10 Stories From 5/2/14 Box Scores: Salazar’s Issues Continue, Marte Showing Signs & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

What were the big stories from yesterday’s games? Let’s take a look at everything we need to know:

 

1) Has Hector Rondon officially claimed the Cubs’ closer spot…
Maybe the question should be why did it take so long? The Cubs have not “officially” anointed him closer, but he picked up the save yesterday in a perfect inning of work. Obviously he’s not going to maintain his 0.63 ERA or 0.91 WHIP, but thus far he’s showing strikeouts (9.42 K/9 courtesy of a 10.6% SwStr%), control (2.51 BB/9) and groundballs (51.4%). That’s a fantastic makeup, and over his minor league career he owns an 8.1 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. If it’s bit too late, grab him immediately if you are in need of saves.

2) Danny Salazar is ok… Kind of… Sorta…
He warned a W against the White Sox last night, though it was hardly an impressive outing. Lasting just 5.0 innings (needing 101 pitches) he allowed 5 R (3 earned) on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 6. He did generate 8 groundballs, though that’s not really his MO. The strikeouts are nice and there remains to be upside, but he needs to improve his control and work deeper into games (only once has he gone more than 5.2 innings). Until he does that his value will be limited, though that doesn’t mean he isn’t usable.

 

3) Starling Marte awakening…
He went 4-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday. After a few days off, in part due to rainouts, he’s now gone 7-12 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R and 2 SB over three games. More importantly, he’s only struck out once over this stretch. It’s only a matter of time before he returns to the leadoff spot of the lineup, but unless he continues to limit the strikeouts (29.0% overall), there’s going to be the risk of struggles. He’s not a “must sell”, but if you do own him I would consider kicking the tires to see if you could still extract full value.

 

4) Clay Buchholz enjoys a strong outing…
Taking on the A’s he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 6.1 IP. While he owns a 5.63 ERA and 1.59 WHIP, he is still showing excellent control overall (2.53 BB/9) and with an 8.1% SwStr% he should improve on his strikeout rate (6.75 K/9). While his velocity is down overall, averaging 90.7 mph on the season, talk has been about his arm strength coming back. In fact, he was quoted by Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (click here for the article) as saying, “I think that was the last phase that I was getting through, getting the arm strength fully back and trusting the pitches as I throw them.” Don’t shy away from him right now.

 

5) Wily Peralta continues to thrive…
It would have made sense to be at least a little concerned, pitching in Cincinnati, but Peralta was fantastic once again tossing 8.0 shutout innings allowing just 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 7. He’s been a groundball machine (54.5%), which makes his current 1.13 HR/9 a little bit of a surprise. The real question is, can he maintain a 2.04 BB/9? Not likely, and his .237 BABIP and 80.0% strand rate will also likely fall. There’s a lot to like and he’s going to remain viable, but the fact is he just isn’t THIS good.

 

6) Mike Minor made his 2014 debut…
He didn’t get the W, but it was a tough luck loss, as he allowed 2 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP. He got burned by a pair of home runs (Angel Pagan & Mike Morse), though that’s not the norm. He should bring a solid strikeout rate and good control to the table and, while he’s not an ace, he’s well worth owning in all formats (obviously). With Atlanta’s offense behind him, the W will come.

 

7) Is Mike Zunino ready to emerge as a Top 10 catcher…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .272 with 4 HR and 13 RBI on the season. He’s showing the ability to make good contact (25.5% line drive rate) and hit the ball out of the ballpark (16.7% HR/FB), but he needs to consistently make contact. He currently owns a 31.8% strikeout rate, putting an even bigger spotlight on his .353 BABIP. He owned a 25.4% mark in 2013 and a 23.6% mark in the minors, so there is hope that he can improve and he will have to if he wants to keep his average viable. Keep a close eye on that moving forward, but there’s no questioning his upside in all formats.

 

8) Zack Wheeler implodes in Denver…
Control has always been his biggest question, though that wasn’t a huge issue last night. He allowed 7 R (6 earned) on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over 4.0 IP. Poor outings happen, but we have to look at all the numbers to get an idea of his outlook. He owns an 8.64 K/9, which could continue to regress (8.5% SwStr%), but that’s the only “negative” hanging over him. He has improved his control (3.51 BB/9), is generating groundballs (50.0%) and has struggled with luck (.360 BABIP, 64.3% strand rate) so what’s not to like? Outside of pitching for the Mets, potentially limiting his win potential, Wheeler appears to be taking the next step in his development.

 

9) Will Jedd Gyorko ever get going…
He was hitting cleanup yesterday, going 1-4 in the process. The sad thing is that it raised his average to .155, and he maintains a pathetic slash of .155/.222/.216. You have to think he will get better though, right? He did not have strikeout issues in the minors, yet owns a 28.7% mark thus far this season. He also has simply failed to hit the ball with authority, owning a 16.2% line drive rate. He was at 22.5% last season and also has always shown much more power than this (3 extra base hits). Stay patient and his time will come. That’s not to say that I love him (nor have I ever), but he is better than this.

 

10) Sergio Santos’ time has come and gone…
Even if Casey Janssen wasn’t closing in on his return, you have to wonder if the Blue Jays could continue running him out there as closer. He blew his third save last night, allowing 3 ER on 3 H (including 2 HR), and now owns a 10.61 ERA on the season.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Minor League Central, Baseball Reference

8 comments

  1. TommyL says:

    Who do you think is next in line for saves in Toronto?

  2. Shaggy says:

    Drop Rodney for Rendon?

  3. Corey says:

    OPS league. Would you rather have Eaton or Pagan in a CF spot?

  4. jon says:

    Hey Prof – I’ve got a bit of an SP pile-up in my 10-team mixed Roto league. We have a 200 GS limit and our cats include K/9, QS (no wins) and IP. I think I’m carrying just one too many guys on upside but I’m not sure who to drop or whether to keep all of them. We only have 4 bench spots.

    Bumgarner, Shields, Cashner, JZimmerman, Ventura, Salazar, Eovaldi, Kluber.

    What’s your read on my sitch? I could use the extra bench space either for an upside hitter or another RP (for ratios and IP).

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    TommyL – The early word is Loup is going to get the shot.

    Shaggy – I don’t like Rodney, but no I wouldn’t

    Corey – Overall I think Pagan may be the better player, and it’s easy with Eaton hitting the DL. However, I think Eaton has the higher upside to catch fire over the rest of the season once healthy.

    Jon – Is there any keeper rules?

    • jon says:

      No keeper rules whatsoever. This year and this year only. Main issues are managing upside, 4 bench spots only and the 200 GS limit.

      • Rotoprofessor says:

        Then it’s either going to be Ventura, Salazar or Eovaldi, obviously.

        All have upside, but significant risk as well. I would say Eovaldi’s upside is the lowest, though it’s still tough to give up on him.

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