10 Important Stories From 09/08/17 Box Scores: Big Name Struggles (Archer, Darvish), Weaver Emerging & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Maikel Franco returned to the Phillies lineup and delivered (2-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R), so maybe the time off in favor of J.P. Crawford served as a wakeup call.  Jose Reyes surprisingly brought the big bat for the Mets, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  Gregory Polanco returned to the Pirates’ lineup but struggled, going 0-4 with 3 K, and faces a part-time role over the remainder of the season.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Is Michael Taylor developing into a must start option…
With the surprise recall of Victor Robles hanging over him Taylor delivered a big day, going 4-5 with 1 HR (an inside-the-park grand slam), 5 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.  He’s now 7-12 with 2 HR and 2 SB over his past three games and is hitting .270 with 15 HR and 14 SB on the season.  It all looks great, except for the continued lack of plate discipline (31.0% strikeout rate, 6.8% walk rate entering the day) as he simply swings and misses far too much (15.2% SwStr%).  Unless he can make a big improvement in this regard there’s always going to be the risk of a terrible average (he entered with a .350 BABIP).  The tools are there and he’s obviously worth using right now, just no the risks and that it could come spiraling down at any moment.

 

2) Chris Archer concerns grow large…
After being pulled from his last start after just two batters (forearm tightness) Archer was back on the mound yesterday but put in a terrible performance.  Taking on the Red Sox he allowed 8 R (6 earned) on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 3.0 IP to take the loss.  Obviously the major concern here is his health, though he continued to rack up strikeouts (83 K over 59.1 IP since the All-Star Break).  Reports are that the injury wasn’t an issue, so for now we’ll chalk this up to one poor start (and the strikeouts do give a good sign of that).  For now chalk it up to simply a poor start and plan on utilizing him, but monitor the news closely just in case something changes.

 

3) A stellar start from Mike Clevinger…
Taking on the Orioles he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 7.  Nothing in the underlying marks are going to blow you away (11 swinging strikes, 6 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls), and that’s been the case all season long as he notably entered the day with a 38.6% fly ball rate and a below average 4.57 BB/9.  Poor control plus the risk of home runs will eventually come to haunt him, despite his current 3.30 ERA.  Keep in mind that he entered the day with a .270 BABIP and 79.8% strand rate, despite a 22.9% line drive rate.  Obviously it’s late in the season and saying to expect a blowup now would be a mistake, but thinking he’s a lock to continue being this good whether it’s in ’17 or ’18 is a mistake.  There’s value, but there’s also some risk and likely a step back unless improvements are made.

 

4) Just when things are looking up for Masahiro Tanaka…
He took one on the chin yesterday at the hands of the Rangers, and there was only one “big” mistake as Nomar Mazara (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) took him deep.  That makes the line a little bit more troublesome as he finished allowing 7 ER on 8 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 4.0 IP.  Of course the strikeouts are still there and he had been coming off back-to-back strong starts (2 ER over 14.0 IP), so we don’t want to push the panic button.  That said the long ball does continue to plague him and he also hasn’t eclipsed 100 pitches in a start since August 2 (he threw 100 on the nose that day).  That’s something to watch, as shorter outings generally make it harder for a pitcher to get a W.

 

5) A step backwards for Lucas Giolito…
Taking on the San Francisco Giants you know many were thinking another stellar option was nearly guaranteed, but it wasn’t in the cards.  Giolito allowed 5 R (3 earned) on 3 H and 4 BB over 5.1 IP, with the big blow coming via Pablo Sandoval of all people (1-3, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R).  Obviously the biggest note is the control, which has always been the one big question hanging over him, but he’s also allowed 5 HR over 25.1 IP.  Those two things together are not a good combination, especially when starting at home.  While he’s got a ton of upside, for the remainder of ’17 consider him more of a streaming option and one who’s a better play on the road.

 

6) The good times continue to come for Eddie Rosario…
Hitting cleanup he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB, putting him at .287 with 21 HR and 8 SB on the season.  Did anyone really see him developing into a 20/10 weapon this season?  He entered the day with believable metrics (.314 BABIP, 14.5% HR/FB), and while the plate discipline isn’t good his marks actually represent a significant upgrade overall (11.5% SwStr%, 36.6% O-Swing%) and he’s taken another step forward since the All-Star Break (10.4% SwStr%, 35.8% O-Swing%).  It all appears to be coming together, and if he can take another step forward with his plate discipline he could emerge as a Top 20 option (though that’s a big if).

 

7) Another strong start from Luke Weaver…
Taking on the Pirates he tossed 5.2 shutout innings allowing 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 7.  He was generating both swings and misses (14) and groundballs (8, compared to 1 fly ball) and has now allowed 4 ER over 25.1 IP in his past four starts, though the most impressive number is his 36 K vs. 4 BB.  Obviously those who looked just at last season’s struggles in his first taste of the Majors are missing out, as he’s now showing the skill that put him on the map in the minors.  He was showing groundballs (44.4%) and control (2.20 BB/9) in the minors as well, and while the strikeout rate will likely drop off a little bit, the upside is there to make a difference down the stretch.  Still a little bit of a risk (he entered with an 87.6% strand rate), don’t use that as the sole reason to avoid him.

 

8) Patrick Corbin can’t handle the Padres…
It was a Manuel Margot (3-5, 4 RBI, 1 R) led attack, though Corbin had issues up and down the lineup in this one.  The fact is he was simply too hittable last night, allowing 8 ER on 11 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over just 4.1 IP.  Of course you could also argue that he was due for a clunker, having allowed just 2 ER over his previous five starts (35.2 IP), and he also has been showing all the skills we look for from a pitcher as he entered the day with an 8.59 K/9 (courtesy of an 11.2% SwStr%), 2.67 BB/9 and 50.2% groundball rate.  Obviously it’s disappointing, but don’t let it alter your usage of him moving forward.

 

9) Marcus Semien shines in a slugfest…
There were seven home runs hit between the A’s and the Astros, despite the game being played in Oakland, but it’s Semien who deserves the attention.  Hitting atop the order he went 2-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, and while it’s easy to overlook him given the missed time he’s now hitting .260 with 6 HR and 9 SB over 258 AB.  He’s added 15 doubles and 1 triple, showing that the 27 HR player from a year ago is still in there.  It’s not easy to find 20/10 middle infielders, and as long as he can keep his average up around this level (he’s rebounded in the line drive department, entering the day at 22.6% after posting a 17.7% mark a year ago) he’s going to be a must use option in all formats.

 

10) Another debacle from Yu Darvish…
He was supposed to be the last piece of the puzzle, solidifying a rotation that has dealt with injuries, but he’s been miserable.  Yesterday he allowed 5 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 4.1 IP to the Colorado Rockies and he’s now allowed 10 ER over 7.1 IP in his past two starts (16 ER over 18.1 IP in his past four).  After striking out 20 in his first two starts he hasn’t struck out more than 7 in his next five and has continually been burnt by the long ball (7 HR allowed since the trade).  Obviously no one is going to be pushing a panic button, but overall he owns a 4.25 ERA and has had home run problems (27 HR over 167.1 IP) so at this point it’s hard to lock him in as a must start (as shocking as that is).

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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

3 comments

  1. bbboston says:

    RP: Is it possible that Clevinger falls in the the younger Jered Weaver profile? Specifically, he’s all arms and legs coming at batters AND has stuff. I suspect if you interviewed batters you’d hear that his stuff is just really hard to square up. I know the LD % might suggest otherwise, but I suspect that’s the case. I know I’ve read about one batter stating he throws everything “crooked”

  2. Mitch says:

    Where do u value Darvish and Tanaka in 2018? Before this year they were considered top 20 starters? Would u consider them top 30 for next year?

  3. Bbboston says:

    RP:

    Eduardo Escobar…..starting to look like a dirt cheap 20 hr, 7 steal guy , if he gets some regular time. Thoughts?

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