10 Important Stories From 05/24/18 Box Scores: Pitchers To Target (Castillo, Porcello), Bregman Turning Corner & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Blake Snell stole the night, tossing 6.0 impressive shutout innings against the Red Sox, allowing 3 H and 2 BB to go with 8 K.  Shohei Ohtani may be getting a break from pitching (or the Angels just want to avoid him matching up with the Yankees), but he continues to produce at the plate going 2-3 with 2 R (he also walked twice).  Charlie Morton continues to roll, improving to 7-0 with a 2.04 ERA as he allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP.  What else happened that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Are we buying a turnaround for Luis Castillo…
He pitched fairly well against the Pirates, earning a W, as he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP.  However when you start looking at some of the underlying numbers they don’t look overly impressive:

  • Swinging Strikes – 10
  • Groundballs – 7 (compared to 6 fly balls)

Home runs have been among the biggest issues, entering the day with a 1.75 HR/9, and he did allow another home run yesterday.  At the same time he entered with a respectable 48.7% groundball rate and swings and misses have not been an issue (15.2%).  There should be improved luck (.322 BABIP, 69.8% strand rate) and if the home runs decline the performance will continue to improve.  He’s now allowed 2 ER or fewer in 5 straight starts, a trend that should continue.  While you may not be able to buy low, he’s still a pitcher worth owning.

 

2) Austin Meadows may make it impossible to demote him…
There were questions about his upside, but thus far he’s raked since arriving.  Meadows went 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, and he’s now hitting .440 with 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R and 1 SB over his first six games in the Majors.  Is he this good?  Obviously not, but he’s showing a good approach (1 K) as he entered the day with a 5.5% SwStr%.  It’s highly unlikely that he maintains this type of power pace, considering he had 1 HR over 136 PA at Triple-A prior to his recall, and he also isn’t going to be an elite stolen base artist.  He is hitting the ball hard, so if he can be a 10/10 player he could make an impact.  Just expect a regression to come quickly.

 

3) A nice rebound from Nick Tropeano…
Taking on the Blue Jays, in Toronto, he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 7.1 IP.  Tropeano has been basically all or nothing this season, with four starts allowing 1 ER or less and four starts of at least 3 ER allowed (three starts with 4+ ER allowed).  Overall he’s struggled with his control (4.18 BB/9 entering the day) and home runs (1.39 HR/9), while opponents have consistently hit the ball hard against him (45.7% Hard%) and he’s posted a less than stellar strikeout rate (7.24 K/9, though he did have 14 swinging strikes).  While he had a strong outing this time out, does anyone really want to bank on him having another next time around?  He’s been far too inconsistent to even think about trusting.

 

4) Lucas Giolito appears to need time away from the Majors…
This was a complete disaster, though that’s been the case often for Giolito this season, as he allowed 7 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, failing to record a strikeout, as he lasted just 1.1 IP.  He’s now sporting an ugly 7.53 ERA and 1.71 WHIP over 49.0 IP and he’s amazingly walked (37) more batters than he’s struck out (27).  If we look at some of the underlying numbers, like his line drive rate (15.4%) and luck metrics (61.2% strand rate), and you could find some glimmers of hope.  Until he gets the control in order, though, it won’t matter.  The White Sox have already sent Carson Fulmer back to Triple-A, so you have to wonder if they will give Giolito a little bit more time.  The truth is they shouldn’t, and while maybe he stash him in dynasty formats it’s impossible to consider utilizing him at the moment.

 

5) Dylan Bundy shows just how high the upside is…
Granted it came against the White Sox, but that shouldn’t take away from what was a dominant performance.  Bundy tossed a complete game allowing 3 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 14.  He made just one mistake (a home run to Jose Rondon, who has now homered in back-to-back games), but otherwise he was spectacular.  He had them off guard all night long, including 20 swinging strikes, which is what he’s been doing all year long (he entered with a 10.57 K/9 and 14.9% SwStr%).  The problem has been home runs, as he entered with a 2.18 HR/9 and continues to struggle to get groundballs (34.7% entering the day, 5 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls yesterday).  That’s ultimately going to cap his potential, but it doesn’t eliminate it.  He has value, just be cautious when he faces some heavy hitting lineups.

 

6) A slow start for Felix Hernandez…
He struggled out of the gate, but ultimately settled down and finished allowing 4 ER (all in the first inning) on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 IP.  It’s hard to call it a bad outing, but Hernandez continues to look like a shell of his former self.  He generated 2 swinging strikes in this one, after entering the day with what would be a career worst 8.0% SwStr%.  His velocity continues to drop, averaging 89.2 mph on his fastball, while he’s also lacked control (4.07 BB/9) and has been hit relatively hard (22.7% line drive rate).  In other words there’s no reason to even consider him at this point.

 

7) Is Alex Bregman finally turning the corner…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday, extending his hitting streak to eight games (11-29 with 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R and 2 SB).  He’s been even better over his past four games, with three multi-hit games to go along with 2 K vs. 4 BB.  Overall he’s up to .277 with 5 HR and 5 SB, with all of the metrics pointing towards him getting better and better and better (all entering the day):

  • SwStr% – 4.5%
  • O-Swing% – 18.9%
  • HR/FB – 6.8% (10.0% for his career)
  • Line Drive Rate – 24.4% (.296 BABIP)

The opportunity to buy low may be gone, but it’s well worth kicking the tires to see what’s possible.

 

8) Rick Porcello takes it on the chin against Tampa Bay…
He simply never got going, allowing 6 R (4 earned) on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 3.2 IP.  He’s now allowed 3+ ER in four straight games (with 4+ ER in three of them), though overall there wouldn’t have been many concerns entering the day.

  • He’s been showing strikeouts, with an 8.91 K/9 (courtesy of a 10.1% SwStr%, though he had just 7 swinging strikes yesterday)…
  • He’s been continuing to show strong control, with a 1.55 BB/9…
  • He’s seen his groundball rate rebound to a solid 48.3% (he had 6 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls yesterday)…

In other words, while he’s struggled there’s no reason to be pushing the panic button.  He should rebound strong and at this point is actually a recommended buy if there’s a frustrated owner.

 

9) Did Danny Duffy figure something out…
He finally gave us something, earning the W while allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 7.2 IP against the Rangers.  Of course he “improved” to a 6.14 ERA and 1.60 WHIP, with the key being that he actually kept the ball in the ballpark.  He had allowed at least 1 HR in six straight starts entering the day, and it’s not like he was a groundball machine in this one (7 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls).  He entered the day with a meager 32.0% groundball rate and 4.41 BB/9, and while he showed signs with the control we need to see more before we fully believe.  Don’t buy in based on this one, since home runs will likely continue to be a significant issue.

 

10) Brandon Nimmo continues to show that he deserves a lineup spot…
Hitting atop the lineup he went 4-4 (with 2 doubles and 1 triple) with 2 R, improving his line to .294 with 3 HR, 6 RBI, 18 R and 3 SB over 85 AB.  He’s never going to be a big source of power, but he’s proven to be an ideal leadoff hitter as he entered the day with an 8.2% SwStr% and 21.2% O-Swing% (both indicating that his 25.0% strikeout rate should improve significantly).  Throw in an ability to hit the ball hard (38.2% Hard%) and it all works (especially for those in OBP formats).  It will be interesting to see what happens once Yoenis Cespedes returns, but it’s possible that will be the end of the Adrian Gonzalez experiment, with Jay Bruce shifting to 1B.  Time will tell, but for now Nimmo is worth the investment.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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

13 comments

  1. Frederic Kass says:

    Professor, Own Desmond, M Olson and Aguilar. Would you drop any for A Hicks and/or M Adams.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I could see it, but I don’t think any are must owns. If Hicks is getting regular AB I could buy it, but ride what you have for now

  2. JC says:

    Is Godley droppable at this point? Underlying numbers don’t look good.

  3. Barry says:

    Hello Professor,

    I’m still trying to upgrade at SS. Is offering Semien/Soto too much for Bregman? I already have J.D, Springer, Pham, and Gallo if needed maning my 3 OF spots.

  4. Jack says:

    Hey Professor, worth taking a flyer on Dustin Pedroia?

  5. Jeremy says:

    Who is better ROS…Bregman or Bellinger?

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