by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The struggles of Julio Teheran continued, as he allowed 7 ER on 11 H (including one of Zack Cozart’s home runs, as he went 3-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R) and 2 BB, striking out 4. George Springer had a big day atop the Astros’ lineup, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. Andrew McCutchen, who has struggled much of the season, delivered a big day as he went 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R, helping lead Pittsburgh to a blowout victory. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) Has Luis Severino finally found consistency…
That has always been the biggest issue facing him, but Severino has seemingly found it of late. He had to settle for a no decision, as he was locked against Marcus Stroman (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K), but that doesn’t take away from Severino’s strong start. He went 7.0 innings allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 7. It’s his fourth straight start allowing 2 ER or fewer (and also with 7+ K). He was a groundball machine, with 11 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls (he entered the day with a 54.4% groundball rate), and he also generated 13 swinging strikes (11.6% SwStr% entering the day). You couple those two things with his always solid control (2.20 BB/9) and it’s clear that he’s emerging. We’ll have to see if he can maintain these numbers, but he’s well worth owning to find out.
2) Ender Inciarte enjoys a career day…
Generally known for his speed, Inciarte went 5-5 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R. It’s been an impressive season overall, hitting .299 with 6 HR, 24 RBI, 35 R and 10 SB. While this one came on the road, he’s certainly benefited from Atlanta’s new home ballpark (.372 with 3 HR and 10 RBI). He also is better than his .257 BABIP on the road and the overall numbers are right in line with what we’d expect (.317 BABIP, 14.5% strikeout rate). In other words, while things are a bit skewed he should be able to maintain the strong numbers (outside of maybe the power).
3) Andrew Benintendi breaks out of his slump in a big way…
After hitting .204 in May, Benintendi has opened June going 1-9 dropping his average to .259. However he busted out of it on Sunday, going 3-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB. He entered the day with a 14.5% strikeout rate, courtesy of a 6.2% SwStr% and 28.2% O-Swing%, so his plate discipline wasn’t the issue. He had struggled to a 16.1% line drive rate overall, though considering he was at 24.7% in April (and 25.0% in the Majors in ’16) there is little question that his 9.5% mark in May was the aberration not the rule. This should be just the beginning of a rebound, so hopefully you didn’t lose hope.
4) Has the time come to give up on Matt Moore…
Taking on the Phillies he lasted just 4.0 IP, giving up 5 R (4 earned) on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 1. Considering the matchup we all expected better results, and his 5 swinging strikes is a major disappointment. Having entered the day with an 8.9% SwStr% it’s hard to expect something to suddenly change, especially as the velocity on his fastball is down (91.8 mph entering the day). Couple that with the lack of groundballs (38.6%) and while we want to point to poor luck (69.9% strand rate), it’s simply not the issue. Moore doesn’t look like the pitcher who once carried significant upside, and outside of the deepest of formats it would be fairly easy to move on.
5) Is it time to believe in Yulieski Gurriel…
He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, giving him a 5-game hitting streak (7-20 with 1 HR, 7 RBI and 6 R). He entered the day with a 12.5% strikeout rate, and even with a limited line drive rate there’s a chance he improves upon his .279 BABIP (he has been hitting the ball significantly harder in June as it is). There’s also some more power to tap into, and in a deep Houston lineup he has the potential to accumulate both RBI and R. While he’s hardly a must add, the upside makes him an intriguing player to consider.
6) Jose Berrios continued his solid production…
Taking on the Angels he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP to improve to 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA and 0.89 WHIP over five starts in the Majors. He’s certainly put his ’16 debacle (8.02 ERA) behind him and is now showing the skills that put him on the fantasy map initially. You can obviously argue that he’s benefited from some luck (.167 BABIP, 81.7% strand rate entering the day) and he will certainly regress from his current numbers. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be unusable, as he does bring strikeouts and control, just be prepared for a few blowups along the way. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to consider selling high on him, but at the same time don’t go out of your way to do so.
7) A strong rebound performance from Sonny Gray…
After getting touched up for 7 ER against the Indians in his previous outing, Gray was solid against the Nationals in what ultimately broke down into a late inning shootout. He wasn’t to blame, allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP. Of course everyone got excited after his 11 K performance a few starts back, though his 7 swinging strikes in this one should put it in perspective (we also have to keep in mind that it came against the Miami Marlins). To his credit he is generating groundballs (60.0% groundball rate entering the day, 11 groundballs vs. 5 fly ball yesterday) and avoiding walks (2.62 BB/9), so there’s reason to be buying as a solid mid-rotation starter. However don’t expect a major contribution in the strikeout rate, so know what you are buying.
8) Ariel Miranda shuts down the Rays…
Miranda went the distance, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, to defeat Tampa Bay. He amassed an impressive 18 swinging strikes, though his 9.6% SwStr% and 22.9% O-Swing% don’t necessarily support that type of number. He also doesn’t generate much in the way of groundballs (39.2% groundball rate entering the day, 4 groundballs vs. 14 fly balls yesterday), meaning home runs are going to be an issue (and they have been, with a 1.54 HR/9). While it was a nice start, don’t get overly excited by the performance.
9) Jeff Hoffman steps in and thrives…
Forced into duty with Tyler Anderson hitting the DL, Hoffman thrived against the Padres (so keep that in mind) as he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP. Hoffman has now made 3 starts in the Majors, allowing 5 ER over 19.1 IP and he’s shown impressive strikeout stuff in the process (24 K). The problem is that home runs could be a significant issue, especially pitching in Coors Field, as he entered the day with a 23.5% groundball rate. He has been better at Triple-A over the past two seasons (43.9%, 46.0%), though he also is unlikely to maintain his current strikeout rate. While he appears to be incredibly enticing, given the current numbers, expect the numbers to regress significantly moving forward. There’s potential, but for now consider him a worthwhile option when starting on the road and not someone to trust at Coors Field.
10) Ian Happ leads the Cubs to victory…
Hitting atop the order he went 2-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, with both home runs coming off of Michael Wacha (4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 5 K). No one is going to question the upside that Happ brings, but he has struggled with strikeouts (35.1%) as he has swung and missed far too much (20.6% SwStr%). He has been bad against all types of pitches (17.86% Whiff% against offspeed pitches is his base mark), with his 33.96% Whiff% against breaking balls being a highly concerning mark. He also is unlikely to maintain his 23.5% HR/FB, so there are a lot of concerns right now. He should be able to make the adjustments, but it also wouldn’t be shocking if he ultimately returns to Triple-A to correct the issues.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|