10 Important Stories From 04/09/17 Box Scores: Still Buying Gerrit Cole, Are Sano/Gallo For Real & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Jake Arrieta had the strikeout pitch working, finishing with 10 K over 7.0 IP in a victory over the Brewers.  Lance McCullers had a similarly impressive day, despite settling for a no decision, as he allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 innings against the Royals.  Jose Quintana bounced back, for the most part, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.1 innings but did allow another home run.  What else happened on the field we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Solid start from Nick Castellanos continues…
Sure a .263 average isn’t going to bowl you over, but after going 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R he already has four extra base hits (1 double, 1 triple and 2 HR).  He’s also shown good plate discipline (4 K vs. 3 BB) and entered the day with a 36.4% line drive rate.  It’s obviously a small sample size, but he’s always hit it hard (25.6% career line drive rate) and his power has been growing each season (HR/FB of 13.7% last season, which was a career high).  He easily could be in line for a career year and now may be your last chance to buy relatively low.

 

2) Marco Estrada gets victimized by the long ball…
Taking on the Rays he got beat up to the tune of 3 HR, finishing the day allowing 5 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP.  Home runs are always a risk with Estrada, having posted fly ball rates of 52.3% and 48.2% the past two seasons (HR/9 of 1.19 and 1.18).  Couple that with solid, yet unspectacular control and a potentially limited strikeout rate (6.51 K/9 in ’15) and it’s easy to envision him having been overvalued.  Granted this is just one start, but it easily could be the sign of things to come moving forward.

 

3) Despite his struggles, is there still reason for optimism for Gerrit Cole…
It certainly hasn’t been the start we envisioned, as he allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP against the Braves.  He allowed a pair of home runs (including one to Freddie Freeman, who finished with a pair on the day), and now owns a 6.55 ERA, 1.64 WHIP and 3 HR over his first two starts.  Of course he also generated 11 groundouts vs. 1 fly ball out, which is a tremendous sign and tells us the home runs are a bit of an aberration.  While he didn’t generate a lot of swings and misses (10), we know he has that potential as well.  Now may be the perfect time to try and buy low as an owner is frustrated by the slow start.

 

4) Is it too early to give up on Zach Davies…
A popular sleeper of many, it’s hard to get too down on him after a beating at the hands of the Cubs.  Still he allowed 5 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP and now owns an unsightly 10.61 ERA and 2.36 WHIP over his first two starts.  It’s nice that he was getting a few more strikeouts, but that does little to ease the pain (especially since he still had just 10 swinging strikes).  While he’s not this bad there were signs of a regression despite last season’s impressive numbers, as the control was bound to regress (2.09 BB/9) and a minor league 7.8 K/9 showed limited strikeout stuff.  He’s going to be better, but don’t expect him to be anything more than a streaming option.

 

5) Has Miguel Sano started to figure things out…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .350 with 2 HR and 8 RBI over the first week of the season.  It’s easy to get excited and there certainly is no questioning his power, though he has struck out 7 times over 20 AB.  That’s something that has plagued him in the Majors, including a 36.0% strikeout rate last season, and will ultimately cap his average potential closer to the .250 range.  If you need power then he’s worth owning, but otherwise now may be the best time to kick the tires and try to sell high.

 

6) Joey Gallo delivers a big day for the Rangers…
Hitting eighth he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R, giving him 2 HR and 7 RBI on the season.  Of course he’s hitting .200 on the season, with 9 K over his first 20 AB.  That’s not a new phenomenon and it’s just a matter of time before he’s replaced in the lineup (aka once Adrian Beltre is healthy).  Unlikely to assume the DH role, if you need power you can utilize him short-term but be prepared to move on.

 

7) Chris Owings fills the box score…
Hitting fifth Owings did a bit of everything, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R and 2 SB, continuing his impressive start to the season.  He’s now hitting .360 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 4 SB, and while he may not be quite that good as long as he’s hitting he is going to continue to find his name in the lineup (middle infield glut or not).  He’ll continue to operate as a super utility man, seeing time in both the infield and outfield, and play most days.  He isn’t a big source of power and there are questions about his strike zone control (7 K vs. 2 BB), so it’s not a given that he continues producing.  For now, though, ride him while he’s hot.

 

8) A disastrous outing from Matt Shoemaker…
Taking on the Mariners he simply didn’t have it, allowing 7 R (6 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over 4.1 IP.  He also hit a pair of batters and coughed up 1 HR (3 HR allowed over his first two starts).  He did generate 7 groundball outs vs. 1 fly ball out, but for a pitcher who is supposed to get strikeouts he had a mere 5 swinging strikes.  We don’t want to ring any warning bells quite yet, after he had 16 swinging strikes in his first start against the A’s, so for now we’ll chalk this one up to simply a poor outing and nothing more.

 

9) Aaron Judge showing strong signs…
The Yankees need him to start hitting, to help fill the void left by Gary Sanchez’ injury, and he delivered yesterday by going 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R (his first home run of the season).  While he’s hitting just .211 on the season, strikeouts were the biggest concern entering the season and he’s kept those in check (5 K in 19 AB, albeit a miniscule sample size).  As long as he can continue to do that the production will be there, and he brings significant power and the potential to move up into the middle of the batting order.

 

10) A better outing than the numbers for Sean Manaea…
Sure he allowed 6 runs (5 earned) over 5.1 innings against the Rangers, though Joey Gallo’s home run was the one big blue.  Manaea racked up 10 K vs. 2 BB and did have 6 groundouts vs. 1 fly ball out on the day.  One big mistake can’t be held against him, though he did hit two batters and has now hit three over his first two starts.  That tells us that he could be struggling with his command, though we’d expect him to figure that out before long.  He continues to have significant upside, so be patient.

Sources – MLB.com, ESPN, Fangraphs

2 comments

  1. Sean D. says:

    He’s off to a slow start but could Carlos Gomez still be a 20/20 candidate this season?

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