10 Stories From 09/25/2014 Box Scores: Hosmer Finishing Strong, Gausman’s 2015 Outlook & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was almost fitting, as David Robertson blew a 3 R lead in the top of the ninth, setting the stage for Derek Jeter to end his career at Yankee Stadium with a walkoff single (2-5, 3 RBI, 1 R).  Gio Gonzalez had his ups and downs this season, but he certainly finished strong with 7.0 shutout innings against the Mets, allowing 1 H and 2 BB to go along with 12 K.  Rusney Castillo showed off his talents going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  What else happened on the field?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Has Dillon Gee pitched himself out of fantasy viability…
With a 2.56 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in the first half many believed Gee was well on his way to a true breakout campaign.  However, after allowing 4 ER on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 2, he ends the season with a 4.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.  Never a big source of strikeouts, he clearly was the beneficiary of luck in the first half (.233 BABIP, 84.8% strand rate).  While he may not be this bad (he entered the day with a 4.95 ERA in the second half), he also isn’t as good as his first half numbers.  The owner of a career 6.55 K/9, the final numbers are likely closer to the truth.  Don’t view him as anything more than a back end option.

 

2) Daniel Norris makes his first start for the Blue Jays…
He lasted just 3.1 innings (throwing 59 pitches) allowing 2 ER on 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 1.  He has been pitching out of the bullpen for Toronto, but had compiled a 10.7 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 over 258.0 innings in the minors and obviously has significant upside.  His control could be an issue, with a 4.3 BB/9 at Double-A (8 starts), and is something that is going to have to be monitored closely.  Is he a starter long-term?  Is he a better fit out of the bullpen?  Time will tell, but he’s a high upside prospect that we will definitely look at in-depth during the offseason.

 

3) A strong finish for Steve Cishek…
He earned his 39th save of the season, tossing a perfect inning with 2 K.  He’s now earned a save in seven straight appearances and hasn’t allowed an earned run since August 23 (11.0 IP) and has at least one strikeout in 10 consecutive appearances.  Remember, there were at least a few concerns as he had posted three consecutive months with ERAs above 4.00 (4.26, 4.50 and 5.40).  At the end of the day, though, he currently owns a 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 84 K on the season.  While he’s had his struggles, he’s rebounded and clearly is one of the elite closers in the game.

 

4) Is it time to give up on the “upside” of Nick Castellanos…
He went 0-4 with 3 K yesterday and is finishing with a bit of a whimper (22-86 with 0 HR).  In fact, he has now gone 143 AB without a home run.  We knew that could be an issue this season, though the hope is that it will develop in time, but the average struggle is a bit of a concern.  However, before we simply write him off we have to keep in mind that he entered the day with a 28.5% line drive rate (.332 BABIP) and is coming off a year where he posted a 16.8% strikeout rate at Triple-A (he entered the day with a 23.7% mark).  While this season will likely be labeled a disappointment, things should get better moving forward.

 

5) Kevin Gausman ends his season strong…
He allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP and has allowed 2 ER or fewer in each of his final four starts (6 ER over 24.0 IP).  While he entered the day with just a 6.90 K/9, his 8.6% SwStr% and his minor league track record tells us there’s more upside than that.  He also showed good control, though it’s not all positive.  A 24.4% line drive rate is a concern, especially since it was 26.6% in the second half.  It’s something to watch, though it’s also not a reason to ignore him as there is plenty of upside potential.

 

6) A gem from Edinson Volquez, closing out an impressive season…
Taking on the Atlanta Braves he tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 10.  You could argue that Volquez was among the biggest bargains of 2014, finishing with a 3.04 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.  Of course is strikeouts also dropped significantly, with a 6.54 K/9, he benefited from an 80.0% strand rate in the second half and it’s hard to imagine him replicating his 16.8% line drive rate (19.8% for his career).  He was a great story, but his outlook moving forward has to be considered “cloudy” at best.

 

7) Eric Hosmer trying to finish strong…
He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, giving him three consecutive multi-hit games and a seven game hitting streak (.448, 1 HR, 5 RBI over the streak).  Of course, the season overall has been a disappointment as he’s hitting just .276 with 9 HR on the season.  His line drive rate has dropped (17.0%) and he simply continues to drive the ball into the ground way too much (51.2%).  In September, though, those numbers are at 22.7% and 43.9%, respectively, helping to lead to a .325/.378/.554 slash.  Do we buy these types of numbers heading into 2015?  It’s going to be interesting to look at, but his strong finish could have a lasting impact on his potential value.

 

8) A pair of home runs for Yasmani Grandal…
He’s been seeing a lot of time at first base and he delivered a big game yesterday, going 2-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R.  He now has 15 HR overall and is hitting .282 with 4 HR and 11 RBI in 71 September AB.  The biggest problem overall is a poor batting average, as he’s hitting .222 courtesy of a 26.2% strikeout rate and .272 BABIP.  It’s interesting, because the power was always the question and his average was expected to be his strength (.310 hitter in the minors).  It’s going to make him an interesting player to analyze in the offseason, because if he has found a power stroke there’s a chance he can be a breakout target for 2015.

 

9) Is it really a surprise that Jeremy Hellickson struggled again…
He allowed 6 R (5 earned) on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 2.1 IP to fall to 1-5 with a 4.52 ERA on the season.  He has improved his strikeout rate over his 13 starts, with a 7.63 K/9, but he’s a pitcher that has often benefited from a favorable strand rate and that simply hasn’t been the case this season (71.3%).  He’s always been homer prone and, while the improved strikeout rate could be for real (10.0% SwStr%, 33.9% O-Swing%), there is no guarantee that he’s going to be a productive option in 2015.

 

10) Christian Vazquez enjoys a career night…
The Red Sox racked up 11 R and we could take about Allen Webster on the mound (7.0 IP,1 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K) or a host of others at the dish.  It’s Vazquez, though, who had the biggest night going 4-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  Of course he’s hitting just .238 with 1 HR and 19 RBI and is much better known for his defense as opposed to his offensive abilities.  There’s little power and he was just a .265 hitter in the minor leagues.  In other words, there’s not much to get excited about.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

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