10 Important Stories From 08/20/17 Box Scores: Kiermaier is Back, Rosario Goes Deep, & More

by Ray Kuhn

We ended yet another week of exciting action with a full slate of games on Sunday. With each week that closes, we get closer to the end of the season, and that means everything becomes that much more critical. Let’s jump right into some of the performances that stood out from a busy day around baseball:

1) Verlander Flirts With History…

It was actually a duel effort at making history as both Kenta Maeda and Justin Verlander didn’t allow hits for the first few innings until the bats came alive in the sixth inning. Detroit got four runs off Maeda, and that proved to be more than enough for Verlander. Until we turn the calendar to September, every start for the right-hander could be his last for Detroit, and he didn’t disappoint. A Curtis Granderson solo home run was all Los Angeles managed off Verlander, aside from a single and a walk, in eight innings of work as he picked up his ninth victory of the season. Verlander, who struck out nine batters, lowered his ERA to 3.96, but he is still dealing with a 1.31 WHIP despite a BABIP of .285. While Verlander will continue to be a solid starter for the rest of the season, I would be concerned that he is giving up hard contact at a career high rate of 36.2%; 28.9% last season.2) Order is Restored with the Marlins…

Enjoy this well it lasts. Not only is Giancarlo Stanton healthy, but he is in the zone. After going a few days without a home run, Stanton went deep again yesterday afternoon against the Mets. The three run shot off Jacob deGrom was his 45th home run of the season as Stanton inches closer to 100 RBI on the season; he is currently at 97. Not only are we getting power from Stanton, but he is batting .286 on the season in what is the best season of his career. With a .293 BABIP and .358 ISO (career mark of .313), this is the Stanton we should be seeing. Long term though, there is always going to be the concern of whether or not he stays healthy. While 33.1% of Stanton’s home runs have turned into fly balls this season, it isn’t that far off from his 32.1% mark of 2015 (26.5% for his career).

3) Kiermaier Looks to be Healthy…

In three games back after missing over two months with a back injury, there doesn’t appear to be any question about Kevin Kiermaier’s health. The outfielder returned to the top of the order for Tampa Ba without missing a beat, and after doubling in first game back, Kiermaier has two hits in each of the last two games. On Sunday, he lead the game off with home run and later added a single. In 245 at bats so far this season, Kiermaier has eight home runs and 21 RBI with 10 stolen bases and a .265 average. If you held onto him while he was out, Kiermaier should prove his value over the next month or so, and he is certainly worth a substantial FAAB claim if he is available.

4) Phillips Continues His Strong Season…

While there weren’t many expectations entering the season for the Braves, things have also gone a little worse than expected. However for Brandon Phillips, things have worked out even better than fantasy owners could have predicted. Atlanta has been using Phillips at third base as of late which gives him nice duel eligibility, and his performance hasn’t been too bad either. Phillips picked up three hits yesterday while driving in his 47th run of the season while scoring twice. He is batting .290 overall, Phillips can be solid option in deeper leagues or if you are looking to plug an injury created hole.

5) A Grand Day in Minnesota…

If you have been sleeping on Eddie Rosario over the past few weeks, you are missing out. Minnesota batted around in the first inning yesterday against Arizona, and Rosario closed the scoring out with a grand slam. It was the 17th home run of the season for Rosario who is now up to 50 RBI while batting .303. After batting .321 in July, Rosario is hitting .371 so far this month with six home runs and 16 RBI. At this point in the season, you have to ride every hot streak you can find, but Rosario does have a BABIP of .388 in each of the last two months. Power has truly been on display for Rosario has he has a .323 ISO and a hard contact rate of 44.4%.

6) Lindor Continues to Show Power…

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember how young and inexperienced Francisco Lindor really is. While he is batting just .266 so far this season, after batting over .300 in each of his last two seasons, Lindor’s BABIP of .277 is below his career mark of .315. But, with his 20th home run of the season on Sunday, Lindor added to his career high of 15 from last year. The shortstop also picked up his 34th double of the season, and has 58 RBI along with nine stolen bases. While we would like to see Lindor run a little more, 19 stolen bases last season, it’s still hard to argue with anything we have seen from the 23-year old thus far.

7) Could Almora Turn Into a Threat…

With the departure of Dexter Fowler, the Cubs have been looking for a lead-off hitter all season. Could the answer to their question be Albert Almora? On Sunday, Almora went 2 for 4 and picked up three RBI. So far this season, Almora is hitting .292 with 29 RBI in 233 at bats, but he is really taking off so far in August. In 38 at bats, Almora is hitting .368, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs give the outfielder more playing time down the stretch. Batting at the top of order seems to agree with Almora as he is hitting .313 in eight games out of the lead-off spot and .357 in seven games batting second.

8) Anderson Returns Without Issue…

After missing close to two months due to injury, it’s not exactly the best scenario to make your first start in Coors Field, but Chase Anderson handled it just fine. Anderson picked up his seventh victory of the season with five strong innings of work. The right-hander allowed one run on two hits and three walks while striking out four batters and lowering his ERA to 2.83. Moving forward, Anderson should be an asset for the rest of the season, but we also should note that he has a 3.49 FIP, and even worse, a 4.49 xFIP.

9) Hoskins Goes Deep Again…

While Rhys Hoskins is hitting just .237 so far in his brief major league career, he still can’t be considered anything but an asset. Hoskins went deep again on Sunday for his fifth home run in 38 at bats, and his power is for real. The Phillies are clearly committed to Hoskins, both in the lineup and as a number three hitter, as he looks to build on 29 home runs in 115 games at Triple-A this season. That was a season after Hoskins hit 38 home runs in Double-A, and he also made some improvements to his eye at the plate.

10) Gonzalez Keeps it Going…

It’s still August so we have time, but Washington isn’t missing a beat with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg battling injury. And that is because Gio Gonzalez is not only a strong number three option, but he has been downright dominating this season. The southpaw picked up his 12th victory of the season on Sunday in San Diego with 6.2 innings of one run ball (unearned). Gonzalez limited the Padres to five hits and one walk while striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 2.39. Gonzalez has benefited from a .242 BABIP so far this season, which is why he has a 3.81 FIP (4.26 xFIP), but at there is no reason not to continue rolling the left-hander out every fifth day.

6 comments

  1. Carlito says:

    Need a CI for this week. Have Sano on DL. Roll with Parra, Surrez (reds) Thames or any sleepers?

  2. jeff says:

    Who do you like most ROS – Melky, Grichuk, or Scooter?

    Also, is Bautista worth holding and would you put him ahead of any of the 3 above?

  3. skillet says:

    sure, a majority of hoskins’ hits have been HR, but even if the HR/FB and ISO drop (which they almost certainly will), he won’t post an uber-suppressed .154 BABIP forever. i’m all in.

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