10 Important Stories From 05/03/15 Box Scores: Vogt’s Power Surge, Fister’s Lack of Ks & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

To say that it was an interesting stat line for the A’s Sonny Gray would be an understatement.  He tossed 6.2 shutout innings allowing just 2 H and striking out 10.  Of course he also walked 7, after walking a total 6 batters over his first five starts (36.1 IP).  Who would’ve predicted this one?

What else happened on the field we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Doug Fister wins, but the strikeouts continue to elude him…
He tossed 6.1 shutout innings against the Mets, allowing 5 H and 0 BB, but only managed 3 K on the day.  That brings his total to 14 K over 31.0 innings on the season, which obviously is a significant concern.  He entered the day with a meager 4.9% SwStr% and generated 4 swinging strikes yesterday.  That’s obviously a significant concern, especially since his control (3.28 BB/9) and groundballs (42.7%) entered the day not quite where we would’ve expected (6 groundball outs, 6 fly outs yesterday).  The upside is obviously still there, but unless there’s a change he will ultimately become unusable.  In other words, proceed with extreme caution at the moment.

2) Both Trevor Bauer and Drew Hutchison struggled mightily…
Which one is the bigger story?  That’s debatable, but this was a pitiful pitching matchup at the end of the day:

  • Bauer – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 1 K
  • Hutchison – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 2 K

Bauer at least has been solid this season, but for Hutchison it was the continuation of his disastrous season as he now owns a 7.47 ERA.  His biggest issue has been home runs, allowing another one yesterday (5 allowed over 31.1 IP).  There is also a bit of poor luck at play (59.9% strand rate entering the day), so don’t write him off completely.  That said, until he starts showing signs he’s going to be a hard player to trust.

3) Julio Teheran finally gets things back on track…
It had been a rough few starts, but he produced an ace like performance yesterday against the Reds.  He tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, to reduce his ERA from 4.67 to 3.82.  While he has been hit hard this season (30.5% line drive rate entering the day), it’s the control that is almost more concerning (4.00 BB/9 entering the day).  He was better yesterday, but he still wasn’t his typical elite self (2.29 career mark).  It’s going to be something to continue watching, because if he isn’t throwing consistent strikes he could be susceptible to further struggles.

4) Jason Kipnis continues streaking…
He had a monster game at the plate, going 4-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R.  He’s now hit 3 HR over his past five games, going 9-26 with 3 HR, 9 RBI and 7 R over this stretch.  Sure he hasn’t stolen a base (he has just 2 on the season), but is anyone complaining?  He suddenly has his average up to .273 with 3 HR, 11 RBI and 13 RBI.  Considering the struggles he had it’s a major step in the right direction as he once again appears to be among the better 2B in the league.  He needs to maintain the production, but this is a good example of why fantasy owners need to display patience.

5) Evan Gattis continues his home run binge…
He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R yesterday, giving him 4 HR in his past three games and 5 HR in his past six.  The power surge has also brought run production with it, with 16 RBI over his past eight games.  It was obviously a slow start, but like with Kipnis this is a good example of why you don’t simply give up hope on a player who has proven he can produce in the past.  While he’s still hitting just .198, a strong average was going to be his strong suit.  Still, the strikeouts are down significantly 26 K overall, but only 5 in his past 10 games, and the average should continue to improve.  It’s going to be the last season you can use him as a catcher, so enjoy it while you can.

6) Trevor Plouffe showing why the Twins won’t rush Miguel Sano…
He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .278 with 5 HR and 15 RBI on the season.  He’s now homered in back-to-back games and has 3 HR (as well as 10 RBI) in his past five.  Remember Plouffe hit 24 HR back in 2012 and drove in 80 RBI a year ago.  His average has always been his biggest issue, though he’s posted line drive rates of 20+% each of the past two seasons and was at 20.0% entering the day.  Sano isn’t going to arrive any time soon, especially with Plouffe producing.  Consider him a viable CI option in all formats.

7) It was another big day for Stephen Vogt…
He went 2-3 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .356 with 6 HR and 20 RBI on the season.  While he does have a bit of pop, he entered the day with a 17.4% HR/FB and 254.666 average distance on non-groundballs.  In other words, don’t get too caught up in the home run total, because it’s not a pace he can likely maintain.  That doesn’t mean he’s going to be a bust or unusable, just know what you are buying.

8) Another gem from Tim Lincecum…
We touched on him recently (click here for the article) and he certainly delivered once again yesterday.  Taking on the Angels he tossed 8.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 4.  He’s certainly not the strikeout pitcher that he once was, but he generated 11 groundball outs and appears to have clearly reinvented himself.  As long as you aren’t expecting him to suddenly throw the ball hard be the pitcher he once was, you likely won’t be disappointed.  He’ll likely regress, but it appears like he’s a viable fantasy option once again.

9) Charlie Blackmon continues to prove that 2014 was no aberration…
He had a big day at the plate yesterday, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  Just to make it more impressive the game was played in Petco Park, not Coors Field.  He’s now hitting .316 with 5 HR, 14 RBI, 14 R and 2 SB on the season.  You can argue that he won’t be able to maintain the .358 BABIP he entered the day with, but he has speed and was sporting a 24.3% line drive rate.  His 21.2% strikeout rate is also well above his 15.6% career mark, so we can expect that number to come down as well.  He hit 19 HR with 28 SB a year ago and could easily challenge both numbers by year’s end.

10) Chase Anderson thrives against the Dodgers…
He was coming off his worst start of the season, but Anderson was tremendous yesterday tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 7.  He also generated 8 groundball outs, completely stymying the high-powered Dodger offense.  He entered the day with a 7.71 K/9, 2.31 BB/9 and 48.5% groundball rate, though the groundballs are in contrast to what he did last season (39.9%).  Considering his 40.2% mark in the minors since 2011, it’s easy to figure that this year’s success in that department will regress.  Without it he could struggle with home runs (1.26 HR/9 last season), though as of right now that hasn’t been an issue.  It’s the thing to watch, but as of right now he’s worth considering.

Sources – MLB.com, ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Heat Maps, Minor League Central

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