10 Stories From 06/12/14 Box Scores: Has Gausman Earned A Rotation Spot, Is Niese A Sell Candidate & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While Jeff Samardzija was less than impressive (6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 7 K), Chris Sale and Max Scherzer were locked into an impressive pitcher’s duel.  We know how to value those pitchers, though, so let’s take a look at some of the other stories coming out of yesterday’s action:

 

1) Ervin Santana struggles in Colorado…
He allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 6.1 IP as the long ball hurt him with Charlie Blackmon (3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) and Justin Morneau (2-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R) doing the damage.  That’s been a problem, at times, during Santana’s career (including a 1.97 HR/9 back in 2012), though it hadn’t been an issue thus far in 2014.  He entered the day with a career high 11.7% SwStr%, which isn’t a surprise with his move to the NL, as well as his typically solid control (2.67 BB/9).  The only real red flag is a 24.6% line drive rate, which has been consistently high this season, but overall there’s a lot to like.  As long as he can continue to keep the ball in the ballpark there is no reason to be seriously concerned.

 

2) Tim Hudson continues his impressive run…
He completely stymied the Nationals last night, allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP.  He is now 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 0.97 WHIP on the season, along with 60 K and 13 BB over 89.1 IP.  Never a big source of strikeouts, Hudson’s control has been better than ever this season (1.20 BB/9 entering the day) while also generating a significant number of groundballs (58.2%).  There is some room for regression, considering his luck metrics (.255 BABIP, 81.4% strand rate), and the lack of strikeouts is going to suppress his value.  While the numbers are impressive, don’t overvalue him based on them.

 

3) It was another strong performance from Kevin Gausman…
Has he truly turned the corner?  That’s debatable, as he was good but unspectacular against a struggling Blue Jays offense.  Over 6.0 innings he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, though he did generate 10 groundballs.  In two starts since Miguel Gonzalez hit the DL he’s allowed 2 ER on 9 H and 4 BB, striking out 9, over 13.0 IP to go 2-0.  There’s no guarantee that he sticks in the rotation with Gonzalez nearing a return, but you would think he earned it.  There’s no arguing the upside and he’s worth owning in all deeper formats in case he has finally put it all together.

 

4) Jonathan Niese was impressive, but the Mets offense doesn’t help him…
Over 7.2 IP Jonathan Niese was tremendous, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 8.  He made one mistake, a home run to Aramis Ramirez (3-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), but his team managed just 1 R of support and Niese had to settle for a no decision.  He now owns a 2.54 ERA and 1.13 WHIP on the season, though we aren’t going to say that there isn’t room for regression.  His .272 BABIP entering the day is realistic, but he did own a 78.3% strand rate (not outrageous, but it could decline over time).  The big key is his control (2.44 BB/9) and the chance for him to generate more strikeouts, as he did last night (he’s not generating enough swings and misses, though).  The big question with Niese has always been if he can put it together for an entire season and thus far the preseason investment is paying off.

 

5) Is Alejandro De Aza quietly waking up…
He went 0-2 yesterday, though he did steal a base, snapping a six-game hitting streak (8-17 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R and 1 SB).  His average is still under .200, at .197, but the strikeouts have decreased immensely (while he entered the day with a 22.6% strikeout rate, he’s struck out just twice in his past 10 games.  Remember, he was hitting .173 as recently as June 3 and is the same player who offers both power and speed upside.  He entered the day with a 23.4% line drive rate, though just a .236 BABIP.  Time is running out to buy low on him (or to scoop him up off the waiver wire), so grab him now before it’s too late.  It’s not like Adam Eaton is setting the world on fire atop the lineup (.251/.313/.333), and it’s not impossible that De Aza assumes that role.

 

6) Chad Qualls blows a save…
He allowed 1 R (a home run to Miguel Montero) on 2 H in his inning of work to get saddled with his second blown save.  Of course, not only is it the first run he’s allowed since April 19, it’s the first time he’s allowed more than one hit in an outing since April 25 (and he hasn’t walked a batter since April 29).  His job is obviously safe, though do we think he can maintain this type of production?  He’s always been a groundball pitcher, but he’s showing better control and swing and miss stuff (12.2% SwStr% entering the day) than ever before.  It’s actually not impossible that he continues to run with the job.

 

7) Roenis Elias takes a beating at the hands of the New York Yankees…
He allowed 6 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 3.1 IP.  The big blow came from Jacoby Ellsbury (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R), though he was ultimately forced from the game with a hip injury.  While it was a poor outing, where are the red flags in his numbers?  He entered the day with a .269 BABIP (20.3% line drive rate) and 72.7% strand rate.  He also had a 7.71 K/9 and 3.20 BB/9, both of which are realistic.  While there’s no reason to be concerned, keep in mind he owns ERAs of 4.38 and 4.50 the past two months at this point.  There’s upside, and he’s worth a backend spot on your pitching staff in deeper formats, but in shallower formats he can probably be left on the waiver wire.

 

8) Chase Whitley impresses against the Mariners…
It was against Seattle, so once again he didn’t get the stiffest test.  Still, he allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 7.2 IP.  He did allow a home run (courtesy of Logan Morrison, who went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R), which could be an issue as he starts pitching more at home (12 fly balls vs. 5 groundballs yesterday).  It is the first home run he’s allowed, but we need to take the opponents and the fact that he’s only pitched once at Yankee Stadium into account.  From this point forward we are going to get a much better idea (his next start comes at home against the Blue Jays).

 

9) Is John Mayberry Jr. a viable fantasy option…
At least in weeks when the Phillies face a bunch of LHP?  He was in the lineup, at first base, yesterday and went 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R.  He has only 37 AB against southpaws this season, but he’s slashing an impressive .324/.419/.703 against them (12-27 with 3 HR and 12 RBI).  While Ryan Howard isn’t going to always sit, how about Domonic Brown?  Of course, Brown is actually hitting better against LHP (.265/.288/.367) than against RHP, which is a bit of an oddity.  Regardless, look for the Phillies to start playing Mayberry more and more when a southpaw is on the line.  He’s not going to be an everyday player and should only be considered as a platoon for those in daily formats (or if the Phillies have 4+ LHP on the schedule).

 

10) Has the Charlie Blackmon bubble burst…
We’ve been getting a lot of questions on Blackmon recently, so it makes sense that he had a big day at the plate (3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R).  He’s now hitting .298 with 12 HR, 43 RBI, 40 R and 12 SB in his breakout campaign.  Of course, he hit .260 in May and is still struggling at .205 in June.  There has been a little bit of poor luck involved, with an overall .291 BABIP entering the day, though has the power surge gotten into his head?  He has popped the ball up a lot this season, but early on in June it’s been more groundballs (64.3%) than anything.  That should change and, while he’s not going to hit .389 like he did in April, the power has been consistent and he should also offer some speed.  Of course, he could be your “typical” Rockies’ hitter, proving to be a much better option at home (.344/.399/.624) than on the road (.248/.281/.372).

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

3 comments

  1. Bbboston says:

    Rotoprofessor

    Blast from the past……

    Thoughts on Jesus montero?

  2. Bbboston says:

    Sad that he’s not even worth a waiver wire pick-up in deep leagues.

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