Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: How Should We Handle These Disappointing Bigger Names (Carlos Carrasco & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Preseason hype is one thing, but how long do we wait before we start to ignore it and lose hope?  Obviously there are numerous players who have disappointed, but the decision becomes a little bit more complicated when we look at some more established players (youngsters who are struggling are easier to run from).  Let’s take a look at three of the bigger disappointments and try to decide if we believe or if the time has come to sell them for pennies on the dollar (all stats are through Saturday):

 

Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians
4.16 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.74 K/9, 2.04 BB/9

The numbers exclude his 1.0 inning relief appearance heading into the All-Star Break, though that shouldn’t have an impact on his outlook.  Obviously he’s showing strikeouts and control, but those aren’t his only strong skills:

  • O-Swing% – 35.9% (tied for third best in the league)
  • Soft% – 13.6% (third lowest in the league)

His groundballs have dipped this season (41.7%) and that has led to more home runs allowed (1.15 HR/9), an issue that’s been consistent (his best month is 45.1% in June).  Obviously if he can maintain the June rate it would be enough, but we aren’t there yet (37.0% in July).  That said, if that’s the only “negative” there’s little reason to avoid him…

A .315 BABIP and 72.1% strand rate should improve, making him an ideal buy candidate heading into the second half.

Verdict – Buy

 

Daniel Murphy – Washington Nationals
.244, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 0 SB

Murphy hasn’t looked like the same player since coming off the DL.  You have to wonder if his knee is going to hinder him all year long or if this is more a case of needing more time to get up to speed.

It hasn’t been a poor approach dragging him down:

  • SwStr% – 5.0%
  • O-Swing% – 27.0%

Instead it’s a Hard% dropping significantly (35.7% in ’17 to 14.8%) and an inability to generate significant power (3.2% HR/FB, after posting marks of 12.4% and 12.8%).  Those two things could potentially be tied to his knee.  It seems odd, but we’d almost be more comfortable buying if he was rounding into form and struggling with his approach.

Given the numbers, it’s looking more and more like a potentially lost season.  If we owned him we’d hold on and see, but we aren’t going out of our way to try and buy.

Verdict – Deny

 

Travis Shaw – Milwaukee Brewers
.244, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 43 R

He’s been disappointing overall, though the underlying metrics support a bit of a turnaround.  Just look at some key marks and their trend from the past few years:

Statistic
2016
2017
2018
FB%44.6%37.6%43.2%
IFFB%9.6%8.6%12.6%
Hard%33.3%37.1%37.1%
SwStr%10.7%8.9%7.6%
O-Swing%32.7%29.3%27.3%

While you at first want to point towards more of a home run approach, he’s hitting the ball as hard as he did a year ago and has actually improved his strikeout/walk rates (16.3%, 12.8%).  That’s promising, and you would think that it’s a given his .249 BABIP improves.  Even if he maintains his overall power rate he should be fine, but there’s the potential for an improvement.

There’s enough here to make him worth buying.

Verdict – Buy

Source – Fangraphs

Make sure to check out all of our Midseason Prospect Rankings:

First Baseman
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Baseman
Outfielder
Pitcher

2 comments

  1. Don'tBeAHader says:

    Is Cespedes or Donaldson too steep a price for Carrasco?

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