10 Stories From 09/17/2014 Box Scores: Carrasco The Ace, Rusney Castillo Debuts & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Alex Wood tossed a gem (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K), but the only “names” in the Nationals lineup were Danny Espinosa, Kevin Frandsen and Nate Schierholtz, as it was a “B” Team (or “C” Team) the day after clinching the NL East.  What else happened on the field yesterday?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Rusney Castillo makes his debut…
He hit seventh and manned centerfield (with Dustin Pedroia out, Mookie Betts has moved back to 2B), going 1-4 without a walk or strikeout.  The Red Sox goal is to get him AB, so he’s prepared for 2015, so there’s a very good chance that he plays regularly over the final few days of the season.  There’s rust to shake off, but there’s more than enough upside that he could ultimately make a difference in fantasy leagues.  He’s not the power threat that a Jose Abreu is, but he offers a bit of pop and can steal bases.  If he’s available in your league, given the potential opportunity, scoop him up and see if he gets hot.

 

2) Steve Pearce is raking once again…
He went 2-3 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .297 with 20 HR and 48 RBI on the season.  Who saw that coming?  Obviously the RBI isn’t a great number, though a lot of his time has been spent in the #2 spot this season (190 of 320 AB).  He’s always hit a lot of balls in the air (45.0% in ’14 entering the day, 43.3% for his career), the difference is that this season he holds a 16.1% HR/FB (9.7% for his career).  It also hasn’t just been a “Baltimore thing”, with a 16.9% HR/FB at home and 18.4% on the road.  There was always promise, so it’s nice to see him finally showing it.

 

3) Brandon McCarthy continues to excel in New York…
We have talked about his upside all season long, but since his trade to the Yankees he’s finally started to show it with results.  He allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP against the Rays yesterday to improve to 7-4 with a 2.54 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 13 starts with NY (5.01 ERA, 1.38 WHIP in Arizona).  He’s improved his BABIP (.294), strand rate (76.0%) and home runs allowed (0.74 HR/9), all while continuing to show his improved strikeout rate (7.84 K/9), improved groundballs (49.2%) and elite control (1.38 BB/9).  In other words, is this really a surprise?

 

4) Could Yorman Rodriguez make an impact…
The outfielder was hitting third last night, going 2-4 with 1 RBI.  He spent his season at Double-A, hitting .262 with 9 HR and 12 SB so it is hard to get too excited.  The power is obviously going to be limited, given his 23.1% OFB rate in ’14 and 24.6% since 2011.  He also does appear to have elite speed, with 11 SB in ’12 and 10 SB in ’13.  Throw in the risk of a lot of strikeouts (he had a 23.3% strikeout rate at Double-A and is being asked to make a big jump) and there is reason to be skeptical.  There may be upside, but he’s not a player to trust down the stretch.

 

5) Yordano Ventura outpitches Chris Sale…
Sale certainly picked the wrong time to struggle (5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 6 K), but Ventura owners certainly aren’t going to complain.  He stymied the White Sox, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP.  Strikeouts have been the biggest question with him this season, with a 7.69 K/9 (simply put, more was expected of him), though his 10.2% SwStr% obviously indicates significantly more upside than what he’s shown.  He’s shown good control (3.35 BB/9) and an ability to induce groundballs (47.6%), so with that strikeout potential there’s an awful lot to like.  We will really dig into him this offseason, but don’t be surprised if he’s pegged on almost all breakout lists for 2015.

 

6) Can Danny Santana be trusted…
He went 3-5 with 2 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB yesterday, putting him at .324 with 7 HR, 39 RBI, 64 R and 18 SB over 364 AB in the Majors.  He’s now stolen a base in three straight games and also has a four game hitting streak working (9-18, 2 RBI, 6 R, 3 SB).  There is some speed there (he had 30 SB in ’13) and while he owns a 26.4% line drive rate does anyone really believe his .401 BABIP?  A career .273 hitter in the minors, it’s easy to imagine his average falling dramatically.  Obviously, with just 11 days left in the season there’s a very good chance he keeps producing so it’s something to keep in mind more for 2015.

 

7) Carlos Carrasco continues to break out against…
He was spectacular against the Astros, tossing a complete game shutout with 2 H, 1 BB and 12 K.  It was a nice bounce back performance after allowing 4 ER over 6.1 IP against the Tigers his last time out and he now owns a 2.84 ERA and 0.97 WHIP as a starting pitcher this season (13 starts).  He’s been a strikeout machine (9.714 K/9), while also showing elite control (1.89 BB/9) and inducing groundballs (50.3%).  Is he this good?  Maybe not, but it’s hard not to love what he’s been doing and the make-up is eye-popping.  We’ve long heard about his potential, so maybe he’s the next Corey Kluber for the Indians?

 

8) Maybe Adam Wainwright’s “demise” was overstated…
He outpitched Mike Fiers, who turned in another impressive outing (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K) as Wainwright tossed a complete game shutout allowing 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, to improve to 19-9 with a 2.45 ERA.  He’s now gone at least 8.0 innings in each of his past three starts, allowing 2 ER on 20 H and 3 BB over 26.0 IP.  Obviously the overall drop in strikeouts (7.00 K/9) and inflated line drive rate (24.1%, the third consecutive season of being above 23%) gives us reason to have doubts.  However, he obviously needs to be trusted down the stretch.

 

9) C.J. Cron delivers a long ball…
He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .273 with 11 HR and 35 RBI in 220 AB in the Majors this season.  He has hit the ball incredibly hard this season (26.6% line drive rate) and there also isn’t anything unbelievable in his 16.7% HR/FB.  The problem has been too many pop ups (18.2% IFFB) and too few walks (3.5%), though they obviously haven’t plagued him.  It’s not enough to shy away from him, as long as he’s playing regularly.

 

10) Wilin Rosario showing signs of life…
The Rockies scored 16 runs, including big days from Charlie Blackmon (5-5, 2 RBI, 4 R) and Justin Morneau (3-4, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R), but it was Rosario’s day that could be most noteworthy.  It’s been a down year for the catcher, but he went 2-4 with 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday giving him a five-game hitting streak (8-20, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R).  It’s not much, but a strong finish would go a long ways in helping his outlook for 2015.  It’s actually been the third consecutive season that he’s seen his power drop (12.0% HR/FB entering the day), though he has at least shown an increased line drive rate in the second half (21.6%).  He’s not playing every day, so it’s hard to trust him, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see him finish with a flourish.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, CBS Sports, Minor League Central, Baseball Reference

 

3 comments

  1. Carlito says:

    Carrasco will be a stud next year. Reminds me of Jose Fernandez. His stuff is just filthy

  2. Carlito says:

    Also what about Alex Wood? He’s been dominant as well.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I was a big fan of Alex Wood entering the year, though the shift to the bullpen hurt him a bit. He should be in the rotation all year in 2015 and easily could be a Top 20-25 option.

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