10 Important Stories From 09/04/17 Box Scores: Trusting Alex Cobb, Bundy’s Step Backwards & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

J.D. Martinez stole the show against the Dodgers, going 4-5 with 4 HR, 6 RBI and 4 R, which says a lot considering the performance from Robbie Ray (which we’ll discuss later on).  Carlos Martinez dominated the Padres, throwing a complete game shutout allowing 3 H and 3 BB while striking out 10.  Giancarlo Stanton did it again, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Another solid start for Jake Junis (kind of)…
The numbers aren’t going to blow you away, but he was solid and got the W over the Tigers as he allowed 3 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP.  Of course the lack of strikeouts is a concern (he only had 8 swinging strikes and he also failed to generate many groundballs (2 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls).  Considering he hasn’t impressed with either his SwStr% (9.7% entering the day) or O-Swing% (25.4%) and has had home run issues (1.42 HR/9, 38.4% fly ball rate) over his first 63.1 IP it really shouldn’t come as a surprise.  There’s a good chance he continues to post underwhelming outings and is nothing more than a low-end option.

 

2) Jose Reyes continues to produce…
The Mets lineup is in shambles, yet they managed to score 11 runs on 12 hits yesterday (and you could argue that a lengthy inning helped to ice their own starter, as Rafael Montero was on cruise control but started to struggle and finished allowing 4 ER on 5 H and 5 BB, striking out 3, over 5.1 IP against the Phillies).  It was Reyes who helped to pace the offense, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R and extending his hitting streak to seven games (11-26 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 10 R and 4 SB).  Obviously he’s not the same player that he once was, and he certainly isn’t this good, but he should be in the lineup most nights and has the potential to be productive.  In deeper formats he’s worth riding the hot streak, at the least.

 

3) A significant step backward for Dylan Bundy…
He was coming off arguably the best start of his career, a complete game one-hit shutout with 12 K, but things were much different this time around.  Taking on the Yankees he was torched for 5 ER on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 4.0 IP.  It shouldn’t be a big surprise that home runs were the big issue, as he entered the day with a 1.39 HR/9 and 33.1% groundball rate.  Pitching in Baltimore that’s not going to suddenly disappear, which is going to continue to limit his appeal.  He entered the day with a 3.94 ERA, but he could easily post a number well in excess of that moving forward.  He’s a risky option, at best.

 

4) Has Trevor Bauer finally started to figure things out…
He was strong again yesterday, this time against the White Sox, allowing 2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, over 6.1 IP.  As it is he entered the day with a 3.08 ERA over 52.2 IP since the All-Star Break, so there obviously is reason to buy into an emergence.  It’s also hard to point towards luck as the reason, despite an 86.2% strand rate, as he’s also posted a .355 BABIP.  Then again he’s also been hit extremely hard, with a 25.2% line drive rate, and it’s easy to envision the bottom falling out at some point.  It’s not to say that he isn’t a viable option, just proceed with your eyes open.

 

5) The strong rookie season for Josh Bell continues…
Obviously there are others who are garnering more attention, but Bell has done just fine for himself.  After going 3-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R he’s now hitting .264 with 24 HR and 82 RBI on the season.  Interestingly it was power that was always the biggest question facing him, though his 19.2% HR/FB entering the day isn’t unreasonable and he appears to be adding power as he matures.  Average wasn’t supposed to be an issue, though his 17.6% line drive rate is a bit of a concern.  That said he did show some signs in August (20.9%) and still has the potential to be a .280+ hitter to go along with the power.  The stock is pointing way up at this point.

 

6) Erasmo Ramirez continues to pitch well in Seattle…
While he settled for a no decision (Dallas Keuchel was just as good, allowing 2 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 7.2 IP) it was another strong performance for Ramirez.  He went 6.0 innings allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP as a pair of solo home runs cost him (Yuli Gurriel and Brian McCann each took him deep).  He’s now allowed 3 ER or fewer in five straight starts, though he’s allowed 4 HR over his past two starts (and 9 HR over 7 starts since the trade).  You would not think it would be a significant issue (he entered with a 47.2% groundball rate) so we wouldn’t be too concerned.  Overall he should be a decent option, though not a spectacular one, and is more of a matchup based play.

 

7) Another disappointing performance from Rick Porcello…
He got beat up by the Blue Jays, allowing 7 ER on 10 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 5.1 IP.  He now owns a 4.67 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, as he’s been a home run machine this season.  After allowing 3 HR yesterday he’s now given up 35 HR over 181.1 IP, all this after early in his career being considered one of the better groundball artists in the game.  Obviously that’s no longer the case (5 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday) considering his 40.1% groundball rate entering the day.  Sure he still brings impressive control, but there simply isn’t enough other skills to get excited about.  He’s going to be a hit or miss starter, with far too much “miss” potential to trust.

 

8) Is Alex Cobb officially “back”…
Yes he’s been pitching for much of the season, though we’ve had some doubts about his ability.  He delivered another strong outing yesterday, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.2 IP to defeat the Twins so you have to believe in the stuff…  Right?  Well he once again struggled to generate many swings and misses (7), something that’s continued to be an issue all season long (6.6% SwStr% entering Monday).  Couple that with a suppressed O-Swing% (28.7%), as well as arguably a little bit of luck (.277 BABIP, 75.2% strand rate, 22.2% line drive rate), and it’s easy to see why there’d be some concern.  At this point it’s hard to say that he’s unusable, but don’t be surprised if he’s overvalued heading into 2018.

 

9) Robbie Ray was spectacular against the Dodgers…
Maybe spectacular isn’t even the right word, as he tossed 7.2 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 0 BB while striking out 14.  The most impressive number, though?  How about 24 swinging strikes, clearly showing that he had Los Angeles’ number and was nearly unhittable.  His strikeout stuff isn’t in question, what he needs to do is make sure he’s throwing strikes (he entered with a 4.28 BB/9) and avoiding home runs (37.7% groundball rate, 3 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls yesterday).  When it all comes together we get performances like this, though it obviously isn’t always going to be like this.

 

10) Why doesn’t Anthony Rendon get any respect…
Maybe it’s due to the stars that surround him, with Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and a host of others taking the attention.  However Rendon has clearly emerged, as he’s hitting .304 with 23 HR and 90 RBI after going 3-4 with 1 HR and 4 RBI last night.  His plate discipline is excellent (14.4% strikeout rate, 13.8% walk rate) and there’s nothing unrealistic about the power (12.9% HR/FB entering the day).  He has an outside shot of reaching 30 HR, but a .300/25/100 player is always going to have borderline elite value.

 

Sources – ESPN, Frangraphs

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

2 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Hi Prof, given Greinke’s struggles on the road recently, would you sit him tonight at LAD? Thanks

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