10 Important Stories from 09/06/19 Box Scores: Identifying Young Players Who Could Make An Impact (Calhoun, McKay) And Those Who Could Be Ignored & More

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Ketel Marte doesn’t get the respect he deserves but he’s been as big of a breakout player as anyone, including going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday (he’s hitting .331 with 31 HR). Daniel Vogelbach slugged his 30th HR of the year, and is it the most under-the-radar 30 HR year? A.J. Pollock went homer happy, going 3-4 with 3 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1)Miles Mikolas’ surprising strikeout surge continues…
He had to settle for a no decision after the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead, but Mikolas finished allowing 1 R on 3 H and 4 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP. The control issues were a surprise, and not something that should be viewed as a concern. Instead we need to focus on the groundballs (5 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls) and more importantly the 13 swinging strikes. Over his past three starts (17.0 IP) he now has 22 K, after being a complete non-factor in the category for much of the year. Let’s not forget that he showed a similar surge at the end of last season (though not to this extent) so it’s not impossible that he maintains it over the final few weeks. He’s never going to be an elite strikeout artist, but with enough groundballs and some of the best control in the league all he needs is a 7.50-ish K/9. If he’s still available don’t be shy to pick him up.

2) How should we value Willie Calhoun moving forward…
He enjoyed a big day yesterday, being the latest to take advantage of the home run issues of Dylan Bundy (6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 4 K), finishing the day going 2-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. He’s currently hitting .269 with 18 HR and 40 RBI and he’s homered in three straight games (8-17, 4 HR, 9 RBI). His power isn’t a question, it’s more whether or not he can maintain a usable average. As it is he entered the day with a .258 BABIP and a pull heavy approach (15.5% Oppo%) and flyball tendency (45.9%) aren’t going to allow him to improve. He can make consistent contact (7.5% SwStr%), and with his power he at least should continue to hit .250+, but with a little tweaking he could be even better. He has the potential to be a tremendous option, but even as is he’s a solid play in all formats.

3) Brendan McKay dominates the Blue Jays in his return…
He was pulled after just 59 pitches, as he had recently spent time on the IL with arm issues at Triple-A, but the intrigue is obvious. Going 3.2 shutout innings he allowed just 1 H and 0 BB, striking out 7. Obviously that type of pace is unsustainable but it shows how much upside he brings with him. Part of the problem in the short-term is that it likely will take him at least one more start to be stretched back out and capable of throwing 90+ pitches. That’s going to limit his value to maybe just 2 starts over the final two weeks of the year. Could he make an impact in those outings? Absolutely, and he’s worth stashing, but if you play in head-to-head leagues and are battling in your playoffs now it’ll be tough to trust him.

4) Dallas Keuchel appears to have rounded into form…
Taking on the Nationals he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 3. It’s the fifth straight start where he’s allowed 2 ER or fewer, lowering his ERA to 3.47. We can argue that he’s been lucky over the past two, giving up 15 H and 2 BB over 12.0 IP, and his 1.32 WHIP overall is hardly an impressive mark. He only had 3 swinging strikes yesterday (9.2% SwStr% entering the day) and entered the day with an 80.2% strand rate, both of which provide red flags moving forward. He looks like an elite groundball pitcher once again and has enough control, and maybe over 3-4 starts he can keep things going like this. That said don’t be surprised if there are bumps along the way. He’s usable, but there’s a lot of risk.

5) Despite no decision, the emergence of Lucas Giolito continued…
The bullpen coughed up the lead late, but Giolito was great once again. Going 7.0 innings he allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, with a home run to Luis Rengifo (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) being the lone mistake he made). He entered the day with an 11.55 K/9 and 3.02 BB/9, behind a 15.0% SwStr% (he generated 16 swinging strikes yesterday). He’s done a good job of limiting hard contact (32.0% Hard% entering the day), which has helped him to overcome the lack of groundballs (36.1%) and keep the ball in the ballpark (1.15 HR/9). That’s the big risk moving forward, because it wouldn’t be surprising to see him struggle with home runs, but even a small regression there isn’t going to change the outlook (3.27 ERA, 1.07 WHIP). Maybe he falls to a 3.50-3.70 type ERA, but that still would make him a must use starter.

6) Another subpar start for Cole Hamels, so can we trust him…
Taking on the Brewers he allowed 5 ER on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 3.2 IP. He got burnt by a pair of home runs, including one from Christian Yelich (3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R), and he’s now allowed 7 HR over his past six starts. His ERA has jumped from 2.84 to 3.95 over this stretch, and overall his 1.38 WHIP is ugly. You could argue that this stretch has been a correction (he entered the day with a .305 BABIP and 76.1% strand rate), though his 0.99 HR/9 could continue to regress. That’s not to say that he’s going to completely implode, but it’s fair to consider him more of a matchup play as opposed to a must start.

7) It’s time to write off Framber Valdez…
He continues to taunt us with some potential, but just how can we trust him at this point? He allowed 3 ER on 2 H and 6 BB, striking out 6, over 4.0 IP against the Mariners last night and since returning to the rotation he’s walked 14 batters over 15.2 IP. That’s led to a few ugly numbers (9 ER over his past 9.2 IP), and while he brings strikeout and groundball potential can he ever be successful while walking the ballpark? There’s a good chance he moves into the bullpen, where maybe his stuff will play up, but regardless he’s impossible to trust over the final few weeks of the season.

8) Michael Pineda brings an impressive performance, but are we buying…
Taking on the Indians he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP. He generated an impressive 17 swinging strikes and his lone mistake was a home run courtesy of Francisco Lindor (2-6, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R). He’s really put things together of late, with 27 K over 17.0 IP including generating 17 swinging strikes yesterday. With that type of surge and his control there’s going to be success, assuming he can continue to keep the ball in the ballpark. He entered the day with a 36.7% groundball rate and 1.41 HR/9, and he wasn’t generating many yesterday (2 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls). That’s the caveat, and if the locale/matchup calls for it it isn’t impossible to take the cautious approach and sit him down (depending on your need/situation). There are too many caveats to make an absolute declaration, but it’s at least looking like he can make an impact.

9) Can Christin Stewart do enough to catch our attention again…
There was some hype entering the year, but he’s struggled and missed time due to injury (.240 with 8 HR over 300 AB). He did go 2-4 with 1 HR (as well as one double), 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday and in September he’s gone 4-14 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. Obviously that’s not a lot to go on, nor are they blowaway numbers, and he has to prove that he can make enough contact to make an impact (he entered the day with a 12.4% SwStr%). We would think that there’s going to be more power (he entered with a 7.8% HR/FB), and that’s enough to at least make him an intriguing option as yesterday could be a sign of things to come. It’s possible that he gets scorching hot and helps to carry the load, so keep a close eye and be ready to pounce for the last few weeks.

10) Mauricio Dubon is making it hard to ignore him…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .320 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R over 25 AB in the Majors. He’s added 2 doubles as well, giving the sense of hope for some power, though it’s interesting because it was always viewed like speed would be his best asset. However last year’s knee injury may have zapped him of that ability, considering he had just 10 SB over 539 PA at Triple-A this year. Sure there was a power surge (20 HR), but will he contribute enough there to consider him a potential difference maker? Maybe he’s a short-term fix, but he’s not a player to depend on .

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

8 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Roto P. Yesterday I asked what SP you liked from a few available on my wire. You selected Kelly. Just noticed Pablo Lopez is out there too. He was solid last night. His matchups aren’t as good, but do you like him better? Thanks!

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