10 Important Stories from 09/04/19 Box Scores: Hitters That Can Make A September Impact (Mercado, Cooper), Risky Pitcher Investments (Bauer, Lynn) & More

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Aaron Nola struggled against the Reds allowing 5 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over just 4.0 IP. Madison Bumgarner also stumbled, taking on the Cardinals on the road, as he was charged with 6 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP. The emergence of Jorge Soler continued, as he slugged his 40th HR of the season. What else happened on the field that you need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1)Can Robinson Cano make an impact in September…
After struggling for much of the year he had been showing signs of turning it around before an injury threatened to end his season. However he recovered quicker than anyone expected and returned from the IL Tuesday before returning to the lineup yesterday. It looked like the missed time didn’t impact him, going 3-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R while also drawing a walk. Dating back to before his injury (he last played on August 4) he now has five straight multi-hit games (12-18, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 9 R) and a six-game hitting streak overall. He’s still hitting just .259 with 11 HR over 328 AB, but entering the day with a .296 BABIP and 36.6% Hard% (as well as a 16.8% strikeout rate) all signs point towards him continuing to produce. Don’t sleep on him as a potential impact option in September.

2) Another day, another stumble for Trevor Bauer…
Taking on the Phillies he ultimately had to settle for a no decision as he struggled once again, allowing 4 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP. A pair of home runs did him in, and in seven starts with the Reds he’s allowed 4+ ER in four of them while also failing to go more than 5.0 IP five times. Over his past three starts he’s been tagged for 17 ER over 12.0 IP. There was always risk with the move to Cincinnati, despite getting out of the AL, given the risk of home runs haunting him in a more hitter friendly environment (he entered the day with a 37.8% groundball rate). That said he entered the day with a .386 BABIP and 52.6% strand rate as part of the Reds, while also having improved upon his Hard% (40.8% to 36.0%) so there’s reason to believe. While we wouldn’t just stick him in your lineup and forget about him, there’s reason to believe that he’ll turn things around.

3) Is Garrett Cooper primed for big production down the stretch…
He made some noise early before falling off the map completely, however he’s shown signs of late. After going 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday he’s now homered in back-to-back games (5-10, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R). The big key is going to be cutting down on his strikeout rate, considering his solid approach overall (39.9% Hard%, 32.1% Oppo%), and undoing a little bit of his groundball tendencies (54.3% groundball rate). His 10.5% SwStr% and 36.8% O-Swing% aren’t necessarily ideal, but they also don’t raise any significant red flags (a 27.1% strikeout rate should improve). As for the groundballs, he owns a 51.9% mark in the second half and over the first few days of September has it down to 42.9% (before yesterday). With plenty of power that’s promising, so don’t overlook him as having the potential for a big September.

4) Eduardo Rodriguez tames the impressive Twins lineup…
That’s not to say that he was lights out, but he tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 8. His swing and miss stuff was impressive (22 swinging strikes), though he wasn’t generating many groundballs (3 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls) and obviously his control wasn’t great. Neither of those have been issues overall this season, entering the day with a 3.37 BB/9 and 49.1% groundball rate, and his .311 BABIP should improve (29.4% Hard%). In other words he appears to be morphing into a potentially elite option, making him someone to continue trusting down the stretch.

5) Mike Yastrzemski produces from atop the Giants lineup…
He wasn’t the only San Francisco outfielder who produced, with Kevin Pillar continuing his impressive season (4-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R). Yastrzemski himself went 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .271 with 19 HR, 49 RBI and 51 R on the season. He’s shown a strong approach at the plate, with a willingness to use the entire field (29.1% Oppo%) and an ability to hit the ball hard (42.3% Hard%), while his 19.4% HR/FB isn’t going to raise any red flags. He has also shown a willingness to stay within the strike zone (28.4% O-Swing%), but an 11.0% SwStr% is the one negative against him. If he can improve upon that number the upside could be huge, but even as is he’s a solid option moving forward.

6) Zac Gallen steps up and delivers a gem against the Padres…
Chris Paddack, likely making one of his last starts of ’19, matched him pitch-for-pitch but simply wasn’t able to work as deep into the game (he went 5.1 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 8). As for Gallen he delivered 7.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 8. It’s interesting as he wasn’t missing that many bats (11 swinging strikes) nor was he a groundball machine (6 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls), so we don’t necessarily want to get overly excited off the one outing. He has generally shown more groundballs since being shipped to Arizona (45.5%), but he’s struggled with his control for most of his time in the Majors (4.55 BB/9) and he’s benefited from an 83.3% strand rate. Throw in a 39.0% Hard% and there’s significant risk of some stumbles. That’s not to say avoid him, just be cautious over the rest of the season.

7) Tanner Roark shuts down the Angels…
If Sean Murphy was in line to play regularly he’d be the story from this game, as he delivered his first MLB home run (he went 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R). Instead it’s Roark, who delivered 5.2 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 6. He’s allowed more than 2 ER in just one of six starts as a member of Oakland and overall has 141 K vs. 46 BB over 147.0 IP this season. The big risk is home run troubles, having entered the day with a 37.9% groundball rate (7 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday), so he could be more of a streaming option when pitching at home (he’s yielded 2 HR over 23.0 IP in Oakland. While the matchup could alter the decision, that should be the plan for now.

8) Joc Pederson goes homer happy once again…
He went 2-3 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R, giving him back-to-back games with 2 HR and 5 HR over his past 3 games (6-7, 5 HR, 9 RBI and 6 R). Obviously an impressive streak, he’s now hitting .245 with 32 HR and 67 RBI for the Dodgers. He’s always going to be considered a platoon player, as he’s hitting .209 with 0 HR against left-handed pitching, and his pull heavy approach (18.3% Oppo%) is going to help to limit his ability to hit for a strong average. That said we’d expect better than a .245 BABIP (though a 16.0% popup rate doesn’t help either) and if he was hitting .260 he’d look that much better.

9) How should we value Lance Lynn moving forward…
While he wasn’t awful against the Yankees yesterday, he wasn’t good either. Lasting 5.0 innings he allowed 3 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, to fall to 14-10 though with a still solid 3.81 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. That said he’s failed to go past 6.0 innings in five straight starts, allowing 3+ ER in three of his past four while struggling with his control (15 BB over 26.2 IP). Of course he hasn’t benefited from much overall luck this season (he entered the day with a .328 BABIP and 72.3% strand rate), though would it be surprising if home runs started to become an issue (41.5% groundball rate, 0.76 HR/9) while his control continues to regress (2.55 BB/9 in ’19 entering the day, compared to a 3.40 career mark). While he shouldn’t be ignored, there is a little bit of risk.

10) Oscar Mercado flashes his upside once again…
Early in the season it looked like he could become an elite outfielder, though he’s stumbled of late. While Sane Bieber thrived on the mound (1.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 9 K), Mercado helped to set the pace in the box as he went 3-4 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB. It was his first multi-hit game since August 18, though he’s still hitting .271 with 10 HR and 13 SB over 351 AB. That pace alone would put him in-line for a 15/20 type season, with the potential for even more stolen bases, and he should improve upon his .298 BABIP given that speed. Just consider his 39.3% Hard%, 25.2% Oppo% and 37.9% fly ball rate, all should play to an improved mark, with an 11.3% SwStr% being the only minor red flag. In other words let others write him off due to his stumbled, the value is there.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

8 COMMENTS

  1. What is going on with berrios. He has been getting knocked around in most of his starts since august. Do you expect him to get better or is he just going to be unusable ros? I didnt start him vs Boston but even in good matchups recently he hasnt been good.

    • I’d keep him stashed for sure. He’s too good not to figure it out, so stay patient and you should get something out of him before year is out

  2. Hey Prof, even though I am in the playoffs, I am always looking to next year. I am in a H2H league of 12 teams with OBP and QS with the option of 4 keepers. Who would you lean to with Soto an obvious choice?

    Soto, Blackmon, Rizzo, Vlad, Hiura, Albies, Bell, Giolito

    Thanks for your response in advance.

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