10 Important Stories From 04/21/2018 Box Scores: Manaea Makes History (Now Sell High), Buy Low Candidates (Marcus Stroman, James Paxton) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Aaron Nola delivered a gem, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP to defeat the Pirates thanks to some help from Rhys Hoskins (2-3, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R).  Garrett Richards struck out 11 Giants en route to improving to 3-0 (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB).  Blake Snell continued to emerge, defeating Minnesota as he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP.  Marcus Semien filled the box score against Boston, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB.  Clearly it was a big day around baseball and these are just a few of the stories worth noting.  Let’s now take a look at all the rest:

 

1) Sean Manaea makes history against the Boston Red Sox…
Throwing a no hitter against any team is impressive, but doing it against the best team in baseball (who entered the day 17-2) is almost mind boggling.  Likely on the bench for the majority of owners, Manaea had 10 K and 2 BB as he needed just 108 pitches to complete the no-hitter.  While it made sense to be skeptical on this start, Manaea now owns a tidy 1.23 ERA and 0.60 WHIP over five starts with 30 K vs. 6 BB over 36.2 IP.  Here’s the question though, is it time to sell high and move on?  There’s no questioning the fact that he holds value, but that value may never be higher and he already entered the day with a 100.0% strand rate and .169 BABIP while he had been having some home run issues (1.30 HR/9).  Everything could come crashing down without warning, so cashing out while everyone is clamoring over him makes complete sense.

 

2) Another debacle from Marcus Stroman, but is there hope…
You may want to give him a pass, since the start came against the Yankees, but after allowing 8 R (6 earned) on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 5.1 IP he now owns an 8.55 ERA and 1.85 WHIP over 20.0 IP (4 starts).  The big blow came courtesy of Aaron Judge (2-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R), but home runs generally have not been the issue as he’s continued to maintain an elevated groundball rate (69.6% entering the day, 9 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls yesterday).  Instead it’s been a lack of control, with 14 BB, and an elevated Hard% (45.7%) that have plagued him.  He entered the day with a 56.4% strand rate and .378 BABIP we’d expect an improvement, and if he can rediscover his control (2.49 BB/9 for his career) he should be able to fully turn it around.  Kicking the tires and trying to buy him low is a good idea.

 

3) Nick Castellanos delivers his first HR of the season…
That would make you think that he’s been a bit of a disappointment, but that wouldn’t really be accurate.  After going 305 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday he’s now hitting .286 with 1 HR, 9 RBI and 12 R.  He’s added 5 doubles and 2 triples, showing the power potential is still there, and there are numerous other numbers to like:

  • Line Drive Rate – 26.8% (meaning his .339 BABIP is believable)
  • Walk Rate – 8.9% (up from a career mark of 6.3%)
  • Strikeout Rate – 20.3%

The power should against start to present itself, but even if he doesn’t match last year’s 26 HR pace the value is apparent.

 

4) A dazzling day for Mike Clevinger…
He tossed a complete game shutout against the Orioles, allowing 2 H and 2 BB.  You may want to point to just 3 K as an “issue”, but he did have 14 swinging strikes and needed just 107 pitches to go the distance (70 went for strikes).  Over 25.2 IP (four starts) he has 17 K vs. 8 BB (he hasn’t had more than 2 in a start) to go along with a 1.75 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.  Obviously we’d like to see a few more strikeouts, but even as is he’s shown more than enough control and groundballs (47.9% entering the day) to be a productive option.  It’s the latter that is they key, as he’s traded lien drives for groundballs and that has led to the dramatically improved results.  It’s no guarantee that he can maintain it, but for now ride the wave.

 

5) Is C.J. Cron finally going to live up to the hype…
While he had never gotten the opportunity for the Angels, Cron is getting his chance to play in Tampa Bay and is backing up the hype that once was bestowed upon him.  He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him two hits in four of his past five games and hits overall in nine of his past ten.  He was hitting .156 prior to this stretch, but he’s suddenly up to .264 with 4 HR and 11 RBI.  His plate discipline is a bit of a concern, with 23 K vs. 2 BB, and he entered the day with a 15.6% SwStr% and 40.1% O-Swing%.  Sure it was a nice day and he’s riding a strong streak, but let’s not make the mistake of overlooking the obvious risk.  Utilize him while going well, but don’t be deceived.

 

6) Has Julio Teheran suddenly figured things out…
Among the biggest disappointments of 2017, things looked to be heading in a similar direction in 2018 (9 ER over 9.0 IP over his first two starts).  After tossing 7.0 shutout innings, allowing 4 H and 1 BB while striking out 6, against the Mets he’s allowed just 3 ER over his past 19.0 IP (including two starts at home) and suddenly has a respectable 4.00 ERA on the season.  The key to the turn around has been strikeouts (22 K) and keeping the ball in the ballpark (1 HR), so the question is if he can maintain those trends.  He entered the day with a 37.0% groundball rate, and yesterday’s 7 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls doesn’t help to make us believe he will continue to keep the ball in the ballpark.  He’s generally struggled with his control (he entered the day with a 5.85 BB/9), and while a 12.6% SwStr% helps (he had 13 swinging strikes yesterday) he also entered the day with an 81.0% strand rate (which further jumped up last night).  While it’s nice to see the strong stretch from a once much hyped pitcher, don’t get confused.  There’s far too much risk involved.

 

7) It’s time for Lucas Giolito to head back to Triple-A…
Talk about a disastrous day, Josh Reddick had the biggest blow (2-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R) but it was just an overall disaster for Giolito who couldn’t find the strike zone all day long.  Lasting 2.0 innings he allowed 9 ER on 5 H and 7 BB, striking out 1, as he threw just 31 of his 72 pitches for strikes.  He’s now walked 19 batters over 20.0 IP (no fewer than 3 BB in a start) while he’s also managed just 9 K.  That alone tells you how bad he’s been, and he’s also been a fly ball pitcher who now has allowed just 1 HR (Reddick’s blast yesterday).  It’s hard to imagine the White Sox continuing to throw him out there to struggle like this, so don’t be surprised if he’s removed from the rotation or returned to Triple-A to try and find himself (something that’s no guarantee as control has always been a significant issue).

 

8) Tyler Anderson outpitches Yu Darvish in Coors Field…
After the Cubs erupted the day before it would’ve been easy to be concerned about Anderson, but it was Darvish who struggled (4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 4 K) as the concerns continue to grow with him.  On the flipside Anderson thrived against a strong offense, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP.  The southpaw got off to a disastrous start to the season (7 ER over 2.1 IP), but in his last four starts he’s allowed 5 ER on 19 H and 10 BB, striking out 24, over 22.2 IP.  This isn’t to say that he’s a lock to continue producing strong results, as a fly ball pitcher who calls Coors Field home (he entered the day with a 19.6% groundball rate), though at the same time he owns a 45.6% career mark so the number should improve.  Couple growth there with the strike outs and there’s going to be value.  He may never be a must start, but at the same time don’t overlook him.

 

9) Brandon Belt continued his home run barrage…
He went 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, his third straight game with a home run.  He’s now hitting .259 with 4 HR and 9 RBI, so it would be easy to overlook him, and maybe that decision is prudent.  While he has been homering of late, it is becoming clear that that’s his goal.  He entered the day with a 54.5% fly ball rate (limiting him to an 18.2% line drive rate) and far too much swing and miss to his game (14.6% SwStr% leading to a 29.5% strikeout rate).  While he was tapping into his power prior to his concussion issues in ’17, he wasn’t showing these types of extreme numbers.  If he’s going to continue down this path the average is going to struggle, and that’s going to limit any potential appeal.

 

10) A poor performance from James Paxton…
He escaped with a no decision against the Rangers, though that shouldn’t overshadow what was a poor showing as he allowed 5 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 4.0 IP.  Strikeouts weren’t the issue, as he generated 13 swinging strikes, but he’s walked 3+ batters in three of his five starts (4.21 BB/9) and he hasn’t been generating many groundballs (33.3%).  The latter didn’t cost him yesterday, but he has allowed 1.40 HR/9.  Things should get better though thanks to luck (67.9% strand rate, .328 BABIP), though he hasn’t been generating as many swings outside the strike zone (25.1% O-Swing%) as he’s throwing fewer curveballs (14.4%, after being at 21.3% a year ago).  That’s the story to watch, because if he doesn’t cut down on the walks he could continue to struggle.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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

9 comments

  1. NK says:

    Ive been trying to find a suitor for Miggy for weeks to no avail. The only offer I’ve had was Ian Halo, after his demotion, so i didn’t jump on it. Is Stroman someone i should be after for Miggy? Im having a tough time deciding what calibre player i want in return. Thanks Prof! Good read again this morning.

  2. Big Pete says:

    Hey prof what do you make of Ryu’s recent success?

  3. Jesse says:

    Would you drop Fernando Rodney or Brad Brach for Nate Jones at this point in time?

  4. Sawyer says:

    Assuming he stays healthy, do you think it’s possible Lowrie ends the year with 25 homers and 100 RBI?

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