10 Stories From 08/26/2014 Box Scores: Are Danny Duffy & James Paxton Trustworthy, Inciarte Showing Ability & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Dustin Pedroia homered for the second straight game (2-5, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB), trying to help make up for what has been a disappointing campaign.  Jacoby Ellsbury hit a pair of home runs (3-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R), but it wasn’t enough to guide the Yankees to victory.  Robinson Cano (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) homered again, giving him 5 HR in August.  Madison Bumgarner, though, stole the show with a complete game 1 hit shutout, striking out 13.

What else do we need to know about coming out of yesterday’s games?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Is there reason to trust Rubby De La Rosa…
He allowed 3 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, lasting just 4.2 IP against the Blue Jays, the second time in his past three starts that he’s failed to complete 5.0 innings.  He also didn’t generate a strikeout, which was supposed to be his strength.  He now owns a 4.57 ERA and 1.79 ERA in 45.1 innings in the second half with his strikeouts down (4.96 K/9) and his walks up (4.57 BB/9).  There has been a lot of poor luck as well (.346 BABIP despite a 19.9% line drive rate), but that’s hardly enough to hang our hats on.  In keeper/dynasty formats there’s enough upside to hang onto him.  In redraft leagues, however, it’s hard to trust him down the stretch so consider more of a plug-and-play option based on the matchup.

 

2) Zach Walters does it again…
Think he can only slug against southpaws?  Think again, as he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, with the home run coming against “closer” Jake Petricka in the tenth inning.  Walters is now hitting .208 with 6 HR and 9 RBI in just 51 PA with the Indians.  We have to be careful with him, however, as his underlying profile definitely makes it appear like he’s swinging for the fences.  The strikeouts are high (29.4%) and he also owns a 51.5% fly ball rate.  It’s a small sample size, but there’s no doubt that his 35.3% HR/FB is going to regress.  As it is he’s struggling to hit for average, but when the power slows down it could get ugly if he doesn’t adjust.  Use him while he’s adding some pop, but be prepared to move on quickly.

 

3) Danny Duffy continues to pitch well, but can it continue…
He settled for a no decision against the Twins, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 6.2 IP, giving him a 2.47 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 102 K on the season.  Before we get too excited, however, a .231 BABIP does shed a little bit of doubt over his ability to maintain his current numbers.  He’s been even luckier in the second half, with a .216 BABIP, while also seeing his strikeouts regress (6.30 K/9) and benefit from a miniscule 4.3% HR/FB.  He does have both strikeout (10.5 K/9 in the minors) and control (3.0 BB/9 in the minors), but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to produce over the final month.  Use him with caution, as a regression is very realistic.

 

4) Ender Inciarte starting to show his full potential…
He went 2-5 with 3 RBI and 1 SB yesterday, putting him at .300 with 2 HR, 11 RBI, 13 R and 5 SB in 100 AB in August.  As we’ve said before, the speed is definitely there, it’s just a matter of him starting to utilize it.  He’s not going to be a major source of power, but he’s raised his line drive rate the past two months (21.5% in July, 20.7% in August), makes good contact (11.3% strikeout rate in August) and hasn’t been overly lucky (.326 BABIP in August).  In other words, it’s possible that in their lost season the Diamondbacks have found their leadoff hitter for 2015 and beyond.  While the runs scored could be difficult this season, just wait to see what he can do when Paul Goldschmidt is back.  In dynasty/keeper leagues, he’s a must own.

 

5) Matt Shoemaker continues to shine…
Taking on the Marlins he tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP to improve to 13-4 with a 3.33 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 8.78 K/9.  Of course, the burning question is if he can continue to produce like this over the final month of the season.  There’s nothing that screams regression, considering his .287 BABIP (19.7% line drive rate) or 75.6% strand rate.  With an 11.3% SwStr% we can buy into the strikeouts, a 2.3 BB/9 in the minors gives credence to his control (1.71 BB/9) though it could regress a bit and his groundball rate is more than enough (43.1%).  You could argue that he’s due for a bump in the road given his second half .214 BABIP and 83.3% strand rate, but there’s an awful lot to like overall.

 

6) Another stellar performance from James Paxton…
Taking on a depleted Rangers lineup, he tossed 6.2 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 4.  He now owns a 1.83 ERA and 1.09 WHIP on the season.  There’s no doubting his upside potential, but he owns a .264 BABIP despite a 25.9% line drive rate and 82.5% strand rate.  There’s no doubt that there’s a regression coming, it’s just a matter of when and how far.  Obviously he needs to be owned, just be careful with him moving forward.

 

7) Jimmy Nelson saddle with the L…
He pitched well, though was out pitched by Tyson Ross (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K).  Nelson went 5.0 IP allowing 4 R (2 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7.  Fantasy owners were anxiously awaiting his arrival, though the results haven’t quite been there with a 4.10 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 9 starts on the season.  That said, there has been a little bit of poor luck given a .319 BABIP (18.4% line drive rate) and 69.1% strand rate.  He’s also shown control (2.56 BB/9) and groundballs (49.1%), with more upside in the strikeout department (7.69 K/9 courtesy of an 8.9% SwStr%).  There’s still a lot to like, though the biggest concern would be him being removed from the rotation once Matt Garza is healthy (given the way Mike Fiers has pitched).  Still, don’t give up on him.

 

8) Has Gio Gonzalez turned the corner…
He allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 IP with a pair of home runs obviously doing him in.  Still, he generated 10 groundballs yesterday and has shown signs of putting things together over his last three starts (6 ER on 17 H and 6 BB, striking out 17, over 18.0 IP).  Obviously there’s still work to do, but the upside potential is still there.  Overall he has the strikeouts (9.36 K/9), control (3.64 BB/9) and enough groundballs (45.5%), it’s been a little bit of poor luck (.310 BABIP, 19.1% line drive rate) that’s been the biggest issue.  He easily could turn it around for September, so don’t write him off.

 

9) Should Robbie Grossman be hitting atop the Astros’ lineup…
He went 0-4 with 1 R yesterday, giving him a .211/.326/.322 slash overall on the season.  However, he’s consistently shown the ability to produce a little bit of power and a little bit of speed and, while the strikeout rate is a little higher than we’d like to see (24.7%), he also has been unlucky this season.  Despite a 23.0% line drive rate, he’s produced just a .272 BABIP (it’s also not like he’s hitting the ball in the air, 36.6%, or popping it up, 6.0%, too much).  We’d like to say the luck is going to turn, but time will tell.  He also faces the risk of lost playing time, once George Springer is ready to return.  The potential is there to be a viable option, but he’s more of a player just to keep an eye on at this point.

 

10) Juan Lagares heating up with the bat…
Better known for his defense, he’s suddenly started heating up with the bat.  He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him home runs in two of his past three games.  He also owns a four-game hitting streak, going 7-14 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 4 R.  It’s possible that he does develop a bit more power and speed, but considering he entered the day with a 3.7% HR/FB in ’14 and hit 31 HR in 2,626 PA in the minors it’s hard to fathom a sudden leap.  That said, he does hit the ball hard (22.2% line drive rate) and should continue to hit for a solid average and maybe chip in some runs and RBI.  Likely the extent of his contribution, there’s no reason to add him outside of the deepest of formats.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

Make sure to check out all of our Rest of Season Rankings:

*** Make sure to pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide!! The guide comes complete with projections of over 350 players, expended rankings, sleepers, and so much more (including constant updates up until opening day). For just $6 you will get everything you need to dominate your fantasy league and one lucky subscriber will win a free autographed Brett Favre 8×10! For more information and to place your order, click here. ***

2 comments

  1. Paul says:

    With Yadier looking set to return this week, would you drop Vogt to pick up Yady?

Leave a Reply

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