10 Important Stories From 09/09/20 Box Scores: Which Young Pitchers Are We Buying (Burnes, Garcia), Breakout Hitters (Gimenez) & More

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DJ Stewart continued his scorching hot stretch, going 3-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R (his fourth straight game with a home run). Ronald Acuna (3-4, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R), Freddie Freeman (3-6, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R) and Adam Duvall (3-4, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R) led the ways as Atlanta piled up 29 R against Miami. Trevor Bauer (7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 10 K) outpitched Yu Darvish (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 9 K) to improve to 4-3 with a 1.74 ERA. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) Corbin Burnes steals the scene, but has he emerged…

The Brewers won 19-0 over the Tigers, so you would think the focus would be on the offense. Instead it’s Burnes, who dominated the Tigers over 7.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 0 BB, striking out 11. He’s now 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, as he has at least 7 K in each of his past four starts (including 10+ in two of his past three). Not only was he missing bats (16 swinging strikes), he was also getting groundballs (7 groundballs vs. 3 flyballs). The biggest question has been his control, entering the day with a 4.46 BB/9, but over these past four starts he’s got 5 BB over 24.1 IP. In other words it all appears to be coming together, and while he may not be a SP1 he’s looking like a Top 25 option with the potential to be even more than that.

2) Has Deivi Garcia truly emerged as a strong option…

Taking on the Blue Jays Garcia was impressive, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP. The one mistake he made was a home run to Derek Fisher (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R), and that’s not a complete surprise considering his 5 groundballs vs. 10 flyballs. He entered the day with a 41.4% groundball rate in his first two starts, after a 37.4% mark over 40.0 IP at Triple-A last year. That’s something to watch, though so is his control as he struggled with it at each level last season:

  • High-A – 4.08 BB/9
  • Double-A – 4.36 BB/9
  • Triple-A – 4.50 BB/9

While he’s been throwing strikes thus far, the risk is there for a regression. Coupled with the potential home run issues and that means significant risk. For a few weeks it’s not impossible that he keeps things rolling, but proceed with caution.

3) Are we buying Dane Dunning after another strong start…

Taking on the Pirates Dunning delivered another strong start, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 3. He wasn’t missing many bats (7 swinging strikes), though he did the job with an elevated groundball rate (10 groundballs vs. 5 flyballs). He missed all of ’19, which obviously brought risk, but he’s been showing all of the things we look for. Just look at the numbers entering the day:

  • Strikeouts – 11.57 K/9 (courtesy of a 17.5% SwStr%)
  • Control – 3.86 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 50.0%

He hasn’t been hit hard (34.3% Hard%) and he hasn’t been benefiting from luck (.265 BABIP, 68.5% strand rate). In other words, ride the upside.

4) Andres Gimenez continues his emergence for the Mets…

New York got numerous offensive contributions, including Jeff McNeil (2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, his fourth straight game with a HR) and Pete Alonso (3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, with the HR putting the Mets ahead). However it’s Gimenez who needs to be on our radar, as he went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. He’s now hitting .292 with 2 HR and 7 SB, as he’s started the past six games. With his speed he can maintain the .364 BABIP he entered the day with, and he’s also shown a strong approach (9.2% SwStr%). Speed is his best asset, so don’t expect the power to be there. That said he could post a strong average with speed and that has significant value.

5) Don’t overlook the day that Austin Riley had…

There were numerous big offensive performances for the Braves, as well as a miserable one for the Marlins’ Pablo Lopez (1.2 IP, 7 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 2 K). This one doesn’t mean that Lopez is someone to move on from, having entered the day with an 8.92 K/9, 2.11 BB/9 and 59.7% groundball rate.

On the other side, the name that we don’t want to forget is Riley, who went 2-4 with 1 RBI and 5 R, putting him at .244 with 7 HR, 23 RBI and 20 R over 135 AB. There’s never been a question about his power potential, it’s his AVG that’s been an issue. While it’s still suppressed this season, there’s room for improvement on his .264 BABIP. His approach still needs to improve (14.8% SwStr%), but that’s not enough of a reason to lose hope. He could be a solid option the rest of the way, both with a decent average and plenty of power.

6) Are we buying a breakout for Zach Davies…

Davies allowed 3 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP against the Rockies to improve to 7-2 with a 2.48 ERA. Of course there are a few key numbers that we don’t want to overlook:

  • Strikeouts – 7.82 K/9 (9.4% SwStr%)
  • Groundballs – 40.6%
  • BABIP – .220

So his strikeout rate hasn’t been impressive (14 swinging strikes last night does help) and there’s the risk of a lot of home run issues (he allowed 2 HR yesterday). Throw in the potential for a regression in his luck, and would you really want to trust him?

7) Does last night’s strong start show Jesus Luzardo has turned the corner…

Taking on the Astros Luzardo allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP. Of course the underlying metrics aren’t as impressive:

  • Swinging Strikes – 11
  • Groundballs / Flyballs – 5 / 9

Of course everything looked better in his previous starts, as he had shown strikeouts (8.92 K/9), control (3.05 BB/9) and enough groundballs (49.1%) over his first 38.1 IP. That’s everything we want to see, and with a strong team behind him there’s every reason to buy. He could roll over the final 2.5 weeks of the season.

8) Is there any hope for Daulton Varsho to thrive…

He was well hyped, but his first taste of the Majors hasn’t gone so well. After going 0-3 with 1 R yesterday he’s slashing .143/.226/.286 with 2 HR and 4 RBI over 56 AB. He entered the day with a 31.0% strikeout rate, due to a 15.2% SwStr%, though that isn’t indicative of his potential (8.1% SwStr% at Double-A last season). He’s finally been getting playing time, starting the past three games, and while the results have not yet been there it may just be a matter of time before they are. Don’t lose hope, as this easily could just be an adjustment period. The potential is there for him to make an impact, even in one-catcher formats, as long as the AB are there.

9) The breakout of Mike Yastrzemski continues, but is it real…

Yastrzemski went 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .296 with 9 HR and 31 RBI on the season. He’s shown a very good approach (9.0% SwStr%, 22.7% O-Swing% entering the day), while hitting the ball hard (43.1% Hard%) with believable power (16.3% HR/FB). Maybe there’s been a little bit of luck (.361 BABIP), but that’s hardly enough to be concerned. There had been concerns that he was going to be a platoon player, but the results have been there (entering the day):

  • vs. LHP – .273 with 4 HR and 10 RBI
  • vs. RHP – .305 with 4 HR and 18 RBI

Maybe he’s not quite this good, but there’s every reason to believe in the breakout.

10) Is it time to give up on Matthew Boyd…

It was an ugly day for Boyd, who allowed 7 ER on 8 H and 4 BB over 3.0 IP. He’s now 1-6 with a 7.63 ERA and 1.60 WHIP over 43.2 IP, as this one was a significant step backwards after it had appeared like he may have rebounded a bit. Home runs have been a significant issue, including allowing 2 HR yesterday (he’s allowed 13 HR this season), though if he could correct that the results should improve. While he’s not as good as he was last season, he’s also not even close to this bad.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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