10 Stories From 05/17/14 Box Scores: New Closers Emerging, Danny Duffy Shines & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Domonic Brown’s breakout may have been the biggest story from yesterday’s action, though we are going to talk about him later on this afternoon.  What other stories are noteworthy?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Edwin Jackson goes on a strikeout binge…
Jackson was tremendous for 7.0 innings against the Brewers, allowing 0 R on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 11.  He ended April with a 5.24 ERA, but in three May starts he’s allowed 4 ER with 23 K over 20.0 innings of work.  He was one of our favorites entering the season and he’s starting to get things going in the right direction.  While he did enter the day with a 28.6% line drive rate, does anyone really believe that he’s going to maintain that type of mark?  Things should continue to improve and is worth considering for those in deeper formats.

 

2) The New York Yankees bludgeon Edinson Volquez, but is there still hope…
They took him deep four times (and hit five home runs overall).  Volquez finished allowing 5 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 6.1 innings of work.  Home runs have not been a major issue for him this season, so we can chalk this up to Yankee Stadium.  Overall he continues to show improved control (2.70 BB/9 entering the day) and is generating groundballs (50.4%, 9 groundballs yesterday).  The issue is that he’s simply not generating strikeouts, though an 8.4% SwStr% doesn’t justify his 5.19 K/9.  In other words, don’t get too worked up by the overall poor numbers.  There actually is a lot of positives and things should get better in time.

 

3) Brandon Moss turning himself into complete player…
He had another big day at the plate, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R and is now hitting .287 with 9 HR and 36 RBI on the season.  More importantly is that he didn’t strikeout, after entering the day with a 19.4% strikeout rate.  That was one of the biggest concerns entering the season (27.7% mark in ’13) and it would mark the third consecutive season of improvement since arriving in Oakland (30.4% in ’12).  While he may still sit against some southpaws (especially with the acquisition of Kyle Blanks), he also entered the day hitting .320 in 25 AB against them this season.  If the strikeouts are for real, there is nothing else in the numbers that are concerning.  Time will tell, but there’s a lot to like right now.

 

4) Has the time come to cut bait on Homer Bailey…
Another start, another disappointment.  While Cole Hamels was getting his season in order across the diamond (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 10 K), Bailey was seeing his implode.  He allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 3.2 IP and now owns a 5.44 ERA and 1.58 WHIP on the season.  He had been pitching better of late (7 ER over 21.1 IP in his previous three starts), but this one may finally send some owners over the edge with him.  However, that would be the wrong approach.  He entered the day with believable underlying metrics, including an 8.31 K/9 (9.9% SwStr%), 3.02 BB/9 (a mark he could improve upon) and 51.4% groundball rate.  The problem has been home runs (18.2% HR/FB) and luck (.343 BABIP despite an 18.5% line drive rate).  There should be better days ahead, even though they are tough to see at the moment, so don’t do anything dramatic if you are a Bailey owner.  You likely will come to regret it.

 

5) Danny Duffy throws a gem, but is he worth grabbing…
Duffy actually flirted with perfection, but finished with 7.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 2, against the Baltimore Orioles.  Taking the rotation spot of Bruce Chen (DL), it wouldn’t be surprising to see Duffy take this opportunity and run with it.  While he struggled with his control in 2013 and in his first two starts of ’14 (7 BB in 10.0 IP), the lefty owned a 3.0 BB/9 coming up through the minors including a 3.2 mark at Triple-A.  There’s no reason to think that it is going to be a consistent issue.  He also owned a minor league K/9 of 10.5, so there’s more upside there, and it’s also easy to see the 27.3% line drive rate he entered the day with declining in a hurry.  There’s tremendous upside as a starter so, arguably on the same level as Trevor Bauer, so while the rest of your league flocks towards the much hyped recent recall you can safely add Duffy at a fraction of the cost.

 

6) Brian Dozier continues to hit…  and hit…  and hit…
He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .258 with 11 HR, 25 RBI, 40 R and 12 SB.  He’s now on an eight-game hitting streak going 12-31 with 3 HR, 11 RBI, 8 R and 1 SB.  While you could easily argue that the power is going to regress (he entered the day with a 17.9% HR/FB), there’s still plenty of upside in his average considering his 18.5% strikeout rate and .256 BABIP and he also should score ample runs hitting atop the Twins lineup.  While he could be a sell high candidate, he’s certainly not a must sell by any stretch.  A rare source of power and speed, he should remain productive all season long.

 

7) Clayton Kershaw saddled with a rare disastrous start…
Disaster may not even be the right word, as the Diamondbacks tagged him for 7 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over just 1.2 IP.  He wasn’t alone, however, as the Diamondbacks totaled 18 R on 21 H against Los Angeles pitching.  While Paul Goldschmidt clearly led the attack (4-5, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R), the more noteworthy performances came from A.J. Pollock (4-6, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB) and Chris Owings (3-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R).  Pollock is now hitting .302 with 5 HR, 11 RBI, 18 R and 6 SB in 126 AB.  He’s only had 44 AB hitting in the leadoff spot, and hasn’t performed extremely well when there (.250, 1 HR, 2 SB).  While it was a strong performance last night, unless he’s hitting there moving forward his value is still going to be limited.

 

8) Another unimpressive start for Tim Lincecum…
Maybe the strategy really does need to be to start him against the Braves and bench him against everyone else.  It wasn’t that he was pathetic, allowing 3 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP, but he also wasn’t “good” against the Marlins either.  That said, in his past 7 starts he hasn’t allowed more than 4 ER in an outing so there is still something there.  Keep him on your roster and play the matchups at this point.

 

9) Rick Porcello keeps on winning…
As we’ve said, he was one of our favorite sleepers entering the season and he’s delivered on that promise…  Kind of.  He is now 7-1 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.01 WHIP on the season after allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 8.0 IP against the Red Sox.  However, he entered the day with a 5.84 K/9, representing a step back in the strikeout department.  He also simply has not been generating groundballs, with a 44.1% mark (11 groundballs yesterday vs. 9 fly balls), something that had always been his calling card.  Couple those two things with a 28.7% line drive rate and the potentially is certainly there for an implosion

 

10) New Closers Emerging…

  • New York Mets – When Jenrry Mejia was removed from the rotation there were immediate thoughts that he could step into the closers role.  The team tried him in the role yesterday and he thrived, allowing 1 H with 2 K to lock down the victory.  While the Mets have ample young arms, it would appear like it’s Mejia’s job to try and run with.
  • Houston Astros – Chad Qualls threw a perfect inning, striking out 1, to earn his third save of the season.  That said, does anyone truly believe in him as a player who could run with the role?  Sure he’s worth owning while he is getting save opportunities, but don’t be surprised if he implodes and loses the job before long.
  • Cleveland Indians – What’s going on here?  Bryan Shaw has seen save chances, but worked in the seventh (and allowed 1 ER on 2 H in 0.1 IP).  John Axford threw a perfect eighth, but obviously has had his issues.  Could Cody Allen be getting an opportunity?  Time will tell.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, CBS Sports, Baseball Reference

5 comments

  1. muddy cleats 18 says:

    What about Gio Gonzalez? Would you replace him with Cole Hamels?

  2. Brian says:

    Who would you rather pick up: Drew Stubbs, Adam Eaton or Kolten Wong? and pitchers: Danny Duffy or Nathan Eovaldi?

  3. Marky Mark says:

    I cut Bailey at the end of April in a 12 teamer….and nobody has touched him since. Hard to justify a roster spot on guy that consistently destroys ratios.

  4. Bbboston says:

    Who would you rather have: Duffy, Ordozzi or beurle?

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    muddy cleats – With Gonzalez hitting the DL, Hamels is obviously the better current choice. On an even playing field, it’s extremely close anyways.

    Brian – Eaton for sure. The pitchers are razor close, but I’d lean Eovaldi

    Bbboston – Duffy for me

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