10 Important Stories From 09/04/16 Box Scores: Giving Up On Darvish?!, Buying De Leon & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Chris Archer continued his renaissance, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, over 6.1 IP against the Toronto Blue Jays.  Jose Abreu had a day to remember, going 3-7 with 2 HR, 7 RBI and 2 R.  Yasiel Puig made a statement in his return to the Majors, going 1-2 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Another stinker from Michael Pineda…
He lasted just 4.0 IP allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, against the Orioles.  He’s now allowed 12 ER over his past three starts (15.1 IP) and owns a 5.10 ERA and 1.35 WHIP on the season.  It’s easy to point towards his .342 BABIP entering the day, and it’s certainly a fair point.  He has shown strikeouts (10.24 K/9) and control (2.44 BB/9), and the line drive rate also isn’t outrageous (21.8%).  It’s interesting, because there’s been different issues depending on where he is pitching:

  • Home – 1.93 HR/9
  • Road – .378 BABIP

It does make sense, but it doesn’t help us have any faith in him moving forward.  In fact, with his next two starts coming at home (Tampa Bay & Los Angeles Dodgers) he’s virtually unusable.

2) Jake Thompson saddled with a tough luck loss…
Taking on the Braves he allowed just 1 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP.  Unfortunately for him his teammates couldn’t get anything going against Julio Teheran (6.0 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 7 K).  He did a great job of getting Atlanta to pound the ball into the ground, generating 12 groundballs as compared to 3 fly balls.  At the same time, while it wasn’t an issue in the minors he has struggled with his control since being promoted (including 4 BB in three of his past four starts).  He’s also shown limited strikeout stuff, despite the number yesterday, having entered play with a 6.9% SwStr% (and only getting 9 swinging strikes yesterday).  It’s nearly impossible to have any trust in him moving forward.

3) A monster day for Domingo Santana…
He went 3-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R, leading the Brewers’ 10 run assault.  He had struggled since coming off the DL, going 5-25 with 0 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R, while he also had been seeing sporadic playing time.  Could this one big performance help him get a few additional AB?  Absolutely, but while he’s always shown an intriguing power upside, there continues to be far too much swing and miss to his game (he entered the day with a 33.7% strikeout rate and 11.7% SwStr%).  With the playing time question and the potential to sink your batting average, barring those desperate for a little bit of pop there’s far too much risk involved in trusting him.

4) Another impressive performance from Byron Buxton…
Those who were ready to give up on him after he struggled earlier in the season are certainly eating their words (at least for the short-term).  He went 3-6 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him not only back-to-back games with a home run but also 3 doubles as well.  Since returning on September 1 all he’s done is go 9-16 with 3 HR, 9 RBI and 7 R.  Obviously he’s not going to be quite this good, but it’s fair to wonder if he’s finally grown comfortable and is ready to produce at the highest level.  Arguably the biggest key is that he has just 1 K in September, though there’s a good chance that can’t continue (he was at 27.8% at Triple-A).  Enjoy it while he’s hot, but the switch could easily go off just as quickly.

5) Daniel Norris impressive, though doesn’t mean he’s a buy…
Taking on the Royals he allowed 3 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP.  He was generating a good number of swings and misses (15), but unfortunately that’s arguably where the positives actually stop.  He gave up a lot of fly balls (7, as compared to 3 groundballs) and was victimized by a home run (the third time in his past four starts).  He has not allowed more than 3 ER in any of his nine starts this season, though 6.1 innings is his longest outing.  He’s also generally struggled to get swings and misses, having entered the day with an 8.2% SwStr%).  With your season on the line, there are far too many question marks to justify trusting him.

6) Is there cause for concern for Yu Darvish…
Taking on the Astros he struggled, allowing 5 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 4.0 IP.  He’s now thrown 75.2 IP in the Majors this season (and 102.2 innings overall) after missing all of 2015, so you have to wonder if fatigue could be playing a factor.  Control has not been an issue since his rookie year, but he’s now walked 10 batters over his past 16.2 IP (three starts).  He’s also allowed 10 HR in his 13 starts, another small red flag.  Obviously no one is about to push the panic button on one of the elite starters in the game, but unless he can correct those two issues there’s a good chance his struggles will continue.

7) A stellar performance from Eduardo Rodriguez…
There are two “caveats” to the performance:

  1. It came against the A’s
  2. It came in Oakland

Still, he flirted with a no-hitter ultimately allowing just 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 8.0 shutout innings.  Of course he’s coming off a terrible start against the Royals (5 ER), he’s been hit extremely hard (he entered the day with a 24.6% line drive rate) and he’s ben prone to the long ball (1.70 HR/9 entering the day, 1.42 mark at Triple-A prior to his callup).  It was an impressive outing, but that doesn’t mean you should be fully buying in.

8) An impressive debut for Jose De Leon…
Fantasy owners who have been impatiently waiting for his arrival were rewarded by a fairly strong start against the Padres.  Yes he allowed 4 ER, but he allowed just 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 6.0 IP and made just one big mistake (a home run to Yangervis Solarte, who finished 3-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R).  While it’s easy to point to the opponent, he was clearly electric (17 swinging strikes) and it’s not like he was generating strikeouts (11.57 K/9) and control (2.08 BB/9) down at Triple-A.  There’s no reason to think that he can’t stay in the rotation over the remainder of the season (only 92.1 IP this season, after 114.1 last season) and with his stuff there’s every chance that he thrives from Day 1.

9) Chris Owings continues to hit…
He went 2-4 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday, giving him a modest three-game hitting streak (8-11, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB).  Where his value really lies is in his speed, with 4 SB over his past 10 games.  He’s not going to chip in much power, but he’s done a good job of lowering his strikeout rate this season (18.1% entering the day, with a vastly improved 9.0% SwStr%) and also maintaining a strong line drive rate (21.5%).  Thanks to his speed (he now has 32 SB over the past two seasons), he should also produce a solid average.  In deeper formats that makes him a viable option, though not a sexy one.

10) Seth Lugo does the job for New York…
Obviously Reynaldo Lopez was the young pitcher with more attention (4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K), but it was Lugo who delivered and led the Mets to victory.  He allowed just 1 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP.  Over his four starts he’s allowed 6 ER on 20 H and 5 BB, striking out 16, over 24.2 IP, so obviously he has been highly impressive and helped the Mets in a significant time of need.  He entered the day benefiting from a .240 BABIP (20.7% line drive rate) and the potential to be prone to the long ball (41.3% groundball rate, just a 0.26 HR/9).  In other words, don’t get too attached.  While he’s pitching well right now, there’s a good chance that he regresses before long.  If you were going to use one of these young Mets pitchers, Robert Gsellman is the better bet.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, CBS Sports


  1. jmmh73 says:

    Hi RP,

    I have Lugo. And i could always do with more pitching, maybe Gsellman

    Clearly i hadn’t even heard of either of these guys two weeks ago!

    Is Gsellman really an upgrade (he seems to have plenty of baserunners and i’m trying to improve my WHIP)? Why do you prefer him?

    Would you start both @ATL this week?


  2. Carlito says:

    Speaking of Robbie Ray, what are your thoughts on him ROS and next year? Keeper? Break out or never gonna be great.

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