10 Stories From 06/24/14 Box Scores: C. Santana Thriving, Heaney Takes The L & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Clayton Kershaw wasn’t quite as impressive in the follow-up to his no hitter, tossing 8.0 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 8.0 IP against the Royals.  Extremely disappointing, I know.  The Padres’ Jesse Hahn also deserves to be mentioned (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 8 K, W), but we will be covering him in detail later today.  What else happened on the field?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Andrew Heaney’s second starts wasn’t as good as his first…
Not that it means we should be overly disappointed or concerned.  He took on the Phillies, in Philadelphia, and gave up 5 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP.  Of course, he also limited the base runners, generated 7 groundballs (vs. 3 fly balls) and generated 16 swinging strikes.  As we’ve said before he has the makeup to at least should be a very good option when pitching at home, though he could be a very good option regardless of the locale or opponent (9.27 K/9, 1.76 BB/9 and 44.7% groundball rate in the minors this season).  Don’t be concerned with the runs scored or his suddenly ugly 4.91 ERA.

 

2) Pedro Alvarez dropped to eighth in the lineup…
With the DH spot available, playing in Tampa Bay, Alvarez was at the DH spot and Josh Harrison at 3B (with Neil Walker off the DL) as the Pirates try to keep Harrison in the lineup (Starlin Marte did leave with a potential concussion, something else to monitor).  Alvarez went 0-3 with 1 R, dropping his average to .230.  His problem this season isn’t strikeouts (23.9% entering the day), but a drop in line drive rate (14.6%) and power (15.0% after posting marks of at least 25% the previous two seasons).  He entered the day hitting .278 in June with an improved line drive rate (20.8%) and it’s hard to imagine the power not coming around.  He’s always going to be a risk in average, but if you need power now is definitely the time to try and buy.

 

3) Jake Arrieta thrives again…
The former top prospect has been a popular topic here on Rotoprofessor in recent weeks and he just helped to add to the hype yesterday.  For a little while he was in a pitcher’s duel with Homer Bailey (5.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K), but Arrieta was ultimately the better pitcher.  He went 7.0 IP allowing 2 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, to improve to 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.  He only generated 4 groundballs, which is something to note, as he entered the day with a career best 53.0% groundball rate.  There’s also the risk of his strikeouts dropping, control regressing and his luck disappearing (83.9% strand rate entering the day).  That’s an awful lot of questions, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t figured it out.  He’s worth owning in the majority of formats for the time being in hopes that he’s finally figured it out.

 

4) The Braves shakeup the lineup again…
It was B.J. Upton’s turn atop the lineup, where he went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, with Tommy La Stellla, who went 0-4, was dropped to the second spot.  La Stella is now 0-11 in his past three games and 2-28 in his past seven.  We’ve said all along that he offers little power and little speed, and now it looks like he’s going to be sent back down in the lineup.  His fantasy appeal is dwindling.  As for Upton, what’s left to say at this point?  He entered the day with a 30.5% strikeout rate and hardly is an ideal leadoff candidate.  Don’t be surprised if the Braves try to acquire a true top of the order threat prior to the trade deadline.

 

5) Is Carlos Santana finally showing his true potential…
He went 4-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him 3 HR in his past four games and 5 HR in his past ten.  Over his current four-game hitting streak he’s gone 9-18 with 3 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R.  He went on the DL at the end of May, hitting .159, but he’s now up to .214 as he’s hit .371 with 6 HR, 14 RBI and 10 R in June.  Is he THIS good?  Of course not, but we also knew he was better than the 14.1% line drive rate he entered the day with.  Things should continue to improve and, with catching eligibility yet mainly playing 1B and 3B (Yan Gomes is catching and went 3-6 with 3 RBI and 1 R himself), Santana remains one of the better options behind the plate for fantasy owners.

 

6) Kyle Gibson implodes, not that it should be a complete surprise…
The Angels put up 7 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over 2.0 IP, so it’s clear that there was a little poor luck involved (he also hit a batter, so every one of the 7 base runners he allowed scored).  It’s not that he had been overly lucky heading into the day (73.3% strand rate), despite the run of scoreless innings, with the biggest concern being a putrid 4.99 K/9.  There’s upside there, however, and last night’s beating doesn’t change our view of him.  Until he shows the strikeouts he’s going to be nothing more than a low-end option.

 

7) Is Mike Zunino finally warming up…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, giving him home runs in three of his past four games.  He’s currently on a five game hitting streak going 7-19 with 3 HR (and 2 doubles), 3 RBI and 6 R.  However, he has also struck out at least once in 14 consecutive games, walking just once over that span.  He entered the day with a 32.3% strikeout rate and 4.3% walk rate, so while the power is nice his ability to hit for a strong average is extremely limited.  That’s not to say that he doesn’t have value, just know what you have.

 

8) Danny Duffy pitches well against the Dodgers…
He allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP.  The control is obviously the one concern in that line, though it hasn’t been an issue as he entered the day with a 3.39 BB/9.  Of course he’s also benefited from a .213 BABIP, so there is concern about his 2.69 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.  He certainly has the upside to produce, though we should also have some concerns moving forward.  He’s worth owning, but don’t be surprised to see him hit a few bumps in the road

 

9) Dioner Navarro continues to produce…
He’s rarely talked about, but after going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday he’s hitting .276 with 4 HR and 3 RBI on the season.  He hit 13 HR with the Cubs last season and entered the day with just a 5.0% HR/FB (10.0% and 18.8% the past two seasons), so there’s reason to believe he could hit for more power going forward.  Throw in a 14.2% strikeout rate and 25.3% line drive rate and there’s an awful lot to like.  He’s definitely a good play in two-catcher formats and is even worth a look in shallower leagues (depending on who you are currently using).

 

10) Did Chris Young save his roster spot…
The rumors started up on Monday that the Mets could cut bait on Young later this week when Juan Lagares was ready to return, but we may never know if they were true or not.  While there’s no guarantee, in an onslaught that included 4 HR (Curtis Granderson & a returning Travis d’Arnaud also hit long balls), Young shined by going 2-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R.  Even with the breakout performance Young is still hitting just .209 with 6 HR and 19 RBI on the season.  There was a time in his career that Young offered both power and speed.  While he’s never going to be a big source of power (given his inflated fly ball rate, entering the day at 48.6%), his strikeouts were down (20.3%) and he was plagued by a bit of poor luck (.237).  There is still a little bit of upside, though not enough so to make him a great option in most formats.

 

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

2 comments

  1. Brian in KY says:

    Corey Kluber has been good this year, but historically his ERA goes up in Aug and Sept. He’s only 28, but does he have enough gas in his arm to last a full season? As his owner, should I be looking to deal him for a SP who can pitch well down the stretch? Thx!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      You really don’t have a big sample size for Kluber late in the season, so I wouldn’t read too much into the numbers. Would I be 100% against selling him? No, but it all depends on the deal. The numbers are impressive and it’s hard not to like him.

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