10 Stories From 09/27/2014 Box Scores: Zimmermann Ends Year With No-Hitter, Kemp’s Resurgence & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

David Price pitched the Tigers to a division title by tossing 7.1 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 8.  Obviously that wasn’t the only story coming out of yesterday’s games, as we saw the end of the 2014 regular season and all fantasy owners can begin looking towards and preparing for 2015.  What do we need to know about from yesterday’s action?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) What better way to finish a season than a no hitter…
Jordan Zimmermann did just that against the Marlins, allowing just 1 BB with 10 K.  He ends the season 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA and 1.07 WHIP and allowed 3 ER or fewer in each of his final 12 starts.  Always an elite control artist (BB/9 under 2.00 in four consecutive seasons), he saw his strikeout rate jump this season courtesy of a 10.0% SwStr% entering the day.  He threw his fastball even more than ever, at 70.3%, so you have to wonder if he can continue this type of success (as it is he entered with a 24.0% line drive rate).  Regardless, we all know that he’s going to remain one of the better options in the league.

 

2) T.J. House finishes strong, but is a breakout coming…
Taking on the Rays he made one mistake (a home run to Sean Rodriguez, who went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R) as he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP as he finished with a 3.35 ERA and 1.32 WHIP.  He entered the day with a 7.24 K/9, 2.04 BB/9 and 60.6% groundball rate, showing all of the skills we look for, and his inflated WHIP was due more to poor luck than anything (.334 BABIP, 21.5% line drive rate).  His 9.3% SwStr% indicates there’s even more upside (even though his 6.91 K/9 since ’11 in the minors tells a slightly different story).  The Indians have done a great job developing their pitchers of late (just look at Corey Kluber & Carlos Carrasco) and House could easily be the next to develop.  He’s definitely a pitcher to keep a close eye on for late in your 2015 draft.

 

3) Will Gerrit Cole be viewed as an ace heading into 2015…
He took a no decision, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 12, over 7.0 IP against the Reds.  He had 8 K or more in four of his final six starts and finished with a 3.65 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 138 K over 138.0 IP.  His strikeouts are up from last season, his line drives are down (18.8% entering the day) and he continues to show good control (2.75 BB/9) and groundball stuff (49.2%).  As long as he can stay healthy, there’s a good chance he finishes next season as a Top 15 option.

 

4) Lucas Duda finishes his breakout campaign in style…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R, finishing with home runs in back-to-back games to get him to 30 HR on the season (he also had 92 RBI).  There are still concerns about his ability to hit southpaws (.180 entering the day), so there is still the risk that he ultimately becomes a platoon player.  Still, the power is very much for real (48.5% fly ball rate, 15.8% HR/FB entering the day) and at a time where power is hard to find he is going to be a good source of it once again in 2015.

 

5) Michael Pineda puts on a strikeout show…
Taking on the Red Sox he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, over 6.1 IP to earn the W.  While he has been impressive, but do we believe the impeccable control he displayed (7 BB over 76.1 IP)?  How about the benefits of a .232 BABIP and 81.1% strand rate entering the day?  There is strikeout potential, but with those questions and treat of the long ball (42.8% fly ball rate) hanging over him, we wouldn’t anticipate him pitching like a fantasy ace in 2015.

 

6) It’s obvious Mike Fiers deserves a spot in the Brewers rotation…
He “struggled”, allowing 4 R (3 earned) on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP against the Cubs.  We have discussed Fiers a lot since he returned to the Majors, but it certainly is worth repeating.  He entered the day with a 9.46 K/9 and 2.19 BB/9, as well as generating a significant number of popups (14.3% IFFB).  Obviously when you see a 48.1% fly ball rate you get concerned about a significant number of home runs (something that many Milwaukee pitchers have suffered at home), though the IFFB helps to limit those concerns.

 

7) Did Joe Panik do enough to claim the Giants’ 2B job…
He went 2-5 with 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, ending the season at .305 with 1 HR, 18 RBI, 31 R and 0 SB over 269 AB.  Obviously the average is nice, but with no power and no speed the fantasy appeal is always going to be minimal.  Considering that over 1,834 PA in the minors since 2011 that he had 22 HR and 36 SB, it’s hard to imagine him suddenly discovering either.  Just to make matters a little bit worse, he entered the day with a .342 BABIP (even with a 22.8% line drive rate he may not be able to maintain it).  Whether he wins the job or not, he’s a fantasy non-factor.

 

8) Is Michael Saunders going to be a sleeper once again…
Injuries helped to suppress any potential breakout in 2014, but he went 2-3 with 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday to finish at .273 with 8 HR and 4 SB over 231 AB. It’s important to note that he reduced his strikeouts when he was on the field (22.4% entering the day), continued to show power (13.3% HR/FB), hit the ball hard once again (21.7% line drive rate) and does have more speed than he showed (21 SB back in 2012).  If he could stay healthy for an entire season he has the potential to be a 20/20 player, and also showed that he could hit for a solid average.  Don’t overlook him entering 2015.

 

9) Matt Kemp finished his bounce back campaign strong…
He went 2-2 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, finishing at .287 with 25 HR, 89 RBI, 77 R and 8 SB.  Obviously he’s not the 40/40 threat that he once was, but there was nothing in his underlying numbers that scream that he can’t replicate this type of performance (all numbers are entering the day).  A 25.8 line drive rate? He owns a career 22.3% mark.  A 19.4% HR/FB?  He was north of 21% in both 2011 and 2012.  A .343 BABIP?  His career mark is .351.  Obviously the speed that he once had is no longer there, but fantasy owners no longer have to be petrified of utilizing him.  With 17 HR in the second half, would it shock anyone if he broke 30 in ’15?

 

10) It’s only fitting that Zach Britton earns a save on the final day…
He’s emerged as one of the elite closers in the game, picking up save 37 to go along with a 1.65 ERA and 0.90 WHIP on the season.  While he’s not your typical blow away closer…  Or could he be?  He actually entered the day with a 12.9% SwStr%, indicating that his 7.29 K/9 could increase significantly.  Couple that with solid control (2.75 BB/9) and elite groundball rate (76.0%) and what’s exactly not to like?  There’s no reason to think that anything is going to change in 2015 and beyond.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Minor League Central

2 comments

  1. bbboston says:

    I have Zach Britton on my team and totally believe in him, but make no mistake, his awesomeness both when he first came up as rookie SP and now directly coincides with his velocity. Put another way, his suckiness as a SP coincided with a shoulder issue/velocity loss. If that’s behind him for good it’s huge….

    Watch his velocity next spring……

  2. Marky Mark says:

    I traded Kemp away at the ASB for Reyes. I needed a replacement SS for the non-performing Bogaerts and a bunch of SBs, and Reyes certainly delivered on both of those.

    But it would have been nice if I could have found another way to make that deal happen without including Kemp. Would have made the last couple weeks of the season far less stressful….I managed to squeak out just a 1.5 point victory in my roto league.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *