10 Stories From 06/22/14 Box Scores: Looking At The Struggles Of Kipnis and Bogaerts & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

On the day where Johnny Cueto simply continued to get the job down (8.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 8 K) there were plenty of other stories around the league that are worth noting.  How does Carlos Martinez look, now that he’s locked into a rotation spot?  What’s going wrong with Jason Kipnis and Xander Bogaerts?  Has the time come to move on from Dallas Keuchel?  Let’s answer these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s action:

 

1) What’s the problem with Jason Kipnis…
He went 0-5 with 3 K yesterday against Max Scherzer (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 8 K, W) and the Tigers, putting him at 0-10 over his past two games and has seen his average drop from .261 on 6/15 all the way down to .241.  He’s gone seven games without a SB, nine games without an RBI and hasn’t homered since April 21 (he did miss time on the DL).  At the same time it appears to be more bad luck than anything as he entered the day with a 15.0% strikeout rate, 5.6% HR/FB (11.1% for his career), 20.5% line drive rate (26.2% in June) and a .282 BABIP.  There should be significantly better days ahead, so simply stay the course.

 

2) Is Dallas Keuchel’s value quickly diminishing…
He was hardly impressive yesterday allowing 5 R (4 earned) on 9 H and 4 BB, striking out 4, over 8.0 IP against the Rays.  He’s now allowed 8 ER over his past 13.0 IP and has not struck out more than 6 in a each of his past six starts (5 or fewer in four of his past five).  He also has walked 8 batters in his past two starts.  Of course, even with this “regression” he owns a 2.78 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.  You can say he was due to fall a bit (77.1% strand rate entering the day), but continues to produce like one of the elite groundball pitchers in the league (63.7% groundball rate entering the day, 15 more groundballs yesterday).  He should be able to rediscover his control and strikeouts before long, so don’t get too concerned.

 

3) Has Chris Tillman finally figured things out…
He tossed 7.0 shutout innings against the Yankees to defeat Masahiro Tanaka (7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K).  Tillman allowed 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 2, and has now allowed 4 ER over his past 20.0 IP.  Of course, he also has just 5 K over that span and has 3 K or fewer in nine of his past ten starts.  Couple that concern with always being rather homer prone (1.36 HR/9 for his career) and a consistently elevated line drive rate (20.8% entering the day in ’14, 20.5% for his career) and there’s not a lot to hang out hats on.  He’s a low-end option, at best.

 

4) Yordano Ventura continues to pitch well…
He took the loss, as he was outpitched by Roenis Elias (6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K), but he still looked good allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP.  The strikeouts are definitely the most notable aspect of his outing, as they had seemingly disappeared recently (though he had been generating a significant number of groundballs in their stead).  If he can find a balance it would be idea (7 groundballs yesterday), but he’s clearly finding his footing with a 3.20 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.  He entered the day with a .300 BABIP (18.2% line drive rate) and 77.0% strand rate, so the luck isn’t working against him either.  He owned a minor league BB/9 of 3.1, though it was 3.9 at Triple-A so his control is something to keep a close eye on (2.68 entering the day).  There’s going to be some missteps along the way, but he’s clearly proving that he can be a very good fantasy option.

 

5) Carlos Martinez pitches fairly well in his second start…
He was allowed to throw 74 pitches this outing and he now appears to be locked into the rotation with both Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha hitting the DL.  He allowed 3 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP to earn the W.  He does have strikeout potential, though he hasn’t necessarily shown it at Double-A (7.3 K/9) or Triple-A (8.3 K/9).  His control is solid, with a minor league 3.2 BB/9, and he also has proven that he’s capable of generating groundballs (51.8% since 2011 in the minors).  With those two skills, all he needs to do is continue to show the K/9 he has in the Majors (7.39 entering the day, mostly out of the bullpen) to succeed.  Depending on your need for pitching he’s well worth owning in all formats.

 

6) Is there any value in San Diego’s middle infield…
It seems like whoever the team throws out there manages to underwhelm.  Everth Cabrera went 0-2 yesterday, dropping him to .222 on the season.  His strikeouts have risen this season (24.1% entering the day), which is more in line with what he’s done during his career (21.2%).  He also entered with a .290 BABIP, which you’d expect to be better given his speed, 20.9% line drive rate and 66.0% groundball rate.  He still has 13 SB on the season and should improve moving forward.  As for the 2B, yesterday it was Jace Peterson who went 1-3 and is now hitting .111.  He’s been a strikeout machine (37.0% entering the day) and simply may not be ready for the Majors.  He should be sent back down to the minors one Jedd Gyorko is healthy (if not sooner).
7) Joe Panik makes his 2014 debut…
He was added to our “MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 Prospects On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors” list this past Tuesday (click here to view) and was soon after recalled to the Majors.  He hit seventh yesterday, going 2-4 with 1 RBI, and should assume the second base job for now.  A .296 hitter over his minor league career, he does offer little power (7 HR is his career best) and little speed (13 SB is his career high).  In other words, there’s not too much fantasy appeal (especially if he’s going to continue hitting towards the bottom of the order).  Leave him for those in dynasty formats or the absolute deepest of mixed leagues.

 

8) Xander Bogaerts continues to struggle…
Sure he did get a hit, going 1-5, but he hasn’t had a multi-hit game since June 7 (when he was hitting .299).  His average is now down to .264.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that his average has plummeted, considering he entered the day with a .337 BABIP and 23.0% strikeout rate even with his current struggles.  No one is going to tell you that he doesn’t have significant upside, but his current production is probably a lot closer to the truth right now.  Things should turn around before long, but just keep your expectations in check.

 

9) Another solid outing from Tanner Roark…
He allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 5.1 IP to improve to 7-4 with a 2.79 ERA and 1.11 WHIP on the season.  He probably is pitching above his head a bit this season, despite having solid control, solid strikeouts and solid groundballs.  That’s the thing, he’s a pitcher that is decent across the board but doesn’t necessarily excel in any one area.  There’s a good chance that he regresses as time goes on, so now may be the chance to sell high before he starts to implode.

 

10) Matt Shoemaker thrives again…
Taking on the Rangers, Shoemaker allowed 1 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 7.2 IP.  He now owns a 3.42 ERA and and 1.16 WHIP on the season overall, but he’s been even better as a starting pitcher with marks of 3.00 and 1.12 as he shoes strikeouts (9.21 K/9), control (1.71 BB/9) and groundballs (48.2%).  There’s nothing that sticks out in the luck metrics (.316 BABIP, 72.4% strand rate) and owns an 11.7% SwStr%.  Considering his 7.20 K/9, 40.1% groundball rate and 4.58 ERA in the minors since 2011 (564.0 IP) you have to wonder if this is for real or just a short-term hot stretch.  That remains to be seen, but at this point he’s worth grabbing to see if he has figured this out and can keep things going.

 

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

4 comments

  1. Pete says:

    Trade advice needed from the folks in cyberspace. My OF currently consists of Stanton, Trout, Harper, McCutcheon and Buxton down the line. Now my ability to build infield has been lacking. I also have Taveras and was just offered Profar and a 1st end amateur pick for Taveras.

    Does everyone think Profar holds it down at 2B in the future or has Odor made them change their minds. Does Odor become A Super Utility type next year with Profar back? Does Profar become that superstar type 2B and holds it down for years.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Profar is going to be a starter, somewhere. I would expect it to be Texas, but could they trade him somewhere? It’s possible, but he’s going to be a player in my opinion.

  2. joeyt says:

    who cares about your middle infield with an outfield like that? what is this a 6 team league?

    • Pete says:

      10team keeper league. Sat on Harper and Trout when they got drafted. Traded for the Stanton, Buxton and McCutcheon.

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