10 Important Stories From 06/30/18 Box Scores: Breakout Bats? (Fowler/Devers Enjoy Big Days), Starters To Ditch (Chatwood/Rodon) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a dominant outing from Chris Sale, who held the Yankees to 1 H and 1 BB over 7.0 shutout innings striking out 11 in the process.  In his second game off the DL Ronald Acuna erupted, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R.  Justin Smoak delivered a walk-off home run, giving him home runs in back-to-back games and giving fantasy owners hope that he may be starting to turn the corner.  Justin Verlander struggled for the second straight start, allowing 5 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 5.0 IP. What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) It was a miserable day for Tyler Chatwood…
The Twins and Cubs combined for 23 runs and 31 hits, so there were a lot of offensive heroes (like Jason Heyward, who went 4-6 with 2 RBI and 2 R) but also pitching zeroes.  Chatwood was at the head of the line, allowing 7 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP.  The biggest blow was a home run from Eddie Rosario (2-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R), but obviously the issues go beyond that.  His control has been horrendous all year long, as he now has 70 K vs. 66 BB over just 73.1 IP.  No one can expect the number to remain that poor, but he had a 4.69 BB/9 last season so it’s not a surprise that he’s struggled.  While groundballs are nice (he entered with a 55.9% groundball rate), the lack of control and limited swinging strike rate (8.0%) make him a tough sell.  Unless he can suddenly discover his control he’s going to be more of a hands off proposition.

 

2) Brian Anderson shows why he’s an underrated fantasy asset…
No one is going to get excited, given the lack of power thus far, but Anderson delivered the big blow against Jacob deGrom yesterday (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K) as he went 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  The blast gives him just 5 HR on the season, and while he has a .292 AVG (and impressive .367 OBP) the lack of power and speed likely has left him sitting on your waiver wire.  That said, as he gains comfort and experience would it be surprising to see the power start to grow?  He entered the day with a 5.6% HR/FB, after posting a 15.2% at Double-A (361 PA) and 29.6% at Triple-A (137 PA) last year.  As it is he has 21 doubles, so some of those should start to find their way over the wall, and with his strong approach (9.6% SwStr%, 25.5% O-Swing%) it all seems inevitable.  Hopefully it comes this season, but hitting towards the top of the lineup he’s going to hold value regardless as a three-category contributor.

 

3) Tyler Skaggs continues his breakout campaign…
Pitching in Baltimore he allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP to earn the W.  There’s obviously some concern, being lifted after just 79 pitches, but he’s now allowed 1 ER or less in five straight starts (lowering his ERA from 3.60 to 2.64).  The southpaw entered the day showing a strong skill set across the board:

  • Strikeouts – 9.72 K/9
  • Control – 2.69 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 45.9%

He’s seen a significant jump in both his SwStr% (11.4%, compared to a career 9.1%) and O-Swing% (32.4%, compared to a career 30.2%).  That’s not to say that there isn’t risk, considering his 83.0% strand rate, 38.3% Hard% and potential for more home runs (0.83 HR/9).  There’s upside, but you also shouldn’t be scared to sell high.

 

4) Dustin Fowler continues to figure it out at the highest level…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R yesterday, hitting out of the leadoff spot, putting him at .252 with 5 HR, 17 RBI, 14 R and 5 SB over 131 AB in the Majors.  Those numbers may not blow you away, though it would put him on a 20/20 pace and he’s shown an ability to hit the ball extremely hard (45.6% Hard%) and make consistent contact (8.4% SwStr%).  It will be interesting to see how he adjusts as pitchers alter their approach (he’s seen 61.90% hard pitches and that’s where a lot of his success has come, entering the day with a .324 AVG and 3 HR against fourseam fastballs).  There are going to be growing pains, but he’s showing his talent and upside.

 

5) Tyler Mahle explodes for 12 K performance…
Where did that come from?  Sure he entered the day with an 8.48 K/9, but who expected Mahle to explode for 12 K over 5.2 IP against the Brewers?  He allowed 3 R (1 earned) on 3 H and 3 BB, generating an impressive 27 swinging strikes.  Before we get too excited, keep in mind that he entered the day with a 9.9% SwStr% and 29.1% O-Swing% over 86.0 IP so it’s easy to call it a bit of an aberration.  Couple that with control that hasn’t matched what he did in the minors (3.77 BB/9) and obvious home run issues (1.57 HR/9 courtesy of a 37.7% groundball rate) and the skepticism grows.  Now add a 41.2% Hard% and the fact that he’s benefited from an 81.4% strand rate and any hope seemingly disappears.  It was a great performance, but don’t go buying him off of it.

 

6) Is Rafael Devers primed for a breakout…
He had a monster game at Yankee Stadium, providing the big blow against Sonny Gray (2.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 0 K).  Devers provided a grand slam in the first inning, finishing the day going 5-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R.  He’s now homered in two of his past three games (and has four extra base hits in his past four, adding two doubles).  He’s still hitting just .251, but now has 14 HR and 46 RBI over 311 AB on the season.  The problems are pretty obvious, as he’s struggled with his command of the strike zone (14.1% SwStr%, 37.7% O-Swing%) as well as popups (14.6% IFFB).  He’s shown little reason to think things are suddenly going to turn, including a 13.9% SwStr% and 39.9% O-Swing% in June (entering the day).  The bottom line is that he’ll likely produce power and chip in some speed, but he’s going to remain more of a .250ish type hitter.

 

7) Kenta Maeda shows why he’s a must own option…
He didn’t get a W, as he was surprisingly outpitched by German Marquez (8.0 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 9 K), but Maeda had another strong outing as he allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP against the Rockies.  He had struggled with strikeouts over his first two starts off the DL (3 K over 8.2 IP), but he now has 18 K over 14.0 IP in his past two starts (courtesy of 36 total swinging strikes).  Home runs could be an issue, entering the day with a 37.6% groundball rate (and he did allow a home run to Ian Desmond yesterday), but with a 10.59 K/9 and 3.57 BB/9 (and he should improve, with a 2.64 career BB/9) as well as a line drive rate that should regress (28.1%) and there’s a lot to like.  As long as he has a spot in the rotation he’s going to hold obvious fantasy appeal.

 

8) Max Fried stars, while Luke Weaver nears fantasy irrelevancy…
It was an intriguing matchup of young pitchers, but there were clearly two different results:

  • Max Fried – 6.2 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 11 K
  • Luke Weaver – 4.2 IP, 8 R, 10 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Weaver was tagged for a pair of home runs, and has now allowed 4+ runs in four of his past five starts (and he’s been particularly prone to the HR lately, with 5 HR over his past three games).  As for Fried he generated 15 swinging strikes and was particularly good at generating groundballs, with 8 groundballs vs. 1 fly ball.  In 50.1 IP at Triple-A he owned a 57.1% groundball rate, so that’s his obvious strong suit, though he also had a 9.12 K/9 and 3.40 BB/9.  The control is the big development, as he owns a 4.1 BB/9 over his minor league career.  If he’s throwing strikes he’s going to hold significant value and is likely worth the gamble in most formats.

 

9) Carlos Rodon continues to lack the skills we look for…
It was a poor performance yesterday, allowing 5 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 5.1 IP.  He’s actually allowed 2 ER in three of his five starts since coming off the DL, but he hasn’t been generating enough strikeouts (7.03 K/9 entering the day) and clearly hasn’t been getting many groundballs (33.8% entering the day, 6 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls yesterday).  It’s the latter that’s created the biggest issue, as he allowed 2 HR yesterday and has 6 HR over his five starts (only one start where he hasn’t allowed a home run).  His control had been the biggest issue entering the season, and while that’s been strong enough, without the other two skills it’s not going to matter.  There’s enough upside to hold onto him in deeper formats, but in shallower leagues he could quickly become droppable.

 

10) Another ugly outing for Shelby Miller…
While Dereck Rodriguez was shutting down the Diamondbacks (6.1 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K), Miller struggled.  The Giants tagged him for a pair of home runs, ultimately allowing 6 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP.  In his two starts since returning from the DL he’s allowed 11 ER (thanks to 3 HR) on 15 H and 3 BB over 8.2 IP.  He does have 11 K and the control hasn’t been terrible, but is anyone really hanging their hats on those two modest numbers?  It’s a small sample size, but let’s not forget how bad he was back in 2016 (6.15 ERA).  Those with fond memories of 2015 are going to be disappointed, as he was never going to be that good.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Reference

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

4 comments

  1. Dan says:

    Please rank the following ROS
    Fried
    Pivetta
    Stroman
    Rodon
    Mahle

    Thanks a lot

  2. OtisP says:

    Would you drop Puig or Inciarte for Brian Anderson?

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