10 Important Stories From 07/29/17 Box Scores: Is Gausman Figuring It Out, Is Snell A Must Own & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Corey Kluber continued to be a strikeout machine, with 12 K over 6.1 IP (his third straight game with 12+ K and he now has 10+ in eight of his past nine games).  It was another big night for Manuel Margot, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB (his fifth multi-hit game in his past six).  Jacob deGrom so his win streak stopped, but that doesn’t mean that he pitched poorly (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 10 K).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Has Blake Snell turned a corner…
He has improved his control, issuing 2 BB over 5.1 IP yesterday (3 BB over 12.1 IP in his past two starts).  Of course he also allowed 3 ER on 6 H, striking out 4, as he continued to yield more fly balls (8) than groundballs (4).  He allowed 1 HR on the day, the third straight he’s allowed one (and he’s now allowed HR in seven of his past eight), and has also struggled to generate swings outside the strike zone (26.6% O-Swing% entering the day).  Throw in a pedestrian 9.1% SwStr% (13 swinging strikes yesterday) and pitching in the difficult AL East and the picture isn’t necessarily pretty.  The upside remains, but for ’17 he’s a tough sell.

 

2) Yovani Gallardo shows us why results can be deceiving…
If you just looked at his final line, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB over 5.2 IP, you’d likely conclude that it was a strong outing.  Of course as you dig deeper into the numbers there are obvious concerns:

  • Groundballs-to-Flyballs: 3-to-12
  • Swinging Strikes – 3

Those are ugly marks, and shows that the end results were more luck than anything.  It’s been a long time since he was a strikeout pitcher and he entered the day with a 1.37 HR/9, and there’s a far better chance that he implodes than continuing to post strong starts.

 

3) Collin McHugh backs up the preseason hype…
After missing significant time and stumbling in his first start back, McHugh shined yesterday against the Tigers allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP.  He deserved better, but Francis Marte struggled in the seventh and blew the game for Houston.  Always the owner of solid control, McHugh has shown improved strikeout stuff as he’s consistently posted SwStr% above 10% and O-Swing% above 33%.  While home runs could prove to be an issue, it’s not enough of a concern currently.  Consider him well worth grabbing in all formats.

 

4) Has German Marquez emerged as a must start option…
Taking on the Nationals yesterday he allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP to earn the W.  He’s now struck out 9+ in three straight starts and has allowed 3 ER or fewer in eight of his past nine, giving him a 4.08 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.  The most impressive number may be his 10 HR allowed over 97.0 IP, though it’s not like he’s a groundball machine (42.8% entering the day).  The underlying strikeout numbers also aren’t impressive (9.1% SwStr%, 27.0% O-Swing% entering the day), and his minor league K/9 of 7.9 backs up the potential regression.  In other words it’s been a nice run, but the risk likely outweighs the potential reward.

 

5) Eduardo Nunez is going to keep on playing…
He’s certainly earned a spot in the lineup, going 3-6 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday (and is 5-9 in two games since his trade to Boston).  That said it shouldn’t come at the expense of Rafael Devers (2-5, 1 RBI yesterday).  Instead Mitch Moreland could stand to lose the most playing time (assuming the team is comfortable with Hanley Ramirez at 1B), though he should see time across the diamond.  Obviously Nunez isn’t quite this good, though he could see a regression in his average (.315, despite a 40.1% O-Swing% and 17.8% line drive rate entering the day) and is never going to be a big source of power (despite yesterday’s performance).  He’s going to provide an influx of speed and can score some runs if he stays in the #2 spot, but don’t look towards him for anything more.

 

6) Is Ketel Marte primed to produce…
He went 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him a modest four-game hitting streak (5-12, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R).  Of course there was a lot of hope when he was recalled, though hitting .241 with 4 HR and 0 SB over 58 AB isn’t going to grab anyone’s attention.  It is a small sample size and he appears to be settling down, having cut down the strikeouts over this stretch (1 K vs. 3 BB) and showing a better command of the strike zone at Triple-A (10.1% strikeout rate prior to his recall).  He also has suffered from poor luck, with a 28.6% line drive rate and .256 BABIP entering the day.  Now isn’t the time to give up on him, it is the time to buy low and hopefully catch the upswing.

 

7) A stellar performance from Kevin Gausman…
He nearly went the distance against the Rangers, tossing 8.2 shutout innings allowing 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 8.  Not only was he generating swings and misses (17), but he was also a groundball machine (13 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls).  He’s now tossed 14.2 shutout innings in his past two starts and has allowed 1 ER over his last 20.2 IP.  He’s been getting strikeouts (8 K in each of his past three starts) and generating groundballs, sparking his sudden turn around.  If he can maintain this stretch, keeping the ball in the ballpark (1.53 HR/9 entering the day) and improving his luck (.368 BABIP), the results will continue to be there.  Time will tell, but we all know the upside is there and he’s worth the investment.

 

8) Dinelson Lamet shuts down the Pirates…
Going 6.0 innings he allowed 2 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, to earn the W and improve to 5-4 on the season.  Of course he owns a 5.62 ERA, but his 1.25 WHIP is solid and he has 75 K vs. 22 BB over 57.2 IP in the Majors.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that his numbers have been significantly better at home (4.03 ERA, compared to a 7.22 ERA on the road), and there’s reason to believe that he’s going to continue to improve upon his 56.8% strand rate entering the day.  He has not done a great job generating groundballs (35.5%), which is why home runs have been an issue and makes him a far better option at home.  Hardly a must start option, the potential is there and he at least should be viewed as a solid streaming option when the matchups call for it.

 

9) Matt Chapman continues to show off his power stroke…
He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him 6 HR in 89 AB for Oakland.  The problem, of course, is that it has come along with a .191 average as he’s struck out 35 times and that’s going to limit him virtually useless.  He entered the day with a 36.2% strikeout rate, a believable mark considering his 30.9% rate at Triple-A, and a 14.5% SwStr%.  He’s also clearly swinging for the fences, with a 57.7% fly ball rate (50.4% at Triple-A), further limiting his potential to hit for a decent average.  At the end of the day you should be able to find power elsewhere, so move on.

 

10) Has Sean Newcomb rediscovered his footing…
It’s been a roller coaster rookie season for Newcomb, who hit the ground running before fading significantly.  Things have now turned again, after allowing 1 ER on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP against the Phillies.  Of course it would be easy to get excited, considering his upside and back-to-back solid outings (4 ER on 5 H over 11.0 IP), but keep things in check.  Even over these two starts he’s walked 8 batters and is now up to 25 BB over 48.0 IP.  Control has always been the biggest issue and until he gets that turned back around he’s going to be an untrustworthy option over the remainder of the season.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

Make sure to check out our Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by clicking here!

10 comments

  1. Carlito says:

    Two questions,

    1. Pick 2. Thames, Nick Williams, or Parra next week?

    2. Think Bogarets starts platooning with Nunez?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      1) Williams/Parra

      2) No platoon, he may sit once a week or so but Nunez will see time across the diamond

  2. randy says:

    for rest of year in 5 x5 duda spandberg k marte e nunez a cabera need the best players in order thanks

  3. DukeofPrunes says:

    Kind of a lame question, but I have to drop a bench player. Would you drop Mallex Smith or Kevin Pillar?

  4. Richard says:

    Who do you prefer ROS: Luis Castillo or Gausman?

  5. Bill Jones says:

    I have to drop either Malex Smith or Kevin Pillar from my reserve roster. What is your advice?

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