10 Important Stories From 09/27/17 Box Scores: Bogaerts Leads Off, Marte’s Strong Finish & More

by Ray Kuhn

The playoff picture is getting clearer as we saw two more teams, the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins, celebrate last night. Hopefully that will be your fate as well come Sunday evening. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out from a busy day in baseball:

1) Correa Leaves the Park, Twice…

When watching Carlos Correa close out the year, it is only natural to wonder what his numbers would have been if he didn’t miss almost two months of the season with a thumb injury. The good news though, is the shortstop is going out with a bang, and going into next season, he will only continue to improve. Against the Rangers on Wednesday, Correa picked up hits in four of his five at bats, while hitting home runs in consecutive at bats (which also came in consecutive innings). Correa finished a triple shy of the cycle, and in 412 at bats so far this season, he has 23 home runs and 81 RBI while batting .308. Since his return, Correa is hitting .264 in 22 games, but it was a good sign to see him go deep yesterday, as there is always a concern about the temporary loss of power following a hand injury.

2) Blackmon Reaches the Century Mark…

A lead-off hitter with 100 RBI, sign me up. But, when it comes to Charlie Blackmon, there is more. Not only does the outfielder hit for power, but he also runs. Now Blackmon isn’t running this season as much as he did in 2014 and 2015, but he did steal his 14th base of the season yesterday. All three of Blackmon’s hits yesterday were singles, but he did drive in three runs, and with 36 home runs this season, it is not like power is an issue. With a .328 batting average, the outfielder is poised to reach career highs in four of the five roto categories (he hit .324 last season). While there is, rightfully so, a great deal of focus placed on Blackmon’s power, we should also note that he has scored 136 runs so far this season which well surpasses his mark of 111 from last year.

3) Marte Tries to Salvage His Season…

Getting suspended for half the season isn’t exactly ideal, but Starling Marte served his 80 game sentence. It wasn’t that simple though, as Marte didn’t exactly return and just pick up right where he left off. This season has been a struggle for the outfielder, as after two hits on Wednesday, he just brought his average up to .268. Compared to his career¬† BABIP of .353, this year’s mark of .313 helps to explain the drop in batting average, but there also has to be some rust in his .250 July and .265 August batting averages. The good news though, is that Marte turned it around to hit .306 so far this month, and his stolen bases have not suffered. Yesterday, Marte stole his 20th base of the season, and he could be a good value pick next season if his ADP, even partly, reflects his 2017 statistics.

4) Severino is Ready…

For the playoffs that is. A clear ace has emerged in the Bronx this season, and that is Luis Severino. The right-hander made what likely will be his last regular season start last night, and he ended the regular season victorious. Severino picked up his 14th win of the season with six innings of one run ball as he scattered four hits and walked one. The right-hander struck out nine, and his ERA sits at 2.98 to close out the season. You have to like Severino’s 10.71 strikeouts per nine innings, but it is his FIP of 3.07 (3.05 xFIP) that really makes you feel good about him for next season.

5) Russell Makes His Hit Count…

2017 just never got going for Addison Russell. He struggled, had to deal with some drama, got hurt, and just never found his groove. Russell’s plight, other than what played out in the gossip pages, wasn’t unlike some of his teammates, but that is all behind the Cubs now, as once again, they are division winners. Russell came through last night as he hit a three run homer in the seventh inning as part of Chicago’s five run outburst. It was the 12th home run of the season for the shortstop who is hitting just .242 with 43 RBI in 347 at bats. Even last year, Russell didn’t hit for average, .238, but he did drive in 95 runs in 151 games. At just 23 years old, long term, I’m not worried about Russell, at least compared to last season’s performance. What will hold him back though, is if he doesn’t make any adjustments and his average is still below .250.

6) A Pinch Hit Home Run for Smith…

Since his promotion, we have seen good things and bad things from Dominic Smith. This past month or so has served, or was supposed to serve, as an audition for 2018, and the results have been mixed. There are plenty of flashes where we see why Smith was a first round pick, tore up Triple-A and is a top prospect, but he is also hitting .204. Last night, he came off the bench to hit a three run homer which was his eighth of the season in 157 at bats. The fact that Smith has 46 strikeouts isn’t exactly working in his favor, but neither is a .231 BABIP. The Mets should bring in a veteran placeholder to at least platoon with Smith next season, but at the same time, he has done all he can in the minor leagues.

7) Bogaerts Moves up to Lead-off…

With Mookie Betts day-to-day, the move is temporary, but batting atop the order seemed to agree with Xander Bogaerts yesterday. In what has been a rough year for the shortstop, he went 3 for 5 with four RBI and two runs scored as he brought his average up to .272. After hitting 21 home runs and driving in 89 runs last year, it was the just the 10th home run of the season for Bogaerts who is up to 61 RBI on the season. When trying to look for reasons why Bogaerts performance dipped, there isn’t all that much that jumps out. His home run to fly ball rate did drop from 11.4% to 7.4%, and I would venture to guess that this year’s number is more realistic to expect than last year’s. The shortstop also traded about four percent of fly balls for ground balls while seeing his ISO drop from .152 to .129. I’m not jumping ship here, but I would be careful with Bogaerts for next season.

8) Bailey Finishes the Season Strong…

For Homer Bailey, it’s a big deal that he is healthy to close out the season. It is even better that he did so with seven shutout innings in Milwaukee where he allowed four hits and three walks while striking out four. What disconcerting though, is that his ERA currently sits at 6.43 for the season after 18 starts. Going through an off-season while not rehabbing should benefit Bailey, and just going by his FIP of 4.90, he is due for some serious regression. With a 4.42 career ERA, we shouldn’t go too crazy with Bailey, but he still can be a reliable back end of the rotation starter.

9) Delmonico Drives in Three…

With a two run homer in the 10th inning, Nicky Delmonico sent the Twins into the playoffs as the White Sox defeated the Angels. It was the 10th home run of the season for Delmonico who seemingly emerged from nowhere to bat in the middle of Chicago’s order for the second half of this season. Delmonico went 3 for 5 with three RBI (23 on the season) last night, as he brought his batting average up to .267 in 135 at bats. But what does this mean for next season? Over 1,800 at bats, the 25-year old is a career .257 hitter in the minor leagues, and prior to his promotion, he was hitting .262 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI in 99 games at Triple-A so far this season. The quick answer, is that Delmonico is nothing special, but he could have some AL-only value depending on what his role is for next season.

10) Hill Closes the Regular Season Out in Style…

Look at that, Rich Hill made it through the season without any major injury issues. Now, when looking at 2018, I wouldn’t bank on that again, but his owners this season certainly aren’t complaining. Hill picked up his 12th victory of the season with seven shutout innings against the Padres as he allowed just two hits and two walks. The southpaw struck out 12 as he lowered his ERA to 3.32 as he enters the playoffs on a positive note.

2 comments

  1. foolintherain says:

    RP: I noticed your thoughts on Bogaerts and down the stretch, I’ve been playing Jorge Polanco at SS ahead of him. It’s been a big part of my playoff push. What are your thoughts on Polanco for next year?

    Second question: if given the choice between de Grom and Severino, whom would you pick?

    Thank you again for all the help.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I honestly haven’t really dug into ’18 quite yet (I’m just starting), but I’d guess Polanco is going to regress next season.

      As for the pitcher, my gut says deGrom but it’s going to be real close

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