10 Stories From 05/07/14 Box Scores: Arenado Continues For Real, W. Ramos Returns & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Jim Johnson earned a save for the A’s in the second game of the double-header, though we obviously can’t just assume he’s returned to the closer’s role.  Felix Hernandez had his first start without a strikeout since August 19, 2008.  Think it was a crazy day?  Let’s take a look at the most important stories from yesterday’s games:

 

1) Should we finally give up on Tim Lincecum…
After a strong outing against the Braves his last time out, Lincecum took a major step backwards against the Pirates. He last just 4.0 innings allowing 4 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 4. He has yet to go more than 6.0 innings in any start this season and entered the day with a 29.7% line drive rate and a fastball averaging less than 90 mph 89.8). Sure he’s still generating strikeouts overall, but he also entered with a career worst 9.4% SwStr%. It’s getting harder and harder to keep the faith, despite any underlying metrics we try to find (like his walk rate).

 

2) Tom Koehler and Zack Wheeler put on a show..
While Wheeler did toss 6.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H with 7 K, he also walked 5 (which has always been the biggest concern hanging over him). If he can’t get that in order, he is going to have issues moving forward (though he had been better in 2014). As for Koehler, he went 8.0 shutout innings allowing just 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 5. He entered the day with a 50.0% groundball rate! but doesn’t have the strikeout potential and also lacked tremendous control (3.86 BB/9). Considering his minor league career 7.7 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9, there isn’t a lot to get excited about. Chalk his early success up to luck (he entered with a .215 BABIP and 85.8% strand rate) and stay away.

 

3) Wilson Ramos returns from the DL…
The Nationals slotted him into the fifth spot of the lineup, right behind Adam LaRoche, where he went 1-2 with 1 RBI.  It was Ramos’ first game since March 31 (his second game of the season overall), missing time due to surgery for a broken hamate bone.  There is the threat that he could be zapped of some power, as there always is when there’s a hand injury to a catcher, but the upside is there to be a must use option in all formats.  If he’s available it simply depends on who you are currently utilizing whether he’s a must grab option or not.

 

4) Alcides Escobar moved up to the second spot in the lineup…
We will have to wait and see if the move was made due to playing in an NL Park (with no DH) or if the move could be a permanent one.  While if he was hitting ninth it wouldn’t necessarily be a major boon to his value, he’s been splitting time between seventh (16 AB), eighth (42 AB) and ninth (53 AB) so the move up would definitely help.  He went 1-5 with 2 R and 1 SB yesterday (helping to lead the charge against Andrew Cashner, who lasted just 4.0 IP) and is now hitting .278 with 1 HR, 10 RBI, 16 R and 10 SB on the season (with 5 SB coming in the past three days).  He’s a great source of SB and, hitting near the top of the order, should also see his runs improve as well.  If you are in need of a MI or SS, he’s worth riding right now.

 

5) Should fantasy owners be concerned with Cliff Lee…
At first glance his overall numbers aren’t horrific, with a 3.64 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, but it’s hard to say that he’s been good.  Against the Blue Jays yesterday he allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 6.1 IP and was burned by a pair of home runs.  Opponents currently own a .285 average against him, but it’s purely based on poor luck (.352 BABIP).  All of the other numbers, including strikeouts (8.45 K/9), walks (1.16 BB/9) and line drive rate (21.0%) are not out of line with his career norms.  Things should get better, so don’t get frustrated by the number of hits he’s allowed thus far.

 

6) Could Mike Minor be ticketed for the bullpen…
There was a report from Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution yesterday that Gavin Floyd would remain in the Braves rotation, as well as the team not moving to a six-man rotation.  That means someone is going to get bumped, with Minor and Alex Wood as the most likely candidates (unless Aaron Harang continues to spiral).  Minor certainly didn’t help his cause yesterday against the Cardinals, allowing 6 ER on 11 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 4.1 IP in his second start of the season.  It’s tough to justify shifting Wood (who owns a 3.00 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 7 starts), unless the team simply wants to limit his innings so he’d be available to start later in the season (he only threw 139.2 innings in ’13}.  Eventually it should be Harang who gets bumped, you would think, but for now owners will simply have to sit tight and see how the situation plays itself out.

 

7) Rick Porcello may be 5-1, but that doesn’t mean he’s been pitching “well”…
He defeated the Astros yesterday, allowing 2 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.2 IP to give him a 3.49 ERA and 1.06 WHIP on the season.  He was one of our favorite sleepers entering the season, so you would think we’d be thrilled with the numbers, but there is a lot of risk at this point.  While he’s enjoying great control (1.40 BB/9) and the strikeouts still have upside (6.28 K/9, 8.9% SwStr% which would be a career best), the groundballs simply haven’t been there.  He currently owns a 43.9% groundball rate (and generated just 6 yesterday).  Thought of as one of the better groundball inducers in the league (52.5% for his career), it’s something he needs to figure out if he wants to maintain his success.  It’s certainly something that should be monitored moving forward.

 

8) Has Nolan Arenado finally figured it out…
He went 3-5 with 2 RBI yesterday, giving him three consecutive games with 2 RBI.  He also currently owns a 27-game hitting streak and is hitting .324 with 6 HR, 26 RBI and 21 R on the season.  Even better is that there is nothing unrealistic in the numbers, with a .325 BABIP (21.9% line drive rate) or a 12.2% HR/FB.  Sure he’s popping the ball up a bit too much (20.4%), but that should only get better.  Throw in an 11.1% strikeout rate (9.7% in the minors from 2011-2013) and what exactly is there not to believe?  At this point don’t consider selling unless you are really overwhelmed by the offer.

 

9) Adam Jones finally muscles up…
It has been a slow start to the season, but Jones flashed his power yesterday going 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  He’s now hitting .260 with 3 HR and 17 RBI on the season.  The strikeouts are up this season (22.6%) and obviously the HR/FB is down (8.1%), but it’s too early to panic.  While we may not have been quite as high on him as others entering the season, the numbers are going to improve so don’t panic.

 

10) Drew Pomeranz thrives in spot start…
He was thrust into a starting role due to the double-header and was clearly on a pitch count, but he made the most of the opportunity.  Throwing just 68 pitches, Pomeranz tossed 5.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, to defeat the Mariners.  Formerly a top prospect, now the question is whether it truly will be just a spot start or if he could be moved into the rotation?  Tommy Milone hasn’t been good (5.86 ERA, 1.55 WHIP), so it’s not unthinkable.  He’s definitely a name to monitor in deeper formats, despite his struggles in the Majors overall.  Remember, those came in Colorado and he is the owner of a 10.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 over his minor league career.

 

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

5 comments

  1. Adam says:

    Hey Professor, I’ve been a follower for a couple of years now and I love the new site.

    I’m in a 16-team H2H points league, and I’m looking to strengthen my 6th and 7th starters. How would you rank the following SPs ROS: Tyson Ross, Roenis Elias, Tanner Roark, Henderson Alvarez, and Drew Pomeranz? I’ve put these guys in the order I believe they’ll finish, but I wanted to get your thoguhts. Pomeranz could jump ahead of Roark, in my opinion, if he stays in the rotation.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I think you have it right, as of today, as those two probably have the highest upside. Pomeranz, especially starting at home, could fly up to #2 quickly, though

      • Adam says:

        Jaime Garcia is also available in this league, and looks like he’ll be back early next week. Would you rank him behind Ross and ahead of Elias? In my opinion, that’s where I’d rank him.

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          I’ve never been the biggest Garcia fan and I would prefer the upside of Ross/Elias at this point.

  2. joeyt says:

    Arenado has “finally figured it out”. He is a career .300 hitter in the minors and was thrown into the fire last year as a 21-22 yr old. He is a top 5 3rd baseman moving forward. He has essentially made Longoria expendable on my team.

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