10 Important Stories From 09/19/17 Box Scores: Has C. Anderson Emerged, Trusting Giolito & More.

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Rhys Hoskins continued to thrive, going 2-3 with 4 RBI, showing that he may be a Top 10 option at a deep position heading into ’18.  It was a big day for A.J. Pollock, providing all of the offense for Arizona, going 3-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  Chris Archer pitched well in a losing effort, allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP against the Cubs.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Jose Berrios’ control desserts him again…
Taking on the Yankees, in New York, Berrios allowed 3 ER on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 4, over 3.1 IP.  He now has 8 BB over his past 9.0 IP, so while that hasn’t been an issue overall (he owns a 2.97 BB/9 even with these recent struggles) it could show that he’s tiring down the stretch.  He has thrown 179.0 innings, after 169.2 IP last season, so while he won’t likely be shutdown it’s possible the control struggles continue.  Throw in the consistent risk of home runs (39.4% groundball rate) and he’s going to be tough to trust over his last start or two (this has no impact on his ’18 value, though).

 

2) The re-emergence of Kevin Gausman continued…
Taking on a tough Boston lineup he tossed 8.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 7.  He’s now allowed 1 ER or less in four of his past five starts (three of those were scoreless), and even more interesting is that all of those starts are against teams that are extremely familiar with him (two against Toronto and two against Boston).  Obviously it’s been a disappointing season overall, but he’s been dominant since the All-Star Break owning a 3.09 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 9.38 K/9 and 2.97 BB/9.  There obviously has been a little bit of luck involved, especially with an 88.7% strand rate, but to an extent it’s a correction from a poor first half (70.6% strand rate).  Maybe there’s a step backwards from these numbers, but his strong second half goes to show that he should still be viewed as a Top 40ish starter moving forward.

 

3) Yu Darvish continues to turn things around…
Taking on the Phillies he allowed 1 R (0 earned) on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 5.1 IP.  He now has allowed 0 ER over his past 12.1 IP, with the key being that he’s been avoiding the long ball (overall he’s allowed 27 HR over 179.2 IP).  Of course it’s not that he was generating a significant number of groundballs, with 5 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls, nor was he getting a lot of swings and misses (9).  No one is going to argue that he has the upside of one of the elite, but don’t think “he’s back” for the stretch run.  Maybe in ’18, but for now consider him a risky proposition depending on the matchup (his two strong starts have come against the Phillies and Giants).

 

4) Has Chase Anderson emerged as a Top 30 starter…
Taking on the Pirates he tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 8.  He now owns a 2.74 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 128.0 innings this season, and while he’s shown strikeouts (8.44 K/9) and control (2.74 BB/9) it’s easy to point towards a lot of luck:

  • Strand Rate – 80.2%
  • BABIP – .266 (17.4% line drive rate also may not be sustainable)
  • Home Runs – 0.84 HR/9 (despite pitching in Milwaukee and owning a 37.8% groundball rate)

Obviously we aren’t going to anticipate a downturn for ’17, but be cautious before penciling him in as a top option heading into next season.

 

5) Has Nick Castellanaos finally figured it out…
He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, extending things to a 16-game hitting streak.  He’s been an extra base machine over this stretch, with 9 doubles and 5 HR, and he’s only struck out 5 times in 63 AB.  Overall he now owns a 14.4% HR/FB, showing that the power emergence from last season is for real, and he’s also continued to hit the ball hard (24.5% line drive rate, so his .312 BABIP could rise and improve upon his .271 average).  The big key has been his improvement in his plate discipline, with a 10.9% SwStr% and 29.0% O-Swing% in September.  If he can maintain those numbers he has borderline elite written over him and is a must own heading into ’18.  We will certainly dig deeper in the offseason.

 

6) Scooter Gennett shows no signs of slowing down…
He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him home runs in back-to-back games and puts him at .298 with 26 HR and 89 RBI on the season.  He’s continued a downtrend in groundballs, currently at 40.9%, though the big news is nearly doubling his HR/FB (10.5% in ’16 to 20.8% this season).  A lot of his success has come at home, with a 26.4% HR/FB, though his 16.4% HR/FB on the road shows it’s not exclusive to Cincinnati.  If he were to be moved in the offseason we’d certainly expect a regression (and we may expect one regardless), so it’s something to keep in mind,

 

7) A very hittable Luiz Gohara takes an L…
Obviously there was risk in taking on the Nationals, but he finished allowing 4 ER on 11 H over 6.1 IP.  He didn’t walk a batter, which is good, but he had just 4 K and also wasn’t generating many groundballs (5 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls).  After struggling with his control in his first start he now hasn’t walked a batter in his past 12.1 IP and his 13.0% SwStr% in his first three starts is impressive.  The groundball rate is a bit of a red flag, as it’s been trending down with each promotion this season and is at just 34.0% in the Majors.  The upside is there long-term, though unless the matchup is perfect there’s far too much risk over the final 10 days of the season to trust him.

 

8) Where have the strikeouts gone for Lucas Giolito…
He pitched well against the Astros, allowing 2 ER on 7 H and 1 BB over 6.2 IP, but the obvious elephant in the room is his 3 K courtesy of 6 swinging strikes.  While the overall numbers are strong, he owns a 6.81 K/9 in his 6 starts and has only struck out more than 5 batters in one start.  There is more upside, obviously, so hopefully he can make an adjustment.  The bigger concerns are the amount of luck he’s had (.186 BABIP, 89.7% strand rate), and no amount of strikeout improvement could help to offset the ultimate regression and if he’s capable of maintaining his current control (2.82 BB/8).  It’s a great late season story and one that could give us a glimpse of the future, but he’s still tough to trust.

 

9) Can Manuel Margot finish strong…
He went 2-3 with 2 R and 1 SB yesterday, with the SB being the key mark.  We all know he has the speed to swipe bases, but he has just 15 on the season and he has 4 SB since August 1.  We’ll have to see if he can finish strong and show off his speed over the final two weeks, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him try to reach 20 SB before the year is out (he stole 32 bases last season, 39 in ’15 and 42 in ’14).  If you are in need of a SB bump, he’s well worth the gamble.

 

10) Johnny Cueto pitches well, kind of…
He allowed 2 ER with 6 K over 6.2 IP, but he also allowed 7 H and 4 BB showing he was pitching into and out of trouble all season long.  Over his past two starts he’s allowed 6 ER on 13 H and 8 BB over 10.1 IP in what has been a continuation of a disappointing season overall (4.49 ERA, 1.42 WHIP).  Could you go out and show ace stuff on any given day?  Absolutely, and he’s going to remain one of the better options heading into ’18, but he’s impossible to trust over his last few starts.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

One comment

  1. Bbboston says:

    RP

    Any different thoughts on Clevinger? Guy is pitching awfully well for a prolonged period of time

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