10 Important Stories From 04/12/2018 Box Scores: Concerns For Michael Fulmer, Skepticism Of Polanco’s Surge & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

D.J. LeMahieu led the way for the Rockies, going 4-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R.  Ian Kinsler returned from the DL to go 1-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R while hitting atop the Angels’ batting order (the spot he should fill moving forward).  Shohei Ohtani continued to produce at the plate, as well as on the mound, going 1-4 with 3 RBI and is now hitting .346 with 3 HR and 8 RBI on the season.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Is it time to buy into Gregory Polanco’s renaissance…
He went 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .262 with 5 HR and 15 RBI.  While he did strikeout 3 times, that hasn’t been an issue as he entered the day with a 9.5% SwStr% and 26.0% O-Swing%.  His biggest improvement has come against offspeed pitches, cutting his Whiff% in half as he’s posted strong marks across the board:

  • Hard – 8.55%
  • Breaking – 14.58%
  • Offspeed – 6.67%

That all seems positive, though we have to be careful as it’s possible he’s taking a home run-centric approach.  Polanco entered the day with a 48.3% fly ball rate and has 6 K over 13 AB over his past three games.  While there are promising marks, there also is reason for concern.  If the Whiff% against offspeed pitches starts to regress as well, things could snowball quickly.  Don’t call him a must sell, but keep your eyes wide open.

 

2) The concerns for Michael Fulmer grow…
While he has allowed 1 ER over 13.1 IP over his first two starts, there were some underlying reasons for concern.  The wheels completely fell off yesterday, allowing 9 R (6 earned) on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 3.0 IP.  He’s now amassed 9 K over 16.1 IP on the season, generating just 2 swinging strikes yesterday.  Considering he also entered the day with a 27.0% line drive rate, yet just a .263 BABIP it shouldn’t come as a surprise that things caught up to him.  The question is going to be if he’s able to rebound from here, and if he can’t figure out the strikeouts we’d anticipate the struggles to continue.  Don’t make a drastic move now, as the value is going to be low, but also proceed with extreme caution moving forward.

 

3) Jose Martinez shows why he has earned an every day job…
The Cardinals scored 13 runs on 12 hits, with Martinez leading the way.  He went 4-5 with 1 HR, 6 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .364 with 3 HR and 14 RBI over 44 AB this season.  Those numbers are impressive, but the most impressive may be his 4 K vs. 6 BB on the year (he entered the day with an 8.7% strikeout rate and didn’t strikeout out last night).  Maybe he’s not as good as the 3.6% SwStr% and 21.6% O-Swing% he came in with, but last season he showed nearly as impressive numbers (8.0% and 26.6%, respectively) and he continues to post an elevated line drive rate (25.0%).  The key to Martinez’ value has always been playing time, and he’s going to continue getting that with Matt Carpenter splitting time between second base and third base.  With the skills he’s showing Martinez is a must own option and could rise into a borderline Top 10 (and is a locked in Top 15) at a deep position.

 

4) Gio Gonzalez struggles early and takes the L…
Ultimately it wasn’t a completely poor performance, as he allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP.  Overall he has 20 K over 16.1 IP in his three starts, which is promising, but a few of the other numbers raise some red flags:

  • Control – 7 BB over 16.1 IP (leading to a 1.41 WHIP)
  • Groundballs – 35.5% entering the day (5 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls yesterday)

Last season was a strong one for Gonzalez, before he faded a bit late, though he benefited from an 81.6% strand rate and .258 BABIP.  Regression in those numbers were realistic, and if he can maintain the elevated strikeout rate even a regression in the luck metrics won’t matter.  He’s one of the more intriguing pitchers to follow moving forward, as there are both warning signs and positive ones in the numbers.

 

5) Is it time to buy into Rick Porcello, or is it selling time…
He was fantastic against the Yankees, including taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning (despite having to sit for a rain delay at one point) and finishing with 7.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, and is now 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA and 0.76 WHIP on the season.  The most impressive numbers may be his 17 K vs. 1 BB over 19.2 IP.  We all knew that control was going to be his strongest asset (2.04 career BB/9), but can he maintain nearly a strikeout per inning?  He entered the day with a 6.0% SwStr% and had just 10 swinging strikes yesterday.  He also has yet to give up a home run, something that will likely eventually plague him.  The control is great, but his value may be at it’s peak and selling high makes sense if you can.

 

6) Lucas Giolito once again struggles with his control…
Taking on the Twins he allowed 4 R (3 earned) on 5 H and 5 BB, striking out 3, over 6.1 IP.  He’s now worked 18.0 innings over three starts, with a pitiful 8 K vs. 12 BB.  That alone would be a significant red flag, as he’s always had control issues, but then you see that despite not allowing a home run he’s actually generated just 20 groundballs vs. 33 fly balls.  Eventually home runs will plague him, and even if he does suddenly find the strikeout pitch (not a given) couple that with the consistent walk issues and the numbers are going to be ugly.  At this point we’d say it’s far more likely he spends time at Triple-A in short order as opposed to figuring it out and thriving in the Majors.

 

7) Jose Berrios steals the show against the White Sox…
He tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 11 in a strong bounce back performance.  The White Sox had a hard time touching him, with 18 swinging strikes, and he now has 24 K vs. 1 BB over 20.2 innings on the season.  He entered the day with an 8.7% SwStr%, though we all knew he had more upside than that.  The biggest question is going to be his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark, but with strikeouts and control he should continue to be a good option moving forward.

 

8) Can Nick Tropeano run with this opportunity…
Sliding into the rotation he tossed 6.2 shutout innings against the Royals, allowing 6 H and 2 BB while striking out 6.  It was an impressive outing in what was his first MLB start since July 18, 2016, but let’s not forget that he’s never shown an ability to generate a significant number of groundballs (36.2% over 127.2 IP in the Majors, 5 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday) and home runs could ultimately become an issue.  He also owned a 2.9 BB/9 over 223.0 innings at Triple-A, and it’s easy to envision him struggling even further in that regard based on the missed time (a 4.0+ mark is realistic).  Maybe take the flier in the deepest of formats, but in most leagues the risk is going to outweigh the potential reward.

 

9) Is it time to forget about Bryan Mitchell…
He simply didn’t have it against the Giants, allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 5 BB, striking out 2, over 3.0 IP and now owns a 5.27 ERA and 2.12 WHIP over his three starts (13.2 IP).  Maybe we want to argue that it’s his transition from the bullpen to the rotation, but with 3 K vs. 14 BB (no, that’s not a typo) it’s hard to look at the preseason hype and continue to buy in.  There’s still upside, but it’s also realistic that he ultimately transitions back to the bullpen.  If you need the roster spot move on.

 

10) Chris Stratton shuts down the Padres…
He tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 3 BB, striking out 4.  It’s been an impressive start, with a 2.60 ERA and 0.98 WHIP over 17.1 IP, though he hasn’t struck out more than 4 batters in any start, has 7 BB over his past two outings and while not yet having allowed a home run he’s yielded 16 groundballs vs. 30 fly balls.  All of those numbers appear to indicate a significant regression could be on the horizon so don’t get too excited.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Reference

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

11 comments

  1. Sawyer says:

    Should I be starting Berrios over Archer?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Both should like be started, depending on their alternatives. Don’t give up on Archer so quickly, though

  2. Would you take Pivetta over Giolito?
    Thanks

  3. John says:

    Would you trade Kole Calhoun for Schoop?

    12 team roto. I’m getting Schoop

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Really based on need. Calhoun may be better all around, but 2B isn’t particularly deep and Schoop is one of the better options.

  4. NK says:

    Im Struggling to find an acceptable trade in my points league. The bottom of my rotation is in tough shape. I have a chance to get Tanaka, Wood, or Porcello. Im not interested in Porcello at all if it isnt cheap, and wood and Tanaka make me Nervous. I was offered Roark for my K. Calhoun and declined it because Roark also scares me. My hitters i’m willing to sell are Miguel Cabrera, Matt Carpenter, Corey Dickerson, or Michael Conforto. Should i be persuing Wood Tanaka or Pprcello, or should I be searching elsewhere?

    • LanceCT says:

      I have a roster crunch, is Roark droppable, I’m only using him in two start weeks in a ten team league, thank you

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      LAnceCT – I actually kind of like Roark, but in a shallower format where there’s ample on the wire I’m ok with it.

      NK – I’m not a big fan of Wood or Porcello and Tanaka does make me a bit nervous, but I’d be ok getting him if the price is right. On a side note, the only ones I’d be looking to sell for who you mentioned are Cabrera/Dickerson

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