10 Important Stories From 06/15/18 Box Scores: Regression Risks (Stripling, Hicks), Players To Avoid (Desmond, Wacha) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Kevin Gausman didn’t pitch poorly, but he struggled with walks and ultimately took the L against the Marlins allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 5.2 IP.  Evan Gattis considered his tremendous stretch, going 2-4 with 1 HR and 4 RBI (he now has 4 HR and 14 RBI over his past four games).  James Paxton took it on the chin, allowing 6 R (5 earned) on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 2.1 IP against the Red Sox.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s dive right in:

 

1) Is Lewis Brinson starting to turn things around…
He went 2-4 with 1 RBI yesterday and now has at least 1 H and 1 RBI in four of his past five games (the only time he didn’t was a game that he had 1 AB).  Over this stretch he’s gone 7-19 with 5 RBI, including 3 triples (2 of them came yesterday).  Of course he’s still hitting just .197 on the season as he entered the day with a 30.9% strikeout rate and .211 BABIP.  While the luck could come around, and has a bit (.286 in June), he’s shown very little improvement in his plate discipline (he entered yesterday with a 17.9% SwStr% and 41.8% O-Swing% in June).  There’s still upside and he’s the type of player to ride while he’s hot, but there’s a good chance that things go south again in a hurry.  Hold him in dynasty leagues, but in redraft it’s getting harder to believer for ’18.

 

2) A starring effort for Jonathan Loaisiga in his MLB debut…
It did come against the Rays, but that shouldn’t take away from what was a stellar effort.  Throwing 5.0 shutout innings he allowed 3 H and 4 BB, striking out 6, with some impressive underlying metrics:

  • Swinging Strikes – 17
  • Groundballs – 8 (compared to 1 fly ball)

We did talk about Loaisiga recently (click here to view), and at that time we highlighted the risks involved.  A lot of it centered around workload concerns, which was at play here (he still hasn’t gone more than 5.0 innings in a game this season), and also the risk of home runs (that wasn’t apparent, but it also was the Rays).  It was a great first showing, but don’t take it to assume that he’s going to continue to roll.

 

3) The struggles for Gio Gonzalez continue…
It feels like we’ve been waiting for Gonzalez to implode for years, and while we’d expect him to rebound it’s been a rough stretch for the southpaw.  Taking on the Blue Jays he allowed 5 ER on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP and has now allowed 9 ER over 9.1 IP in his past two starts (12 ER over 16.1 IP in his past three).  He was plagued by home runs yesterday, allowing 2 HR in the start:

  • Devon Travis – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
  • Yangervis Solarte – 3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

Gonzalez has now allowed HR in three straight starts (4 HR) and has 6 HR allowed in his past six games.  The groundballs have been down recently (40.0% in June entering the day, 8 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday) and the strikeouts have been fairly non-existent (3 K in three of his past four starts).  As we said we’d expect things to turn back around, though there has long been this type of risk.

 

4) Ian Desmond explodes against the Texas Rangers…
With a rookie, Yohander Mendez, on the mound the Rockies took advantage, scoring 9 R on 13 H (Mendez lasted just 3.0 IP allowing 6 R on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 1).  Desmond led the charge, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R and now has HR in two of his past three games (and 2 RBI in three of his past five).  Suddenly he has his average above .200 for the first time since April 12, to go along with 14 HR and 39 RBI.  Of course before we get too excited he continues to struggle with strikeouts (14 K over 42 AB in June) and an overall 14.5% SwStr% helps to support the inflated number.  While the power has been there he also has been driving far too many balls in the ground (63.3% entering the day), and while the average should rise a little bit don’t necessarily look for him to set the world on fire.

 

5) Should John Hicks be on fantasy radars…
He appears primed for regular AB with Miguel Cabrera sidelined and he has been delivering of late.  After going 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R yesterday he now has a five-game hitting streak (9-18 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 5 R).  Overall he’s hitting .301 with 6 HR and 23 RBI over 163 AB in the Majors, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t red flags.  Entering the day he had benefited from an unsustainable .382 BABIP and also had struggled with strikeouts, with the risk of either further regression (26.5% strikeout rate courtesy of a 17.2% SwStr% and 41.1% O-Swing%).  Those are scary numbers and he’s the type of player to ride while he’s going well but could implode at any moment.

 

6) Brent Suter shuts down the Phillies and outpitches Jake Arrieta…
While the Phillies’ defense helped feed into the issues for Arrieta, he still allowed 8 R (4 earned) on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over 3.1 IP.  As for Suter he took the big lead and ran with it, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 IP to improve to 7-4 with a 4.30 ERA on the season.  The southpaw has shown elite control all season (he entered with a 1.98 BB/9), but he’s failed to show strikeouts (7.77 K/9 with a pedestrian 9.3% SwStr%) and groundballs (33.3% entering the day, 8 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls yesterday).  Those two things are always going to loom large, especially with a 1.58 HR/9.  There’s value in the WHIP department, but that’s about it.

 

7) Michael Wacha implodes in epic fashion…
Talk about a drubbing, Wacha allowed 9 R (8 earned) on 7 H and 4 BB, striking out 2, over 4.0 IP as the Cubs got him for 3 HR.  He still owns a 3.24 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 14 starts on the season, but there are signs of even further regression on the horizon.  Wacha has benefited from a .243 BABIP, despite getting hit extremely hard (29.3% line drive rate, 43.5% Hard%), and that should continue to regress.  He also has generated a significant number of strikeouts, with a 7.70 K/9 courtesy of a 9.3% SwStr%.  Couple that with pedestrian control (3.79 BB/9) and groundball stuff (43.1%) and what exactly are we buying?  Things could get significantly worse, and even coming off this type of start trying to sell high makes far too much sense.

 

8) Tyler Skaggs continues to impress…
Taking on the A’s in Oakland he allowed 2 R (0 earned) on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 IP to improve to 6-4 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 14 starts (80.0 IP).  Over his past three starts he’s allowed 1 ER over 20.0 IP, with 22 K vs. 5 BB.  There is some risk of a regression (82.4% strand rate), but he’s shown strikeouts (9.68 K/9), control (2.70 BB/9) and enough groundballs (47.5%) to continue on his breakout path all season long.  The big key has been a spike in his SwStr% (11.2%, compared to 9.1% over his career), as well as the improved groundball rate.  Given those numbers there’s little reason not to believe in what he’s doing.

 

9) Seth Lugo comes plummeting back down to reality…
He was outpitched by Zack Godley (6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 8 K), though given the matchup we don’t want to get too excited about what he did.  As for Lugo, there have been a lot of cries that he belongs in the rotation, as opposed to the bullpen, especially after he shutdown the Yankees in his last outing.  Taking the show on the road he didn’t get the same results, as he was tagged for 5 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP.  He allowed a pair of home runs (Paul Goldschmidt and Danny Descalso took him deep), so which pitcher is he?  Is he the one who starred against one of the best offenses in baseball or is he this one?  The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, so is that enough to keep him from a relief role that he’s thrived in?  Probably not, though time will tell how the Mets opt to proceed with him.  If you invested after his last outing, stay patient and see how things play out.

 

10) Ross Stripling just keeps on rolling…
Taking on the Giants he allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 6.1 IP, lowering his ERA to 1.76 over 66.1 IP on the season.  Over his 9 starts (he’s made 11 appearances out of the bullpen) he has a 2.12 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, as he’s shown strikeouts (10.76 K/9), control (0.88 BB/9) and groundballs (51.5%).  That seems like the total package, but does anyone believe he can maintain his current 88.7% strand rate as a starter?  How about his control, which is going to be good but not quite that good (2.24 BB/9 over 240.2 IP in the Majors)?  Those two things loom large, as does his overall 10.9% SwStr% and 32.9% O-Swing% (which don’t validate the gaudy strikeout number).  He should remain a solid option, but his value may never be higher than it is today.  Keep that in mind as you decide whether to sell high or not.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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

12 comments

  1. Tbone says:

    Please help me out professor. Was offered Betts for Springer/Buehler. What would you do?

    • Wolfgoat says:

      I’m not the professor but I know my shit. Make the move. You can take any free agent pair him with Betts and still have better numbers than Springer/buehler. This is your chance to sell as high as possible for Springer. I understand Betts and Springer are very similar players but I feel mookie is on a mission this year and will be in MVP talks.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m going to echo the sentiments of the group here. Betts is by far the best player and while Buehler has been impressive, pitchnig continues to show that it’s unpredictable. Who’s to say that he will even stay healthy? It also is possible to find the “next Buehler” on the waiver wire, even in dynasty formats (and we do what we can on our Prospects Page to help you find him). I wouldn’t hesitate and pull the trigger

  2. old man bagel says:

    Professor, I was offered Stanton for Luis Severino and Aguilar. Despite Stanton’s struggles and Severino’s dominance, should I pull the trigger?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Really depends on your need. Stanton should be the better player (I stress should), but like you said it’s hard to part with Severino right now. If you have the pitching depth, though, I’d make the move

  3. Barry says:

    Hello Professor,

    I’m going to drop Cahill as it appears he will be out for a couple of weeks. Based on their current form and upcoming schedules which of these two do you like that are available on the wire. Redraft.

    Velasquez, Eflin, Estrada, Chacin, D. Rodriguez, Loaisiga, Mahle, and both A. Sanchez’s.

    Thanks again for your expert opinion.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Nothing there really jumps out unfortunately. Rodriguez has a strong week coming up, so I’d lean going with him and then moving on to the next option

  4. Mike Honcho says:

    Based on comments about Desmond…
    Ditch List Guidelines:

    10 Team League –
    12 Team League –
    14+ Team League –

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      10-Team – He’s droppable
      12-Team – It’s 50/50 depending on alternative
      14-Team – I’d hold him

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