10 Stories From 09/16/2014 Box Scores: Is Arrieta Is This Good, Flores Breaks Out & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Pirates got a pair of returns in Starling Marte (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) and Charlie Morton (5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K, W).  Corey Kluber continues to establish himself as an ace, allowing 1 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 14, over 7.0 IP against the Astros.  What else happened that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Wilmer Flores breaks out in a big way…
He erupted to go 3-4 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R, as he continues to audition for regular playing time in 2015 (he was at 2B yesterday, but could ultimately be the Mets’ starting shortstop).  Overall he’s had his issues, with a .245 average, but he’s now on a four-game hitting streak, including three straight multi-hit games, going 8-15 with 3 HR, 10 RBI and 4 R (as well as a pair of doubles).  Part of his overall issue has been luck (20.5% line drive rate, .254 BABIP), though he’s also been putting too many balls in the air (40.5% fly ball rate).  Of course, we shouldn’t expect him to suddenly be a major source of power as his true breakout came in the Pacific Coast League, but no matter.  His smoking hot and could develop in a 15-18 HR hitter with a good average.  From a middle infielder that’s enough.  If he’s still available, don’t hesitate to grab him for the remainder of the season.

 

2) Another impressive outing from Tanner Roark…
He tossed 7.0 shutout innings against the Braves allowing 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 4.  He’s now walked 1 batter or less in six consecutive outings and owns a 1.82 BB/9 overall.  There has been a little bit of luck (79.8% strand rate) and he’s simply not a big strikeout pitcher (6.41 K/9), which does limit his appeal.  Of course, the latter has more upside given an 8.3% SwStr% and a 7.6 K/9 over 253.1 IP at Triple-A.  He’s not this good (2.85 ERA, 1.10 WHIP), but he’s obviously going to be a viable option moving forward.

 

3) Nick Franklin debuts for the Rays…
Remember him?  Now in Tampa Bay after the David Price trade, he was at second base yesterday going 2-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R while hitting fifth in the order.  We all know how bad he was earlier this season, playing his way out of Seattle, though he hit .272 with 11 HR and 11 SB over 379 AB at Triple-A this season.  He has the same promise that he once did, including hitting 12 HR for the Mariners in ’13 and owns a 24.2% line drive rate in his Major League career.  He needs to reduce his strikeout rate (28.8% in the Majors), something he should be able to do with a 19.2% mark in the minors since 2011.  If he’s sitting on waivers, don’t hesitate for the final few days as the Rays should be giving him time to audition for 2015.

 

4) Maybe Jake Arrieta really is this good…
To say he was good last night is an understatement, as he outpitched Johnny Cueto (5.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 H, 5 BB, 8 K) to earn the W.  Arrieta tossed a complete game one-hit shutout, walking one while picking up 13 K.  He is now 9-5 with a 2.65 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, while the luck metrics are not out of line (.278 BABIP, 74.2% strand rate).  The big change has been the usage of a cutter (which he’s thrown 28.7% of the time), as well as finding his control (2.41 BB/9).  He’s striking batters out (9.44 K/9, 10.0% SwStr%) and also generating groundballs (48.3%).  Exactly where he falls for 2015 remains to be seen, but the fact is that he is very much for real.

 

5) Adam Eaton continues to rake, but can we trust him…
He went 4-5 with 2 R yesterday, falling just a HR shy of the cycle.  He’s now scored 5 R over his past three games and is hitting .303 in 452 AB this season.  Of course, he’s also offered no power (1 HR), not enough speed (14 SB) and not enough runs scored (71 R).  Plus, you can easily argue that his average has been based on luck, given his .360 BABIP and 20.2% line drive rate.  He does have more speed than he’s shown this season, but at this point it’s simply hard to bank on it.  He’s not a bad option for the remainder of the season, but he’s also hard to trust.

 

6) Kennys Vargas earning his lineup spot for 2015…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .294 with 8 HR and 36 RBI in 190 PA with the Twins.  He did show power coming up through the minors, and his 17.8% HR/FB rate isn’t unreasonable (he had 17 HR in 405 PA at Double-A this season).  Obviously we’d like to see him reduce the strikeouts (26.3%) and increase the walks (2.1%), but we also have to remember the jump he made.  As it is he’s at 23.7% in September in the strikeout department, which is a good sign.  He may not be this type of average hitter (.357 BABIP, 18.7% line drive rate), but even if he is .270ish with some pop no one is going to complain.  He’s not going to be a star, but he’s a viable option in all formats.

 

7) Rougned Odor is finishing strong…
He went 2-4 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday, putting him at .316 with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB over 38 AB in September.  Still just 20-years old, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that it took him a long time to get adjusted to the Major Leagues.  Still, he’s making good contact (17.8% overall).  The biggest problem has been a poor line drive rate (14.5%), and that has actually been an issue in September as well (6.9%).  That alone tells you there’s a bit too much risk to trust for the remainder of this season and he easily could find himself back at Triple-A to start 2015.

 

8) Wily Peralta strong in no decision…
His night started off shaky, but he finished allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 IP.  Amazingly home runs have been his biggest issue (1.12 HR/9), considering his 53.8% groundball rate, as he has enough strikeouts (6.68 K/9) and good control (2.78 BB/9).  Obviously we’d like to see more Ks, though an 8.0% SwStr% doesn’t offer too much potential.  Consider him a strong start on the road (0.85 HR/9) and a little bit riskier at home (1.35 HR/9).  Regardless, he’s proven he can get the job done and should be a solid backend option in 2015.

 

9) Tyler Matzek defeats the Dodgers…
That doesn’t necessarily mean he was good, allowing 2 ER on 11 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 5.1 IP, but he got the job done.  The key was the Ks and generating 7 groundballs (vs. 2 fly balls), something he’s been showing in September (8.27 K/9, 54.4% groundball rate).  Control has also always been a major issue (6.0 BB/9 in the minors), but he’s at a 3.30 BB/9 in the Majors.  If he can continue that mark he could actually develop into a useful option, though is anyone really prepared to trust a Rockies’ starter?  It’s a tough sell, but something to watch over the remainder of the season.

 

10) Ubaldo Jimenez pitches well in return to rotation…
The Orioles needed an extra starter due to a double header, so they turned to their big free agent signing who had been banished to the bullpen.  He was overshadowed a bit by Drew Hutchison (6.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 11 K), but Jimenez earned the W by allowing 2 ER on 2 H and 4 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP.  Of course the control was awful, including throwing just 8 of 21 first pitch strikes and needing 97 pitches to get through his five innings (fits right in with his 5.58 BB/9 for the season).  He’s not likely to stick in the rotation anyways, but even if he were to get another start he’s an easy ignore.

 

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

4 comments

  1. Bryan says:

    Rotoprofessor, I play in a redraft league and start Kipnis at 2nd. He was held out for soreness and, as you know, just hasn’t been all that good this year (am I wrong?). Next week is week 2 in our championship game (2 week series). It’s close. Because every point matters, and there is only 1 week remaining, would you consider dropping Kipnis for Flores?
    Thx for helping me get to our championship this year!
    Bryan

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