10 Stories From 06/07/14 Box Scores: Gausman Shows Upside, Has S. Miller Turned It Around & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yesterday may not have had the same group of intriguing young pitchers taking the mound, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t other intriguing stories to monitor.  From Kevin Gausman finally delivering to Shelby Miller finally delivering a strong performance to Todd Frazier potentially emerging, there’s plenty to get to.  Let’s check in on the stories we all need to know from yesterday’s action:

 

1) Shelby Miller comes up big…
Just when we were already about ready to write him off Miller steps up and shuts out the Toronto Blue Jays.  He went the distance allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 5.  It’s definitely nice to see the control, having entered the day with a 4.33 BB/9, and he has seemed to fix the issue of late (no more than 2 BB in each of his past five starts, including 2 BB in his past 16.0 IP).  However the strikeouts remain down, including entering the day with a 6.8% SwStr%, and he also did not do a good job of generating groundballs yesterday (7 vs. 15 fly balls).  That’s a recipe that could lead to some poor outings in the future, though it clearly didn’t hurt him yesterday.  Until he starts generating the strikeouts there are going to be major concerns moving forward.

 

2) Is Danny Santana becoming a viable fantasy option…
While Kyle Gibson (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 K, W) is going to draw a lot of attention, it was Santana who starred for the Twins.  Hitting atop the order, as he has recently, Santana went 4-5 with 5 RBI and 1 SB.  He’s now hitting .373 with 1 HR, 10 RBI, 8 R and 4 SB in 67 AB.  You would think those would be numbers we’d be targeting, and he does have potential in the SB department (30 SB at Double-A in ’13), but there are definitely concerns in the other departments.  He doesn’t possess much power and entered the day with a 26.9% strikeout rate (26.7% at Triple-A prior to his recall).  Throw in only a 6.0% walk rate (5.1% since 2011) and there are definite concerns about his average.  As a speed player, if there’s a risk that he won’t be able to get on base his value is going to be significantly capped.  Consider him only in deeper formats at this point.

 

3) Junior Lake helps lead the Cubs to a victory…
Considering it was Jeff Samardzija (7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K) who earned the W, it’s a big story.  Lake went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .244 with 8 HR, 23 RBI, 21 R and 6 SB on the season.  While he does offer some power and some speed, he also entered the day with a 34.6% strikeout rate.  Considering his minor league mark of 22.5% since 2011, it’s not the most unrealistic number in the world either.  That’s going to make it nearly impossible for him to hit for a strong average (as it is, he entered with a .336 BABIP) and is going to limit his value to those in the deepest of formats.  Think of him similar to Drew Stubbs, though he’s getting regular AB for now.

 

4) What is going on with Alex Cobb…
He got shelled by the Seattle Mariners yesterday to the tune of 7 ER on 10 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over just 4.1 IP.  He’s now allowed 6+ ER in two of his past three outings (over the three starts he’s allowed 16 ER on 24 H and 4 BB over 15.1 IP).  Considering he entered the day with a 7.85 K/9, 2.45 BB/9 and 52.5% groundball rate, fantasy owners have to love the underlying metrics.  There also was little to concern us in the luck metrics (.263 BABIP, 75.4% strand rate).  Consider this a small bump in the road, but there’s no reason to be concerned.

 

5) Kevin Gausman finally delivers on the hype…
No one is about to say that he’s arrived after one start, but this was definitely promising.  Taking on a tough A’s team, Gausman allowed just 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP.  He was delivering first pitch strikes (18 of 25), generating groundballs (9) and getting swings and misses (12).  In other words, he had it all working and showed just how good he actually can be.  While he’s currently just stepping in for Miguel Gonzalez (on the DL), if he puts up another start like this one the Orioles are going to be forced to keep him in the rotation.  We’ve been waiting for him to embrace an opportunity for some time and now could be the time.  He’s definitely worth grabbing if you are a team in need of starting pitching help, though handle him with kid gloves for now.

 

6) Nick Castellanos just keeps on hitting…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, giving him three consecutive 3 hit games (9-12 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 3 R).  We talked about him in detail a few days ago, embracing the idea of showing patience with him and for a small sample he’s proving us right (though there’s a long ways to go).  The fact is that he continues to pound the baseball (he entered the day with a 31.6% line drive rate, unbelievable or not) and it was only a matter of time before the hits started to fall.  While the power may not be there, yet, but it should develop in time.  Continue to view him as an option who should hit for a solid average to go along with about 15 HR.

 

7) Andrew Cashner pitches well in his return from the DL…
It shouldn’t be a surprise, as he took on the Nationals at home.  He tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, but had to settle for a no decision as the bullpen coughed up the lead.  For his career Cashner owns a 2.68 ERA at home vs. a 3.99 on the road and remains a must start option every time he takes the ball in Petco Park.

 

8) Is Todd Frazier emerging as a top 3B option…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB yesterday, putting him at .279 with 13 HR, 32 RBI, 36 R and 5 SB on the season.  There’s no red flags with the numbers, having entered the day with a .303 BABIP (22.6% line drive rate) and a 21.7% strikeout rate.  Maybe he slows down in the power department (18.8% HR/FB entering the day, compared to a 14.1% career mark), but that’s about it.  Plus, his ability to steal a few bases makes him that much more attractive.  He’ clearly emerging and shouldn’t be considered a must sell option

 

9) Will Carlos Santana finally heat up…
Just off the DL due to a concussion, Santana went 2-2 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday (3-5 in the two games since being activated).  He’s consistently disappointed, as he’s always been viewed as a potential Top 2-3 catcher, but he’s certainly better than he’s shown this season.  He’s going to improve on the 12.2% line drive rate he entered with and could easily still finish the season with a .240-.250 average.  Throw in some power and he could prove to be one of the more valuable catchers from this point forward.

 

10) Closer Struggles…

  • Joe Nathan struggles again – It was a non-save situation, but he allowed 2 ER over 4 H in his inning of work.  This is simply beginning to get silly and Nathan can only struggle for so long, in save or non-save situations, before he’s removed from the role (most likely temporarily, just to straighten him out).  At this point, Joba Chamberlain could take over at any moment.
  • Jenrry Mejia takes his first blown save – He allowed 2 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 0.1 IP.  It may be his first blown save, but he’s now allowed runs in 4 straight outings (though In one he only allowed an unearned run) giving up 5 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over 2.1 IP.  It’s not impossible that the Mets give Jeurys Familia or Vic Black a longer looker in the closers role at this point, but time will tell.
  • Addison Reed gives up another HR – It was a non-save situation, but he allowed 1 ER on 1 H (a home run from Jason Heyward).  Unbelievably he’s now allowed 8 HR on the season, something that has never been a major issue before (only 21 allowed for his career).  With 31 K vs. 4 BB, we’d expect him to get this straightened out before long.  Don’t panic.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Minor League Central

10 comments

  1. Henry Titlebaum says:

    Both Gausman and Taijuan Walker are available on waivers in my 10 team standard league. I want to drop Smyly for one of them. Who has the most upside out of either Walker or Gausman?

    • Bbboston says:

      I’ll be interested in Rotoprofessor’s thoughts on this question, but for me I’d stick with smyley…. Guys a misused quality pitcher.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Smyly has been significantly misused, and it’s tough to write him off. In that shallow of a league, I’m not sure Gausman or Walker are worth the gamble at this point (young starters are always inconsistent).

      If I had to pick one, I’d go with Gausman. I like the control a little bit better and he would be pitching for a better team. At the same time, he’s currently not locked into a rotation spot (which Walker should be upon his return).

  2. Bbboston says:

    Rotoprofessor,

    What are your thoughts on Eugeno Suarez?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It all depends on your need/league size, but I do see him as a viable MI. I actually had him as one of the Top 10 Prospects on the Cusp last week and said:

      “Suarez, meanwhile, has hit .302 with 8 HR and 9 SB between Double and Triple-A. While he may not be thought of as a power hitter, he also has 18 doubles and a triple this season (and had 46 extra base hits last season). You can argue that there’s been some luck (.363 BABIP), but it’s clear that he’s taken a step forward in his development.”

      If you are in a deep format, he should bring value and has more upside then the low-end options out there.

  3. Bbboston says:

    On another note: seems like Noesi is on the brink of figuring our his woes…. Thoughts?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Still tough to trust him. He’s worth monitoring, but I wouldn’t hang my hat on a breakout.

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