10 Stories From 08/23/2014 Box Scores: Is Salazar Finally Backing Up The Hype, Cashner Returns & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Carlos Beltran, playing for the first time since Tuesday, went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, but can he finally get things going down the stretch?  Javier Baez hit another home run, but also struck out 3 more times (showing us both the good and the bad).  Pedro Alvarez had a monster game, going 2-3 with 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB, but is he going to get enough AB to make him worthwhile?

Obviously there were some big stories coming out of yesterday’s action, as we haven’t even mentioned the return of Justin Verlander (5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 6 K) and Jacob deGrom (6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 7 K).  Let’s take a look at all the things we need to know:


1) Is Danny Salazar finally showing signs…
Taking on the Astros he went 6.0 innings allowing 2 R (1 earned) on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 7.  He’s now allowed 3 ER or fewer in five of his six starts since July 22, lowering his ERA from 5.53 to 4.52.  He owns a 3.27 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 9.00 K/9 and 2.45 BB/9 over those six starts, to go along with believable luck metrics in a .297 BABIP (23.1% line drive rate) and 69.9% strand rate.  The big key is that he’s been able to keep the ball in the ballpark (2 HR allowed, and both came in the same start) and improved control.  Is he a given to produce the rest of the way?  Absolutely not, but he is the same pitcher that most were going nuts for prior to the start of the season.  There’s enough upside there, especially in the strikeout department, to own him in all formats.

2) Andrew Cashner returns to mixed results…
Taking on the Diamondbacks he allowed 2 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over 5.0 IP.  He made one big mistake, with Jake Lamb (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R) taking him deep.  We’re always cautious of starters making their first pitch off the DL, so we don’t want to read too much into the results.  That said, overall he has shown groundballs (51.0%) and control (2.66 BB/9), but the strikeouts haven’t been what we’d have expected (6.64 K/9).  He has shown better swing and miss stuff before, given his 6.9% SwStr%, but it’s been going on long enough this season that it’s hard to expect a significant jump now.  He’s a viable option, for sure, just don’t expect the “allure” we had anticipated for the remainder of ’14.


3) Can Nick Castellanos produce down the stretch…
He had a good day at the plate in the double header, going 4-9 with 3 RBI and 2 R (he wasn’t the biggest producer in the two games, but his may be the most notable).  He now has three consecutive two hit games and there’s significantly more upside in the average department (.263) given his 27.4% line drive rate on the season (28.4% in the second half).  While the power isn’t there quite yet, he still has the potential to kick in a few home runs as well.  Don’t write him off, especially in five outfielder formats.


4) Is Juan Lagares going to develop into a viable hitter…
He had a big day at the plate yesterday, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R, and we all know he’s going to stay on the field thanks to his elite defense in centerfield.  He’s hitting .276 on the season and does own a 21.9% line drive rate, but it’s come with just 3 HR and 4 SB.  While he’s never been a source of power, there is a little bit of speed (100 SB in the minors), though he needs to learn how to use it and become more efficient.  Maybe he develops, in time, but for the remainder of ’14 there’s little value.


5) Has Dioner Navarro developed into a must use catcher…
He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .270 with 10 HR and 55 RBI on the season.  While the power isn’t quite what he showed last season, when he it 13 HR in 266 PA, he’s proving that he can provide some pop.  He’s also proving that he can hit for a strong average, given his 24.3% line drive rate and 13.1% strikeout rate (he was at 25.4% and 13.5%, respectively, in 2013).  While he may not be  an elite option, he’s definitely a viable one and worth using, depending on your alternatives, even in one-catcher formats.


6) Has Tom Koehler developed into a viable option…
He pitched well, in Colorado, allowing 3 ER on 8 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP but settled for a no decision.  Since the All-Star Break he owns a 3.38 ERA, but a 1.31 WHIP makes it seem a little unsustainable.  However, his .323 BABIP is extremely unlucky given his 13.5% line drive rate so there’s reason to believe that there are better days ahead.  Overall he owns a 3.82 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, though he’s never going to be a big-time strikeout artist (6.95 K/9).  There is some risk, as he may not be able to maintain a 16.3% line drive rate, but for now he’s a viable option.


7) Could Jim Adduci offer under-the-radar appeal…
Looking at the numbers it certainly doesn’t appear so, as he’s hitting just .174 even after going 1-2 with 1 SB yesterday.  In the minors this season he was hitting .306 in 52 PA, however, and owns a minor league career mark of .285.  His struggles in the Majors have also come due to a .214 BABIP, though a 14.5% line drive rate may not instill much confidence.  Still, it’s hard to imagine that he’s this bad given his minor league marks.  He may not be a big source of power, but he could kick in a few and has stolen as many as 35 bases in a minor league season.  He’s not going to be a tremendous option, but in deeper formats he’s worth monitoring.  He’s getting regular AB right now and could get hot and provide under-the-radar value.


8) Wily Peralta struggles at the wrong time…
He allowed 8 R (7 earned) on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP.  Of course, the damage was done by 3 HR, something we wouldn’t expect to be an issue for him.  On the season he owns a 54.3% groundball rate, to go along with control (2.72 BB/9) and enough strikeouts (6.72 K/9).  Do we really worry about home run issues for a groundball pitcher?  He does own a 1.22 HR/9, but his 16.3% HR/FB screams of an aberration.  It’s also important to note that the long ball has plagued him a lot more at home (1.45 HR/9) than on the road (0.96).  Maybe we have second thoughts about running him out there in home starts, but overall there’s a lot to like in his makeup.  Don’t flee from him at this point.


9) Another poor outing for Tim Lincecum…
He lasted just 2.2 innings against the Nationals allowing 6 R (4 earned) on 6 H and 4 BB, striking out 2.  For good measure he also uncorked two wild pitches.  Over his past three starts (11.0 IP) he owns just 6 K and since July 25 (six starts) he’s allowed 26 ER over 24.2 IP.  Does anyone really still have faith at this point?  We can point to some underlying numbers, including his still decent strikeout rate (8.07 K/9) or his solid 48.1% groundball rate, but at this point it’s simply not enough.  There is no way to trust running Lincecum out there at this point.


10) Is Chris Young’s poor start a sign of things to come…
We’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop all season long, and maybe we finally started to see signs of it yesterday.  Taking on the Red Sox Young allowed 3 ER on 7 H and 5 BB, striking out 2, over 3.2 IP.  It’s the first time he’s failed to go at least 5.0 innings since April 18 and only the third time all season he’s walked more than 3 batters in a game.  At the same time he entered the day benefiting from a .224 BABIP and 82.5% strand rate, while also failing to generate many strikeouts (5.65 K/9).  Obviously we aren’t going to assume he’s going to collapse off of one start, but there’s a good chance that this is simply the beginning of his regression.  It’s only going to take one or two more poor outings before we are ready to jump ship, but you can’t do so quite yet.


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


  1. Bryan Shisler says:

    We start our playoffs in 2 weeks and I’m having roster questions. Please help me fill these roster spots:

    Pick 2: D Salazar, J deGrom, W Peralta
    Pick 2: B Butler, B Moss, D Wright

    It’s crazy that it’s come to this with Wright and even Moss…


    • Rotoprofessor says:

      For me it’s:

      deGrom & Peralta
      Wright & Moss (unfortunately this one is crazy close, which is unbelievable)

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