10 Stories From 08/04/14 Box Scores: Is It Time To Sell Garrett Richards & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a small slate of games, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t anything for us to talk about.  Let’s take a look at what happened on the field yesterday that fantasy owners need to know about:

 

1) Kevin Gausman wins…  In unspectacular fashion…
Taking on the Nationals he allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP and now is 6-3 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.  Considering his 8.9 K/9 in the minor leagues, his 5.81 K/9 in his 11 Major League starts this season is a big surprise.  He has 3 K or less in each of his past three starts and in 7 of his 11 starts overall.  He does own an 8.2% SwStr%, so there is hope for more, though opponents simply aren’t chasing outside the strike zone against him (23.9% O-Swing% vs. league average of 29.8%).  While there’s upside there, unless he starts generating more strikeouts he’s going to be a significant risk as he owns an elevated line drive rate (22.3%) and should ultimately give up more home runs (0.44 HR/9 courtesy of a 4.5% HR/FB).  He’s worth owning, just be prepared for some significant bumps.

 

2) Brandon Moss continues to struggle…
He went 0-5 with 3 K and, since the A’s traded Yoenis Cespedes at the deadline Moss has gone 0-12 with 7 K.  Maybe it’s a bit of a coincidence, but we all know there’s a lot more pressure on Moss to produce in the middle of the lineup now.  Of course, it’s not like he’s suddenly struggling, as he hasn’t had a multi-hit game since July 10 and now has 0 HR and 1 RBI in his past nine games.  We’ve sung his praises for his improved contact rate in the past, but he’s obviously starting to slip in that regard (24.6% in 2014, after posting a 27.7% mark last season).  We all know the power and RBI should return, just ride out this poor stretch if you can.

 

3) Garrett Richards shines against the Dodgers, but should owners trade him…
He tossed a complete game shutout, allowing 5 H and 2 BB while striking out 9.  He now owns a 2.58 ERA and 1.02 WHIP on the season.  There is no questioning the stuff, showing strikeouts (8.92 K/9 courtesy of an 11.2% SwStr%) and control (2.82 BB/9).  However he’s also benefited from a .258 BABIP (20.7% line drive rate) and a 0.29 HR/9 (4.3% HR/FB, after an 11.3% mark a year ago).  Are either of those numbers maintainable?  You also have to wonder if he could wear down as the season progresses, having already thrown 153.1 innings (his previous high is 157.0 in 2011).  In keeper leagues he’s a must own, but in redraft formats there is risk moving forward.  If you can, now may be the perfect time to move him for an ace.

 

4) Tyler Flowers finishes a double short of the cycle…
He went 3-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R and is actually hitting .252 with 8 HR and 39 RBI on the season.  I say “actually”, because his average was the big risk entering the season as we all knew he had the power to produce.  Of course he also owns a 35.1% strikeout rate and the average has come courtesy of an unsustainable .380 BABIP (even with his current 24.1% line drive rate).  Sure there’s some appeal courtesy of some home runs, but don’t buy him expecting him to maintain his current average.

 

5) David Wright’s struggles continue…
He went 1-4 with 1 RBI, but has just 8 HR on the season.  Entering the year would anyone have predicted that Daniel Murphy (2-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) would have more HR (9) than Wright at this point in the season?  If it was just a lack of HR it would be one thing (his last HR came on July 11), but the doubles have also suddenly dried up.  Since July 18 he has hit just 1 double and now owns a poor .388 SLG on the season.  He is hitting the ball with some authority, give his overall 23.6% line drive rate, so there is the potential to produce so don’t simply write him off.  At this point all we can really do is throw him into our lineup and cross our fingers.

 

6) It was a poor outing for Tanner Roark…
Taking on the Orioles he allowed 5 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 6.1 IP.  Of course you could argue that he was due for a stumble, considering he owns a 2.94 ERA and 1.09 WHIP on the season.  While he has tremendous control (1.91 BB/9), he also doesn’t bring elite strikeout stuff (6.77 K/9) or elite groundballs (44.1%).  Last night it was the long ball that got him (2 HR allowed), and that’s something that could continue (0.70 HR/9).  Throw in the potential regression of a 78.0% strand rate and there are reasons for concern.  He’s usable, but don’t be surprised to see a regression.

 

7) Caleb Joseph homers for the second straight game…
He took Roark deep and finished 2-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R.  Overall he’s hitting just .218, but he’s at 4-6 with 2 HR and 4 RBI over his past two games.  Part of his problem has definitely been luck related, with a .248 BABIP despite a 20.4% line drive rate (and he also owns a reasonable 21.5% strikeout rate).  He hit .268 in the minors and also showed some power, with 22 HR in 518 AB at Double-A last season (along with 31 doubles).  Is he worth considering in one-catcher formats?  Not really, but in two-catcher leagues he does have the potential to get hot and contribute.  He’s not going to play every day, but with Matt Wieters out there’s every reason to think he’s going to continue to see regular playing time for the rest of the season.

 

8) Jose Ramirez starts his third straight for the Indians…
Mike Aviles has been playing in the outfield, so the Indians have been using Ramirez as their starting shortstop after the trade of Asdrubal Cabrera.  He produced yesterday, going 2-3 with 1 R and 1 SB, putting him at 2-10 over the three games.  He hit .306 in the minor leagues with a tremendous ability to make contact (8.5% strikeout rate).  Don’t confuse him with a power threat, but he can steal a few bases (38 at Double-A in ’13 and 19 at Triple-A prior to his recall).  He’s going to be limited to the bottom of the order and should ultimately cede AB to Aviles or someone else (Francisco Lindor, perhaps), but if you need some speed he’s worth the gamble.

 

9) Brandon McCarthy outpitches Max Scherzer…
He allowed 1 R (0 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 5.2 IP to defeat Scherzer (7.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 3 BB, 4 K) and improve to 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 1.29 WHIP since his trade to New York.  He has been a sabermetric darling all season, so it’s not a huge surprise that he’s finally turned it around.  During his time in New York he’s continued to keep the ball on the ground (52.6% groundball rate), show elite control (1.78 BB/9) and demonstrate an elevated strikeout rate (8.31 K/9).  While the latter may not be maintainable, considering his 7.9% SwStr%, there’s still an awful lot to like in the numbers.  Maybe he’s not THIS good, but he’s worth using in all formats.

 

10) Dillon Gee gets back on track…  Kind of…
We’re not about to call it a tremendous start, but it was significantly better as he allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 5.2 IP against the Giants.  He kept the ball in the ballpark, which had been the big issue of late (5 HR over his previous 3 games), but the control was off and he was allowing fly balls (10 vs. 6 groundballs).  While he was pitching well earlier in the year, he still lacks the strikeout stuff (6.48 K/9) and has benefited from a .241 BABIP.  In other words, don’t be surprised if the struggles continue.  Don’t bank on him producing over the remainder of the season.

 

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

4 comments

  1. hamby says:

    Not sure what would make someone bite on Richards. I took Kershaw as my first pitcher, drafter Cueto later, and picked up Kubler and Richards. I have a murders row with pitching. The only thing I could see would be getting a monster bat in return. What would be fair value for Richards in a 10 category 12 team Yahoo league? I sit in the last playoff spot.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It all depends on positional need, but I’d aim high with the way he’s pitched thus far.

      Does position matter?

  2. hamby says:

    c- posey
    1b -duda
    2b – kinsler
    3b – gyorko
    ss – desmond
    0f – polanco, JD Martinez, Lorenzo Cain
    utl -Billy Hamilton
    BN- Blackmon

    I have totally given up trying to get saves and concede that category. But the batting lineup looks to have major holes in the OF/1b position. Not a ton of power/rbi

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