10 Important Stories From 09/17/17 Box Scores: Danny Duffy Impresses, Hays/Fisher Worth Buying & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Josh Donaldson continues his impressive resurgence, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R.  Justin Verlander continued thrive in Houston, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP to defeat the Mariners.  Jeimer Candelario continued to emerge, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:


1) Danny Duffy impresses in return…
Starting for the first time in nearly a month Duffy looked impressive, allowing 2 R (1 earned) on 1 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 5.0 IP.  He made one mistake, a home run to Edwin Encarnacaion (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R), and that cost him against Corey Kluber (7.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 9 K).  Duffy only needed 62 pitches to complete his day and he continued to show the potential in terms of strikeouts (he entered with a 7.97 K/9, courtesy of an 11.6% SwStr%) and control (2.47 BB/9).  There is going to be the risk of home runs, considering his 38.5% groundball rate (4 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls yesterday), but it’s a risk worth taking given the other skills.  He should have two more starts left, and at this point he’s worth considering depending on your alternatives.


2) Matt Boyd comes 1 out short of a no-hitter…
Tim Anderson broke up his bid with two outs in the ninth, but it doesn’t take away from an extremely impressive outing after the offense gave him ample support (12 R on 13 H).  Boyd finished with a complete game shutout, allowing 1 H and 1 BB while striking out 5.  Of course, even with the outing he owns a 5.33 ERA and 1.57 WHIP, as he’s struggled with both his control (3.70 BB/9 entering the day) and generating groundballs (38.6%).  While you may want to point towards bad luck (.353 BABIP, 68.2% strand rate) he’s simply not a viable option, and this impressive performance doesn’t change that.


3) A strong start for Eduardo Rodriguez, despite L…
Taking on the Rays he allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 5.2 IP but he was outpitched by Jake Odorizzi (6.0 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 6 K).  Rodriguez’ big mistake was a home run, which isn’t a huge surprise given his 34.2% groundball rate (3 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday) and 1.25 HR/9 entering the day.  Of course he also got 20 swinging strikes, and with an 11.4% SwSt% entering the day it helps to show that the strikeout stuff is very much for real and his control is good enough (3.31 BB/9).  As long as he’s avoiding walks he’ll be on a similar level to Danny Duffy, though a small step behind him.


4) Another big day for Eddie Rosario…
He went 3-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .295 with 26 HR, 72 RBI, 73 R and 9 SB on the season.  He’s now homered in back-to-back games and has 5 HR over his past six games.  As we’ve said before, the big change has been his reduction in strikeout rate (18.0%).  It’s not that his approach is fantastic (11.7% SwStr%, 37.0% O-Swing%), though it is a step in the right direction.  He entered with a realistic 16.4% HR/FB and .315 BABIP, so the upside is there for the emergence to continue.  What if he can continue to improve his approach?  Then we could talk about a Top 20-25 outfielder.


5) Is Derek Fisher starting to figure things out…
The Astros got four home runs, with Fisher hitting one of them and finishing going 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R.  He now has multi-hits in back-to-back games (4-8, 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R), though he’s still hitting just .227 with 5 HR over 119 AB.  His 21.7% O-Swing% entering the day is promising (despite his 28.8% strikeout rate), and with a 24.0% line drive rate we’d expected significantly better than his .288 BABIP.  This hot stretch could easily be just the beginning and he has the potential to get scorching hot for the final two weeks of the season.


6) A rain delay costs Jon Gray…
He was cruising against the Padres, tossing 5.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 7 and needing just 63 pitches to get there.  However a lengthy rain delay forced him from the game and the bullpen ultimately failed to protect the lead.  It’s a shame, as he appeared primed for just the latest in a run of strong starts.  He’s now allowed 3 ER or fewer in 11 straights starts and while his overall WHIP is unimpressive (1.33), he now owns a 1.04 mark in September to go along with 26 K over 23.0 IP.  While there’s always risk in Colorado pitchers, he’s proven he can thrive in Coors Field.  Don’t shy away.


7) Garrett Richards with another strong showing…
He went 5.0 innings allowing 3 R (2 earned) on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, and needing 74 pitches.  Even more impressive are his 13 swinging strikes and 7 groundballs vs. 1 fly ball.  He now has 14 K vs. 2 BB over 13.1 IP in his three starts since returning from the DL and at this point we’d expect him to be able to throw about 85-90 pitches in his next outing.  That means he has value, especially now that he’s stretched out and has a better potential to get a W.


8) Austin Hays is starting to make his presence felt…
He went 2-4 with 1 RBI yesterday, giving him back-to-back multi-hit games (4-7, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R).  At this point would it be surprising to see the Orioles find regular AB for him the rest of the way?  There are multiple ways that they can get him into the lineup, whether it’s at the expense of Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Seth Smith or a combination of all three (as well as giving Adam Jones the day off, as he did yesterday).  Considering he’s 22-years old and was impressive at both High-A and Double-A this season (including hitting 32 HR) and it makes sense for the team to try and figure out if he’s a part of the solution for 2018.  He’s definitely worth the flier.


9) A strong showing for Robert Stephenson, kind of…
He tossed 6.0 shutout innings against the Pirates, allowing 1 H and racking up 8 K thanks to 17 swinging strikes.  It all seems great, but then you look at the other numbers:

  • Control: 3 BB; 54 for 93 pitches as strikes (58%)
  • Groundballs: He had 2 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls

As we’ve stated many times the biggest issues facing Stephenson has been control (6.12 BB/9 entering the day) and home runs (1.46 HR/9 entering the day).  Nice start, but there’s far too much risk to invest unless your sole focus is on strikeouts.


10) Brandon Woodruff tries to show his stuff…
Taking on the Marlins he allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP to even his record at 2-2.  It’s interesting that he struggled to generate groundballs (4 groundballs vs. 11 fly balls), as he had shown all of the skills we look for while pitching at Triple-A:

  • 36 K/9
  • 99 BB/9
  • 0% groundball rate

Of course none of those numbers blow you away, and his 9.0% SwStr% entering the day (6 swinging strikes yesterday) shows that his strikeout rate in the Majors is limited.  There’s some upside here, but in most cases the risk outweighs the reward.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs


  1. Carlito says:

    Thoughts on Buxton? Never see his name mentioned. Breakout? Confidence for next year? We need an article on him lol.

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