10 Important Stories from 09/22/18 Box Scores: Potentially Overvalued Pitchers (D. Rodriguez), Riding The Hot Streaks (Tellez) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Trea Turner filled the box score, going 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.  Justin Verlander was dominant, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 0 BB, striking out 11, but the Astros didn’t provide much offense until late in the game costing him a chance at a W.  Rich Hill provided a dominant performance, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP to defeat the Padres.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s dive into the box scores and take a look:

 

1) Arrieta terrible finish to 2018 continues…
Taking on the Braves he was bad from the start, allowing 4 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over just 2.0 IP.  Of his 51 pitches only 28 went for strikes as he struggled with his control and also saw two bases stolen against him.  He’s now allowed 4+ ER in five of his past six starts (and at least 3 ER in all six of them).  On August 6 he had a 3.11 ERA but that has ballooned to 3.94, though you can chalk some of his struggles up to a little bit of poor luck.  He entered the day with a 27.1% Hard% to go along with solid control (2.90 BB/9) and a good groundball rate (52.1%).  While his strikeouts are down (7.27 K/9 courtesy of a 7.8% SwStr%), we would expect significantly better than a 68.5% strand rate.  Obviously it’s impossible to trust him over the final week of the season, it’s fair to assume that better days await in 2019.

 

2) An ill-timed poor outing for Derek Rodriguez…
That said, is it really a surprise?  Taking on the Cardinals he allowed 4 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 IP.  Entering the day with a 2.30 ERA everything in his makeup screamed of a regression on the horizon.  He managed just 4 swinging strikes yesterday after entering the day with an 8.9% SwStr% and 7.08 K/9.  He also had been hit hard, with a 37.7% Hard%, and also has not done a good job of generating groundballs (39.6% before getting 8 groundballs vs. 7 fly balls).  You put those things together and you’d expect significantly worse than a .251 BABIP and 0.49 HR/9, meaning this could easily be just the start of a regression.  Over one start (all he has left) anything can happen, but expecting him to come reasonably close to what he did this season is far-fetched to say the least.  He has overdraft written all over him for 2019.

 

3) Will anything slow down Rowdy Tellez…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday, and with his double he now has 9 doubles and 3 HR in just 47 AB.  We all know there’s no chance he maintains this type of pace (.404/.417/.787 slash) and the Blue Jays have protected him by keeping him pinned to the bench against southpaws (he entered the day at 1-11 against LHP).  Just so we all know just how far he could fall, keep in mind that he entered the day struggling with popups (18.2% IFFB), having drawn just 1 BB and showing a poor approach (11.6% SwStr%, 36.0% O-Swing%).  Prior to his recall he was hitting just .270 with 13 HR over 393 AB at Triple-A, so while this hot streak is impressive it’s simply not indicative of the type of player he actually is.  It’s not impossible that he keeps it going over the final week of the season, but don’t value him as this type of player moving forward.

 

4) Should we be buying the Trevor Williams breakout…
He tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 7.  He’s now tossed 12.0 straight shutout innings and has allowed 2 ER or fewer in 11 of his past 12 starts.  On July 6, his next to last start before the All-Star Break, his ERA say at 4.60 but he has that all the way down to 3.04.  Of course even before yesterday’s outing he had benefited from a .240 BABIP and 93.4% strand rate in the second half, and while a 27.5% Hard% would justify below league average marks this obviously takes that to the extreme.  He also has lacked strikeouts all season long (6.48 K/9 courtesy of a 7.6% SwStr%) and isn’t a groundball machine (40.0%), further clouding the issue.   Even for one start the bust risk is relatively high and heading into 2019 he carries significant overvalue risk.

 

5) Lucas Giolito gets beat up by the Cubs…
He allowed 5 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 6.2 IP.  After showing signs of a breakout things have gone south in a hurry, allowing 16 ER on 25 H and 9 BB over his past 21.0 IP (four starts).  He’s long been a hyped prospect, but in his first extended look in the Majors he’s struggled across the board lacking strikeouts (6.42 K/9) and groundballs (44.1%) while carrying an inflated walk rate (4.52 BB/9).  Considering his 8.3% SwStr% and 26.3% O-Swing% there hasn’t been signs of significant upside and there has been at least a little bit of bad luck (65.4% strand rate).  An improvement there, along with reducing the home runs allowed (1.42 HR/9), would at least create a streaming option.  It will be interesting to see if he can figure out a way to fully turn the corner in the offseason or not.

 

6) Rick Porcello helps show why wins don’t matter…
After taking a no decision yesterday he still stands at 17-7, though his 4.33 ERA hardly justifies that type of winning percentage.  Yesterday he allowed 3 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out just 1, over 5.0 IP as the Red Sox continue to limit his innings.  Only once has he gone more than 5.0 IP in his past six starts, and even that one start was just 5.2 innings.  Over this six start stretch he’s struggled as well, allowing 18 ER over 30.2 IP (though he’s gone 2-1).  He entered the day with solid marks in both strikeouts (9.13 K/9) and control (2.20 BB/9), though the former is hard to buy into considering an 8.7% SwStr%.  He also has struggled with home runs (1.32 HR/9) and has seen his Hard% regress (31.4% to 36.5%) in the second half though has benefited from significant luck (.242 BABIP).  In other words there’s no reason to think things will get better, at least for his last start of ’18, so unless you are desperate for W ignore him.

 

7) Robinson Cano showing that there’s still upside…
A suspension cost him a lot of the season, but after going 3-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday he’s still hitting .301 with 9 HR and 46 RBI in just 73 games (279 AB).  He’s been particularly hot of late, going 11-15 with 1 HR, 7 RBI and 3 R over his past four games, while adding 5 doubles and drawing 2 BB vs. 0 K.  There may not be a hotter player in the league and with the inability to play in the postseason a non-issue (since the Mariners aren’t going to qualify) there’s little reason to think that he won’t be in the lineup every day.  He’s hitting the ball exceptionally hard (41.9% Hard% entering the day) and continues to show a strong approach (8.1% SwStr%, 32.3% O-Swing%), meaning he should continue to produce over the remainder of the season.  Keep him locked into your lineup at this point.

 

8) An ill-timed disaster for Patrick Corbin…
There have been some who had doubts about Corbin all season long, but he’s continued to produce.  However yesterday’s outing was a bust, and a poorly timed one, as he allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 3.0 IP (he also threw a wild pitch and hit a batter).  He did generate 12 swinging strikes as well as 4 groundballs vs. 0 fly balls in his abbreviated outing and we all know the control issue was a bit of an anomaly (he hadn’t walked more than 2 batters in an outing since July 10).  He has been hit hard throughout the season (42.3% Hard%), so if you want a reason to downgrade him that would be it.  However you have to make contact (11.11 K/9) and avoid groundballs (48.1%) in order to generally capitalize.  It was a poor start, but Corbin should rebound.

 

9) Marcus Semien continues to produce under-the-radar…
He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him a modest three game hitting/RBI streak (5-12, 1 HR, 8 RBI and 2 R).  Obviously a .259 average isn’t going to catch your attention, but over 607 AB he’s had 13 HR and 14 SB while showing a bit more upside in the power department (he’s added 34 doubles and 2 triples).  Let’s not forget that he hit 27 HR in ’16, before a wrist injury helped to zap him of his power a bit last season.  It’s possible that issue has lingered into ’18, and yesterday’s home run was his first since September 7 (he only has two since August 28) and he’s only stolen 1 base since August 14.  Considering how cold he’s been it wouldn’t be surprising if he can carry this hot stretch over the final week, so continue to ride the overall under-the-radar success.

 

10) Hunter Renfroe fills the box score as the breakout continues…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday, as he continues to emerge as a potentially must start fantasy option.  In just 377 AB he’s hitting .252 with 25 HR and 66 RBI, though strikeouts are an obvious concern (104 K).  That’s always been the question, as we all know the power is there, and entering the day with a 15.4% SwStr% and 40.1% O-Swing% in September the concerns obviously aren’t going to disappear any time soon.  That’s not going to stop him from being productive, as he could even improve upon a 20.3% HR/FB and when he does make contact he is smoking the baseball (47.1% Hard%).  Know the average could be limited to .250 or worse, but with power and a spot in the middle of the lineup he’s going to be a viable option in all formats.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

One comment

  1. Jay says:

    H2H Points Start Morton or Ryu today, in the Championship , currently 19 points down . SP limited to 24 for the 2 week series. Love bullpen days as a way around the limit.

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