10 Important Stories From 09/06/20 Box Scores: Are We Buying Or Denying (Urias, Taveras & More), Alonso’s Breakout Day & More

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Shane Bieber continued to roll, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 5.0 IP to improve to 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA. It was just another day for Jacob deGrom, who generated 35 swinging strikes as he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 12, over 7.0 IP to defeat the Phillies. Corey Seager enjoyed a big day, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) Dean Kremer shines in MLB debut, but do owners care…

Taking on the Yankees Kremer was highly impressive, allowing 1 ER on 1 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP. Of course these underlying metrics tell a slightly different story:

  • Swinging Strikes – 8
  • Groundballs / Flyballs – 4 / 7

Kremer did show strikeout stuff over 84.2 IP at Double-A last season, with a 9.78 K/9, as well as some solid control (3.08 BB/9). Those numbers continued over 19.1 IP at Triple-A (9.78 K/9, 1.86 BB/9), though his groundball rates of 41.3% at Double-A and 37.1% at Triple-A leave a lot to be desired. Home runs will ultimately be an issue, and if the swinging strikes stay low the strikeouts won’t be there either. In other words he can be ignored for now.

2) Trevor Rogers shows strikeout stuff, but struggles with the long ball…

Taking on the Rays Rogers racked up 10 K vs. 1 BB over 6.0 IP, and now has 21 K vs. 8 BB over 15.0 IP (on 3 BB over 11.0 IP in his last two starts). The problem was that he allowed 3 ER on 4 H, including 3 solo home runs (two of which came from Randy Arozarena, who went 3-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R)., This was always the biggest concern, even though it hadn’t been an issue in his first two starts, as he posted a 41.2% groundball rate in 110.1 IP at High-A and 33.3% over 26.0 IP at Double-A last season. That could continue to plague him, though with potentially elite control he should still be a very good option. The upside is there, but there are going to be highs and lows as he finds his footing. Keep that in mind if you are challenging for a title in 2020.

3) Is Marcell Ozuna truly one of the elite…

Ozuna went 3-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday, just continuing his impressive hot streak. He’s now riding a 8-game hitting streak, going 16-33 with 5 HR, 15 RBI and 9 R. Overall he’s now hitting .320 with 13 HR and 36 RBI, though he entered the day benefiting from a .352 BABIP and 31.6% HR/FB. Are either of those maintainable numbers, even over a few more weeks? He’s had a HR/FB of 22.1% or greater in two of the three previous seasons, so that one can’t be ruled out. He also is scorching the baseball, with a 50.5% HR/FB, so the BABIP isn’t impossible (though unlikely). While he’s not quite this good, it’s clear that he’s among the better outfielders in the league.

4) Pete Alonso continues to try and turn things around…

Alonso enjoyed a monster day against Aaron Nola (5.1 IP, 6 R, 8 H, 1 BB, 10 K) and the Phillies, as he went 3-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. While he’s still hitting a meager .224, he now has 10 HR and 25 RBI as he’s homered in three of his past four games (4 HR and 6 RBI). He entered the day with a poor .236 BABIP, giving a sense of hope given the following metrics:

  • Hard% – 39.2%
  • Flyball Rate – 41.2%
  • Oppo% – 24.7%

So he’s using the entire field, hitting the ball hard and hasn’t gone home run happy. Considering his approach is right in line with last year’s (12.5% SwStr%, 31.7% O-Swing%), everything points towards better days ahead.

5) Edward Olivares continues to emerge…

Making his third start for the Royals he went 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. He now has hits in all three starts, going 5-14 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R. We’ve talked about him a few times, but he has the potential to emerge as a fixture in the outfield, bringing both power and speed. As long as he’s making consistent contact, and he showed improvement last season with a 9.2% SwStr% at Double-A, the upside is there. In deeper formats, as well as all keeper/AL-only formats, he’s worth the immediate gamble.

6) Is the Tigers’ Willi Castro really this good…

Hitting fifth Castro went 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R, raising his average to .350 with 3 HR, 11 RBI and 10 R in 60 AB. Obviously his .447 BABIP entering the day is unmaintainable, and he’s never quite shown this type of power before (he entered with a 16.7% HR/FB). Throw in an approach at the plate that’s questionable, at best (he entered with a 15.9% SwStr% and 46.3% O-Swing%), and it’s just a matter of time before the implosion starts. Ride him while he’s hot, but be ready to cut bait and move on quickly.

7) Should we be buying Garrett Richards…

Richards had a strong start against the A’s, allowing 3 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP. Over 9 starts (42.0 IP) he owns a 4.50 ERA, with home runs (he entered with a 1.29 HR/9 and 42.3% groundball rate) being the biggest issue. He allowed another home run yesterday, and while he generated 15 swinging strikes yesterday he hasn’t shown elite stuff overall (10.5% SwStr%). Throw in a 44.4% Hard% and there appears to be more downside than upside. Maybe he’s a streaming option, but that’s about it.

8) Has Leody Taveras finally started to turn the corner…

Taveras went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, hitting atop the order, and now has a modest three-game hitting streak (4-11, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R). The 21-year old has struggled to adjust, jumping straight from Double-A, as he entered the day with a 36.4% strikeout rate. He’s struggled with all types of pitches, including a 12.22% Whiff% against hard pitches, and that makes you think that he’s simply overmatched. Maybe there’s long-term potential, but don’t expect him to realize it in 2020.

9) Is this the beginning of the demise of Framber Valdez…

While Valdez did manage to get through 7.0 IP against the Angels, he was torched for 8 ER on 11 H and 2 BB, striking out 2. He’s now allowed 4+ ER in two of his past three starts, though in 52.1 IP he does have 50 K vs. 14 BB. Throw in a 59.3% groundball rate, before generating 14 groundballs vs. 4 flyballs yesterday, and there’s every reason for optimism. You also have to wonder why the Astros kept pushing him, with the bulk of the damage coming in the eighth. It’s a frustrating start for owners, considering the number of runs he ultimately allowed, but in the scheme of things the arrow is pointed up.

10) Are we giving up on Julio Urias for 2020 or beyond…

Urias struggled against the Rockies yesterday, allowing 4 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 4.1 IP. It’s the second time in his past three starts where he’s failed to go past 4.1 IP and allowed 4 ER. He’s now allowed a home run in three straight, and with a 37.4% groundball rate entering the day (1 groundball vs. 5 flyballs yesterday) that’s an issue that’s going to continue. Considering he’s also been hit hard (48.0% Hard% entering the day), it’s hard to envision him suddenly making an impact the rest of the way. Maybe he’s a plug and play option for the remainder of this season, but he’s a much better upside play for 2021 and beyond.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

2 COMMENTS

  1. Need streamers this week:

    Boyd vs Mil
    Webb vs Sea
    Milone @ Mia
    T. Anderson vs Sea
    Alex Young vs Sea
    T. Rodgers vs Phi

    Who would be your top 3.

    Thanks

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