10 Important Stories From 07/25/17 Box Scores: Encarnacion Has a Grand Night, Bumgarner Gets a Win, & More

by Ray Kuhn

All things considered, it was a relatively quiet day across baseball yesterday. We did have one late night trade, as Eduardo Nunez traveled across leagues to Boston. I would chalk it up more as a coincidence than anything else that Rafael Devers went hitless in his debut, as Nunez will be used in more of an overall utility role than anything else. That deal did come after the Brewers were active in bolstering their bullpen as they acquired Anthony Swarzek from the White Sox, which leads fantasy owners back to Tyler Clippard in Chicago. Milwaukee was also busy as Lewis Brinson makes his way to the major leagues once again. Let’s now shift gears, and take a look at some of the performances on the field that stood out on Tuesday:

1) Contreras Shows off the Power…

As far as catchers go this season, despite the fact that he didn’t make the All-Star team, Willson Contreras has been one of the best. That continued on Tuesday as he went 3 for 4 with four RBI against the White Sox. Contreras got things started for the Cubs with a three run shot in the first inning, his 16th of the season to go along with 56 RBI, as he raised his average to .273 on the season. It certainly helps that Contreras occupies a prime spot in the middle of the order, and especially now after the trade of Miguel Montero, playing time isn’t an issue for the Cubs’ young catcher. He has really turned things on in July, as he is batting .347 with seven home runs and 18 RBI so far this month which is helping to make up for his middling start to the season.

2) Morton Dominates the Phillies…

When the Astros signed Charlie Morton last winter, the transaction didn’t receive much attention. Morton had recently had some health issues that kept him off the mound, and when he was on the mound, his results were mediocre at best. However, we should learn not to doubt Houston’s front office as Morton continued his winning ways last night picking up his eighth victory of the season. Although he did hit two batters, Morton was never really in trouble during his seven innings of work as he allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out nine. Morton is striking out 9.92 batters per nine innings, gets plenty of run support, and his 3.74 xFIP leaves a little room for improvement based on his 4.18 ERA.

3) Davies Pulls it Off…

Entering the night, the Washington Nationals, especially Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, appeared to be nice DFS targets against Zach Davies. Instead, Davies continued his strong season with 7.2 innings of shutout baseball and picked up his 12th victory of the season. He limited Washington to just three hits and three walks while striking out seven batters. Despite his high win total, Davies’ ERA comes in at 4.45, so you are allowed to be somewhat skeptical of him. Davies is one of those pitchers who is better in real life than fantasy, as overall he is striking out just 5.99 batters per nine innings. Yes, he has found himself in the win column pretty often this season, but that is also a category you don’t want to spend too much time chasing. Plus, entering last night, he had a FIP of 4.89 and a 4.65 xFIP, so what you see from him in the ERA department is what you get.

4) Not a Terrible Audition…

In what likely could be his last start in an Oakland uniform, Sonny Gray deserved better. Yes, Gray did take the loss, but it really wasn’t his fault. All of Toronto’s four runs came in the second inning, and none of them were earned. Overall, Gray limited the Blue Jays to five hits and two walks as he struck out nine. Despite some early season struggles as he worked his way back from injury, Gray’s ERA sits at 3.43 on the season, and in four July starts it is just 1.48. While Gray is going to lose the benefit of Oakland’s home park, 3.08 ERA compared to 4.04 ERA on the road, the right-hander is still going to be a nice addition for any team he goes to in the next week.

5) Go Home in Style…

Who cares that Cleveland blew a seven run lead? Well, I’m sure some people do, including Mike Clevinger who was in line for the victory but failed to help himself. But, it’s also hard to argue with how the game ended. Edwin Encarnacion came up to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th, and he promptly sent everyone home with a grand slam. It was the 21st home run of the season for Encarnacion as he improved his RBI total to 59 on the season. Encarnacion, who doubled earlier in the game, is now batting .262 on the season and Cleveland has to be happy with their off-season investment.

6) Gallo Leaves, Twice…

Batting average be damned, Joey Gallo is in the lineup, both Texas’ and yours, to do one thing. The good thing, is that he does happen to be very successful at hitting home runs. Last night, Gallo hit two solo home runs, which gave him 25 on the season. He hasn’t done much else at the plate, only 45 RBI, so his value is very specific and it also isn’t as much now that home runs are more prevalent across baseball. In deeper leagues he obviously has value, and he is worth a shot in DFS tournaments if you are chasing the long ball and like his match-up (21 of his home runs have come against right-handed pitching), but his .199 batting average is too much weight to bear otherwise. Don’t become overly enchanted with his home run prowess.

7) DeJong Keeps on Hitting…

At this point, Paul DeJong has evolved past being a temporary fill-in option for the Cardinals. If it wasn’t clear enough by his performance, the fact that he currently has been batting third in the line-up should give it away. Last night, he wasted no time, as he got his two hit night started off with a two run shot in the first inning. In 178 at bats, it was DeJong’s 13th home run as he also increased his RBI total to 29 while raising his batting average to .292. However, call my cynical, as I wait for this ride to end. DeJong currently sports a BABIP of .361. However, as much as I would like to write off the power display, I am having a hard time doing so, as he hit 22 home runs last season in Double-A, and prior to his promotion this season, DeJong had gone deep 13 times in 48 games at Triple-A. Whether or not DeJong’s 24.1% home run to fly ball rate continues is a different story, but even if the batting average drops some, he is still a solid hitter and you can’t argue with the results. Just avoid overpaying for him.

8) Taylor Shows off His Versatility…

Getting the start in left field on Tuesday, Chris Taylor only continued to show off how versatile he is as the Dodgers look to keep him the lineup. That flexibility only helps fantasy owners, especially as Taylor keeps on hitting. Last night, he picked up two doubles (he is already at 23 on the season) as he drove in three runs out of the lead-off spot. Taylor is hitting .321 on the season with 47 RBI as things appear to finally be clicking for the 26-year old. A closer look though, says that we need to wait for the other shoe to drop, as a .426 BABIP is not anywhere close to being sustainable. But, it really shouldn’t matter as there likely wasn’t any cost associated with grabbing Taylor from your free agent list.

9) Cespedes Looks Good, Until he Leaves…

While Yoenis Cespedes has been back from his injury for some time now, the outfielder just hasn’t looked right. It took him until last night to hit his first home run of the month. He then doubled, and followed that up with an eighth inning triple to put the Mets up a run. However, after scoring on the play, Cespedes was forced to leave the game with soreness in his quadriceps, and we will likely be without the outfielder on Wednesday. Until the outburst last night, Cespedes didn’t look quite right, as generating power from his lower half appeared to be difficult. Overall in 194 at bats, he has just 10 home runs and 26 RBI, and now fantasy owners once again will be left to sweat out his health.

10) Bumgarner is Victorious…

Normally this would not be news worthy, but it was the first win of the season for Madison Bumgarner. Granted it only was his seventh start of the season, but still fantasy owners had a right to have some concern about the southpaw in his third start back following his dirt bike accident. The Giants took it easy with Bumgarner as they lifted him after five innings and 80 pitches (57 strikes). He scattered six hits and a walk, but Bumgarner was able to limit the damage to one run as he struck out four. Although his ERA sits at 3.38 overall and 3.93 since his return, I wouldn’t rush to deem Bumgarner fully healthy. It will likely take him another few starts before he truly finds his groove.

6 comments

  1. Bennies Express says:

    Who do you like better ROS, Fisher or Brinson?

  2. Carlito says:

    Bogaerts…. would you trade him for Cozart and Dickerson in keeper league? Not sure what to think. Bad season or just never gonna be as good as projected.

  3. Carlito says:

    Also thoughts A Simmons? seems like he doesn’t get much love but great season. Only 27.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’ve never been a big Bogaerts believer, but that’s too low of a sale price to part with him.

      As for Simmons, I’m not buying. It’s a good season, but still far too many questions

  4. Miles says:

    Actually, even though Gray’s runs were unearned, it was his fault. He threw the ball away on a grounder that led to the four runs.

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