10 Important Stories From 09/23/17 Box Scores: Lynn’s Disappointing Finish, Bour’s Breakout & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Justin Upton continued his career year, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  Giancarlo Stanton continued his push for 60, going 3-6 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R (he’s up to 57 HR on the season).  Madison Bumgarner finally appears to be putting things together, albeit a little too late, as he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 7.2 IP to defeat the Dodgers.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Travis Shaw showing no signs of slowing down, or is he…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .276 with 31 HR, 99 RBI and 79 R on the season.  Obviously the biggest surprise is the power, with his HR/FB going from 10.3% in ’16 to 21.0% entering the day.  It’s not like he was an extra base machine last season, with 34 doubles, 2 triples and 16 HR, and there has been a bit of a split in his production:

  • First Half – 23.8% HR/FB
  • Second Half – 17.5% HR/FB

It’s not a big difference, but the second half mark is likely closer to the truth.  He also entered the day with a .239 average since the All-Star Break, and while we’d expect better than that he’s also not a .300 hitter.  It’ll be interesting to see where his ’18 projection lands, but .255ish with 25 HR seems like a good guesstimate.

 

2) A big day for Yan Gomes…
He wasn’t the only one who produced, with Francisco Lindor (2-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R) and Jose Ramirez (3-3, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R) also chipping in, but Gomes’ day was the biggest.  He went 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, though of course he’s still hitting just .230 with 13 HR and 54 RBI on the season.  He continues to struggle with both strikeouts (26.2%) and line drives (17.7%), meaning that there’s little reason to think he’ll suddenly put something together.  With Francisco Mejia potentially ready for Opening Day ’18, Gomes’ time as a starter will likely come to an end.

 

3) Eduardo Rodriguez dominates the Reds…
He tossed 7.2 shutout innings allowing just 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 6.  While the strikeout total wasn’t impressive, his 18 swinging strikes is.  Considering he entered the day with an 11.6% SwStr%, there’s little doubt that he brings strikeout potential with him.  The problem instead is his potential home run issues, entering the day with a 1.27 HR/9 and 34.8% groundball rate (6 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls yesterday).  He obviously kept the ball in the ballpark yesterday, and when he does the value is going to be there.  You unfortunately may have to pick and choose your spots, just know that there’s always the risk of a blowup.

 

4) A strong start for Jake Odorizzi…
Taking on the Orioles he allowed 1 R (0 earned) on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 9, over 6.0 IP.  Sure his 16 swinging strikes were impressive, but he had just 4 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls.  As it is he entered the day with a 29.6% groundball rate and 2.03 HR/9, with the only reason he was viable at all being a .225 BABIP.  The latter isn’t going to continue, and while he may be able to reduce the home run rate a little bit this skill set just isn’t going to play well in the AL East.  He’s a potential blowup every time he toes the rubber, barring a change in locale, and isn’t a pitcher worth trusting.

 

5) Lance Lynn ending year on terrible note…
Taking on the Pirates he had what can only be described as an abysmal outing, allowing 8 R on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, while getting just 2 outs.  Over his past three starts he’s now allowed 14 ER over 9.2 IP, watching his ERA balloon from 2.94 to 3.47.  It’s possible he’s simply running out of steam, having thrown just 6.2 innings last season and now being up to 181.1 in ’17.  Of course part of it could simply be his luck running out, having entered the day with a .237 BABIP and 81.6% strand rate (both of which we’d have expected to regress, even if you believed in his 19.0% line drive rate).  It’s possible the Cardinals shut him down for the final week, but even if he starts he isn’t going to be trustworthy.

 

6) The Julio Teheran resurgence continues…
Taking on the Phillies he allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP.  He’s now allowed 3 ER or fewer in each of his past six starts and 3 ER over 20.0 IP in his past three.  Obviously his 4.39 ERA isn’t going to impress anyone, but he’s suddenly seemed to find a way to keep the ball in the ballpark (2 HR in his past eight starts) and that’s at least brought the ERA down to a somewhat respectable level (he was at 5.25 n August 8).  One of the keys is having entered the day with a 46.9% groundball rate in August, the second time in the past three months he’s posted a month of at least 46%.  He’s also showing more strikeouts in the second half (8.50 K/9 entering the day), and those two things together would make him a potentially Top 30ish type starter.  It will be interesting to see if the belief is that he’ll be able to maintain those levels into 2018.

 

7) Are we officially giving up on Matt Harvey…
While the Mets started Noah Syndergaard, watching him get 3 outs on just 5 pitches, they piggy backed him with Harvey who once again struggled.  Going just 4.0 IP he allowed 3 R on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, as he yielded a pair of home runs (Adam Lind and Matt Wieters).  Harvey now owns a 6.60 ERA on the season, and he managed just 3 swinging strikes yesterday (he entered with a 7.5% SwStr% and a fastball averaging 93.8 mph, down from his 95.2 mph career mark).  It’s clear that the injuries have helped cost him something, and unless he either gets healthy or finds a way to recreate himself he’s simply not going to be a trustworthy opton.

 

8) The Justin Bour breakout continues…
He went 3-6 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .299 with 25 HR and 78 RBI on the season.  The production is easy to overlook, having been interrupted by injury, but he’s certainly putting himself back on the map with a strong finish.  He’s now homered in four straight games and has an eight game hitting streak (14-34 with 4 HR, 14 RBI and 8 R).  We all knew that he could produce against righties, but he’s been solid against southpaws as well (.284 with 6 HR over 74 AB).  The strikeouts have jumped in that regard (27.7% vs. LHP, compared to 20.6% vs. RHP), but that’s obviously not enough of a concern.  He’s emerging as a strong option in all formats, and a fixture in the middle of the Miami lineup.

 

9) Ian Desmond trying to finish strong…
He went 2-4 yesterday, giving him back-to-back multi-hit games (and three in his past five).  Of course that doesn’t make him a great option, as there’s a good chance that the preseason injury has helped to zap him of his extra base ability this season.  No one is going to complain about a .275 average, but it’s come with just 6 HR (as well as 11 doubles and 1 triple) over 313 AB.  For a player who had consistently shown 25+ HR and moving to Coors Field, it’s obviously a massive disappointment.  That’s not to say that he can’t finish strong and he could prove to be an intriguing buy low heading into ’18.

 

10) Raul Alcantara surprisingly shines against the Rangers…
He got the W, tossing 5.0 shutout innings allowing just 2 H and 2 BB while striking out 5.  The key to his success was generating 9 groundballs compared to 1 fly ball, though it’s hard to get very excited.  He’s never shown much strikeout potential and had just a 42.7% groundball rate at Triple-A (after a 35.9% mark there last season).  Strong start, but there’s no reason to be looking towards him for the final week.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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