by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Mookie Betts had a monster day atop the Red Sox lineup, going 4-6 with 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB. Justin Verlander took one on the chin at the hands of the Indians, allowing 7 ER on 9 H and 3 BB, failing to register a strikeout, over 3.1 IP. Bryce Harper powered the Nationals over St. Louis, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) The emergence of Jose Ramirez continued…
He went 3-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R, giving him 3 HR over his past two games and an impressive line of .325 with 15 HR, 42 RBI, 59 R and 9 SB. He entered the day with a 12.7% HR/FB, which you can claim is unrealistic considering his 6.0% in ’16. However considering his 46 doubles and 3 triples (as well as 11 HR), it’s not hard to envision a growth in power considering he won’t turn 25-years old until the middle of September. Couple that development with his unbelievable approach at the plate (5.5% SwStr%%, 24.9% O-Swing%) and it’s easy to see why he’s developed into one of the better players in the game. Throw in a .331 BABIP for good measure, which shouldn’t regress, and there’s every reason to buy in and enjoy the ride. Don’t consider him a sell high candidate, because he could conceivably maintain this production.
2) Jake Arrieta tries to show there’s still hope…
While Ian Happ provided plenty of support (3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R), it was Arrieta who starred against Cincinnati. He tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, as he did a very good job of generating groundballs (11 vs. 4 fly balls). While you can argue that a lot of his “struggles” have been due to the luck finally catching up to him (.318 BABIP entering the day), the bigger issue has been the dramatic falloff in his ability to generate groundballs (56.2% and 52.6% the previous two seasons, yet 43.9% in ’17). An improvement there would go a long way in reestablishing himself as a viable option, though that’s not to say that it’s a lock (8 swinging strikes, for example). Don’t lose hope, but don’t get overly excited either.
3) Another strong start from Kevin Gausman…
While Alex Cobb was getting beaten up (6.1 IP, 7 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K), Gausman was stifling the Rays as he fired 7.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 9. He has now fired 12.1 shutout innings over his past two starts, and has 9 K in two of his past three outings. Both are promising signs, as we his 21 swinging strikes yesterday. There’s been a lot of issues hovering over him this season, whether it’s been control (4.29 BB/9), lack of strikeouts (7.01 K/9), poor luck (.369 BABIP) or home runs (1.47 HR/9). He did post an 8.44 K/9 in June, so it appears he’s fixed that issue, though it’s a bit too early to assume the others have been rectified. While the upside remains, don’t consider it a certainly for his surge to continue.
4) Tyson Ross continues to underwhelm….
Many had high hopes when he returned from the DL, but now four starts into his return it’s getting harder and harder to trust him. Yesterday it was his control that betrayed him, as he allowed 4 ER on 4 H and 5 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP. While control hasn’t necessarily been a significant issue, he now has 11 BB over 19.2 IP helping him to a 6.41 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He was once among the elite groundball pitchers in the game, but he had just 6 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls yesterday (38.1% groundball rate entering the day). Without that, as well as the inconsistent control, is going to lead to mediocre results. While there’s enough upside to keep him stashed in deeper formats, for now it’s impossible to have him in your lineup.
5) Marcell Ozuna paces the Marlins attack…
They racked up 10 R on 17 H, with Ozuna leading the charge as he went 3-6 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. He’s now hitting .316 with 22 HR and 59 RBI on the season, but can he maintain this type of pace? Keep in mind that he entered the day with a .351 BABIP and 27.0% HR/FB (14.3% for his career). With a mediocre, at best, 32.0% fly ball rate as well as only 13 doubles it’s easy to envision the power slowly drying up and the BABIP to regress as well. That means that a total falloff is possible, and his value may never be higher. Shop around and see what could be out there.
6) Another big day from Yuli Gurriel…
He finished going 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R, his second straight day with a HR (6-8, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R), raising his season numbers to .292 with 10 HR and 39 RBI. While he doesn’t draw many walks, there’s clearly some power potential as he’s added 21 doubles. Of course his 18.8% line drive rate is nothing to brag about, and it’s also easy to envision his strikeout rate rising a bit (12.5%). While there’s value as a streaming option, the overall upside is a bit limited at this point. Ride him while he’s hot, but don’t expect him to be a set him and forget him type option.
7) Whit Merrifield shows off his potential value…
He’s been locked in atop the Royals’ lineup and a day like yesterday shows why he’s there and carries potential fantasy appeal as he went 3-5 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 3 SB. He’s now hitting .286 with 6 HR, 31 RBI, 28 R and 11 SB over 241 AB and offers the potential for even more in the R/SB departments. He’s proven coming up in the minors that he has 30+ SB potential, and with a strong contact rate (8.1% SwStr%) and the potential for more in the BABIP (.300 despite a 20.3% line drive rate) the average could also rise (or at least stay consistent). That should bring more runs scored, assuming the hitters behind him produce, and that makes a viable middle infielder in all formats.
8) Don’t get too excited by Julio Teheran’s performance…
The outing would seem like a positive, as he allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 4 BB, striking out 8, over 6.1 IP in a no-decision against the A’s. However there are a few things that stand out:
- 1 HR allowed (he’s now allowed at least 1 HR in nine straight starts and has 20 HR over 96.1 IP)
- 3 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls (see the above struggle)
- 10 swinging strikes (he entered the day with an 8.6% SwStr% and 6.20 K/9, so while it would appear to be a promising step on the surface the concerns continue)
Throw in the control issues and we’re not getting excited. Maybe someone in your league sees this as a reason to buy, and while you still won’t get full value it may be the right time to cut bait.
9) A strong rebound from Taijuan Walker…
While the bullpen cost him a W, Walker had a strong start against the Rockies as he allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP. After failing to register a strikeout in his last start it definitely was an important step, though this one outing shouldn’t convince us that he’s found any consistency. He’s had his share of control issues (9 BB over his previous two starts) and the strikeout rate has been somewhat hit or miss. He also has a history of home run issues, though that hasn’t been a problem as of yet (he entered with a 0.65 HR/9). If he can maintain that there will be hope, but for now he’s more of a streaming option (or stash on your bench in an unfavorable matchup).
10) The ascent of Manuel Margot continued…
As if the speed he’s been showing hasn’t been enough, Margot went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday. He now owns a five-game hitting streak, going 10-19 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R and 4 SB. While he had struggled prior to going on the DL, overall he’s hitting .279 with 5 HR and 9 SB over 208 AB, putting him on pace for roughly a 15/25 season over a full slate of AB. Speed was always supposed to be his biggest asset, and he’s also hit the ball hard (23.3% line drive rate) and shown a good approach (8.9% SwStr%, 31.2% O-Swing%). Whether or not he can maintain the power remains to be seen, but the other skills alone make him a strong fantasy asset.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|