10 Important Stories From 08/27/17 Box Scores: Buxton’s Breakout, What To Make Of Taillon/Giolito & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Giancarlo Stanton continued as a one-man wrecking crew, going 3-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, giving him 50 HR on the season.  Carlos Carrasco dominated the Royals, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, to earn the W.  Marcus Semien filled the box score, going 1-3 with 3 RBI, 1 R and 2 SB as a reminder that he’s a player not to ignore.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) The breakout of Byron Buxton may be complete…
OK, we can’t go quite that far but it may be impossible for him to top yesterday’s performance.  Taking on the Blue Jays he had a career day, going 4-5 with 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R and 1 SB.  In 99 AB since the All-Star Break he’s now hitting .333 with 8 HR, 21 RBI, 23 R and 8 SB.  The power is the hardest number to buy into, especially as he entered the day with a 20.0% HR/FB and power has never been his strongest skill.  He also has benefited from a bit of luck (.369 BABIP entering the day) and could still stand to further improve his plate discipline (11.6% SwStr%, 33.5% O-Swing%).  That said he was long considered one of the premier prospects for a reason, and there’s every chance that he continues to produce at a high level moving forward.  Expect a slowdown, but not a complete disappearance as he becomes the epitome of a Post Hype Breakout.

 

2) Has Masahiro Tanaka rediscovered himself…
Granted, watching the opposing team commit 5 errors helping to a big lead early likely helped significantly.  That said Tanaka pitched well, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP to defeat the Mariners.  He’s now won back-to-back starts since returning from the DL, allowing just 12 H and 1 BB over 14.0 IP.  His biggest issue has been home runs this season (he entered with a 1.86 HR/9), but he generated 8 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls yesterday which obviously is a strong step.  We’ll have to see if he can continue to keep the ball in the ballpark (he had 7 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls in his previous start), but if he can he could be a difference maker down the stretch.  It’s going to take more than one start to fully buy in, but so far he’s showing strong signs.

 

3) Another poor showing from Jameson Taillon…
While he only allowed 2 R (1 earned) over 4.0 IP against the Reds, it took him 108 pitches to even get that far as he yielded 5 H and 4 BB in the process.  It’s easy to say he was lucky to get out with such little damage and it continues a string of subpar showings (10 ER on 17 H and 12 BB over his past 14.0 IP).  Working deep into games has been a significant issue, as he’s gone 5.1 innings or less in eight of his past ten starts (and no more than 6.1 innings in any start since April 16).  That’s always going to make W tough to come by, and his sudden loss of control makes things that much worse.  There has been some bad luck (.362 BABIP entering the day) and it’s possible he’s tiring (though he did throw 165.2 innings last season), but he’s positioning much better as a player to target in ’18 as opposed to a trustworthy option down the stretch.

 

4) Jon Gray impresses yet again…
Granted the start came against the Braves, in Atlanta, but that shouldn’t take away from the performance as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7.  He generated 15 swinging strikes on the day, though strikeouts haven’t been an issue.  In fact he entered the day with an 8.57 K/9, 2.73 BB/9 and 51.4% strand rate, so while there’s always going to be the Coors concern, it’s easy to point to poor luck as the reason for his struggles (.351 BABIP, 69.8% strand rate).  He’s now allowed 3 ER or less in seven straight starts and 2 ER or less in his past three.  While there could be a bump here or there, he’s an option well worth owning for September.

 

5) Does Lucas Giolito give us reason to believe…
Taking on the Tigers he tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 4.  Don’t let the low strikeout number deceive you, as he did generate 14 swinging strikes.  Control has always been the biggest issue (4.13 BB/9 at Triple-A this season), and even with 3 BB over his first 13.0 IP in the Majors it remains a concern.  He also has been prone to the long ball, with a 1.19 HR/9 at Triple-A (and having allowed 3 HR in his first start and generating just 7 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls yesterday).  In other words while it was a solid showing, don’t start trusting him because of it.

 

6) Is Logan Morrison about to get hot again…
He has seemingly disappeared of late, after showing big power early, entering the day with 7 HR in roughly two months of action (since June 24).  He had a big day yesterday, though, going 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  He now has 31 HR on the season, though his 11.6% HR/FB in the second half (entering the day) is much closer to the truth (13.4% for his career) than his 24.0% mark from the first half.  He’s clearly altered his approach, hitting more balls in the air, though we still can’t expect him to return to the first half levels.  Couple that with an elevated strikeout rate (11.4% SwStr% would be a career worst), and we wouldn’t be betting on production.  Nice day, but don’t let it turn you into a buyer again.

 

7) Chris Stratton opens some eyes…
In what turned out to be an 11-0 lose and was dominated by Patrick Corbin (7.0 shutout innings), it’s Stratton who deserves the most attention.  Going 6.0 innings he allowed 2 R on 4 H and 5 BB, striking out 10, in a loss to the Diamondbacks.  While the walks have been an issue in the Majors this season (he entered the day with a 4.26 BB/9), he owned a 2.50 BB/9 over 15 starts at Triple-A so we need to give him the benefit of the doubt.  He also doesn’t have quite this much strikeout stuff (8.05 K/9 at Triple-A,  only 11 swinging strikes yesterday), which is something else to keep in mind.  If he can’t get the control in order there are going to be issues, so while he could be an intriguing streamer he’s not a player to trust in September.

 

8) A strong start from Jharel Cotton…
Taking on the Rangers he allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 6.0 IP to earn the W.  Of course he still owns a 5.40 ERA and allowed yet another home runs (21 HR over 110.0 IP on the season).  You would think pitching in Oakland would help to deflate some of that risk, but his fly ball tendencies (2 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls, 46.7% fly ball rate entering the day) continue to plague him when coupled without many strikeouts (7.10 K/9) and less than stellar control (3.89 BB/9).  He has shown more in the strikeout and walk rates in the minors, but are we really going to believe off of this one start (and when coupled with the other issue)?  Tough sell, and while he’s worth monitoring he can’t be trusted.

 

9) Rafael Devers shows signs of turning it around…
We all knew he was going to slump, but his recent stumbles were still concerning as the Red Sox dropped him back to the eighth spot in the order.  It was definitely a good sign to see him react by going 2-4 (both hits being doubles) with 1 RBI.  He entered the day hitting .288, courtesy of a believable marks in both strikeouts (24.6%) and luck (.324 BABIP).  While the way he got here is a bit frustrating, don’t be surprised if this is the player he is the rest of the way.  Note, that wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

 

10) Is Brandon Nimmo worthy of our attention…
The former first round draft pick has been a relative bust, failing to show any type of upside in the past.  He went 3-9 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R across the Mets/Nationals double header yesterday, though, as he saw time hitting both atop the order and in the third spot.  Those are prime position, and you would think that would put him on our radars, though he also struck out 3 times on the day and now has 15 K over 48 AB in August.  Sure he can draw a walk, but in 198 AB at Triple-A this season he posted a 24.7% strikeout rate, en route to just 3 HR and 0 SB.  In other words, prime lineup spot or not Nimmo is a hard player to get excited about.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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

5 comments

  1. TreeFrog says:

    Do you believe that Fister can at all be trusted down the stretch?

  2. TreeFrog says:

    What I thought… Thanks!

  3. PJMask says:

    Is Patrick Corbin establishing himself as keeper worthy in standard roto formats?

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