10 Important Stories From 05/31/18 Box Scores: Starting Pitchers To Sell (Quintana/Roark), What To Make Of Sano & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Brandon Nimmo continued his impressive breakout, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R (he now owns a .431 OBP).  It was a monster day for Francisco Lindor, who finished going 4-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R.  Khris Davis (1-3, 1 R), Dee Gordon (1-5,1 R) and Clayton Kershaw (5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K) all returned from the DL, though reports have the latter undergoing an MRI for his back, which is never a good sign.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:


1) A rough start for Andrew Heaney…
You may want to give him a pass since the bulk of the damage came in the first inning (including all of the runs), but he still finished the day allowing 5 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP.  He did enter the day with a 3.08 ERA, believable luck metrics (.297 BABIP, 68.1% strand rate) and a solid 9.87 K/9 and 3.28 BB/9.  That would make it all seem positive, but there are some concerning underlying metrics:

  • Groundball Rate – 39.3% (he had 4 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday, and eventually home runs will plague him
  • Line Drive Rate – 26.5%

There’s no reason to get too worked up about this performance, even against a lackluster Detroit offense, but there’s a chance this is just the start of a regression.


2) Daniel Mengden nearly goes the distance…
After tossing 8.0 shutout innings the A’s marched him back out for the ninth, but he stumbled and ultimately finished allowing 3 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, to improve to 6-4 with a 2.91 ERA.  While he does bring strong control (0.81 BB/9 entering the day, after a 1.88 in 7 starts last season), is that really enough?  He entered with a 5.83 K/9, courtesy of a pedestrian 8.7% SwStr%, and he also doesn’t generate many groundballs (39.9%).  Pitching half his games in Oakland will help to offset the home run risk, so maybe he’s a good streaming option at home, but there’s a good chance the bubble bursts before long.  Overall the risk outweighs the potential reward.


3) Jose Quintana impressive, but don’t get too excited…
He shutdown the Mets for 6.0 IP, allowing 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, though the opponent and locale need to be taken into consideration.  Just remember this split that he opened the day with:

  • Home – 6.66 ERA
  • Road – 3.18 ERA

With this start coming in New York we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions.  While we’d expect the home numbers to improve, his control hasn’t been great anywhere, he could see more home runs on the road (0.95 HR/9) and the SwStr% doesn’t support the near strikeout per inning (8.4% SwStr% entering the day, just 6 swinging strikes yesterday).


4) Does Yairo Munoz belong on all radars…
In a 10-8 game there were a lot of notable performances, including Harrison Bader (3-5, 2 R, 1 SB) and Gregory Polanco (3-4, 2 RBI, 1 R), but it’s Munoz who deserves the most attention.  With Paul DeJong out he’s been getting some run, including starting the past six games, and after going 2-5 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R he’s had a hit in all six of them (9-22, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R, 1 SB).  He entered the day with an 18.7% SwStr% and 47.3% O-Swing%, so his plate discipline is obviously a significant concern.  Splitting time between Double and Triple-A last year he hit .300 with a 16.9% strikeout rate (courtesy of a 12.9% SwStr%) and 3.3% walk rate so that’s going to continue as a concern.  He had 13 HR and 22 SB, so if he can refine his approach, even just a little bit, he’ll have the potential to make a significant impact.  Don’t overlook him if you need some help, especially while he’s hot.


5) Was the poor outing a sign of things to come for Tanner Roark…
He was outpitched by Sean Newcomb (7.0 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K, W), as Roark allowed 4 ER on 7 H and 5 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP to take the L.  He still owns an impressive 3.38 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, though keep in mind that he entered the day benefiting from a .229 BABIP and 2.62 BB/9.  Last year he had a 3.18 BB/9 (after a 3.13 the year before) and a .300 BABIP (with a similar 19.8% line drive rate, as he entered with an 18.2% mark this season).  While the regression may not be huge, he’s unlikely to maintain the pace and this could easily be the start of a downturn.  For a pitcher without a big strikeout rate or groundball rate, selling high makes sense (depending on the return).


6) It was a dominant outing for Aaron Nola…
He matched the returning Kershaw pitch-for-pitch, allowing 1 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP to improve to 7-2 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.  He entered the day with an impressive array of underlying skills, with an 8.45 K/9, 2.14 BB/9 and 51.9% groundball rate, and while you could point towards an 81.0% strand rate as a reason for regression (or maybe a 0.50 HR/9), that “red flag” is hardly one to send you running to your trade block.  Nola is emerging as one of the elite starting pitchers in the game, and while there will certainly be some bumps fantasy owners should be sitting back and enjoying the ride.


7) Miguel Sano is starting to turn things around…
A lot of the focus from the Indians-Twins matchup likely fell on Shane Bieber, but he ultimately underwhelmed (5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 6 K) in a game that featured 17 runs, 24 hits and 6 HR.  Sano was right in the middle of the offense, something he’s done for the past week, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now on a five-game hitting streak (7-25, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 R), and while he’s still hitting just .216 he does have 7 HR and 23 RBI over 111 AB on the season.  Of course he also struck out twice last night, and has 9 K vs. 0 BB even during this hot streak.  He entered the day with a 39.0% strikeout rate, courtesy of a 15.9% SwStr%, and it’s possible that it continues to limit him (18.3% SwStr% last year).  The power is going to be there, but with this type of strikeout rate he’s never going to be more than a .240ish hitter (and things are likely to be worse in ’18, as he’s paired the strikeouts with a more fly ball-centric approach).  In other words, with things going well now is the time to look at selling.


8) Could Carlos Correa be waking up…
It was a modest day, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, but it’s notable because the home run was his first since May 19.  He’s now hitting .262 with 9 HR, 38 RBI, 33 R and 2 SB, so it’s easy to say that he’s disappointed overall.  He isn’t hitting the ball as hard this season (he entered the day with a 30.1% Hard%, compared to a 35.9% career mark), which helps to explain his “down” .319 BABIP (.352 last season), but more notable is the jump in strikeouts to 25.0% (20.3% for his career).  He’s not swinging and missing an exorbitant amount (10.0% entering the day) and he’s not swinging for the fences (33.6% fly ball rate), so don’t push the panic button.  He should turn things around, and buying low (if possible) makes a lot of sense.


9) Could Jordan Lyles be a must own option…
He shutdown the Marlins, so we of course need to keep the performance in perspective, but he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP.  He did a good job of generating groundballs (9 vs. 4 fly balls), but let’s keep in mind that he was coming off back-to-back duds (9 ER over 10.1 IP).  Both of those starts came on the road, which makes sense as he’s thrived in his three starts at home (3 ER over 19.1 IP).  He’s never going to be a must own and isn’t going to be someone to trust away from Petco Park, but consider him a potential streaming option at home (depending on the matchup, of course).


10) Another strong start for Wade LeBlanc…
While it was his first win, and he had more than enough support, with Jean Segura (2-2, 1 RBI, 3 R) and Nelson Cruz (2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R) doing the damage, that shouldn’t take away from his performance overall.  He shutdown the Rangers yesterday, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP, and having gone at least 5.0 innings in each of his past five outings he didn’t allow more than 2 ER in any of them (6 ER over 27.1 IP).  Before we get too excited we have to keep in mind that he’s not generating a ton of strikeouts (20 K) and he also doesn’t get many groundballs (36.1% overall).  That’s not a good combination, making it hard to get excited over the current run he’s on.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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


  1. Mark says:

    Dexter Fowler and Kyle Seager are FAs in my league. Which, if any, is the better pickup?

  2. Mark says:

    Thanks Prof! I’m the one who dropped Fowler a couple week ago. This is the 2nd time someone’s dropped Seager (I missed out the first time). I feel like Seager MIGHT be a 2nd half player and I struggle to add someoe like that.

  3. NK says:

    Who do you feel will be more consistent ROS, Mengden or Roark?

  4. DD says:

    Professor, I need to drop one of the following: Gausman, Taillon, Wood, Musgrove or Godley. Help?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Are we just looking at this year or beyond? I’d lean Musgrove, as having the lowest ceiling, but could argue Gausman if just this year (toughest division

  5. Alan Ladd says:

    Hi Prof,
    12 Team points CBS League
    I already have Yasmani Grandal as my starting catcher. I want to pick up a usable catcher for my bench. I have two options available on the wire: Max Stassi and John Ryan Murphy. They both have been on fire recently and both are being given more playing time. They both have great matchups this upcoming week.

    With that said, which catcher should I grab?
    …and would you start either one over Grandal?

    Thank you

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’d stick Grandal, but for the bench I’d go Stassi. Murphy has been hot, but he’s not known for his bat

  6. David Jones says:

    What should I do about Alex Reyes? Any suggestions would be appreciated..

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It’s all going to depend on the format. In any type of keeper league you almost have to stash him

      • David Jones says:

        I am in a 12 Team.. H2H points.. What are your thoughts? Thank you for the time..

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          If it’s redraft, at this point I’d be willing to cut him in move on. By the time he’s healed and ready to make an impact, there may not be much season left

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