10 Important Stories from 08/28/19 Box Scores: Is It Time To Give Up On These Young Starters (Sheffield, Keller), Which Surging Bats To Buy (Schwarber) & More


Max Scherzer left after 89 pitches, which cost him a W, as he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 4.1 IP. It was a disastrous outing for Noah Syndergaard, who ultimately was charged with 10 R (9 earned) over just 3.0 innings of work against the Cubs. Aristedes Aquino continues to rake in the Majors, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, as fantasy owners need to continue to ride the unbelievable hot stretch. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1)Justus Sheffield continues to show he can’t be trusted…
He was outpitched by James Paxton (5.0 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 5 BB, 4 K), the pitcher he was traded for, with 2 HR doing him in for the night. He finished allowing 5 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 4.1 IP and has now allowed 8 ER on 13 H and 3 BB over 8.1 IP in his two starts since returning to the Majors. Let’s not forget that he had struggled at Triple-A both with home runs (1.96 HR/9) and control (6.71 BB/9) before being demoted to Double-A and seemingly finding himself. Until he proves that he can find success consistently at a higher level in ’19 (he did have a 2.56 ERA over 88.0 IP at Triple-A last season) he’s a completely unusable option. Depending on your format he could be worth stashing on the bench, but that’s it.

2) So much for Mitch Keller finding his footing in the Majors…
After allowing 1 ER with 9 K over 6.0 IP in his previous outing, everything went completely wrong for Keller against the Phillies yesterday. He lasted just 4.0 innings allowing 8 ER on 11 H and 1 BB, striking out 8. While it’s great that he has seemingly found his strikeout stuff (17 K over 10.0 IP in his past two starts), he’s now allowed 4 HR over his past three starts and has allowed 6+ ER in four of his seven starts in the Majors. He entered the day struggling in the luck department (.438 BABIP, 57.3% strand rate), and those certainly got worse yesterday, and that gives hope that he could truly get an a roll before long (especially considering his 34.5% Hard%). While he can’t be used at this point, the Pirates are committed to giving him starts down the stretch so he’s well worth stashing given the upside.

3) Mike Foltynewicz continues to struggle in the Majors…
While allowing 3 R (2 earned) isn’t atrocious, he lasted just 4.2 innings and yielded 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 3. It’s the second time in his past three starts that he’s had a similar line (he allowed 2 ER on 7 H and 3 BB over 4.2 IP against the Dodgers two starts ago) and in five August starts he’s allowed 12 ER on 29 H and 12 BB over 27.2 IP. He didn’t give up a home run yesterday, though he wasn’t generating many groundballs (4 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday), and that has been his biggest problem this season (2.19 HR/9 courtesy of a 35.1% groundball rate). He’s been hit hard this season (41.1% Hard%) and while you can point towards a 67.4% strand rate as a reason to believe, it’s hardly enough. For now he’s nothing more than a plug and play option.

4) How should we value the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber…
He had a good day overall yesterday, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, and has now gone 5-13 with 2 HR and 5 RBI over his past three games. He has 31 HR on the season, though no one has ever questioned his potential to make an impact with his power. However he’s hitting .228 and has struck out 125 times, something that is going to nearly eliminate his overall potential… Or does it? He’s actually shown an improved approach at the plate, with a career best 10.8% SwStr% to go along with an always solid O-Swing% (25.6%). He’s also willing to use the entire field (30.1% Oppo%) and while his fly ball rate is inflated, a 43.7% mark shouldn’t cripple his BABIP. With that mark currently sitting at .239, there’s only room for improvement. He’s never going to be a .300 hitter, but he’s better than this and it’s possible he catches fire down the stretch. He’s a must own.

5) Another strong start from Aaron Civale, but can it last…
This one came against the Tigers, so we have to take it with at least a small grain of salt, but he still allowed just 2 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP to give him an impressive 1.96 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over 36.2 IP in the Majors. He has not allowed more than 2 ER in any of his six starts, getting the job done with elite control (6 BB). It’s fair to wonder just how long the good times can last, as he hasn’t shown significant strikeout stuff (30 K, with an 8.1% SwStr%) or an ability to generate many groundballs (38.6% groundball rate, before 7 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday). He allowed his first home run in the Majors yesterday, and that’s something that could quickly spiral. He appears to be a one-trick pony, and while that trick puts him on radars there’s a blowup or two coming. Consider him more of a streaming option than anything.

6) Is it time to consider Anthony Desclafani a must use starter…
Sure it was against Miami but he was spectacular last night, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 8. The strength of his start came from his groundballs (8 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls), as he wasn’t generating many swings and misses (8 swinging strikes). He’s been great for three straight starts (2 ER over 18.0 IP), though he hadn’t struck out more than 5 in each of his previous six starts. While he entered the day with a career best 10.6% SwStr%, it doesn’t back up his strikeout per inning pace and it’s easy to envision that regressing. Couple that with a general lack of groundballs (39.4%) and the risk of a regression (79.9% strand rate entering the day) and it’s easy to envision a potential regression. He’s pitching well right now, but don’t consider him a must use option.

7) Jonathan Schoop’s resurgence continues, so are we buying…
He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him home runs in three straight games, 5 HR over his past five games and a modest six-game hitting streak. The power surge is nice, but let’s not forget that this was actually his first multi-hit game since July 24 and his overall 97 K vs. 16 BB over 362 AB sets some scary rates. He’s never been a player to draw many walks and he continues to struggle with popups (18.3% IFFB) and an approach that’s a little too pull heavy (22.1% Oppo%). While he’s hitting ,257 currently, is there reason to believe that he’s going to continue to be a usable option in that regard? He’s the type of player to ride while he’s going well, especially if you need power, but don’t expect him to be a must use over the final month of the season.

8) Matt Canha isn’t going to be an overlooked option for much longer…
He just continues to produce, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday. While he went 0-3 the day before, breaking his hitting streak, he’s been unbelievable overall in August (31-85, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 14 R) and is now hitting .277 with 23 HR overall. He entered the showing a strong approach (8.3% SwStr%, 25.0% O-Swing), something that’s been getting better and better each year, and he’s again showing an ability to hit the ball hard (37.1% Hard%) and growing power (22.7% HR/FB entering the day). There is some risk that his BABIP regresses (.309 entering the day, though with his 19.7% Oppo% indicates a bit too pull heavy of an approach), but that just makes him more of a .260ish hitter. With the power he’s showing he’s a must own and could a strong option the rest of the way.

9) Pablo Sandoval looks like a strikeout machine against the Rangers…
He settled for a no decision after Texas’ bulk pitcher, Ariel Jurado, got the job done (6.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K). That doesn’t take away from the performance of Sandoval, who tossed 5.0 shutout innings allowing just 1 H and 3 BB, striking out 9. The most impressive number was his 20 swinging strikes, though he still owns a 5.24 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 22.1 IP in the Majors. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he’s shown strikeout stuff, but his control is a question (5.22 BB/9 over 60.1 IP at Triple-A) and his groundball rate is solid, but hardly elite, and could lead to some home run issues (46.2% entering the day). All that said he entered the day suffering from awful luck (.377 BABIP, 61.1% strand rate) so there is reason to believe that there’s at least a little upside as a streaming option.

10) Has Xander Bogaerts truly emerged as one of the elite…
He enjoyed playing at Coors Field last night, going 3-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. Of course it in’t the locale that helped him, as he’s now hitting .311 with 30 HR, 100 RBI and 100 R over 511 AB. He entered the day continuing to show a solid approach (8.4% SwStr%, 29.8% O-Swing%) while hitting the ball hard (38.1% Hard%). The biggest change has been a few more fly balls (41.3% fly ball rate entering the day) and having cut down on his popups (4.8% IFFB), which has allowed him to show off significantly more power despite his HR/FB not spiking (16.7%). In other words the answer to the question of whether or not he’s become elite is 100% yes. The upside was always there and it’s nice to actually see it on the field.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs


    • If he’s hitting they are going to find the room. Grossman/Brown/Pinder, not like they should be guaranteed PT over him

  1. Hello Professor,

    Looking forward to my semi final match up next week (bye this week).

    Looking to lose Houser (DTD hip issue) for any of the following. Houser tentatively scheduled for Hou 9-2 then possibly CHC.

    T. Richards 9-3 Bal (Possible 2 Start week 9-8 Tor)
    Framber 9-6 Sea
    P. Lopez 9-6 KC (see how does 8-31 vs Was)

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated


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