10 Important Stories From 04/06/2018 Box Scores: Handling The Struggles Of Duffy/Castillo, Selling Gregorius? & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Michael Brantley came off the DL and was productive, going 1-4 with 2 RBI while hitting fifth for the Indians.  Manny Machado made himself at home at Yankee Stadium (something many Yankee fans hope he’ll truly be able to do starting in 2019) as he went 4-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R.  The Shohei Ohtani show continued, as he hit his third home run of the season (1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R).  What else happened on the day that we need to know about?  Let’s dive in:

 

1) Another subpar start for Danny Duffy…
Taking on the Indians he at least kept the ball in the ballpark in this start (he allowed 3 HR to the White Sox in his first outing), though you can argue he was lucky to do so (4 groundballs vs. 11 fly balls).  He allowed 3 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 5.2 IP and all of the numbers are less than inspiring:

  • 5 BB over 9.2 IP
  • 5 groundballs vs. 16 fly balls between his two starts
  • 7 swinging strikes yesterday (14 overall on the season)

You have to wonder if the elbow surgery he had after the ’17 season is having an impact, though he was never a strong groundball pitcher (39.5% groundball rate last season).  While we wouldn’t write him off after two starts, the concerns are definitely building quickly.

 

2) Dansby Swanson continues his scorching hot start…
He finished a home run short of the cycle against the Rockies, going 3-5 with 3 RBI and 1 R.  He’s currently hitting .370 with 0 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R and 1 SB.  While his strikeouts haven’t been an issue as of yet (5 K), he has not yet drawn a walk and entered the day with a 13.4% SwStr% and 32.6% O-Swing% (albeit in a small sample size).  Couple that concern with a lack of power and stolen bases, it’s impossible to buy in right now.  It’s been a nice start, but it’s hard to imagine him maintaining it making now a potentially ideal time to try and sell high if someone is willing to pay for the name.

 

3) Luis Castillo struggles once again…
This time against the Pirates, Castillo allowed 4 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP to fall to 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA and 1.60 WHIP (10 ER on 12 H and 4 BB over 10.0 IP).  His first start came against Washington (who took him deep twice), where we could give him a little bit of a pass, but this start is a little bit different.  Of course he has been generating swings and misses (32 between the two starts) and the control hasn’t been awful overall.  The big difference is his groundball rate, having posted a 58.8% mark in his 15 starts in the Majors in ’17.  As we said preseason that was a bit misleading (39.0% at Triple-A in 14 starts), and while he hasn’t been bad in that regard he was never likely to match last season’s mark.  He’s better than this and expect a rebound, but those thinking he could be a Top 25 starter may have been misguided…

 

4) Is Colin Moran worth grabbing off the waiver wire…
The Pirates scored 14 runs on 15 hits, so there were a lot of offensive heroes in this one, but Moran’s performance is arguably the most noteworthy as he finished going 4-5 with 3 RBI and 3 R.  He’s now hitting .318 with 1 HR and 8 RBI on the season, though prior to this one it was one big swing as opposed to a strong start (he was 3-17 with 1 HR and 4 RBI entering the day).  The key has been his ability to avoid striking out (2 K on the season), continuing the improvements he showed at Triple-A last season as he entered the day with a miniscule 4.6% SwStr% and with a 20.0% line drive rate.  While there will be strikeouts, this type of start is highly promising and indicates a full breakout could be coming.  If he’s still sitting on your waiver wire, now may be the time to strike.

 

5) Didi Gregorius’ big start, but is he a sell high candidate…
He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, and for those who think he’s had just one big day (which he did) keep in mind that he’s now hitting .393 with 3 HR, 10 RBI and 8 R.  It hasn’t just been home run power, as he’s added 5 doubles and 1 triple, giving him a .514 OBP and .964 SLG.  Obviously it’s skewed by the 2 HR/8 RBI day, but with 2 K vs. 6 BB as well as the additional extra base hits he’s starting to show that maybe he truly has matured into one of the elite in the game…  It’s the walks that have been the real key, and while his 33.9% O-Swing% entering the day isn’t impressive it is a huge improvement over last year’s 40.8% mark.  If he can maintain that the numbers will be there, though he’s also appeared to be taking even more of a home run approach (47.6% fly ball rate entering the day).  That’s something to monitor closely, because it also means the bottom could drop out quickly.  He’s not a sell high yet, but he could get there very quickly.

 

6) Where has Shin-Soo Choo’s power come from…
Hitting atop the order he went 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, his third straight game with a home run.  We all knew he was a potential source of OBP, and he’s delivered thus far hitting .313 with a .371 OBP, but it’s the 3 HR and 5 RBI that are a complete surprise.  He hit 22 HR a year ago, tying a career high, so it’s hard to get overly excited, especially as a 35-year old who entered the day with a 60.9% groundball rate.  It’s a nice run, but don’t confuse him with something that he’s not.

 

7) Brandon Woodruff struggles in his first start, but don’t lose hope…
He pitched out of the bullpen in his first two outings and drew a tough start against the Cubs, so we have to give him at least a little bit of a pass as he lasted 3.2 innings allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 3.  Of course he did generate 11 swinging strikes, while he also had 6 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls.  Those are two promising marks, and while his control wasn’t good yesterday (he also had a wild pitch and a hit batsman) we have to remember that he posted a 2.93 BB/9 in 8 starts in the Majors last season (2.99 in 16 starts at Triple-A).  He may not be a dominant starter, but he’s better than this and should continue to get opportunities.  Don’t get frustrated off the poor performance.

 

8) Lance McCullers flashes both great and a little bit of bad against San Diego…
He needed 91 pitches to get through 5.0 innings, allowing 3 R (2 earned) on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 7.  Obviously when you are striking out batters you run the risk of an inflated pitch count and between his two starts there’s some intriguing underlying marks:

  • Swinging Strikes – 34
  • Groundballs vs. Flyballs – 10 vs. 2

Yesterday it was less than stellar control and too many hits, which included a pair of doubles, that ultimately did him in.  That said neither are a concern and the other numbers show how good he can be, assuming he stays healthy.  That’s a big caveat, but the upside is there.

 

9) Matt Chapman, hit machine?!?…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him an 8-game hitting streak that included six multi-hit games (including five straight).  He’s now hitting .412 with 3 HR and 7 RBI over his first 34 AB, with 8 K vs. 3 BB.  That all seems to be pointing in the right direction, especially since he’s showing a tremendous control of the strike zone with an 8.8% SwStr% and 19.1% O-Swing%.  No one was going to question the power, and if he can continue on this trend the upside is clearly there.  While he’s not a .400 hitter, or even a .300 hitter, he could be a .270ish hitter with power slotted in the middle of Oakland’s lineup.  It’s a small sample size, but thus far the arrow appears to be pointing up.

 

10) Another strong day from Andrelton Simmons…
He went 3-5 with 2 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .412 over his first eight games.  While he hasn’t been striking out (1), he also hasn’t been drawing walks (1, which came in his first game) and you can argue that it’s a bit of an empty number.  He has 0 HR and just 2 doubles, so he hasn’t shown much power, and he also has yet to steal a base.  It’s only a week’s worth of games so we don’t want to ignore what he showed last season (54 extra base hits, 19 stolen bases), but he needs to start showing it otherwise his value will disappear when the luck turns and he starts to struggle.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings?  Make sure to check it out by clicking here.  

6 comments

  1. Bbboston says:

    RP: has Middleton taken over? Last nights Rotoworld note basically stated as much

  2. Bennies Express says:

    My offense has been terrible so far this year, pretty much all of my guys are off to bad starts and im sure they will turn it around but in the meantime I’m searching for any help offensively and the wire is weak. Who would you pick up if you had the choice between Moran and Vogelbach? Do you suggest either to help in with avg, hr and rbi?

    Also, I picked up Mallex Smith right after my draft hoping to use him as a sb specialist sometimes but so far nothing, do you think he is worth holding onto? Thanks in advance!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      If the two i prefer Moran, who i think has the higher upside and more guaranteed playing time.

      As for Mallex it depends on format, but I wouldn’t be afraid to cut bait and move on

  3. DJ says:

    Is Franklin Barreto an upgrade over Neil Walker at MI??
    Doesn’t he have Lowrie and Semien ahead of him?

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