10 Stories From 04/21/14 Box Scores: Young Starting Pitchers Impress (Mejia, Roark, Peralta) & More


by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was an extremely exciting day of baseball around the league, getting off to an early start thanks to it being Patriots Day in Boston.  Who excelled?  Whose poor performance is concerns?  Who could prove to be a viable buy low candidate?  Let’s take a look at all the important stories from yesterday’s games:

 

1) What to make of Clay Buchholz’ poor outing…
The Baltimore Orioles ultimately beat up on Buchholz, who allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, in just 2.1 innings of work.  It’s the second time that he simply hasn’t had it in his 4 starts (he allowed 6 ER over 4.1 innings against the Brewers in his first start) and now has a 7.71 ERA and 1.93 WHIP on the season.  However, before we jump ship there are a few numbers to keep in mind:

  • .426 BABIP despite a 21.6% line drive rate (19.5%/20.6% the previous two seasons)
  • 57.3% strand rate
  • 1.93 HR/9 (0.90 for his career) despite just a 30.0% fly ball rate

Couple that poor luck with a 7.71 K/9 and 1.45 BB/9 and it’s hard to imagine a turnaround not coming.  Remember, it’s only 18.2 innings of work thus far.  Pitching in Boston, he appears to be an ideal buy low candidate.

 

2) Ike Davis quickly settling into his new home…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at 5-13 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R in three games since he was traded from New York.  It’s obviously just three games, but would anyone really be surprised to see Davis flourish with the change of scenery?  If he’s sitting on your waiver wire (which he likely was, outside of deeper formats), don’t be shy in grabbing him now.

 

3) Did Tanner Roark finally step up…
Neither Roark nor Taylor Jordan (who has a chance to match Roark tonight) has stepped up to claim the final spot in the Nationals rotation once Doug Fister returns from the DL.  However, Roark stepped up and made a statement yesterday as he shutout the Angels for 6.2 innings of work.  He allowed 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5, while also generating 10 groundballs.  Of course, he owns just a 5.7% SwStr% and 41.7% groundball rate, so there is a bit of risk.  We still prefer Jordan’s upside in the rotation, but he needs to answer the bell or he’s going to fall behind.

 

4) When will Anrdelton Simmons be moved up in the order…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .299 with 3 HR, 7 RBI and 6 R on the season.  While he hasn’t drawn walks (2), he also has struck out just twice on the season.  Meanwhile, both Jason Heyward (.176) and B.J. Upton (.203) have struggled at the top of the lineup.  Simmons is an ideal #2 hitter, and it should be just a matter of time before he’s elevated which will obviously help his potential value.

 

5) Jenrry Mejia shines again for the Mets…
Coming out of Spring Training it had looked like the Mets would give the fifth starters spot to someone like Daisuke Matsuzaka, but luckily they didn’t.  Mejia has been excellent in the early going, improving to 3-0 after shutting out to Cardinals for 6.2 innings allowing 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 7.  However, before we get too excited with his 1.99 ERA, he has struggled with his control overall (5.56 BB/9).  While that wasn’t a major red flag coming up through the minors, he did own a 3.6 mark so seeing an elevated number isn’t a big shock.  He also has benefited from a .250 BABIP and 91.9% strand rate, so the bottom could easily drop out at some point.  That’s not to say that there isn’t upside or potential, just be ready to stomach a few bumps in the road in the not too distant future.

 

6) Brad Miller dropped to the ninth spot in the batting order…
He had been hitting second, but Dustin Ackley (0-4 with 3 K) got the chance in that role yesterday.  Miller, who went 0-3 with 2 K yesterday, is now hitting .187 with 3 HR and 0 SB on the season.  He’s struggled mightily with strikeouts (29.1%) and has failed to hit the ball with authority (16.0%).  With Nick Franklin also on the roster now, could the Mariners start trying him more and more at shortstop?  It shouldn’t come as a surprise if they do, so fantasy owners in deeper formats would be wise to grab Franklin now.  He has more than enough upside to justify stashing.

 

7) Carlos Ruiz hits cleanup and posts a monster day…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, giving Cliff Lee (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 10 K) all the support he needed.  While it was a big day, he’s still hitting just .245 and it was his first home run of the season.  We all know that his 16 HR from 2012 was an aberration, though the average upside is obvious (12.7% strikeout rate, 24.4% line drive rate).  Without power, though, and likely hitting lower in the order on most days (he was in the fourth spot due to a lefty being on the mound), he’s going to remain a low-end option.

 

8) Wily Peralta outpitches Andrew Cashner…
Cashner allowed 4 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 innings in a less than stellar outing (and we should note that it came outside of Petco Park).  Peralta, meanwhile, allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 6.1 innings to improve to 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.  He has benefited from a little bit of luck (.233 BABIP), but he’s also given up more home runs than we’d expect (1.46 HR/9, courtesy of a 20.0% HR/FB).  He owns good control, groundball ability and the potential to generate strikeouts (though, this seasons 7.4% SwStr% isn’t overly promising).  There’s a lot to like.

 

9) Charlie Blackmon just continues to produce…
When is the regression coming?  He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him a slash of .411/.450/.671.  Is there any chance that it continues, though?  He’s benefiting from a .400 BABIP, 19.0% HR/FB (leading to his 4 HR) and has posted a 6.3% strikeout rate (14.1% for his career).  Has he been impressive?  Absolutely.  Could he continue to be a viable option?  It wouldn’t be a surprise, but he also has the potential to come crashing down in a hurry.  Just be aware and keep a close eye.

 

10) Closer Notes

  • Craig Kimbrel blows save – He allowed just 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, and the run was unearned.  After being pulled from his last outing against the Mets (and missing a week before that), you know some will be concerned but there is no reason to be.
  • Kyle Farnsworth gets the job done – In his first save chance of the season he allowed just 1 H in an otherwise clean inning, earning the save for the Mets.  That said, does anyone really believe he’s going to be able to thrive in the role?  It’s probably only a matter of time before the role is turned over to one of the Mets younger pitchers.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, CBS Sports

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