10 Stories From 04/23/14 Box Scores: Moustakas Surging, M. Perez Must Own & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was another crazy day around the league, to say the least.  We saw Michael Pineda ejected for having a foreign substance on his neck, now likely facing a suspension.  We had Cole Hamels (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K) return from the DL and pitch well against the Dodgers.  We also saw Drew Smyly bounce back strong in his second start, showing why fantasy owners need to remain patient.  What else do we need to know from around the league?  Let’s take a look:


1) The legend of Aaron Harang continues…
Sooner or later this has to stop, doesn’t it?  While he had to settle for a no decision against the Marlins he allowed just 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 11, over 6.0 innings.  He is now the owner of a tidy 0.85 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, to go along with 33 K, over 31.2 innings of work.  We all know this isn’t going to continue, considering his .143 BABIP and 90.5% strand rate entering the day.  He also has not yet allowed a home run, despite a 54.2% fly ball rate (4 fly ball outs vs. 2 groundouts yesterday as well).  Sooner or later the bubble is going to burst, it’s just a matter of when the implosion comes.


2) A pair of Giants hit 2 HR, though Brandon Belt may be the most noteworthy…
One we would’ve expected, as Mike Morse went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R (he now has 5 HR and 15 RBI on the season).  The other would be a surprise, as Hector Sanchez stepped in for Buster Posey to go 2-6 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R.  However the most noteworthy thing for the Giants may have been Brandon Belt being moved into the third spot of the order.  He went 1-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R and could hold down that job for the foreseeable future.  If that’s the case his value increases significantly, so keep a close eye on the situation.


3) Martin Perez stymies the A’s…
Sonny Gray wasn’t bad for Oakland (7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 8 K), but his performance paled in comparison to Perez’ who threw a complete game shutout allowing just 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 3.  He improved to 4-0 on the season with a 1.42 ERA and 0.92 WHIP.  He simply had the A’s driving the ball into the ground repeatedly (17 groundballs).  That has been a major positive all season (he entered the day with a 57.1% groundball rate) and always has had good control.  If he can generate more strikeouts, and the potential is there, the sky really could be the limit.  Considering that he didn’t enter the day with significant luck on his side (.295 BABIP, 80.0% groundball rate), there is an awful lot to like.


4) Kyle Seager erupts, including a walkoff…
He went 2-3 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, after entering the day with 0 HR and 2 RBI on the season.  He entered the day with a 10.6% line drive rate, despite a career mark of 21.7%, as well as a .213 BABIP.  In other words, while the struggles have been there this season there is no reason to panic.  A breakout was coming and hopefully yesterday was just the start.


5) Mike Moustakas homers for the second consecutive game…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .159 with 4 HR and 11 RBI on the season.  However, he’s gone 3-9 with 2 HR and 5 RBI over the past two games and now has a three game hitting streak (4-13 with 3 extra base hits).  He continues to put the ball in the air too much (50.9%), but this season he’s at least not popping it up (6.9% IFFB).  Assuming he can correct his current 10.5% line drive rate (helping to his .132 BABP) he could still recover, even with the inflated fly ball rate.  If someone in your league gave up on him, now may be the perfect time to snatch him up and see if he can finally put it together.


6) Has the time come to buy into Alfredo Simon…
He improve to 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA and 0.94 WHIP after defeating the Pirates last night.  He went 6.2 innings allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 5 BB, striking out 4.  The control has not been an issue previously, so that isn’t a major concern.  However, the .185 BABIP and 90.9% strand rate scream of a future regression.  It’s been a nice ride, to date, but the bubble is certainly going to burst.  Does that mean he’s not going to produce at all?  There is upside in the strikeout department (8.9% SwStr%), is generating groundballs (51.2%) and has shown good control, but is it enough?  I’d say ride him while you can, but don’t get too attached.


7) Nelson Cruz hits 2 HR, but should we sell high…
A lot of people believer that, settling in at Camden Yards, Cruz would be a very good draft day candidate (including yours truly).  Thus far, he’s backed it up.  After going 2-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R yesterday, he’s now hitting .301 with 6 HR and 21 RBI on the season.  Considering that his HR/FB (23.1%) is not unrealistic and he’s actually hit more HR on the road (4), there’s an awful lot to like.  At this point do not consider him a Sell High candidate and continue to enjoy his success.


8) Jonathan Niese impresses once again, but can he maintain it…
Michael Wacha (4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 10 K) is going to get a lot of the attention from yesterday’s Mets-Cardinals game, and rightfully so, but he only lasted 4 innings.  Niese, meanwhile, continued his impressive start to the 2014 season allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 6.2 IP to earn his first W of the season.  He now owns a 2.45 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, but the question is if he can maintain it?  Chances are he can, as there’s upside in the strikeout department (6.66 K/9) and groundball rate (44.0% vs. 49.2% for his career) while he hasn’t benefitted by extreme luck (.270 BABIP, 84.0% strand rate though he has posted an elevated line drive rate).  In other words, don’t shy away.


9) Could Sam Fuld take over Aaron Hicks’ job…
Recently claimed off waivers, Fuld got the start in CF yesterday and went 2-5 with 1 RBI.  While Hicks does have upside potential, he continues to struggle at the Major League level and sooner or later the leash is going to run out.  Fuld doesn’t offer much power, but he has stolen as many as 20 bases in the Majors and could be an under-the-radar source of SB if you are desperate.  Keep a close eye on the situation.


10) Bullpen’s remain in flux…

  • Hector Rondon needs to be owned – Pedro Strop wasn’t officially charged with the blown save (that went to James Russell, who relieved Strop and allowed 1 ER on 1 H without recording an out), but he should’ve been.  Strop allowed 4 R (1 earned) on 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 0.2 IP and now owns a 4.32 ERA and 1.44 WHIP.  Don’t be surprised to see Rondon get the next opportunity in Chicago.
  • Jesse Crain please – It was disaster for Josh Fields, who allowed 3 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, over 0.1 innings to blow the save.  Crain can’t come off the DL soon enough.
  • Ernesto Frieri completely implodes – He allowed 4 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, while getting just 1 out.  It was his second blown save and has now allowed 5 ER over his last 1.1 innings of work.  While he is a source of strikeouts, he also owns a 9.35 ERA and 1.96 WHIP and could easily be on the hot seat.  Joe Smith figures to get the first shot at replacing him and is worth grabbing in all formats.
  • Kyle Farnsworth lucky to convert save – He allowed 1 ER on 3 H in his inning, with an additional runner being thrown out at home plate.  We all know the clock is ticking on his time in the closer role, so don’t get too attached.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs


  1. Steve says:

    Love the site! I visit everyday and I bought the draft guide…very nice!
    What’s your take on Drew Smyly staying in the rotation? I obviously hope that he does because he holds a lot of value with his “RP” eligibility.


    • Rotoprofessor says:

      First off, thanks for the support! It is very much appreciated!!

      In regards to Smyly, I do think he’ll stick in the rotation for the foreseeable future, though it’s very possible that they skip him from time-to-time to help limit his innings (which has the potential to get frustrating).

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