10 Stories From 05/04/14 Box Scores: Rasmus Continues Raking, Andrus Dropped In Lineup & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Another week has come and gone and, by now, we are starting to get a good read on players around the league.  Of course, it’s still fairly easy to change our opinion (or prove that your early season success is for real).  Which performances stood out for us yesterday?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) CC Sabathia struggles once again…
Just when we wanted to get our hopes up that Sabathia had reinvented himself, he hits a cold stretch.  Yesterday was particularly bad, as he allowed 5 ER on 10 H (including an inside-the-park home run to Wil Myers, who went 2-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R) and 1 BB, striking out 3, over just 3.2 IP.  He’s now allowed 9 ER on 19 H and 1 BB over 8.2 innings in his past two starts.  We obviously love his overall strikeout (9.97 K/9), walk (1.95 BB/9) and groundball (53.3%) rates entering the day, but is the lack of velocity (88.6 mph) a major issue?  It’s clear that he’s going to be a tough player to trust, though, until he can consistently prove that the velocity is not a factor.

 

2) Brandon Crawford muscles up for 2 HR…
He finished the day going 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, giving him 3 HR and 14 RBI on the season.  His value is obviously going to be limited, hitting eighth in the order yesterday, and he’s also never shown to be much of a power hitter before (he entered the day with 17 HR in 1,217 career AB).  Considering he also owned a career .242 average and little speed, there obviously isn’t much to like.  Before we want to hope that the power could continue to develop, he entered the day with a career 31.8% fly ball rate and 48.9% groundball rate, hardly the makeup of a power hitter.

 

3) Has Jim Johnson been returned to the closer’s role…
It’s definitely interesting to see both Luke Gregerson and Sean Doolittle used earlier on in a tie game (and Ryan Cook go unused), leaving Jim Johnson to come in late.  He entered in a tie game then, after the A’s took the lead, remained in ultimately allowing 1 H over 1.2 innings to earn the W.  Johnson has now worked 8 consecutive scoreless outings (10.1 innings), and we all knew it was always just a matter of time before he was closing again.  If someone in your league did give up on him, don’t hesitate to grab him.  While he may not be the “closer” by name quite yet, it would certainly appear like his time is coming once again.

 

4) Colby Rasmus enjoying a strong start to May, but should fantasy owners deal him…
That may actually be an understatement.  He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at 6-17 with 3 HR, 9 RBI and 4 R in four games.  Rasmus has always been one of the streakier players in the league, always making him tough to trust and also a frustrating player to see thriving on your bench.  A career .246 hitter, he entered the day with a 33.6% strikeout rate and meager 13.2% line drive rate.  Sure there’s upside from here, but he’s more of a source of power and little else.  Now may be the best time to move him while his value is high.

 

5) Has Trevor Plouffe evolved into a must use option…
With all the injuries the Twins have suffered Plouffe has assumed the third spot in the order for most of the season and has produced well.  He went 2-4 with 2 RBI yesterday and now is hitting .283 with 1 HR (though 14 doubles and 1 triple), 22 RBI and 20 R on the season.  He’s shown power in the past (career 12.2% HR/FB), so we know it’s there, and also has shown other signs that make him appealing:

  • 12.5% walk rate
  • 26.3% line drive rate (24.7% in ’13)
  • 0.0% IFFB (13.2% for his career)

In other words, he’s hitting the ball hard, is showing an improved command of the strike zone an also should have more power.  Hitting in the middle of the order, what’s not to like?  Consider him a good buy in all formats.

 

6) Can Nate McLouth become a must use option…
It looked like the Nationals were smart in signing McLouth in the offseason to act as their fourth outfielder, as he appeared to be the biggest benefactor after Bryce Harper was lost for an extended period of time.  However, he has failed miserable thus far as he fell to an .091 average after going 0-3 yesterday.  In fact, he’s just 4-44 on the season with 1 double, 1 HR and 0 SB.  His biggest issue has been that he’s putting the ball in the air too much (53.1% entering the day), though that’s an issue you would think would be corrected given his history.  In five-outfielder formats, don’t give up hope quite yet.

 

7) Elvis Andrus demoted to ninth in the lineup…
Move from his customary second spot, Andrus was hitting ninth and went 1-3 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday.  His underlying numbers are similar to what they’ve been in the past, outside of actually putting the ball on the ground more (63.6%) and in the air less (13.1%).  In other words, given his skillset, that’s certainly not a bad thing.  With a .245 BABIP, there definitely is still hope and hitting ninth isn’t going to curtail his value.  In fact, you would think that he wouldn’t be asked to move the runner along as much, meaning he could act as the table setter for Shin-Soo Choo.  Don’t get too discouraged and stay the course.

 

8) Alfredo Simon has decent outing…  Kind of…  Sort of…
He allowed 3 ER on 5 H and 1 BB over 7.0 innings of work, but he struck out no one.  Literally, no strikeouts (and only 1 swinging strike).  He entered the day with a 5.88 K/9, a number we would’ve thought he could improve upon given his 9.1% SwStr%, but this outing is a little bit discouraging.  He continues to show good control and an ability to generate groundballs (14 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday), but if he doesn’t improve his strikeout numbers his value is going to be capped especially considering he entered the day benefiting from a .206 BABIP and 87.0% strand rate.

 

9) Yasmani Grandal sees time at first base…
Padres’ first baseman are slashing .160/.192/.218, so it certainly makes sense that the Padres are going to explore all of their alternatives at this point.  Grandal went 1-4, hitting cleanup, though you have to wonder if he is really the answer for their woes at the position.  Sure he showed power in 2012 (8 HR over 192 AB), but it’s easy to argue that it was an aberration (17.0% HR/FB, 30.3% fly ball rate).  He’s simply not a source of power, nor should he be considered one.  Obviously he would benefit if he got slated their full-time (any time we have a catcher eligible player seeing regular AB elsewhere it’s a good thing), but the Padres will likely look towards a more powerful option before long (like Tommy Medica or Kyle Blanks).  It’s something to monitor, for now, but not get too excited about.

 

10) Corey Kluber thrives, but has to settle for a no decision…
Kluber was spectacular, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 13, over 8.0 innings but ultimately had to settle for a no decision after John Axford imploded (0.2 IP, 3 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K).  Obviously he’s not going to strikeout that many people regularly, but he did enter the day with an 8.51 K/9 (courtesy of a 9.6% SwStr%), 2.43 BB/9 and 47.9% groundball rate.  He also had suffered from bad luck, with a .367 BABIP and 68.3% strand rate.  In other words, there’s an awful lot to like right now.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MLB.com

2 comments

  1. Corey says:

    Is it time to move from Joe Smith with the reports that LAA will go back to Frieri?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Really depends on your situation, honestly. If you need the spot it shouldn’t be an issue, but if you are desperate for saves I’d hold onto him until he “officially” is removed (since it’s going to happen sooner or later)

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