10 Important Stories From 09/06/17 Box Scores: Castillo Finishes Strong, Not Buying R. Lopez & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Luiz Gohara made his MLB debut and struggled, as expected, allowing 6 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 6, over 4.0 IP.  Lance McCullers was decent in his return from the DL, allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 5.1 IP in a no decision against the Mariners.  Carlos Carrasco went the distance to defeat the White Sox, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, showing off his ace-like stuff.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Luis Castillo finishes 2017 with a strong impression…
In what was announced as his final start Castillo made one mistake, a first inning home run to Neil Walker (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), but that was it.  Going 8.0 innings Castillo allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, to finish with a 3.17 ERA and 1.07 ERA over 89.1 IP.  He flashed all three skills in the Majors, entering the day with a 9.74 K/9 (12.0% SwStr%, and he had 23 swinging strikes yesterday), 3.54 BB/9 and 57.6% groundball rate (he had 12 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls yesterday).  Groundballs may have been the one concern upon his arrival in the Majors, as he posted a 0.90 GO/AO at Triple-A (1.15 over his minor league career).  If that is for real he has the upside of a true ace, though that remains to be seen.  He will be one of the more intriguing pitchers heading into 2018.

 

2) The results aren’t there for Blake Snell…
He had been on a great run, but he didn’t have it yesterday as he allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 4.0 IP.  Obviously it was a disappointing afternoon, as he was done in by a pair of home runs, but there are a few key takeaways.  While he was burnt by the long ball, that hasn’t been the case overall this season (14 HR over 109.1 IP) and though there is a little bit of risk (44.3% groundball rate) it’s not a significant issue.  More importantly is the fact that he didn’t walk a batter, as his control has always been the biggest question hanging over him.  He’s now issued just 10 BB over his last 41.0 IP, and if he can continue down this path the results are going to be there.  It’s a highly promising turn, and one that could allow him to finally realize his potential.  Don’t lose hope.

 

3) It’s getting hard not to buy into Elvis Andrus…
He had yet another big day, going 4-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hitting .305 with 20 HR and 80 RBI on the season, and he’s really exploded with 4 HR over his past three games (and 11 RBI over his past five games).  Obviously the power is a big surprise, and while he has seen an increase in his fly ball rate (32.0%, compared to a career mark of 24.4%) the bigger jump is in his HR/FB (12.9% entering the day, compared to a career 5.1% mark).  Nearly 30-years old it’s interesting that he’s suddenly seen a jump, but it’s hard not to believe in it.  While he may not consistently be a 20+ HR hitter, it appears that 15-18 is possible to go along with 20+ SB.

 

4) A strong rebound from Gerrit Cole…
He settled for a no decision, as Jose Quintana (6.0 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K) was just as good.  That takes nothing away from Cole, who threw 8.0 shutout innings against the Cubs allowing 2 H and 4 BB while striking out 8.  He has allowed 4+ ER in three of his past five starts so it’s impossible to call him anything but a risky option, as he’s been rather inconsistent throughout the season.  That said he entered the day with an 8.32 K/9, 2.24 BB/9 and 46.3% groundball rate, with home runs (1.40 HR/9) being the biggest problem.  That’s a bit of an aberration though (0.75 HR/9 for his career) and it’s easy to see why he’s viewed as a potential Top 20 SP.  Yesterday’s performance shows it, and there’s a good chance he puts it all together and fully breaks out in 2018.

 

5) Are we buying Doug Fister’s strong stretch…
He allowed 1 R on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP against the Blue Jays and has now allowed 2 ER or fewer in four straight starts (5 ER over 30.0 IP).  He was getting both swings and misses (13) and groundballs (9, compared to 3 fly balls), though the former isn’t something we should expect (7.4% SwStr% entering the day, 6.6% for his career).  In other words the strikeouts aren’t going to be anything special, and his control hasn’t been there in back-to-back years (3.09 BB/9 in ’16, 3.78 entering the day).  You combine those two things and it’s easy to envision the wheels falling off at some point down the stretch.  There’s simply too much risk involved.

 

6) Salvador Perez continues to show off his power…
He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .266 with 24 HR and 70 RBI on the season.  From a catcher no one is going to complain about those numbers, especially as he’s already set a career high in HR and is on the verge of also setting a high in RBI (currently 79 in ’13).  The biggest question has been his average in recent seasons, and while he’s improved his Hard% (38.2%) his plate discipline has been as bad as ever (11.4% SwStr%, 47.7% O-Swing%).  While the results are there, a cold spell is possible at any time and he remains more of a power only catcher.

 

7) Win or not, Julio Teheran is a tough sell…
Sure he beat Cole Hamels (6.0 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K) and the Texas Rangers, but that doesn’t mean Teheran was impressive.  Lasting just 5.0 IP he allowed 3 R on 5 H and 5 BB, striking out 3, and allowed yet another home run.  He’s up to 30 HR over 162.1 IP on the season and while his control isn’t this bad, he hasn’t been nearly as good as he has been in previous years (3.26 BB/9 entering the day, compared to a career mark of 2.54).  Throw in that he’s never been a massive strikeout artist and it’s hard to envision what we are buying, both short and long-term.  There is potential, but he’s not a rookie and it’s possible that this is simply the type of pitcher that he is.  Maybe closer to a 4.00 ERA (he’s currently at 4.77), it’s impossible to envision him being considered a Top 30-40 option heading into 2018.

 

8) Reynaldo Lopez shines (kind of), despite the loss…
It was an unfortunate matchup with Carlos Carrasco, but Lopez was impressive himself as he allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 IP.  However when we look at things there were few groundballs (4 groundballs vs. 12 fly balls) and he also wasn’t generating many swings and misses (9).  Considering he entered the day with a 25.6% groundball rate in three Major League starts (36.3% at Triple-A), it’s easy to see the home run issues continuing to plague him (though he kept the ball in the ballpark yesterday).  While the strikeouts will be there and he kept his control in check yesterday, there is a concern regarding walks moving forward (3.64 BB/9 at Triple-A).  Lack of control plus home run concerns means a pitcher that simply can’t be trusted down the stretch.

 

9) Joe Panik continues his unbelievable tear…
He went 5-6 with 2 RBI and 3 R yesterday, his third straight multi0hit game (12-15 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 4 R) and giving him a modest five-game hitting streak.  This stretch has raised his average to .285, which is obviously solid but unspectacular, and he’s also provided little power (10 HR) or speed (4 SB).  Sure he brings a good approach to the plate (he entered with a 10.4% strikeout rate), but he’s never been a source in the counting stats.  An ideal #2 hitter for the Giants, he’s a much better player for the real life team as opposed to your fantasy squad.  It’s been a great run, but don’t make a move.

 

10) Taijuan Walker again shows us his upside potential…
Taking on the Dodgers, in LA, he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP to earn the W.  Of course the locale is important, as he’s been a significantly better pitcher on the road this season:

  • Home – 4.11 ERA
  • Road – 2.71 ERA

He has allowed more home runs at home (1.32 HR/9), which isn’t a surprise, though there’s also been at least a little bit of bad luck (68.7% strand rate).  At the end of the day he’s shown a career best groundball rate this season (47.6% entering the day) to go along with some strikeouts (8.20 K/9) and enough control (3.14 BB/9).  We expected more moving to the NL and maybe he never fully emerges as the ace that many expected, but there’s going to be continued value as a mid-rotation option (especially when starting on the road).

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MILB.com

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

3 comments

  1. Tuco says:

    Snell or Woodruff rest of season?

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