10 Important Stories from 09/27/18 Box Scores: Valuing Some Streaking Hitters For ’19 (Luke Voit, David Dahl & Adalberto Mondesi) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The end is in sight…  After a long season you don’t want to take your eye off the ball for the final few days, whether you are battling for a title or looking ahead and planning for 2019 and beyond.  What do we need to know coming out of yesterday’s games?  Let’s dive into the box scores and take a look:

 

1) Is it time to believe Luke Voit is for real…
For the rest of 2018 absolutely, as he simply continues to rake.  He went 3-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .331 with 12 HR and 30 RBI in just 125 AB as a member of the Yankees.  Before we assume that he’s a product of Yankee Stadium, he’s hitting “just” .288 with 6 HR over 59 AB there so he’s actually been more productive on the road.  Long-term we all need to realize that he’s simply not THIS good, as he entered the day benefiting from a .365 BABIP and 36.7% HR/FB as a member of the Yankees while swinging and missing far too much (15.4% SwStr%).  Ultimately he’ll be exposed, there’s simply just not enough time in ’18 for it to happen.  Ride him for the rest of this season, though he could get some rest as the Yankees prepare for the playoffs, but don’t make the mistake of overvaluing him heading into 2019.

 

2) Another day, another home run for David Dahl…
Hitting third for the Rockies he went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R.  He’s been hyped for some time, but it’s nice to finally see it translate onto the field.  He’s now homered in four straight games (8-18, 4 HR, 11 RBI and 6 R) and is hitting .282 with 14 HR and 44 RBI over 234 AB.  Of course a lot of the questions have generally centered around his health and playing time, so the question is going to be if he’s done enough to secure a full-time role in ’19 (he clearly has it for ’18).  There’s nothing unrealistic in his luck metrics, but he entered the day showing a terrible approach (15.6% SwStr%, 39.8% O-Swing%), though he’s managed to make consistent contact (25.2%).  Already a platoon player (.210/.234/.323 against LHP) and with the potential for the strikeouts to explode, we’ll have to monitor him closely.  He certainly will be spotlighted during the offseason, before we make the decision to dive all in.

 

3) A “strong” finish for Julio Teheran…
Taking on the Mets on the road he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 IP.  Of course it’s not like he was generating swings and misses (9) or groundballs (3 groundballs vs. 10 fly balls), so we can’t get overly excited by the performance.  His biggest issue has been his control (84 BB over 175.2 IP), though he also didn’t generate enough strikeouts (162 overall, with the last time he topped 7 being July 4) and he struggled with home runs (1.33 HR/9 entering the day, before allowing 1 HR yesterday, courtesy of a 38.6% groundball rate).  The risk of home runs had already sent him spiraling down rankings, but having now posted a BB/9 of 3.25 or higher in three of the past four seasons that “asset” is no longer there.  At this point it’s impossible to consider him anything but a back-end option.

 

4) Adalberto Mondesi continues to make an impact…
He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R and 2 SB, giving him 4 SB over the past two games and 30 SB over 264 AB overall.  That’s a significant impact, and he’s been a true difference maker for fantasy owners who rolled the dice.  The real question is if he’s going to be able to get on base regularly in order to capitalize on his speed, considering his .309 OBP.  While he’s hit the ball extremely hard (43.3% Hard% entering the day), his approach has been terrible (18.2% SwStr%, 37.4% O-Swing) making it a hard number to believe in.  Throw in an inability to draw walks (2.9%) and a .350 BABIP that could easily regress and where are the “guarantees”?  It’s been a great run, but it likely will lead to him being overvalued heading into 2019 since you have to be able to get on base to be able to utilize your speed.

 

5) Can Ian Happ regain his fantasy appeal…
He went 2-3 with 1 R yesterday, giving him back-to-back two hit games, in what has been an overall miserable season.  Even with the “surge” he’s hitting just .234 with 15 HR and 44 RBI over 384 AB as he’s struggled mightily with strikeouts (36.3%).  Amazingly things could’ve been even worse, as he entered the day benefiting from a .360 BABIP even though a 39.0% Hard% does support an above average rate.  It’s not that he chases outside the strike zone (24.7% O-Swing%) and that has led to a 15.0% walk rate, and he also isn’t a pull heavy hitter (36.7% Pull%) so he shouldn’t be prone to the shift.  Couple that with power and all he has to do is cut down on the strikeouts (36.3%), and that’s something that you’d think he should be able to do.  Don’t write him off quite yet.

 

6) Could Willians Astudillo be earning Minnesota’s catching job…
He certainly has taken advantage of the opportunity, including going 2-4 with 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday.  He now has a six game hitting streak and is now 23-58 (.397) with 2 HR and 15 RBI in September, clearly making a different for fantasy owners who were struggling at the spot.  It’s interesting that he’s shown an ability to make consistent contact (4.4% SwStr% overall) despite chasing far too many pitches outside the strike zone (42.6% O-Swing%).  That certainly makes you wonder right away, especially as a player without much power and not generating a lot of hard contact (30.8%).  Obviously use him over the final few days, as there’s not enough time for it to catch up to him, but don’t anticipate big things in ’19.

 

7) Christin Stewart proving he deserved earlier promotion…
Fantasy owners waited impatiently for him to arrive, but the Tigers kept him pinned at Triple-A for much of the season.  However now that he’s up he’s making the most of his opportunity, including going 3-4 with 1 RBI yesterday.  That puts him at .267 with 2 HR and 10 RBI over 60 AB, showing an ability to consistently get on base (.375).  Obviously it’s a small sample size, but he’s continued to show a strong approach (10.1% SwStr%, 29.7% O-Swing%) and we all know that there is power there for him to tap into.  He showed the reduced strikeout rate during his time at Triple-A (20.7%) and if he can continue on this pace he could easily profile as a .270ish hitter with 25+ HR (with the potential for more).  There’s a lot of value in that, and it will be interesting to watch him over the final few days.

 

8) Marco Gonzales finishes with a strong outing…
He settled for a no decision, though that doesn’t take away from the performance.  Taking on the Rangers, Gonzales tossed 5.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 1 BB while striking out 6.  The underlying metrics don’t scream “great”, with 9 swinging strikes and 3 groundballs vs. 6 fly balls on the day.  That said, after a terrible August he’s bounced back strong in September allowing 4 ER over 21.0 IP.  His strongest asset has been his control (1.73 BB/9 entering the day), though is that enough?  He entered with a 9.2% SwStr%, which doesn’t give much hope in the strikeout department, and a 45.1% groundball rate isn’t enough to justify his 0.95 HR/9.  Control is great, but you need to pair it with another skill if you truly want to thrive.  Without that, Gonzales profiles more as a streaming option long-term.

 

9) Has Jason Vargas proven to hold value…
It was a miserable season overall, but Vargas at least showed signs down the stretch.  He tossed 7.0 shutout innings against the Braves yesterday, allowing 3 H and 0 BB while striking out 6.  He allowed 2 ER or fewer in seven of his final eight starts, lowering his ERA from 8.75 to a still unsightly 5.77 (though that goes to show you just how bad he was early on).  No one is going to confuse him for a good option, though pitching in the National League he showed enough strikeouts (8.26 K/9) and control (3.18 BB/9) entering the day.  He’s not a groundball pitcher (39.9% entering the day), but a 1.91 HR/9?  If he can reduce that number, while coming reasonably close to the other numbers (a 6.16 career K/9 calls that into doubt), he will have some success.  At the very least, maybe he becomes a streamer for ’19.

 

10) Miguel Andujar, AL Rookie of the Year?…
He’s doing everything he can to try and claim the award, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday.  That puts him at .296 with 27 HR and 90 RBI overall.  If you want to point towards an underlying risk, he doesn’t draw enough walks (4.1% entering the day) and he chases outside the strike zone far too much (39.5% O-Swing%).  That said he’s shown an ability to make contact (16.3% strikeout rate), hit the ball relatively hard (35.8% Hard%) and generate more than enough power (15.8% HR/FB).  Whether he wins the AL Rookie of the Year or not, he’s shown that he’s an above average fantasy asset moving forward.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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