10 Stories From 08/28/2014 Box Scores: Are Yusmeiro Petit & Carlos Carrasco For Real & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a small schedule last night (9 games), but that didn’t leave us without stories to discuss.  Who shined?  Who struggles?  Let’s take a look at the most important stories for fantasy owners:


1) Yusmeiro Petit dominates once again…
It’s outings like this one that make you wonder why they didn’t demote Tim Lincecum sooner, doesn’t it?  He dominated the Colorado Rockies, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 6.0 IP to earn the W.  He now owns 96 K and 17 BB over 86.1 IP on the season, though a lot of that has come as a reliever (he has 37 K and 6 BB in 37.1 IP as a starter).  With a 12.0% SwStr% entering the day and a 12.0% mark in 48.0 IP in ’13, it’s easy to buy into the strikeout rate despite the lack of overpowering stuff (average fastball is 88.9 mph) as he’s begun using his curveball significantly more (25.6% entering the day).  He’s also had a bit of bad luck (68.3% strand rate), so there’s a lot to like.  He doesn’t generate a lot of groundballs, so home runs will be something to watch, as is his control.  There is risk, but there’s enough there to consider him depending on the matchup the rest of the way.


2) Mike Minor stymies the Mets…
Then again, does that say much these days?  He did look good, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP, continuing an incredibly strong string of starts.  After his ERA ballooned to 5.42 on August 1, he’s now allowed 7 ER on 17 H and 7 BB, striking out 24, over his last four starts (28.1 IP).  He entered the day with a 24.7% line drive rate, helping lead to a .332 BABIP, though he had it down to 21.9% in the second half.  He also has struggled with the long ball, with a 1.51 HR/9, though considering he’s not a groundball pitcher (39.3%) it’s going to be something to continue watching though it shouldn’t be this bad.  While we may not be that high on him overall, there’s value over the remainder of ’14.


3) Has the time come to buy into Steve Pearce…  Again…
He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, giving him an 11 game hitting streak.  Over the streak he’s gone 15-45 with 5 HR, 6 RBI and 11 R.  Of course, we’ve seen this type of streak from him before and watched him crash…  and hard.  His 20.0% HR/FB in August is hard to imagine him maintaining considering his career mark of 9.1% (he’s at 14.7% for ’14, though he’s had some big months and some small months).  At this point what we have to accept is that Pearce is a streaky player, and one worth using while he’s scorching hot like this.  However, don’t hold on when the slowdown comes because the value could completely disappear before we know it.


4) Carlos Carrasco wins again…
Taking on the White Sox he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 IP.  In his past four outings he’s now 3-0 while allowing 2 ER on 11 H and 3 BB, striking out 24, over 24.2 IP.  In other words he has been completely untouchable as of late and looking like one of the elite pitchers in the game.  Obviously, we all know he isn’t quite that.  Then again, in 8 starts for the Indians this season (he’s also pitched out of the bullpen) he owns a 3.66 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP courtesy of a 9.06 K/9, 2.31 BB/9 and 48.8% groundball rate.  What’s not to like?  He’s always shown solid control (2.85 BB/9 for his career) and groundball stuff (51.0%), but never had the strikeouts (6.86 K/9).  However his velocity is up (95.0 mph) and his SwStr% of 12.2% justifies the rise.  Obviously some of that is pitching out of the bullpen, but it’s also been present as a starter.  While he’s not going to be this good, he is a pitcher worth owning in all formats at this point.


5) Jordan Schafer enjoys another big day…
Hitting ninth for the Twins he went 3-5 with 4 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB, putting him at .328 with 0 HR, 9 RBI, 12 R and 10 SB in 77 PA as a member of the Twins.  He’s been particularly hot of late with an 8 game hitting streak, going 12-27 with 8 RBI, 8 R and 4 SB.  Speed has never been a question and right now he’s playing every day.  The problem?  He’s benefiting from a .382 BABIP and 29.4% line drive rate.  Obviously we want to be careful of him being the beneficiary of a small sample size, as he was struggling mightily while with the Braves earlier in the year.  He does have the potential to kick in some SB and is worth using while he’s hot, but this most likely isn’t going to continue.


6) Jason Castro breaks out of slump in a big way…
He finished the day going 2-3 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R, snapping a streak of 0-20 over the previous 6 games.  We all know that he’s been a disappointment overall this season, hitting .227 with 13 HR and 56 RBI.  The problem is obviously the average, as his line drive rate is down (20.4%) and the strikeouts are up (28.8%).  However, the line drives are actually up in August at 25.0%, giving us hope that he can get scorching hot down the stretch.  While there are alternatives in one-catcher formats, in two-catcher leagues he’s a must own.


7) Dylan Axelrod shines in his second start…
Taking on the Cubs he tossed 5.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 8.  He now has 15 K over 11.0 IP for the Reds, definitely a number that’s going to garner our attention.  Of course, he’s split his minor league season between the Triple-A affiliates of the Reds and White Sox, compiling a 7.46 K/9 (he owns a minor league career K/9 of 7.9).  In other words, don’t get too excited about the number.  He’s much better known for his control (2.3 BB/9), but without the strikeout potential and with an unimpressive groundball rate (40.1% in the minors since ’11, 41.1% in the Majors) there’s nothing to get excited about.


8) Jeremy Hellickson struggles against the Orioles…
He lasted just 4.1 IP allowing 4 R (3 earned) on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 2.  Sure he still owns a 2.90 ERA on the season, but he’s benefited from a 79.7% strand rate and .290 BABIP (21.1% line drive rate).  He doesn’t have big time strikeout stuff (6.46 K/9 for his career) and he’s a constant threat to be burnt by the long ball (0.85 HR/9 in ’14, 1.15 for his career) as he simply doesn’t generate many groundballs (32.8% in ’14).  He’s always been a pitcher we’ve cautioned again, and his performance thus far doesn’t change that.  We wouldn’t trust him.


9) It was a solid start for Kyle Lobstein…
Taking on the Yankees (who bombed David Price the night before), he allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 0, over 6.0 IP in a no decision.  The southpaw certainly hasn’t been dominant at Triple-A this season, with a 4.07 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, though he did have a 7.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.  Of course, he was also plagued by some significant poor luck (.364 BABIP) despite a solid line drive rate (16.8% compared to the league average of 19.1%) and a decent groundball rate (44.9%).  He has consistently had an elevated BABIP throughout his minor league career (.327 since ’11), but there’s enough there that he can have some solid outings.  He’s hardly a must start down the stretch, but he could be a viable streaming option depending on the matchup.


10) Zack Cozart runs wild on the base paths…
The Reds stole 6 bases as a team, with Cozart leading the way by going 3-4 with 1 RBI, 3 R and 2 SB.  Of course he’s hitting just .231 with 3 HR, 35 RBI, 45 R and 6 SB on the season so it’s hard to get excited.  However, he is now on a four-game hitting streak going 8-15 with 4 RBI, 3 R and 2 SB, so he has been productive lately.  While he’s never going to be a major source of power he’s hit 27 HR over the previous two seasons, so his 2.1% HR/FB sticks out as odd.  He entered the day averaging 249.253 on non-groundballs, down slightly from 252.985 in ’13, so it is possible that he provides a bit of power down the stretch (though not something to bank on).  As far as the average goes, while there is a little bit of poor luck it’s not like he hits the ball exceptionally hard (19.2% line drive rate in the second half) and he pops it up way too much (14.6%).  While he could catch fire and be a short-term play, there’s not enough to like at this point.


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

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  1. Corey says:

    I want to ask your outlook for 2015 on a few underperformers from this year. How do you feel about Chris Davis, Xander Bogaerts, and David Wright going forward?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Davis I have the biggest belief in. We all knew he was going to regress, but the average isn’t as bad as it’s shown.

      In regards to Bogaerts, it could easily just be growing pains/adjustment to the Majors. I still believe.

      Wright… That’s a different story because I was down on him entering the year. While he may be playing hurt, he’s simply not the player he used to be. Mathews days of viewing him as an elite 3B have come and gone.

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