10 Important Stories From 05/31/16 Box Scores: Buy Profar or Refsnyder?, Ignore E. Rodriguez? & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The offenses were certainly out yesterday, with numerous big-time performances as there were runs scored all around the league:

  • Mookie Betts – 3-5 with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 3 R
  • Charlie Blackmon – 2-6 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R
  • Nolan Arenado – 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R
  • Kyle Seager – 3-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R

Of course those big performances led to some poor pitching lines.  Patrick Corbin tossed up a stinker (3.1 IP, 7 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 3 K), though we will delve into more detail about him and his outlook later on today.  Who else had big days?  Who else struggled?  Let’s take a look:

1) James Shields takes one on the chin…
Pitching in Seattle he was torched for 10 ER on 8 H and 4 BB, striking out 1, over 2.2 IP.  With trade rumors swirling, it was certainly an inopportune time for this type of blowup.  He entered the day benefiting from an 82.5% strand rate, so there was reason to believe that some type of regression was on the horizon, though no one could’ve expected it to be so swift and so severe.  It took him 79 pitches to get just 8 outs and managed a meager 2 swinging strikes in the process.  Entering the day with a 7.79 K/9 (11.4% SwStr%), 3.20 BB/9 and 48.1% groundball rate, there’s every reason to think that he’ll rebound.  Don’t overreact due to what was as bad an outing as possible.

2) Jurickson Profar continues to make the most of his opportunity…
Hitting atop the order he went 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, giving him hits in all five games he’s played since taking the roster spot for the suspended Rougned Odor (.348, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 R).  The question now is what exactly will the Rangers due upon Odor’s return?  You could argue that he sticks around and sees time at DH or the OF, especially given all of the injuries/struggles the team has endured.  He certainly deserves to stay, as he was hitting at Triple-A prior to his recall (.284, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 28 R, 4 SB over 169 AB), so don’t be afraid to make an investment in the one-time elite prospect.

3) Are we buying Eduardo Rodriguez…
He made a splash in his season debut, defeating Kevin Gausman (6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K), as he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP.  While the numbers were solid, there are a few warning signs that we can’t overlook.  For one he’s never been a big source of strikeouts (7.7 K/9 in the minors, 7.2 at Triple-A), and only had 8 swinging strikes yesterday.  He also was a bit lucky in the fact that he didn’t allow a home run, considering his 4 groundballs vs. 11 fly balls and the game coming in Baltimore.  He allowed 6 HR in 28.0 IP at Triple-A during his rehab, so it’s certainly not something that should be overlooked.  It’s not to say that he isn’t capable of stringing together some strong starts and isn’t worth owning, just don’t do anything crazy to acquire him.

4) Rob Refsnyder gets a start in the outfield…
He went 1-3 hitting second and starting in RF, with the struggling Brett Gardner on the bench.  While the opportunity came thanks to a southpaw being on the mound (J.A. Happ settled for a no decision, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP), that’s not to say that there won’t be an opportunity moving forward.  Just look at the slash line for some of the team’s outfielders:

  • Gardner – .215/.344/.342
  • Aaron Hicks – .192/.263/.288

Refsnyder was hitting .286 with 2 HR and 6 SB in 187 PA at Triple-A this season and brings a 10/20 type upside playing in Yankee Stadium.  With the ability to make consistent contact (11.6% strikeout rate at Triple-A) he’s an ideal #2 hitter and could quickly provide value.  In deeper formats he’s worth grabbing now, just in case (especially if you missed out on someone like the Royals’ Whit Merrifield).

5) Is there reason to buy Matt Wisler…
He was a tough luck loser against the Giants, allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 7.0 IP.  While he’s 2-5 on the season he owns a 3.16 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.  Those are numbers that make you take notice, outside of the W, and he does it with control (2.24 BB/9).  However he hasn’t shown strikeouts, including a 6.32 K/9 overall courtesy of a 7.7% SwStr% (only 2 swinging strikes yesterday) and he also isn’t a groundball pitcher (38.1%).  Throw in a .232 BABIP and it all comes together to create a walking disaster in waiting.  If you can move him for anything of value, now is certainly the time.

6) Brett Lawrie moves into the second spot of the lineup…
He went 2-5 with 1 RBI and 1 SB, as the White Sox tried to get a spark any way possible.  It’s likely that they stick with the lineup construction, considering they actually got a victory, and there’s a chance that he thrives in the lineup spot.  There are numerous issues in his underlying numbers, including the potential that he’s swinging for the fences (45.6% fly ball rate, 30.6% strikeout rate, 19.3% IFFB), though maybe the move will force him to adjust his approach (as well as get more fastball, hitting in front of Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier).  Don’t write him off based on the slow start.

7) It was another poor outing for Drew Smyly…
Taking on the Royals he allowed 8 ER on 12 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 4.0 IP.  He’s now allowed 9 HR over his past seven starts and has allowed 5+ ER in three of his past five outings.  He’s not a groundball pitcher, so it’s not a surprise that he has had trouble with the long ball but it’s something he needs to figure out.  Overall in May he posted a 7.18 ERA and 1.72 WHIP, and it wasn’t just home runs that were the issue.  He was hit hard (23.8% line drive rate) and he also saw his strikeouts fall (10.64 K/9 in April to 8.33 in May).  While there is upside and he’s worth owning in all formats, there are numerous adjustments that he needs to make.

8) Scott Kazmir settles for a no decision against the Cubs…
He didn’t get the W, but he matched Jake Arrieta (7.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 4 BB, 8 K) pitch for pitch as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 7.  While Kazmir owns a 4.38 ERA on the season, he’s shown ample strikeouts (9.47 K/9) and solid control (3.25 BB/9).  Home runs have been the biggest issue (1.70 HR/9), though that is a bit of an aberration (1.01 HR/9 for his career).  While the improvement may not be dramatic (a .258 BABIP could show that there’s a little bit of a regression coming), that’s not to say that there isn’t value moving forward.  Continue to view him as a solid mid-rotation option in all formats.

9) A reasonably strong start from Jon Gray…
It wasn’t an ace-like performance, but it didn’t need to be given the run support he was given.  Gray went 6.0 IP at Coors Field, allowing 3 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, to improve to 3-2 on the season.  Sure the ERA still looks bloated (5.76 ERA), but he’s been pitching better than that overall.  He’s shown the strikeout stuff we expected, with a 9.73 K/9 courtesy of an 11.2% SwStr% (despite the lack of strikeouts yesterday, he actually had 13 swinging strikes), and he also has solid control (3.18 BB/9).  Throw in the groundballs (12 yesterday, 47.9% overall) and the total package is there.  While there will be times that he’s recommended to be on your bench, the skill set is there to be a tremendous option (even pitching in Colorado).

10) C.J. Cron provides a walk-off victory…
He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, providing the biggest blow in a game that featured 9 HR.  While neither Cron nor Albert Pujols has played particularly well, the pair should continue to share 1B/DH duties for the foreseeable future.  There is more pop in Cron’s bat than he’s shown thus far, though his average distance on non-groundballs of 254.059 isn’t very encouraging.  He’s also struggled to hit the ball hard (14.1% line drive rate), so his impressive strikeout rate (15.2%) doesn’t hold much value.  It’s not to say that he isn’t going to turn things around, but he needs to change his approach and improve the underlying metrics if he’s going to get there.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MILB.com, Baseball Reference, Baseball Heat Maps

5 comments

  1. Tuco says:

    Kazmir or Gray?

  2. Carlito says:

    So Smyly…. you say hold? What a bust he’s been so far.

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Tuco – Gray for me, still a higher upside

    Carlito – I would, but it all depends on the format/replacement you can get

  4. Chud says:

    Eric,

    Good stuff as always. 10 team full Keeper league: Jimmy Nelson or Eduardo Rodriguez?

    Thanks

Leave a Reply

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