10 Important Stories From 09/26/20 Box Scores: Young Pitching Sleepers, 2020 Busts & More

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Adalberto Mondesi continued his torrid stretch, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. Christian Vazquez continued to emerge as one of the better hitting catchers in the game, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R. Luke Voit slugged yet another home run (22), going 1-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:

1) Could Deivi Garcia be ready to thrive in 2021…

It wasn’t the strongest finish to his 2020 season, but it wasn’t completely abysmal either as Garcia allowed 4 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 IP. Over 34.1 IP he posted a 4.98 ERA, though his 1.19 WHIP and 33 K vs. 6 BB would appear promising. He needs to figure out how to keep the ball in the ballpark, as he entered the day with a 34.1% groundball rate (6 groundballs vs. 8 flyballs yesterday) and a 1.95 HR/9 (yesterday was the first time in four starts that he didn’t allow a HR). If he can solve that problem he’ll be a strong option in 2021, but it likely will take more time than that.

2) Andrew Stevenson continues to open some eyes…

Stevenson went 2-3 with 2 HR (including an inside the park home run), 2 RBI and 2 R in the first game of a double header with the Mets (he went 1-4 in the second game). He now has an 11-game hitting streak in September, going 13-32 with 2 HR (as well as 5 doubles), 9 RBI and 7 R. Power isn’t going to be a big part of his game, despite what he did yesterday, but his 8.3% SwStr% is promising and he does offer some speed. He’s the type of player to ride while he’s hot, but not to become infatuated with.

3) Could J.P. Crawford be figuring some things out…

Crawford helped to lead the Mariners to a sweep of a double header with the A’s, contributing in both contests:

  • Game 1 – 3-4, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB
  • Game 2 – 2-4, 2 RBI, 1 R

Even after the big day he’s hitting just .250 on the season, he hasn’t hit for much power (7 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HR) and he hasn’t hit the ball overly hard (29.7% Hard%). There’s still potential, given the strong approach (7.1% SwStr%, 24.3% O-Swing%), but he needs to take another step in other areas before he fulfills his potential.

4) It was a short start, but Lance McCullers shows his stuff…

While McCullers went only 4.0 IP, they were highly impressive. In 61 pitches he tossed 4.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 2 BB, while striking out 9. Over 51.0 IP entering the day, he had shown off all the skills we look for from any pitcher:

  • Strikeouts – 8.29 K/9
  • Control – 3.18 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 60.0%

Considering he hasn’t been hit overly hard (38.0% Hard%) it’s easy to point towards poor luck (62.1% strand rate) as the reason he failed to breakout. Monitor him this offseason, but he has buy low written all over him.

5) Brandon Woodruff wraps up his breakout campaign in style…

Taking on the Cardinals Woodruff tossed 8.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 10. He generated 16 swinging strikes as well as 8 groundballs (vs. 6 flyballs) as he ends the year with a 3.05 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. Even better are the impressive skills he’s flashed (entering the day):

  • Strikeouts – 11.10 K/9
  • Control – 2.33 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 48.5%

He has the potential to emerge as a Top 20 starter in 2021, and it will be interesting to see what his draft day cost is.

6) It was a stellar rookie finale for Tanner Houck…

Taking on the Braves Houck allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP to finish his rookie campaign at 3-0 with a 0.53 ERA over 3 starts (17.0 IP). Obviously this type of splash is going to get people talking, but he’s struggled with his control (3 BB in each of his starts). That’s something that was an issue working his way through the minors, and that’s an issue that can’t be ignored.

7) Dane Dunning stumbles in his final start of ’20…

Dunning lasted just 3.0 innings against the Cubs, allowing 5 R (4 earned) on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, though the offense bailed him out and he took a no decision. It’s the second straight stumble, as he finishes having allowed 8 ER over 7.0 IP. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, as his strong start after missing all of 2019 was never expected. Dunning has the potential to figure it out and be a productive starter at the highest level, and this stumble will only make him seem less appealing entering ’21. He has potential sleeper written all over him and shouldn’t be ignored.

8) The best start of the night may have belonged to Joe Musgrove…

A perennial sleeper, Musgrove stymied the Indians over 7.0 shutout innings. He allowed just 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, as he earned his first W of the season. Musgrove generated a highly impressive 20 swinging strikes, while he also got 6 groundballs vs. 4 flyballs. His biggest problem this season had been his control (4.13 BB/9 entering the day) and home runs (1.38 HR/9), though those had never been concerns before. Maybe we should finally give up on the potential of a breakout, but chances are he’ll be looked at as a late round flyer with upside once again in ’21.

9) Has Will Smith emerged as a Top 3 catcher…

Smith went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .300 with 8 HR, 25 RBI and 23 R over 110 AB. While he had been sharing time, when healthy, Smith has now played four straight games. He’s added 9 doubles, showing the power is real, while also showing a strong approach with as many walks (20) as strikeouts (20). The one “negative” could be too pull heavy of an approach, but he’s hitting the ball hard (40.4% Hard%) after entering the day with believable metrics (15.9% HR/FB, .293 BABIP). He’s on his way, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him ranked among the top 2-3 options at the position heading into 2021.

10) Luke Weaver’s season ends on one last sour note…

Taking on the Rockies Weaver allowed 5 R (4 earned) on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP to end the year at 1-9 with a 6.58 ERA. He allowed 1 HR, as he generated 1 groundball vs. 8 flyballs, and considering he entered the day with a 34.5% groundball rate that issue shouldn’t be surprising. That’s not enough of an excuse, however, as there’s been a lot of bad luck (.343 BABIP, 65.7% strand rate). He’s never going to be a good option, but he also isn’t quite this bad.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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