10 Stories From 05/13/14 Box Scores: Z. Wheeler Becoming Questionable Option, Keuchel Shines & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Today is a big day for fantasy owners, as Kevin Gausman returns to the Majors and Rafael Montero is set to make his Major League debut.  However, make sure you don’t look ahead and ignore what happened on the field yesterday.  Let’s take a look at the bigger stories we need to know about:

 

1) Tommy Hunter costs Ubaldo Jimenez a victory and could be on his way out…
Jimenez (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K) was terrific for the third straight start (1 ER over 19.2 IP) and deserved his third consecutive victory.  However Hunter completely imploded, allowing 4 ER on 3 H and 1 BB over 0.2 IP, blowing his second consecutive save and third of the season.  He’s also allowed runs in each of his past four outings (8 ER over 3.1 IP) and now owns a 6.60 ERA and 1.87 WHIP.  Darren O’Day worked the eighth inning and conceivably take over the role, but as we’ve been saying Zach Britton is also well worth owning if you are desperate for saves.  The bottom line is that a change needs to be made.

 

2) The Mets defeat the Yankees again, but Zack Wheeler’s performance is still concerning…
A lot of the attention will likely go to Curtis Granderson (2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R) or Daniel Murphy (1-3, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R), but it’s the terrible performance from Wheeler that has to be at the forefront of our minds.  Handed a huge lead, Wheeler was unable to work deep enough into the game to qualify for the W.  His final line was 4.1 IP allowing 5 ER on 7 H and 6 BB, striking out 2, and needed 118 pitches just to get those 13 outs.   Control had been a major concern entering the season and it’s been extremely troublesome of late (11 BB over his past 10.1 IP).  Overall he owns a 4.95 BB/9 and, while he has generated strikeouts (8.45 K/9) and groundballs (52.8%), if he can’t get the walks in order he is not going to be a trustworthy option moving forward.  As it is he should hardly be considered a must use at this point.

 

3) Carlos Quentin makes his triumphant return…
OK, so maybe his return didn’t garner much attention, but he certainly has the potential to help the middle of the Padres order (he went 0-3 in the cleanup spot) and his return led to the demotion of Kyle Blanks.  Obviously he didn’t do much yesterday, but they did get solid outing from Andrew Cashner on the road (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 6 K) and the Padres defeated Aroldis Chapman (1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K).  Still, the focus is on the potential upside of Quentin, who owns a career 14.6% HR/FB and is a virtual lock to contribute in the power department…  When healthy of course.  That caveat keeps his value suppressed, but if you need power he’s worth grabbing.

 

4) Neil Walker continues muscling up, but will it continue…
He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .267 with 8 HR and 23 RBI on the season.  Who saw this type of power surge coming?  He’s never hit more than 16 HR in a season, so while he’s never been void of power it’s never been to this type of extent.  He does currently own a career best 15.1% HR/FB, but he’s also putting the ball in the air more than ever (42.1% vs. 37.4% for his career) and he’s popping the ball up more (11.3%).  Is it that he’s swinging for the fences?  That would be our first instinct, but the strikeouts are actually down (11.4%) which does give us reason for a second thought.  While we would expect him to slow down, it’s not impossible that he continues to hit for better power all season long.

 

5) The left side of Red Sox infield continues to struggle…
There is no question that Xander Bogaerts (1-4, .252) and Will Middlebrooks (0-4, .192) have been bitter disappointments, especially the latter, and you have to wonder when a move could be made.  Could Stephen Drew be resigned?  Could they go the trade route?  Time will tell, but something needs to be done.  While Middlebrooks has hit the ball hard (21.4% line drive rate), he’s striking out (26.4%) and popping the ball up way too much (23.5% IFFB).  The latter has never been a problem before, so hopefully he corrects the issue, but the strikeouts and a potential drop in power always hung over him.  Don’t be surprised if the Red Sox look towards an alternative before long.

 

6) Dallas Keuchel backs up The Rotoprofessor’s claims…
That’s right, we declared Keuchel a must own option earlier this week and he certainly showed us why last night (though it was going to be hard to trust him against Texas).  He was completely lights out, tossing a complete game shutout allowing 7 H and 0 BB, while striking out 7.  We aren’t going to completely rehash what we said earlier in the week, so make sure to check out the article by clicking here.  The bottom line is that he has control and groundball stuff (he generated 15 groundballs yesterday), and has also added strikeouts to the mix thanks, in part, to the addition of his slider.  Make the move now before it is too late.

 

7) Drew Pomeranz shines once again…
After a strong spot start Pomernaz, once a highly regarded prospect, has been moved into the rotation (at the expense of Dan Straily).  In his second outing he made it look like it was a very wise decision by the A’s.  He went 5.0 shutout innings against the White Sox, allowing 3 H and 2 BB to go along with 8 K.  While he spent time in the bullpen this season, overall his SwStr% is up (10.6%) and his control has improved (3.04 BB/9).  As long as he can avoid the walks, he brings strikeouts and groundballs to a favorable home ballpark.  At the least he’ll be worth using while at home, but obviously could become significantly more than that.

 

8) Fernando Rodney helps hand David Price a W…
Price was fantastic (9.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 12 K), but he was trailing Hisashi Iwakuma (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 5 K) and the Mariners until Rodney got the call.  He allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 0.2 IP to blow his second save of the season.  It was surprising that the Mariners brought Rodney in, with Danny Farquhar in place, and while he hasn’t been terrible (3.31 ERA) there are some obvious concerns.  He is struggling with his control (4.96 BB/9) and also is carrying an elevated line drive rate (28.6%).  While his job is in no jeopardy right now, it easily could be before long.

 

9) Finally, Josh Beckett earns a W but can he continue pitching well…
He defeated the Marlins, allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 6.1 innings of work.  He now owns a 2.38 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, so the lack of wins definitely isn’t his fault (nor would it be expected given the offense behind him).  While there is some concern about a regression (.226 BABIP, 84.6% strand rate), as long as he’s healthy he should have value given his strikeout potential (8.64 K/9) and solid control (3.24 BB/9).  Expect the numbers to fall, but there is still value.

 

10) Matt Showmaker earns his first career victory…
He defeated the Phillies, allowing 2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP.  The 27-year old did show control throughout the minor leagues (2.3 BB/9, including a 2.2 mark at Triple-A), but limited strikeout stuff (7.0 K/9 in the minors).  Throw in pitching in the American League and a Triple-A ERA of 5.38 and WHIP of 1.48 and there’s no reason to consider him.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

5 comments

  1. Corey says:

    Would you drop any of Kluber, Niese, Eovaldi, or Peralta to get Cobb coming off the DL?

  2. Henry Titlebaum says:

    Is now the time to cut bait on Wheeler for the likes of Kevin Gausman should he have a good start vs Detroit tonight?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Gausman may have higher upside, but he struggled against today and there’s no guarantee he sticks in the rotation. Really depends on format, but I’d lean Wheeler.

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