10 Important Stories From 08/30/17 Box Scores: Is Stephenson Worth Owning, Rodriguez Struggles Again & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Zack Greinke shutdown the Dodgers, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP to earn the W.  Kris Bryant delivered a big blow for the Cubs, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R (and he’s now the first Cubs player to hit 25+ HR in each of his first three seasons).  Zach Davies pitched well against the Nationals, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:


1) Has Robert Stephenson figured things out…
Taking on a depleted Mets lineup he was strong yet again, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP.  Stephenson has now won three straight starts, allowing 5 ER on 15 H and 10 BB over 16.2 IP…  Considering those numbers it’s easy to say that his “success” is more mirage than reality, as there’s been a lot of luck despite an improvement in the strikeouts (he has 18 K over his past two starts).  His control has always been a big question, and clearly that has continued.  He also isn’t much of a groundball pitcher (39.7% entering the day), meaning home runs are also a concern.  While he’s been on a nice run, the Mets, Pirates and Braves aren’t the elite offenses either.  Don’t be buying.


2) Is it time to give up on Rougned Odor…
Odor has disappointed all season long, but things have gotten particularly ugly of late.  After going 0-4 yesterday he’s hitting .179 in August, with just 4 HR and 10 RBI.  While he hasn’t struck out at a particularly high rate, he continues to show a terrible approach at the plate (he entered the day with a 39.7% O-Swing%).  That’s led to a poor line drive rate (17.1%) and a lot of popups (16.6%), so it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s struggling.  There is still power and speed, which will make him a nice post-hype sleeper next season (though he’ll need to alter his approach).  For this year, though, he’s getting harder and harder to trust.


3) A poor timed disaster from Kenta Maeda…
It’s not necessarily fair, but with Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood returning from the DL the rest of the Dodger rotation has got to be on notice.  Unfortunately for Maeda he potentially pitched his way out of the rotation, getting bombed by the Diamondbacks as he allowed 7 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 3.0 innings of work.  The biggest damage came courtesy of a pair of home runs, and playing in Arizona could’ve been part of the problem.  He should still be in the rotation next around (he entered with a 2.52 ERA in the second half), though given the depth the team has it wouldn’t be shocking if he’s removed with another poor outing.


4) Eduardo Rodriguez struggles yet again…
Taking on the Yankees he finished allowing 5 ER on 10 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP.  He allowed a pair of home runs, as Gary Sanchez (2-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) and Greg Bird (2-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R) each took him deep.  That’s been a consistent issue this season, as he’s now allowed 16 HR over 110.2 IP, and having entered the day with a 35.2% groundball rate (0 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls yesterday) it’s not something that will suddenly disappear.  Rodriguez has now allowed 3+ ER in four straight starts, including 10 ER over his past 11.2 IP, and while he may be matchup dependent it’s going to be tough to trust him in September.


5) A monster game for Kendrys Morales…
To say he had the line of the day would be an understatement, as he finished going 4-5 with 3 HR, 7 RBI and 4 R and now has 25 HR and 70 RBI on the season.  While he hasn’t necessarily had a blow away month, Morales has been consistent with at least 4 HR and 13 RBI every month.  Sure his .253 average is less than impressive, there’s a little bit of upside to go along with the dependability in the other numbers.  He’s got to be viewed as a solid option for the back of your roster, and there’s nothing wrong with that.


6) Ben Lively delivers a strong start in Miami…
Lively went 6.0 innings allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, to earn the W.  It was a strong rebound, after the Cubs tagged him for 4 HR in his previous start, though we have to remember that he was pitching in much friendlier confines this time around.  He entered the day with a 39.7% groundball rate, compared to a 38.5% at Triple-A, so pitching in Philadelphia that’s not something that’s going to disappear.  He’s also struggled to get many swings and misses in the Majors, entering the day with a 7.4% SwStr% (only 8 swinging strikes yesterday).  Any rookie pitcher is going to carry a level of risk, but one without many strikeouts and also is homer prone is going to be one to avoid completely.


7) An unspectacular outing for Sean Newcomb…
Taking on the Cubs in Chicago Newcomb allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 8 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP.  He continues to show swing and miss stuff (15 swinging strikes), but as expected the biggest issue has been his ability to consistently throw strikes.  He entered the day with a 5.33 BB/9, after posting a 5.15 BB/9 at Triple-A.  That’s obviously going to be a problem, but if he can get that in order he has shown the other skills that would make him a successful Major League pitcher (his 42.4% groundball rate is unspectacular, but enough given the strikeout rate).  He’ll likely continue to be inconsistent down the stretch, making him tough to trust, but could emerge as a good play as soon as 2018.


8) Gio Gonzalez struggles, and that should surprise no one…
Taking on the Brewers, in Milwaukee, he allowed 5 ER on 8 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP.  We’ve been saying for a while that he’s an implosion waiting to happen and this could be just the start of a September swoon.  Keep in mind that he entered the day with a .242 BABIP and 85.8% strand rate, as well as less than stellar control (3.36 BB/9).  It’s not to say that he’s a terrible option, as he has proven capable of keeping the ball in the ballpark, but he’s simply not as good as the ERA has indicated (even with the poor outing he’s at 2.58) and a correction is long overdue.  Be cautious, depending on your need.


9) A strong rebound from Michael Wacha…
Taking on the Giants, in San Francisco, he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 IP.  He had been bad of late, including 14 ER over his past three starts (never going more than 5.0 innings, and failing to go more than 4.0 IP in each of his past two).  He had been struggling with home runs (4 HR over his past three starts), though he did a good job generating groundballs yesterday (10 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls).  Overall he entered the day showing all the skills we like to see, including an 8.65 K/9, 3.00 BB/9 and 48.1% groundball rate, and while he could have a few bumps he should continue on as an overall solid option.


10) Jeremy Hellickson continues to struggle in Baltimore…
Is anyone really surprised, though?  Taking on the Blue Jays he allowed 7 ER on 7 H and 4 BB, striking out 2, over 4.2 IP.  He’s now allowed 6+ ER in three of his past four starts and has an unsightly 6.55 ERA in his six starts.  He’s allowed 8 HR over his past four starts, certainly an issue that doesn’t lend itself well to pitching for the Orioles.  As it is he entered the day with a 1.84 HR/9 overall, as well as a poor strikeout rate (5.39 K/9).  Sure he’s a strike thrower, but that doesn’t mean much.


Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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


  1. Mitch says:

    WHere do u value Zack Godley in 2018? IS He a top 20 starter?

  2. Carlito says:

    Haw do you feel about Reds Cstillio going into 2018? Keeper?

  3. MichaeL says:

    Any Sept. call ups making an impact this year or staying on the roster next year? Especially looking at Francisco Mejia.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I don’t love the group this season. I love Mejia, but not sure the team is going to trust him defensively. If they do he’ll be a Top 10 C

  4. Scott says:

    Villar had another nice game yesterday and has been heating up finally. Do you expect him to be in the lineup on most days? He was cut in my league. His speed and position flexibility is very attractive at this time of the season, 2b,ss,3b. Thx

  5. Please Freddy, Hit the Longball says:

    1. See any reason Braun heats up during the final month?
    2. SS for ROS, Beckham, Villar, Gregorius, or open to recommendations. Chasing RBI, HR, and SB in that order.
    3. Does Aaron Sanchez have a $12 keeper value for next season? 10T Roto


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