10 Important Stories from 09/03/19 Box Scores: Finding Under-the-Radar Buys, Potential Breakouts To Buy (Jimenez) And To Ignore (Arraez) & More

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Edwin Encarnacion returned from the IL and delivered one of five home runs for the Yankees (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R). The Cubs welcomed back both Ben Zobrist (1-3, 2 R) and Willson Contreras (2-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), strengthening their lineup in their push for a Wild Card. Max Scherzer continues to get back up to speed, though one bad inning sabotaged him yesterday (6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 K). What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1)Have the Rays unlocked the potential of Trevor Richards…
Pitching in the first half of the double-header against the Orioles Richards pitched well in a no decision, allowing 2 R on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP. In four appearances with Tampa Bay he’s allowed 5 ER over 16.2 IP, though there are two key red flags hanging over him. First, after allowing a home run yesterday he’s yielded 3 HR in his short time in the AL East (and with a 35.8% groundball rate entering the day it’s something that won’t disappear). Second was the lack of swings and misses yesterday (9 swinging strikes), though overall that hasn’t been an issue. He’s not guaranteed to start every 5 days and the matchups will determine whether or not he’s usable.

2) A dominant effort from James Paxton, but do we believe…
Taking on the Rangers he tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 12. He generated 17 swinging strikes en route to his third straight strong start. Of course he walked 5 batters in his previous outing and his home run struggles aren’t going to disappear. While he didn’t give up a HR yesterday he’s allowed 22 HR over 132.0 IP, and with a 38.7% groundball rate entering the day (3 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls yesterday) and pitching have his games in Yankee Stadium it’s something that won’t go away. He does have 11+ K in two of his past three starts and he’s well worth using, but there’s risk that can’t be ignored. Don’t be surprised if home runs continue to cost him down the stretch.

3) Eloy Jimenez shows off his potential in style…
Taking on the Indians he erupted to go 3-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, giving him five multi-hit games in his past six. This stretch has raised his average to .252 to go along with 24 HR and 57 RBI over 381 AB. It’s obvious that strikeouts have been a consistent issue for him, including over this stretch, though it has been better (6 K over 26 AB). He entered the day with a 27.3% strikeout rate courtesy of a 15.1% SwStr% and 36.2% O-Swing%, and that’s something that’s not going to suddenly disappear. There’s no questioning the power, though he obviously needs to refine his approach (6.2% walk rate) to fully thrive. It should improve with experience, and days like last night show why you shouldn’t give up on him.

4) Should we believe in the Twins new cleanup hitter, Luis Arraez…
It’s interesting that he was hitting fourth in the lineup, between Nelson Cruz (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) and Miguel Sano (2-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R). He delivered however, going 2-4 with 2 R, and now has three straight multi-hit games. Overall he’s hitting .343 with 3 HR and 2 SB over 245 AB in the Majors, so it’s fair to wonder if there’s any value outside of the ability to hit for average. Sure he can make consistent contact (8.1% strikeout rate entering the day), though he struck out twice yesterday, and hitting in that spot could generate ample opportunities. However he’s never shown much power or speed (he had 0 HR and 4 SB over 212 AB between Double and Triple-A prior to being promoted), making him a one-trick pony without much upside. In other words he’s not going to be a must own option.

5) Has Mike Foltynewicz shown enough to get us excited again…
Taking on the Blue Jays he tossed 5.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 2. Obviously the strikeout/walk rate isn’t impressive, though he generated 14 swinging strikes while inducing 7 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls. Those underlying numbers are promising, though that hasn’t been the normal this season (33.7% groundball rate, 10.9% SwStr%). In other words it’s hard to get overly excited, especially after we factor in the opponent and the relative lack of control of late (though he only needed 76 pitches yesterday, he failed to go 5.0 innings in two of his previous three starts). For the remainder of ’19, consider him more of a streaming option.

6) Jack Flaherty wins an impressive pitcher’s duel against the Giants…
Dereck Rodriguez (7.0 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 K) nearly matched him pitch for pitch, but Flaherty was dominant. Tossing 8.0 shutout innings he allowed just 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, to improve to 9-7 with a 3.14 ERA. While his 17 swinging strikes was impressive, he only generated 4 groundballs vs. 12 fly balls on the night. While he’s been great of late, could some beneficial luck (he entered the day with an 81.4% strand rate and .260 BABIP, despite a 39.7% Hard%) indicate that he can’t maintain it? Considering things have been even better since the All-Star Break, with a .233 BABIP and 93.9% strand rate despite a 39.0% Hard%, would it really be a surprise if there’s a bump along the way? That doesn’t mean don’t use him, because over a few more starts anything is possible, just know that he’s not necessarily as good as he’s looked of late.

7) Is Victor Reyes an under-the-radar, must add offensive weapon…
He went 4-5 with 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday giving him a seven-game hitting streak, which includes six multi-hit games, as he’s gone 16-30 with 0 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R and 2 SB. Obviously some of the counting stats is dependent on the underwhelming lineup around him, but he’s now hitting .315 with 1 HR and 4 SB over 181 AB on the season. He had hit 10 HR with 10 SB over 308 AB at Triple-A this season, and while his speed may be his best asset he may lack the ability to contribute significant production in either category. That is going to put pressure on his average, when he’s benefited from a .385 BABIP and hasn’t shown a tremendous approach (41.6% O-Swing%). He’s the type of player to roll while he’s going well, especially if you are in need of SB, but not someone to assume will make a significant impact the rest of the way.

8) Is the Padres’ Ronald Bolanos their latest potential streaming option…
The Padres continue to cycle through young starters, with Bolanos being the latest to get an opportunity. Brought up from Double-A he was outpitched by Merrill Kelly (7.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 9 K), but that shouldn’t overshadow Bolanos’ performance. Over 6.0 innings he allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, though he wasn’t generating many swinging strikes (8) or groundballs (6 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls). Splitting time between High-A and Double-A this season he posted a 3.66 ERA over 130.1 IP, though his control wasn’t impressive (53 BB, 13 HBP) and he wasn’t an impressive groundball artist (1.18 GO/AO). Could he generate interest as a potential streaming option if he sticks in the rotation? Perhaps, but it’s hard to expect much from the recently turned 23-year old.

9) Are we buying Seth Brown after another big day…
He went 2-3 with 2 R yesterday, with both hits being triples. In eight games (29 AB) he’s hitting .448 with 9 RBI and 8 R as he’s shown the ability to make consistent contact (5 K vs. 1 BB). His 10.4% SwStr% entering yesterday is promising, though it’s interesting that he has yet to hit a home run after launching 37 HR at Triple-A. He has added 3 doubles and 2 triples, so you would think that it’s just a matter of time, and while he likely will sit against southpaws he’s showing more than enough to catch our attention. There’s obviously going to be a little bit of a risk as there could be an adjustment period, but thus far he’s not showing any signs of it.

10) Could Julio Urias make an impact down the stretch…
The one thing we know about the Dodgers is that they are going to shuffle around their rotation, getting everyone ready for their role in the postseason. The latest domino was Kenta Maeda shifting to the bullpen, which led to Urias getting a start last night against the Rockies. He made one mistake over his 3.0 innings (a home run to Daniel Murphy) as he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 3. Obviously he only threw 44 pitches after throwing 43 pitches at High-A his last time out. In other words he’s clearly not stretched out, and while he may not stick in the rotation moving forward even if he does it could be 2-3 starts before he’s even capable of going 90 pitches. At that point how many more starts will he even have? While the name may grab your attention, if you are playing for ’19 the risk far outweighs the potential reward.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MILB.com

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Professor,

    Looking at possibly streaming one of the following:

    Gonsolin vs. SF
    P. Lopez vs. KC
    Framber vs. SEA

    All home starts.

    Thanks again for your thoughts

  2. Is Mike Moustakas a drop at this point. I could use his spot to stream pitching. Currently have McNeil @ 2nd and Devers @ 3rd.

    Do you like Plesac tomorrow vs CHW. His home era is 3.06.

    Thank you

    • I could see both the drop and the stream, assuming there are no keeper implications (though I think Moustakas will be back, so I wouldn’t fully endorse the decision)

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