10 Important Stories From 09/21/20 Box Scores: Under-the-Radar Options Worth Grabbing & More

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Luis Castillo pitched a gem against the Brewers, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 9, over 6.2 IP. Despite taking the L, Jacob deGrom showed why he’s among the elite in the game as he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 14, over 7.0 IP. Johnny Cueto took one on the chin against the Rockies, allowing 7 ER over 4.1 IP. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) Jared Walsh continues to emerge for LA…

He only had one hit against the Rangers but Walsh certainly made it count, delivering a grand slam to help the Angels to victory. He’s not hitting .312 with 8 HR and 23 RBI over 77 AB, while also adding 4 doubles and 1 triple. He’s been unbelievable in September, currently on a 13 game hitting streak (with hits in 16 of 17 games this month). While strikeouts were a concern, he entered the day with a solid 10.2% SwStr% while he’s hit the ball hard (40.0% Hard%) and used the entire field (27.7% Oppo%). Maybe he doesn’t quite maintain this type of power pace, but there’s reason to believe that the breakout is for real. Continue to ride him for the remainder of the season, and don’t be surprised to see him hold value heading into 2021.

2) Dane Dunning takes a step backwards…

Taking on the Indians Dunning allowed 4 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 4.0 IP. He entered the day with a 2.33 ERA over 27.0 IP, despite missing all of 2019, as he has shown strikeouts (9.33 K/9), control (3.00 BB/9) and enough groundballs (44.9%). He had been benefiting from a lot of luck entering the day (.206 BABIP), and while he hasn’t been hit hard (20.0% Hard%) it’s not surprising that there was a small bump. He clearly has the stuff to produce at the highest level, so don’t get discouraged off of this outing.

3) Is it time to take Alejandro Kirk seriously…

The Blue Jays offense had a big day across the board, but it was Kirk who was the biggest story. He finished the day going 4-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 3 R, putting him at .429 over his first 14 AB in the Majors. Obviously it’s not a very big sample size, but we shouldn’t overlook the performance. While he hadn’t gotten much attention, but prior to the season we had him ranked as the 10th best catching prospect (B- grade) saying:

Playing the year at 20-years old he showed a tremendous ability to handle the bat over 372 PA split between Single-A and High-A:

  • Strikeout Rate – 10.5%
  • Walk Rate – 15.1%
  • SwStr% – 5.3%

His power hasn’t developed yet (7 HR), but he added 31 doubles and 1 triple.  As he matures physically and learns to be a little more aggressive there is upside that should develop.

4) Has Brandon Woodruff turned the corner…

Woodruff was a tough luck loser against the Reds, allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 9, over 5.2 IP. He’s now allowed 3 ER or less in four straight starts, including a 12 K performance (33 K over 24.0 IP over this stretch). He entered the day showing all of the skills we look for (10.80 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, 48.0% groundball rate) while he hasn’t been benefiting from extreme luck (.283 BABIP, 77.5% strand rate). It’s all coming together and he looks like an emerging Top 25-30 option heading into 2021.

5) Despite the loss, JT Brubaker continues to show upside…

Brubaker was outpitched by Jon Lester (6.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K), but that shouldn’t take anything away from Brubaker’s performance. Going 6.2 IP he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, as he was generating swinging strikes (19) and groundballs (7 groundballs vs. 3 flyballs). That’s back-to-back strong starts (3 ER over 12.0 IP) and it’s easy to forget how strong he was in Triple-A back in ’18. While he’s hard to trust, this start shows the type of sleeper upside he has for 2021.

6) Was Trevor Rogers simply overhyped…

It was a poor outing against the Braves for the Marlins’ rookie, as Rogers allowed 5 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 4.0 IP. He’s now allowed 5+ ER in two of his past three starts and now owns a 6.84 ERA in the Majors. Home runs were always going to be a concern, and while he didn’t allow one yesterday he entered the day with a 2.14 HR/9 over his first five starts. Figuring that out will go a long way in determining his ultimate upside, but we need to give him time. Don’t be so quick to write him off.

7) Has Nate Lowe finally realize his potential…

Lowe finished the day 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, scoring the two runs that Tampa Bay scored against Jacob deGrom. He’s now hitting .260 with 4 HR and 11 RBI in 50 AB. The big question currently facing him is whether or not strikeouts will become an issue, as he owns a 37.3% strikeout rate. Of course his 10.2% SwStr% and 24.4% O-Swing% tell a much better story, and with the power developing (32 doubles and 23 HR between Triple-A and the Majors last season) the upside is there. He’s currently more of a platoon player, but stay patient and hope to reap the benefits.

8) Can Jorge Soler be a difference maker over the final week…

Returning for the first time since September 5, Soler went 1-3 with 1 RBI. There’s no questioning his ability to hit for power, as he has 8 HR (and 7 doubles) after hitting 48 HR a year ago. The problem has been his 34.4% strikeout rate, which is a leap in the wrong direction from his 26.2% mark a year ago. Of course his approach is no worse, with a 13.2% SwStr% and 25.5% O-Swing%, so things should get better. Now healthy, Soler could absolutely make an impact over the final few days.

9) Marco Gonzales delivers another gem…

Taking on the Astros Gonzales spun 8.0 shutout innings, allowing 7 H and 1 BB while striking out 6. He’s now 7-2 with a 3.06 ERA, though it’s not like he was missing bats (6) or generating groundballs (7 groundballs vs. 10 flyballs) in yesterday’s outing. His 8.4% SwStr% overall doesn’t justify a gaudy strikeout total, and his groundball rate has hardly been impressive (37.1%). While he’s shown elite control, long-term he appears to be a sell high candidate waiting to happen.

10) Are we believing in German Marguez…

Taking on the Giants Marquez allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP. He was missing some bats (12), but more impressive was his 12 groundballs vs. 4 flyballs. He’s shown enough of all the skills we look for all season long:

  • Strikeouts – 7.96 K/9
  • Control – 2.89 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 49.3%

With even more upside in his strikeout rate (12.2% SwStr%), the only issue is going to be calling Coors Field home. That said, there’s enough to make him a sleeper heading into 2021.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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