10 Important Stories From 08/25/17 Box Scores: Giving Up On Odorizzi, Buxton’s Value Rising & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The scorching hot sluggers continue to produce, as both Rhys Hoskins (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) and Giancarlo Stanton (3-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R) continuing their August assaults.  It was another strong start from Kenta Maeda, defeating Milwaukee by allowing 1 ER on 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP. We also got some bad news, with Yoenis Cespedes heading to the DL with a hamstring injury that could end his season.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) More mediocrity from Jose Quintana…
Taking on the Phillies he allowed 6 ER on 9 H and 4 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP.  While he has had more good than bad outings since the trade that sent him to the Cubs, his overall control simply hasn’t been what it has been in the past (he entered the day with a 3.28 BB/9).  Maybe he’s forfeited some of his control for the increased strikeout rate, though his SwStr% (8.4% entering the day, 8 swinging strikes yesterday) doesn’t support that.  Never an elite groundball pitcher home runs have begun to be an issue (1.24 HR/9 entering the day) and even entering the season we noted the risk of a regression.  Likely over-drafted, he’ll likely continue to disappoint (especially if the strikeouts regress as well).

 

2) Stay hot Byron Buxton…
In the past few days Buxton has been moved into the #3 spot in the order, and that hasn’t slowed his ascent.  Yesterday he went 3-5 with 2 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB and is now hitting .319 with 5 HR, 16 RBI, 18 R and 7 SB in 91 AB in the second half.  Obviously being moved into the middle of the order should allow him more upside in the RBI department, especially since it’s not unreasonable to think this type of production will continue.  You can argue a bit of luck (he entered with a .356 BABIP in the second half), he does need to continue to improve his plate discipline (11.4% SwStr% in August).  That’s nit-picking, to an extent, as he has taken a step and is showing off both power and speed.  He was a top prospect for a reason and while he may slow down, there’s little reason to think he will completely disappear.

 

3) Could Baltimore’s slumping struggles find their footing…
The Orioles got to Rick Porcello (4.2 IP, 11 R, 9 H, 1 BB, 4 K), though Boston’s defense helped (they committed 5 errors), and the Red Sox staff for 16 runs and 20 hits.  The players who have been productive continued hitting, but the biggest note comes from the two players we’ve seemingly been waiting on all year long:

  • Chris Davis – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
  • Mark Trumbo – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R

Both have been miserable this season, though they also have the potential to get scorching hot and help carry your team in the power department over the final few weeks.  Davis has now homered in back-to-back games, but if someone gave up on them now may be the time to jump the market and see if you can get lucky.

 

4) Ryan Merritt gives impressive spot start…
It will be interesting to see if he earned himself another turn as he tossed 6.2 shutout innings against the Royals, allowing 7 H and 1 BB while striking out 3.  He was a groundball machine, with 12 compared to 5 fly balls, though that has never been his strongest skill (44.5% at Triple-A this season).  Lacking elite strikeout stuff (6.59 K/9), he’s a control lefty who could easily be burned by the long ball. While he’s capable of posting starts like this, he’s also just as likely to get blown up.  Consider him more of a risky streaming option if he does get another start, as opposed to a potential sleeper option.

 

5) Robert Stephenson, strikeout machine…
Taking on the Pirates he allowed 2 ER on 7 H and 4 BB, striking out 11, over 5.2 IP to earn the W.  Considering his massive 24 swinging strikes, the performance has to grab our attention.  Of course he has always shown the potential to post gaudy strikeout numbers, with a 9.4 K/9 over his minor league career, it’s been the control that has always been the biggest stumbling block.  He owns a 4.1 BB/9 in the minors, and has been even worse in the Majors (he now has 35 BB over 52.2 IP in the Majors this season).  Couple that with a lack of groundballs leading to home run concerns (11 HR allowed) and you get a pitcher to avoid.  It was a nice start, but it’s meaningless in the scheme of things.

 

6) A surprisingly strong start from Julio Teheran…
Just when we are ready to write him off, Teheran delivers allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 7.1 IP at home against the Rockies.  He’s had two good starts in his past three, and both have come against the Rockies (2 ER over 14.1 IP) so maybe he just happens to have their number.  He still wasn’t generating nearly enough groundballs (8 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls) and did yield a home run.  He also didn’t have many swinging strikes (9), and it’s going to take more than one start for us to believe in him finding his control.  Maybe it’s a sign, but until he strings a few strong starts together he’s impossible to trust.

 

7) Another debacle from Jake Odorizzi…
Sure his counterpart was even worse (Michael Wacha allowed 5 ER on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 3.1 IP), but Odorizzi’s struggles could lead to his removal from the rotation you’d think.  Lasting just 3.2 innings he allowed 3 ER on 3 H and 4 BB, striking out 4, and has now failed to go 4.0 innings in each of his past two starts (he’s gone less than 5.0 innings in five of his past seven). He’s continued to struggle with home runs, allowing another one yesterday and failing to get a single groundball (he entered with a 29.9% groundball rate).  Throw in mediocre strikeout and walk rates, it’s impossible to think things will change.  There are going to be calls for Brett Honeywell’s arrival, and at this point it’s something to watch in case Tampa Bay has finally grown frustrated.

 

8) Khris Davis continues to show off power stroke…
He provided nearly all of the Oakland offense yesterday, going 2-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R and he now has 8 HR and 18 RBI in August (36 HR and 89 RBI on the season).  Of course he continues to struggle with his average, hitting .215 in August (.236 overall).  Strikeouts are the biggest issue, as he continues to swing and miss far too much (15.1% SwStr% entering the day), though he also continues to post an underwhelming line drive rate (17.8%) leading to a below average BABIP (.277 entering the day).  Just know what you are getting, because it’s impossible to think anything will change.

 

9) Those who showed patience with Collin McHugh finally getting pay off…
Taking on the Angels last night he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP and has now allowed 2 ER or less in each of his past three starts (3 ER over 17.2 IP).  While injury cost him the first few months, he’s now showing off the preseason hype bestowed upon him but that doesn’t mean there aren’t concerns.  Keep in mind that his groundball rate is way down thus far (31.5%) and his line drives are up (25.0%).  If he can’t correct that, there are going to be some poor showings in the not too distant future.  There’s value, but be careful.

 

10) A.J. Cole impresses against New York…
Granted there isn’t much to the Mets’ lineup these days, especially after losing Yoenis Cespedes early in the game.  Still Cole looked good, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP (though he took the loss against a dominant Jacob deGrom, who struck out 10 over 7.2 IP).  Cole has made five starts in the Majors, and the biggest concern has been his control (5.14 BB/9).  While he was better at Triple-A, his 3.63 BB/9 is hardly impressive and he didn’t supplement it with enough strikeouts (7.37 K/9) or groundballs (40.9%).  In other words, don’t get excited.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

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

2 comments

  1. jeff says:

    If you had to pick one for the rest of the season who would it be, Trumbo or Davis? I know you had Davis ranked higher coming into the season overall, and curious if that is still the case after what you’ve seen this season and recently with them.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Yea, I would lean Davis slightly but not by much. At this point it’s a pretty good coinflip between the two

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