Dynastic Direction: High-A Outfielders: McKinney, Roache & Taylor

by Ivar G. Anderson

This week we return to the realm of hitters, eschewing minor league relief specialists for its once-a-season appearance. Specifically, I will provide a short profile about three highly-valued players who currently are slotted in at an outfield position (two actually are playing as teammates down in Florida).  Let’s take a look:

 

Billy McKinney OF CHC (High-A Daytona Cubs/Florida State League)
McKinney plays in the same league as the other two players below, but not on the same team (it would have been fun to profile a minor league team’s entire outfield at once). McKinney came over to the Cubs in the deal with the Oakland A’s, partially in exchange for Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. That actually hurts his ability to move up the ladder quickly, as he was a much higher rated prospect at High-A Stockton in the A’s system. Read more

10 Stories From 08/22/2014 Box Scores: Smyly Dominates, Young Hitter’s Struggling (Lamb, Singleton) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Josh Harrison continued his emergence, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R yesterday.  Who else produced yesterday?  Who struggled? Let’s take a look:

 

1) Drew Smyly dominates the Blue Jays…
David Price who?!?!  One of the key parts to the trade that sent Price out of Tampa Bay showed just how good he could be yesterday, tossing a complete game, two-hit shutout against the Blue Jays walking 0 and striking out 4.  In four starts since the trade he’s allowed 5 ER on 16 H and 6 BB, striking out 23, over 29.0 IP.  A much hyped young starter entering the season, the lefty was moved around the rotation in Detroit with starts being skipped now and then to help limit his workload.  He’s shown what he’s capable of, however, with a career 3.68 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.81 K/9 and 2.51 BB/9 as a starter in the Major Leagues (courtesy of a .295 BABIP and 75.0% strand rate).  Obviously he’s not Price, but he should be a solid starter in Tampa Bay moving forward.

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Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is Lucas Duda For Real? You’d Better Believe It…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

At the beginning of the season the Mets faced a decision regarding their future at first base: Ike Davis vs. Lucas Duda.  The team ultimately shipped Davis to Pittsburgh, turning the full-time job over to Duda.  While Davis still has time to ultimately develop, at this point it’s easy to say that the team made the right decision.

Through Thursday he was hitting .255 with 23 HR, 69 RBI and 57 R.  It’s clear that his calling card is his power, but that’s not to say that he’s going to be a complete drain on your average.  Overall he has his strikeout rate down to 21.8% (he was over 26% each of the previous two years).  While his 19.7% line drive rate leaves a lot to be desired, it also isn’t a crippling number.

What’s going to hurt him is his 48.3% fly ball rate, as if the ball doesn’t leave the ballpark more often than not they are going to result in outs.  While he’s obviously not likely to be a .300 hitter, he also doesn’t truly have the makeup of a .200 hitter either.  The fact is he is what he is, and that’s probably someone who is going to hit right around .260. Read more

Updated 2014 Rest of Season Rankings: Top 20 Closers

by Eric Stashin

Closers have felt even more volatile than ever in 2014, with some of the more dependable options (i.e. Trevor Rosenthal) on the cusp of losing their job.  It makes it that much more difficult to predict who will be the most valuable for the remainder of the season, but here’s our current rankings (the number in parenthesis is their previous ranking):

 

1) Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals (4)
2) Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
3) Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds (1)
4) Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves (2)
5) Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins (8)
6) Sean Doolittle – Oakland A’s (5)
7) David Robertson – New York Yankees (7)
8) Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox (6)
9) Steve Cishek – Miami Marlins (10)
10) Jake McGee – Tampa Bay Rays (NR) Read more

10 Stories From 08/21/2014 Box Scores: Has Hughes Become An Ace, G. Gonzalez Shows Signs & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were some impressive pitching performances across baseball yesterday afternoon, highlighted by the matchup between David Price (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 9 K) and Alex Cobb (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K, W).  How would you like to be Price who allowed one hit and took the loss, thanks to an unearned run?  Let’s take a look at all the rest of the action from yesterday:

 

1) Has Phil Hughes finally developed into a fantasy ace…
He went 7.0 innings against the Indians allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, to improve to 14-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.19 WHIP on the season.  He’s now allowed 4 ER over his past four starts (27.1 IP), winning all four of those outings.  The biggest difference has been the reduction in home runs, entering the day with a 0.63 HR/9, though that’s not to say that we should take these numbers as a lock to be maintained.  While he’s always been a control artist, sooner or later we have to expect a regression from the 0.85 BB/9 he entered the day with.  Of course, you could also argue that his .343 BABIP, 23.6% line drive rate and 71.1% strand rate should all improve as well.  The bottom line?  As long as he’s keeping the ball in the ballpark, he’s going to have success.  In that regard there’s no reason for significant concern, so consider him a good start for the remainder of the season and beyond.

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Revisiting Javier Baez: What Can We Expect Moving Forward?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We knew that there were going to be some growing pains for Javier Baez, especially in the average department, and that’s what’s been on display early on. Through his first 15 games he’s hitting .230, but with 5 HR, 9 RBI and 10 R. While it’s not a surprise, can we expect anything to change moving forward?

Thus far he owns a 39.1% strikeout rate, a number that’s higher than anyone likely expected. That said, it’s interesting on which pitches he’s struck out against:

  • Fourseam – 14
  • Change up – 1
  • Slider – 4
  • Curveball – 5
  • Cutter – 1

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