10 Important Stories From 07/05/18 Box Scores: Starting Pitchers To Sell (Rodon/Miller), Bats Worth Buying (Schoop/Souza) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was the Trea Turner show, in what was a wild 14-12 shootout between the Marlins and Nationals, as he went 3-5 with 2 HR, 8 RBI and 3 R.  Justin Verlander suffered a tough luck no decision, allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, over 7.0 IP against the White Sox.  Johnny Cueto struggled in his first start off the DL, allowing 5 ER on 10 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP (showing why we are often conservative with pitchers making their first start off the DL).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s dive right in:

 

1) Has Brian Anderson emerged as a must own option…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .284 with 6 HR and 44 RBI.  Currently he’s a prime fit for those in OBP formats, given his .361 OBP courtesy of a strong approach (9.4% SwStr%, 25.6% O-Swing% entering the day).  The “problem” has been a lack of power, at least until recently, as he now has 2 HR over his past six games.  His 22 doubles and 2 triples show that there’s power in his bat, and the 25-year old should easily grow in regards to his 6.6% HR/FB entering the day.  He showed the power in the minors last season, with 22 HR over 429 AB between Double and Triple-A, and while we’d like to see a few more fly balls (28.4%) he’s been hitting the ball hard (40.3% Hard%) and is clearly growing more comfortable and maturing.  He’s figuring it out, and this little mini surge could easily just be the start.  Buy now before it’s too late.

 

2) It was another dud from Matt Boyd…
He was a highly sought after option at one point, but things have gone south for Boyd.  Taking on the Rangers yesterday he allowed 7 R (6 earned) on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 4.0 IP.  He’s now allowed 5+ ER in three of his past four starts, going 4.0 innings or fewer in all three of those starts.  Home runs have been the biggest issue, including allowing 2 HR yesterday (he’s allowed at least 1 HR in four straight games and 8 HR over his past seven starts), though it’s really been a complete debacle.  Entering the day he owned a 30.4% groundball rate, so home runs aren’t a surprise, and he carried pedestrian marks in both strikeouts (7.74 K/9) and control (3.57 BB/9).  While he had posted strong strikeout rates since April (8.21 and 8.90 K/9), the control has been quickly regressing (4.31 BB/9 in June).  There’s still some upside, but at this point Boyd is a hands off proposition.

 

3) Max Fried fails to follow-up on his strong start…
Taking his show on the road, Fried struggled against the Brewers as he allowed 4 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 1, over just 3.0 IP.  He clearly didn’t have the strikeout stuff working, despite getting 9 swinging strikes in his abbreviated outing, though the bigger concern was the lack of control (35 of 60 pitches went for strikes).  That has generally been the biggest concern, which can be seen from his Triple-A numbers (50.1 IP in ’18):

  • Strikeouts – 9.12 K/9
  • Control – 3.40 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 57.1%

That walk rate had actually been a step forward (he had a 4.47 BB/9 over 86.2 IP at Double-A in ’17) and if he can’t figure it out (he now has 13 BB over 20.2 IP in the Majors this season) he’s going to struggle.  It will be interesting to see if he sticks in the rotation, but the upside is there if he does.

 

4) Is Jonathan Schoop finally showing signs of turning things around…
The Orioles scored two runs yesterday and Schoop supplied them both, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  He now has back-to-back multi-hit games and a modest three-game hitting streak, going 5-12 with just 3 K.  His plate discipline has always been the biggest question, and while it continues to be poor his 14.0% SwStr% and 41.2% O-Swing% are right in line with his career marks.  He should continue to improve upon his 10.7% HR/FB entering the day (17.7% in ’17) and also his line drive rate (he entered the day with a 33.3% line drive rate in July, compared to a 14.5% mark overall).  Those two improvements alone will lead to better days, and while he may never live up to the preseason expectations giving up now doesn’t make sense.  After enduring so much bad, wait to catch a hot stretch before trying to sell.

 

5) Carlos Rodon gave us the type of outing we’ve come to expect…
There were obviously concerns entering the start against the Astros, so if you saw 2 ER on 5 H with 6 K over 6.0 IP you’d be fairly impressed.  However he also issued 6 walks, generated just 9 swinging strikes and allowed a HR, raising a trio of red flags.  Control hadn’t been an issue thus far (2.73 BB/9 entering the day), but the other two issues loom large:

  • Home Runs – 1.82 HR/9 entering the day, courtesy of a 35.5% groundball rate (he did have 8 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls yesterday)
  • Swinging Strikes – He entered the day with an 8.9% SwStr%

Considering he had benefited from a .230 BABIP things look scary.  Unless he can solve those two issues he’s going to be a fantasy non-factor.

 

6) Is Shelby Miller showing signs of turning the corner…
At the end of the day the outing was still subpar, as he allowed 5 R (3 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.1 IP against the Padres.  That said he was getting groundballs (7 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls) to go along with both strikeouts and control.  The groundballs are a good sign, as his biggest issue has been home runs (4 HR over 14.0 IP), but it’s not enough to convince us that he’s suddenly a strong option for fantasy owners.  We continue to say that fantasy owners need to expect a pitcher somewhere between the 2015 Shelby Miller (3.02 ERA) and 2016 Shelby Miller (6.15 ERA).  That puts starts like this right in the realm of what to expect, and that’s simply not enough to get us on board with owning.

 

7) Marco Gonzales rolls on, but should we sell high…
Taking on the Angels he allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP to earn the W and improve to a 3.64 ERA.  Of course he wasn’t impressive in either his swinging strikes (11) or groundballs (6 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls), and that’s where the concerns are.  He entered the day with a 7.80 K/9, courtesy of a 9.4% SwStr%, showing that there’s little upside in his strikeout rate.  He also owned a 46.1% groundball rate, meaning his 0.90 HR/9 could also take a step backwards.  If he starts to see his O-Swing% regress (35.2%), which is very possible, his control will take a step back as well (1.79 BB/9) and then things could quickly go south.  He’s been a nice story, but the risk may simply outweigh the reward making selling high a strong idea.

 

8) Luke Weaver gets a much needed strong start…
Taking on the Giants he carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and ultimately allowed 2 ER on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 8.0 IP.  He had allowed 4+ ER in four of his previous five starts, watching his ERA balloon to 5.16 in the process.  Where Weaver has struggled this season is showing fairly pedestrian control (3.44 BB/9) and also home runs (1.21 HR/9, courtesy of a 41.0% groundball rate).  Of course it’s been just one bad month dragging down the control (BB/9 of 2.14 in April, 3.83 in May and 2.07 in June), so that’s not a big concern.  The home runs are a different story, and that’s where he got hurt yesterday (Alen Hanson took him deep).  That said, with strikeouts, control and hopefully improved luck (.316 BABIP and 68.3% strand rate, though a 35.3% Hard% doesn’t make that a given) there should be better days ahead.  He may never be an ace, but there’s value.

 

9) Jedd Gyorko making his case to continue his recent regular AB…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R, giving him hits in four of his past five games (7-18, 2 HR, 7 RBI and 4 R).  Even more impressive is his 2 K vs. 4 BB, and he has the potential to catch fire.  His 10.3% HR/FB entering the day would be the second lowest of his career (15.5% career mark) and should rise.  His 39.3% Hard% indicates better than a .287 BABIP, and therefore he should easily improve upon his current .251 with 7 HR and 28 RBI.  While he’s not a lock to produce, or even be in the lineup, it’s clear that he’s worth the gamble today to see if you can catch the potential upswing in his production.

 

10) Steven Souza slides right into the middle of the order…
Just days after the Diamondbacks get A.J. Pollock back, their outfield was further bolstered with the return of Souza.  While he went 0-3 with 1 K, it’s important to note that he was hitting fifth and has the potential to be a difference maker from here on out.  Overall he’s been pathetic this season, hitting .152 with 0 HR and 1 RBI over 46 AB.  He was always going to be a risk of a poor average, though this is extreme and dragged down by a .233 BABIP prior to hitting the DL (.314 for his career).  He also may not be able to match last year’s 30 HR pace, but he owns a career 21.2% HR/FB and is going to start delivering there as well.  Even if you view him as a .220-.230 type hitter, that means .250ish the rest of the day with power and the potential for 8-10 SB.  If someone in your league lost hope, buy now.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

9 comments

  1. Mark says:

    Souza over Grichuk, Conforto, or Peralta?

  2. Joe Carola says:

    Braves pitchers do not like to throw strikes.

  3. D.Mo says:

    Hi Professor

    I’m intrigued by your Souza story and wonder if he is a better option than having Adam Eaton (who I scooped from FA the week he returned). I havent seen much at all to “like” about Eaton and now fear Michael Taylor is actually beginning to make sense for being in the Major Leagues …

    Drop Eaton for Souza?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m not an Eaton fan and would say Souza has more upside. If Eaton was alreadyo n waivers, I’m good with it

  4. pacer says:

    Straight points league, drop any of the following for Souza: Schebler, Nimmo, Eaton?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      See above for Eaton….lol

      I could see swapping out Schebler too, though he’s intriguing right now himself

  5. Jay says:

    H2H Points E. Hernandez or Jose Peraza?

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