10 Important Stories From 07/16/17 Box Scores: Not Buying Avisail Garcia, Disastrous Day For Matz/Estrada & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Daniel Murphy helped to lead the Nationals assault on Homer Bailey (4.0 IP, 8 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 K) and the Reds, as he went 3-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R.  Jose Quintana made a strong first impression for Cubs fans, tossing 7.0 shutout innings against the Orioles allowing 3 H and 0 BB while striking out 12.  Ian Desmond returned for the Rockies, going 2-3 with 2 RBI and 1 R before being lifted for a pinch runner.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) The struggles continue for Marco Estrada…
Taking on the Tigers he allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 3.2 IP.  It’s the third straight start where he’s failed to go 5.0 innings and he’s walked 4 or more batters in five straight (23 BB in 23.1 IP), so in other words the wheels have completely fallen off.  While the control struggles are a bit of a surprise, the fact that he’s struggled this season (he now owns a 5.33 ERA and 1.47 WHIP) shouldn’t be.  Over the past few seasons he’s consistently carried a BABIP screaming for a regression, and while you can argue that his .325 entering the day is a bit of an overcorrection it shouldn’t come as a surprise.  A fly ball pitcher he’s also consistently been rocked for home runs (17 HR over 104.2 IP), so the control issues is just icing on the cake.  While he may improve a little bit, there’s nothing worth buying.

 

2) Has Wilmer Difo earned a regular role…
The opportunity is certainly there with Trea Turner on the shelf, and Difo appears to be entrenching himself in the role.  He hit second yesterday, going 3-5 with 1 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB.  Since July 2 he’s gone 13-26 with 3 RBI, 9 R and 2 SB.  There is some risk that his strikeout rate rises, considering his 11.7% SwStr% and 32.5% O-Swing%, and that’s something that would obviously hurt his value.  He doesn’t bring much HR/RBI potential, so his value comes from getting on base, scoring runs and stealing bases.  If the strikeouts rise those opportunities will quickly diminish.  If you need speed he’s worth the short-term investment, but don’t be surprise if he regresses.

 

3) A miserable day for Steven Matz…
Implosion may not be the right word, as Matz failed to get an out in the second inning and finished with a pathetic 7 ER on 9 H and 1 BB over 1.0 inning of work.  We wouldn’t draw much conclusion off one poor showing, but Matz was coming off a disaster and has now allowed 12 ER over 5.1 IP in his past two starts (sending his ERA from 2.21 to 4.58).  It was pretty obvious that a correction was coming (he entered the day with a 90.4% strand rate and .226 BABIP), though seeing it all come in one shot is frustrating.  He’s simply not getting swings and misses (6.2% SwStr%) and isn’t getting people to chase outside the zone (25.3% O-Swing%).  That’s not a good combo, and with his consistent injury history he’s a hard investment to make.

 

4) Magneuris Sierra returns with a bang…
The Cardinals outfield is banged up, which means opportunity for some unexpected sources.  Enter Sierra, who returned to the lineup on Sunday and promptly went 4-4 with 1 R and 1 SB.  Prior to his recall he had been performing well at Double-A, hitting .293 with 1 HR and 11 SB.  At this stage of his career he’s not going to provide much power, though he has shown an ability to consistently make contact (13.9% strikeout rate at Double-A) and he does have speed (31 SB in ’16).  Hardly a must own, he could be a streaming source of stolen bases as long as the Cardinals don’t have many southpaws on the schedule.

 

5) A big day from Avisail Garcia…
He finished 2-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R and is now hitting .313 with 13 HR and 54 RBI on the season.  As a young player that makes him an obvious buy/hold now, right?  Don’t be quite so hasty, as his plate discipline is abysmal and he should see his strikeout rate rise significantly (21.6% entering the day, despite a 16.3% SwStr% and 42.2% O-Swing%).  He also continues to be a groundball machine, at 51.9%, which certainly caps his power potential (despite the big day).  He had been struggling to start July (.211, though in just 5 games) and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the numbers continue to fade.  Now is certainly not the time to buy.

 

6) Nick Williams propels the Phillies to victory…
While he’s been demoted to seventh in the lineup recently, Williams made the most of the opportunity he was given as he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R (the home run was a grand slam, which gave Philadelphia the lead).  The rookie outfielder has presented himself well thus far, hitting .279 with 2 HR and 6 RBI over his first 43 AB.  Of course he has struck out 13 times, entering the day with a pathetic 19.9% SwStr% and 42.0% O-Swing%.  That’s always been the big question hanging over him, and with a 29.4% strikeout rate at Triple-A prior to his recall it’s hard to assume he’s going to improve (or keep a starting job the rest of the season).  Use him while he’s hot, but be prepared to move on quickly.

 

7) Mike Fiers, strikeout machine?!?…
Taking on the Twins Fiers was a strikeout monster, allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 11, over 7.0 IP en route to a W.  He did enter the day with an 8.36 K/9, though with his 9.6% SwStr% it was easy to envision a regression (his 13 swinging strikes yesterday were solid, yet unspectacular).  Throw in his 83.2% strand rate and issues with home runs (1.83 HR/9 entering the day, which was before allowing a pair of solo home runs) and there really isn’t anything to buy into.  It was a nice outing, but he could be out of a job once everyone gets healthy.

 

8) Is there any reason to hold onto Trevor Bauer…
He had as bad an outing as a starter could yesterday, failing to make it out of the first.  Thing could’ve gotten worse, but Cleveland had a quick hook so he was only charged with 4 ER on 3 H and 3 BB over his 0.2 IP.  It took him 43 pitches just to get that far and he is now the owner of an unsightly 5.59 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.  Sure he’s shown strikeouts (105 K over 93.1 IP), but that’s about the only thing he has going for him.  With Danny Salazar working his way back to the Majors would it be shocking if Bauer ultimately gets bumped to the bullpen?  Regardless, if you are holding out hope for whatever reason you can stop now.

 

9) Jeff Samardzija has a surprisingly bad outing in San Diego…
Over 6.0 IP he allowed 7 ER on 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 8.  He did generate some swinging strikes (15), but that hasn’t been the issue this season (10.5% SwStr%, helping him to a 9.69 K/9).  He’s also had pinpoint control, but he’s been hit relatively hard 24.7% line drive rate and has had his issues with home runs (1.37 HR/9, and allowed 2 more yesterday).  There are things to like, but there are also things to be concerned about.  He’s the type of pitcher that you want to pick your spots with, but if you can’t trust him in San Diego when will you fully trust him?  He’s worth owning, but be careful.

 

10) The resurgence of Rich Hill continued…
He was spectacular against the Marlins, allowing 1 R on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 5.0 IP.  It’s his third straight start allowing 1 ER or fewer, and fifth straight of 3 ER or fewer (lowing he ERA from 5.14 to 3.55).  He’s also struck out 9 or more in three straight starts and now has 79 K over 66.0 IP.  He has struggled with his control at times, though not lately (1 BB over his past three starts) and we’ll have to watch to see if there are any home run issues (he entered the day with a 38.4% groundball rate).  There’s also the consistent health concerns, so maximize him while you can.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MILB.com

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4 comments

  1. Bennies Express says:

    Hey,

    I’m sure you will be writing about this but I’m just curious, even though I already made the move and grabbed Madson bc Doolittle was taken, who do you see becoming the closer in Washington, Madson or Doolittle?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I prefer Doolittle, but I also just believe he’s the better pitcher. If they decide to play matchups, it’ll be Madson since he’s the righty

  2. Jakebrandon says:

    Is there any value to Will Myers? The strikeouts have been horrid. I have held onto him hoping for more HRs and SBs but considering releasing him now.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Unless you’re in a shallow league, you gotta hold onto him and hope for the turnaround to come. I could see benching him, not dropping him

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