10 Important Stories From 09/18/17 Box Scores: Hays’ Emergence, Olson Keeps Slugging & More

by Ray Kuhn

We had a reduced slate on Monday, as just 14 teams took the field, with all seven games taking place under the lights. For those of you in contention, the importance of each pitch can’t be underestimated. But for those who are out of contention, it is never too early to prepare for next season. That is also the case if you are fighting it out for the championship. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out from the night around the league:

 

1) Miami Has Multiple Sluggers…
Of course, the focus is going to be on Giancarlo Stanton and his 55 home runs, but the Marlins have more than one slugger in their outfield. I mean after his latest blast, that is perfectly understandable, but Marcell Ozuna also went deep on Monday. It was his 34th home run of the season and part of a 4 for 5 night as Ozuna raised his average to .305 on the season. Ozuna also added another RBI, and that brought him to 113 for the year, which is just four behind Stanton. Entering play last night, Ozuna’s career average was .274 with a BABIP of .324, so that is something to be aware of for next season as his previous career best batting average was .269. Overall, at age 26, this is a career year for Ozuna, as the big thing, is that he has remained consistent all season.

 

2) Taylor Keeps it Going…
You can’t argue with the success, but I keep on waiting for Chris Taylor to cool off. However, now with a full season’s worth of at bats, we might be seeing the true Taylor. Entering play on Monday, Taylor was hitting just .190 in September, but he did go 2 for 3 with a walk last night. Taylor got things started with his 20th home run of the season to lead off the game, and he is batting .292 for the season with 68 RBI. The problem though, is that I’m not sure Taylor’s success is sustainable as he sports a .373 BABIP while striking out 26.1% of the time. The utility player has also stolen 16 bases this season as he has provided fantasy a legitimate mix of power and speed off the waiver wire. If you take a step back, it is crazy to think of Taylor as a possible 20/20 player, but he is close. Just don’t pay for it in 2018.

 

3) Suter Picks up the Victory…
We are now at the point in the season where we have to debate the worthiness of Brent Suter. Based on the way he pitched last night, Suter is someone who should remain on your radar, and you have to take good pitching anyway you can get it. Suter picked up his third victory of the season on Monday, in his 12th start, with five shutout innings in Pittsburgh. The southpaw, who was lifted after 64 pitches, limited the Pirates to five hits while not walking a batter and striking out four. While Suter is not an overpowering pitcher, he does have 7.33 strikeouts per nine innings, but in 612.1 minor league innings, he has just 478 strikeouts. With a 3.41 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, Suter is a serviceable starter, but not much more than that.

 

4) Garcia Has Nothing to Show for a Strong Start…
You aren’t going to get length out of Jamie Garcia with the Yankees’ strong bullpen, but he did provide a strong outing last night. Overall, Garcia is nothing more than a streaming option, and it’s hard to argue with nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work. Garcia was able to limit the damage to one unearned run on four hits as he saw his ERA drop 4.19. It certainly was a good sign that Garcia didn’t walk a batter, as on the season he has 3.55 walks per nine innings.

 

5) Betts Drive in Four…
If you took Mookie Betts with your first round pick, I’m not sure you would agree, but this is a pretty good “down year for the outfielder”. After going 2 for 6 on Monday and picking up his 44th double of the season, Betts is hitting .263. I do recognize that is where a great deal of the problem lies, but he his .268 BABIP says that his average should get better. The problem though, is that this point, that improvement won’t come until next season. Betts drove in four runs on Monday, and that gives him 94 RBI on the season along with 22 home runs and 24 stolen bases. Hopefully he falls out of the first round next year, because I’d be perfectly fine grabbing that value.

 

6) Olson Goes Deep Again…
To say this is beginning to get redundant might be an understatement. Matt Olson took Buck Farmer deep last night for what was his 22nd home run of the season; a two run shot. Getting that many home runs out of most rookies is always going to be a positive thing, but Olson is doing it in 172 at bats. The first baseman does have a track record of showing power, as he went deep 23 times in Triple-A earlier this season prior to his promotion. Olson is batting a respectable .267, and he is doing with a .247 BABIP. We shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that he strikes out just about once a game on average (53 in 54 games), and the power production certainly makes up for it. Looking towards next year, Olson’s 41.5% home run to fly ball rate obviously is not sustainable, but there is still some true power upside here.

 

7) Perdomo Comes Through…
When you are streaming pitchers, especially on two start weeks, you aren’t looking for much. And last night, Luis Perdomo gave us exactly what we wanted. The right-hander picked up the victory against Arizona, his eighth of the season, with 5.1 innings of two run ball. Perdomo allowed four hits, but the win did come at a cost. He was lucky to have limited the damage at two runs, as Arizona walked six times on the night while Perdomo only struck out two batters. But, you still got the win.

 

8) Back With Power…
Hunter Renfroe has a powerful bat, but he also having issues making contact at the major league level. The Padres weren’t wrong to send him down to Triple-A for more seasoning, but now with that season over, Renfroe is back. San Diego wasted no time inserting Renfroe in the middle of their order, and he didn’t disappoint. In three at bats, Renfroe went deep once, while also striking out. On the season, Renfroe has 21 home runs and 50 RBI in 112 games, but he also has 126 strikeouts while batting .231. In the 14 games Renfroe spent at Triple-A, he hit .509 and his career batting average in the minor leagues is .288. So the ability to hit for average is there, he just needs to translate that to the major league level while working on decreasing the strikeouts. That is easier said than done, but he is worth a late round speculation next season based on the talent.

 

9) Don’t Worry About Kershaw…
Sure, you are in the playoffs or in contention for a title, and this is why is you drafted Clayton Kershaw. So it has nothing to do with worrying about Kershaw, and everything to do with needing results from your ace pitcher. And that is not something he delivered last night. Kershaw kept the  Phillies off the board for five innings, but then he struggled in the sixth inning and ultimately gave up a grand slam to Aaron Altherr. It was still just the fourth loss of the season for Kershaw who allowed four hits and two walks while striking out six. The four runs pushed the southpaw’s ERA up to 2.26 on the season as he works his back into form following his back injury. Kershaw missed about five weeks of action, and in his return, he has pitched just 21.2 innings in four starts while compiling a 3.74 ERA. Based on the track record, there is nothing to see here, but you would like to see Kershaw pick it up a bit before the playoffs.

 

10) Hays Picks up Two More Hits…
After bursting onto the scene this year in the minor leagues, Austin Hays certainly earned his promotion to Baltimore, and he is taking advantage of it. On Monday, Hays went 2 for 5 with his first career double and two RBI (five on his career). In 19 at bats, Hays is hitting .316 for the Orioles after a minor league season that saw him hit .329. Hays spent 64 games in High-A this season and hit .328 while following that up with 64 games at Double-A in which Hays hit, you guessed it, .330. The outfielder didn’t have any issues moving up a level, as he hit 16 home runs in each stop while driving in 41 runs in High-A followed by 54 RBI in Double-A. There is value in Hays for the rest of this season, but he certainly is a name to file away for 2018.

One comment

  1. jeff says:

    Will Hays have a chance at a starting role in 2018? Not sure what the contract situation’s are with their OF’s? If he does get a starting role, what kind of upside are we looking at?

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