10 Important Stories From 04/11/14 Box Scores: Andrew Cashner Joining The Elite, Is Chris Tillman For Real & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

What are the most important stories fantasy owners need to know from yesterday’s action?  There were some aces who really thrived (like Yu Darvish, David Price and Felix Hernandez), but does it really change our outlook of them?  Let’s dig a little deeper and take a look:

 

1) Is Chris Tillman for real?  Not likely…
He didn’t get the win, as Dustin McGowan nearly matched him pitch for pitch (6.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K, W) in what was an important bounce back performance (4 ER in 2.2 IP in his first outing).  However, Tillman was even more impressive, allowing 2 R (0 earned) on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 8.0 innings of work.  He’s now made three starts against some of the best offensives in the league (his first two came against Detroit and Boston) and owns a 0.84 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 15 K over 21.1 innings.  Is it a real breakout, though?  Considering his .206 BABIP (23.1% line drive rate) and 92.1% strand rate, it’s extremely unlikely.  Throw in no real strikeout upside and control that should falter a bit (1.27 BB/9 vs. 3.19 for his career) and the picture becomes clear.  It’s a great start, but things should normalize before long.

 

2) Tanner Roark can’t get out of the fifth inning…
Taking on the Braves he allowed 5 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 4.2 innings.  The biggest blow came courtesy of Ramon Pena, who tagged him for a three-run home run.  The performance is important, because the hope is that Doug Fister is closing in on a return to the mound.  When he does, it’s either Roark or Taylor Jordan who is going to get the boot.  Jordan does have the higher upside, and a few more poor outings from Roark will lock him into the rotation moving forward.

 

3) Conor Gillaspie posts a big day hitting third…
It was a bit of a surprise that Gillaspie got moved up to the third spot, but he delivered by going 2-3 with 4 RBI out of that spot last night.  Gillaspie was actually one of our sleeper picks in the 2014 Rotoprofessor Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, saying:

“The addition of Matt Davidson calls his playing time into question, though he is hardly a guarantee to win the job; Could be an ideal platoon candidate having hit well against RHP in ’13 (.261 with 12 HR in 345 AB); Needs to take a step forward in the power department which is possible (74 extra base hits in 841 AB in the minors over the past three seasons)”

If he remains hitting third, ahead of Jose Abreu, he should see ample pitches to hit.  That would put him in a prime position to thrive, as he did last night.  In deeper formats, he could be well worth the gamble.   That said, one game does not make a breakout, so those in shallower formats can sit tight.

 

4) Wily Peralta posts another strong outing…
He defeated the Pirates last night, allowing 2 R (1 earned) on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 innings.  He made just one mistake, as Neil Walker (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) took him deep for his second home run of the season.  Before we rule out Peralta, remember he had a 3.99 ERA in the second half last season with an improved strikeout rate (7.59 K/9) and continued groundballs.  While there are certainly going to be some stumbles along the way, in his two starts he’s showing that same type of stuff (7.50 K/9, 64.7% groundball rate) just continuing what he did late last season.  Consider him worth owning as a backend option in all formats.

 

5) Chris Colabello continues to hit the baseball…
Kyle Gibson (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 3 K, W) deserves mentioning for the Twins as well, though 6 K vs. 8 BB in 11.1 innings brings significant concerns.  As for Colabello, he went 2-3 with 3 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .308 with 1 HR and 14 RBI on the season.  Let’s not forget that he hit 31 total HR a year ago, so there is power there.  Of course, strikeouts are a concern (26.8% this season) and he’s also driving the ball into the ground an awful lot this season (57.1%).  Enjoy the hot streak while it lasts, but there’s a good chance that he slows downs significantly.

 

6) Travis d’Arnaud hits his first HR of the season…
It’s been an incredibly slow start for d’Arnaud, who is still hitting .129 on the season, though he’s showing signs at least.  He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, and has now gone 4-16 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R in his past four games.  Is it much?  No, but at least it’s something.  As we’ve said before, seeing young catchers struggle offensively early in their careers is normal (given the other things they have to worry about).  If he can even give you this type of production over the season you should be happy, though the upside is there for more.

 

7) Has Andrew Cashner officially taken the next step…
Last night was a great example of his upside, as he completely dominated the Detroit Tigers throwing a complete game 1 H shutout.  He walked 2 and struck out 11 in the process.  Just to make things look even better, he recorded 13 outs on the ground and just 3 through the air.  In three starts this season he’s posted a 9.43 K/9, 3.00 BB/9 and 60.0% groundball rate.  It’s the same skills he showed last season, with the strikeout rate returning.  Obviously he’ll hit some bumps and the strikeouts will likely fall (7.1% SwStr%), but he’s a must own option and has the potential to finish the season as a Top 20 option.

 

8) Julio Teheran underwhelms against the Nationals…
He allowed 5 R (2 earned) on 10 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 6.0 innings in a no decision.  He’s manage only 9 K in 19.0 innings thus far this season and his velocity is down a bit (90.5 mph).  That said, his 9.0% SwStr% indicates that there should be better days ahead.  He has shown good control (2.84 BB/9) so don’t press the panic button quite yet.  However, unless he does begin striking people out his numbers are going to quickly inflate.

 

9) Francisco Liriano struggles against the Brewers…
After striking out 10 in 6.0 shutout innings in his first start, he’s now allowed 8 ER over his past 12 innings of work.  It’s a small sample size, but he has actually been hit exceptionally hard this season (26.1% line drive rate) and has been burnt by the long ball (3 HR allowed).  Does that mean we should panic?  Of course not, as he’s still showing the same improved command he did a year ago (3.50 BB/9) which is the key to his potential success.

 

10) Closer news and notes…

  • Edward Mujica earns the save for Boston…  He threw a perfect inning with 1 K, but the real question is where was Koji Uehara?  Scott Lauber tweeted that he was dealing with “stiffness in his shoulder” prior to the game and not using him was “precautionary”.  Time will tell, as these things have a habit of snow-balling.  It’s clear Mujica is next in line for saves, so if you are in need don’t hesitate to go and grab him.
  • Jonathan Broxton makes an appearance…  It was a non-save situation, but the Reds have been saying all along that they wanted to ease him into the role.  With his first outing out of the way, look for him to slide into the closers role now.
  • Jose Veras struggles yet again…  He got saddled with his second blown save of the season, allowing 2 ER on 1 H and 1 BB in his inning of work.  With a 12.27 ERA, just how long can the Cubs stick with him?  Pedro Strop is worth owning in all formats as the likely replacement.
  • Trevor Rosenthal saddled with the loss…  The beating came in his second inning of work, as he allowed 3 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 2.0 innings.  Don’t read anything into it.

Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN

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4 comments

  1. bbboston says:

    11). Dustin Ackley has 3-4 night, further supporting the Rotoprofessor’s insight that Ackley may be this year’s post-hype bounce-back candidate.

  2. bbboston says:

    2-4 last night… Perhaps I can.

  3. bbboston says:

    Pretty rare to find a 2b at a reasonable price nowadays.

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