10 Important Stories From 09/05/17 Box Scores: Young Players Grabbing Attention (Bader, Luplow) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a surprisingly bad day for Jacob deGrom, who allowed 9 R (6 earned) on 10 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 3.2 IP against the Phillies.  Garrett Richards pitched well in his return to the mound, though it was a short outing as expected, as he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 3.1 IP.  Justin Verlander impressed in his Astros’ debut, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP to earn the W.  What else happened that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:


1) Does Jordan Luplow deserve our attention…
He went 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, and while he’s hitting just .222 since joining Pittsburgh he’s now on a four-game hitting streak (6-15, 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R) and overall he’s gotten just 27 AB (so the poor numbers are based on far too small of a sample size).  Splitting time between Double and Triple-A this season he hit .302 with 23 HR, though a .381 BABIP and 11.8% SwStr% at Triple-A tells us that the average is likely unsustainable (.325 at the level).  Still there’s upside, the question is whether or not he continues to see regular AB.  Gregory Polanco poses the biggest threat, and he could be back shortly, though he’s been plagued by injury and inability (.255 with 10 HR in 322 AB) this season.  It’s hard to fathom, but if Luplow is hitting he should stick in the lineup.  For those in deeper formats he’s worth a short-term roll of the dice.


2) Two young Tigers pace the offense…
Detroit is the land of opportunity right now, and there were two players who particularly stepped up in a 13 R attack against Jason Vargas (2.0 IP, 7 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and the Royals:

  • Jacoby Jones – 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • John Hicks – 3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R

Hicks’ playing time is a little bit more questionable, as he was at 1B yesterday while Miguel Cabrera sits out for his suspension.  He also hasn’t been playing everyday regardless, and with Jeimer Candelario and Nick Castellanos likely filling 3B/DH (though Castellanos could shift to the OF) the AB could continue to be hard to find.  Jones is a more interesting roll of the dice, as long as he keeps the strikeouts down.


3) Robert Stephenson strong again…  Kind of…
Sure he beat the Brewers and allowed just 1 ER on 4 H while striking out 7 over 6.0 IP.  That all sounds great, but he also walked 5 batters and was hardly a groundball machine (5 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls).  Obviously the latter isn’t a big negative, though he entered the day with a 39.8% groundball rate and a 1.69 HR/9 so it’s not something to ignore.  Control has always been the biggest question, and he’s now walked at least 3 batters in four straight starts (15 BB over 22.2 IP).  Of course he’s won all 4, but HR issues + control issues is a formula for disaster.  He’s a ticking time bomb and one to avoid.


4) A terrible return for Danny Salazar…
He couldn’t make it out of the first inning against the White Sox, allowing 4 ER on 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, while getting just 2 outs (though he avoided the loss thanks to another big day from Jose Ramirez, who went 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R).  Despite the favorable matchup you could argue that the Indians set him up for failure, as he didn’t make a rehab start though he threw 4.2 IP on August 20 so t’s not like he was sidelined for an extended period of time.  He entered the day with a 2.68 ERA over 37.0 IP in the second half and should ultimately rebound.  As long as he’s healthy he’ll remain a strong option.


5) Can we trust CC Sabathia in September…
He had been surprisingly usable thus far, though he got beat up by the Orioles last night allowing 5 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 5.1 IP (after a lengthy rain delay).  Home runs were the big issue, as he was taken deep three times (Manny Machado, who finished 2-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R hit one of the blasts), despite generating 9 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls.  That’s been the trend this season (50.3% groundball rate), though his 14.4% HR/FB entering the day is right inline with his recent marks.  He also has struggled to get swings and misses (6 yesterday, 8.7% SwStr% entering the day), further making him a questionable option.  Sabathia entered with a .268 BABIP, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a regression continued.  While he’s been a good story, he’s tough to trust.


6) C.J. Cron goes deep again…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, giving him 4 HR over his past seven games as well as extending his hitting streak to nine games and his RBI streak to five games (11 RBI in his past five games, 15 RBI in his past seven games).  Playing time was always one of the biggest questions, and he’s been getting that, though strikeouts are also an issue (he entered the day with a 12.2% SwStr%) and that’s going to limit his average upside.  Still, he’s scorching hot right now and playing in a deep lineup.  While he will likely cool off before the season ends, ride this hot stretch out in all formats.


7) Harrison Bader making an impact for St. Louis…
Hitting atop the order he went 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  He now has 3 HR in 18 AB in September, while adding 7 RBI, 6 R and 1 SB as well.  He brings an intriguing mix of power and speed with him (he had 20 HR and 15 SB over 479 PA at Triple-A this season), but there are two big questions.  One is whether or not he’ll continue to see regular AB (and that will depend on the health of Tommy Pham and Matt Carpenter).  The other is his ability to make consistent contact, posting a 24.6% strikeout rate at Triple-A.  Both should prove to limit his appeal, though monitor the news for now.  He’s worth riding while he’s hitting, but don’t expect him to be a force the rest of the way.


8) Maikel Franco takes a seat in favor of J.P. Crawford…
The newly recalled Crawford was making his MLB debut, and went 1-5 with 1 R.  There obviously has been questions as to where Crawford will fit in the lineup, so it will be interesting to see if they take an extended look at him at 3B with Franco continuing to struggle (he’s hitting .223 with 15 HR over 553 PA).  It’s definitely possible and those in deeper formats are going to want to grab Crawford just in case they do find every day AB for him (and he could see time at 2B, 3B and his natural SS).  That said he isn’t a guarantee unfortunately, so stay tuned.


9) Does a strong start from Jake Odorizzi excite us…
Taking on the Twins he tossed 6.2 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 6.  The key was that he kept the ball in the ballpark, as he’s still allowed 28 HR over 123.2 IP on the season.  He wasn’t generating many swinging strikes (9 swinging strikes), though that hasn’t been a big issue for him this season (10.7% SwStr% entering the day) and isn’t a big concern.  Instead it’s the lack of groundballs and his less than typical control (4.00 BB/9 entering the day, compared to a 2.96 career mark).  It’s possible he turns it around and finishes strong, though the home run problem isn’t going away and therefore he’s tough to trust down the stretch.


10) Trevor Story goes deep…
He finished 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, which obviously isn’t a good day but it’s notable since Ian Desmond had drawn the start at SS the day before.  It’s been a disappointing season for Story, who is now hitting .225 with 19 HR and 64 RBI on the season.  Obviously strikeouts have been the problem, entering the day with a 36.0% strikeout rate, and that’s something that’s not going to simply disappear over the final month.  He also hasn’t hit home runs at the same prolific rate as a year ago and there’s a good chance he continues to find himself on the bench over the final few weeks.  If you own him, have a contingency plan in place.


Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MILB.com

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


  1. Carlito says:

    Are you buying the scooter hype? Keeper or just nice story?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Don’t think he’s quite this good, but yea he is a potential keeper at this point (or at least a sell high candidate in the offseason)

  2. Tuco says:

    Jose Martinez thoughts????

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