10 Important Stories From 09/29/16 Box Scores: Cueto K’s 11, Swanson Goes Deep & More

by Will Overton

There are only a few more games left in the season, but guys are still going all out. We got some strong outings from guys trying to make the playoffs. We also got performances from young guys trying to earn a job for next season too. Here’s he full breakdown of all the top 10 stories of the night:

1)      The Red Sox Potent Offense No Match For C.C. Sabathia

The season has finished strong for C.C. Sabathia who has had a nice bounce back season to get on fantasy players radars. Sabathia only allowed one run over 7.1 innings pitched , and he struck out eight batters  in the win. Sabathia has just five runs allowed in his last 25.2 IP and he’s now brought his ERA down to 3.91 to end the season. Sabathia is 36 and we’ve already seen a decline before this bounce back, so I don’t know if he’ll be able to do this again next season, but it’s been a nice run this year.

2)      Three-Hit Night For Michael Taylor In A Rare Start

Michael Taylor got the start last night for the first time in the month of September, and Taylor capitalized on the opportunity going 3 – 4 in the game with a pair of RBI. Taylor was many people’s pick for a breakout before the season, but it hasn’t really worked out that well for him. Taylor hasn’t been able to earn regular playing time and spent a lot more time than expected in the minor leagues. I still believe in Taylor’s upside as a power/speed combination hitter, but it’s going to be hard for him to earn his way into another crack at the lineup.

3)      Ubaldo Jimenez Comes Through When Orioles Need It The Most

There isn’t much room for error right now for the Orioles as they chase after a wild card spot. With so much on the line Ubaldo showed up in a big way with maybe his best start of the season. Jimenez went 6.2 IP and only have up one hit, walking three and striking out five. Ubaldo has been terrible all season, that is until the month of September. In September, Jimenez now has an ERA of 2.31 over five starts with 31 K’s in 35 IP. I’m sure the Orioles would have liked some of these performances earlier, but Ubaldo definitely has come through in the clutch.

4)      Has Josh Collmented Done Enough To Win A Job in 2017?

2016 has been a season to forget for Josh Collmenter who has dealt with injuries along the way and has really been ineffective in relief when he has been healthy. Collmenter landed in Atlanta last month after getting released by Arizona, and he has now made three starts for the Braves. Last night Collmenter made what will probably be his final start of the year and looked great allowing only one run over seven innings, allowing four hits and walking none while striking out four. Collmenter has allowed just five runs in 19 innings and has 16 strikeouts compared to five walks. It’s only been three starts which is a small sample size, but Collmenter should be in the mix for a starting job in Atlanta next season.

5)       Dansby Swanson Providing A Bright Spot To A Dark Year In Atlanta

The poor Braves fans have not had a lot to be excited about this season, but Dansby Swanson is providing hope that they can latch onto for the future. Swanson turned in another stellar game last night going 1 – 3 with 2 R, 1 HR and 1 RBI. This now brings his batting average to .300 again and the HR was his third of the season in 120 AB’s. The power will come along a little slowly, but the ceiling on it is nice, especially combined with the stolen base potential too. Swanson has more than held his own at the big league level despite not getting much time in the minor leagues and he seems ready to take on an opening day job next season. Swanson won’t be in the elite class of young fantasy SS’s just yet, but he will be there soon as his game continues to develop. The future is very bright for this guy.

6)       The Solid September Of Hitting Continues For Byron Buxton

Things have certainly slowed down for Byron Buxton since his torrid start to September, but he’s still got a little heat in the bat. Last night Buxton went 2 – 3 with 2 R and 2 RBI, both hits being extra-base hits. Buxton has hit .273 in September with 16 R, 7 HR and 16 RBI, a really nice jump from his previous numbers. The overall number are still quite bad with a .222 batting average and a strikeout rate of 39.5% which is WAY too high. That said, while it feels like Buxton has had several chances to be a star already, he’s still just 22 years old and has a lot of room for growth. Writing Buxton off at this point would be a mistake because the upside is still tremendous.

7)      Alex Reyes Is Holding His Own At The Big League Level

The St. Louis Cardinals have to be happy with what they have seen in a small sample size from their 22 year old top prospect. Reyes shut the Cincinnati Reds down last night giving up just one run over six innings of work, racking up six strikeouts as well. Reyes now has an incredible ERA of 1.57 over 46 innings, getting five starts with seven relief appearances. Reyes hasn’t been perfect with a walk rate of 4.5 BB/9, but his 10.2 K/9 rate has helped make up for the walks. There will be bumps in the road for Reyes, but it’s clear that he’s ready to step into a permanent spot in the rotation in 2017 and will be a must own in all leagues and formats.

8)      A Strong Finish From Kevin Kiermaier

Overall the 2016 season feels like it’s been a bit disappointing for Kevin Kiermaier, but he has finished really strong with a big September. Kiermaier went 3 – 5 last night with an RBI. This brings his batting average for the month up to .312 with 15 R, 5 HR and 11 RBI. Injuries and a poor batting average have frustrated owners this season, but I hope that makes him a buy low guy in drafts next season because I am all in on him. Had Kiermaier played 150 games he would be on pace for 18 HR’s and 30 SB’s with 75 R, which more than makes up for a .250 average, that really should be higher anyway. Let’s hope fantasy players overlook Kiermaier next season, because I will gladly scoop him up.

9)      Another Homer From Mike Zunino

You don’t like the .217 average from Mike Zunino and you don’t like his 38% strikeout rate, but you just love that power. Zunino hit another HR last night, his 12th of the season in just 157 AB’s. That is good for a HR every 13 AB’s which is an incredible number. It will be interesting to see what the Mariners do with Zunino because as frustrating as his flaws can be, it’s really nice to have someone like him in the lineup who can lose a ball on any given swing. Fantasy owners will be faced with the same decision if the Mariners do give him a regular job next season, and ask whether the power outweighs the poor average.

10)   Johnny Cueto States His Claim For NL Cy Young Consideration

There are a ton of candidates for the Cy Young in the NL and I kind of feel bad for the voters who have to rank these guys. Johnny Cueto is doing what he can to make sure his name is in the discussion though. Cueto allowed just two runs over seven innings last night. He did allow nine hits, but he also struck out 11 which more than countered the hits. Cueto has now ended the season with a 2.79 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 198 K’s in 217.1 IP and a record of 18 – 5. Returning to the NL has done wonders for Cueto and no matter how many votes he gets for Cy Young he’s clearly back into the mix of elite starting pitchers in the game.

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