10 Stories From 05/24/14 Box Scores: Concerns Regarding Porcello & Wheeler, J. Garcia Impresses & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With some unheralded pitching options like Samuel Deduno and Jaime Garcia taking the mound, who should fantasy owners be paying attention to?  How about the performances of the much hyped Rick Porcello and Zack Wheeler?  Throw in some hitter performances and we have a lot to cover.  Let’s take a look at all of the stories coming out of yesterday’s games:

 

1) Is Carlos Santana finally warming up…
He went 1-2 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, while also drawing 3 BB.  He now has a modest three game hitting streak, going 4-11 with 1 HR (and 2 doubles), 4 RBI and 4 R.  Santana hasn’t been hitting the ball hard this season, entering the day with an 11.9% line drive rate, but he’s been better than that throughout his career.  In OBP formats he hasn’t hurt you (18.0% walk rate entering the day), but there should be better days ahead.  Stay the course, as his recent production could easily be just the beginning.

 

2) Has Ronald Belisario’s time as closer already come to an end…
John Danks was fantastic against the Yankees, tossing 8.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 4.  Belisario then came on for the ninth and promptly allowed 3 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, in his inning of work (the White Sox would go on to lose the game in the tenth inning).  He’s now allowed 5 ER over his past 3 innings, courtesy of 8 H and 2 BB.  The real question now is where the White Sox go from here?  Zach Putnam could be an option, though he ultimately took the L.  Daniel Webb and Jake Petricka have been good, but both have had significant control issues.  The recently recalled Javy Guerra has closer experience and could be a darkhorse, though he had control issues of his own.  If we had to take a guess, Putnam may get the first shot but this situation truly is wide open at the moment and could be in flux for some time.

 

3) David Buchanan earns W in Major League debut…
Taking on the Dodgers Buchanan allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP.  The Phillies pulled him after just 66 pitches (44 strikes), and he also generated 9 groundballs.  At Triple-A this season Buchanan was 5-1 with a 3.98 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 6.86 K/9 and 3.76 BB/9 over 40.2 IP.  He does own better control than that (2.78 BB/9 since 2011), but the strikeouts are limited and he owns a 42.9% groundball rate since ’11.  In other words, despite the win, there’s nothing to see here.

 

4) The Rangers beat up on Rick Porcello…
They ultimate scored 12 R on 19 H, led by Rougned Odor (4-5, 5 RBI, 1 R).  Porcello got tagged for 8 ER on 12 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 5.1 IP.  Despite a 28.6% line drive rate he had benefited from a .266 BABIP, so there was no question that there was a lot of luck involved in his early season success.  He also saw his strikeouts regress back to his pre-2013 numbers (5.64 K/9 in ’14) and his groundballs had fallen significantly (43.5% vs. 52.3% for his career).  It was easy to be distracted by his W and other numbers, but the underlying metrics told us that issues could be on the horizon.  He has been battling an oblique issue, but don’t let that be the excuse.  There’s more to it than just that.

 

5) Zack Wheeler pitches a little bit better… Kind of…
At least he didn’t walk the ballpark (1 BB), but he did hit two batters and allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 6 H over 6.2 IP.  He entered play with a 4.71 BB/9, and that is the one big concern when it comes to him.  He has the strikeouts (8.34 K/9 entering the day, with 7 more yesterday) and he has been generating groundballs (52.1% entering the day, with 10 yesterday).  If he were to ever find the strike zone consistently, he would have the upside of one of the better options in the league.  That’s a major if, however, and he’s shown no signs of it to this point.

 

6) Carlos Gomez continues to hit in the cleanup spot…
He was moved there on Friday and after going 2-4 yesterday he’s 6-9 (including 4 doubles) with 2 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.  Of course the hot stretch does span beyond the two games.  He’s 9 for his last 14 and is 22-61 with 3 HR, 10 RBI, 12 R and 4 SB in May.  The more interesting fallout from Gomez hitting cleanup was seeing Ryan Braun in the second spot of the order yesterday.  He went 1-4 with 1 R yesterday, but if he sticks in the spot it could certainly impact his RBI upside.  You would think he’d be moved back down before long, but it’s something worth monitoring.

 

7) The Red Sox offense has a pitiful showing…
Yes they scored 5 ER against David Price (5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 7 K), but all of their scoring came in the first inning.  The game would ultimately go 15 innings, and over the final 14 they managed 0 R on 2 H…  A lot of the poor performances came from Grady Sizemore (0-6, now hitting .211) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (0-3, now hitting .200).  How can the Red Sox continue to throw them out there on an almost daily basis?  With Shane Victorino hitting the DL it was Daniel Nava summoned to take his place, and he definitely should get an opportunity.  For those in deep keeper leagues, Mookie Betts is a name that is worth monitoring at this point.  The team is in desperate need of a spark, and the more time he spends in the outfield at Double-A the closer and closer he gets to the Majors.

 

8) Samuel Deduno pitches fairly well in loss…
Over 5.2 IP against the Giants he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 4.  He generated 10 groundballs and 11 swinging strikes, with his biggest mistake coming against Pablo Sandoval (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R).  Deduno entered the day with a 7.32 K/9, 3.53 BB/9 and 54.6% groundball rate.  The strikeout rate is reasonable (8.5% SwStr%) and the biggest question has always been his ability to avoid walks (5.1 BB/9 over his minor league career).  If he can continue at this pace, while he won’t be a must use option he will be a viable streamer based on the matchup (at the least).

 

9) George Springer returns with a bang…
After missing a few days Springer was back in the lineup last night, going 2-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R.  While he did get off to a tough start, he’s clearly righted the ship in May as he’s hitting .293 with 6 HR, 16 RBI, 13 R and 0 SB over 75 AB.  Strikeouts remains a serious concern (29 K vs. 9 BB for the month, 48 K in 130 AB in the Majors) and will likely limit his ability to hit for a strong average.  Still, with a rare blend of power and speed Springer is a must own and must use option in all formats.

 

10) Why Jaime Garcia is a must own fantasy option…
He got the W in his second start of the season, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 5.2 IP against the Reds.  In two starts back (12.2 IP) he’s allowed 11 H and 0 BB, striking out 12, as he generates groundballs (18).  His SwStr% has always indicated the potential for more strikeouts (10.5% for his career), so while he may regress it’s not impossible he performs better than his career 7.17 K/9.  Always the owner of good control and groundball stuff, Garcia has the potential to be an impressive option this season.  If he’s still sitting on the waiver wire, don’t hesitate to grab him.

 

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

4 comments

  1. Brian says:

    Should I start Bauer today against the Orioles?

  2. MJ says:

    Just a reminder that Springer always hit 300 while striking out a ton in the minors. And he is doing it again this month. Why can’t he continue this trend??? I know most players can’t do this, but he doesnt seem to be most players.

  3. muddy cleats 18 says:

    Would you drop Shelby Miller for Garcia in a pts league…

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    MJ – Not saying it’s impossible, but the Majors and minors are two completely different things. He needs to prove that he can do it in the Majors for more than a few weeks before we declare it a certainty.

    muddy cleats 18 – I like Garcia, but Miller still has the higher upside (despite the concerns)

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