10 Important Stories From 05/10/2018 Box Scores: Pitchers Worth Selling (i.e. Velasquez), Potentially Cut Worthy Veterans (i.e. Braun) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Kyle Seager helped to carry the Mariners to a victory in Toronto, slugging a grand slam in the first inning and finishing going 2-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R.  Ozzie Albies continues to show no signs of slowing down, going 2-6 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R.  Shohei Ohtani went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, continuing to show his value for those in daily formats (where there’s a better chance to utilize his bat).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Despite 12 K, are we more concerned with Vincent Velasquez than ever…
It’s hard to come away anything but impressed, as Velasquez defeated the Giants by allowing 3 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 12, over 6.0 IP.  While the strikeouts are a nice, that was never in question and the Giants are tied for the third most strikeouts as a team.  He did show better control, after walking 4 his previous outing, but again taking on a strikeout prone team helps as long as you are close to the zone (not necessarily inside of it).  The big question is the long ball, as all three runs came courtesy of Gregor Blanco (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) and Alen Hanson (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R).  Velasquez generated just 1 groundball and has now allowed at least 1 HR in five straight starts (8 HR allowed during this stretch).  Having entered the day with a 34.3% groundball rate and pitching in Philadelphia, that’s a problem that’s going to persist.  When coupled with the potential walk issue, coming off this type of performance may be the perfect time to shop him and see what you can get.

 

2) Eduardo Rodriguez thrives against the Yankees, sort of…
Struggles in the bullpen cost him a chance at a W, though needing 93 pitches to get through 5.0 innings  should place some of the blame on Rodriguez’ shoulders.  When he was out there he pitched well, allowing 0 R on 1 H and 3 BB, striking out 8.  Of course he also generated just 8 swinging strikes, possibly symbolizing the beginning of a correction in his SwStr% (13.3% entering the day, compared to a 10.4% career mark) and a regression in his strikeout rate.  While he didn’t allow a home run in this one, he also didn’t generate many groundballs (3 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls) and that’s been his biggest issue (1.67 HR/9 entering the day).  Couple that with mediocre control (3.16 BB/9 for his career, 3.62 entering the day) and what’s to really go crazy about?  That’s not to say that there isn’t value, but proceed with caution.

 

3) Maybe the time has come to give up on Chris Davis…
Or maybe that time came weeks ago.  While the Orioles were racking up 11 R on 14 H behind big days from the top three in their batting order (Trey Mancini, Adam Jones and Manny Machado combined to go 8-13 with 3 HR, 7 RBI and 7 R), Davis was going 0-4 with 3 K.  That puts him at .171 with 4 HR, as he’s struck out 46 times over 123 AB.  He entered the day with a 32.1% strikeout rate, but even more concerning was his increased groundball rate (45.9% in ’18 compared to a career 35.7%) and regression in his Hard% (34.2% in ’18 compared to 40.3% or better for three straight years).  We know the strikeouts are going to be there, but if there’s no upside in the power?  Unless something changes there’s a better chance that he loses his job than gets scorching hot.

 

4) A terrible outing for J.A. Happ could be just the start…
The Mariners scored early and often, with Happ ultimately allowing 7 ER on 10 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 3.2 IP.  While there were many who got excited over his inflated strikeout rate, he’s now managed 6 K over his past two starts (9.0 IP) as he’s managed 16 total swinging strikes over this stretch.  It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s regressing, and his bloated mark early likely helped to disguise his issues.  With the 2 HR allowed yesterday he’s up to 9 HR on the season, allowing at least 1 HR in 7 of his 8 starts.  Couple those two things with having allowed 4+ ER in nearly half his starts (3 of 8) and that’s there to get excited about?  Hopefully you cashed in while you could.

 

5) Despite loss, did Caleb Smith strengthen his case to be owned…
The Marlins ultimately got blown out, but that was a bullpen deficiency and nothing else.  Smith went 5.1 innings allowing 2 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, and now owns a 3.63 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 39.2 IP (8 starts).  Obviously he allowed a lot of base runners in this one and also continued to generate more fly balls (6) than groundballs (4).  He entered the day with a 31.6% groundball rate, and home runs will likely become an issue (especially when pitching on the road).  He also has struggled with his control and generally attacks hitters with two pitches, using his fastball (59.8%) and slider (29.6%) the bulk of the time.  It makes sense then that he entered the day strong the first time through the order (2.87 ERA), but really fell off the second time around (4.91 ERA).  There’s excitement and strikeouts, but that doesn’t make him a great option.

 

6) Should Ryan Braun be out of opportunities…
Obviously he’s being paid far too much to simply be removed from the lineup, but when Eric Thames returns and with Jesus Aguilar continuing to produce it’s possible Braun’s role diminishes greatly.  He went 0-5 with 1 K yesterday and is now hitting just .233 with 5 HR over 116 AB.  He hasn’t homered since April 20 (16 games), with just 6 RBI over that span.  Maybe he gets hot again, as he entered the day with a realistic 17.2% HR/FB (17.3% last season), but he’s swinging and missing more than ever (11.7% SwStr%).  Then there’s this split, that’s awfully telling:

  • RHP – .232/.256/.402
  • LHP – .276/.353/.586

Maybe he gets hot and saves his role, but when everyone is healthy he’s going to fall into a platoon player as things stand today.  Keep that in mind.

 

7) Tanner Roark just does what he does…
He shouldn’t be mistaken for an elite starter, but it was another strong start for Roark who allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP.  He was matched by Zack Greinke (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K), so there was no W, but that doesn’t take away from the performance.  Roark now owns a 3.33 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, though it’s also easy to point towards some luck behind the numbers.  The skills are strong, but entering with a .225 BABIP tells you that things could go south at any moment.  He’s a solid back end option, but if someone views him as more than that don’t be reluctant to sell high.

 

8) Does Ian Kinsler show signs of waking up…
After missing the start of the season due to injury Kinsler has struggled overall, hitting .214 with 2 HR and 3 SB over 98 AB.  He was hitting seventh yesterday, but he also broke out a bit going 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  Obviously it was just one game, but he’s actually shown a solid approach despite the issues (10 K vs. 9 BB).  He hasn’t been hitting the ball hard (17.6% line drive rate), which helps to explain his .202 BABIP, but we all know he’s better than that.  Throw in a 2.8% HR/FB, which also is guaranteed to improve, and things should turn quickly.  Kick the tires and try to acquire him now before it’s too late.

 

9) Walker Buehler takes L despite impressing once again…
Taking on the Reds he allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP but he got little support and ultimately took his first loss.  That said he still now owns a 1.64 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 27 K vs. 7 BB over his four starts.  There are obvious questions about how many innings he’ll be allowed to throw, after throwing just 98.0 innings last season, but the Dodgers need him given the injuries so expect him to remain in the rotation for the foreseeable future.  He entered the day with an 88.2% strand rate, which does indicate a regression, but no one is going to doubt the actual skills.  As long as he’s starting he’s going to be worth using, so make the most of it while you can.

 

10) All Miles Mikolas does is win…
OK maybe that’s not all that he does, as he continues to thrive in his return to the U.S.  Sure this came against the Padres, but he still allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 6.2 IP to improve to 5-0 with a 2.51 ERA and 0.96 WHIP on the season.  Yesterday he generated 12 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls, with a 53.5% groundball rate overall.  That of course hasn’t been his best skill, as he continues to pepper the strike zone (0.58 BB/9).  Maybe that won’t continue, and he’s also benefited from a .257 BABIP and 85.1% strand rate, but there also is the potential for the strikeout raise to rise (6.75 K/9).  Chances are he’s going to take a step backward, and if you can really cash in and makes sense, but he should continue to have value all season long.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MLB.com

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

11 comments

  1. Carlito says:

    Soler or T. Hernandez ROS?

  2. JHo says:

    Please rate these 3 in order of waiver priority: Jorge Soler, Odubel Herrera, Corey Dickerson.

  3. Joe Carola says:

    Prof, what to make of Hellickson’s resurgence and Andrew Suarez. I’m deep in Pitching and have offered Hendricks package for Rizzo package and looking to replace Hendricks if accepted.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m not sure I’d be overly optimistic on either one. Maybe Hellickson a little bit more, as he’s at least shown a little bit of something before, but I’d classify both as more of streaming options.

  4. Michael says:

    What would you expect out of Adujar the ROS? Will he lose AB when everyone is healthy? Will his production be about the same?

    • Joe Carola says:

      while you’re waiting for the Prof, I would humbly offer that the kids still has options left and the Yanks have been after Drury for awhile. Maybe Andujar moved for pitching?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It wouldn’t shock me if he’s traded, but in the interim it could unfortunately be a trip back to Triple-A (or at least sharing AB). With Bird and Drury closing in on returns, there are only going to be so many AB to go around

  5. Scott says:

    I am looking to trade Albies, Baez and N Cruz for Scherzer. I am leading most offensive categories and have pitchers DeGrom, Nola, and Morton with Bum, Salazar, and Reyes on DL. What do you think? Thank you!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Obviously getting Scherzer would be big, but that’s an awful lot to give up and you have to remember it’s still early. You have some solid starters there so I’d either look to capitalize on Albies alone and get a pitcher (or pair him with Baez). I think giving up two big bats could ultimately hurt you.

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