Will Daniel Mengden Fully Breakout In 2018, Or Does Disappointment Loom?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There was a good amount of hype surrounding the A’s Daniel Mengden heading into the 2017 season, though injuries helped to derail his season overall. Finishing with a flourish has grabbed people’s attention once again, the question is if the upside is still there? Maybe he’s not a post hype sleeper, thanks to the finish, but would he even be worth that label? Let’s take a look, starting with the numbers:

43.0 IP
3 Wins
3.14 ERA
1.05 WHIP
29 Strikeouts (6.07 K/9)
9 Walks (1.88 BB/9)
39.2% Groundball Rate
.240 BABIP

The strikeouts in the Majors obviously weren’t impressive, though he was at 8.78 at Triple-A over 41.0 IP and owns a 9.0 K/9 over his minor league career. He also showed an ability to get swings and misses on his slider (20.00% Whiff%) and curveball (15.05% Whiff%), giving him a pair of wipe out options. When coupled with a fastball that averaged 92.53 mph, the upside is there to put up an 8.0ish K/9. Read more

2018 Projection: Will This Be The Year Marcus Stroman Truly Becomes An Ace?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There have long been high hopes for the Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman, with the thought that he could emerge as one of the truly elite starters in the league.  To an extent he lived up to that hype in 2017, utilizing groundballs to produce an impressive ERA.  However there are significant questions behind the numbers, and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll take the next step forward in ’18 or if a regression is imminent.  First, let’s take a look at the numbers from last season:

201.0 IP
13 Wins
3.09 ERA
1.31 WHIP
164 Strikeouts (7.34 K/9)
62 Walks (2.78 BB/9)
62.1% Groundball Rate
.310 BABIP

It’s obvious that his strongest skill is his groundball rate, and it’s his second consecutive season with an elite mark (60.1% in ’16).  He also has always shown impressive control, with a career 2.40 BB/9 in the Majors over 562.2 IP…  That said there are questions about his control and which is the closer to the truth. Read more

Sleeper or Bust: Will Austin Hedges Turn The Corner In 2018?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There was some potential seen in Austin Hedges entering 2017, based solely on his performance at Triple-A the previous season (.326 with 21 HR over 334 PA).  While he did bring some of that power with him to San Diego, it would be hard to get excited about his final line:

387 At Bats
.214 Batting Average (83 Hits)
18 Home Runs
55 RBI
36 Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.262 On Base Percentage
.398 Slugging Percentage
.260 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Obviously no one would complain about the power, as he proved that his ’16 breakout wasn’t solely due to playing in the Pacific Coast League.  The problem is that it wasn’t nearly enough to offset his miserable batting average.  So what exactly was the difference between his Triple-A and MLB performance? Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Has The Time Come To Give Up On Matt Moore?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were high expectations for Matt Moore, with 2017 being his first full season pitching in the NL.  However at the end of the day the numbers were highly disappointing, as he struggled to both generate strikeouts and was consistently burnt by the long ball.  Just look at the numbers he generated:

174.1 IP
6 Wins
5.52 ERA
1.53 WHIP
148 Strikeouts (7.64 K/9)
67 Walks (3.46 BB/9)
37.7% Groundball Rate
.320 BABIP

Control was always the biggest concern, and with the move to the National League it was expected that the injury plagued starter would return to generating nearly a strikeout per inning.  Instead he fell far short of those expectations, as both his SwStr% (8.6%) and O-Swing% (27.9%) were pedestrian, at best.  Maybe part of the problem was his velocity, which was down (92.46 mph on his fourseam fastball). Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is It Time To Completely Give Up On Alex Gordon?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There was a time when Alex Gordon was a solid option for fantasy owners, though those days feel like a lifetime ago.  He’s never been a source of significant power or speed, but an outfielder who produced 9 HR and 7 SB in 2017?  That alone makes him feel virtually unusable.  Then couple it with his averages over the past two seasons…

  • 2016 – .220
  • 2017 – .208

You can argue that the average comes courtesy of some poor luck, with BABIP of .288 and .261 over the past two seasons (despite line drive rates of 24.2% and 24.4%).  That would be a fair, and while the strikeout rate did rebound in 2017 (29.2% to 23.3%), he continued to post an inflated SwStr% (at least for him):

  • 2016 – 12.2%
  • 2017 – 10.2%

Read more

Post-Hype Breakout: Is Jon Gray Destined To Become A Top 20 Starter In 2018?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were high expectations for the Rockies’ Jon Gray entering the season, but early season injuries helped to derail the perception of his production.  At the end of the day, though, is anyone going to complain about these types of numbers from a pitcher maneuvering around Coors Field:

110.1 IP
10 Wins
3.67 ERA
1.30 WHIP
112 Strikeouts (9.14 K/9)
30 Walks (2.45 BB/9)
48.9% Groundball Rate
.336 BABIP

As you can see he displayed all three skills that we look for from any pitcher.  Obviously the groundball rate isn’t elite, but it’s more than enough and he’s shown an ability to avoid home run troubles in the Majors (0.82 HR/9 in ’17, 0.90 over his Major League career).  In fact he was actually better at home in 2017: Read more