by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Aaron Judge continued his assault on the American League, going 4-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 4 R (he’s now hitting .344 with 21 HR and 47 RBI on the season). Robbie Ray had the strikeout stuff working, racking up 12 K over 6.2 shutout innings against the Brewers (he allowed 3 H and 4 BB). Justin Upton, one of the streakiest players in the game, continued his scorching hot streak as he went 3-5 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R to extend his hitting streak to 10 games (4 HR and 17 RBI over the streak). What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) Has the time come to finally give up on Kevin Gausman…
The fact that he allowed 7 ER over 3.1 innings against the Yankees would be bad enough, and we could even stomach the 8 H allowed. However seeing him walk 6 batters without recording a strikeout is a significant concern. He’s now walked 5 or more batters in two of his past three starts, both of which came against the Yankees. While his control hasn’t been great, it generally hasn’t been an issue this season (3.82 BB/9 entering the day). It’s the home runs (1.50 HR/9) and lack of strikeouts (6.41 K/9) that are the big issues. He entered with an 8.4% SwStr% and 28.8% O-Swing%, and if he’s not going to generate strikeouts the ugly outings will only continue. While there is still some hope, in shallower formats we can’t fault anyone for being ready to cut bait and move on.
2) Seth Lugo stars in ’17 debut…
Taking on the Braves he allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP to earn the W. It would be easy to get excited, especially after he posted a 2.67 ERA over 64.0 IP in the Majors last season, but we need to keep everything in perspective. Remember last season he benefited from a .230 BABIP and 85.7% strand rate, so the ERA is not a mark he’s going to be able to maintain. He also is not a big-time strikeout pitcher and he also faces questions in regards to his home run rate (7 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday, 42.8% groundball rate in ’16). While he is a potential streaming option, he’s not a lock to produce.
3) Another multi stolen base day for Cameron Maybin…
He may not have been the offensive star (Eric Young Jr. went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB), but Maybin’s performance was definitely notable. He went 2-4 with 3 R and 2 SB, giving him 6 SB in two games since coming off the DL (and 19 SB on the season). While he’s always had speed, he hasn’t shown this type of upside since stealing 40 bases back in 2011. If he can maintain this pace he’s going to make an impact, especially as he’s commanding the strike zone and getting on base (7.4% SwStr%, 21.0% O-Swing%). While he’s not going to keep up this pace, don’t expect his value to disappear either.
4) Odubel Herrera’s hit streak reaches 10 games…
He went 3-5 with 2 RBI and 1 R to extend the streak, and he was also once again hitting atop the lineup (for the second straight day). It’s a spot in the order he may see more often, especially with Cesar Hernandez hitting the DL, but his play would’ve justified the move anyways. Over the streak he’s gone 18-41 with 2 HR, 11 RBI and 9 R. It’s been a nice run, but we can’t overlook that he entered the day with a 13.7% SwStr% and 40.9% O-Swing%, and he did strikeout once yesterday. If he can’t improve on those numbers the production will quickly disappear. Ride the wave, but kicking the tires and seeing if you can cash in on it also makes sense.
5) Jake Arrieta just can’t seem to get right…
Taking on the Rockies he allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 4.1 IP. While his 4.68 ERA and 1.33 WHIP are obviously concerning numbers, he continues to fail to be able to work deep into games. In fact he’s only gone more than 6 IP once all season, and that came in his second start. On this date last season he had worked 7+ innings in 9 of his 13 starts, so that shows you the difference. Home runs have been among the biggest issues, and he’s not generating the groundballs he has the previous few years (43.8% entering the day, 4 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls yesterday). Sure you can claim poor luck (66.6% strand rate), but it goes beyond that.
6) Austin Slater finishes just short of the cycle…
He went 3-5 with 4 RBI and 1 R, picking up a single, double (his first in the Majors) and triple (also his first in the Majors). He’s now posted back-to-back multi-hit games and has just 5 K vs. 2 BB over 25 AB since joining the Giants. Before we get excited, though, keep in mind that he’s not much of a power hitter (and he’s been a groundball machine, at 81.3% entering the day) with a groundball rate of 52.4% and 52.2% at Triple-A over the past two seasons. He also will see his strikeout rate rise (14.1% SwStr%) and lacks elite speed. In other words don’t bother.
7) An ugly outing from James Paxton…
He just couldn’t get on track against the Blue Jays, allowing a HR to Josh Donaldson (3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R) in the first and watching it go downhill from there. Paxton finished allowing 4 ER on 8 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 4.0 IP. Of course you could argue that he was due for a poor showing (81.6% strand rate entering the day) and that he should continue to see his home run rate rise (43.0% groundball rate). Regardless he continues to show swing and miss stuff (13.4% SwStr%) and good control (2.63 BB/9 entering the day, so it’s easy to argue that yesterday’s struggles were an aberration). The stuff and the upside is there, so look for a strong rebound in his next time out.
8) Cody Bellinger continues to rediscover his footing…
He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, giving him 3 HR over his past two games and it’s his first multi-hit game since May 20. He has struggled with strikeouts since joining the Dodgers, entering the day with a 14.8% SwStr% and 33.0% strikeout rate. He’s struggled equally against all types of pitches, with Whiff% ranging from 15.35% (hard pitches) and 18.31% (breaking balls). You would think he’d be making more consistent contact against fastballs, and the fact that he isn’t is a bit of a concern. That’s going to be the biggest thing to monitor, because if he can’t improve he’ll be nothing more than a power option and little more (as he’s not going to hit for a strong average).
9) So much for the breakout of Dinelson Lamet…
After bursting onto the scene in his first two starts, the wheels have quickly fallen off for Lamet who got rocked by the Royals for 7 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP (his second straight start allowing 7 ER). He proved to be extremely homer prone, with 3 HR against (including one from Mike Moustakas, who finished going 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R). He’s now allowed at least 1 HR in each of his four starts, and while he was generating groundballs at Triple-A prior to his recall (50.5%) that hasn’t been the story of his career (and he hasn’t been getting them in the Majors this season). So the home run issues could continue, while he also lacks elite control. Throw in wins being impossible to count on and it’s pretty easy to walk away at this point.
10) Daniel Norris gets the W…
That doesn’t necessarily mean he was impressive, however, as he allowed 2 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP against the Red Sox. He now owns an uninspiring 4.41 ERA and 1.61 WHIP, and while there has been a little bit of poor luck (.333 BABIP entering the day) it’s hardly enough of an explanation as he’s also struggled with his control (4.03 BB/9) and simply not been fooling opposing hitters (26.0% O—Swing%). Not a big groundball pitcher (2 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls), home runs also pose a problem. While the strikeouts are solid, no groundballs + poor control is going to equal problems. Unless he finds one of the two he’ll be nothing more than a streaming option.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|