10 Stories From 08/24/2014 Box Scores: Impressive Outings For Fiers & Bauer, Strasburg Rocked & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a tremendous day of action yesterday, with some impressive performances both on the mound and at the plate.  Who can continue their success?  Who should we expect to regress over the final few weeks?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Trevor Bauer impressive en route to victory…
The start did come against the Astros, but we also know they have the potential to hit the ball out of the ballpark.  He shut them down for 6.0 innings allowing 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 9.  He did run up a big of a pitch count, needing 115 pitches to go into the seventh (he walked the leadoff hitter before being pulled), so that is a bit of a concern.  He also continues to be wildly inconsistent, allowing 5 ER in his last outing (the first five batters he faced all scored).  That said, he still carries strikeout potential (114 K over 118.1 IP) and has seemingly found his control (3.45 BB/9).  There’s a lot of upside for the once top prospect, though his inconsistency makes him tough to trust with fantasy titles on the line.  Consider him nothing more than a plug and play option if the matchup is right.

2) Just when we thought Stephen Strasburg had figured it out…
He gets bombed by the Giants, allowing 5 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 4.0 IP and was tagged for a pair of home runs (courtesy of Gregor Blanco or Travis Ishikawa).  Entering the day Strasburg owned a 10.40 K/9 and 2.00 BB/9, and also hasn’t had major home run issues with a 1.00 HR/9.  While it’s been an extremely disappointing season, there obviously is a lot to like still.  Poor starts happen, but he still owns a respectable 3.59 ERA and 1.20 WHIP (and he’s arguably pitched better than those numbers) and already has 202 K.  While there’s a lot of pessimism hanging over him, there’s a lot more to like than to dislike.  All this means is that he should come at a lower cost for 2015.

 

3) Is Mookie Betts finally starting to get things on track…
He went 2-3 with 1 SB yesterday and now has stolen bases in back-to-back games.  Since returning from the minors on August 18 he’s now 6-22 with 2 SB and 2 R, so it’s certainly not like he’s torn the cover off the ball.  His track record speaks for itself, but with Rusney Castillo now closing in on a debut his time to make an impact could quickly be running out.  If he gets hot the Red Sox should find a spot for him, if for no other reason than to showcase him for an offseason trade.  Fantasy owners obviously need to stick with him, in hopes that he puts it together, but be prepared to move on if/when he loses his starting job.

 

4) Mike Fiers stars again…
Taking on the Pirates he allowed 2 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP.  He now owns a 1.54 ERA and 0.66 WHIP in 35.0 IP (8 appearances, 4 starts) and has been extremely impressive since joining the rotation in August (4 ER over 28.0 IP).  At the same time, does anyone truly believe he is THIS good?  As it is he entered the day with a .190 BABIP and 93.0% strand rate, so he already was screaming for a regression and yesterday’s performance didn’t do much to silence it.  That’s not to say that he doesn’t hold appeal, given his 9.85 K/9 and 2.35 BB/9 in the minors since 2011 (318.0 IP), because he is a viable fantasy option.  Chances are, however, things are going to regress in a major fashion before long.  Simply don’t become too infatuated with him because he simply can’t keep this up.  His next start is scheduled to come in San Francisco, so he is usable, but that doesn’t mean he’s a certainty.

 

5) Lucas Duda continued his breakout campaign…
He went 3-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .260 with 26 HR and 76 RBI on the season.  As we’ve said before, does anyone think the Mets made the wrong choice in keeping Duda over Ike Davis?  The biggest concern with Duda is going to be his batting average, given the significant number of fly balls he hits (48.7% entering the day, 48.4% in ’13), because the power is very much for real.  He has done a good job of maintaining an improved strikeout rate (21.6% in the first half, 20.9% in the second) and has had a bit of poor luck in the second half (his line drive rate is up to 20.9%, yet he owns a .247 BABIP).  While there is concern, there’s also more than enough to like.  Look for him to continue producing the rest of the way.

 

6) Scott Kazmir struggles mightily against the Angels…
That’s a bit of an understatement, as he allowed 7 ER on 10 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over 3.0 IP.  It’s easy to chalk this up to one poor start, but there’s a little bit more to it than that.  While he had 6 K in his previous outing (against the Mets), he has 4 K or fewer in four of his previous five starts.  Since the All-Star Break he owns a 5.31 K/9, helping lead to a 5.09 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.  We can argue that there’s been poor luck (.343 BABIP, 66.8% strand rate), but he’s also been hit hard with a 24.3% line drive rate.  While we wouldn’t completely write him off, there’s obviously reason for concern.

 

7) Another impressive outing for Tsuyoshi Wada…
He was spectacular against the Orioles, allowing 1 ER on 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 6.1 IP with his lone mistake coming against Steve Pearce (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R).  Wada, who was hyped a few years ago when he signed with the Orioles a few years, is now healthy and owns a 2.56 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 41 K over 45.2 IP with the Cubs.  Obviously there’s a little bit of luck in the numbers, but he was also showing strikeouts (9.50 K/9) and control (2.22 BB/9) at Triple-A prior to his recall.  Obviously pitching for the Cubs is going to make W tough to come by at time, despite having 4 wins already, but there’s a lot to like at this point.  Consider him a viable option in all formats.

 

8) Kennys Vargas continues to produce, but can it continue…
He went 3-5 with 1 R yesterday and is now hitting .337 with 4 HR, 23 RBI and 16 R over 95 AB in the Majors.  He’s currently on a five-game hitting streak, including four multi-hit games, going 11-23 with 1 HR, 7 RBI and 6 R.  He entered the day with a .397 BABIP and 25.5% strikeout rate, so it’s obvious that the home run isn’t sustainable at his current mark (his .281 mark in the minors since 2011 helps to support that).  There is some power in his bat, but he held an 18.7% HR/OFB in the minors since 2011 and owned a 36.4% mark in the Majors entering the day.  There’s a lot to like and there’s upside, but he’s going to regress before long.  Ride the hot streak while you can, but don’t get too attached for the remainder of ’14.

 

9) Justin Masterson struggles continue…
He lasted only 3.0 IP allowing 5 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, against the Phillies.  He’s made five starts since his trade to St. Louis, allowing 4+ ER in four of his starts.  It has been an abysmal season overall for Masterson, with a 5.88 ERA and 1.65 WHIP over 121.0 IP, as he also has been hamstrung by injuries.  We could argue that part of the issue has been poor luck, with a .343 BABIP (20.2% line drive rate) and 65.2% strand rate entering the day.  However his velocity is down (88.9 mph average fastball) and at this point we can’t bank on hope.  If for some reason you’ve been holding on, simply don’t anymore.

 

10) Has the sun set on Aaron Harang…
He allowed 4 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 5.1 IP and has now allowed 3+ ER in each of his past three starts (12 ER on 24 H and 5 BB over 18.0 IP).  As it is the numbers haven’t been extremely impressive, considering his 1.40 WHIP, 22.1% line drive rate and 6.61 K/9 (7.7% SwStr%).  While he was a nice story at times during the season, but it’s impossible to have faith in him at this point.  Given the way he’s been pitching of late, feel free to move on if you are still invested in him.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Minor League Central

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4 comments

  1. Bilbo Baggins says:

    K Vargas or Brandon Moss for rest of season?

  2. Chris says:

    Are we at the point where Duda is going to be drafted ahead of Moss next year?

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