10 Important Stories From 07/15/17 Box Scores: Don’t Buy Arrieta, Breakout Youngsters & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Max Scherzer dominated the Reds, though that shouldn’t be a surprise, as he threw 6.0 shutout innings with 10 K.  Cody Bellinger had a big night, to say the least, going 4-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R while hitting for the cycle.  Madison Bumgarner made his long awaited return, though settled for a no decision against the Padres as he allowed 3 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:


1) Luis Severino tried to match Chris Sale…
Obviously keeping pace with Sale is no easy task, and while he fell short that shouldn’t take away from what was a highly impressive performance:

  • Luis Severino – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K
  • Chris Sale – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 13 K

The game would ultimately be a 16 inning marathon, with the pitching clearly being the stars.  Severino now owns a 3.40 ERA, 110 WHIP, 10.29 K/9 and 2.30 BB/9 over 113.2 IP on the season.  As “gravy”, he also owns a 51.5% groundball rate and impressive 12.1% SwStr% (he had 13 swinging strikes yesterday).  With that type of makeup he should continue to be a productive option and one that’s well worth owning in all formats.


2) Despite the strong start, the concerns for Jake Arrieta remain…
He shut down the Orioles in Baltimore allowing 2 R (1 ER) on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 6.2 IP.  He made one mistake, a home run to Caleb Joseph (2-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R).  That has been an issue (1.25 HR/9), though it’s not the biggest one.  Instead it’s the sudden regression in his strikeouts that is raising red flags.  He had just 3 swinging strikes yesterday, his fifth straight start with 8 or fewer.  That will ultimately catch up with him, so despite the current ERA improvement (he at 4.17) there’s a good chance that the numbers turn back in negative fashion.  If you are an owner now is the perfect time to try and sell him as other owners probably believe that he’s figured it out.


3) Tommy Pham just continues to hit…
With all of the injuries to the St. Louis outfield he’s locked into regular playing time, at least for now, though even if everyone was healthy the team would be hard pressed to sit him down.  He went 3-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, his third straight multi-hit game, which puts him at .311 with 11 HR and 12 SB over 212 AB.  Obviously the big question is going to be if he can maintain this type of pace, and the fact is that it’s highly unlikely.  He’s benefited from a .387 BABIP and it’s hard to believe that he maintains his 33.3% HR/FB (even if he improves upon his 53.3% groundball rate, there should be a slowdown in the power).  That’s not to say that he won’t continue producing, considering his command of the strike zone (8.6% SwStr%, 19.6% O-Swing%), but he’s not quite this good.  That should represent a selling opportunity, especially since he could lose playing time at some point.


4) Has Aaron Nola emerged as an ace…
While he opposed the emerging Jimmy Nelson (6.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 9 K), Nola matched him pitch for pitch.  Going 6.0 innings he allowed 2 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, though he settled for a no decision.  While he wasn’t generating groundballs yesterday (3 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls), that’s an aberration as he owns a 48.1% groundball rate this season (50.8% for his career).  He also has seen his SwStr% rise to 10.1% (13 swinging strikes yesterday) and continues to feature strong control (2.81 BB/9).  With that type of makeup, what’s not to like?  Consider him a strong option moving forward.


5) Patrick Corbin continues to emerge…
Taking on the Braves he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP.  While his 4.66 ERA looks bad, he’s now allowed 3 ER or fewer in seven straight starts helping to lower his ERA from 5.43 (June 2).  The key to the turnaround has been limiting the HR, as he’s allowed 3 HR over these seven starts (he allowed 14 HR over his first 12 starts of the season).  The obvious followup question is if he can maintain this improvement, and the answer would be yes considering his 50.3% groundball rate.  Couple that with his 8.55 K/9 (courtesy of a 10.8% SwStr%) and 2.62 BB/9, as well as continued improvement in his luck (he still owns a .348 BABIP) and there’s a lot to like.  While he may not be a must start, he’s certainly a must own in all formats.


6) When Anthony Rendon has a big day, he has a BIG DAY…
We all remember his 3 HR, 10 RBI game from April 30, and while he didn’t quite reach those levels yesterday he had another monster game as he went 3-3 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 2 R.  Remember when everyone was concerned with his slow start?  Now he’s hitting .315 with 18 HR and 61 RBI, and there’s nothing unrealistic in the underlying numbers (.325 BABIP, 16.1% HR/FB).  Want to point to his 13.8% strikeout as a reason for regression?  His 5.0% SwStr% and 20.7% O-Swing% tell a different tale.  The fact is that he’s emerging as one of the better 3B in the league and is a good example of why we often stress patience with a struggling player.


7) Is Seth Lugo a pitcher worth owning…
While his end line wasn’t tremendous, it was a strong showing against the Rockies as he allowed 3 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.2 IP.  He got a late start to the season and has had some shaky moments, so it’s hard to consider him a must own.  In fact, there doesn’t appear to be much upside in his strikeout rate (8.0% SwStr%, 27.5% O-Swing%) and it’s not like he’s a groundball machine (44.2%).  In other words while there could be some streaming value, if the matchup is right, he’s hardly a pitcher to rely on in any format.


8) Are we finally ready to buy into Alex Wood…
It was another tremendous outing, as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings against the Marlins allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, to improve to 11-0 with a 1.56 ERA.  Everything about the outing was impressive, including his 12 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls, and it’s hard not to have fallen in love with the performance.  He’s finally living up to the hype that was once bestowed upon him and there’s every reason to believe that he’s going to continue to be a productive option moving forward.  Is he this good, though?  He’s benefited from a .249 BABIP and 81.6% strand rate, so despite the impressive metrics there could easily be a stumble or two down the stretch.  If you could see exceptionally high then sure, otherwise enjoy the ride.


9) Is Cole Hamels finally “back”…
He shut down the Royals yesterday, tossing 7.2 shutout innings for the second straight start.  He allowed just 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, and has now allowed 2 ER or fewer in three straight starts.  The big concern with Hamels this season has been his surprisingly low strikeout rate, still sitting at just 5.03 (8.53 for his career).  He did get 13 swinging strikes yesterday and he has his SwStr% at 10.0% in July (7.8% for the season, 12.3% for his career).  If he can continue to improve there, the results should be there and it could make for a strong buy low opportunity.


10) Matt Chapman leads the A’s to victory…
He went 3-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R, his first two home runs in the Majors.  Of course his power was never in question, instead we have to be concerned with his ability to make consistent contact after posting a 30.9% strikeout rate at Triple-A prior to his recall.  Thus far it’s been a significant issue, as he owns a 45.8% strikeout rate and 18.2% SwStr% over his first 48 PA for Oakland.  If he can’t rectify that, which he may not be able to, the results simply won’t be there. Consider him an all or nothing option, and one that’s not really worth investing in.


Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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  1. Joel says:

    I’ve got seager and castellanos. I feel like they’re very similar and rarely able to play both. I’d like to package one with G Cole and either try for an elite pitcher or middle infield player ( currently D lemahieu @2nd and A Simmons @ss) what are your thoughts and who would be a realistic target?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It really depends if someone in your league needs the help at 3B. I prefer Seager, but I’d give up whichever one yielded the better return

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