10 Important Stories From 06/14/18 Box Scores: Buying Into Strikeout Starters (German/Velasquez), Potential Sell High Candidates (Price) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a big day for Francisco Lindor, who went 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.  Michael Conforto went 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, and fantasy owners can hope that it gives a small sign of hope that the turn around is coming.  It was a strong start for Felix Hernandez, albeit in a losing effort, as he allowed 2 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 IP against the Red Sox.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s dive in:

 

1) Was it really a strong showing for Dereck Rodriguez…
On the surface allowing 2 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 6.2 IP against the Marlins would appear promising.  However if you dig into the underlying metrics there’s reason for concern:

  • Groundballs – 6 (vs. 10 fly balls)
  • Swinging Strikes – 7

Neither one of those numbers are impressive, and the groundball rate reflects what he’s been showing (42.5% over his first 12.0 innings in the Majors, 37.1% at Triple-A prior to his recall).  That indicates that home runs are going to be an issue (and he allowed one yesterday), and even though he’s been showing strikeouts and control neither are a guarantee (7.8 K/9 over his minor league career, 3.23 BB/9 at Double-A in ’17).  There’s at least a little bit of intrigue, but it’s hard to get overly excited.

 

2) Vincent Velasquez is nearly unhittable…
Taking on the Rockies he allowed 2 ER on 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.2 IP to earn the W.  We all know about the strikeout stuff, and that’s something he’s continued to show (11.5% SwStr% entering the day, 13 swinging strikes yesterday).  He’s also continued to show strong control (3.21 BB/9 entering the day) so why a 4.74 ERA?  The answer is two-fold:

  1. Home Runs – With a lack of groundballs (39.3%) he’s struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark (1.34 HR/9)
  2. Luck – He entered the day with a .337 BABIP and 66.3% strand rate, and considering a 19.1% line drive rate both should improve

There’s no guarantee that he can finally put it together, but that potential remains.  Don’t simply ignore him, despite the lack of consistency thus far.

 

3) Is Michael Fulmer getting ready to turn things around…
Taking on the Twins he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 IP.  That said he barely generated groundballs (5 groundballs vs. 12 fly balls), though that hasn’t been the norm for him throughout the season (48.1% entering the day, compared to a 49.0% career mark).  His control, which hasn’t been as good overall this season (3.30 BB/9), has now been strong in each of his past two starts (1 BB over 14.0 IP).  That leaves his strikeouts, which he entered the day with a 7.57 K/9 courtesy of a 10.4% SwStr%.  While that’s not going to blow you away, it at least indicates that he can maintain the current mark (it’s similar to the 7.47 K/9 he posted in 2016).  Couple those things with the potential to improve on his 69.4% strand rate and suddenly the past two starts (2 ER over 14.0 IP) could easily be viewed as the potential start of a trend.

 

4) A dominant performance from Mike Clevinger…
He made one mistake, a home run to Jose Abreu (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R), in the first inning and then was lights out against the White Sox.  Going 7.0 innings he allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 11, to improve to 5-2 with a 3.15 ERA.  He generated an impressive 20 swinging strikes, and while that’s hard to expect him to replicate regularly (he did enter with an 11.1% SwStr% and some upside in his 7.36 K/9) there is some upside.  The real concern is the potential for the home runs against to grow (he entered with a 0.64 HR/9), though is that enough to avoid him?  He may not be this good, and he has had some bumps recently, but as a back-end option the value is going to remain.

 

5) The regression of Frankie Montas begins…
Montas had grabbed the attention of many, having allowed 3 ER over 21.2 IP in his first three starts, but everything came crashing down yesterday.  Taking on the Astros he allowed 7 R (5 earned) on 11 H and 4 BB, striking out 1, over 5.1 IP and this could likely be just the start of his falloff.  He entered the day with a 5.82 K/9 in the Majors (courtesy of a 7.2% SwStr%), and he continued to struggle generating swings and misses (4 swinging strikes).  Considering his 7.24 K/9 at Triple-A prior to his recall it’s hard to get excited.  He’s shown strikeout potential in the past, and there’s been some hype, but given what he’s shown thus far in 2018 it’s hard to buy in.  He’s more of a streaming option, at best.

 

6) The breakout of Domingo German appears to be real…
Sure it was the Tampa Bay Rays (and before that the New York Mets), but German was impressive as he allowed 3 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP.  He now has 19 K over his past two starts (12.0 IP), and generated a gaudy 26 swinging strikes yesterday (14.1% SwStr% entering the day).  The big question is his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark, as Matt Duffy (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) took him deep to leadoff the game.  He’s now allowed 3 HR over his past two starts (9 HR over 53.1 IP overall this season).  If he can figure that out, with the strikeouts and control (2 BB or less in each of his past four starts), the sky truly will be the limit.  He may have a few bumps along the way, especially at home, but considering the strikeout potential he’s well worth the risk as he’s locked into the rotation for now.

 

7) Ender Inciarte leads the Atlanta offense to victory…
He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, though the hope is that it’s just the start of him turning things around.  He’s now on a four-game hitting streak, going 6-14 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R and 2 SB, though he’s still slashing just .250/.306/.354.  Over his past 14 games he has just 1 K, always a good sign, but he’s also walked just twice and simply isn’t hitting the ball hard (25.8% Hard% entering the day).  Never a source of power, while he has stolen 20 bases on the year he’s also been pushed down in the lineup (he hit seventh yesterday) and that could limit his potential to steal bases and score runs.  If he doesn’t have that he doesn’t hold much value, so unless you are desperate for SB potential he should be sitting on your bench in hopes of turning things around.

 

8) A big day for David Peralta helps to lead the Diamondbacks…
He went 2-3 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, giving him 3 HR over his past two games and 14 HR overall.  Maybe more important was that he was in the lineup, hitting in the middle of the order, against a left-handed pitcher.  He is still showing a significant split in production, so we don’t want to assume that he’s “solved” the split, as he entered the day with:

  • LHP – .216/.284/.324
  • RHP – .301/.358/.558

If he keeps producing like he did yesterday then he could fully breakout and emerge.  That said, from a fantasy perspective continue to view him as more of a platoon player and one to steer clear of if there’s a slew of southpaws on the schedule, until he truly proves otherwise.

 

9) David Price continues to turn things around…
Taking on the Mariners, in Seattle, Price allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP.  He’s going to get a lot of flack for not pitching against the Yankees, and that’s fair, but he’s now allowed 3 ER or fewer in seven straight starts (2 ER or fewer in six of them).  That’s not to say that things are perfect, as he continues to struggle generate swings and misses (he entered the day with a 9.1% SwStr% and had just 8 swinging strikes yesterday).  He also has not been generating many groundballs (41.7% entering the day, 5 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday), opening up the potential for home run troubles.  Obviously he’s figuring out how to be productive, and that’s the most important thing, but there is still a good amount of risk here and that shouldn’t be ignored.

 

10) Fresh off the DL, has Rhys Hoskins finally started to deliver…
He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at 6-17 with 2 HR, 8 RBI and 4 R in five games since coming off the DL.  More importantly he has just 4 K vs. 3 BB over this stretch, and while it’s obviously not a lot it’s a significant step in the right direction.  Known for his plate discipline, Hoskins entered the day with a 27.2% strikeout rate despite a respectable 9.4% SwStr% and impressive 22.6% O-Swing%.  It was just a matter of time before he started to put things together, and small sample or not things appear headed in that direction.  A full breakout is coming, and your chance to buy in low may quickly be disappearing.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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

20 comments

  1. NK says:

    Nice to see Conforto (hopefully) begin to right the ship.

    Is Josh Bell coming to life? Aguilar’s playing time is making me nervous, and Bell is on waivers. Pts league.

  2. Carlito says:

    Professor I was offered Bregman for Martinez. Take it?

  3. NH says:

    I need your help with the trades I was offered today. Seven trades in total. I just need you to tell me which side you are on for the trade. The first guys listed are the guys I would get. Also, who would you trade DIDI for? Morton for?

    Trade 1: G. Sanchez for Grandal & Mazara
    Trade 2: Molina & Foltynewicz for Jose Martinez
    Trade 3: Judge for Jose Martinez
    Trade 4: Bumgarner for Kimbrel
    Trade 5: Arenado for Quintana & Mazara
    Trade 6: Stanton for S. Gennett
    Trade 7: Arenado for Morton & Mazara

    Your help is greatly appreciated.

  4. NH says:

    Gennett for Greinke

  5. The Old Professor says:

    Stripling for Brantley

  6. NH says:

    Bumgarner & Lester for Kimbrel

  7. NH says:

    Buy, Sell or Hold
    Jose Ramirez
    Robbie Ray

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Jose Ramirez – Hold
      Robbie Ray – Really depends on return, but I’d most likely hold him unless you are blown away

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