10 Important Stories From 08/28/17 Box Scores: Ramirez’ Resurgence, Montgomery Impresses & More

by Ray Kuhn

Yesterday was a strange day in baseball. Neither Rhys Hoskins or Giancarlo Stanton went deep last night, as at this point, we truly had become accustomed to automatic home runs from each of them. Also on a day where the Mets confirmed that Yoenis Cespedes would join the ranks of their players sidelined for the season, we actually saw one of their players go the other way. Based on how poorly he did to start the season, there might actually not be any fantasy impact, but Matt Harvey is returning to the mound on Friday. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that did stand out from a relatively busy Monday in baseball:

1) Another Win for Nola…

Just as with Hoskins, it felt like a reoccurring theme here with Aaron Nola. For a stretch, every fifth day, Nola threw another strong outing that we had to highlight here as he is one of the few bright spots of Philadelphia’s rebuilding season. Nola picked up his 10 victory of the season with seven strong innings against Atlanta on Monday as he allowed just one run on five hits. The right-hander, who didn’t walk a batter, struck out six while lowering his ERA to 3.46. After going 10 starts in which he didn’t allow more than two runs, it was a good sign to see Nola rebound after allowing 12 runs in 11.1 innings in his two most recent starts. With 148 innings, Nola is already past the 111 innings he threw last year in Triple-A, but in 2015 Nola logged a combined 187 innings, so I wouldn’t be worried about him down the stretch.

2) Ramirez Leaves the Park, Twice…

Moving back over to second base with Jason Kipnis sidelined again, Jose Ramirez didn’t miss a beat. The versatile infielder went deep twice yesterday, both solo shots, as he brought his batting average back up to .300 on the season. Ramirez showed off his power/speed combination, as after reaching 20 home runs for the season, he also walked and picked up his 14th stolen base. Stolen bases are getting harder and harder to find, but being able get some from a player who is anything but one-dimensional is a nice bonus. While I would stop and calling Ramirez a true five tool player, with 62 RBI and 84 runs scored, you are getting production in all five categories.

3) The Return of Scherzer…

How silly were we to be concerned about Max Scherzer. While fantasy owners sure would have preferred not to miss two starts from the right-hander, it’s hard to argue with his performance last night. Showing no ill effects from his neck injury, the Marlins never really had a chance against Scherzer. He cruised to his 13th victory of the season by allowing just a Christian Yelich solo home run. The right-hander did scatter four other hits and walk two batters, but he also struck out 10 over seven innings while lowering his ERA to 2.21. This is a fun wave to ride for fantasy owners as we enter the last month of the season.

4) Castillo Drives in Two…

Picking on catchers has just become too easy, and I am guilty of it. While there is a clear challenge towards starting two catchers, sometimes it’s hard enough just to find one legitimate option. By all accounts, Wellington Castillo is having a very good season for the Baltimore Orioles, but as a fantasy player, I would dial it back a few notches. We know that most catchers don’t play everyday, Castillo has 283 at bats, but some are better than others at making an impact. But when he is in the lineup, it is hard to argue with the results you get from Castillo. On Monday, he went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs (42 on the season) as he brought his average up to .290 on the season. The other side of it though, is that perhaps if he played more, he wouldn’t be as effective and that .290 batting average might be more like .270. But, you also would have some more power production.

5) Vazquez Has a Perfect Night…

Here is something a little different for us, let’s continue the catcher conversation. And, yet again, we are talking about a backstop who batted eighth in the order last night. That brings was to Christian Vazquez, who like Castillo, is also one of the more desirable options behind the plate. Not everyone can be Buster Posey, or even Salvador Perez, so you have to find the next best alternatives. Vazquez went 4 for 4 on Monday, and he finished a triple shy of the cycle. It was just the fourth home run of the season for Vazquez who in 248 at bats has four home runs and 26 RBI while batting .294. Perhaps even more interesting, is the fact that he stole his seventh base of the season last night.

6) Another Strong Outing from Montgomery…

If you are chasing wins, Mike Montgomery once again was a pretty solid source last night. The southpaw threw seven shutout innings at home against the Pirates on Monday before departing following a Jordy Mercer home run to lead off the eighth inning. Pittsburgh managed just six hits in total off Montgomery who didn’t walk a batter while striking out four. Overall this season, Montgomery’s ERA is 3.29 and eight games so far this month (two starts) he is sporting a 1.73 ERA along with a 0.96 WHIP. His time in the rotation is likely limited based on the return of Jon Lester, but I would ride him until then, and even after as he might have some value as a swing man for the Cubs.

7) LoMo Drives in Four…

As far as fantasy owners are concerned, it doesn’t matter at what point in a game the production comes. So the fact that the game was well out of hand by the time Logan Morrison hit a three run homer in the ninth inning on Monday, really doesn’t mean a thing. Other than the fact that fantasy owners got another home run out of Morrison. The first baseball, who also doubled earlier in the game, is batting just .247 on the season, but it’s hard to argue with the power production. That is especially true since his success this season did come as a surprise. Morrison is up to 74 RBI on the season, and for the most part, he has been a solid contributor all season. While I would be conservative moving forward as Morrison’s home run to ball rate is 21.3% this season compared to his career average of 13.6%, he is also hitting a drastically higher amount of fly balls this season; 47.6% compared to 37.5% for his career.

8) Castellanos Takes to Coors Field…

In fact, he was one of the few hitters last night who did, as despite an over/under that eclipsed 12 runs, just seven were scored on Monday. Nick Castellanos drove in three of those runs for Detroit as he picked up three hits on the night; two singles and a triple. The third baseman has driven in 75 runs so far this season for Detroit as he bats in the middle of their lineup. However, with a .248 batting average, fantasy owners are left wanting more from Castellanos. This season though, his BABIP of .295 is well below his career mark of .345, and it is hard to remember sometimes that Castellanos is still just 25 years old. At the same time though, it feels like we wait every season for him to have a break out campaign, and while he is always a solid fantasy contributor, we are also left wanting a little more.

9) Heaney is Victorious for the First Time…

Returning from Tommy John surgery is not an easy thing to do. It’s very possible to do so, but it just takes time, and it often doesn’t occur in a smooth, straight line. In his third start since making his return, Andrew Heaney picked up his first victory of the season with six strong innings against the A’s. Prior to last night, the training wheels still appeared to be on as Heaney was feeling his way around, but last night, he was on. The southpaw limited Oakland to a Dustin Garneau solo home run while allowing just one other hit and three walks in total. Fantasy owners also had to like the fact that Heaney struck out 10 batters. The Angels need starting pitching as they look to make a Wild Card run, and they also need to see what they have in Heaney for next season, so he will get opportunities to pitch down the stretch. And on Monday, we saw what he can do.

10) Samardzjia Finishes What he Started…

Well that was easy. Jeff Samardzjia didn’t need any help from the bullpen last night, and all he needed was one run (he got three) to pick up his ninth victory of the season. The right-hander picked up his first complete game of the season as he limited San Diego to just three hits and no walks over nine innings. Despite the fact that he is striking out 8.92 batters per nine innings, Samardzjia only struck out five on Monday, but it’s hard to argue with anything surrounding a complete game shutout. Even though Samardzjia’s WHIP is a very solid 1.17, his ERA is still 4.43, and that can be blamed on 67.1% strand rate. If you look at his FIP of 3.44 (xFIP of 3.45) we see a different picture of Samardzjia and one that has even more fantasy value.

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

6 comments

  1. Miles says:

    Do you like Heany, Gausman, or Straily ROS

  2. Bbboston says:

    RP:

    Gossett had a pretty nice line last night ?

    What are your thoughts on Heaney ?

    As always : Thanks!

    Bbboston

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Can’t buy into Gossett quite yet.

      As for Heaney, I’m not much of a believer but there appears to be enough interest thatI’ll take a deeper look and do a writeup on him later in the week

      • Bbboston says:

        Fwiw: pretty sure Heaney is a high draft pick and showed pretty well in his MLB time with LA….. but with injury, he’s kind of a post-hype sleeper. My own observation is that he hides there ball just enough that his FB JUMPS at batters and he’s got strong secondary pitches and command

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          He has command, yes, but is also incredibly home run prone and is no lock to maintain this strikeout rate. It was one great start, but it takes more than that

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