10 Stories From 04/27/14 Box Scores: Is S. Castro “Back”, Is Gee For Real & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were impressive performances all across baseball yesterday, like Omar Infante surprisingly picking up 6 RBI and Jose Abreu continuing to pound the baseball (1 HR and 4 RBI, putting him at 10 HR and 31 RBI for the season).  Who else had a big day?  Whose struggles are starting to get concerning?  Let’s take a look at all of the stories we need to know from yesterday’s games:

 

1) Brett Lawrie moved up to fifth in the lineup…
Maybe it was just because it was a southpaw on the mound (Jon Lester allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP), but he was slotted in the fifth spot and answered the bell.  Lawrie went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R (his other hit was a double) and has now had back-to-back two-hit games.  He has 6 HR and 20 RBI, so it’s hard to call his start disappointing, but his average still sits at just .179.  His line drive can only go up (he entered the day at 8.2%), and with it will go his average (.145 BABIP).  If he can stick in the fifth spot, the RBI opportunities should be plentiful.  At this point he’s well worth having active in deeper formats.

 

2) Dillon Gee simply continues to get the job done, but that doesn’t change my outlook…
Readers of this site know I’ve never been the biggest fan of Gee, but it’s hard to argue with his continued success at this point.  He tossed 8.0 shutout innings against the Marlins yesterday, allowing 3 H and 4 BB with 6 K, to give him a 2.88 ERA and 1.01 WHIP on the season.  However, before we all start buying in, there are still significant red flags:

  • He entered the day with a .211 BABIP
  • He’s been homer prone this season (1.38 HR/9)
  • There is little strikeout potential (6.0 SwStr% entering the day)

If someone in your league is a believer, he could be a prime sell high candidate.  Chances are the bottom is going to fall out before long.

 

3) Ian Kennedy thriving, even away from Petco Park…
Pitching against the Nationals, in Washington, Kennedy was spectacular allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 innings.  In his three starts on the road this season he has allowed 3 ER over 19.0 innings (in three home starts he’s allowed 10 ER over 18.0 IP).  Obviously you would think things would get better at the comfy confines of home, especially given his 8.40 K/9, 2.40 BB/9 and 47.0% groundball rate entering the day (though the final number isn’t the norm for his career).  It all appears to be coming together for an impressive bounce back campaign.

 

4) Starlin Castro hits cleanup and explodes for 2 HR…
No one would’ve expected Castro to be slotted into the cleanup role, but he had a monster day going 3-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  He’s now on a three-game hitting streak (5-12) and has his average up to .292 with 4 HR and 11 RBI on the season.  He’s certainly doesn’t have the makeup of a cleanup hitter, but this season he has his strikeout rate back down (13.5% entering the day) and line drive rate up (25.3%).  There are some obvious concerns, like a 21.7% IFFB, but that is not the norm for his career (7.2% for his career).  While we wouldn’t expect him to stick in the fourth spot, things are looking like he’s lined up for a nice rebound campaign.

 

5) Collin McHugh does it again…
While he didn’t quite pile up the strikeouts this time around, he allowed just 1 ER on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 8.2 IP to defeat the A’s.  The obvious reaction is going to be to flock to your waiver wire to grab the newest flavor of the month.  He obviously isn’t this good, however, as the owner of a 3.64 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 187.2 innings at Triple-A.  That’s not to say that he’s not worth grabbing, but don’t go too crazy.  Chances are he implodes before long.

 

6) Jhonny Peralta leads the charge against Edinson Volquez…
It has been a down season for Peralta overall, but he erupted yesterday going 2-2 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, with both blasts coming against Volquez (5.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 K).  While Peralta is still hitting just .195 on the season, the problem has been purely luck based as he entered the day with a 17.8% strikeout rate and .167 BABIP (despite a 21.9% line drive rate).  Stick with him, as things are going to start to turn in the other direction.

 

7) Danny Salazar finally enjoys an impressive outing…
Patience is a virtue and, while Salazar didn’t get a W yesterday, he finally delivered a strong outing.  Taking on the Giants he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP.  It was the first time this season that he had worked more than 5.2 innings of work, which is something that we should all be happy to see.  His biggest issue had been home runs (2.45 HR/9 entering the day) and control (4.91 BB/9 entering the day), but he didn’t have an issue with either yesterday.  Obviously we have to continue keeping a close eye on things, but he should continue to improve.

 

8) Kyle Seager continues heating up…
He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him four consecutive two-hit games.  Over that streak he’s gone 8-15 with 5 HR, 11 RBI and 6 R.  That’s about as hot as you get, wouldn’t you say?  We all knew things were going to get better, but he obviously isn’t going to maintain this type of pace (who could).  Hopefully you hadn’t given up on him (or left him on your bench for this week).  The biggest issue with Seager in 2013 was his dramatic split between the first half and second half.  Maybe this season he got the poor stretch out of the way early, though.

 

9) Brandon McCarthy falls to 0-5, but impresses in the process and warrants a pickup…
It was a tough luck loss, to say the least.  He went 7.0 innings allowing 2 ER with 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 12.  While he’s generally not a strikeout pitcher, he’s whiffed 18 over his past two starts (12.0 IP) while allowing 3 ER on 14 H and 3 BB.  While he owns a 1.42 WHIP overall, his good control means he’s not going to sink your WHIP.  He also entered the day with increased velocity on his fastball (92.6 mph vs. 90.2 for his career) and an improved SwStr% (8.2%).  Throw in a 56.2% groundball rate (he generated 5 yesterday vs. 3 fly balls) and he is likely falling under-the-radar in most formats.  Don’t make that same mistake and overlook him.  Grab him now before it’s too late.

 

10) Johnny Cueto simply continues to get the job done…
He took a no decision, but tossed 8.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 11 in the process.  Obviously he’s not going to maintain his current 1.15 ERA and 0.77 WHIP (he entered the day with a 98.4% strand rate and .161 BABIP), but his underlying metrics indicate ace-like stuff.  He’s always had good control (2.78 BB/9 for his career) and an ability to generate groundballs (48.9% or better each season since 2011), but was he going to be able to generate Ks?  He now has 50 K over 47.0 innings, entering the day with a 10.4% SwStr% (he was at 11.0% last season when healthy).  In other words, it’s looking more and more believable.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s going to be regression, but he’s still well worth owning.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

3 comments

  1. Jack says:

    Love the website and all the tips. Just wanted to get your two cents on a trade. Should I dish out Pablo Sandoval and Verlander for Josh Donaldson? My starting pitching is pretty deep (Fernandez, Darvish, Hamels, J Zimmerman) and my 3B is pretty weak (Pablo and Todd Frazier). I drafted Pablo expecting the same sort of year is last year, but it’s looking like the pressure of upcoming free agency has really silenced his bat. What do you think?

  2. Bbboston says:

    Rotoprofessor,
    What are your thoughts? Is justin masterson a buy low opportunity?

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Jack – I love Donaldson, but still seems like a little bit of a steep price. Verlander for Donaldson alone should get it done (and that’s close, though I’m not the biggest Verlander supporter)

    Bbboston – All depends on the cost, but should have value

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