10 Stories From 09/26/2014 Box Scores: Rusney Castillo Showing Abilities, Carrasco/Peralta Thrive & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While we obviously don’t base any decisions on one start, Masahiro Tanaka’s implosion (1.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 K) against the Red Sox leaves a poor taste in our mouths when coupled with the injury concerns hanging over him.  What else happened on the next-to-last day of the regular season?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Rusney Castillo showing off his full potential…
He went 3-3 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB and is now hitting .333 with 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R and 3 SB in 33 AB with the Red Sox and now has three straight multi-hit games (7-10, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R and 2 SB).  Obviously it’s an extremely small sample size and as opponents learn his game he’s going to be force to make adjustments.  Still, with just 5 K and the impressive combination of power and speed there is an awful lot to like.  Exactly where he fits into the outfield landscape for 2015 remains to be seen, but would it be a big surprise if he settled in as a Top 30 option?

 

2) How concerning is Francisco Liriano’s sudden loss of control…
He struggled against the Reds yesterday, allowing 4 R (3 earned) on 5 H and 5 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP.  He’s now walked 14 batters over his past 17.0 IP and he actually entered the day with a 4.35 BB/9 on the season.  That has always been the biggest issue facing Liriano, and it’s looking more and more like last season’s 3.52 mark is the aberration not the new rule.  That’s not to say that there isn’t still appeal, having entered the day with a 9.72 K/9 and 54.8% groundball rate.  It’s just that his ultimate value isn’t what it could be.  Even if we could simply bank on a 3.00ish BB/9 he’d be borderline elite, but at this point he’s not even close to that.

 

3) Could Kevin Pillar play his way into a 2015 role…
He went 2-3 with 2 R yesterday and is hitting .270 with 2 HR, 7 RBI, 19 R and 1 SB in 115 AB in the Majors this season.  At Triple-A this season he hit .323 with 10 HR and 27 SB, showing the ability to make consistent contact (11.1% strikeout rate, 12.5% since ’11).  It shows you that his 23.7% strikeout rate entering the day isn’t indicative of his ability and that there is a bit of upside in his production (most notably in his SB total).  With Colby Ramsus clearly not part of the plans and Melky Cabrera likely out as a free agent, it’s not impossible that Pillar gets a real opportunity.  He has 9 doubles in the Majors, and had 39 doubles and 3 triples while at Triple-A, so the 25-year old could easily continue developing.  We’ll take a much closer look at him during the offseason, but consider him one of our early sleeper selections (assuming he has a job).

 

4) Carlos Carrasco ends 2014 on a high note…
He took a loss, but that was to no fault of his own as Alex Colome was a little bit better (6.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K).  Carrasco allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 10, over 7.2 IP to finish with a 2.55 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 140 K.  He did spend significant time as a reliever, but he entered the day with a 2.81 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 9.83 K/9, 1.84 BB/9 and 49.3% groundball rate as a starter.  What’s not to like about that?  Making regular starts in August and September, he maintained a fastball that averaged nearly 97 mph (97.16 in August, 96.71 in September entering the day), and that clearly has made a difference.  Do not undervalue him heading into 2015 as he is going to be a pitcher to target.

 

5) Brian Dozier finishing strong, but what’s his outlook…
His average never got to where we hoped it would, as he’s hitting .244 on the season, but other than that there can’t be an argument against him.  After going 2-6 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday he has 23 HR, 71 RBI, 112 R and 21 SB.  The big problem with his average has been too many popups (16.1% entering the day), as he doesn’t strikeout too much (18.2%) and his line drive rate is solid, though unimpressive (20.2%).  It’s been a consistent problem since arriving in the Majors (14.9%) and something that he needs to fix if he wants to hit for a stronger average.  A 20/20 middle infielder is always going to be a player to target, but if he could do that with a .280 average he’d be selected among the first few rounds.

 

6) Is Josh Phegley staking his claim on a 2014 starting job…
He went 2-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at 4-7 with 3 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R over his past two games.  He never got a real shot in the Majors this season, but at Triple-A he hit .274 with 23 HR in 419 AB, courtesy of a 15.4% strikeout rate (15.3% in the minors since 2011) and 18.3% HR/OFB (after posting a 22.1% mark at Triple-A in ’13).  It’s not hard to imagine him supplanting Tyler Flowers, making Phegley an intriguing name to keep tabs on in the offseason.  He certainly has power and his average upside is there as well.  From a catcher, that’s about all we can ask for.

 

7) Wily Peralta shows his stuff with a strikeout barrage…
It did come against the Cubs, but Peralta allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 13, over 7.0 IP.  He wraps up the season with 17 W (though we all know how unpredictable that stat is), 3.53 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.  He entered the day with a 6.62 K/9, though his 8.0% SwStr% indicates a little bit more upside and the fact that it was 9.3% in the second half makes him even more intriguing.  Couple that with control (2.82 BB/9) and groundballs (53.8%) and he has the makeup of being one of the elite.  He’s definitely going to be a lower end pitcher to target for 2015.

 

8) Mark Trumbo launches two more home runs…
He finished going 2-3 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, his second multi-home run game over the past week.  He has still struggled to hit for average (.234 for the month), but he has hit 6 HR since September 15 and has 22 RBI since September 11.  Of course, when we draft him we all know the average is going to be a concern (16.2% career line drive rate), so this really shouldn’t be a big surprise.  The power is going to always keep him as a very good option, but he needs to be thought of more along the lines of an Adam Dunn type player.

 

9) It was a poor outing for Eddie Butler…
He allowed 5 ER on 8 H and 3 BB, striking out 0, over 4.2 IP against the Dodgers.  The team’s first round pick in 2012 spent the bulk of his time at Double-A this season (when healthy) and also struggled to generate strikeouts at that level (5.25 K/9).  While he has shown an overall solid groundball rate (50.3% in the minors since being drafted), he was at 43.3% at Double-A.  Sure, there’s upside (as there generally is with an early draft pick) but there also is a lot not to like.  Pitching half his games in Coors Field, he’s not going to be a gamble worth taking.

 

10) Cory Spangenberg shows off some speed…
He went 2-4 with 2 SB and is now hitting .276 with 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R and 4 SB over 61 PA in the Majors.  However, before we get too excited, keep in mind that he had a 20.7% strikeout rate while at Double-A and showed little power potential (17 doubles, 8 triples and 2 HR over 281 AB).  Maybe he can provide some doubles/triples, but without elite speed he’s not going to be an overly impressive target if he does earn a 2015 starting job.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Minor League Central, Brooks Baseball

2 comments

  1. chris says:

    Castillo I think can be a top 30 option next year. My advice would be to draft him as a #3 option with #2 upside. I think the reaches will be when people draft him as a #2 OF.

    I snatched him in a dynasty league by giving A.Gordon, and I am relying on him as a #3/#4 option which I think is good value.

    Gomez/Springer/Cespedes/Castillo/Buxton 2015!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Given the success of Puig and Abreu recently, it’s going to be extremely interesting to see how early people are willing to reach for him. Not sure I would, but I’m not going to be surprised if someone is willing to draft him borderline Top 20 OF next season given what he showed over the final two weeks.

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