10 Important Stories from 08/13/19 Box Scores: Young Starters Heading In Different Directions, Bigger Names Not Worth Trusting & More

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Rafael Devers had a big day at the plate, going 6-6 with 3 RBI and 1 R. Dustin May pitched well again, beating the Marlins as he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 5.2 IP as he looks to entrench himself in the rotation moving forward. Josh Bell continued his resurgence, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R (giving him 4 HR, 9 RBI and 6 R over his past three games). What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1)Is it time to give up on Dylan Cease for 2019…
Taking on the Astros he allowed 4 R (2 earned) over 6.0 IP, but the underlying skills simply weren’t there. He struggled with his control (5 BB), gave up 2 HR (he’s now allowed at least 1 HR in each of his seven starts) and wasn’t missing many bats (he had 2 K courtesy of 7 swinging strikes). While he had shown better control of late he now has 20 BB over 39.0 IP and his 10.3% SwStr% and 28.4% O-Swing% entering the day don’t necessarily support a strikeout per inning. No one is going to argue against his upside but he needs to make adjustments and there is no guarantee that he gets there this season. While innings shouldn’t be an issue (he threw 124.0 IP last season and currently is 107.1 IP this season, meaning he has 45-50 left) the risk outweighs the reward if your sole focus is this season.

2) Could Joe Ross make an impact over the remainder of the season…
Remember when he seemed like a must own option a few years back? Injuries have helped him fall off the map, but he’s pitching well (at least on the surface) and has to have gained our attention. Taking on the Reds yesterday he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 6.2 IP and he’s now allowed 1 ER over 18.0 IP over his past three starts. While he didn’t miss many bats yesterday (8 swinging strikes), he had shown signs in his previous outing (15 swinging strikes). He also was a groundball machine yesterday (11 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls), and if he can come even reasonably close to that on a nightly basis the upside will be there. At the very least he’s pitched is way into streaming consideration, but there’s even more upside than that.

3) Jose Quintana, Strikeout Machine?!? Where did that come from…
Taking on the Phillies Quintana allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 14, over 6.0 IP though he settled for a no decision. Quintana hadn’t struck out more than 7 batters in a game since his third start of the season, entering the day with a 7.63 K/9 courtesy of an 8.7% SwStr% (he owns a career 8.4% SwStr%). Obviously yesterday appears to be a complete aberration, so don’t read too much into it. Despite the strong stretch (4 ER over 19.0 IP in August) he remains more name than true value, as there is risk in regards to home runs (42.6% groundball rate entering the day) and he’s been hit rather hard overall (39.1% Hard%). Maybe he can be a streaming option, but over the long haul he’s not someone to trust.

4) Should we be concerned with Chris Sale once again…
While he was coming off a gem against the Angels (8.0 shutout innings with 13 K), he wasn’t at his best yesterday and it was his third poor outing in his past four. He allowed 5 R (3 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, allowing 2 HR in the process. Sure he struck out 12, which is a bright spot, but the home runs are becoming an issue. He’s allowed 2 HR in each of these three struggles and he’s allowed 24 HR over 147.1 IP on the season. Obviously having entered the day with a 13.18 K/9, 2.24 BB/9 and 67.3% strand rate there is every reason to believe in him moving forward. If he can figure out how to once again keep the ball in the ballpark even better, and considering a 0.94 HR/9 for his career you would think he’ll get there. Even if he doesn’t all you can really do is stick with him and hope for the best.

5) Matthew Boyd takes one on the chin once again…
Home runs are the theme of the season, and Boyd has been a significant victim of that. He allowed 4 HR yesterday (including two of the 3 HR Kyle Seager slugged, finishing the day 3-4 with 3 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R) and has now allowed 7 HR over his past two starts (30 HR on the season). He finished allowing 7 R (6 earned) on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.1 IP yesterday and it’s fair to wonder just how usable he is moving forward. He entered the day with an impressive 12.03 K/9 and 2.11 BB/9, which is going to catch your attention, but he also had been hit extremely hard (40.3% Hard%) and doesn’t generate many groundballs (35.4%). Since July 1 it had been even worse, entering the day with a 43.9% Hard%, meaning that the issues could easily continue. That’s not a good combination, and while long-term maybe he figures it out you have to think that he’s not quite the elite pitcher the Tigers had been marketing him as. For fantasy owners he may be more a SP3 (thanks to the strikeouts) or even a SP4.

6) Will Smith helps lead the Dodgers to a blowout victory…
The Dodgers hit 6 HR on the day, with Smith contributing two of them. He finished the day 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R, and he’s now hitting .324 with 9 HR and 26 RBI in 71 AB in the Majors. Obviously the home run rate may not be maintainable, though it’s not going to disappear (he had 20 HR in 223 AB at Triple-A this season and 20 HR in 352 AB in the minors last year), but he continues to show the type of approach that should play well in the Majors. Entering the day he had a 9.9% SwStr% and 23.7% O-Swing%, meaning the walks should rise (6.7%) and the strikeouts should fall (26.7%). Throw in a 53.1% Hard% and even with a potential regression there’s a lot to love. He’s already a Top 10 catcher and a must own in all formats.

7) Jack Flaherty continues to show off just how high his upside is…
Sure this came against the Royals but he still dominated, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 7. Sure he’s just 6-6 on the season but he now owns a 3.52 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 135.1 IP. He’s now hasn’t allowed a run in three straight starts (21.0 IP) and he’s allowed 2 ER or fewer in his past seven (he had a 4.90 ERA before this run starter). Every number you look at is impressive over this stretch, with 56 K vs. 11 BB, allowing just 2 HR, over 45.1 IP. You can argue that the home runs will once again bite him at some point, having entered the day with a 37.5% groundball rate (5 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday), but that’s not enough to knock him down significantly.

8) Nick Ahmed is enjoying his time in Coors Field…
He homered for the second straight day in Colorado (and third straight game overall), going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. Over this three game stretch he’s gone 6-12 with 3 HR, 9 RBI and 3 R, putting him at .271 with 14 HR and 64 RBI overall. He continues to show the overall potential, entering the day with a 37.5% Hard% and .295 BABIP (the former being similar to last year’s mark of 39.2%) as well as a much improved approach at the plate (9.1% SwStr%, 28.1% O-Swing%). Throw in a little bit more power potential, which he showed last year as well (33 doubles, 5 triples and 16 HR), and he may fly under-the-radar but the upside is there to be a viable option. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking him or underrating him.

9) Brendan McKay struggles with his control in San Diego…
There likely was optimism heading into this start, taking on an NL lineup and getting a chance to hit, but he couldn’t find the strike zone. Lasting just 4.0 IP he allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 6 BB, striking out 7, though he ultimately ended up with a no decision. Considering he had 3 BB over 29.2 IP coming into this one it’s easy to give him a pass in that regard. Lack of groundballs have been an issue (33.3%), though he showed significantly more in that regard in the minors, and a .352 BABIP should improve as well. Obviously pitching in the AL East is going to limit his overall upside, but there’s more than enough here to invest in. Maybe he’s not a must start, but as a plug and play option for your bench consider him well worth owning.

10) Max Fried pitches well against the Mets…
He clearly outpitched Zack Wheeler (5.0 IP, 5 ER, 12 H, 2 BB, 2 K) as he allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP to improve to 14-4 with a 3.99 ERA. While a 1.38 WHIP would appear to be a red flag, he should improve upon his .339 BABIP and he’s been showing off all the skills that we look for from a pitcher (8.98 K/9, 2.71 BB/9 and 52.9% groundball rate). Everything would seem to point towards continued success, though the big issue could be an impending innings limit. He’s already thrown 126.1 innings this season after totaling 111.1 last season (and 128.2 IP in ’17). Could he get pushed about 30 more innings? It’s possible, but with the playoffs looming they could move him to the bullpen in order to keep him active and in the mix. Keep that in mind before assuming he makes an impact deep into September.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

10 COMMENTS

    • Long-term I 100% agree, but for the rest of this season there could be a lot of bumps (especially given the control issues and HR troubles thus far).

    • Neither of them are “great” options, but I think Keller has more upside. That doesn’t mean I’d just set him and forget him though

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