10 Stories From 08/02/14 Box Scores: Is Singleton Finally Producing, Can deGrom Keep On Rolling & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Jon Lester made his debut with the A’s, earning the W (3 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 6.2 IP).  Justin Masterson was victorious in his Cardinals’ debut, though unimpressive (6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 4 K).  C.J. Wilson (1.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 K) returned for the DL, but got roughed up by Ben Zobrist (4-5, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB) and the Rays.  What else happened in yesterday’s games?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Allen Webster’s second start was not a good one…
The recent slew of trades by the Red Sox have left many holes, but Webster didn’t do much to solidify his future as a part of it.  Taking on the Yankees he allowed 4 ER on 2 H and 6 BB, striking out 1, over just 2.2 IP.  His control has been an issue at times, with a minor league career mark of 3.7, though he’s shown strikeouts (8.5 K/9 in the minors, including an 8.6 mark at Triple-A) and groundballs (49.9% since 2011).  In other words there’s enough reason for optimism, he’s just going to need to show it quickly or he’s going to find himself back at Triple-A.  Monitor him from a distance for the time being, but right now it’s going to be hard to trust him.

 

2) James Paxton returns to the Majors…
Dustin Ackley deserves a mention (3-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R), but Paxton’s return is certainly the bigger story.  He lasted only 4.1 IP (83 pitches) allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 5.  He did allow a home run, but also generated 6 groundballs.  While his overall 2.01 ERA in the Majors the past two seasons is based off of a lot of luck (.200 BABIP, 90.0% strand rate), there is plenty to like given his strikeouts (9.70 K/9) and ability to generate groundballs (46.6% in the minors).  The question has always been his ability to consistently throw strikes (4.05 BB/9 in the minors), as it was last night.  If he could cut down on the walks there’s no questioning his upside and he is worth owning and stashing.  However, as of right now there’s going to be a lot of risk involved regardless of the matchup.

 

3) Anthony Rendon is really good…
How long can anyone stay skeptical?  All Rendon has done this season is produce, as he’s now at .281 with 14 HR, 61 RBI, 77 R and 11 SB after another big day at the plate yesterday (3-5, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB).  The average was never going to be the question and you could argue that he’s actually been a little bit unlucky (15.6% strikeout rate, 20.2% line drive rate, .308 BABIP).  It’s the power that has always been the question, but a 10.1% HR/FB isn’t unreasonable.  Obviously after only hitting 1 HR in July there were people jumping off the bandwagon, but don’t.  While he may not be a 25 HR hitter (though the power could tick back up a bit as he still averaged 270.88 feet on non-groundballs in July, compared to 280.53 overal006C), he should be 20+ with a strong average and value across the board.

 

4) Another impressive outing for Rick Porcello…
Sure it was against a depleted Rockies’ lineup, but that shouldn’t take anything away from Porcello who allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 10, over 8.0 IP.  He now owns a 3.18 ERA and 1.12 WHIP on the season, though overall he hasn’t shown the strikeouts (5.60 K/9) or groundballs (49.7%) that we would’ve hoped for.  His SwStr% is down for the season (7.9%), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope for continued success.  It’s only three starts, but since the All-Star Break he owns a 60.0% groundball rate, 12.7% SwStr% and 8.59 K/9.  That was the type of pitcher we envisioned entering the season and, if he can come reasonably close to maintaining those rates he’s going to be a stellar option for the remainder of the season.

 

5) Is Alejandro De Aza finally coming around…
We’ve been talking about him as a bounce back candidate for some time, so why should this time by any different?  He went 2-3 with 2 R yesterday, giving him three consecutive two-hit games (6-11, 1 RBI, 3 R).  Granted it’s just three games, but he continues to have significantly more upside in the average department (21.6% strikeout rate, 24.9% line drive rate, .298 BABIP) and does bring some power and some speed to the table (he had 17 HR and 20 SB a year ago, though he’s likely more of a 10/20 option).

 

6) Jon Singleton is finally heating up…  Maybe…
Yes, his home run yesterday was of the inside-the-park variety, but he still went 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R, giving him 3 HR in his past 12 AB.  Then again power was never the question, it was if he was going to be able to hit for a good enough average to justify using.  Overall you would think that he stands no chance, with a 35.6% strikeout rate, 13.8% line drive rate and 17.0% IFFB.  Of course things haven’t been much better in his 50 PA since the All-Star Break with marks of 32.0%, 6.9% and 6.3%, respectively.  So what are we supposed to think?  There’s more than enough potential to continue buying into him, but it remains to be seen if he can actually sustain a viable average making him worth the risk.  It’s going to take more than one game to convince us.

 

7) Jacob deGrom continues to strengthen his NL Rookie of the Year claims…
Both deGrom and Jake Peavy (7.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K) carried no-hitters into the seventh inning, but deGrom ended up the victor.  He allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 7.1 IP as he also generated ample groundballs (9).  He’s now 15 starts into his minor league career and owns a 2.77 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.  Obviously there’s a lot to like (including an 8.59 K/9), but he’s also benefited from a 79.8% strand rate and, considering a 24.5% line drive rate, a .302 BABIP as well.  Does that mean he’s a lock to regress significantly?  No, but you have to think that the consistently elevated line drive rate (25.8%, 25.5% and 23.2% from May-July) could eventually catchup to him.  That said, is anyone willing to not have him in their lineup at this point?  Just be prepared for a hiccup from time-to-time.

 

8) Homer Bailey’s renaissance continues…
He allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP and now has his season ERA at 3.89.  It may not seem like much, but we have to remember that he was at 5.04 at the end of May.  With months of 3.35 and 2.67 since, it’s obvious that he’s rediscovered his form (as we expected).  Overall he owns a 7.53 K/9, 2.86 BB/9 and 51.2% groundball rate, showing the skill set.  There’s no reason to think that he isn’t going to continue to thrive moving forward.

 

9) It was a big day for Kolten Wong…
He filled the box score, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.  He’s hitting just .247 on the season with 7 HR, 28 RBI, 29 R and 16 SB.  It’s not a surprise that he’s been able to steal some bases, but we wouldn’t have expected the power nor would we have thought his average would be this poor.  The power isn’t likely to continue, given his 50.8% groundball rate, so don’t count on that.  The average?  He makes good contact (14.9% strikeout rate) and has had a bit of poor luck (.267 BABIP).  He has been hitting the ball significantly better in the second half (28.6% line drive rate), so there is definite reason to believe the average will rise.  If you are buying him for power you are going to be disappointed.  If you are looking for help in the average department, he should be well worth using.

 

10) With Paul Goldschmidt out, David Peralta hits third…
Jordan Pacheco was at 1B, though time will tell how the Diamondbacks set things up (could Jake Lamb get the call to play 3B to help give the lineup a boost?).  Peralta was in Goldschmidt’s third spot of the order and did well, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hitting .319 with 4 HR on the season.  The former pitcher has looked good, though he’s benefited from a .359 BABIP and doesn’t profile for much power (25.0% fly ball rate, 14 HR in 410 AB in the minors the past two seasons).  In other words, even if he sticks in the third spot in the order there’s a good chance his production falls off.  Don’t bank on him being a tremendous buy.

 

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

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