10 Stories From 06/17/14 Box Scores: Should We Be Concerned With Yordano Ventura, Has Todd Frazier Emerged & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were numerous big outings yesterday, including Jonathan Lucroy (3-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R) and Mike Trout (3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R), and a few stinkers, including Max Scherzer (4.0 IP, 10 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 5K) and Matt Cain (5.0 IP, 7 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 3 K).  What other stories should fantasy owners know?  Let’s take a look at yesterday’s action on the field:

 

1) Is James Jones a viable stolen base threat…
There were a few players who made some noise for the Mariners yesterday, whether it was Jesus Montero (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) or Roenis Elias (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K), but it’s Jones that needs our attention.  He went 3-5 with 1 R yesterday and is now hitting .291 with 11 SB and 23 R in 151 AB this season.  He clearly has speed and tries to use it (61.3% groundball rate entering the day, despite showing a little bit more pop in the minors), and his .342 BABIP isn’t unreasonable.  He’s stolen as many as 28 bases in a season, so it’s hard to call him an elite speed option and a recent big stretch (4 SB in past two games) has bloated his numbers.  He’s a solid option, but don’t miscast him as one of the elite SB threats in the league.

 

2) Matt Shoemaker dominated the Indians…
Going 8.0 innings he allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, to improve to 4-1 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.13 WHIP on the season.  In his five starts entering the day he owned a 9.23 K/9 and 1.71 BB/9, so he clearly deserves our attention.  He owns a 7.4 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 over his minor league career, and a 40.1% groundball rate since 2011.   Outside of the control that doesn’t scream of a major star, but he did enter the day with a 10.8% SwStr% and appears to be keeping batters off guard with four pitches (he’s using his fastball 51% of the time).  There are concerns, but on the surface he’s at least intriguing if he sticks in the rotation (he has been moved back and forth into a relief role at times).  Depending on your situation he should be worth rolling the dice on in deeper formats.

 

3) Brock Holt plays centerfield, but for how long…
Grady Sizemore was designated for assignment, and it shouldn’t be surprising that the Red Sox are finally looking to give the position a boost.  However, Holt had never played outfield in the minor leagues so you have to wonder if he’s really the answer in centerfield.  He went 2-4 with 2 R and 1 SB yesterday, putting him at .338 with 1 HR, 15 RBI, 21 R and 5 SB on the season.  Those are solid numbers, but you would think it’s inevitable that he regresses given his .403 BABIP entering the day.  He doesn’t offer much power or speed, and it’s interesting that they are letting him learn in the Majors.  It makes you wonder if Mookie Betts, who has been working on centerfield in the minors, isn’t too far away…

 

4) Jake Marisnick making a fast impact…
Taking the roster spot of Christian Yelich (DL), Marisnick went 2-4 with 1 R yesterday and is 4-10 with 2 R and 2 SB in two games since returning to the Majors.  He was hitting seventh yesterday, but could easily move up with Rafael Furcal (2-5, 2 RBI, 1 R) and Adeiny Hechavarria (4-5, 1 R) hitting in the top two spots yesterday.  Marisnick was hitting .264 at Triple-A prior to his recall, with 6 HR and 17 SB over 250 AB.  He has shown a little bit of pop in the past, as well as some speed, but it’s hard to imagine him sticking long-term once Yelich is healthy.  Consider him as a short-term fill-in while he’s playing, but be ready to move on.

 

5) Should we be paying attention to Steve Pearce…
He was hitting second for the Orioles yesterday, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .317 with 5 HR and 14 RBI in 101 AB this season.  Pearce was slotted into the DH spot yesterday with a LHP on the mound, though it’s not like he’s been better against them (.313/.389/.500) than against RHP (.319/.356/.551).  The average is hard to buy into (.371 BABIP), though he’s hitting the ball better than ever this season (25.7% line drive rate).  He was once viewed as a promising prospect (he hit 31 HR all the way back in 2007) and was a career .294 hitter in the minors.  He’s hardly a must own option, but we also shouldn’t completely write him off either.  In AL-only formats he’s definitely worth grabbing.  In deeper leagues he should be monitored, as it wouldn’t be surprising if his playing time begins to grow (especially if the team is willing to play Nelson Cruz in the OF every day).

 

6) Should fantasy owners be getting concerned about Francisco Rodriguez…
He locked down the save, but he did allowed 1 ER on 3 H over his inning of work (one of the hits was a home run).  It’s the second time in his past three outings that he’s given up 3 base runners and 1 ER (2 H and 1 BB on 6/13).  He has been used a lot recently, with 5 appearances since June 11, so that also could be playing into it.  No one would’ve expected him to be as good as he has been, so seeing a regression may not be surprising, but there shouldn’t be concerns quite yet.

 

7) Marcus Stroman struggles against the Yankees…
This is what’s going to happen, at times, with young pitchers as it took him 98 pitches to get through 3.2 IP.  While his final line wasn’t awful, allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, it obviously is hardly what fantasy owners are looking for.  It may not have mattered yesterday (he was taking on Masahiro Tanaka after all), but he needs to be more efficient and work deeper into games.  It hadn’t been an issue, working 6.0 IP in each of his first three starts, walking just 2 batters in those 18.0 IP.  Consider this more of a blip on the radar at this point and nothing more.

 

8) Strikeouts continue to allude Yordano Ventura…
He was working with a big lead, so maybe that played a role, but he ultimately allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP.  In his past five starts Ventura hasn’t posted more than 4 K, with 14 K over 28.2 IP.  For a pitcher whose calling card was supposed to be the strikeout, it’s a concerning trend.  He has pitched well, with 6 ER over his past 20.0 IP, however, has he instead has been generating groundballs (11 yesterday, 52.4% entering the day).  In the long run this could be a very good thing, especially since he still entered the day with an 11.0% SwStr%.  It would appear like the strikeouts will come, and if he’s going to be able to pair it with this type of groundball rate he has the potential to be dominant.  In needs to be monitored, just in case, but right now we shouldn’t be concerned.

 

9) Should Todd Frazier be viewed as an elite 3B option…
He went 2-5 with 1 HR (against Jason Grilli), 1 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .276 with 16 HR and 40 RBI on the season.  Frazier has hit 19 HR over the past two seasons and never really gave us any indication that he could be this type of power threat.  He entered the day with a 20.5% HR/FB, including a ridiculous 43.8% mark in June (where he has 7 HR already).  It’s not unthinkable that he’s a 25-30 HR threat, but he’s extremely hot at the moment and sooner or later is going to slow down.  Don’t overvalue him based on this streak.

 

10) Derek Norris with a big day off the bench…
With Yu Darvish (5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 5 BB, 8 K) on the mound Norris started on the bench, but came in and went 2-2 with 1 HR and 5 RBI.  The HR did come against a RHP, but he does still have a very notable split:

  • vs. RHP – .273/.390/.443
  • vs. LHP – .362/.444/.652

Obviously he has been solid against RHP, but the question is if the A’s will allow him to catch regularly.  If (when) they finally do, he’s going to be a solid option in all formats.

 

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

6 comments

  1. Bbboston says:

    Rotoprofessor:

    Here’s my interpretation on Ventura….and duffy. Basically after the arm issue for Ventura, the royals went to both guys and said, in effect, forget about Ks. Pitch within the strike zone on the rails and your stuff will stop people from squaring up the ball. Instead try to force weak contact. This will minimize thrown pitches and wear and tear on your arms and minimize walks, AND get you deeper into the games.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Thanks Bbboston, that’s very good insight! It definitely will be interesting to see how things unfold, but with his stuff you would think that the strikeouts will still come. If he can get there, as well as continuing to generate groundballs like this, he’s going to be a real gem.

      • Bbboston says:

        Duffy already had a good K game and I expect both will slowly learn when to go for the K and when to force the DP with secondary stuff. The talent for both is crazy good and Ventura still hit 100 last night, so whatever temporary setback he had, it’s in the rear view mirror in the short term. With royals weakening offense, Ws should continue to rack up. IMO.

  2. Bbboston says:

    On another note, I took a flyer on Jesus Montero inFAAB bid. Love his known potential; he’s lost the excessive weight, I believe; he’s got a window of use as most his 1b/DH competition is dinged up or inept. Just mention it, because if he continues to hit, he could quickly become hidden treasure at 24 yoa. Love to see an article, if it becomes appropriate.

  3. Justin says:

    Dont forget about Todd Frazier’s 7 steals….a 25 hr – 15 stl season could definitely make him an elite 3B

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