by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
On the day Cody Bellinger (1-3 while hitting eighth) made his Major League debut it was Trea Turner who starred, hitting for the cycle en route to a 4-6, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R day at Coors Field. Felix Hernandez was pulled after 2.0 IP allowing 4 R on 6 H and 2 BB, with reports surfacing after the game that he is having some shoulder issues (and will be examined by doctors in Seattle). Eric Thames did it again, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) Dallas Keuchel shuts down the Indians…
It’s certainly looking like the Keuchel of old is back, as he improved to 4-0 with a 1.22 ERA thanks to a complete game victory. He did allow 2 ER, with both surprisingly coming courtesy of solo home runs:
- Austin Jackson (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R)
- Michael Brantley (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R)
That was all the damage, with Keuchel allowing 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 5. He induced 15 groundballs, having entered the day with 70.0% groundball rate. While there’s going to be a regression (he entered with a .194 BABIP and 99.0% strand rate), that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to continue on as a productive option.
2) An impressive outing from Gerrit Cole…
There were reasons to be nervous as he took on the Cubs, but at the end of the day he was as impressive as he could be (and arguably should’ve have a better night as he was pulled after 78 pitches due to being down 1-0). He finished allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP though was saddled with the loss. While he’s 1-3 on the season he’s now allowed 2 ER or fewer in three straight starts, has 16 K vs. 2 BB over his last two outings and has been generating enough groundballs (44.4% entering the day, 7 groundballs yesterday vs. 6 fly balls). As long as he keeps the ball in the ballpark (5 HR allowed) the results are going to be there. He has significant upside this season and he’s showing it.
3) Don’t buy into Wade Miley…
Sure he allowed 2 ER over 7.0 IP against the Rays and now owns a 2.08 ERA and 1.00 WHIP on the season, but don’t be deceived by the numbers. Last night showed how much luck he’s enjoyed, as he allowed 4 H and 6 BB yet managed to limit the damage. He also struck out 8, giving him three straight starts with 8+ K. However all of the numbers entering the day pointed to a significant regression across the board:
- .162 BABIP
- 6% Strand Rate
- 9% SwStr%
He’s going to implode, sooner rather than later, so now isn’t the time to invest.
4) Don’t overlook the performance from Tyler Collins…
When your offense racks up 19 runs on 24 hits, including 5 HR, it’s easy to ignore the individual performances. While Collins didn’t hit one of the home runs, he was hitting second and went 3-5 with 3 RBI and 2 R. Manning CF, there are AB to be had over the course of the season (even after JD Martinez returns) so performances like this are important. He hasn’t shown much this season, hitting .264 with 1 HR and 5 RBI over 53 AB, as he owns a 14-to-2 strikeout-to-walk rate. He has shown some power and speed coming up through the minors, with 15/10 type upside, and has been hitting the ball extremely hard (23.5% line drive rate entering the day). Don’t be surprised if this is the start of a hot streak, making him an intriguing buy candidate as long as he continues to get AB.
5) Keon Broxton shows a glimmer of hope…
A popular breakout prior to the season, Broxton clearly hasn’t backed up the hype over the first few weeks. However he showed what he’s capable of yesterday, going 1-2 (along with 2 BB) with 2 R and 2 SB. He’s now 5-16 with 4 R and 3 SB over his past five games, with 4 K vs. 3 BB over that span. The big question has always been his ability to get on base, as he entered the day with a 41.0% strikeout rate and 4.9% walk rate, after posting a 36.1% strikeout rate a year ago. While things have looked better of late, there’s no guarantee that he can fix it (16.0% SwStr% entering the day). With Hernan Perez hitting (he went 3-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday) and sliding into CF late in the game, as well as a slew of prospects coming quickly, Broxton is hardly a lock to keep his job. He’s worth owning, but if he can’t maintain his recent success he’s going to find his way to the bench in short order.
6) Don’t forget about Kennys Vargas…
He recently returned to the Majors and has been in the lineup as the DH the past two days. Yesterday he went 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, showing the type of power potential he has. Before we get too excited, though, keep in mind that he was hitting .227 with 2 HR over 44 AB at Triple-A as he was struggling with strikeouts (15 K). He has struck out 3 times in 9 AB since returning, so it’s not an issue that’s going to suddenly disappear. Vargas is the type of player to ride if/when he’s going well, but be prepared to move on when the stumbles begin.
7) The White Sox take it to Danny Duffy…
He went just 4.2 innings allowing 6 ER on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, with Todd Frazier (2-3, 3 RBI and 3 R) and Leury Garcia (3-4, 2 RBI, 1 R) helping to lead the charge. It was Duffy’s first poor start of the season, as his ERA rose from 1.32 to a still respectable 2.81. However that doesn’t mean that it’s not the start of things to come. While he didn’t allow a home run yesterday he appears to be a ticking time bomb there (39.6% groundball rate entering the day, just 2 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls yesterday). He also hasn’t been generating many strikeouts, with 24 K over 32.0 IP. He did enter the day with a 13.0% SwStr%, but had only 5 swinging strikes yesterday. Hopefully that’s not the sign of things to come and there is little reason for concern (yet). The home runs are a different story, though, so be prepared for another bump or two to come.
8) A poor performance from Joe Ross…
Granted it came in Coors Field, where the teams combined for 27 runs and 29 hits, but that doesn’t mean that it was any less ugly. Ross finished the day allowing 5 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 4.2 IP as he allowed a pair of home runs. The Nationals brought him along slowly this season, with this being just his second start, and obviously we will give him a pass due to the locale. Still he may have struggled anywhere as he wasn’t generating groundballs (4 vs. 8 fly balls) and wasn’t getting swings and misses (7). Considering he only had 8 swinging strikes in his first start, despite generating 7 K, it’s going to be something to watch. There’s no doubting the upside, but there are some warning signs.
9) The renaissance of Patrick Corbin continues…
Taking on the Padres he allowed 2 R on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP to improve to 2-3 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. Obviously that WHIP isn’t impressive, but he’s been generating more strikeouts of late (17 K over 13.0 IP) and he generated an impressive 19 swinging strikes yesterday. Of course both of these outings came against San Diego, so we do have to keep that in mind. He entered the day having given up a 22.1% line drive rate so it’s not a guarantee that he’s going to continue thriving. There’s enough upside to own him, but don’t consider him a must use off these past few showings.
10) Jesse Hahn does it again…
Taking on the Angels he tossed 8.0 shutout innings allowing just 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 6. Unfortunately the bullpen cost him the W, but it’s hard to overlook his stellar 2.08 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over his first four appearances. Of course he’s also benefited from a .205 BABIP and 80.5% strand rate, hasn’t been generating groundballs at the same rate he has in the past (43.8% in ’17 vs. 50.4% for his career) and continues to show a lack of strikeout stuff (6.92 K/9). In other words he’s an implosion in waiting, so don’t get too excited.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MILB.com
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|