by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Jorge Soler made his return from the DL, going 0-3 while hitting seventh for the Royals. Ryan Zimmerman amazingly did it again, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. Cody Bellinger continues to prove that he belongs in the Majors, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R (he’s now hitting .357 with 5 HR and 14 RBI over 42 AB in the Majors).
1) Is Logan Morrison’s hot start for real…
It was another big day yesterday, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .275 with 7 HR and 18 RBI on the season. Morrison has struggled to generate power since 2011, when he hit 23 HR, and you have to wonder if there’s any chance he can come reasonably close to maintaining his early season pace. He entered the day with a 47.8% groundball rate and 24.0% HR/FB, which is nearly double his career mark (12.4%). Considering that he’s also more of a platoon player, sitting against southpaws, and there isn’t much value. It’s a nice start, but don’t expect him to be able to maintain it.
2) Is now the time to sell Dylan Bundy…
He defeated the White Sox last night, allowing 3 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP and is sporting a 2.17 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. It’s been an impressive start to the season, but there are two numbers from yesterday that encompasses legitimate concerns:
- 7 swinging strikes
- 3 groundballs vs. 12 fly balls
He did enter the day with a 10.3% SwStr%, but he’s now had 3 K or fewer in each of his past four starts and has 8 swinging strikes or fewer in three straight starts. He also hasn’t generated many groundballs all season (32.7% entering the day), and there’s reason to believe that home runs will ultimately cost him. Throw in an 86.7% strand rate and it’s well worth kicking the tires and selling high before the implosion comes.
3) Gerrit Cole dominates again…
He only has 1 W, which is frustrating for fantasy owners, but It’s hard to complain about a 3.14 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 42 K over 43.0 IP. It certainly goes to show why wins aren’t the best indicator of a pitcher’s performance. Yesterday he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP and settled for a no decision. In fact he’s allowed 2 ER or fewer in five straight starts, and more than 3 ER only once. He’s showing swing and miss stuff while also generating groundballs (9 vs. 3 fly balls yesterday, 46.1% groundball rate entering the day) and not issuing walks (just 9 BB on the season). His biggest issue has been home runs, he allowed his seventh of the season yesterday, but given the other skills that shouldn’t be. He has the upside of an ace and is showing it this season.
4) Aledmys Diaz’ continues his surge…
He went 3-4 with 2 RBI, giving him 10 hits over his past three games (10-13, 5 RBI, 2 R) raising his average to .281. While he got off to a slow start, couple the average with 5 HR, 13 RBI, 12 R and 3 SB and the overall line is suddenly highly respectable. There were some concerning underlying numbers entering the day, including a 37.9% O-Swing% (28.2% last season) and 12.2% line drive rate. Those numbers have been improving, considering the line drive rate was 9.6% and his O-Swing% was 40.8% at the end of April. The improvement should continue, so while the window to buy low has likely closed he’s still well worth owning. Also of note is seeing him play LF last night, due to the injuries in the outfield. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets more time there, because that would certainly help his value.
5) The Cincinnati Reds torch Ty Blach…
He managed just 3.0 IP allowing 10 R (8 earned) on 11 H and 1 BB, striking out 0. He allowed 2 HR, which were obviously the big blows, but the entire outing was a complete disaster. He generating 3 swinging strikes on the day, which has been an issue since making his MLB debut last season (4.7% SwStr% entering the day). That low of a mark is going to lead to trouble and this type of blowup is always going to be in play. While he’s not this bad, keep in mind that he was never a strikeout pitcher in the minors nor was he an elite groundball pitcher. Even as a streaming option he’s tough to trust.
6) Starlin Castro quietly producing gaudy numbers…
All of the attention has been on Aaron Judge (though he went 0-5 yesterday) and Aaron Hicks (who went 4-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB yesterday), but few are focusing in on Castro. He too enjoyed a big day yesterday, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .381 with 6 HR and 19 RBI while hitting in the middle of the lineup. It’s obvious that he’s in for a regression, considering a .417 BABIP entering the day, but the power surge appears to be for real (15.0% HR/FB in ’16, 16.7% entering the day yesterday). Couple that with getting back to a better approach at the plate (8.7% SwStr%) and there’s a lot to like. He’s not this good, so selling makes sense if you can really cash in, but don’t be afraid to continue utilizing him.
7) A dominant outing from Tyler Anderson…
It’s been a disappointing season for Anderson, but he was tremendous against the Diamondbacks last night. Going 6.0 innings he allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, to outpitch Patrick Corbin (8 ER on 9 H and 1 BB over 4.0 IP) and earn the W. Even with the impressive outing Anderson owns a 6.69 ERA, so it’s obviously hard to get excited. This is only the second time in seven starts that he’s allowed less than 4 ER in a start and it’s the first time he hasn’t allowed a HR (9 HR allowed). He’s supposed to be a groundball pitcher, though that hasn’t been the case (35.7% groundball rate entering the day). He did have 7 groundballs vs. 0 fly balls yesterday, so maybe he’s turning the corner. If that’s the case he’ll be a great waiver wire snag, but he needs to prove it.
8) The rebound of Ryon Healy continues…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, his second straight game with a home run. Obviously it hasn’t been much, though he is now 4-9 with 2 HR over his past two games and does give hope for what’s possible. The A’s have stuck with Healy and it should pay off, though he needs to improve his strikeout rate (12.1% SwStr% entering the day, leading to a 27.9% strikeout rate). Until he does that his performances will be inconsistent (at best). The upside remains and he showed it last season, so stay the course and hope this is the start of a hot stretch.
9) JC Ramirez does it again, kind of…
Going 6.0 innings against the Astros he allowed just 1 ER, though he did allow 8 H and 2 BB while striking out 2. He was generating groundballs (11), but he wasn’t getting any swings and misses (4). While he has shown strikeouts since shifting to the rotation, but he’s seen it fall off a bit (he only had 9 swinging strikes in his last outing). It’s possible that the league is starting to get a book on him as a starter, making the necessary adjustments (this was his second start against the Astros, with 16 swinging strikes in the first one). That’s not to say there isn’t upside, but if he can’t maintain the strikeout rate the numbers are going to implode.
10) The Nationals get to Vince Velasquez…
He allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP with 2 HR doing the bulk of the damage. While the strikeouts have been there this season, he’s not generating many swings outside the strike zone (24.9% O-Swing%) and that’s led to walk issues (4.05 BB/9). Throw in the home run troubles (2.16 HR/9, after a 1.44 last season) and the concerns are legitimate. While there is going to be better luck (69.8% strand rate), until he fixes the two glaring problems he’s not going to be a trustworthy option and is more of a player to stream off your bench.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||April 26|
|Second Base||May 1|
|Third Base||May 4|