10 Important Stories From 08/21/17 Box Scores: Benintendi for Rookie of the Year, Rodon an Asset, & More

by Ray Kuhn

Just because there was a reduced schedule of games, although we did have a double-header in Chicago start two hours than normal to mess everyone up, we had yet another busy night of action around baseball. At this point in the season, either you are invested in every pitch as you compete for a fantasy title, or you are busy watching pre-season football. Even if you fall into the latter camp, you still should at least be abreast of what is going on, as it could shape the 2018 season. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out from Monday’s action:

1) Is Rodon Becoming an Asset…

Carlos Rodon was one of the pitchers we looked at over the weekend as he was making two starts this week, and his first came last night against the Twins. The southpaw didn’t disappoint as he picked up his second victory of the season while allowing two runs in 6.1 innings of work. Rodon kept the base runners to a minimum, four hits and three walks, as he struck out nine batters and lowered his ERA to 3.88. That now gives Rodon 68 strikeouts in 60.1 innings, and while his WHIP is 1.36, Rodon’s xFIP is 3.79, so you could argue that his ERA is right where it should be. However, the 55 hits Rodon has allowed so far this season is something he will need to improve upon, although so far in August it is down to 24 hits in 29.1 innings.

2) A Four Hit Day for Dozier…

Unless you play DFS, I don’t think there are any issues with the fact that it Brian Dozier two games to pick up his four hits. The important thing, is that one of those hits was the 26th home run of the season for Dozier, who although he isn’t on the same second pace he was last year, isn’t disappointing fantasy owners who are looking for that power. On the season, Dozier is batting a respectable .262 at the top of a Twins’ batting order that is better than expected, while driving in 71 runs and scoring 71 runs. After hitting .240 in July with four home runs, Dozier has recovered nicely so far in August by hitting .346 with nine home runs.

3) Granderson Makes His Impact Felt…

On Sunday, Curtis Granderson’s was all for nothing as the Dodgers would have still lost without it. However, Los Angeles’ new clean-up hitter, at least just on a temporary basis with Cody Bellinger day to day, made his home run count. Although the Dodgers’ bullpen later blew the lead, Granderson put his new team ahead with a seventh inning grand slam. Granderson had been receiving sporadic playing time with the Mets as of late, but that was his 21st home run of the season; along with 57 RBI. He is struggling to hit for average this season, .229, but a .249 BABIP will do that to you (career .294). While Granderson will likely lose a little playing time, and his spot in the batting order, when Bellinger returns, the Dodgers’ didn’t trade for him to sit on the bench.

4) A Perfect Night in Baltimore…

With Chris Smith taking the mound for Oakland, we knew someone was going to have a big night for the Orioles. And while they did score seven runs all together, Adam Jones was the leader of that effort. Jones went deep twice on Monday, giving him 24 home runs on the season. Both were solo shots for the outfielder, he also singled twice and scored a third run, as he raised his batting average to .281 on the season. With Tim Beckham on a roll, Jones is now back to the middle of the order from the lead-off spot, but his time up there did contribute to the fact that he has just 63 RBI on the season. Batting fourth does seem to agree with Jones though, as in 25 games, he is batting .306 with seven home runs and 17 RBI.

5) Another Good One from Gsellman…

At the end of last season, everything clicked for Robert Gsellman at the major league level. The right-hander came up from Triple-A and 2.42 ERA in 44.2 innings, and optimism was present for 2017. As we have become accustomed to, between the Mets and young pitchers, things don’t always go according to plan. That is why Gsellman has spent time this season in the bullpen, in Triple-A, and on the disabled list. However, injuries have grabbed a hold on the Mets (Steven Matz is the latest) and Gsellman will be in the rotation for the rest of the season along with his 5.65 ERA. But after last night, perhaps some of that optimism is back? While the right-hander only picked up a no decision for his efforts, he held Arizona to one run on five hits and a walk in 6.1 innings despite striking out just three batters. Gsellman did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground, and in his two starts since returning to the rotation he has allowed just three runs in 11.2 innings. While not all that impressive, Gsellman’s xFIP of 4.69 says that he even at his current level, he is due for more ERA improvement.

6) A Home Run for Benintendi…

Maybe we should re-think Andrew Benintendi for Rookie of the Year? With the impact Aaron Judge has made, and all of his home runs, I know that sounds crazy, but how crazy is it? Judge is setting records for strikeouts, and the outfielder has been slumping to the point that moving down in the lineup is a pretty good possibility. This while Benintendi remains in the three spot for Boston continuing to produce. He picked up another two hits last night, to raise his average to .279, with one of those hits being his 18th home run of the season. That is going to be where Benintendi falls short of Judge, but he does have 70 RBI, and his 14 stolen bases are a nice touch from a fantasy perspective.

7) Alonso Settles In…

We all know what Yonder Alonso did in the first half of the season as he earned an invitation to the All-Star game, but how many thought we saw the best he had to offer? Well the Mariners clearly thought, that at the very least, Alonso offered an upgrade to their first base situation. The fact that he bats second, between Jean Segura and Robinson Cano, is a positive for his value, as Alonso picked up three hits against the Braves last night. Two of those hits were double, 20 on the season, as he raised his average to .273 and drove in three runs. Another thing that holds Alonso back, is that his 57 RBI are very pedestrian, and so far in August, he has just one home run.

8) Hamels Continues to Impress…

Cole Hamels is no longer an exciting ace. The southpaw spent close to two months on the disabled list, and he doesn’t receive the attention he used to. However, that doesn’t mean he is no longer a valuable fantasy commodity. Hamels picked up his ninth victory of the season on Monday, against just one loss, with seven strong innings against the Angels. He held them to two runs on three hits and two walks while seeing his ERA drop to 3.42. The one thing we do need to note about Hamels this season, is that his strikeouts are clearly down. Last night, he struck out just three batters, and in 105.1 innings so far this season, he has just 65 strikeouts as he is clearly pitching to contact. It is working though, as Hamels’ WHIP is just 1.08. That though, brings us to Hamels’ .230 BABIP and 4.45 FIP. So while he still has value, it just might not be as much as you had thought, so I would tread with some caution.

9) Stratton Picks up the Win…

Maybe the first strange thing though, is that Matt Cain relieved Chris Stratton and picked up a hold. We also had Mark Melancon pitching in a set-up role with Sam Dyson saving his 11th game of the season. But, who are we to argue if it works. In four starts, it was the second victory of the season for Stratton, who at the very least, is a streaming option just by the nature of his home park. Stratton scattered four hits and two walks while not allowing a run in six innings of work. However, the right-hander struck out just one batter (23 in 31.2 this season) as he lowered his ERA to 3.98 on the season (seven games). After allowing a five runs in a spot start in July, Stratton has allowed just two runs in 17.2 innings over three starts this month, which makes him a viable streaming option (match-up dependent of course).

10) Davies is a Tough Luck Loser…

One of the good things we can say about Zach Davies this season, is that he is always around the decision. After picking up the loss last night, he fell to 14-7 on the season, but he did deserve better against the Giants. Both of the runs Davies allowed were unearned, as he scattered six hits and two walks to lower his ERA to 4.09. With 14 wins, that is an ERA you can live with, although you do have to manage Davies’ 1.38 WHIP. It also doesn’t help Davies value that he strikes out just 5.89 batters per nine innings, but you can’t ignore him if you are chasing wins and looking to fill innings.

 

2 comments

  1. Carlito says:

    How are you feeling about Buxton?

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