10 Important Stories from 09/28/19 Box Scores: How Believable Are The Breakouts (Villar/Soler), Which Young Pitchers Should Be Avoided & More

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After all the work, both prior to the season and during it, we are down to 1 final day. For many your leagues have already been decided, but not for all and it’s never too early to start looking ahead to 2020. On the day after Pete Alonso set the record for HR by a rookie, surpassing Aaron Judge with his 53rd HR, let’s take a look at the other stories that fantasy owners need to know about, both for 2019 and beyond:

1)Jonathan Villar caps off his elite production…
Entering the year would anyone have expected him to have posted this type of line? After going 2-4 with 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB he’s now hitting .274 with 24 HR and 40 SB. The speed was never a question, after stealing 35 bases last season and 62 back in ’16. The question is the power, though his 16.8% HR/FB is right inline with his career mark (16.7%). The difference is that he owns a career high 31.5% fly ball rate, while also cutting down his popups (7.0% IFFB%). That’s not to say that he’s a lock to replicate this type of production (29.2% Hard%, 12.3% SwStr%), but it also isn’t impossible that he does.

2) Jorge Soler just continues his surprising season…
Much inline with the surprising production from Villar, did anyone expect Soler to produce a near 50 HR season? After going 2-3 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday he’s hitting .265 with 47 HR and 116 RBI. Whether or not he can replicate his 26.8% HR/FB he entered the day with remains to be seen, though he was remarkably consistent all season long (22.2% in July was his “worst” mark). While we’d love to see his SwStr% further improve (13.2% entering the day), his 46.5% Hard% gives hope for continued success. He’ll be an interesting player to dive into over the offseason, but for now we’d be cautiously optimistic that he could bring significant power once again.

3) A disappointing finish to a strong season for Patrick Corbin…
The Nationals built a big lead early against Adam Plutko (1.1 IP, 8 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K), but Corbin still couldn’t complete 5.0 innings. He was pulled after 4.1 innings, allowing 6 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, after being tagged for 3 HR. Of course the home run issue is a bit of an aberration, as he entered the day with a 49.7% groundball rate and 0.96 HR/9 (and even last night he generated 5 groundballs vs. 0 fly balls). Considering the swing and miss stuff (17 swinging strikes yesterday) and solid control (3.10 BB/9 entering the day), there’s little concern. His Hard% improved significantly this season (41.7% to 34.2% before yesterday) and he should continue to be among the Top 20 starters in the game.

4) Logan Webb does his best to prove he has value moving forward…
Matched up with Hyun-Jin Ryu Webb’s performance fell short (Ryu tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 7), but it doesn’t completely overshadow it. Webb was impressive, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP. It’s his second straight strong start, having pitched well against the Braves (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K) and he’s allowed 3 ER or fewer in three straight starts. While he’s struggled overall in the Majors, he’s still shown the ability to generate strikeouts (37 K over 39.2 IP) and groundballs (50.0% entering the day, 6 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday). Throw in solid control and he could bring the total package, while also flying under-the-radar in most leagues. Continue him an ideal potential sleeper if he earns a rotation spot.

5) Another poor start to end Caleb Smith’s 2019 campaign…
Taking on the Phillies Smith allowed 6 R (5 earned) on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 1, over 3.0 IP. He allowed 2 HR, finishing the year with 33 HR over 153.1 IP and that clearly was the biggest issue. On July 23 he owned a 3.30 ERA, but in 12 subsequent starts he allowed at least 4 ER in eight of them. Entering the day with a 26.7% groundball rate it’s no surprise that there have been home run issues and even with the struggles he’s benefited from a .250 BABIP. There could be some value moving forward when he pitches at home, but in most starts the risk appears to be far greater than the potential reward.

6) Could Rodrigo Lopez’ flourish to finish ’19 a sign of things for ’20…
Yesterday’s performance came against Detroit so we do have to take it with a slight grain of salt, but it was an impressive finish as he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, over 8.0 IP. Of course they had beaten him up in his previous outing (5 ER over 4.0 IP), and he had allowed 5+ ER in three straight starts (and four of his previous five). He entered the day with a 34.9% groundball rate and 1.74 HR/9. Maybe there’s a little bit more upside than his 5.38 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, considering a .318 BABIP and 68.4% strand rate entering Saturday, but is there enough to get super excited about? He could be a viable option, but he isn’t going to be a great one.

7) Has Ian Happ played his way into a full-time role again…
There was some hype entering the year, but he started the year in the minors. Finally getting a shot at the highest level he’s delivered, including going 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday while filling the cleanup spot. In 138 AB in the Majors he’s hitting .268 with 11 HR and 30 RBI, and while the numbers are highly impressive it doesn’t mean they come without concern. He entered the day with a 14.5% SwStr%, leading to a 25.0% strikeout rate. He also hasn’t been hitting the ball overly hard (32.0% Hard%), and you can question whether or not a 23.1% HR/FB (before yesterday’s outburst) is maintainable. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out, but there’s could be value if he gets his opportunity (though maybe not to this level).

8) Rougned Odor fills the box score en route to a monster day…
There were high hopes entering the year, but obviously he fell flat. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value still, and after going 2-4 with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB he showed what he is capable of. Of course he hit .204, though with 30 HR and 11 SB. The power and speed bring allure, but can he improve his average? While he’s hit the ball hard (45.6% Hard%), it’s impossible for him to maintain even a solid BABIP (.242 entering the day) considering his fly ball (47.3%) and pull heavy (18.5% Oppo%) approach. Throw in a 30.9% strikeout rate and it’s impossible to get excited. Does that mean he can’t evolve and improve? Of course not, but there’s no guarantee that the opportunity comes in Texas.

9) Yet another mixed bag from Robbie Ray…
While the save for Kevin Ginkel (1 H in his 1.0 IP) may be more intriguing long-term, the confounding performances from Ray need more attention. Taking on the Padres he struck out 10, which continues to be the high point of his value. Of course he also allowed 4 ER on 8 H and 3 BB over 6.0 IP and finishes the year with a 4.34 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. He’s a prime example of how strikeouts can only take you so far, as he’s struggled both with control (84 BB) and home runs (30 HR) over his 174.1 IP. After posting a 5.09 BB/9 last season and owning a career 41.2% groundball rate, is there hope that he can suddenly figure it out? Maybe a change of scenery is the answer, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him jettisoned in the offseason (and hopefully to a more pitcher friendly locale).

10) At the end of the day Marco Gonzales’ season ends strong…
Taking on the A’s he made one mistake, a home run to Ramon Laureano (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), in an otherwise brilliant performance. Going 7.0 innings he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, allowing him to end the season with a 3.99 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over 203.0 IP. While those numbers seem solid, a lack of strikeouts (6.57 K/9 entering the day) and groundballs (40.4% groundball rate) make it impossible to see much upside. His SwStr%, which was already limited, fell greatly this season (7.9% SwStr%), which corresponds with a dip in velocity (88.9 mph). At best he’s a streaming option at this point.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Going to win my league today. Thanks for all the great articles and advice, which have surely helped in my quest. Very much appreciated. I’ll be purchasing the draft guide soon.

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