10 Stories From 05/30/14 Box Scores: Kluber the Ace, Richards/R. Montero Struggle & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The big news coming out yesterday was that both Oscar Taveras and Marcus Stroman would both be joining their respective franchises, but there was also news on the field.  There were some big name players with some interesting performances, like Adam Wainwright getting shelled (4.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 4 K) or Josh Donaldson continuing to thrive at the plate (3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R).  What other performances do we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Can Corey Kluber continue to pitch like an ace…
He made one mistake against the Rockies (a home run to Carlos Gonzalez, who went 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R), going 7.1 innings allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 12.  He is now 6-3 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 95 K on the season.  Amazingly he had actually entered the day with poor luck (.350 BABIP) and an 11.8% SwStr% to back up the big strikeout numbers.  The only real concern could be a regression in the home run rate and maybe a dip in control (he entered with a 2.11 BB/9, better than his minor league marks, but he was at 2.02 last season).  In other words, we are searching for a potential negative.  Continue to view him as one of the top pitchers in the game right now.

 

2) Brian Dozier moved down to the #2 spot…
It remains to be seen if this was a one-time decision, especially after Danny Santana (who started off atop the lineup and in CF) was removed from the game due to a lacerated eyelid (according to LaVelle Neal via Twitter).  Dozier has been slumping of late, seeing his average fall to .237 and failing to homer since May 17 and steal a base since May 11.  Moving out of the top spot would be a slight negative for Dozier, but not enough to concern us.  Obviously, if Santana can stick in the spot it would be a major boost to his value.  He stole 30 bases at Double-A last season and has shown an ability to hit for average (.286 in ’12, .297 in ’13).  If you are desperate for speed, it’s a situation to monitor over the next few days.

 

3) Xander Bogaerts continues to hit and hit and hit…
He went 3-5 with 1 RBI and 1 R and, suddenly, has his average up to .304.  He now has three hits in three straight games (9-14, 2 RBI, 3 R and 3 doubles).  While he hasn’t provided much power (3 HR) or RBI (13 RBI), he has scored 26 runs.  He has benefited from a .396 BABIP this season (.364 in April, .425 in May), so there is definitely reason to believe that he’s going to regress.  That said, there should be a little bit more power in his bat and he’s hitting second in a lineup that should produce runs.  There’s a lot to like at this point, just expect him to slow down a bit before long.

 

4) Is Brett Oberholtzer suddenly a viable option…
He won for the second straight time, stymying the Orioles.  Going 7.0 innings he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 1.  In his previous outing he had 8 K in 6.0 IP against the Mariners, so which is it?  He’s not as good as his previous start, but he’s also not as bad in the K department as this one (7.7 K/9 in the minors).  Of course, he’s the same pitcher that was shelled earlier in the season so we are going to want to be cautious.  There is the potential to continue to pitch well, for now, as his overall BABIP is .331 and he does offer potentially elite control.  Hardly a player to count on, he could be viewed as a streaming option depending on the matchup (especially with the way the Astros have been playing of late).  The real question is who is ultimately going to be bumped from the Astros rotation.

 

5) Yonder Alonso trying to keep his job…
Maybe he just needed to see Tommy Medica (0-3) come up and play well to motivate him.  He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday, giving him 3 HR in his past seven games.  Of course, he is still hitting .218 with 4 HR and 17 RBI on the season so it is going to take a lot more than this for him to be safe.  He also should never be confused with a source of power and, while the average should improve (.227 BABIP), the Padres need some pop in the lineup.  If Medica hits he is going to find his way into the lineup, so continue to monitor the situation.

 

6) Is Rickie Weeks really fantasy relevant again…
The entire Brewers lineup is raking, which has allowed Weeks to fly under-the-radar a bit.  After going 3-4 with 2 RBI and 3 R yesterday he’s now hitting .321 with 2 HR, 10 RBI and 12 R over 78 AB.  While he continues to share time with Scooter Gennett, you can easily argue that he’s outplayed him (.263, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 14 R, 3 SB over 160 AB).  There is some obvious luck in Weeks’ production (.411 BABIP) and the Brewers still appear to be reluctant to hand him every day AB.  That makes him tough to trust, especially with a regression coming.

 

7) Devin Mesoraco continues to produce…
He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .355 with 8 HR and 25 RBI on the season.  Injuries have helped hold him to 26 games thus far, though you wouldn’t know it by the numbers.  However, before we dub him a full breakout, keep in mind that he’s benefited from a .391 BABIP (26.4% line drive rate), a number that is difficult for any catcher to maintain.  He also has power, but a 27.6% HR/FB?  He’s going to regress, the question is how far.  Ride him while he’s hot, but don’t be caught off guard when things slow down significantly.

 

8) It was an awful outing for Garrett Richards…
He failed to make it out of the first inning, allowing 5 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over 0.2 IP.  Despite the ugly outing, Richards still boasts a 3.65 ERA and 1.23 WHIP on the season.  His 8.64 K/9 is backed by a 10.1% SwStr% and a fastball averaging 95.8 mph.  He owns a 3.65 BB/9, a reasonable mark given his 2.8 mark in the minor leagues.  He’s also generating groundballs (47.3%) and you can argue that there’s actually a little bit of poor luck (69.8% strand rate, though a 23.1% line drive rate).  The bottom line?  It’s one bad start and no one should be about to panic.

 

9) Rafael Montero struggles again…
While he had an impressive start his last time out, Montero struggled to throw strikes (45 strikes in 80 pitches) against the Phillies yesterday.  He managed to last just 3.2 IP allowing 4 R (3 earned) on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 0, in a no decision against the Phillies.  He’s consistently struggled to throw strikes (4.95 BB/9) and give up home runs (2.25 HR/9, as Domonic Brown got him for one yesterday).  That’s not the type of pitcher he showed in the minors (2.0 BB/9, 0.4 HR/9), so there is still reason to believe that he is going to right the ship.  At the same time, a young pitcher will have to be removed once Dillon Gee is healthy and, at least up until this point, Jacob deGrom has been the better starter.  Montero could soon be ticketed back to Triple-A, so those in redraft formats need to keep that in mind.

 

10) Has a closer emerged in Cleveland…
Who knows, really, but Cody Allen looked good in the role yesterday (he threw a perfect innings, striking out 2).  He has the blow away stuff to thrive in the role, it’s just a matter if the team is ready to commit to him (for now), or will Bryan Shaw and/or John Axford get opportunities as well.  Continue to monitor the situation, but don’t consider this “set” by any stretch.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

2 comments

  1. Tuco says:

    How do you view Corey Kluber among SP rest of season? Is he an SP2 now? Also, where would he rank on your top 40 keeper SP list. I do not believe he was on the top 40 to start the year.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      He wasn’t, but it’s impossible not to have him in there at this point. There’s nothing not to like right now

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