10 Important Stories From 08/26/18 Box Scores: Starting Pitchers To Ditch, Youngsters Who Can Carry You, Archer’s Struggles & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Kendrys Morales did it again, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, making it seven straight games with a home run.  Blake Snell dominated the Red Sox, allowing 1 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP.  Jason Kipnis had a rare big day, filling the box score by going 4-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s dive into the box scores and take a look:

 

1) Has the viability Nathan Eovaldi run his course…
Taking on the Rays he allowed 6 R (5 earned) on 8 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 4.0 IP.  Sure he did generate an impressive 18 swinging strikes, but he’s now allowed 4+ ER in three of his past four starts and has allowed at least 7 H in each of his past four (35 H and 3 BB over his past 17.0 IP).  Let’s not forget that he was incredibly luck while he was with the Rays (.245 BABIP), and while we might expect better than his .327 BABIP and 65.3% strand rate (entering the day) with Boston he also hadn’t been generating as many swings and misses (7.4%, prior to the big day yesterday).  Maybe he had gone cutter happy, throwing it 43.2% of the time, and yesterday was a step in the right direction.  At the same time, outside of those in deeper formats, trusting him at this point is a very tough sell (especially given his injury history).  If you need the roster spot, feel free to move on.

 

2) Michael Kopech shines in his first “full” start…
Fantasy owners were left wanting more after Kopech’s first start was cut short due to rain, but he lived up to the hype in his first full outing.  Taking on the Tigers he went 6.0 innings allowing 1 ER on 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, to earn the W.  The key to his success has always been his ability to throw strikes, and while we don’t want to say he’s truly “over” his control issues he’s now walked 4 batters over his last 52.0 innings dating back to his time at Triple-A.  You can argue that he’d benefit from more groundballs (38.6% at Triple-A), and while that’s true opponents also need to make contact against him for that to be an issue.  While he didn’t post a gaudy number yesterday, he owned a 12.11 K/9 at Triple-A and no one has questions his potential.  With no real innings concern consider him a must own for the remainder of the season.

 

3) Is there reason to believe in Steven Matz…
When you see the Mets lost 15-0 you are going to instantly think that Matz was a disaster, but it was the bullpen that imploded allowing 14 R over the final two innings.  Matz was impressive over 7.0 innings against the Nationals, allowing 1 R on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 7.  He’s now allowed 3 ER over his past 12.0 IP, with both starts coming at home.  That’s notable, as he entered the day with an obvious split:

  • Home – 4.13
  • Road – 5.03

He also has shown more than enough in all three skills we look for, entering the day with an 8.32 K/9, 3.38 BB/9 and 49.1% groundball rate.  He’s surprisingly been prone to home runs (1.57 HR/9) and his underlying metrics don’t offer as much optimism (8.5% SwStr%, 22.6% O-Swing%), so we don’t want to get too excited.  There’s value, but he also isn’t likely to be a must use option.

 

4) Yet another poor outing for Chris Archer…
The Pirates gave up a lot to acquire Archer, but he’s yet to show that he deserved the hefty price tag as he’s yet to go past 5.0 innings in any of his five starts.  Yesterday was particularly poor, as he allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 4.0 IP in Milwaukee and he now owns a 6.45 ERA since the trade to Pittsburgh.  This is the second straight season where he’s been hit hard (39.4% Hard% in ’17, 40.0% entering yesterday) and his SwStr% is also down since the trade (11.4% before yesterday, when he generated 12 swinging strikes).  Obviously we aren’t about to write him off, especially now that he’s finally out of the AL East, but he’s all tough to trust at the moment.  Consider him more of a stash option.

 

5) Matt Chapman’s breakout performance continues…
He went 3-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R yesterday, giving him a modest four-game hitting streak (9-19, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R) and he’s now hitting .282 with 20 HR and 50 RBI.  He’s shown plenty of extra base ability, adding 31 doubles and 6 triples, and when coupled with a 44.6% Hard% and room for growth in his 14.2% HR/FB there’s an awful lot to like.  It gets even better when you factor in his improving approach, entering the day with an 8.7% SwStr% and 24.5% O-Swing%, and you can argue that the sky truly is the limit.  Even playing half his games in Oakland, Chapman is developing into a potential .290/30 HR threat.  If you have an opportunity to buy, which is hard to believe, you should be doing so immediately.

 

6) Austin Gomber makes the most of a big league…
Pitching in Coors Field is never easy, but when your team hands you a 6 R lead in the first inning (and 10 R in the first three innings) it becomes a little bit easier.  Gomber certainly did his job, after being given the lead, allowing 2 R (1 earned) on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 6.0 IP to improve to 4-0 with a 2.79 ERA over 48.0 IP.  Over his past four starts he’s now allowed 3 ER on 17 H and 10 BB over 22.0 IP, so it’s obvious that the control is something that needs to be monitored.  Of course that wasn’t an issue at Triple-A (2.63 BB/9) or at Double-A last season (3.21 BB/9).  The bigger thing to monitor is a lack of groundballs, with a 38.4% mark at Triple-A and a 35.9% entering the day in the Majors.  That’s going to ultimately lead to home run issues (0.64 HR/9 entering the day) and leads us to believe that an implosion is imminent (he also entered with a 38.7% Hard% and .267 BABIP).  Don’t get infatuated.

 

7) Framber Gonzalez steps up and grabs our attention…
Making his first career MLB start for the Astros he pitched well against the Angels, allowing 1 ER on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP.  The number that’s going to grab your attention is his 11 groundballs vs. 2 flyballs, something he showed between Double and Triple-A prior to being recalled (56.5% groundball rate).  He didn’t generate many swinging strikes yesterday (4), but that wasn’t an issue in the minors (12.9% SwStr%) while he also showed solid control (2.80 BB/9).  He split time in the minors as a starter and reliever, so we need to take that into account, but if he’s going to stick in the rotation there’s going to be a little bit of room for further upside.  He’s not someone to go crazy for, but he at least deserves to be monitored.

 

8) Another big day for Justin Turner, but can it continue…
He went 3-5 with 5 RBI and 1 R, giving him three straight multi-hit games (7-15, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 3 R) and putting him at .308 with 10 HR and 39 RBI over 250 AB.  He entered the day hitting the ball extremely hard (42.0% Hard%) while also showing an elite approach at the plate (5.2% SwStr%, 24.2% O-Swing%).  The underlying metrics are also extremely believable, entering with a .317 BABIP (matching his career mark) and 10.1% HR/FB (which would actually represent his worst mark since 2013).  In other words, why would we expect him to suddenly start to slow down now?  He’s entrenched himself in the lineup, despite what Max Muncy has done, and he should remain a highly productive option moving forward.

 

9) Moving on from Marco Estrada…
Taking on the Phillies he got shelled, allowing 5 ER on 7 H and 4 BB over 2.0 IP as he was taken deep 3 times.  Over his past four starts he’s now allowed 8 HR and is up to 24 HR over 120.0 IP overall, helping him to a 5.18 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.  That’s not about to change, considering his 55.8% fly ball rate (and he had 0 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls yesterday), and when coupled with his sudden lackluster strikeout rate (6.64 K/9 entering the day) and pitching in the AL East he becomes a completely untrustworthy option in all formats.  At this point in the season, if you can’t trust a pitcher why are you about to keep him?  At this point move on and at least find someone that you could stream if nothing else.

 

10) Kevin Gausman appears to have found a home in Atlanta…
It’s interesting that the Braves pulled him after 5.0 IP (80 pitches), as he was pitching exceptionally well against the Marlins to begin with.  It’s likely that it is tied to the 103 pitches and 8.0 innings he threw his last time out.  Gausman tossed 5.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, as he improved to 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA since the trade (3 ER over 27.0 IP in his past four starts).  Before we get overly excited by the numbers, keep in mind that he entered the day with a .238 BABIP and 82.0% strand rate since the trade to Atlanta while he’s also been hit relatively hard (37.0% Hard%) and his strikeouts are down (5.67 K/9).  He did have 13 swinging strikes yesterday, which is a good sign, but it was also against a lackluster offense.  It’s easy to get excited, but don’t be surprised if he hits a rough patch before long.  Just keep that in mind as we move into September.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, MILB.com

9 comments

  1. Carlito says:

    Gibson or Gaviglio both two starts must win game head to head.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’d go Gibson. Gaviglio is an intriguing sleeper, but the Baltimore start is a bit of a concern (even though it’s “only” the Orioles)

  2. AL says:

    In the championship game this week in a h2h points league. I need to start two of the following:

    Quintana @phi
    Fiers vs sea
    D Rod vs ari
    Gaviglio @bal @mia
    EJack or Brett Anderson @hou vs sea

    Thanks for your input, REALLY appreciate it.

    PS: Musgrove or Gant for RP

  3. bartonrp says:

    Where can I find stats for minor league SwStr% and other advanced metrics for minor leaguers? Fangraphs doesn’t have that info.

  4. bbboston says:

    RP: Any thoughts on Framber Valdez?

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