10 Important Stories From 08/03/18 Box Scores: Is Rick Porcello For Real?, Young Starters To Consider (Borucki) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Javier Baez continued his breakout campaign, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R.  It was another stellar showing for Jacob deGrom (8.0 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 9 K), but it wasn’t enough as he lost again and dropped his record to 5-7 despite a 1.85 ERA.  Rougned Odor continued his surge at the plate, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, as he now has 5 HR over his past 6 games.  Justin Verlander stole the show, striking out 14 Dodgers to earn the W (7.2 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 1 BB).  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s dive into the box scores and take a look:


1) Trevor Richards continues to try and prove he’s a viable option…
He was a tough luck loser, as Vincent Velasquez tossed 6.1 shutout innings (2 H and 1 BB, striking out 7), but Richards was strong in his own right allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP.  He’s now allowed 1 ER or fewer in four straight starts (2 ER over 23.2 IP) with 25 K vs. 7 BB over this stretch.  No one is going to question his strikeout potential, as he entered the day with an 8.48 K/9, and he’s also been showing improved control as expected (he entered with a 4.06 BB/9 overall but had a 0.92 at Triple-A prior to his recall and 2.15 at Double-A last season).  The big question is going to be his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark, as he entered with a 0.60 HR/9 but just a 38.7% groundball rate (3 groundballs vs. 5 fly balls last night).  There is some value, but a blowup is always possible given the makeup.  Don’t consider him a must use, but if the matchup is solid he’s worth plugging in.


2) It was an unimpressive debut for Chris Archer…
He received a rude welcome from Matt Carpenter (2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R), who led off the game with a home run, and things just never got on track from there.  Archer finished allowing 5 R (4 earned) on 7 H and 4 BB, striking out 6, over 4.1 IP.  He was getting plenty of swings and misses (15), something he’s been doing all season long (13.6% SwStr%), but he struggled with his control (which is an aberration, considering his 2.91 BB/9 entering the day).  The key for Archer is improving upon his 40.2% Hard%, which has helped lead to a .343 BABIP and 71.6% strand rate.  We’ll have to give it a little bit of time to see if a new voice in his ear helps him get on track, but we all know the upside is there.


3) Rick Porcello dominated the Yankees…
It took him just 86 pitches for a complete game victory, outpitching the struggling Luis Severino (5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 2 K, though he appeared to right the ship after allowing 3 R in the first inning).  Porcello allowed 1 ER on 1 H (a HR to Miguel Andujar) and 0 BB, striking out 9, in what may be one of the best pitching performances of the season.  He is now 14-4 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 23 starts this season, as he continues to show the strong skill set that we look for having entered the day with an 8.61 K/9, 2.26 BB/9 and 45.1% groundball rate.  While he has had some home run issues of late, the groundball rate is the key (after posting a 39.1% mark last season), and there actually is reason for concern as he posted a 40.0% mark in June and entered the day with a 40.5% in July (9 groundballs vs. 9 fly balls yesterday).  If he continues down this path there will be more struggles and inconsistent performance.  There’s value, but don’t consider him an ace.


4) Shohei Ohtani erupts and fills the box score…
He took Mike Clevinger (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 K) deep twice, finishing the day going 4-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB.  It was a breakout of sorts, as Ohtani had seen his average fall to .257 entering the day, though it’s still hard to takeaway from what he’s done.  While he’s been lost as a pitcher for the time being, he’s now hitting .272 with 11 HR, 28 RBI, 29 R and 3 SB over 184 AB.  He hits the ball consistently hard (42.6% Hard% entering the day) and while you can argue that he could become strikeout prone (13.5% SwStr%, leading to a 28.5% strikeout rate) and could see his home runs dip (he entered with a 22.5% HR/FB), there’s obviously a lot to like.  The power appears to be real, as he’s also added 13 doubles and 1 triple, and he’s proven capable of drawing a walk (10.0% walk rate).  While he doesn’t play every day, which can be frustrating, when he’s in the lineup there’s a good chance he continues to produce.


5) Don’t forget about Jose Abreu…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, bringing his season line up to .265 with 18 HR and 62 RBI.  Those numbers may not blow you away, but he’s now hitting .346 with 5 HR in 52 AB since the All-Star Break and could easily continue to build on those numbers.  He entered the day with 32 doubles and a 14.8% HR/FB, so there’s every reason to believe that he’ll continue the power surge.  He also should improve upon his .293 BABIP (he owns a .329 career mark, and entered with a 36.0% Hard%) and has shown capable of making consistent contact (10.6% SwStr% entering the day), meaning the average should also continue to rise.  He’s generally been a better hitter in the second half, with a career slash of .315/.383/.540, so continue to ride the wave and reap the benefits.


6) Jonathan Villar sets the table for Baltimore…
Acquired as part of the Jonathan Schoop trade, Villar went 3-5 with 1 RBI hitting atop the Orioles batting order.  He’s now 5-10 with 1 RBI and 1 R in two games since the trade, with 1 K vs. 0 BB.  The question is going to be if he can make enough contact to regularly get on base, entering the day with a 28.2% strikeout rate courtesy of a 13.3% SwStr% (right on par with last year’s 13.7%).  There’s no questioning his speed and he does a good job of staying within himself, putting the ball on the ground (62.9% groundball rate) to try and utilize it.  The problem is going to be his ability to make consistent contact, because if he’s not getting on base he can’t steal bases.  If he can cut that down, even a little bit, he could be a difference maker down the stretch.


7) What to make of Patrick Corbin…
The Diamondbacks scored 6 runs in the first two innings and Corbin made it stand up, allowing 3 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP.  Overall he’s now 8-4 with a 3.31 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, but he’s allowed 3+ ER in three of his past four starts.  The skillset is impressive, as he owns an 11.08 K/9 courtesy of a 14.7% SwStr% (13 swinging strikes yesterday), 2.36 BB/9 and 48.3% groundball rate.  He’s definitely benefited from the installation of the humidor, as he owns a 0.70 HR/9, but what looms is a 42.5% Hard% and .298 BABIP.  That’s an extremely high Hard%, and does bring a little bit of a cause for concern that a regression could come (and this little stretch could be a sign of things to come).  That doesn’t mean that you should be running for the hills or that he can’t continue to thrive, just know the risk.


8) Does Blaine Hardy warrant our attention…
He’s bounced between the rotation and bullpen this season (21 appearances, 11 starts), but he certainly opened some eyes yesterday.  Taking on the A’s he tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing just 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, but ultimately settled for a no decision.  The 31-year old southpaw has shown solid control (2.34 BB/9), but little in the strikeout department (6.62 K/9).  There is a little bit of upside in the latter (14 swinging strikes yesterday, 8.5% SwStr% compared to a 9.3% career mark), but is that nearly enough of a reason to consider investing?  He doesn’t generate enough groundballs (42.2%) nor is his control a lock to continue (3.35 BB/9 over his career), so while this was an impressive outing there simply isn’t enough potential to consider.


9) Ryan Borucki announces his emergence in style, kind of…
He allowed an unearned run over 8.0 impressive innings against the Mariners, allowing 4 H and 0 BB while striking out 2.  He did only generate 7 swinging strikes and he has a miniscule 7.7% SwStr% in his seven starts in the Majors, and considering his 6.78 K/9 at Triple-A prior to his recall it’s tough to get excited about this type of pitcher in the AL East.  He depends on his groundball stuff (51.6% at Triple-A prior to his recall), though that hasn’t even been there to an impressive mark (10 groundballs vs. 12 fly balls yesterday, 46.0% since his recall).  Bring it all together with a walk rate that could regress (2.30 BB/9 in the Majors, 3.27 at Triple-A) and what are we buying exactly?  Strong performance, but keep your expectations in check.


10) Jose Quintana bounces back strong against the Padres…
After getting beaten up by the Cardinals in his previous start (6 ER over 3.0 IP), Quintana allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP against San Diego.  While he did a good job of generating groundballs (9 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls), just 5 swinging strikes is a bit of a red flag especially since it’s a trend that’s been going on for some time.  Over his past 9 starts he’s had 9 swinging strikes or fewer in all of them, helping him to a 7.6% SwStr% overall.  That calls into question his 8.00 K/9, and without fooling too many hitters it also makes sense that his walk rate has risen to 4.12 (despite the strong showing yesterday).  Throw in a 37.1% Hard% and the overall outlook isn’t all that impressive.  It was a strong start, but we wouldn’t be buying.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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

First Baseman
Second Base
Third Baseman


  1. Scott says:

    With kinsler on the dl do you think pearce can play everyday and fill in at 2nd base? Moreland also hasn’t hit for a month and has a knee issue. Do you believe Pearce will be a permanent fixture in the lineup. He keeps hitting and is batting 3rd. Fevers on the dl too. Thx

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      At this point they could easily give him a shot there, considering the alternatives that they have. It also wouldn’t be shocking if they looked to bring in yet another option, as they try to plug the obvious hole

  2. John Valentic says:

    What do you think of Jed lowrie for the rest of the year? Was offered lowrie and Salvador Perez for muncy and mallex Smith… I’m thinking this is a no brainer accept but I don’t expect lowrie to produce like he did the first half. 12 team roto, 2 catcher league. My catchers are weak, have garver and kiner-falefa

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      In a two-catcher league I’d take Perez side but don’t be surprised if Muncy is the best player in the deal

  3. Carlito says:

    Profess can you rank these pitchers

    Velasquez, Pivetta, Duffy, T Anderson, Gibson, Hill (keepers in mind, ros)

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m in the minority I’m sure, but I’m still buy Pivetta as the best option. Gibson would be two and the rest are risky/upside plays

  4. NK says:

    Would you stream Gio Gonzalez vs Cinci today or stay away?

  5. Mike says:

    I just traded Gleyber/Gennett & Skaggs for Jose Ramirez in a 14 team league. 2 weeks left for us before playoffs begin, trade deadline today. Go big or go home. That gives me JRam/Machado/Springer/Harper for the stretch run, in 10th place,6 make it. I think it had to be done. What do you think?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      For this season it makes sense, especially if you didn’t have room to start both Torres & Gennett anyways

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