10 Important Stories From 06/12/16 Box Scores: Moore Turning Corner, Not Buying Baez & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Michael Fulmer continued his impressive rookie season, tossing 6.0 shutout innings at Yankee Stadium, allowing 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 3.  Adam Jones filled the box score, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.  Francisco Lindor helped to carry the Indians to victory, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  What other notable performances were there from yesterday’s action?  Let’s take a look:

1) Matt Moore dazzles, but has he turned the corner…
We obviously have to put the performance in perspective, as it came against the strikeout prone Houston Astros, but the performance was highly notable all the same.  Going 7.0 shutout innings he allowed 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 10.  Even better than the strikeouts were the 21 swinging strikes, having entered the day with a 10.1% SwStr%.  Coming into the day he had shown strikeouts (8.14 K/9) and control (2.84 BB/9), the biggest issue has been home runs allowed (1.81 HR/9).  As long as he can keep the ball in the ballpark these types of performances should continue.  He’s not a must start option by any means, at least not yet, but if the matchup is right the upside is immense.  With his next start scheduled to come against a depleted Giants lineup, he’s well worth sticking in your lineup.

2) Aaron Sanchez surprisingly burnt by long ball…
He went 5.0 innings against the Orioles allowing 6 ER on 10 H and 3 BB, striking out 7.  Considering the number of groundballs he generates (59.5% entering the day) it’s shocking to see him allow 4 HR on the day (Pedro Alvarez, Adam Jones, Chris Davis & Matt Wieters).  In fact he had allowed 4 HR over 80.1 IP entering the day and none over his last 4 starts.  It screams of an aberration, and he also was backed by his offense and still got the W (Ubaldo Jimenez gave up 5 R on 6 H while getting just 1 out).  The strikeouts were also nice, something he’s been doing all year.  Don’t be concerned by the poor performance, it’s more of an aberration than anything.

3) Despite the L, Michael Pineda continues to show promise…
He allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP but was saddled with the loss against the Tigers.  Over his past three starts he has now allowed 6 ER on 17 H and 4 BB over 18.2 IP, while striking out 20.  While he’s just 1-1 over this stretch, it’s obviously an important step in the right direction.  He has his ERA under 6.00 for the first time since May 6 (it stands at 5.88).  Entering the day with a .371 BABIP, 66.9% strand rate and 1.64 HR/9, despite a 9.68 K/9 and 2.32 BB/9, there’s every reason to believe that the numbers will continue to improve.  There may still be time to buy low, so don’t be afraid to make a deal.

4) Did Yordano Ventura get the wakeup call…
In what may be his final start before his suspension Ventura dazzled, allowing 1 ER (a solo home run to Jose Abreu) on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP.  Considering he generated 10 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls, it’s hard to find something that you don’t like about the outing.  All of his stats had been down heading into the game, just adding to the promise the outing brings:

  • Strikeouts – 6.00 K/9
  • Walks – 4.77 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 44.0%

No one is going to buy off the one start, but you have to wonder if the altercation with the Orioles helped to wake him up.  Time will tell, but keep him stashed to find out.

5) Robbie Ray shuts down the Marlins…
He tossed 7.2 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 6.  While he only generated 7 swinging strikes yesterday, he entered the day with a 10.5% SwStr% and has shown strikeout potential all year long.  The key has been his control (4.55 BB/9) and keeping the ball in the ballpark (1.47 HR/9), both of which weren’t an issue yesterday.  The fact that it came at home, where he entered the day with a 7.45 ERA, is that much more promising.  While he has a long ways to go to earn anyone’s trust, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.  His next start is set to come in Philadelphia, against a Phillies’ team that entered Sunday with a .325 SLG against LHP (second worst in the league).  In other words, it’s a perfect storm to keep him in your lineup in all formats.

6) It was a big day for Carlos Santana…
He went 2-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, giving him a modest three-game hitting streak (5-12, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R).  The hits also include a pair of doubles and the OBP machine (35 K vs. 36 BB on the season) is up to 12 HR, 32 RBI, 32 R and 3 SB on the season.  He’s hitting just .231, as he’s struggled to hit the ball with authority (13.5% line drive rate) and has been putting the ball in the air a bit too much (44.8%, which is a career high).  He’s hit .231 each of the previous two seasons, so it’s hard to say that he’s a lock to improve, though with his strikeouts down and the likelihood of an improvement in his line drive rate (18.5% for his career), the upside is there.

7) Danny Espinosa’s bat continues to wake up…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, giving him home runs in back-to-back games and in six of his past ten.  He also has three multi-hit games in his past four (8-16, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 7 R), and given his defense this is simply going to further postpone the arrival of Trea Turner.  Yes he strikes out far too much and isn’t likely to hit for a good average, but he just needs to hit a little bit to keep himself in the lineup.  Those waiting on Turner are unfortunately going to have to keep on waiting for the foreseeable future.

8) Has Christian Friedrich finally figured it out…
He lost, but that doesn’t take anything away from the impressive performance he posted at Coors Field.  Going 6.0 innings he allowed 1 unearned run on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 9.  He had 14 swinging strikes and also generated 6 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls, both of which are promising numbers.  Control has been his biggest issue this season, with 19 BB over 34.0 IP, and it’s fair to wonder if he can maintain the strikeout stuff (his average fastball was down to 89.5 mph entering the day and he had a 7.7% SwStr%).  Throw in an 82.2% strand rate and a line drive rate (16.7%) that’s destined to rise and things don’t look all that promising.  It was an impressive start, but it feels like just a matter of time before the wheels fall off.

9) Is Javier Baez pushing for more regular playing time…
He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday, his second multi-hit game in his past three.  Overall he is hitting .272 with 5 HR and 18 RBI over 125 AB.  The most important number is his improved strikeout rate, which sat at 19.0% entering the day (and he only had 1 K yesterday), though his 15.3% SwStr% and 44.2% O-Swing% tells you that the number is on the verge of ballooning.  Sure there’s some power and speed, but if he isn’t making contact and isn’t getting on base (2.4% walk rate), it simply isn’t going to matter.  He also has been struggling against RHP (.222 over 90 AB entering the day), which further helps cement him as more of a platoon player.  There’s always going to be allure, but there isn’t likely going to be value.

10) Is it time to be buying into Zach Davies…
Taking on the Mets Davies was spectacular, allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 innings of work.  He’s now allowed 2 ER in each of his past four starts (and seven of his past eight), lowering his ERA to 3.88 (and WHIP to 1.18).  He’s never going to be a big time strikeout artist (7.8 K/9 in the minors), but he is going to bring strong control (2.9 BB/9 in the minors) and he’s shown he can generate a solid groundball rate (career 51.1% mark entering the day).  While wins could be tough to come by, there is reason for optimism moving forward.  He’s not going to be a superstar, but should be a solid back-end option in deeper formats.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MLB.com, Baseball Reference

4 comments

  1. Chud says:

    Thanks Eric! ROS 10 team 5 x 5 league: Please rank Duffy, Shoemaker, Paxton, ZDavies.

    Much appreciated.

  2. Bryan says:

    Please help me choose two for the back end of my SP staff.
    – Matt Moore
    – Liriano
    – Duffy
    – Corbin
    – Igles
    Or pick up and wait on Glasnow

    12 Team H2H PTS

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’d go Corbin & Liriano (who I still believe will turn things around). Iglesias is moving to bullpen, so he’s out. Moore/Duffy have the upside, but will likely have more bumps along the way (though I do like Moore)

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