10 Stories From 07/06/14 Box Scores: Is Bruce Breaking Out, Is T. Walker Similar To Z. Wheeler & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Jeff Samardzija pitched well in his debut with the A’s, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 innings and getting the W.  That’s a great sign for fantasy owners, who have been thirsting for W from him all season long.  What else happened on the field yesterday?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Jay Bruce breaks out with big home run…
The Reds-Brewers game was a solid pitcher’s duel between Mat Latos (8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K, W) and Yovani Gallardo (7.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 3 K), but Bruce’s day is the most notable.  He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, snapping an 0-18 slump and hitting his first home run since June 21.  He has been a disappointment thus far this season, at .228 with 8 HR in 250 AB.  His fly balls are down overall (32.0%) and he’s had some poor luck (.297 BABIP despite a 23.3% line drive rate).  He had his groundball rate down to 38.7% in June and that’s a trend that needs to continue.  Obviously there’s concern in his struggles, but there’s a good chance he continues to bust out in the second half.  Don’t give up hope.

 

2) Wade Miley outpitches Alex Wood…
Wood was solid, despite a lack of Ks, allowing 2 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over 7.0 IP, but he was saddled with an L.  That’s because Miley was even better, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 6.2 IP to get the victory.  Miley had a great week, with 18 K over 14.2 IP, and continues to be a strong buy candidate.  He entered the day with an elevated strikeout rate (8.42 K/9, courtesy of a 9.8% SwStr%), as he’s incorporated his slider more than before (25.0%).  Couple that with strong control (2.70 BB/9) and a solid groundball rate (48.0%) and there’s a lot to like.  Chances are he’s sitting on the waiver wire and he’s worth buying, depending on your status, in all formats.

 

3) Jeff Locke strong again, but is there value…
He allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 8.0 IP to defeat the Phillies.  Since returning to the Majors in early June he’s made six starts, allowing 11 ER over 44.1 IP.  At the same time, he’s not generating many strikeouts and it’s easy to imagine his control regressing significantly (he entered the day with a 1.08 BB/9).  An improvement in strikeouts would help, and with a 9.4% SwStr% and 8.2 K/9 in the minors there’s hope that he can get there.  While he’s not going to be a top notch, he’s worth rolling with while he’s hot.

 

4) Taijuan Walker struggles with his control in second start…
He lasted just 4.0 IP, needing 83 pitches to get there.  He allowed just 1 ER on 2 H, but walked 5 and struck out 3.  Control has been the biggest question facing Walker, as he owned a 3.5 BB/9 over his minor league career and 3.8 mark in 17 starts at Triple-A.  Of course his stuff is electric, with a 9.8 K/9 in the minors, he just needs to find consistency and avoid the free passes.  It sounds a lot like the Mets’ Zack Wheeler (who allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 2 BB over 6.1 IP yesterday), who has been up for a year and is still struggling to find the ability to throw strikes every start.  Just keep that in mind before depending on Walker in redraft formats.

 

5) It was a strong return for Kevin Gausman…
He allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.1 IP.  The Orioles have had Gausman up and down throughout the season, and that could have something to do with his inconsistencies.  Hopefully the team leaves him in the Majors at this point, as their rotation has certainly been a weak point this season.  The upside is certainly there for him to thrive, but the team needs to stick him and not push him in and out.  Wait and see what happens, but the upside is there for him to be a viable option in all formats.

 

6) Kole Calhoun continues to thrive against RHP…
Obviously Garrett Richards deserves mentioning, having allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 11, over 7.1 IP, but at this point we are all well aware of him.  Calhoun, meanwhile, went 3-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, giving him back-to-back three hit, two run games.  The Angels have protected him against LHP, but he’s been great against righties entering the day hitting .301 with 7 HR, 18 RBI and 35 R in 143 AB.  While he’s going to be a tough play in weeks where the Angels face a significant number of lefties, when there are righties on the mound he’s a must use outfielder.  He is hitting atop a lineup that can score runs and he also brings power and speed.  That’s a mix well worth owning.

 

7) Is Corey Kluber officially among the elite…
He allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 8.1 IP to improve to 8-6 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 137 K on the season.  He entered the day with a 9.74 K/9, a believable mark given his 11.0% SwStr% (10.4% last season).  His control, 2.22 BB/9 entering the day, has never been a question and he’s also generating groundballs (47.5%, with another 9 yesterday).  What exactly is there not to like from him at this point?  Throw in a 74.9% strand rate and a .332 BABIP, indicating he could be even better, and Kluber appears to have emerged as one of the better options in the league.  Those who bought into him entering the season have been handsomely rewarded.

 

8) Ichiro Suzuki suddenly finds himself as an important part of the Yankees…
He entered the season as a fourth outfielder, but with Alfonso Soriano being designated for assignment and Carlos Beltran restricted to DH duties for now, Suzuki figures to get regular playing time for now (as he has been of late).  He had a good day yesterday, going 3-4 with 2 R, and is hitting .294 with 24 R in 177 AB.  We didn’t initially mention his HR (0), RBI (10) or SB (6), because he has been a virtual non-factor in those categories.  Considering he’s going to hit towards the bottom of the lineup can we even consider him a good source of runs scored?  The guy certainly can still hit, but he just doesn’t bring enough to the table to consider him even in the deepest of formats.

 

9) Jesse Hahn solid in losing effort…
Tim Lincecum got the W (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 6 K), but that shouldn’t take away from Hahn’s performance.  He allowed 3 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP and now owns a 2.34 ERA and 1.04 WHIP on the season.  He generated 12 groundballs yesterday, which was his calling card in the minors (58.6%).  As we’ve said before he did see his strikeouts (7.75 K/9) and control (3.29 BB/9) regress upon reaching Double-A this season, so that is something that fantasy owners are going to have to monitor moving forward.  Still, he hasn’t had any problems thus far and does appear to bring the trio of skills we generally try to target.  It’s possible he struggles, especially when pitching outside of Petco Park, but at this point he’s well worth owning.

 

10) Unsurprisingly, Rick Porcello implodes…
Porcello did so in fairly spectacular fashion, allowing 7 ER on 11 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 5.2 IP against the Rays last night.  While he’s been impressive overall this season, he continues to struggle generating strikeouts (5.13 K/9) and that is always going to limit his upside.  Couple that with an overall groundball rate of 48.6%, which is down significantly, and there are ample reasons to be concerned.  Hopefully you sold him prior to last night, but it may just be the start of his issues.

 

Sources – ESPN, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Minor League Central

2 comments

  1. Bryan Shisler says:

    Pick Two to Roster: Miley, Gausman, Walker and Wood – How close is it?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Keeper league? Just for this season?

      I assume it’s Alex Wood and he is definitely the top choice. Gausman would be at the bottom, given the way they’ve used him.

      As for the other spot, Walker has the higher upside so I’d lean him but there is a lot to like from Miley for the rest of the season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *