10 Important Stories From 08/29/17 Box Scores: Bundy Dominates, Schebler/Cron Produce & More

by Ray Kuhn

Even with two games being rained out last night (Cleveland at the Yankees and Atlanta at Philadelphia), we still had a busy night of baseball. There were 13 games on Tuesday, and that included the Astros facing the Rangers (as the home team) in Tampa Bay as Houston is dealing with the consequences of a hurricane of epic proportions. In situations like that, baseball immediately becomes the secondary concern. Let’s take a look at some of the performances on the field that stood out from a fantasy perspective:

1) Bundy Shows Who We Thought he Could Be…

Dylan Bundy was a high draft pick and then graduated into being a top prospect. However, it hasn’t been an easy ride for Bundy as he has had to deal with injuries and poor performance. But for those of you that stuck with the right-hander, 2017 has been a solid return on your investment, and that was especially the case last night. Bundy threw a complete game shutout against Seattle and he limited the Mariners to just one hit while walking only two batters. The right-hander struck out 12 batters, and in the process picked up his 13th victory of the season. A closer look though, shows that perhaps Bundy isn’t as far along as we might have thought, and we should still remain skeptical. He has benefited from a .264 BABIP this season, and he sports an xFIP of 4.73 (FIP of 4.38) while allowing 1.39 home runs per nine innings. The fact that Bundy only has a 33.1% ground ball rate does also give me some concern, although the talent is there.

2) The Return of Trea…

That sound, was the sigh of relief fantasy owners were making as Trea Turner returned to Washington’s lineup on Tuesday. Turner has been out for over two months with a wrist injury, and since he is simply too valuable to cut, the speedster has been taking up a roster since May. While his stolen bases are certainly a valuable commodity, Turner does provide more value than that. On Tuesday, Turner reached base twice in five at bats with a walk and a double and he also scored a run. He might need another game or two to fully find his groove, but Turner needs to be immediately put back into your lineup. One player who is having no issues finding his groove, is Giancarlo Stanton as he went deep for the 51st time this season, and 18th time this month, last night.

3) History for Sale…

While it is a cool statistic, fantasy owners don’t necessarily care about historical context. I mean, as a baseball fan you do, but it only helps you win your league to a certain extent. For Chris Sale though, history came last night as he also recovered from a slight rough patch. The southpaw became the quickest pitcher to reach 1,500 in a career, and he did it in style. After allowing four runs to the Yankees over seven innings, Sale had a rough time in his last start as the Indians got to him for six runs in three innings. In fact, earlier this month, Sale also had trouble with Cleveland as he allowed seven runs in five innings of work. In Toronto on Thursday though, Sale didn’t have any issues navigating the Blue Jays’ lineup as he picked up his 15th victory of the season. Sale kept Toronto off the scoreboard for seven innings as scattered just three hits while striking out 11 batters. With 264 strikeouts in 185.1 innings, a 2.77 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, there aren’t many better options (if at all) out there.

4) Schebler Shows off the Power…

If you play everyday and hit .241, you better bring something else to the table. And for Scott Schebler, that is power. The outfielder hit a grand slam last night as the Reds routed the Mets. It was the 26th home run of the season for Schebler, who also added an RBI single later in the game. What holds Schebler back from being more than a fourth outfielder in fantasy circles, aside from his batting average, is that if he isn’t hitting home runs, he really isn’t that much of a run producer; as evidenced by his 56 RBI on the season. However, after .312 BABIP last season, Schebler’s BABIP for 2017 is just .245 so far this season. With a .387 so far in August though, Schebler is someone to keep an eye on.

5) Andrus is Racking up the Hits…

The season of Elvis Andrus, remember he is still just 29 years old (even though it feels like he has been around forever), continued on Tuesday. Andrus came up a home run short of the cycle as he picked up four hits to bring his average up to .303 on the season. While he drove in just one run, 68 RBI on the season, Andrus scored three times. The fact that he picked up his fourth triple of the season wasn’t all that surprising to me, but with his two doubles, Andrus is up to 36 on the season. That is a new career high for the shortstop, who with 23 stolen bases already this season, is bringing his speed back to levels we haven’t seen since 2013 with newfound power production.

6) Have the Cardinals Found Their Next One…

We know about the Cardinals’ player development system, and their latest gem might be their 1st round pick from 2014. Now, it is still early into Luke Weaver’s career, and the former starting pitcher from Florida State hasn’t had the hype associated with other big name prospects, but he he has shown the ability to perform. In nine games, eight starts, last season, Weaver showed flashes but ultimately finished with a 5.70 ERA in 36.1 innings. So far this year, in 29 innings (seven games, four starts), Weaver’s ERA sits at 2.48 with a WHIP of 1.17. That includes last night, when the right-hander struck out 10 batters for the second straight game. He did get into trouble though, as Milwaukee picked up eight hits in 5.2 innings, but Weaver managed to weather the storm and allow just two runs. However, Zack Duke getting out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth inning also played a large part in that. Weaver has had success in the minor leagues, and I do like his outlook moving forward, but as with all young pitchers, exercise some caution.

7) Polanco Goes Deep Twice…

The Twins are a young team that is in the Wild Card mix perhaps a season before they were expected to be. That leads to some interesting lineup construction based on their roster, and on Tuesday, that meant Jorge Polanco was batting third. However, the shortstop took to his role and went deep twice. Polanco has just nine home runs on the season in 375 at bats, but when in the lineup, he has proven to be solid back end of the roster player. Both were solo shots for Polanco to bring his RBI total up to 56, and he also walked and stole his 10th base of the season. While it won’t help you, Polanco’s .256 batting average also won’t hurt you.

8) Hosmer Plays Insurance Man…

Eric Hosmer came up big for the Royals, as he took their one run lead on Tuesday, and turned it into a four run lead with one swing of the bat. It was the 22nd home run of the season for Hosmer who continues to develop into a legitimate first base option. While his power does lag behind some of his colleagues, Hosmer is in position to eclipse his career high of 25 home runs that he established last season. With 76 RBI and just about a month left to play, it doesn’t appear likely he will reach the 100 RBI threshold for the second straight season, but he likely will come close. Also, it is hard not to like his .320 batter average which will be a new career high. However, Hosmer while benefiting from a .349 BABIP (career mark of .315), it is not like he is a slouch (career .283 average) and his line drives are up from 16.5% last season to 22.3% this year.

9) Cron Shows off His Power…

It seems that in each of the past few seasons, C.J. Cron leaves us wanting more. This season he has split his time between the major leagues, Triple-A, and the disabled list, but I wouldn’t give up on him just yet. Last night, Cron went deep twice (a three run shot and a solo shot), and in 236 at bats, he is at 12 home runs on the season. With just about a month left in the season, he should remain on pace to beat his previous career high of 16 home runs from each of the past two seasons. This month is going to be important for Cron as he needs to stay healthy, and also continue to produce in what is essentially an audition for next season.

10) Perdomo Gets the Win…

Streaming starting pitchers takes work, but if you chose wisely, there are rewards. Generally, Luis Perdomo wouldn’t garner a first look, let alone a second, but last night he was pitching at home against a Giants team that struggles to generate offense. Perdomo ultimately rewarded those who had faith in him as he picked up his seventh victory of the season. The right-hander held San Francisco to two runs, one earned, in six innings of work while scattering seven hits and two walks. He did strikeout just three batters as he lowered his ERA to 4.69, but you did get both the quality start and the victory. There likely won’t be many more situations where Perdomo has value this season, so don’t get too crazy, just take your win and move on to the next one.

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