Archive for Around the Majors

10 Important Stories From 08/24/16 Box Scores: Braun Bashes, Tanaka, Fernandez, & Graveman Deal & More

by Ray Kuhn

There is nothing like a full day of baseball action. For the most part, there weren’t many top of the rotation options taking the mound. However, that didn’t mean the day was devoid of quality pitching performances. And at the risk of overkill, yes, Gary Sanchez did hit another home run today. Let’s take a look at some of the other performances that stood out from jammed packed slate of games.

1) Masahiro Tanaka turns in a Gem

Despite the fact that they were sellers a few weeks ago, the Yankees are still very much in the playoff picture. For those hopes to turn into a reality, they need Tanaka to pitch like the ace he is capable of being. On Wednesday, that was the case for the right-hander who picked up his 11th victory of the season. What we must note though, is that yesterday’s outing came on five days of rest for Tanaka which has proved to be the ticket to his success this season. Tanaka threw seven shutout innings and limited the Mariners to just six hits and one walk while striking out five. That brought Tanaka’s ERA for the season down to 3.11 to go along with a 1.07 WHIP. As long as the Yankees’ manage his rest for the duration of the season, you should be able to count on the right-hander. However, there are two red flags. Tanaka has seen his ground ball rate drop by 8.7% from the first half to the second half with a corresponding increase to his fly ball rate, and his hard contact has risen from 33.2% to 36.2% (per Fangraphs). Read more

10 Important Stories From 08/23/16 Box Scores: Buying Ventura & Rodon, T. Walker Returns To Mediocrity & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a rough outing for Reynaldo Lopez, though in a very difficult matchup, as he allowed 6 R (4 earned) on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over 2.2 IP in Baltimore.  The same can be said for Joe Musgrove, who allowed 5 ER on 8 H over 4.0 IP, including a home run to Gregory Polanco (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R).  Jon Gray, on the other hand, had a nice bounce back performance against the Brewers (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 10 K).

Moving away from the youngsters, the struggles of Danny Salazar continued (6 ER over 4.0 IP), making him a tough pitcher to trust down the stretch.  How about Madison Bumgarner, who went just 5.0 IP for the second straight start (he’s allowed 9 ER over that stretch)?  Needless to say there’s a lot to discuss coming out of yesterday’s action, so let’s take a look:

1) Kevin Gausman delivers against the Nationals…
It would’ve been easy to imagine him imploding, but instead Gausman tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 2 BB while striking out 2.  We don’t want to make a big deal about his lack of swings and misses (6) or groundballs (6, as compared to 8 fly balls), because strikeouts haven’t been an issue this season (9.14 K/9 entering the day, courtesy of a 10.8% SwStr%).  He also may not be an elite groundball artist, but his 17.4% HR/FB was excessive and could easily improve down the stretch.  Mix in above average control and there’s a lot to like moving forward.  There likely will be bumps, but at the very least he appears to be a must start at home going forward (and potentially everywhere):

  • Home – 2.48 ERA
  • Road – 5.32 ERA (.355 BABIP, along with 15 HR allowed, has plagued him)

Read more

10 Important Stories From 08/22/16 Box Scores: Peraza Staking Claim On Role, Freeman’s Power Display & More

by Ray Kuhn

With the start of another week, we are that much closer to September now. While baseball is still a marathon, this is the point of the season where it becomes more and more like a sprint. There is still a decent amount of time left, but that time is becoming shorter by the day. Each RBI and home run now increases in importance, and a day like Adrian Gonzalez had could mean that much more. Let’s jump right into some of the standout performances from yesterday.

1) Adrian Gonzalez Puts on a Power Show

If you stuck with Gonzalez all season, and don’t play in a head-to-head league, then it doesn’t necessarily matter when his production comes. Instead, all you care about, is that by the end of the season, it is there. Gonzalez appears to be past the back injury he was dealing with for a large part of the season, and that power was on display Monday in Cincinnati. The first baseman went deep three times and also ended the day with eight RBI. Over his past 30 games, Gonzalez has eight of his 15 home runs on the season and also has driven in 26 of 70 runners. For the season, Gonzalez is hitting .299, but he has been surging with a .336 average in his last 30 games and a .410 mark in his last 15. While Gonzalez isn’t going to get to the 28 home runs he had last season, if he keeps this pace up he should at least get close. Those that bought low on Gonzalez are certainly reaping the rewards. Read more

10 Important Stories From 08/21/16 Box Scores: Upton Explodes (Finally!), Urias Shines & More

by Will Overton

Sunday brought a lot of strong performances, almost more than we could discuss in this breakdown of the top 10 of the day. There was a good mix of youth and veteran yesterday with the likes of Julio Urias and Andrew Benintendi making the news, while veterans such as Justin Upton and Mike Leake also made headlines. Here is my breakdown of the top 10 stories of the day:

1)      Did A Few Days Off Jumpstart Justin Upton?

Brad Ausmus chose to hold Justin Upton out of the batting lineup for three games in the middle of last week, Wednesday – Friday. This came at the end of a 1 – 31 slump that just kept the burn of this disappointing season going. Upton came back Saturday and picked up a pair of hits and then yesterday he really broke out going 2 – 4 with 2 R, 2 HR and 6 RBI. Upton has still struck out three times in the last two games which is no good, but it’s nice to see him actually doing something he does make contact. This has been an epically disappointing season for Upton so far, but it’s hard to believe he is just suddenly this bad. Maybe the days off were just what he needs, but if he’s going to keep striking out so much, I hope we can at least get a few more HR’s to go with it going forward. Read more

10 Important Stories From 08/19/16 Box Scores: Bregman Breaking Out, Ray Evolving Into Ace & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yoenis Cespedes delivered a big game for the Mets, bringing flashbacks to him carrying to team a year ago, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  David Phelps continued to thrive in his transition back into the rotation, tossing 6.0 shutout innings against the Pirates allowing just 2 H and 2 BB while striking out 9.  Alex Gordon continues to pound the baseball, going 3-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R (he now has 5 HR over his past five games).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Jake Odorizzi delivers another strong start…
Taking on the Rangers he allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP.  He’s now allowed 3 ER or less in seven straight starts, lowering his ERA from 4.47 to 3.63 in the process, though there are two significant questions hanging over him:

  • Home Runs – He’s allowed 4 HR in his past three starts and entering the day with a 37.0% fly ball rate, that’s going to continue to be an issue (34.4% for his career)
  • Strikeouts – He’s struck out 6 batters or fewer six straight starts and he hasn’t topped 7 since June 19.  Obviously it’s not crippling (and overall he entered the day with an 8.26 K/9), but with just 9 swinging strikes yesterday it’s worth watching

He has showed tremendous control, entering with a 2.59 BB/9, but the home runs are going to be an issue (especially if he doesn’t start generating more strikeouts once again).  Don’t be surprised if he slides once again. Read more

10 Important Stories From 08/19/16 Box Scores: Giving Up On Gerrit Cole & Jose Berrios For ’16 & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Julio Teheran returned from the DL and pitched alright, allowing 3 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP against the Nationals.  Masahiro Tanaka is picking up the pace, tossing 7.2 shutout innings against the Angels with 9 K (8+ K in three straight starts).  Johnny Cueto turned in an impressive start against the Mets, allowing 1 ER on 8 H and 0 Bb, though he managed just 2 K, over 7.0 IP.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Can Teoscar Hernandez earn full-time AB…
In what turned into a home run derby (Houston won 15-8), Hernandez was one of the standout performers going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R yesterday.  With Yuliesky Gurriel closing in on his debut and Jake Marisnick back (at least part-time), it makes sense to wonder if Hernandez is going to remain in the lineup.  That said he’s opened up hitting .304 (7-23) with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 6 R after producing strong averages at both Double-A (.305) and Triple-A (.313) to go along with power (10 HR) and speed (34 SB).  The biggest question is his ability to make consistent contact, which is something we’ll have to closely monitor.  If he continues making contact, as he did last night, the results will be there and so will the AB.  With the potential overall package, he’s a must own in deeper formats immediately. Read more