10 Stories From 08/31/2014 Box Scores: Is Domonic Brown Worth Grabbing, Should We Drop Scott Kazmir & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Jay Bruce on the bench, Chris Heisey played the unlikely role of hero, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  Matt Holliday homered again, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R (3 HR and 9 RBI over the past two games).  However Alex Wood stole the show, tossing 8.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 12, to defeat the Marlins.  Let’s take a look at all the other stories coming out of yesterday’s games that we need to know about:


1) Bryce Harper finally erupts, but does it matter…
He went 3-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, with both long balls coming against Hisashi Iwakuma (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 K, W).  It’s actually the second time he’s had 3 H in his past 3 games, with 3 HR and 3 RBI over that span.  It’s hard to argue that it hasn’t been a disappointing season, at .268 with 10 HR and 1 SB over 269 AB.  That said, the strikeouts are up (28.1% entering the day), and he’s been even worse in the second half (29.2%).  That has never been the case before, but it’s hard to expect much better for the remainder of the season.  He’s also been incredibly lucky, with a .351 BABIP despite a 19.9% line drive rate.  In other words, while we wouldn’t alter our long-term outlook, there’s a lot of reason for skepticism for the remainder of ’14.


2) Chase Anderson sharp against the Rockies…
He went 6.0 innings allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 8.  After allowing 10 ER over 7.0 IP over his previous two starts, this was definitely an important bounce back outing.  The biggest concerns entering the day were an elevated line drive rate (25.1%) and a propensity to allow home runs (13.5% HR/FB), and unfortunately those concerns aren’t simply going to disappear.  We can’t even blame the home ballpark, has he’s had issues both at home (1.26 HR/9) and on the road (1.29 HR/9).  He’s usable, but don’t simply lock him in at this point, either for 2014 or beyond.


3) After struggling again, is Brandon McCarthy still a viable option…
Taking on the Blue Jays he allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP and has now allowed 9 ER over 12.1 IP over his past two starts.  Most notably, his home run issues suddenly came back with 3 HR allowed (he entered the day with a 0.46 HR/9).  That said, he induced 10 groundballs and has a 53.9% mark overall this season.  With improved strikeouts (7.98 K/9) to go along with elite control (1.55 BB/9) and the groundballs and there remains to be a lot to like.  There has been some poor luck (.341 BABIP and 68.9% strand rate), so don’t go fleeing quite yet.


4) T.J. Houses impresses in suspended game…
He allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP before Cody Allen blew the game in the ninth (and it was ultimately suspended in the 10th).  He was coming off a poor outing and now owns a 3.92 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, but the underlying numbers show promise.  While his strikeouts haven’t been elite (6.69 K/9), he’s shown control (2.42 BB/9) and groundballs (60.6%), while being plagued by poor luck (.337 BABIP despite a 21.1% line drive rate).  It’s the same pitcher he was in 57.0 IP at Triple-A this season (6.63 K/9, 2.53 BB/9, 57.8% groundball rate), so there’s a lot to like despite the sub par results.  He’s definitely worth keeping a close eye on.


5) Joe Panik continues to hit…
He went 1-4 with 2 RBI and 2 R, helping the Giants in their 15 run, 16 hit onslaught.  He finishes off a strong August hitting .385 with 1 HR, 8 RBI, 11 R and 0 SB over 91 AB.  Of course, the fact that he didn’t produce much in the counting stats despite the strong average is a serious concern.  In 1,834 PA in the minors since 2011 he had just 22 HR and 36 SB, so it really shouldn’t be a major surprise and there’s little upside for more.  He entered the day with a 21.8% fly ball rate, so there’s little hope for more power and he doesn’t have much speed.  He also had benefited from a .348 BABIP, despite a 19.4% IFFB, so he could regress as there.  He’s worth using while he’s hot, but be prepared to move on as there isn’t much fantasy appeal.


6) Has Scott Kazmir reached the end of the line…
It was another disastrous outing, allowing 6 ER on 2 H and 4 BB, striking out 0, over 1.1 IP.  Over his past two outings he’s now allowed 13 ER over 4.1 IP, so there’s obviously reason to be concerned.  The most notable thing has been his control, having walked 9 over his past 10.1 IP.  Considering that control was always the biggest question mark, it was always hard to imagine him maintaining is 2.16 BB/9 entering the day.  That said, the other numbers were believable and his 3.08 ERA had room for regression but not like this.  While he’s hardly a lock, there should be better days ahead.


7) Should we be paying attention to Randall Grichuk…
He’s seemingly been sharing time with Oscar Taveras, but hasn’t been making the most of it quite yet.  He went 0-5 with 2 K yesterday and is now 5-16 with 0 HR, 1 RBI and 0 R since returning to the Majors.  Obviously the average is solid, but we’d like to see something in the counting stats.  He had 25 HR at Triple-A this season, but before we simply right that off as having come in the PCL remember he also had 22 at Double-A in ’13.  His 21.6% HR/OFB is not completely unreasonable, but he also was hitting .259 courtesy of a 22.9% strikeout rate and 18.5% line drive rate (league average was 18.8%).  There’s upside here, but playing time is going to remain a question and we have to hope the power starts to translate.


8) Jose Quintana impresses against the Tigers…
He certainly benefited from the absence of Miguel Cabrera, but that shouldn’t take away from his impressive performance.  Going 7.0 IP he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, to improve to 7-10 with a 3.44 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.  He entered the day with a 7.71 K/9, 2.61 BB/9 and 44.9% groundball rate, while suffering from a .312 BABIP and 67.6% strand rate.  His line drive rate is slightly elevated, at 22.5%, and he also has struggled to generate strikeouts of late (3 K in each of his past three starts and 5 K or fewer in seven of his past eight).  While there are obvious concerns, there’s also more than enough in his overall numbers to like.  Consider him a viable option moving forward.


9) Could Xander Bogaerts be primed for a strong finish…
Obviously most of the attention from yesterday goes to Clay Buchholz, who tossed a complete game shutout allowing 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 6.  However, Bogaerts performance could prove more important for fantasy owners as he went 2-4 with 1 R.  Obviously it’s been a poor season for him overall, and his line drive rate has been poor since May (including a 13.7% mark in August heading into yesterday).  That said we all know the upside and maybe the time off on the DL helped to get him right.  Time will tell, but it’s something to keep an eye on.


10) Domonic Brown showing signs of breaking out…
We talked about him showing signs recently and he had one of his biggest games of the year yesterday going 4-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  He entered the day with a 25.0% line drive rate in August, yet hadn’t hit a home run and only had a .275 BABIP to show for it (.212 average).  Still, he finished the month with 4 RBI over his last five games (8-18, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R) and has significantly more upside than that.  While he’s been a bitter disappointment this season, the signs are there for a strong finish to the season.  While most people have given up on him, now would be the ideal time to grab him off the waiver wire.  He should see regular playing time (though that’s unfortunately not a given) and the results should be there.


Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Minor League Central

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  1. Paul says:

    Just added Jay Bruce off the wire. If power is my main concern, do you like Bruce more than Arcia, LaRoche, Ozuna and K Davis?

  2. Joey says:

    What do you think of shoemaker from la? Must own in an 8 team league?

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Paul – Yes, I do think he still has the highest upside but it’s tough to trust him. Are any of those guys sitting on your bench?

    Joey – Who’d you have to drop to get Wada?

  4. Paul says:

    All the other guys are FA.

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