10 Stories From 04/26/14 Box Scores: Khris Davis Heating Up, Tanner Roark Thrives & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were injuries across the league yesterday to many of the most prominent players in the game.  Jean Segura and Ryan Braun went down.  Chris Davis is ticketed for the DL. Hanley Ramirez appears likely to get a day or two off.  Those stories certainly dominated the news, but what else do we need to know?  Let’s take a look:


1) Tanner Roark entrenching himself as a viable option…
He was fantastic yesterday as he outpitched Andrew Cashner (6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 5 K).  Roark tossed a complete game shutout allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 8.  Sure it was against the Padres, but he now owns a 2.76 ERA and 1.16 WHIP and has thrown 15.2 shutout innings over his past two starts (the previous of which was against the Angels).  He also generated 14 groundballs, just adding to the impressive outing.  You could argue whether his upside potential is lower than Taylor Jordan’s, but it’s clear that he has been the better pitcher thus far and likely entrenched himself in the fifth starters spot.  At this point he’s worth owning in most formats, though he still has a lot to prove and could easily regress.


2) Has the time come to give up on Brandon Morrow…
How can we say that after he didn’t give up a hit in his outing yesterday?!?  Well, maybe because he only lasted 2.2 innings giving up 4 R on 8 BB and 1 K…  That’s not a typo, he walked 8!  Always an injury risk, Morrow entered the day with the underlying metrics of a successful pitcher.  He owned a 10.53 K/9 (with a 9.6% SwStr%), 3.66 BB/9 and an uncharacteristic 52.8% groundball rate.  However, any positive rub got wiped away in a flash.  Obviously we shouldn’t give up on him off of one poor outing (even as poor as this one was), but you have to tread lightly.  Keep an eye on him to see if he can bounce back strong, but he’s got an awful lot to prove.


3) Is Nick Swisher quietly heating up…
Many owners have given up on Swisher, but he’s quietly started to turn things around of late.  He went 2-5 with 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday and now has back-to-back two-hit games.  In fact, he has five two-hit games in his past 9, going 12-36 with 0 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R over that span.  Obviously we drafted Swisher for his power, but he’s always been a streaky option.  He’s showing signs, including a pair of doubles yesterday, and should start sending balls over fences soon.  Don’t make the mistake of losing hope.


4) Nick Markakis gets the start at first base…
With Chris Davis headed to the DL the Orioles are going to be forced to be creative to fill the void both on the field and in the lineup (Markakis hit third yesterday as well).  Yesterday it was the newly recalled Jemile Weeks who was at DH, but Ryan Flaherty figures to see the bulk of the time at 1B with Markakis shifting back to the outfield and Nelson Cruz at DH.  Flaherty is hitting .188 on the season, but there is some power potential (15.4% HR/FB in ’13), he hasn’t been striking out (19.7%) and he’s been hitting the ball hard (24.5% line drive rate).  He has been hitting the ball into the ground (51.0%) and popping it up (16.7%) way too much, but he still has time to figure it out.  He could prove to be a lightning in a bottle type option.


5) Will the Rays’ Cesar Ramos prove to be a viable option…
He went 5.0 shutout innings against the White Sox yesterday allowing 5 H and 2 BB in the process.  Over his last two starts (the first came against the Yankees) he’s now allowed 1 ER on 9 H and 3 BB in 10.0 innings of work.  It seems good, on the surface, but he’s also managed just 3 K.  Over his minor league career (769.1 innings) he owns a 5.6 K/9 so it’s hard to say that there is tremendous upside.  Pitching in the AL East, he’s going to be awfully tough to trust.


6) Khris Davis starting to live up to the hype…
The Brewers’ Khris Davis was a fairly well hyped option heading into the season, with the Brewers having traded Norichika Aoki to clear a spot for him.  Things started slowly, but he’s now starting to get things in gear.  He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at 8-23 with 3 HR, 3 RBI and 5 R over his past five games.  While he didn’t strikeout yesterday, he still owns a 27.9% strikeout rate and 1.2% walk rate.  That needs to get corrected, and he should be able to given his minor league marks of 19.8% and 12.2% since 2011.  If someone in your league lost patience early, don’t hesitate to scoop him up.


7) Has Jim Johnson moved one step closer to regaining the closers role in Oakland…
He didn’t pitch yesterday, but another member of the committee imploded as Sean Doolittle was charged with 4 ER on 4 H without recording an out.  Luke Gregerson has also had his issues recently, though he pitched a perfect inning last night (and has back-to-back scoreless appearances).  Ryan Cook has pitched well since coming off the DL, but the A’s have been reluctant to pitch him late in games.  In his last five appearances Johnson has allowed 0 R on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.2 IP.  Don’t be surprised if he sees the next save chance, even if the A’s remain reluctant to name a “closer” once again.


8) Jenrry Mejia suffers his first poor outing…
It looked like he was simply going to continue rolling along, but things caught up to him in the sixth inning against the Marlins.  He allowed 6 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, giving him a 3.49 ERA and 1.38 WHIP on the season.  It’s just one poor outing and he has displayed a skill set that should allow him to excel overall this season:

  • 9.85 K/9 (10.8% SwStr%, 8.0 K/9 in the minors)
  • 4.76 BB/9 (only 6 BB over his last 17.1 IP)
  • 54.5% groundball rate

Obviously we’d like to see fewer walks (3.6 mark in the minors) and injuries are always a question.  There’s some risk, especially given the control issues thus far, but he’s worth using while he’s going well.


9) Michael Saunders gets his shot in the leadoff spot…
With Mariner leadoff hitters owning a .224 average (24th in the league), the team decided to shake things up and give Saunders an opportunity there last night.  He answered the call, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, and could prove to be an intriguing option there if he continues to play.  He is hitting just .189 on the season, though the strikeouts are down (22.0%), he’s hitting the ball hard (28.6% line drive rate) and he’s not popping the ball up (0.0% IFFB).  In other words, the struggles have been purely bad luck.  Remember, it was just two seasons ago that he was nearly a 20/20 outfielder (19 HR, 21 SB) and could provide help across the board hitting atop the order.  In deeper five-outfielder formats he’s definitely a name to monitor.


10) Vidal Nuno struggles against the Angels…
Nuno has been forced into the rotation, with the injury to Ivan Nova and suspension of Michael Pineda, and the results weren’t there yesterday.  He lasted just 4.1 innings (though he only threw 72 pitches) allowing 3 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 4.  He was significantly better in his first outing (5.0 shutout innings against the Rays) and did own an 8.6 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 over his minor league career.  With the Yankees lineup behind him, there is some upside.  However, don’t consider him a must use option.  He’s more of a streamer when the matchup is right for now.


Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Minor League Central, MLB.com, CBS Sports


  1. pretzels says:

    what are your thoughts on pollock of ariz, abreau of mets chisenhall of cleve or ian stewart of la i dickerson of colo i need a hitter———-thanks

    • KillerB says:

      dickerson has most upside… maybe chisenhall, but cleveland wants to play santana there and he will get right eventually.

  2. Bryan says:

    Thx for your articles RotoProf!
    I play in a 10 team head-to-head and need help on a couple of decisions.



    • KillerB says:

      Wilson and Weaver — maybe Burnett
      – Salazar could get sent down in favor of Bauer
      – Colon looks great but age scares me

      Kemp, Jackson, Morse and maybe Pagan
      – Gattis BA scares me
      – Revere looks good but steals can be poached elsewhere
      – Granderson is quickly playing himself onto the wire
      – Morse’s injury risk is the only real concern for me — maybe Gattis instead there

  3. Meats says:

    I know you were high on Nicasio going into the season, where would you rank him now if you had to redo your draft guide? He has been failing to get deep into games and really only has had one great outing thus far.

    I have to pick a fifth starter this week and it’s between him and Kluber, recommendations?

  4. Bigmover2003 says:

    I have one open spot for a sleeper in an AL only rotisserie league. I was wondering, Sands or Cron? Which one has a better chance of making an impact. Thank you

  5. KillerB says:

    Eric, I have Kershaw and Iwakuma coming back this week. The rest of the staff is Wacha, Shelby Miller, Chris Archer, Mejia and Jesse Chavez. I only plan to keep 6 SPs since my other bench spots are being kept by Joe Smith, Machado, Middlebrooks and Khris Davis. Which SP above would you drop to make room for Kershaw and Iwakuma? Or would you drop Smith, Middlebrooks or Khris Davis to keep an extra pitcher?

  6. Rotoprofessor says:

    pretzels – Biggest issue with most of those guys is going to be regualar playing time. Pollock should be locked in for now, though he’s hardly the highest upside option.

    SP – Weaver is the top choice (despite the fact that I don’t love him). I’d probably go Burnett second.
    OF – Kemp (though there’s risk), Granderson, Jackson & Pagan/Morse (the final spot is close an depends on if you need power or speed)

    Meats – I do still like Nicasio, but at this point I’d go Kluber

    Bigmover2003 – That’s a tough call. Cron has the higher upside, and it depends on if the Angels give up on Ibanez or not (or move him to the outfield). Sands is more likely to arrive first, but Cron will make the bigger impact.

    KillerB – Mejia would probably be the first cut of the pitchers. The second would be Chavez, probably, but I’d try to shop him or Archer in a package before the other two come back.

  7. CJ says:

    Irrelevant to this article, but I’d like anyone’s opinion on who to drop…
    F Morales or S Feldman. Morales has pitched good his last 2 outings. And Feldman was pitching great but seems unsustainable. H2H pts

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