10 Important Stories From 04/13/2018 Box Scores: Are We Buying E. Rodriguez or L. Weaver, Haniger Breaking Out & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Marcus Stroman continued to struggle, allowing 4 ER on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP against the Indians (he now owns a 7.98 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in three starts, allowing 4+ ER in each start).  In his second game off the DL Aaron Hicks came up big, going 2-3 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  Gerrit Cole was highly impressive once again, allowing 2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 14, over 7.0 IP and how owns 36 K over 21.0 IP on the season.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Another disastrous day for Yu Darvish…
You can now classify two of his three starts as pretty poor, after taking one on the chin against the Braves yesterday (4.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 4 BB, 4 K).  He’s failed to go 5.0 innings twice and owns an overall 6.00 ERA and 1.53 WHIP.  The biggest issue has been home runs, having allowed one in each of his three starts, though his control has also not been sharp (7 BB over 15.0 IP) as he hasn’t been generating many swings outside the strike zone (25.9% O-Swing%).  After his struggles in the post season this definitely doesn’t leave a good taste in the mouths of fantasy owners, but unfortunately if you paid the price now is not the time to sell. 

 

2) Luke Weaver thrives for the third straight start…
Taking on the Reds he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP to improve to 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.  He’s now struck out 7 batters in back-to-back starts, though he entered the day with a 7.9% SwStr% and 16.7% O-Swing%, and that was before generating just 8 swinging strikes yesterday.  That indicates that maintaining this type of strikeout rate is highly unlikely and he also hasn’t been generating a significant number of groundballs (37.9% entering the day, 6 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday).  While he has a history of more groundballs, without an elite strikeout rate or control it seems like a regression is inevitable.  Selling high if you can find a true believer makes the most sense.

 

3) A far better start for Eduardo Rodriguez…
After failing to make it through 4.0 innings in his first start of the season, taking on the Orioles Rodriguez went 6.0 innings allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, to earn the W.  When breaking down the numbers the concern is going to be his 1 groundball vs. 8 fly balls, and entering the day with a 1.19 HR/9 for his career that obviously looms large.  It didn’t plague him yesterday, but it’s easy to imagine home runs becoming an issue.  There’s the potential that he’s a solid option, but there’s also risk of a blowup at any time.  That makes him more of a backend option, given the risk.

 

4) Is Aledmys Diaz “back” to being a productive option…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him 4 HR, 8 RBI and 7 R as he sees regular AB in place of the injured Troy Tulowitzki.  However he’s hitting just .237 and while strikeouts haven’t been an issue (6 K) that doesn’t mean he’s shown good discipline (0 BB).  He also has been taken a fly ball approach (46.4%), which has helped his power but hasn’t allowed him to produce much of a BABIP (.160 entering the day).  While we’d expect a little bit of an improvement, the strikeouts should also inflate significantly (16.3% SwStr%, 51.0% O-Swing% entering the day).  It all comes together for a potential disaster, and outside of utilizing him as a short-term fill-in the risk far outweighs any potential reward.

 

5) Vincent Velasquez with second straight strong start…
Of course it came against the Rays, but he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 IP.  It’s important to note that his previous start came against the Marlins, so these aren’t very imposing offenses (his first start came against the Braves, which you can argue isn’t much better).  He has yet to give up a home run this season, though that’s been a consistent issue (1.38 HR/9) and there’s little in the underlying numbers to make you think he’s corrected things.  He entered the day with a 39.3% groundball rate, before generating 5 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday.  While there is strikeout potential, the overall risk may outweigh the reward.

 

6) Andrew Heaney shows some promise…
Taking on the Royals he allowed 4 R (3 earned) on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP as he settled for a no decision.  Obviously the strikeouts jump out at you, and could tempt you to jump in, though don’t overlook the risk involved after he threw just 6.0 innings in ’16 and 38.1 innings in ’17.  Just how far will the team be willing to push him?  Could his control be an issue?  There’s enough intrigue that he’s worth considering in the deepest of formats, but in shallower leagues (think 12-team mixed) he’s likely more of a monitor and see type player.

 

7) Is it time to give up on Kenta Maeda…
He lasted just 2.2 innings against the Diamondbacks, allowing 5 R (2 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 2.  You could easily argue that the way the Dodgers have deployed him is what’s caused the issue, with this being his first start since March 31 (in between he had a 1.0 inning relief outing).  Considering how dominant he was in his first start (10 K over 5.0 IP) it’s a bit mind-boggling and hopefully he can rebound strong in his next start.  Don’t lose sight of his upside today, and his struggles could easily lead to a strong buying opportunity.  The biggest question isn’t his potential, it’s whether or not the Dodgers will simply plug him into the rotation and let him go every five days.  If they do that, he should be nearly a Top 50 starter (think an ideal backend option).

 

8) Is Mitch Haniger starting to break out…
He hadn’t homered since April 1, but he delivered a big blow yesterday finishing the day going 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R.  That puts him at .297 with 3 HR, 12 RBI and 6 R over 11 games, but the more important numbers are his strikeouts (6) vs. walks (8).  He entered the day showing an excellent approach:

  • SwStr% – 7.9%
  • O-Swing% – 28.3%

Couple that with some power and speed and it’s easy to envision an incredibly strong season.  Considering his career marks of 8.8% and 24.4% there’s little reason to think that it won’t continue, and maintaining a near .300 average with 25+ HR is a very realistic expectation.  Now may be your last chance to buy at a reasonable price, so kicking the tires makes sense.

 

9) Tyson Ross continues to turn back the clock…
Taking on the Giants he allowed 1 R (0 earned) on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP to improve to 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA.  It’s easy to forget how promising of a starter Ross once was and he’s still just 30-years old (he’ll soon turn 31), bringing the trio of skills we look for along the way.  He entered the day with a 58.3% groundball rate (6 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls yesterday), and while he hadn’t been getting many swings and misses (6.4% SwStr%) he showed signs yesterday (14 swinging strikes).  Obviously there’s risk, but pitching half his games in Petco Park is only going to help.  If he’s still sitting there available, he shouldn’t be at this point.

 

10) Todd Frazier delivering for New York…
He helped carry the offense yesterday, going 3-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .282 with 2 HR and 8 RBI on the season.  While yesterday were his first home runs (both coming off Zach Davies, who allowed 5 ER over 4.1 IP), that was never going to be a question.  It’s the average that had people justifiably concerned, though he’s now struck out (9) fewer times than he’s walked (10) as he’s continued to show an improved O-Swing% (25.0% in ’17, 24.6% entering yesterday) while continuing the trend of an improved SwStr%:

  • 2016 – 12.5%
  • 2017 – 9.3%
  • 2018 – 6.9%

If he continues down this path, he could be in line for a truly monster season.  We aren’t about to say that it will happen, but it’s possible and should be watched closely.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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

16 comments

  1. Scott says:

    Would you rather own Tyson Ross or gausman? Also betances was roughed up again. He is still striking guys out, but would you rather own devenski in a saves plus holds league? Thanks

  2. Scott says:

    Should I be buying into Jose Martinez’s hot start?

  3. Todd says:

    This is my go-to place every morning. Love your recaps

  4. Mike Honcho says:

    I have Betances, is T.Ross a better option than Yonny Chirinos to replace?

  5. Cupofcoffee says:

    Any thoughts on Teoscar Hernandez? Will he get enough playing time to matter?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m a fan, but it’s hard to predict if the playing time will be there. In deeper formats he’s worth stashing to find out, though

  6. LanceCT says:

    Is Desmond droppable in a ten team league, he’s been awful for a long time now

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m actually going to touch on him on Monday. It’s frustrating and there are some concerns, but there also is still upside and I don’t think I’d take the extreme stance of dropping him (except for maybe shallower formats)

  7. Sawyer says:

    I need to replace Odor, and Asdrubel and Andrelton Simmons are available — who do I go with?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m not a big Simmons believer, so I’d lean Asdrubal (though they are close). At the end of the day the production may not be drastically different.

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