10 Stories From 05/25/14 Box Scores: Young Starters On Display (Nelson, Bauer, Montero), Beckett’s No Hitter & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Adam Wainwright put on a show last night (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 12 K), but his performance wasn’t even the most impressive of the day.  That goes to Josh Beckett, who tossed the first no-hitter of 2014.  Lets’ take a look at that performance and all the rest we need to know from yesterday’s action:

 

1) Mitch Moreland enjoys big day at the plate…
Not only did is he taking over the Rangers’ first base spot with Prince Fielder on the sidelines, but he has slotted into the third spot in the order as well.  Yesterday he went 3-5 with 3 RBI and 1 R and is now on a modest three game hitting streak (5-14, 6 RBI, 1 R).  He has some pop in his bat (23 HR in ’13) and entered the day with a 25.0% line drive rate (helping to a .271 average).  With the Rangers banged up he should continue to hit in the middle of the Rangers lineup and could easily thrive in the role.  In deeper formats he’s well worth grabbing if he’s available.

 

2) Jimmy Nelson makes the most of his spot start…
Filling in for a banged up Yovani Gallardo, Nelson tossed 5.2 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 6.  While he’s expected to be returned to Triple-A at this point, it truly is a matter of time before he returns to the Majors and entrenches himself as a must own option.  Control has always been his biggest question, but at Triple-A this season he owned a 9.00 K/9, 2.64 BB/9 and 57.4% groundball rate (since 2011 his respective marks are 8.56, 3.89 and 54.6%).  As long as the control is there he’s going to thrive, so if you are in a deeper format grab him now before it’s too late.

 

3) Trevor Bauer has another subpar performance…
He lasted just 4.1 innings against the Orioles allowing 4 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 8.  The biggest damage came courtesy of two home runs (Manny Machado & Nelson Cruz), but the control is the real issue.  Dating back to his last Triple-A start he’s now walked 9 over 16.0 IP and also has allowed 8 HR.  For all the hype that was bestowed upon him and the belief that he had finally figured it out, things have certainly disappeared in the blink of an eye.  That’s not to say that he isn’t worth owning, but at this point he’s hardly a must use option.  He’s going to have to rebuild a bit of his value, which could happen, but it also is hardly a guarantee to happen.

 

4) Josh Beckett dominates as he no-hits the Phillies…
He struck out 6 while walking 3 as he improved to 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA.  He entered the day having shown a regained strikeout rate (8.87 K/9), but had benefited from luck (.248 BABIP, 84.4% strand rate) and had proven prone to the long ball (1.35 HR/9).  What does that mean for fantasy owners?  Coming off as good of a performance as you can get, now could be the perfect time to shop him and see what type of value you can extract for him.  It’s easy to imagine a significant regression on the horizon, given the beneficial luck he had enjoyed heading into the day.  While his owners definitely enjoyed his tremendous performance, it’s easy to imagine things going downhill from here.

 

5) Dallas Keuchel does it again…
Is there any doubt that he’s a must own option?  He went the distance against the Mariners yesterday, allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, in a complete game victory.  Over his past three starts he’s gone 26.2 IP allowing 2 ER on 16 H and 1 BB, striking out 21.  People are going to want to point to luck, but that’s just not the case as he entered the day with a .290 BABIP and 76.6% strand rate.  We’ve said it repeatedly, but with the addition of his slider he has shown strikeouts (8.03 K/9 entering the day) to go along with his already proven control and groundballs.  We’ve been saying it for two weeks, but he’s a clear must use option in all formats at this point.

 

6) Junior Lake continues his strong stretch…
He went 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at 22-68 with 4 HR, 14 RBI, 8 R and 2 SB in May.  However, before we get too excited, he continues to struggle with Ks with 21 strikeouts in May and 51 on the season (vs. just 7 BB).  He entered the day with a .386 BABIP and, speed or not, his inflated strikeout rate coupled with a 17.9% line drive rate tell us that the number should implode before long.  While he does have a bit of power, it’s simply not enough to offset the strikeouts and the risk of a pathetic average.  He’s simply not a player that I’d be willing to lay my faith in at this point.

 

7) Rafael Montero enjoys his best start to date…
Early on Montero has been outpitched by fellow rookie Jacob deGrom, but he stepped up his game against the Diamondbacks yesterday allowing 1 ER on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP.  Over his first two starts he had failed to show strikeouts (6.10 K/9) and control (5.23 BB/9), while he also had been prone to giving up the long ball (2.61 HR/9).  That’s hardly the pitcher he had been in the minor leagues, with career marks of 8.5, 2.0 and 0.4, and it’s easy to chalk the numbers up to an extremely small sample size and Montero adjusting to the Major Leagues.  He has a bright future ahead of him, so hopefully you didn’t give up hope base off a few poor outings.  Yesterday could easily be just the beginning.

 

8) Has the time come to part ways with Francisco Liriano…
It was another poor performance for Liriano, allowing 4 ER on 6 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP.  He entered the day with a 5.06 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, as his control has regressed (4.02 BB/9).  However he also entered the day with a 52.3% groundball rate, backing up last season’s mark), as well as an 8.89 K/9 (courtesy of a 14.1% SwStr%).  Throw in a .307 BABIP and 69.4% strand rate and it’s clear that there is still hope that he can turn things back around.  The key is going to be rediscovering his control, something that is hardly a guarantee to occur.  It makes him worth stashing on your bench in deeper formats, just in case, but he’s not a pitcher to trust in your starting lineup for the time being.

 

9) Drew Pomeranz struggles for the first time as a starter in 2014…
He lasted just 4.0 innings against the Blue Jays, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 3.  He had been pitching exceptionally well in the rotation, though in limited innings and also had benefited from a .229 BABIP and 100.0% strand rate.  A regression was a near given, so don’t get too worked up over this little bump in the road.  As we’ve said before, the upside is there outside of Colorado.  Consider him a viable option in all formats.

 

10) Mike Morse showing no signs of slowing down…
He went 3-3 with 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .279 with 10 HR and 33 RBI on the season.  There’s never been a question about his power (25.0% HR/FB, the third time in the past four seasons he owns a mark of at least 21.2%), but can he maintain the average?  His .319 BABIP isn’t unreasonable (even with an 18.7% line drive rate) and he actually owns a .281 career average.  In other words, it is.  While he didn’t invest much to obtain him, he’s also not a must sell high option.  As long as he’s healthy, he’s looking like a solid option moving forward.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MILB.com, Baseball Reference

3 comments

  1. JD says:

    Don’t you think you might be being a bit tough on Bauer? An opening salvo versus the Tigers and then at Baltimore isn’t the best barometer for success or failure, no? The walks are concerning, but a 13/6 k/bb ratio in 10 1/3 isn’t the worst in the world.

  2. bbboston says:

    Rotoprofessor,

    What are your thoughts on Rougned Odor?

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    JD – I’m not saying that he’s not a viable option and won’t turn it around, but given his history it is fair to be concerned at this point. I would keep him stashed on your bench until he proves he can do it in the Major Leagues.

    bbboston – With Profar out for much of the season, obviously Odor is going to continue to get his opportunity. That should mean value, though the power is going to be limited right now and he hasn’t shown much of a desire to run (0-3 in SB attempts). That makes him a low-end option in deeper formats.

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