10 Important Stories From 08/18/18 Box Scores: Starters We’re Selling (Bumgarner/Heaney), Buy Low Candidates (Sano) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Jacob deGrom kept pace with the other Cy Young candidates, allowing 0 ER (1 unearned run) on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, in a complete game victory over the Phillies.  While his final line doesn’t necessarily show it, Luis Severino showed signs of turning things around against the Blue Jays allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 5.0 IP.  Mike Foltynewicz continued his breakout campaign, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, to defeat the Rockies.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s dive into the box scores and take a look:

 

1) Miguel Andujar continued his extra base hit barrage…
He went 3-5 with 1 HR (and 1 double), 3 RBI and 2 R giving him 36 doubles, 2 triples and 20 HR over 427 AB on the season.  In his past five games he has 5 doubles and 2 HR and now has his average up to .300 on the season.  It’s easy to point towards a 37.7% O-Swing% as a reason for concern, but it hasn’t created significant swinging strikes (9.9% SwStr%, 17.8% strikeout rate entering the day) nor has it kept him from being able to hit the ball hard (36.5% Hard%).  While he wasn’t expected to contribute a ton of home runs there’s nothing unrealistic in his 16.4% HR/FB and it hasn’t been simply a function of his home ballpark (12 HR at home vs. 8 HR on the road).  He’s clearly emerged and while the Yankees may have wanted to give the third base job to someone else he simply isn’t going to relinquish the role.

 

2) Alex Cobb’s rebound appears to be very much for real…
Taking on the Indians he twirled a complete game allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 3.  Obviously we’d love to see more than 3 K and 7 swinging strikes, but he’s now allowed 2 ER or fewer in four straight starts and 3 ER or fewer in seven straight starts (bringing his ERA from 6.67 all the way to 5.09).  As it is he entered the day with a .324 BABIP and 65.1% strand rate, despite a solid 50.4% groundball rate and 32.8% Hard%.  That tells us that at least part of his issues were simply luck related, though he’s never going to be a fantasy stud given the lack of strikeout stuff (6.19 K/9, 7.5% SwStr%) and the risks of pitching in Baltimore (1.38 HR/9).  There’s some value and he’s usable (and potentially a streaming option), but even with the hot streak and luck metrics it’s going to be tough to trust him most of the time he toes the rubber.

 

3) A dominant Trevor Cahill pitches the A’s into a tie for the AL West…
Cahill clearly outpitched Dallas Keuchel (5.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 4 K) as he tossed 7.0 innings of one-hit baseball, allowing 0 R while walking 1 and striking out 7.  It’s been a great season for Cahill when healthy (15 starts) as he now owns a 3.12 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.  He’s significantly increased the usage of his slider (18.0% entering the day), helping him to a career best 13.2% SwStr% and allowing him to maintain nearly a strikeout per inning.  That’s not to say that Cahill doesn’t have any concerns, as he entered with a 42.3% Hard%, but the strikeout rate along with solid control (2.71 BB/9 entering the day) and a strong groundball rate (53.9%) have allowed him to continue to produce strong results.  Obviously a .279 BABIP could regress, but it’s not enough to cause us to avoid him.  Considering the numbers, imagine how good he could be, pitching in Oakland, if he can limit the Hard% down to closer to the league average mark?  In other words, he’s well worth using.

 

4) Joe Musgrove the latest to shut down the Cubs…
He allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP to earn the W.  Musgrove has now allowed 3 ER or fewer in five straight starts (and seven of eight) bringing his ERA from 4.08 to 3.31.  After not showing much strikeout stuff (he had three straight starts with 2 K) he’s now whiffed 13 over his past 13.0 IP with 30 swinging strikes between them.  Overall he entered the day with a 2.25 BB/9 (2.29 over his MLB career) and a solid 47.0% strand rate, as well as the potential to maintain the surge in strikeouts (10.0% SwStr%, 35.3% O-Swing%).  It all comes together for an under-the-radar option who could really thrive over the final few weeks of the season.  There’s a chance he’s sitting on your waiver wire, but don’t make the mistake of letting him remain there.

 

5) What do we make of Tyler Glasnow…
The final line isn’t all that impressive, as he allowed 5 R (4 earned) on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 6.2 IP.  At the same time it came against Boston and after getting touched up in the first inning (4 R on 2 H & 3 BB) he settled in and was dominant over his final 5.2 IP (only getting touched for a home run from J.D. Martinez the rest of the way).  While he only had 5 swinging strikes on the day, we all know that’s generally not his issue and the fact that he settled in (especially from a control standpoint) speaks volumes.  In 4 outings with Tampa Bay (18.2 IP) he’s issued 6 BB and it’s possible he’s turned the corner in that regard.  Pitching in the AL East he’s not going to be a must use option the rest of the way, but he’s shown enough to make him an intriguing play moving forward and someone well worth owning.

 

6) Does the Royals’ Brad Keller warrant our attention…
Taking on the White Sox he allowed 1 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP and has now allowed 2 ER or fewer in three of his past four starts.  He entered the day with a 3.82 ERA as a starter (he opened it coming out of the bullpen), though the underlying metrics wouldn’t indicate strong upside considering his 50.5% groundball rate, 4.07 BB/9 and 6.04 K/9.  His control has been consistently mediocre since being moved into the rotation (and he had a 3.93 BB/9 at Double-A last season) and hasn’t shown much swing and miss stuff regardless of the role he’s pitched (8.3% SwStr%).  Even with the groundball rate we’d expect him to allow more home runs (0.38 HR/9 entering the day) and what exactly is there to like?  He’s been pitching reasonably well, but fantasy owners can pass.

 

7) Has Miguel Sano finally turned things around…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him home runs in three of his past five games and is hitting .291 with 4 HR and 9 RBI in 55 AB in August.  He does have 20 K vs. 7 BB, though his 12.5% SwStr% and 28.5% O-Swing% show steps in the right direction (15.0% and 31.1%, respectively, overall this season).  That shows that there may have been at least a little bit of development, and no one has ever questioned his power potential or ability to hit the ball extremely hard (44.3% Hard% entering the day).  All he needs to do is cut down the strikeouts, even a little bit, and he can potentially carry your team down the stretch.  While he hasn’t gotten there yet, the value is there and he’s well worth buying in all formats if you still can.

 

8) The regression of Madison Bumgarner may be just beginning…
Taking on the Reds he allowed 6 R (5 earned) on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP.  He generated just 9 swinging strikes and was giving up a lot of fly balls (2 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls), which ultimately led to the Reds hitting a pair of home runs.  We’ve talked about the risks surrounding Bumgarner before, and this outing did little to ease those concerns.  He’s simply not generating the swings and misses/strikeouts that he has previously (9.3% SwStr%/7.57 K/9 entering the day), while his control has also regressed significantly (3.62 BB/9).  He’s never been a groundball machine (44.2% for his career), and there’s a good chance that last night’s home run issues continue (he had limited the home runs, with a 0.68 HR/9 entering the day).  That’s a trifecta of problems, and while maybe he figures it out down the stretch can anyone truly say that it’s a given?  There just not enough in the underlying metrics to consider him a dependable option.

 

9) It’s time to jump off the Andrew Heaney bandwagon…
That’s assuming you were ever on it.  While the young bats were helping to carry the offense, with David Fletcher (2-4, 3 RBI, 1 R) and Taylor Ward (2-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R) helping to the lead the way, Heaney was struggling as he allowed 6 ER on 10 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 5.1 IP.  He’s now allowed 4+ ER in three of his past four starts, while he’s been hit relatively hard all season long (38.5% Hard%)  and hasn’t generated many groundballs (41.4% entering the day).  When you look at the luck metrics you may think that he can turn things around (69.2% strand rate, .275 BABIP), and he’s particularly struggled against right-handed hitters (all 17 HR he’s allowed have come against righties).  It’s not to say that he’s an unusable option, but he’s certainly not a set it and forget it, must start pitcher the rest of the way.

 

10) Is it time to write off Zack Godley…
Taking on the Padres he allowed 6 ER on 8 H and 4 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP and now owns a 4.44 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over 142.0 IP on the season.  He had been showing signs of turning things around (2 ER or fewer in three straight starts) and he’s now gone 10 straight starts without allowing a home run.  He’ll likely have some home run issues at some point (he entered with a 50.4% groundball rate), but his velocity is down (90.0 mph on his fastball), he’s struggled with his control (4.01 BB/9 entering the day) and he’s been hit hard (37.6% Hard%).  What part of that equation sounds like something you’d want to invest in?  We all know the upside is there, but it’s getting harder and harder to truly depend on him for ’18.  If you can keep him stashed on your bench we’d advise it, but for now consider him more of a streaming option.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

3 comments

  1. Tim says:

    Home/Road splits for Cahill are quite pronounced. I don’t know if he should be played on the road, but he is money at home.

  2. Joe Carola says:

    No love for Taylor Ward. Playing everyday and qualifies at C!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      We’ve talked about him a lot, and he was mentioned in one of the bullets . Been hyping him for a while (especially on the prospect page)

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