10 Important Stories From 04/27/2018 Box Scores: Is It Time To Sell Low On Stroman/Castillo, Is There Concern For Keuchel & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After getting off to a slow start Aaron Nola ultimately dominated the Braves, allowing 3 ER (all in the first inning) over 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP to improve to 3-1 with a 2.58 ERA.  Blake Snell continued his impressive run, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, over 7.1 IP to defeat the Red Sox and lower his ERA to a tidy 2.52.  Sean Manaea followed up his no-hitter with another impressive outing, this time against the A’s, allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:


1) Has Yu Darvish suddenly rediscovered himself…
Taking on the Brewers he was dominant over 6.0 innings allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 8.  While the strikeouts were nice he managed just 12 swinging strikes (8.9% SwStr% entering the day), so it’s hard to imagine him being able to maintain it going forward (this could be a case of the Brewers simply being a higher strikeout team, as they are currently 9th in MLB with 237 K).  He also didn’t show improvement in his groundball rate (35.7% in this one), so while the control did improve it’s hard to dub him as being “back” or a “must use”.  It was a nice performance, but we need to see a bit more before we truly get excited.


2) The Cardinals waste a strong start from Miles Mikolas…
Taking on the Pirates he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP and left with a three-run lead.  Unfortunately Greg Holland happened, coughing it up in the ninth and cost Mikolas the W.  That said that shouldn’t take anything away from Mikolas, who continues to impress in his first season back in the Majors.  In fact you can argue that he just keeps getting better, currently sitting with a 3.27 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 27 K vs. 2 BB over 33.0 IP.  Over his past three starts he’s allowed 4 ER over 21.0 IP (8 ER over 12.0 IP in his first two starts) and has allowed just 2 HR.  He entered the day with a 49.4% groundball rate (9 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday) and with his control what’s not to like?  He entered the day with a .253 BABIP, so there is room for a little regression, but overall it’s impossible not to like what we’ve seen.  Hopefully you made the low risk investment on draft day.


3) Odubel Herrera leads the Phillies to a W…
Hitting third he went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R (with one of the HR coming off Julio Teheran, who took a step back before being forced from the game, allowing 3 ER on 2 H and 2 BB over 3.0 IP).  Herrera is now 5-10 with 2 HR and 5 RBI over his past three games and is hitting .348 with 3 HR, 13 RBI, 16 R and 1 SB overall.  While he hadn’t shown much power before last night he had improved his strikeout rate from ’17, getting both his SwStr% (13.1% to 11.0%) and O-Swing% (40.0% to 34.9%) back in-line with his previous marks.  Those may not be elite, but they are enough given his potential to go 15/15.  He’s not going to maintain his current average (.406 BABIP entering the day), but he’s a proven .280+ hitter and the increased power will help to offset some of the impending regression.


4) Is there any hope for Marcus Stroman…
Taking on the Rangers he allowed 6 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 5.1 IP to fall to 0-3 with an 8.88 ERA and 1.82 WHIP.  He’s now allowed at least 4 ER in all five of his starts, failing to go more than 5.1 innings in any one of them.  Control has been the biggest issue, something we wouldn’t have expected (he owns a career 2.53 BB/9) and he showed a better mark after entering with a 6.30 BB/9.  While it’s easy to push the panic button, he has struggled with a .350 BABIP and 46.8% strand rate (so he’s obviously not this bad) and entered the day with a 9.45 K/9 and 69.4% groundball rate.  He’s been bad, and there’s no sugar coating it, but he’s also not this bad.  If you can buy him cheap and keep him stashed on your bench until he shows signs of improving in the luck department, it’s worth the gamble.


5) Is Daniel Robertson a player worth owning…
He hit one of the Rays’ three home runs off Drew Pomeranz (5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K), going 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  Overall he’s hitting .364 with 3 HR with most of his damage coming during his current seven-game hitting streak, which includes four straight multi-hit games (10-15, 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R).  While the numbers are strong, we have to keep in mind that he doesn’t offer much in the way of power or speed, and he also entered the day with an unsustainable .457 BABIP (regardless of his 29.7% line drive rate).  Sure his approach is solid (7.2% SwStr%, 16.8% O-Swing%) but that’s not enough.  Ride him while he’s hot, but be prepared to move on.


6) Should we give up on Luis Castillo already…
In what turned into a wild, 15-9 victory, Castillo put the Reds in an early hole.  Lasting just 1.0 inning he allowed 5 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, without striking out a batter, and now owns an ugly 7.85 ERA and 1.67 WHIP.  In his six starts he has not yet allowed fewer than 3 ER and has managed 24 K vs. 13 BB over 28.2 IP.  He entered the day with a 60.6% strand rate, showing there has been some bad luck, but of bigger concern is significant drop in velocity (97.88 mph to 96.00 on his fourseam fastball) and that’s potentially led to him getting touched up on the pitch (opponents entered the day hitting .385 with 3 HR against it).  While we wouldn’t completely give up on him yet, we also wouldn’t use him and would be watching closely (we don’t like speculating on injuries, but would it be surprising to hear about something else going on here?).


7) What’s going on with Dallas Keuchel…
A groundball specialist, he allowed 3 HR to the A’s last night and has now allowed 6 HR over 36.0 IP on the season.  Overall yesterday was his first real clunker, allowing 6 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, but his 4.00 ERA and 1.31 WHIP isn’t going to elicit the thought of an elite starter.  It’s interesting, because he entered the day with a 57.3% groundball rate, which is obviously elite but in the range of his disappointing 2016 (56.7%) that yielded a 4.55 ERA as opposed to the truly elite mark of 2017 (66.8%).  He did have 13 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday and he’s improved his control (3 BB over 21.0 IP in his past three starts).  He hasn’t been generating enough swings and misses (8.9% SwStr% entering the day, 5 swinging strikes yesterday), but that’s just a minor note.  While yesterday was a surprisingly poor outing, don’t read much into it.  Now may actually be an ideal time to try and buy low.


8) Does Matt Davidson deserve our attention…
Reynaldo Lopez will probably generate the most buzz from this game (6.1 IP, 2 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 2 K), but we’ve given him time, he actually allowed 4 R and was facing a poor offense.  Instead it’s Davidson, who went 2-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, that needs to be addressed.  While he’s hitting .237 he does have 9 HR and 18 RBI on the season and has now hit 4 HR over his past two games.  These are his first home runs since hitting 3 on Opening Day and while he’s struggled with strikeouts (36.5% entering the day), is there hope?  He entered play with a 13.0% SwStr% and 23.5% O-Swing% and has 1 K or fewer in five of his past six games.  We all know the power, and just getting the strikeout rate down to the 28-30% range would dramatically change his outlook.  We aren’t fully endorsing him or being overly optimistic, but there’s enough here to at least consider him.


9) Has Franchy Cordero earned a full-time job…
He was hitting cleanup yesterday and playing ahead of the struggling Manuel Margot, and he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hitting .241 with 5 HR and 10 RBI over 54 AB, though we have to keep in mind that he has just 1 additional extra base hit (a double) and owns 22 K vs. 3 BB.  No one is going to question the power or speed, but and it’s not like he’s swinging for the fences (24.1% fly ball rate) and his SwStr% and O-Swing% (14.0% and 29.3%) also show reason for a little bit of optimism.  Obviously he needs to prove he can cut back on the strikeouts, and until he does that we are going to remain cautiously optimistic, but the Padres are giving him an opportunity and that means he’s worth owning to see what happens.


10) Can Pedro Alvarez make himself a fantasy factor…
He was in the lineup yesterday and made the most of it, going 2-3 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  Obviously he hasn’t been overly impressive, still hitting just .218 with 4 HR over 55 AB.  He has taken a home run approach, entering the day with a 55.6% fly ball rate, and while we’d expect more balls to leave the yard (10.0% HR/FB, compared to a 22.4% career mark) it’s going to limit his ability to maintain even a decent BABIP (.235) and his SwStr% is inflated (15.7%).  Maybe he’s worth a short-term play if you need power, but don’t get overly excited.


Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MLB.com, Brooks Baseball

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  1. MA says:

    Hey Rotoprofessor, would you cut bait on either Castillo or Teheran for T. Ross or Velasquez? Thanks

  2. Greg says:

    They aren’t really going to send Andujar back down when Drury returns, are they?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      If he’s hitting, I can’t imagine that they will. Either Drury will take on a utility/1B role, or Gleyber Torres could always be demoted

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