by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Jacob deGrom continued his rebound, dominating the Nationals (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K) while also providing a bit of offense (solo home run). Nolan Arenado capped off his cycle with a walkoff home run, finishing the day going 4-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R. It was another big day for Edwin Encarnacion, going 3-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) Another dominant outing from Jacob Faria…
The offense gave him plenty of support, led by Logan Morrison (2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R) and Steven Souza (2-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R), but that shouldn’t take away from Faria’s strong outing. Taking on the Tigers he allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP to improve to 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA. Obviously he’s not going to maintain these types of numbers, as he carries home run risk (he allowed 3 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls yesterday, after posting a 41.5% groundball rate entering the day) and is unlikely to maintain this type of excellent control (3.38 BB/9 at Triple-A, 4 BB over 19.2 IP thus far). While he’s going to remain a viable option thanks to his strikeout stuff, as he had 17 swinging strikes yesterday, keep in mind that there will likely be struggles in his future.
2) Kenta Maeda with a successful return to the rotation…
Taking on the Reds, on the road, he allowed 1 R on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP to earn the W. He was pulled after just 78 pitches, the first time he’s pitched since June 9 (and he threw 60 pitches in that one, earning a 4.0 inning save). While he’s struggled overall this season, it’s easy to envision him having earned another start off of this performance and the recent struggles of Rich Hill. While he hasn’t generated many groundballs this season (34.4% entering the day), it’s still easy to imagine him improving on his 1.60 HR/9 and 69.0% strand rate entering the day. While we still wouldn’t give up a lot to acquire him, given the depth of the Dodgers’ rotation, there is reason to believe.
3) Trey Mancini continues to make us forget about Chris Davis…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. It’s his third straight mutli-hit game and also extends his hitting streak to nine games (15-35 with 3 HR, 8 RBI and 9 R). Of course, before we get too excited we have to keep in mind that he has struggled with strikeouts (27.2% entering the day, courtesy of a 15.8% SwStr%) and also benefited from a .373 BABIP (17.8% line drive rate). Throw in a 25.0% HR/FB, and the total picture comes into focus. Mancini has talent, but there’s a good chance that the numbers regress before long. Consider him an ideal sell high candidate.
4) Did Robbie Ray’s issues finally catch up with him…
After three straight 10+ K performances (and four straight with at least 9 K), Ray struggled in Philadelphia allowing 4 ER on 8 H and 4 BB, striking out 7, over 5.1 IP. He also allowed a pair of home runs. Neither the runs allowed or the home runs should come as much of a surprise, considering that he entered the day with these marks:
- 83 BB/9
- 3% groundball rate
- 87 HR/9
No one will question the strikeout stuff, but this could simply be the beginning of his overall regression (especially pitching in Arizona). While he’s not a must sell, seeing what you can acquire for him isn’t the craziest idea.
5) Jimmy Nelson stars against San Diego…
Yes we have to take the performance with a little bit of a grain of salt, considering the matchup, but it was dominant nonetheless. Nelson fired a complete game victory, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 10. If those numbers are enough, he generated 18 swinging strikes and was a groundball machine (13 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls). Those all support what he’s actually been doing all season long, having entered the day with an 8.88 K/9, 2.23 BB/9 and 47.7% groundball rate. While there have been some bumps along the way, Nelson is finally living up to the hype that had been bestowed upon him back in 2013/2014.
6) Another big day from Carlos Gomez…
He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, giving him at least 1 H and 2 RBI in each of his three games since coming off the DL (4-12 with 2 HR, 8 RBI and 4 R). While it’s easy to get excited, he also has 4 K vs. 0 BB over this span, which has been an issue for him even when healthy (he entered the day with a 27.2% strikeout rate, courtesy of a 13.9% SwStr% and 38.1% O-Swing%). He’s going to bring with him an enticing mix of power (12 doubles, 1 triple and 6 HR over 154 AB) and speed (5 SB), but there’s significant risk in his average (he entered the day with a .330 BABIP and is still hitting just .253). It’s going to limit his value, but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored.
7) Is Brandon Crawford awakening from his slumber…
He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R, his second three hit, three RBI day over his past three. He’s still hitting just .258 with 6 HR and 32 RBI on the season, and when you look at the numbers there’s reason for some skepticism. He entered the day with a meager 18.5% line drive rate and 48.4% groundball rate, and considering his 16.2% HR/FB from ’15 appears to be the aberration (8.2% for his career) it doesn’t appear likely that he hits for consistent power. He also swings and misses a lot (13.5% SwStr%), further hurting his outlook. While it’s been a solid few days, it’s hard to get on board with buying him.
8) A somewhat solid outing from Jharrel Cotton…
He certainly wasn’t spectacular, but he pitched well enough to defeat the Yankees as he allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 6. His big issue was with home runs, allowing long balls to Matt Holliday (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) and Didi Gregorius (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R). Of course that’s been a consistent problem all season long, with a 37.3% groundball rate and 1.64 HR/9. He’s also had control problems, entering with a 4.18 BB/9 (though he was better than that in the minors), and he also hasn’t generated significant strikeout marks (7.91 K/9, though there’s a little bit more upside). Still, he’s now allowed 2 HR in each of his past three starts and 2+ HR in five of his past seven. Even pitching in Oakland he’s struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark, and that’s going to keep him from relevancy.
9) Can John Lackey get back on track…
It’s been a rough season for Lackey, though he pitched well at Pittsburgh as he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP. The lone run came courtesy of a home run from Jordy Mercer (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), a consistent problem for him (seven straight starts allowing at least 1 HR, with 20 HR over 81.1 IP). While his 43.5% groundball rate isn’t going to blow you away, it’s on par with his career ark (43.7%) and home runs have never been this type of issue before (0.99 HR/9). Couple that with strikeouts (8.72 K/9) and control (2.75 BB/9) and there’s reason to be buying. This start may not blow you away, but it could just be the start of things to come.
10) The struggles of David Price continued…
While Xander Bogaerts was guiding Boston to victory (3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R), Price was limping towards a W against Houston. Lasting just 5.0 IP he allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 3 BB, striking out 3. He allowed 2 HR and has now allowed at least on in all five of his starts (7 HR in 28.0 IP). Control has always been one of his strengths, but his BB/9 now sits at 4.50 and the strikeouts haven’t generally been there. There is obviously upside (10.5% SwStr%, for instance) and we wouldn’t want to pull the plug quite yet. That said sitting him down and waiting for him to show signs isn’t the craziest idea either. Stay patient and see if he can figure it out.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|