10 Important Stories from 09/10/19 Box Scores: Potential Difference Making Bats For Final Few Weeks (Stewart & More), Pitchers To Ignore (Bauer?) & More

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Fantasy owners and Brewers’ fans were dealt a devastating blow, learning that Christian Yelich had fractured his kneecap and would be lost for the rest of the season. Walker Buehler did what you expected him to against the Orioles, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 11, to earn the W (and needing just 91 pitches). Starting for the first time in ’19 Johnny Cueto delivered 5.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 4. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1)Christin Stewart continues to show signs of turning things around…
In a game that featured 23 runs, with the Yankees hitting 6 HR, Stewart’s performance stood out. He finished going 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, giving him home runs in three of his past four games. Obviously it’s been a disappointing season, as he’s missed time due to injury and is hitting .243 with 10 HR over 309 AB. Still there’s a lot to like in the underlying numbers, as he has added 22 doubles and 1 triple while keeping his SwStr% in check (12.2% entering the day). There’s ample power, so seeing him continue to grow from his 9.5% HR/FB entering the day wouldn’t be surprising. We’ll have to take a look at him closer in the offseason, but he appears to be primed for “post-hype sleeper” status heading into 2020 (and could be worth utilizing over the remainder of ’19 as well).

2) A frustrating showing from Max Fried…
Taking on the Phillies on the road Fried was torched for 4 HR, leading to him allowing 5 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP. It continues a bit of a frustrating trend, with Fried appearing to be a much better play at home (ERA prior to yesterday’s start):

  • Home – 3.42 over 81.2 IP
  • Road – 4.39 over 67.2 IP

He’s now allowed 13 HR on the road, compared to 8 HR at home, and entering the day with a 53.3% groundball rate to go along with strikeouts (9.58 K/9), control (2.53 BB/9) and an at least reasonable Hard% (37.8%) you would think he could pitch well anywhere. This one is frustrating, but he remains a solid option.

3) Corey Seager erupts in Baltimore…
He led the way for the Dodgers offense, going 2-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R. While you could argue that it’s been a bit of a disappointing season, he’s still hitting .263 with 16 HR, 74 RBI and 72 R over 434 AB thanks to his recent surge (he has 3 HR and 8 RBI over his past two games). It’s easy to envision more power coming in time, as he’s added 39 doubles (with a 10.0% HR/FB entering the day), and his 40.9% Hard% and 28.7% Oppo% (showing a willingess to use the entire field) shows us that his .296 BABIP should improve. After missing extensive time last season it’s possible that he’s just now getting back to form, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him get scorching hot over the final few weeks. Just stick with him and be buying for ’20.

4) Is there reason to believe in Nathan Eovaldi the rest of the way…
Taking on the Blue Jays he lasted just 4.1 IP, though he does appear to be fully stretched out having thrown 93 pitches. He was touched up for 3 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, and while he did allow 2 HR his 13 swinging strikes and 5 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls show promise. He’s had some issues with his control (6 BB over 9.1 IP in his past two starts), but that’s not a huge red flag. He’s consistently shown solid control over the past few seasons and we’d expect him to right that, while a 45.6% groundball rate entering the day is enough to make us comfortable with the home runs. While he’s not a fantastic buy and he’ll be matchup dependent, there’s enough here to consider utilizing him the rest of the way.

5) Jose Berrios rebounds for an impressive start…
Many were ready to write him off amidst his struggles, having allowed 3+ ER in six straight starts (5+ ER in three of them). However he showed his stuff yesterday against the Nationals, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 4. Even with this disappointing stretch he owns a 3.63 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 181.0 IP this season. Of course generating just 4 swinging strikes yesterday is a bit of a red flag, though that hasn’t generally been an issue (9.70 K/9 in the second half entering the day). The bigger issue has been a regression in his luck (.333 BABIP, 67.2% strand rate entering the day), so there’s every reason to believe that he’ll continue to improve moving over the final few starts of the season.

6) Sean Murphy one of many A’s to enjoy a big day…
Oakland piled up 21 runs and 25 hits against Wade Miley (0.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 H, 1 BB) and the Astros. It was Murphy’s performance that stands out most, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R, as he’s showing the type of offensive potential he has quickly (in 14 AB he’s hitting .357 with 3 HR and 6 RBI). While the A’s seemed reluctant to thrust him into the lineup full-time, you have to wonder if he’s going to be able to force their hand. He was limited to 150 AB in the minors this season, but was hitting .293 with 11 HR as he showed a strong approach (7.5% SwStr%, 12.4% walk rate). Don’t be surprised to see his playing time increase quickly, making him an intriguing grab for those in two-catcher formats.

7) Is the latest implosion for Mitch Keller the final straw…
Taking on the Giants in San Francisco he got touched up early (3 ER in the first inning) and right before he left (2 ER in the fifth inning), ultimately allowing 5 ER on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP. He was at least generating groundballs (7 groundballs vs. 0 fly balls), but is that enough of a reason to believe? He continues to show more bad than good, and now owns an 8.29 ERA and 1.87 WHIP over 38.0 IP in the Majors. Long-term there’s potential, and it’s not unthinkable that he takes these struggles and thrives from Opening Day ’20. That said he’s clearly not there today and can’t be trusted the rest of the way, regardless of the matchup or locale.

8) A dominant outing from Zach Plesac…
While the Indians gave him a lead early, which helped, he made it stand up en route to a complete game shutout victory. He allowed just 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, improving to 8-6 with a 3.64 ERA over 106.1 IP on the season. Of course it’s hard to get excited with 79 K and having allowed 18 HR, and entering the day with a 9.3% SwStr% (11 swinging strikes yesterday) and 39.4% groundball rate (11 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls) there reason to believe that things are going to go south quickly. He entered having benefited from a .254 BABIP and 79.2% strand rate, and while he could keep it going over a handful of starts there’s a lot of risk involved.

9) Jason Heyward muscles up in San Diego…
He wasn’t the only Cub who delivered 2 HR (Kris Bryant went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R), but he was the most surprising. Heyward went 2-3 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R. He’s suddenly getting hot, with three straight two-hit games going 6-10 with 3 HR, 6 RBI and 5 R. Even more impressive is his 0 K vs. 3 BB over this little stretch, though his approach hasn’t been bad all season (9.2% SwStr%, 11.1% walk rate entering the day). That’s not to say that he’s suddenly going to hit for a great average, with the bigger question being his power (21 HR, with a 15.3% HR/FB entering the day). Considering that it’s his best mark since 2012, it’s hard to be a believer. Ride him while he’s hot, but don’t be surprised if he slows down significantly.

10) Trevor Bauer turns things around in Seattle, mostly…
Overall you wouldn’t complain, as he allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 8, over 6.1 IP in a no decision. He was missing bats at an impressive rate (19 swinging strikes), though he allowed a pair of home runs including the first in the career of Kyle Lewis (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R). Bauer has now allowed 2 HR in each of his past three starts, and regardless of anything else that will continue to cost him if he can’t rectify the situation. While he’s shown more in the past, he entered the day with a 37.5% groundball rate so thinking that a dramatic change is coming in ’19 would be misguided. Maybe he can regroup and figure out what’s changed in the offseason, but for this year he’s a questionable play.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

10 COMMENTS

  1. Will Sean Murphy, Carson Kelly, or Danny Jansen have a better 2020? Murphy seems to have the highest upside of the 3? Kelly has been solid, but very cold of late. Jansen has been a disappointment so far

    • Agreed with your analysis, though it’s a matter of playing time. If the A’s are ready to hand Murphy the job, he’s the pick with Kelly a close 2nd

    • I’d put it Aquino / Gurriel / Newman. It all depends on the format, and while I’m skeptical on Aquino he’d be the closest thing to a must keep

  2. I just lost Yelich in the midst of my Semi Finals. I have the depth to pick up any batter and slot into my util.
    Can you throw me some names of some bats I can pick up for the final stretch. looking for the hot hand.

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