10 Important Stories From 09/08/20 Box Scores: Young Pitchers Take Center Stage (Sanchez, McKenzie), Must Buy Breakout Bats & More


Spencer Turnbull continued his breakout campaign, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, to defeat the Brewers. Zach Efflin was solid, though home runs plagued him, as he allowed 3 ER on 8 H (including 3 HR) and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP. Gavin Lux took advantage of his opportunity, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 3 R. What else happened on the field that you need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) Carlos Martinez returns, with unimpressive results…

Martinez started the first game of the Cardinals’ double header with the Twins, but he struggled as he allowed 4 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 3.2 IP. The biggest blow was a home run off the bat of Josh Donaldson (he totaled 3-6 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R), but that wasn’t the only issue. He wasn’t generating many swings and misses (8), and he’s struggled in both of the starts he’s made this season. You have to start to wonder if he’ll ultimately be shifted back to the bullpen, a role he thrived in last season, though time will tell. Of course a shift wouldn’t lead to much value, with Giovanny Gallegos being entrenched as the closer, and regardless of the role he’s hard to trust for the remainder of the season.

2) It was another solid start for Triston McKenzie…

Taking on the Royals for the second time in a week, McKenzie was solid as he allowed 3 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP. He made one mistake, a home run for Whit Merrifield (2-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R), as he was missing bats (13 swinging strikes) and getting enough groundballs (5 groundballs vs. 3 flyballs). In 4 starts (21.0 IP) he owns a 2.57 ERA and 0.76 WHIP, as he has 26 K vs. 5 BB. The problem has been the 3 HR he’s allowed, and of course that he entered the day benefiting from a .188 BABIP and 97.8% strand rate. Do we believe he can maintain those types of luck metrics? Obviously not, and he also may not be able to keep up generating this many strikeouts. That’s not to say that he’s going to completely regress or become an unusable option, especially over just a handful of starts, but consider him more of a plug and play type.

3) Has JA Happ truly turned things around…

Taking on the Blue Jays Happ allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 10, over 6.1 IP though he took a tough luck loss. He’s now allowed 2 ER or fewer in three of his past four starts, lowering his ERA to 4.31. He’s generally struggled with home runs (he entered the day with a 1.80 HR/9 and allowed another HR yesterday) and strikeouts (while he did get 10 K, he wasn’t missing a ton of bats, with 12 swinging strikes), so while yesterday’s performance was good it can’t be taken as a true turn around. Despite the recent results, he’s not someone we’d be willing to trust.

4) Dylan Cease settles for a tough luck no decision…

Cease was lifted after just 79 pitches having allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP. He owns a 3.33 ERA and 1.34 WHIP over 46.0 IP, though the underlying metrics don’t scream of much success. Just look at the numbers entering the day:

  • Strikeouts – 6.15 K/9
  • Control – 4.39 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 35.5%

Considering he’s benefited from a .224 BABIP and 85.9% strand rate, are we truly buying into any success? He has sell high written all over him, so cash in while you can.

5) Sixto Sanchez stars for the Marlins, but has he realized his potential…

Taking on the Braves Sanchez tossed 6.0 shutout innings, allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 6. He’s now 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over 25.0 IP, as he’s generated 25 K vs. 2 BB. He’s shown this type of stuff coming up through the minors, but he’s unlikely to maintain quite these types of results (he entered the day with a 94.6% strand rate). Things are going to turn, though he has the potential to be a Top 25 starter. Just look at the numbers he posted over 103.0 IP at Double-A last season:

  • Strikeouts – 8.48 K/9
  • Control – 1.66 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 47.9%

Home runs could be an issue, but with strikeouts and control he could thrive.

6) Has Jeimer Candelario truly broken out…

Candelario went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, leaving him at .319 with 5 HR and 23 RBI on the season. He’s added 9 doubles and 3 triples, it would appear that the power is truly coming around for the 26-year old. He also has shown a decent enough command of he strike zone, with a 30.0% O-Swing%, and while we’d love to see a few less strikeouts there’s more than enough here. He has the potential to be a solid option for not only the remainder of ’20, but he has 27-year old breakout written all over him for 2021. Grab him now if you can.

7) Is D.J. Stewart a must own option now that he’s back…

The Orioles piled up 11 R and 4 HR, with Stewart being one of the key contributors. He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him 4 HR over the past three games. Over this stretch he’s gone 5-11 with 4 HR, 6 RBI and 6 R, though he’s continued to struggled with strikeouts (14.9% SwStr% entering the day, before striking out two more times yesterday). Considering his 63.6% flyball rate and 23.1% Hard% overall, he’s a one-trick pony who is going to implode before long. Don’t get too excited.

We also should mention the performance of Ryan Mountcastle, who went 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, and he’s now hitting .339 with 4 HR and 13 RBI. Strikeouts are a concern with him as well, but his upside is higher.

8) Alec Bohm shows how high his upside is…

While he went hitless in Game 2 of the double header, Bohm delivered a two out, walk-off victory in Game 1. He finished the day going 3-4 with 4 RBI and is now hitting .291 with 2 HR and 15 RBI over 86 AB in the Majors. Entering the season we noted Bohm as one of the highest upside rookies, and he’s delivered on that in his short time in the Majors. As we noted in our 2020 Draft Guide:

Bohm played across three levels in ’19, including 270 PA at Double-A, showing a strong approach (7.7% SwStr%) with the ability to limit the strikeouts (73) while drawing a lot of walks (53). Couple that with the growing power (21 HR, 55 total extra base hits) and it’s clear the total package is there.

Things may just be starting to get going for the rookie, as he’s hitting the ball hard (90.8 mph Exit Velocity) and consistently making good contact (12.9% Barrel%). Buy him now and reap the benefits.

9) Wil Myers continued his resurgent season…

The Padres defeated the Rockies 14-5, and Myers was the driving force of the offense. He finished the day going 3-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .297 with 11 HR, 30 RBI and 26 R. Myers has posted among the best Barrel% in the league (15.8%), to go along with a 12 degree launch angle and 91 mph Exit Velocity. Couple that with more consistent contact, with a 16.28% Whiff% against offspeed pitches being his worst mark, and there’s reason to believe that he has truly rediscovered his form. Whether or not this type of production can continue into 2021 is a discussion for another day, but ride him while he’s going strong.

10) Is this the start of the turnaround for Frankie Montas…

Montas was pulled after 5.0 IP and 79 pitches, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, to earn the W over the Houston Astros. Of course he wasn’t generating many swinging strikes (7), nor was he getting many groundballs (4 groundballs vs. 7 flyballs), so it’s hard to get overly excited about the performance. Just adding to it is that he allowed another HR, and he’s now allowed 5 HR in his past four starts (14.2 IP). Throw in 19 BB over 37.2 IP and it’s easy to say that the risk is high. We all know the potential upside that he brings, but he’s more of a pitcher to stash until he shows signs of turning things around.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball


  1. Have to start making decisions on keepers for next year. What’s your take on Houser? His advanced stats look pretty dang good, outside of a lower K rate. Is it just bad luck?

    • It’s somewhat bad luck, but it’s also nearly impossible to trust him at this point. I wouldn’t call him unkeepable, but it really depends on the alternative


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