by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
James Paxton dominated the Orioles, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP. Luis Severino took his show on the road, tossing 7.0 shutout innings while allowing 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 9. Charlie Morton continued his impressive season, tossing 7.0 shutout innings against the Blue Jays allowing 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 13. Carlos Martinez had a strong start, taking advantage of a big lead, as he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP. What else happened that we need to know about? Let’s dive right in:
1) Nathan Eovaldi outpitches Max Scherzer…
You read that right, but who would’ve predicted it heading into the matchup? Both were highly impressive, but it was Eovaldi who ended up on top:
- Nathan Eovaldi – 6.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 9 K
- Max Scherzer – 7.0 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K
In six starts this season Eovaldi owns a 4.08 ERA and 0.82 WHIP, as he’s done a good job of limiting walks (5 BB over 35.1 IP) but has been plagued by home runs consistently (8 HR). Considering his 46.6% groundball rate entering the day (5 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls yesterday) and 22.9% HR/FB it’s inevitable that he improves in that regard. While a .185 BABIP will help to offset that improvement, and there are going to be bumps along the way, he should continue to be a usable option moving forward.
2) Is it time to be concerned with Jake Arrieta…
We’ve been talking about him as a sell high/regression candidate, and it’s certainly coming to fruition. While part of yesterday’s struggles were due to some poor defense, he still allowed 6 R (3 earned) on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP giving him five straight starts allowing 3+ ER (taking his ERA from 2.16 to 3.54). The biggest problem has been home runs, as he allowed 2 HR yesterday and has allowed 7 HR (at least 1 per start) over this stretch. It’s interesting that it’s been the biggest issue, considering he entered the day with a 55.6% groundball rate, and he also has struggled with a 65.4% strand rate. A lack of strikeouts is going to help keep his value capped, but the correction appears to have taken place and his numbers are much more realistic at this point. Things should steady, so expect him to continue on as a 3.75-4.00 ERA type pitcher and value him accordingly.
3) Is Jackie Bradley Jr. finally starting to wake up at the plate…
He had a big day yesterday, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, giving him back-to-back 3 H games. Obviously no one is going to hang their hat on two games, especially when he’s hitting just .199 on the season, though there is reason to believe that he can continue to improve. He entered the day with a .247 BABIP, despite a 20.9% line drive rate that has been trending in the right direction all year:
- April – 17.4%
- May – 22.0%
- June – 25.0%
He also should keep the strikeout rate in check (though it’s going to remain in the 25% range) and brings some power and speed. There’s enough of a reason to believe making him worth the gamble in deeper formats.
4) Steven Matz continues to figure it out for the Mets…
He went 7.0 innings against Pittsburgh, allowing 3 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, as he showed both swing and miss (15 swinging strikes) and groundball (10 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls) stuff. He made one a mistake, a home run to Gregory Polanco (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R), and that’s been the story as he entered the day with a 1.52 HR/9. Of course he also entered with a 51.3% groundball rate, indicating that there should be better results, though these numbers give a bit more concern:
- SwStr% – 7.6%
- O-Swing% – 20.6%
His 3.69 ERA and 1.24 WHIP are nice, but if he’s not getting swings and misses or opponents to chase outside the zone things are going to quickly go the other way. Depending on what you can get, selling now makes sense.
5) Another W for Zack Godley, but in ugly fashion…
Taking on the Marlins he allowed just 2 ER over 5.0 IP, but there were base runners on all night (6 H and 4 BB) and he didn’t generate many strikeouts (4 K). He was generating groundballs (8 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls), but that hasn’t been the issue this season. The biggest problems have been his control, entering the day with a 4.43 BB/9 (and continuing his command struggles last night), and he’s also been hit relatively hard (36.0% Hard%). Throw in a regression in both his SwStr% (13.3% to 10.9%) and O-Swing% (33.1% to 28.1%) and the package isn’t overly impressive. That’s not to say that there isn’t upside, considering the groundballs and roughly a strikeout per inning, but until he finds his control he’s more of a matchup play.
6) Reynaldo Lopez gets the W, but that doesn’t mean he should excite you…
Taking on the Twins he allowed 4 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 6.1 IP as he was tagged for 2 HR, wasn’t generating groundballs (2 groundballs vs. 12 fly balls) and wasn’t getting nearly enough swings and misses (9 swinging strikes). He’s now allowed 11 ER over his past three starts (16.2 IP), and the long-term concerns are obvious:
- He has struck out more than 6 batters in just two of his 16 starts, entering the day with a 9.3% SwStr%
- Home runs are becoming a bigger issue, and it could get worse, as he entered with a 35.1% groundball rate and 0.92 HR/9. He’s now allowed 4 HR over his past three starts, and as the weather warms it’s going to continue to be an issue
That’s not to say that there isn’t upside, but the risk far outweighs the reward.
7) Freddy Peralta continues to show off his potential…
Taking on the Royals he tossed 7.0 shutout innings, allowing 1 H and 1 BB while striking out 10. He was on point, with 17 swinging strikes, and has now thrown 13.0 shutout innings since returning to the Majors (and has allowed 0 R in three of his four starts). No one was ever going to question his strikeout stuff, instead it was his ability to throw strikes (4.12 BB/9 at Triple-A this season) that loomed large. That hasn’t been an issue yet, with 2 BB or fewer in three of the four starts, though we have seen signs (he had 6 BB in his one poor start) and it’s something that could impact him on any given day. We have to remember that these past two starts have come against less than stellar offenses (Pirates and Royals), with the Royals drawing the second fewest walks in the league. Just know the risk, though he has another favorable matchup with the Reds up next, but at this point if he’s still available he’s well worth grabbing.
8) Alex Bregman continues to fill the box score…
He went 4-5 with 1 HR (and added 3 doubles), 2 RBI and 2 R, giving him back-to-back games with a home run and raising his season line to .274 with 13 HR, 47 RBI, 48 R and 7 SB. He’s been even better in June, hitting .293 with 8 HR, though the power surge shouldn’t have come as a significant surprise (as it is he’s hit 25 doubles, with 18 coming prior to June 1, indicating that the power was there). The most impressive part of his line, though? Bregman has actually walked (47) more than he’s struck out (46) as he brings an elite approach (4.8% SwStr%). Couple that with the power, speed, improved popup rate (8.9% IFFB) and a BABIP that should improve (.275 BABIP despite a 40.5% Hard%) and what’s not to like? Things should just continue to improve, making him one of the better offensive players in the game.
9) Matt Carpenter leads the Cardinals’ drubbing of Corey Kluber…
Who would’ve expected Kluber to get touched up the way he did, allowing 6 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 1.2 IP. Carpenter got the ball rolling, with a leadoff home run, and finished the day going 5-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 5 R. Remember when the numbers were pathetically bad for Carpenter (he was hitting .155 with 2 HR at the end of April)? After posting 8 hits in his past 9 AB he’s suddenly hitting .259 overall (.297 in May and .319 in June) to go along with 15 HR, 36 RBI and 45 R to go along with a continually strong OBP (.362). As we often say patience is a virtue, and if you stayed the course with Carpenter you have been handsomely rewarded.
10) Javier Baez hits third, and thrives, for the Cubs…
We are going to be talking about him more later this morning, but we have to touch on him here as well considering the big day. Baez finished the day going 4-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, bringing him to .276 with 16 HR on the season. Of course no one has ever questioned the potential for power and speed, it’s his ability to make consistent contact that’s an issue. As it is the one time he didn’t get a hit yesterday resulted in a strikeout, and he entered the day with an 18.2% SwStr% and 47.6% O-Swing% for the season. With that type of approach it’s going to be hard to maintain a viable average, and if he’s not making contact how many home runs can he hit?
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MLB.com
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