10 Important Stories From 07/07/18 Box Scores: Disappointing Pitching Performances Galore (Happ/Ray), Sell High Candidates & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Wil Myers had one of the biggest days at the plate, despite the Padres falling 20-5 (you read that right), as he went 3-3 with 3 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R.  Jeff Samardzija returned from the DL and pitched fairly well, allowing 3 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 IP.  Cole Hamels had a disastrous day as he lasted just 0.2 innings and allowed 7 R (3 earned) on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 2.  Kyle Tucker made his long-awaited MLB debut, going 1-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R (while striking out 3 times).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s dive in and take a look:

 

1) Has Matt Harvey reestablished himself as a viable option…
Taking on the Cubs he allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 5.2 IP as he settled for a no decision after the bullpen coughed up a big lead (Tyler Chatwood was atrocious yet again, allowing 7 ER on 9 H and 4 BB over 5.2 IP).  It’s his fourth straight start allowing 2 ER or less, going at least 5.2 innings in each outing.  The key to his success has been his control (3 BB over 24.0 IP), though he’s not generating many strikeouts (18, with just 7 swinging strikes yesterday) nor has he been a groundball machine (5 groundballs vs. 8 fly balls yesterday).  That makeup resembles exactly what he’s been all season long, entering the day with a 6.69 K/9, 2.34 BB/9 and 42.3% groundball rate.  The real difference between this stretch and his overall numbers has been the lack of HR (0 HR in five straight starts), but it’s only a matter of time before that catches up with him once again.  The bottom line, don’t buy.

 

2) Is Carlos Martinez officially “back”…
Sure he defeated the Giants yesterday, but it’s hard to call it a dominant outing as he allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 IP.  It is his third straight start having allowed 2 ER or less and he had 15 K over 12.0 IP in the previous two, so the lack of strikeouts is more of an aberration.  Overall this season he’s allowed just 3 HR over 85.2 IP and while his control hasn’t been good overall (5.15 BB/9) that has always been an uncharacteristic mark (3.41 for his career).  He has 3 BB over 19.0 IP over this three start stretch, so it does appear like he’s righted the ship.  Among the Top 15 starters in the game, if you were able to buy low on him while he was really down you should ultimately reap the rewards from that decision.

 

3) If J.A. Happ was auditioning for the Yankees, he failed miserably…
It was a horrendous outing, giving up back-to-back home runs to start the game and ultimately allowing 6 ER on 4 H and 6 BB, striking out 5, over 2.2 IP.  It was his second straight implosion (he’s now allowed 13 ER over his past 8.1 IP), and he’s now allowed 6 HR over his past four starts.  The strikeouts have also been coming down of late (5 K or fewer in five of his past six starts), with his June SwStr% falling to 7.0%, much more in line with his career mark of 8.5% (he entered the day with a still elevated 10.0% mark).  Sure he’s better than he’s looked of late (his ERA is now at 4.44), but he also isn’t as good as he looked early in the year.  A regression in his strikeout rate along with home run issues is going to cause problems, and keep him as more of a plug and play option.

 

4) Niko Goodrum continues to show why he belongs on fantasy radars…
Hitting third in the lineup he went 4-4 with 1 R and 1 SB.  He now has hits in six of his past seven games, raising his average from .220 to .251, and has 8 HR and 7 SB over 219 AB.  Over a 600 AB campaign that would put him on pace for 22 HR and 19 SB, and who is going to complain about that?  He does continue to swing and miss far too much (14.1% SwStr%), but he isn’t popping it up (3.8% IFFB), is hitting the ball relatively hard (35/3% Hard%) and at 26-years old appears to be growing into his power (he’s added 18 doubles, 2 triples and entered the day with a 15.4% HR/FB).  Maybe he’s a .250-.260 hitter, but with power, speed and a spot in the middle of the order there’s an awful lot to like.

 

5) Jean Segura continues to play like one of the elite…
It wasn’t a good day overall for the Mariners, as they fell to the Rockies 5-1 as James Paxton just wasn’t good enough (7.0 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 9 K).  Segura was the lone bright spot, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hitting .333 with 7 HR, 47 RBI, 61 R and 14 SB.  If you want to nitpick on the performance you’ll cite his 4.6% walk rate, but he continues to make contact at a strong rate (career best 5.9% SwStr%) and with his speed it’s not impossible that he maintains his .368 BABIP.  Over the past two seasons he’s hit .319 and .300, while chipping in as many as 20 HR (2016) and 44 SB (2013, though he stole 33 in 2016.  Many thought that 2016 was his career year, but he has the potential to ultimately at least match, or surpass, it given his current pace.

 

6) Yuli Gurriel continues to thrive, but should we care…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, leading the way for Houston’s 12 R and 17 H barrage on the White Sox.  Gurriel now owns a modest five-game hitting streak, going 8-18 with 2 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R and 1 SB.  It’s been a nice little stretch and he is now hitting .303 over 287 AB, though there are questions:

  • Power – He still has just 6 HR, entering the day with a 6.0% HR/FB and pedestrian 32.8% fly ball rate (which will obviously limit the upside)
  • Walks – He has a 4.0% walk rate, at least in part because he chases outside of the strike zone far too often (37.8% O-Swing%)
  • BABIP – Can he maintain a .320 BABIP, given the O-Swing% and 32.9% Hard%

A regression in his BABIP, a lack of power and few walks doesn’t form the prettiest picture.  Ride the hot streak while you can, but don’t become too infatuated.

 

7) Blake Snell stymies the New York Mets, but will it last…
Maybe it doesn’t mean much, considering the opponent, but Snell still tossed 7.1 shutout innings allowing 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 9.  He was baffling the Mets all day, generating 16 swinging strikes and getting them to drive the ball into the ground (10 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls).  While it has been a breakout campaign for Snell, who now owns a 2.09 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, it’s fair to wonder if there’s any chance he can maintain it.  He entered the day with a .225 BABIP and 87.1% strand rate, both of which appear inevitable to regress (and it could be considerably).  He also could start to struggle with home runs (despite what he showed yesterday he entered the day with a 41.4% groundball rate) and he continues to show solid, but unspectacular, control with a 3.40 BB/9.  Long-term the outlook is good, but in re-draft formats the time to sell is now before he starts to show the inevitable cracks.

 

8) Ross Stripling continues to roll on…
He made one mistake, a home run to Mike Trout (3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R), in an otherwise dominant outing.  Stripling allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP to improve to 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 103 K over 89.1 IP.  He has now allowed a home run in six straight starts, and seven of his past eight, though entering the day with a 49.5% groundball rate (6 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls yesterday) it’s not something that should be considered a large concern.  His overall SwStr% is right in line with last year’s mark (11.6% vs. 11.1% entering yesterday), proving that he can maintain the swing and miss stuff while starting (he only had 2 starts in ’17, compared to 13 in ’18).  Throw in control (2.17 career BB/9) and he appears to be the total package.  There’s going to be a step back, considering his 88.3% strand rate, though the potential for fewer HR and an improvement in his .326 BABIP will help offset it.  If you are overwhelmed he still could be a sell high, but for now he’s worth holding.

 

9) David Price and Robbie Ray have almost equally disappointing nights…
Both pitchers could have had a chance to earns a W, as their teams ultimately piled on the runs, but neither managed to go 5.0 innings.  Considering the Rays racked up 15 runs over the first four innings (Tyson Ross took it on the chin, allowing 8 ER over 2.0 IP, and can now be written off after allowing 15 ER over his past two starts), Ray’s performance is easy to call the far more disappointing line (Price left in a tie game, as the Red Sox’ scoring binge came late, though he’s now allowed 12 ER over 8.0 IP in his past two starts):

  • Robbie Ray – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 7 K (96 pitches)
  • David Price – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 9 K (102 pitches)

Since a strong start coming off the DL Ray has now allowed 10 ER on 13 H and 5 BB over 9.1 IP, being taken deep 5 times.  Both starts have come at home, where he has now given up 9 HR over four starts overall.  Wasn’t the humidor supposed to cut down on the long balls?  Until he proves otherwise, consider him unusable at home.

 

10) Mark Reynolds erupts at the dish…
Talk about a big day, Reynolds finished going 5-5 with 2 HR, 10 RBI and 3 R…  That’s not a typo, as he had what would’ve been a solid month in the RBI department for many players all in one game.  Reynolds overall line isn’t bad, as he’s now hitting .292 with 10 HR and 24 RBI over just 106 AB, though he doesn’t play every day, as he’s platooning with Matt Adams and the team is also working Daniel Murphy into the position at times (as they wait for Ryan Zimmerman to return from the DL).  No one is going to question his power, but he also continues to struggle with strikeouts (27.8% entering the day) and he’s not going to be in the lineup every day.  It was a monster performance, but don’t rush to the waiver wire.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

12 comments

  1. Barry says:

    I’ve been riding Derek Rodriguez for the last few weeks, however with the Cubs on deck and Zimmermann available and facing the Rays next I’m contemplating the switch.

    Also, considering Gurriel and dropping Desmond, although I like Desmond’s HR’s and occasional SB. With one move left this week, your thoughts on both would be greatly appreciated as usual.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I don’t really trust Rodriguez (or Zimmermann). I’d ride the better mAtchup as neither are great options.

      As for the 1B if you identified about average Desmond has now upside, but overall I’d lean Gurriel

  2. Mike Honcho says:

    Are you ranking Niko over guys like Hansen, Winker, Bour, Duvall, or Gyorko? What order? 14 team roto mixer

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Good run is on the Gyorko level, but a little better. That puts him behind Bour, ahead of Duvall and in a tier with Hanson/Winker

  3. OtisP says:

    Considering picking up Gurriel for either Dietrich or Nimmo. Thoughts?

  4. E says:

    Goodrum or Schoop ROS? Points League

  5. Michael says:

    Thanks for the insight and forewarning about Snell. You always seem correct about these predictions. How large of a regression would you expect from Snell? Will the Ks remain? If you were moving him, what level return do you think you can target?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      There will still be Ks. It may not be significant, but it could be. I’d shoot for a high level bat and see if you can get someone to bite

  6. Dan says:

    Professor, what are your thoughts on Hosmers struggles? I can try to claim him, would have to drop Kyle Tucker, Pivetta or Jimenez.
    Thanks always

    • Kevin says:

      Am definitely curious of this myself. Been considering dropping Hosmer for a few days now. Have Muncy Belt and Gurriel.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I had Hosmer as an overdraft preseason, so I can’t say I’m shocked that he’s struggled. Granted it’s a bit extreme, but he continues to drive the ball into the ground (61.0% groundball rate) and he’s struggled with his contact rate (11.9% SwStr%). Those two things are not a good combination, and I wouldn’t go nuts to acquire him

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