILB.com

2 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here