by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
On the day Buster Posey (3-5) returned, there were some noteworthy poor pitching performances. It was a rough outing for Marcus Stroman, who allowed 6 ER on 11 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 4.2 IP against the Red Sox. Kevin Gausman took one on the chin as well, getting pummeled for 8 ER on 8 H and 3 BB over 2.2 IP at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds. The implosion of Jimmy Nelson, who has gained some hype, shouldn’t come as a surprise as he allowed 7 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 5.1 IP. What else happened that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) Has Luis Severino finally turned the corner…
Unfortunately for him he made two mistakes (home runs to Leurys Garcia & Avisail Garcia, who had the biggest blow going 1-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R) and Miguel Gonzalez did not (8.1 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K). Still Severino finished the day going 8.0 innings allowing 4 R (3 earned) on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 10. We do have to keep in mind that the White Sox have been one of the least explosive offenses this season, so next week (Red Sox, Orioles) will be far more telling. Still he generated 17 swinging strikes and 10 groundballs, showing off a skill set that can thrive anywhere against any offense. He now has 21 K over his past two starts, which obviously is going to open some eyes. He needs to start keeping the ball in the ballpark (4 HR allowed), something that has hurt him in the past (1.36 HR/9 in the Majors entering the day). If he does that the sky is truly the limit. Either way, with the way he’s pitching he’s a must own in all formats to find out if he can put it all together.
2) A somewhat better start for Hyun-Jin Ryu…
Obviously we have to keep this in perspective, as he still allowed 4 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP against the Rockies. The owner of a 5.87 ERA, the problem has been home runs. He allowed 3 yesterday, with Nolan Arenado (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) and Trevor Story (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) doing the damage, bringing him up to 6 HR allowed on the season. That’s something we’d think he can fix, as he was missing bats again (16 swinging strikes), wasn’t issuing walks (4 BB in 15.1 IP) and has done a good job with groundballs. The problem is the Dodgers’ depth in the short-term, but for now fantasy owners need to keep him stashed. The upside is still there and he’s showing the signs of potentially getting there.
3) Mitch Moreland helps to lead the charge for Boston…
It’s easy to miss Moreland, with Mookie Betts (3-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R) and Andrew Benintendi (2-5, 1 RBI, 1 R) having big days as well. Moreland, though, finished going 3-5 with 3 RBI and 1 R, including hitting another double. He’s up to 10 on the season, leading the Majors (Justin Turner is second with 8), and is now hitting .358 with 1 HR and 8 RBI. He’s hitting in the middle of the order, so the RBI opportunities should be there, and it may be just a matter of time before a few of the doubles turn into home runs. Obviously he’s not going to be an elite bat, but for now he’s one well worth utilizing.
4) Adam Duvall trying to prove he’s even better than ’16…
It was a monster day, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R. It’s no surprise that he’s hitting for power (4 HR) and driving in runs (12 RBI), but the fact that he’s hitting .286 is going to open some eyes. While he entered the day with a 26.0% strikeout rate, it’s a bit deceiving as he’s not missing pitches (6.8% SwStr%, after a 12.5% mark in ’16) and isn’t chasing outside the strike zone (23.3% O-Swing%, after a 34.1% mark in ’16). Obviously it’s a small sample size, but that’s a huge development. He’s improved across the board, but most significantly it’s come in his Whiff% against breaking balls (20.10% to 6.98%). If he can maintain this or not remains to be seen, but if he can he’s going to be a fantasy monster in time. Watch him closely, but for now ride him out and see if he can maintain it.
5) An impressive outing from Zack Wheeler…
He needed 99 pitches to get through 5.0 IP, but he finished allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, against the Philadelphia Phillies. His one mistake was a home run to Odubel Herrera (2-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), and he also didn’t generated a single groundball (8 fly balls). That’s obviously something to watch, though he also generated 18 swinging strikes and the groundball-to-flyball ratio hadn’t been as skewed in his first two starts. The upside is there, though he will ultimately face an innings limit. For now consider him more of a matchup play, though he’s got enough upside to make him worth owning.
6) Is Tim Beckham starting to figure things out…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, his second home run in three games (over his three-game hitting streak he’s gone 5-12 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 4 R). Before we get too excited, though, he’s still struggling with strikeouts (38.1% entering the day, 1 K yesterday) and has generally been driving the ball into the ground (56.5% entering the day). It’s been a nice little streak, and one that he could continue for a little bit, so ride him while he’s hot but don’t expect a breakout.
7) Joe Musgrove fails to impress…
Taking on the Angels he allowed 5 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP. Unfortunately for him he continued to show a few of the issues that he’s had over his first three starts:
- Length – He hasn’t pitched more than 5.1 innings in a start
- Swings and Misses – His swinging strikes from his starts have been 8, 8 and 5, a total of 21
It’s not a surprise that he has just 9 K over 15.1 innings, he’s struggled with home runs (4 HR, including 2 yesterday) and it’s tough to win games when you can’t get further into the game. There’s still upside, but for now it’s hard to get excited.
8) Mike Leake continues to get the job done…
Taking on the Pirates (who were without the suspended Starling Marte), Leake allowed 1 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, over 6.1 IP to get the W. Sure he now sports a 0.84 ERA and 0.84 WHIP over 21.1 IP, but there are obvious issues and a regression is coming. He doesn’t get swings and misses (7 yesterday), and the strikeout upside will ultimately limit him. Sure he gets groundballs (13 yesterday) and has elite control (1 BB on the season), but he’s going to stumble before long. He’s more of a streaming option as opposed to someone to trust.
9) Another strong outing from Andrew Triggs…
Obviously he’ll eventually give up an earned run, though he hasn’t yet (17.2 IP). Last night, taking on the Rangers, he allowed 2 R (0 earned) on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP to improve to 3-0 on the season. He’s clearly shown that he brings control (4 BB), groundballs (10 yesterday vs. 3 fly balls, and now owns a 57.1% groundball rate) and the ability to miss enough bats (9.3% SwStr%). Maybe he’s more of a streaming option, but over the past two seasons he’s thrived in the rotation and could continue to do so. There will be some bumps, but for now he should be owned in most formats.
10) Wei-Yin Chen flirts with no-hitter…
He actually tossed 7.0 no-hit innings against the Mariners, with 2 K and 2 BB, but was pulled with 100 pitches thrown. Brad Ziegler kept it going in the eighth, but Kyle Barraclough allowed a hit in the ninth to lose it. Chen battled elbow injuries in ’16, so it makes sense that they didn’t want to push Chen too far (though it is a shame he didn’t get an opportunity to finish it). He had a rough outing his last time out (6 ER over 3.0 IP against the Mets), though it was the second time he had faced them in a week and maybe that played a part. He’s not going to be a great option, though there is upside and he could be a solid back-end option.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out our Preseason 2017 Prospect Rankings:
|Top 50 Prospects||1-50|
|Right Handed Pitchers:||1-10||11-20|
|Left Handed Pitchers:||1-10|