10 Important Stories From 05/25/18 Box Scores: Valuing The Hot Adds (Moreland, Musgrove), Sell High Candidates (Hendricks) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

In what was a surprising pitcher’s duel, both Luis Severino (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H,4 BB, 5 K) and Andrew Heaney (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 K) settled for no decisions.  Julio Teheran again got burned by the long ball, allowing a pair of HR en route to a loss to the Red Sox (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K).  Paul Goldschmidt is quietly showing signs of turning things around, going 2-5 with 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday (3-8 with 1 HR and 3 RBI over his past two games).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Is it time to sell high on Kyle Hendricks…
He’s been a solid starter for a long time, though we also don’t want to be distracted by the surface numbers (especially after yesterday’s strong showing).  Over 7.0 IP he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, to improve to 4-3 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.  Of course he entered the day with a .250 BABIP and 79.0% strand rate, both of which could indicate a regression is on the horizon.   The argument could be made that they aren’t far off from his career line (.272 and 77.7%, respectively), but he also was carrying a career high Hard% (32.0%) and while his control will remain strong he will likely regress from his 1.78 BB/9.  Throw in a limited 8.8% SwStr% and 29.8% O-Swing% and it’s easy to have “concerns”.  He’s going to be solid, but expect a bump in the road to be coming.

 

2) Joe Musgrove comes off the DL and impresses…
Taking on the Cardinals Musgrove thrived in his first start, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 7.  He only needed 67 pitches to get through the 7.0 innings and while he didn’t generate many swinging strikes (7), he did get groundballs (9 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls) and obviously avoided walks.  Musgrove was an intriguing sleeper heading into the season, after being traded as part of the Gerrit Cole deal, as he owned a career 8.04 K/9 (courtesy of an 11.0% SwStr%), 2.31 BB/9 and 44.4% groundball rate over 171.1 IP in the Majors.  Obviously he’s not going to be quite this good moving forward, but he could prove to be a difference maker and should be a waiver wire priority this week.

 

3) Mitch Moreland produces out of the cleanup spot…
With Hanley Ramirez being designated for assignment, Moreland appears primed to be the biggest beneficiary as he should be in the lineup on most days.  He made Boston look smart yesterday, hitting between J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts, as he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hitting .318 with 8 HR and 23 RBI, including home runs in back-to-back games.  He already entered the day with what would be a career high 21.2% HR/FB (excluding his 173 PA debut in ’10), so it’s easy to imagine his home run rate declining.  He also has benefited from a .338 BABIP (.287 career mark) and should see his strikeout rate rise (11.2% SwStr%).  Plus, considering his split (.240 with 1 HR against LHP) and it’s easy to imagine him still operating as part of some type of platoon.  Keep that in mind before going all in.

 

4) George Springer has turned into one of the elite…
He went 3-6 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him a modest four-game hitting streak.  Over this streak he’s gone 8-18 with 2 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R and 2 SB, putting him at .305 with 11 HR, 34 RBI, 40 R and 3 SB on the season.  Having entered the day with an 18.5% HR/FB (22.8% in ’17) and .329 BABIP (.315 for his career) there aren’t any glaring red flags, especially as he continues to show a tremendous command of the strike zone (9.8% SwStr%, 26.7% O-Swing%).  While he hasn’t stolen as many bases as many had hoped when he first arrived, he still has the potential to reach double-digits.  He may not be in the top tier of outfielders, but it’s hard to argue against him as a Tier 2 type option and one that you want to own.

 

5) Could Ryan Yarbough become a viable fantasy option…
He didn’t technically start (the Rays used Sergio Romo to open the game) but Yarbough was “the man”, allowing 1 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP.  The most impressive number was his 11 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls, while he also generated 11 swinging strikes.  Of course he’s never proven to be that type of dominant groundball machine before, entering the day with a 33.3% groundball rate (46.4% at Triple-A last year), and he doesn’t throw hard (89.5 mph on his fastball) nor has he been generating many swings and misses (6.4% SwStr% entering the day).  Impressive showing, but don’t buy off of it.

 

6) Ronald Guzman’s power surge continues…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, with the home run coming off a southpaw making it even more impressive.  Since May 21 he’s gone 7-15 with 4 HR, 8 RBI and 6 R and has 6 HR and 20 RBI over 106 AB in the Majors.  Of course he’s hitting .226 as he’s struggled to hit the ball hard (30.8% Hard%) and has shown abysmal plate discipline (14.3% SwStr%, 39.9% O-Swing%).  Considering the power isn’t a guarantee to continue (he had 12 HR at Triple-A in ’17), buying into this hot stretch would be a bit misguided.  Unless he dramatically improves his approach, which isn’t impossible, when the power slows the numbers will virtually disappear.

 

7) Jon Gray gets the W, but continues to underwhelm…
It wasn’t a pretty outing, as he allowed 4 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP but it was enough to earn him a W.  Obviously he hasn’t pitched well this season, with a 5.40 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 11 starts and he’s now allowed 15 ER over 15.0 IP over his past three starts.  As we noted yesterday there are some signs that would indicate a potential rebound (like his .371 BABIP and 63.7% strand rate entering the day), but a 25.8% line drive rate (37.0% Hard%) are going to continue to loom large.  He needs to figure out how to adjust and get softer contact more consistently, otherwise he’s going to continue to struggle.

 

8) The regression of Sean Manaea continues…
He took it on the chin against the Diamondbacks, allowing 6 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 3.2 IP.  It’s the fifth straight start where he’s allowed 3+ ER (he’s allowed 4+ ER in four of them), and while his numbers still look respectable (3.34 ERA and 0.96 WHIP) is this a sign of struggles to come?  Home runs have been the biggest issue (he’s allowed a home run in five straight starts), he’s unlikely to maintain the 1.49 BB/9 he entered the day with and there have become questions about his strikeout rate (6.92 K/9 entering the day, 11 K over his past 20.1 IP).  It’s not to say that fantasy owners should be giving up on him completely, just realize that there could be more struggles on the horizon.

 

9) Fernando Romero gets saddled with a tough luck loss…
Taking on the Mariners Romero was fantastic, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP.  Unfortunately for him James Paxton was even better (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 11 K), so Romero ultimately took the loss.  It’s hard not to be impressed with what he’s done thus far, with a 1.88 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over his first five starts (28.2 IP).  Of course he entered the day with a .245 BABIP and 86.5% strand rate, so it’s easy to envision a few bumps coming soon.  That’s especially true as he’s failed to show pinpoint control (he entered the day with a 4.57 BB/9, after posting a 4.29 mark at Triple-A prior to his recall).  That’s not to say that he won’t continue to hold value, just know that he’s not about to maintain these types of numbers.

 

10) A dazzling start from Ross Stripling…
Granted it came against the Padres, but he still allowed 1 R (0 earned) on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, over 6.2 IP.  Even more impressive was his 15 swinging strikes and 9 groundballs vs. 1 fly ball, and with those numbers he likely would’ve thrived against any lineup.  Over his last three starts (18.0 IP) he’s allowed 3 ER with 26 K vs. 0 BB, making him impossible to ignore.  It’s hard to draw conclusions off his numbers in the Majors, as he’s spent significant time working out of the bullpen, but in his 21 starts he does own a 3.80 ERA as he’s shown enough strikeouts (7.85 K/9) to go along with strong control (2.36 BB/9) and enough groundballs (49.5%).  Maybe he’s not quite as good as the numbers he’s posted of late, but there’s an awful lot to like.  At the very least he’s a streaming option, but he easily could continue on as much more than that.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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

7 comments

  1. Scott says:

    Hey Prof – love your analysis. My bench is gettin tight, so I’m wondering what your thoughts are on a few SPs if you had to rank them ROS: Skaggs, Heaney, Musgrove, and Stripling. Thanks!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’d probably go Musgrove / Skaggs / Stripling / Heaney. That said, Heaney is the only one I truly don’t trust very much and would be my first cut

  2. Corey says:

    Keep hearing Lester is due for regression. Should I sell him? Also… Alex Reyes and Jon Lester ROS?
    Thanks

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Reyes has the much higher upside. As for Lester, it all depends on the return but I don’t think anyone believes he’s this good based on his track record. It’s worth shopping him around and seeing what you can get./

  3. NK says:

    Hey Prof, hold Stripling for his start vs the Phillies or grab Weaver off waivers for his two starts?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Stripling isn’t a lock to produce in what could be a tough matchup, so I’d lean the two-start Weaver

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