10 Important Stories From 04/07/2018 Box Scores: Is Bogaerts “Breaking Out”?, What To Make Of Giolito/Berrios & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Bryce Harper continues his tremendous start, going 1-3 with 1 HR (his fifth on the season already).  Yu Darvish bounced back strong, silencing the Brewers as he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, over 6.0 IP.  The Philadelphia Phillies racked up 20 runs and 20 hits, leaving many to enjoy big days at the dish:

  • Carlos Santana – 2-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • Rhys Hoskins – 2-3, 3 RBI, 3 R
  • Maikel Franco – 2-4, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R
  • Aaron Altherr – 1-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R

What else happened on the field we need to know about?  Let’s dive right in and look:

 

1) Has Xander Bogaerts figured it out…
He had a monster day at the plate yesterday, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 6 RBI and 2 R.  That puts him at .371 with 2 HR and 9 RBI on the season, and he did enter the day with an increased fly ball rate (38.5%) which we can point to for the “spike” in power (anything is a spike after hitting just 10 HR a year ago).

There is a caveat, as he entered the day with an 11.6% SwStr% (career mark of 8.9%).  It’s a small sample size, but he did strikeout again yesterday and has at least 1 K in five straight games.  It’s not a major red flag, at least not yet, but if he’s making an effort to hit for more power it could ultimately be a byproduct (and cost him a chance to hit for a strong average).  For now we’ll monitor the situation and see how it plays out.

 

2) Steven Matz silences the Washington Nationals…
He only lasted 5.0 innings, but they were impressive as he allowed 1 R (0 earned) on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 8.  It was a strong bounce back performance, but you have to wonder if the umpiring behind the plate played a role.  Matz racked up an amazing 30 called strikes, with only 3 swinging strikes en route to his 8 K.  It’s nearly impossible to expect that type of mark to continue, and if he’s not generating swings and misses he’s not going to get many strikeouts.  That’s not to say that there isn’t upside in a healthy Matz, who posted an 8.77 K/9, 2.11 BB/9 and 51.1% groundball rate over 132.1 IP back in 2016.  It’s something to monitor closely, though it shouldn’t take away from the upside he brings with him.

 

3) Is there reason to believe in Lucas Giolito…
It was another unimpressive performance, as he allowed 5 ER on 4 H and 3 BB over 5.2 IP against the Tigers and now owns a 6.17 ERA over 11.2 IP on the season.  Granted he hasn’t given up many hits (8), but he has 5 K vs. 7 BB and hasn’t shown an ability to generate many groundballs (11 vs. 19 fly balls).  While you can point towards some poor luck, he hasn’t allowed a HR as of yet but it seems like just a matter of time before that comes back to haunt him as well.  Control was always the biggest question, though home runs were a fair concern as well (44.4% groundball rate in 128.2 IP at Triple-A last season).  At this point it’s nearly impossible to trust him.

 

4) Jose Berrios struggles against the Mariners…
The outing wasn’t a complete loss, but Berrios did allow 5 ER over 4.2 IP.  Still the damage was done on 6 H and 0 BB, while he struck out 7.  You can argue that maybe he was a bit fatigued after throwing a complete game shutout in his ’18 debut (107 pitches), but at the end of the day when you look at a pitcher with 13 K vs. 1 BB over 13.2 IP are you really going to have any concern (especially one that has 13 groundballs vs. 15 fly balls, so home runs aren’t a significant concern)?  It wasn’t a pretty start, but at the end of the day there’s actually a lot to like coming out of this start.

 

5) Jose Martinez shows why he belongs in the lineup…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .357 with 2 HR and 8 RBI on the season.  What’s interesting is that his 10 H are spread between four games (he’s taken four 0-fers), though that’s not a concern when you’ve struck out just 3 times on the season (and entered the day with a 3.1% SwStr% and 21.8% O-Swing%).  He’s clearly proven that the strong approach he showed in ’17 was for real (8.0% SwStr%, 26.6% O-Swing%) and there was not a question about his power.  The issue was where his bat was going to fit, and the Cardinals have alleviated that issue by using Matt Carpenter at 2B and 3B.  As long as he’s playing Martinez carries the potential to hit for both power and average, making him a must use option in all formats.

 

6) Trevor Bauer saddled with a tough luck loss…
He allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 8.0 IP but he was outpitched by Ian Kennedy (6.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 K).  It continues a strong start to ’18, as he’s now allowed 3 ER over 13.0 IP to go along with 14 K vs. 5 BB.  It all seems promising, but we need to see more before we fully believe.  Remember he’s never posted an ERA below 4.18 in his career, has had a history of home run issues (1.28 HR/9 last season) and there’s reason to be skeptical about his strikeout spike from a year ago (when he finished with a 9.2% SwStr% and 25.1% O-Swing%).  It’s been a nice two start stretch, but we remain skeptical.

 

7) Andrew McCutchen breaks out of his slump in a big way…
The Dodgers and Giants went 14 innings, with Andrew McCutchen playing the hero in the end as he went 6-7 with 1 HR (a walkoff), 4 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.  He entered the day hitting .083 with 0 HR and 0 RBI, but after this one day he’s hitting .258 showing how quickly a perception can change this early in the season.  Obviously patience should vary, depending on the player/situation, but keep in mind that patience is a virtue.  While the locale has changed, there’s little reason to think that McCutchen isn’t going to continue to be the productive player he was while with the Pirates.

 

8) Is there reason to believe in Bryan Mitchell…
While Gerrit Cole is going to garner most of the attention coming out of this game, and rightfully so after he tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 11 (his second straight 11 K performance), it’s Mitchell that deserves to be discussed.  Taking on the high-powered Astros he tossed 5.2 shutout innings, but that’s not to say it was a good start as he allowed 3 H and 6 BB while striking out just 1 batter.  Over 10.2 innings on the season he owns 1 K vs. 9 BB, and while there was a lot of hype prior to the season that his stuff could convert to the rotation thus far we have to be skeptical.  He has a total of 9 swinging strikes on the season and while he has been generating groundballs (19 groundballs vs. 11 fly balls) is that enough?  Unless he shows improvement, and soon, he’s going to lose his role as a starter and disappear into fantasy obscurity.  Those in deeper formats should keep him stashed, but in shallower formats you can move on and look elsewhere.

 

9) Mike Minor outpitches Marcus Stroman…
Stroman’s struggles are noteworthy (4.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 5 BB, 3 K), but he’s known for his control and should be able to rebound strong.  It’s Minor who we had questions about, though he delivered a strong performance at home as he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP to earn the W.  In the early going his transition back to the rotation has to be considered a success, though he continues to carry the risk of home runs as the weather warms (he allowed 1 HR yesterday) and you also have to wonder if fatigue is going to set in at some point (he’s thrown a total of 120.0 innings from 2015-2017, including working out of the bullpen last year).  If he can string together a few more strong starts, he appears primed to be an ideal sell high candidate.

 

10) Another solid start from Andrew Triggs…
Taking on the Angels he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5.2 IP.  He now has 13 K over 10.2 IP, and his underlying metrics always indicated a potential improvement in his strikeout rate (he has 22 swinging strikes thus far, after a 10.4% SwStr% last season) and his 8 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls shows his potential in that regard.  Couple that with solid control, and as long as he’s healthy he should continue to be a productive option for Oakland and fantasy owners.  He may not be an ace, but he’s worth owning as a backend option in all formats.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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8 comments

  1. Trevor says:

    Do you think Triggs is an upgrade over Velasquez or Junis? Also, I have Travis as my MI. Wise to replace him with Barreto?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m not sure Barreto is going to get enough AB, unfortunately, especially in the short-term.

      As for Triggs, I’m not the biggest Junis fan so I’d lean that way

  2. Bbboston says:

    Question: do you think Giolito’s and Berrios’ performance could have been impacted by sub-30 temps?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It’s possible, but I’d give more leeway to Berrios than Giolito (who has a ton of questions anyways)

  3. Len says:

    Looking at waiver wire. Based on your recent reccs, can you rank C. Moran/B. Anderson/E. Escobar ROS? Thanks!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Escobar has an expiration date most likely, but short-term he may be the best option.

      For the long haul I’d go Moran / Anderson / Escobar

  4. Bbboston says:

    RP

    What do you think of Baretto and how does his call-up impact Semien?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Baretto is going to be used as a utility player, seeing time at 2B/SS/OF and I don’t think he’s guaranteed AB every day. Unless something changes I just don’t see a bit impat this time around unfortunately

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