10 Stories From 09/02/2014 Box Scores: Lagares Becoming SB Machine, Can Paxton Continue To Thrive & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Both Xander Bogaerts (4-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) and Mookie Betts (3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R) helped give Red Sox fans a glimpse into their possible future.  Jose Altuve went 4-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB, his second consecutive four hit game.  Joc Pederson (1-3) got his first start, but how much playing time is he really going to get?


1) The time has come to reexamine Juan Lagares…
It was just a week or two ago that we had cautioned against trusting the Mets’ Juan Lagares.  However, things have definitely changed.  At the time we didn’t see any upside in the power or speed department, but the Mets have since installed him in the leadoff spot and encouraged him to run more.  Clearly, the results have been there.  Despite never showing much SB potential in the past, he’s suddenly transformed into a machine.  He went 4-4 with 2 RBI, 3 R and 2 SB yesterday, giving him stolen bases in three straight games (and 5 SB in his past five games) whiles also scoring 5 R in his past three games.  On the year he’s hitting .282, though there’s a little bit of luck with a .347 BABIP, and he still has little power upside.  That said, if he can maintain an average around .275 (which isn’t unreasonable) he should continue to see opportunities to both steal bases and score runs.  Suddenly Lagares looks like a good buy down the stretch, as the Mets find out if he can be their leadoff hitter moving forward.


2) Derek Holland pitches well in return…
Fantasy owners who have been waiting for Holland were finally rewarded, as he made his first start of the season in Kansas City last night.  Not only that, he pitched well allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP but had to settle for a no decision.  It was an impressive performance, but fantasy owners would be mistaken if they think he’s a lock to help carry their rotation over the final month.  Home runs have always been a question (1.21 HR/9 for his career), as he is hardly a groundball machine (42.8% for his career).  He does have solid other numbers (7.56 K/9, 2.90 BB/9) and is worth owning, but the potential is there for a few spotty performances (he allowed 5 HR in 15.1 IP at Triple-A this season).


3) Tyler Flowers launches a pair of home runs…
He went 2-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, giving him 3 HR in his past three games and a five game hitting streak (7-20 with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 3 R).  There has never been a question about his power potential, though he does have just 12 HR in 371 AB this season as he’s struggled to consistently put the ball in the air (28.8% fly ball rate).  The biggest question facing him has always been his inability to make contact, something that’s continued with a 35.4% strikeout rate (10 K over his current hitting streak).  In fact his .240 average can be considered lucky (.355 BABIP), making him a player that can be ignored.


4) Should fantasy owners back off all of the Yusmeiro Petit hype…
Needless to say he’s been one of the most added pitchers of late, as he has taken Tim Lincecum’s spot in the Giants’ rotation.  However he took a significant step backwards yesterday, allowing 6 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 4.0 IP.  Of course, the start also came in Colorado so we have to take that into account.  As a starting pitcher this season he owns a 9.15 K/9 and 1.52 BB/9 so there’s a lot to like, but you need to be careful.  He owns a 48.0% fly ball rate and 11.9% HR/FB as a starter, meaning that he’s going to be homer prone.  The matchup/location is what’s going to dictate if he’s a usable option or not, so consider him more of a streaming option.


5) James Paxton delivers once again, but for how long can it last…
He improved to 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA after holding the A’s to 2 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over 7.2 IP.  While he’s shown good control (2.68 BB/9) and groundball ability (54.9%), he’s also benefited from a .252 BABIP (despite a 24.8% line drive rate) and 80.8% strand rate.  Does anyone really believe that he can maintain those types of luck metrics?  Yes there’s more strikeout upside, but there’s also the risk that his control falters (4.05 BB/9 in the minors since ’11).  He’s well worth owning in keeper/dynasty formats, obviously, but in redraft leagues I’d be careful.  There’s a good chance that a major regression is on the horizon.


6) It was another strong start for Wade Miley…
Taking on the Padres he allowed 1 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP but had to settle for a no decision (Corey Spangenberg hit the game winning HR in the ninth).  Miley now owns a 4.18 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, but his strikeouts are up (8.26 K/9), his control is solid (3.15 BB/9) and he generates groundballs (50.4%).  The problem?  He owns a 15.3% HR/FB, but it’s been a problem at home (1.92 HR/9) as opposed to on the road (0.46 HR/9).  In fact, he owns a 6.08 ERA at home and a 2.55 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in the road.  In other words, consider him a must start option when he’s pitching on the road the rest of the way.  If he can figure out how to keep the ball in the ballpark, he could be a tremendous option heading into ’15.


7) Has the time finally come to give up on Shane Greene…
He got shelled by the Red Sox, allowing 6 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 2.2 IP.  His minor league numbers never indicated that he was as good as he had been pitching, but this still is his first true blowup.  That said, he still owns an 8.84 K/9 (9.7% SwStr%), 3.10 BB/9 and 51.2% groundball rate and the luck metrics (.315 BABIP, 75.8% strand rate) don’t scream for a regression.  It was a poor outing, but don’t simply cut bait off the one outing.  Take it one start at a time, for now, but he could still hold value down the stretch.


8) Bud Norris shines against the Reds…
He tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, to improve to 12-8 with a 3.83 ERA.  He had been struggling of late, allowing 8 ER over his previous 8.0 IP, so it’s obviously hard to get too excited.  There’s nothing unreasonable in his luck metrics (.287 BABIP, 75.1% strand rate), his strikeouts are down (7.15 K/9) as he’s simply not generating swings and misses (7.2% SwStr%) and he has proven to be prone to the long ball in the past (43.2% groundball rate hardly impressive).  Don’t get caught up in the name, as there just isn’t much there down the stretch.


9) Maikel Franco makes his Major League debut…
He has the potential to get a long look for the Phillies, whether it’s at 3B over Cody Asche or 1B over Ryan Howard, but exactly how much he plays remains to be seen.  While he didn’t show much in his debut (0-3, 1 RBI), the potential is there to be a difference maker down the stretch if the AB are there.  While he got off to a pitiful start, he was hitting .309 with 10 HR in 178 AB after the All-Star Break.  He doesn’t draw many walks, but he does make consistent contact (13.9% strikeout rate since ’11).  There is a little bit of concern about his power, after posting a 23.7% OFB rate at Triple-A this season, so we do need to keep our expectations in check a bit.  While we’d expect a couple of HR and a solid average, the playing time is questionable and there are significant questions.  He’s worth grabbing in deeper formats, but in shallower redraft leagues there’s not enough upside to consider.


10) Kyle Lobstein and Carlos Carrasco put on a strikeout display…
We talked about Carrasco yesterday and he delivered another decent performance, allowing 1 ER on 10 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 5.1 IP.  How about Kyle Lobstein almost matching him pitch-for-pitch, though?  Going 5.1 IP he allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 10, in a no decision.  Did anyone see that one coming?  He had 3 K, combined, over his first two appearances (11.2 IP) and a 7.83 K/9 at Triple-A this season.  While he does have decent control (2.59 BB/9 in ’14, 3.1 over his minor league career), he doesn’t generate enough groundballs (41.7% in minors since ’11) and owns a 7.8 K/9 in the minors.  There’s simply not enough upside in the 25-year old southpaw to consider him anything more than a streaming option, and that may even be a stretch.


Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Minor League Central, Baseball Reference, MILB.com


  1. TreeFrog says:

    Just Curious – Petit vs Locke ROS?

  2. The Heathen says:

    How about Dominguez vs Valencia ROS in deep AL only league, when HR, RBI and BA are all tight categories?

  3. The Heathen says:

    Also, how about Wilkins vs Rua?

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    Valencia isn’t really guaranteed playing time, so I’d go Dominguez despite the average.

    I am a fan of Rua and he’s going to play (Wilkins is hardly guaranteed regular PT)

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