10 Important Stories From 09/19/20 Box Scores: Young Starters Are The Story, But Who To Buy & Who To Ignore (Luzardo, Keller, Peterson & More)

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Patrick Corbin imploded against the Marlins, allowing 7 ER on 14 H over 6.0 IP. Clint Frazier continued his breakout season, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. Clayton Kershaw continued to turn back the clock, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP to defeat the Rockies. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) Jesus Luzardo continues his Jekyll & Hyde ways…

Just look at the numbers over Luzardo’s past four outings:

  1. 09/04 (vs. SD) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 4 K
  2. 09/09 (vs. Hou) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K
  3. 09/14 (at Sea) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 7 K
  4. 09/19 (vs. SF) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K

All told he owns a 3.86 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, with 59 K vs. 14 BB over 56.0 IP being highly impressive. The problem has been consistent home run issues, with a 1.62 HR/9 entering the day. His 44.2% groundball rate wouldn’t be considered atrocious, and he generated 7 groundballs vs. 4 flyballs yesterday. In other words there’s a lot of reasons to believe and buy in, both for ’20 and long-term.

2) Spencer Turnbull shines, but settles for a no decision…

Turnbull was impressive against the Indians, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP to improve his ERA to 3.83. He was generating an impressive number of swinging strikes (15) and the key is the improved control he showed. That’s been an issue this season, as he entered the day with the following metrics:

  • Strikeouts – 7.69 K/9 (courtesy of a 10.3% SwStr%)
  • Control – 5.32 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 52.0%

He’s now walked 1 batter over his past 11.0 IP, and as that continues to improve the results will likely flourish. A breakout candidate for ’20, he’ll again be one to watch for ’21.

3) Pablo Lopez pitches well against the Nationals…

Lopez looked good, allowing 2 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 5.1 IP improving to 5-4 with a 3.96 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 52.1 IP. While he had some ugly starts at one point, leading to his pedestrian ERA, the skills scream of a potentially elite pitcher. Just look at the numbers entering the day:

  • Strikeouts – 8.81 K/9
  • Control – 2.49 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 54.7%

He had been plagued by a 63.0% strand rate, as he’s continued to limit the hard contact (28.1% Hard%) and continues to show strikeout stuff (12.4% SwStr%). Maybe he’s not elite, but everything points towards a strong pitcher both in ’20 and beyond.

4) Mitch Keller shows why he was a highly hyped prospect…

He’s been a bitter disappointment whenever he’s gotten an opportunity, but yesterday was a different story. Taking on the Cardinals he fired 6.0 no-hit innings, allowing just 2 BB with 6 K. It’s an eye-opening performance, as he fired 52 out of 84 pitches for strikes, and helps to show the type of potential he brings with him. It’s easy to forget that over 103.2 IP at Triple-A last season he posted a 10.68 K/9 and 3.04 BB/9, along with enough groundballs to be productive. While we may not be able to actually trust him, Keller at least is worth keeping an eye on as a potential streaming option (with the potential for more).

5) Is Tim Anderson finally among the elite…

It was another big day for Anderson, as he went 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, including a home run off of Trevor Bauer (he allowed 2 of the 5 solo home runs hit by the White Sox). Anderson is now hitting .366 with 10 HR, 21 RBI, 43 R and 5 SB, but there are significant questions that can’t be ignored:

  • SwStr% – 15.5%
  • O-Swing% – 42.3%
  • BABIP – .422
  • HR/FB – 24.2%

So his approach is abysmal, he’s been lucky and he’s unlikely to maintain this type of power pace. He’s simply not this good, so don’t make the mistake of overvaluing him long-term. For 2020, though, ride him the rest of the way.

6) David Peterson helps to keep the Mets’ season alive…

Helped by Robinson Cano (3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R), Peterson stymied the Braves as he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 4 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP. He generated an impressive 23 swinging strikes, as he improved to 5-2 with a 3.80 ERA. The lefty hasn’t shown that type of strikeout stuff before, entering the day with a 6.38 K/9, though it’s no surprise that he carries a little bit more upside than that. He also has always shown enough groundball stuff to be productive, as well as strong control. He’s impossible to fully trust this season, but the potential is there for him to develop into a strong rotation option in 20201.

7) Is Corbin Burnes officially an elite starter…

Burnes was nearly matched pitch-for-pitch by Kris Bubic (5.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 4 BB, 7 K), but it wasn’t enough as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 9. He had 20 swinging strikes while generating more groundballs (5) than flyballs (3), and now is 4-0 with a 1.77 ERA over over 56.0 IP. He’s made 8 starts in his 11 appearances, and entered the day showing elite strikeout stuff (13.32 K/9) with enough control (3.96 BB/9) and groundballs (45.5%) to be elite. He will allow a few more home runs (0.18 HR/9), but that’s not enough of a reason to be skeptical. He’s developed into a must use option, and could be a Top 20 starter in 2021.

8) Did Michael Pineda do enough to be considered must use…

Against the Cubs Pineda did earn the W, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB over 5.0 IP. However he only generated 1 K, though he was missing more bats than that (11 swinging strikes). He entered the day with 20 K vs. 4 BB, but the bigger concern is the lack of groundballs. He hasn’t allowed a home run yet this season, despite entering the day with a groundball rate of 39.6%. Maybe he gets through the rest of this year without issue, considering it’s only one more start, but it’s something that will loom large over the long haul.

9) Is Leody Taveras emerging as a breakout option…

Taveras has seemingly found a home in the leadoff spot, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday. He’s still hitting just .231 on the season, with 3 HR, 3 RBI and 14 R over 91 AB. For a leadoff hitter he’s swung and missed far too much (12.6% SwStr% entering the day), though just recently turned 22 and with the jump from Double-A that’s something we can give him a bit of a pass on. He does have speed and the power appears to be developing, so in time he could take steps towards being a productive MLB option. He’s not a must use in ’20, but he has long-term potential.

10) Justus Sheffield shines against the Padres…

Sheffield kept San Diego at bay, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP to improve to 4-3 with a 3.75 ERA. Of course his 9 swinging strikes aren’t going to catch your attention, though he did enter the day showing strikeouts (8.53 K/9), control (3.25 BB/9) and the groundball stuff (50.0%) to be productive. He also hasn’t been hit excessively hard (39.5% Hard%) and the luck hasn’t been good (67.6% strand rate). He’s hardly a must use option right now, but keep a close eye on him.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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