10 Important Stories from 09/13/19 Box Scores: Bats Who Could Go From Disappointment To Difference Maker, Pitchers To Avoid & More

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The Cubs erupted for 17 R, though all eyes fell on Nico Hoerner who finished 2-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R (his first career HR). Gerrit Cole was dominant against the Royals, allowing 1 R on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 11, over 8.0 IP. Unsurprisingly Joey Lucchesi struggled in Coors Field, yielding 3 HR en route to allowing 8 ER on 9 H over 3.2 IP. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1)Is there any reason to believe in Jon Lester…
Sure he got the W, but he allowed 7 R (4 earned) on 11 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP. Over his past two starts he’s allowed 12 ER on 18 H and 5 BB over 10.1 IP and overall he owns a 4.59 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. The problems are fairly obvious, as he entered the day with the highest Hard% of his career (39.1%), which has led to an inflated BABIP (.338) and some home run issues (1.45 HR/9). Sure he avoided allowing a home run yesterday, but it seems like a 50/50 proposition that he’ll have a miserable start. With your title hanging in the balance, is that something you want to trust?

2) Michael Soroka trying to prove that he’s among the elite…
He outpitched Max Scherzer (5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 6 K) en route to the W, as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 3 BB, striking out 4. He sits at 12-4 with a stellar 2.57 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He had hit a bump over his past two starts, as he was touched for 5 HR over 11.0 IP, but that has been an aberration. He entered the day with a 0.74 HR/9 thanks to the ability to generate groundballs (52.4%) and he also owns elite control (39 BB over 164.2 IP). The one thing you can point to is a “lack” of strikeouts, with a 7.15 K/9 entering the day, though a 10.0% SwStr% gives an indication that there’s even more upside there. Once he adds that to his game he’ll emerge as a Top 15 starter, though even as is he’s a Top 40 and a good play.

3) What to make of Anthony Kay, after he stumbled in his second start…
Acquired by Toronto as part of the Marcus Stroman trade, Kay wasn’t overly impressive in taking on the Yankees yesterday. Sure it was a tough matchup, but he still allowed 5 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 4.1 IP. There was a little bit of hope in the underlying stats, as he generated 11 swinging strikes (after striking out 8 in his MLB debut) while also generating 8 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls. Of course the latter hasn’t been the norm for him, posting groundball rates of 30.2% with the Mets and 39.8% with the Blue Jays while at Triple-A. Those types of marks, pitching in the AL East, is not going to be a recipe for success (especially since his control has been spotty at times). Maybe he develops, but right now he’s impossible to trust.

4) Could Khris Davis be a difference maker to end the season…
The A’s racked up 14 runs on 14 hits against the Rangers, and while Sean Murphy (3-4 with 4 R) was impressive it’s Davis’ performance that’s the most eye catching. He finished the day going 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, giving him 3 HR over his past four games. Obviously he’s been a bitter disappointment this season, hitting .222 with 22 HR over 441 AB, with a drop in his fly ball rate (36.5% entering the day) and HR/FB (17.7%). You have to wonder if the injuries have played a role, as he’s continued to hit the ball extremely hard (45.8%). So if he’s fully healthy is it impossible that he catches fire over the final two weeks? Regardless the numbers are going to disappoint, but it’s not impossible that he salvages something and helps you over the final few weeks.

5) Paul Goldschmidt erupts at the best time for fantasy owners…
He’s generally been a disappointment this season, though with titles hanging in the balance he had one of his best games of the year. He finished going 2-4 with 2 HR, 7 RBI and 2 R. He’s now hitting .262 with 31 HR and 89 RBI, so maybe at the end of the day his final line won’t look so bad? What’s interesting is that a lot of his struggles have been due to a suppressed BABIP, as he posted a .305 entering the day compared to a .349 career mark. Considering he owns a 48.6% Hard% and now owns a five-game hitting streak (and has hits in 8 of his past 9), would it be shocking to see him continue to thrive down the stretch? Don’t make the mistake of just now losing your patience.

6) Can Garrett Hampson force his way into regular playing time…
He was expected to be a breakout player this season, though generally he’s fallen flat and has lost out on playing time. However after back-to-back big days, where he’s shown off his skills, could things change? He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R yesterday and is now 5-9 with 3 R over the past two games. Speed is supposed to be his best asset, and he does have 15 SB between Triple-A and the Majors this season, and with a little bit of power if he is playing he’s going to hold value. While he has struggled with strikeouts at times, his approach in the Majors has been solid (8.7% SwStr%, 22.6% O-Swing%), so there is little reason to be discouraged. As long as he’s playing he’s worth having on your radar.

7) Andrew Heaney falls victim to the long ball…
It was an ill-timed stumble against the Rays, as they took him deep 3 times (they hit 4 HR overall). Ultimately he lasted just 3.1 IP allowing 6 ER on 10 H and 0 BB, striking out 3. He’s now allowed 4+ ER in three straight starts, as his ERA has ballooned to 4.76 on the season. His WHIP remains solid (1.26) and his 103 K vs. 25 BB over 85.0 IP is still impressive. The big problem has been the consistent home run issues, with 17 HR allowed, and that stems from a lack of groundballs (33.2%) and an inability to limit hard contact (46.7% Hard%). Considering those two things it’s actually possible things get worse, not better, making him a hard pitcher to trust over the final few games.

8) Just another day at the office for Yoan Moncada…
To call this a breakout season may be an understatement, as he just continues to produce. He went 3-5 with 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him back-to-back three-hit games (and 7 multiple hit days in his past 9). He’s raised his average from .288 to .305 over this stretch, to go along with 23 HR, 72 RBI, 73 R and 9 SB over 455 AB. Of course he’s benefited from a .388 BABIP while he’s also continued to show a questionable approach (14.2% SwStr%, 31.9% O-Swing%). Does that mean he’s a player that’s going to be able to maintain this type of breakout into 2020? That’s a question to try and answer in the offseason, but for now just enjoy the ride.

9) A strong start for Sandy Alcantara on the road, but do we care…
He was outpitched by Tyler Beede (6.1 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K), but it was Alcantara whose performance was more noteworthy. Going 7.0 innings he allowed 1 R on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, and while he’s 5-13 on the season he owns a respectable 3.93 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. While he’s been somewhat hyped before, is he really a pitcher we want to invest in? He’s managed just a 6.90 K/9 over 178.2 IP, while he also hasn’t shown much in terms of his control (3.93 BB/9) or groundball rate (44.3%). So while his ERA doesn’t look too bad, there’s little reason to think that he could be even be considered a usable option.

10) Will Gavin Lux be a strong start the rest of the way…
With Max Muncy back it’s easy to envision him losing playing time, though with Justin Turner now sidelined there isn’t much of a risk in the short-term. He delivered yesterday, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R and is now hitting .273 with 2 HR and 5 RBI over 33 AB in the Majors. Even in a crowded lineup there’s ways for the Dodgers to fit him into the lineup, and if he’s producing the Dodgers are going to be willing to lean on him both for the rest of the season and into the playoffs (much like they are with Will Smith behind the plate). We all know he’s a must own option, though it’s nice to see the results.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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