10 Important Stories From 08/08/20 Box Scores: “Breakouts” NOT To Buy (Or Sell High), Under-the-Radar Options & More

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Miguel Cabrera is showing that there’s still some life in his bat, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R (he now has 4 HR on the season). Gerrit Cole was good, but he fell victim to a high pitch count and failed to get through 5.0 IP and qualify for a win (4.2 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 10 K). Jorge Soler is proving that last year’s breakout was for real, going 2-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R (he’s hitting .267 with 5 HR and 10 RBI on the season). What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) It is time to believe in Zach Plesac…

Taking on the White Sox Plesac dazzled once again, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 7. He was consistently generating swings and misses (16 swinging strikes), something he’s done in all three starts this season (he entered the day with a 13.9% SwStr%). While we would like to see a few more groundballs, his pinpoint control (2 BB over 22.0 IP) and strikeout stuff should continue to keep him as a strong option. He entered the day having thrown fewer fastballs, instead using his slider (25.48%) or changeup (25.21%) nearly half the time. It makes sense, as opponents have hit .216 or worse against all three of his secondary pitches. While there’s going to be a bump at some point, Plesac should remain a good option the rest of the way.

2) Despite the loss, Framber Valdez opens some eyes…

He was outpitched by Frankie Montas (7.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K), but that takes nothing away from Valdez’ performance. Going 7.0 IP he allowed 2 R (1 ER) on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 9. His big mistake came against Marcus Semien (who showed signs of life, finally, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB). Valdez has shown a strong mix of strikeouts and control (17 K vs. 3 BB), while also generating enough groundballs (48.4% entering the day, before 7 groundballs vs. 4 flyballs yesterday). He hasn’t been getting many swings outside of the strike zone (17.8% O-Swing% entering the day), and he only got 9 swinging strikes yesterday. That will be something to watch, especially after he entered the day with a 51.6% Hard%. That’s not to say that he’s too risky to trust, just be careful as things can turn in a hurry.

3) Control + Home Run Issues Plague Tyler Glasnow…

Sure he was facing the Yankees, but Glasnow struggled allowing 4 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 2.2 IP for the L. He allowed a HR for the third straight start and now has 8 BB over 11.1 IP in his three starts. While he had shown better control last season, let’s not forget that he had a 4.27 BB/9 over 111.2 IP back in 2018. We all know the upside he has, but throw in a 43.8% Hard% over his first two starts and there are obvious reasons to be concerned. Obviously he’s worth owning, but proceed with caution in the short-term.

4) Should we give up on Kyle Wright…

Taking on the Phillies Wright at least went 6.0 IP, but he allowed 4 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 3. He was burned by a pair of home runs and he continues to struggle with his control in the Majors. Over his three starts he’s allowed 15 H and 10 BB over 12.0 IP, so it’s no surprise that he currently sits with a 6.75 ERA. The control issues are a surprise, though they’ve been consistent throughout his MLB career (he entered the day with a 7.39 BB/9 in the Majors). With no signs of fixing the issue and with alternatives in house, would it be surprising to see Wright moved out of the rotation? Long-term the upside is there, but for 2020 it’s hard to buy into.

5) Anthony Santander continues to grab our attention…

One of our favorite sleepers entering the season, Santander went 1-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday. While he’s hitting just .250 on the season, he now has 3 HR and 12 RBI (to go along with 4 doubles and 1 triple). His 7 K over 56 AB is an impressive mark, though only 1 BB is a bit of a concern. At the same time, there is a risk of his strikeout rate rising given these marks:

  • SwStr% – 11.6%
  • O-Swing% – 45.5%

That’s not enough to deter owners, though, as the power is there and he’s shown an ability to hit the ball hard (43.5% Hard%) and use the entire field (30.4% Oppo%). He is going to have value in all formats.

6) Has Kolby Allard re-emerged as a viable option…

He had to settle for a no decision, as Patrick Sandoval (6.0 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K) was almost as impressive. Allard, however, tossed 5.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 6. He’s now made two starts (9.0 IP), allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 9. While it would seem like it was impressive, the underlying metrics in yesterday’s start really wasn’t:

  • Swinging Strikes – 9
  • GB // FB – 2 // 7

Even last year he didn’t show an ability to fool MLB hitters (8.0% SwStr%, 26.0% O-Swing%), so don’t get all that excited.

7) Has Pete Alonso finally started to turn things around…

He’s one of many stars who have gotten off to a slow start, but he hit one of three Mets’ home runs last night (Michael Conforto and JD Davis also homered) finishing going 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. Alonso now has a modest four game hitting streak (5-15, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R), and he also doubled in his previous outing. It would seem like things are moving in the right direction, though we all know that a power surge should come before long. Considering that he continues to stay inside the strike zone (29.5% O-Swing%) ad hit the ball hard (39.4%), while also not focusing on the fences, it was just a matter of time.

8) Is this the Byron Buxton breakout we’ve been waiting for…

Buxton went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R, his third straight game with a home run and extending his modest hitting streak to five games (6-15, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, 0 SB). In 30 AB this season he has 9 K vs. 1 BB, and that is just one of many warning signs that we need to monitor closely:

  • Flyball Rate – 50.0%
  • Popup Rate – 45.5%
  • SwStr% – 16.4%
  • O-Swing% – 52.5%

So his approach has been abysmal and he appears to be swinging for the fences. Considering that his best asset is his speed, things could fall off a cliff in short order. If things don’t change, he becomes an ideal sell high candidate.

9) Does Austin Slater deserve our attention…

Hitting atop the Giants’ order he went 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, with both home runs coming against Clayton Kershaw (he allowed 4 ER over 4.1 IP, including 3 HR). Slater is now 4-15 over his past three games (2 HR and 1 triple) and overall is hitting .310 over 29 AB. He’s been on the Triple-A/MLB shuttle the past few seasons, though his issue at the highest level has been strikeout issues (career 11.7% SwStr%). However, while it’s a small sample he owns a 7.4% SwStr% this season while also staying inside the strike zone (23.1% O-Swing%). That’s closer to his Triple-A numbers, and he’s also hitting the ball hard (42.9% Hard%). He can get on base, while also provide some power and speed. In other words, his name should be on radars and in deeper formats he’s worth stashing immediately.

10) Has Merrill Kelly truly turned the corner…

Kelly outpitched Chris Paddack (5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K), as he improved to 2-1 with a 2.29 ERA as he allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP. Kelly’s strength in this one was generating groundballs (9 groundballs vs. 3 flyballs), though he wasn’t missing many bats (6 swinging strikes). With a 7.9% SwStr% it’s hard to get excited, especially when combined with such extreme luck (100.0% strand rate, .250 BABIP) and being hit hard (46.7% Hard%). It’s just a matter of time before things implode, so don’t get excited or make a move to get him.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

3 COMMENTS

  1. Standard 5×5 15 team league. Pick up Slater or Dylan /Moore(Qualifies at more positions- concerned about LaStella/Yandy Diaz bou OF helps as well-concerned about Zimmer). Thanks!

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