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10 Important Stories From 09/30/16 Box Scores: Rodon Finishes With Flourish, Upton’s Strong September & More

Saturday, October 1, 2016 3:02
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Michael Pineda’s uninspiring 2016 season came to a fitting end, as he allowed 5 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 4.1 IP against the Orioles.  Yu Darvish struck out 12 batters over 6.0 impressive innings (1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB) to defeat Tampa Bay.  Carlos Martinez kept the Cardinals playoff hopes alive, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 9.  What else happened that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

1) Marco Estrada finishes with a flurry…
Taking on the Red Sox, in Boston, Estrada allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP.  Over his final three starts (19.0 IP) he allowed 2 ER on 9 H and 7 BB, despite it leading to just 1 W (that goes to show you how fluky wins can be).  His strikeout rate was up this season (8.47 K/9 entering the day), and while it’s easy to get excited over back-to-back strong seasons (he finished with a 3.48 ERA and 1.12 WHIP) there’s reason to believe that there is an implosion in his future (entering the day):

  • BABIP – .233
  • HR/FB – 10.2%

He’s not a groundball pitcher (33.1% entering the day), so home runs are an obvious issue.  Can he continue this type of BABIP, especially with a rising line drive rate (20.8% in the second half)?  It was a great year, but it’ll be extremely interesting to break him down in the offseason.  At this point there’s ample reason for skepticism.

2) A big day for Jonathan Schoop…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .265 with 25 HR and 82 RBI on the season.  No one is going to argue against his power potential, the question is going to be if he can refine his approach at the plate to help him produce a bit more in the average/OBP departments:

  • SwStr% – 16.3%
  • O-Swing% – 43.0%

He doesn’t walk and the strikeouts could easily jump (21.3%).  Obviously it doesn’t remove him from viability, but it’s something we’ll be paying close attention to.  He’s going to be a source of HR/RBI, but the other numbers are going to limit his overall appeal.

3) Is Robert Gsellman for real…
Gsellman is one of many Mets to step up in the wake of a season full of injuries.  He put the Mets on the precipice of the playoffs, allowing 1 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 IP against the Phillies to improve to 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA.  It’s easy to get excited about the production, but are these types of numbers believable?  He owned a 3.11 ERA and 6.5 K/9 over his minor league career, including a 5.73 ERA at Triple-A.  That said, the strikeouts had jumped a bit prior to his promotion (7.4 K/9 at Triple-A), he’s always shown good control (2.4 BB/9 in the minors) and he’s been generating more than enough groundballs (54.2% in the Majors).  Sure he’s not this good (81.3% strand rate), but there is reason to believe that he can be a viable Major League pitcher moving forward.

4) Justin Upton continues his September surge…
It took a lot longer than expected, but Upton is showing why we’ve continuing dubbed him one of the streakiest players in the game.  He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, getting him to 30 HR and 86 RBI on the season.  In September he’s hitting .307 with 12 HR and 27 RBI, likely helping to carry the patient fantasy owners towards titles.  It’s been a frustrating season, but at the end of the day he’s going to end up right around where we expected him to.  Hopefully he can find a way to get those numbers on a bit more consistent basis in ’17, but he’s going to remain one of the better options in the league.

5) Carlos Rodon continues showing us what’s possible…
Taking on the Twins he allowed 3 R (2 earned) on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP.  While there was a bump towards the beginning of September, he had 21 K over 14.0 IP in his final two starts and ultimately went 7-3 with a 3.45 ERA and 77 K over 73.0 IP in the second half.  He was showing strong control all year (3.13 BB/9 in the first half, 2.71 in the second) and also improved on his home run rate (0.99 HR/9 in the second half).  He does have the potential to maintain these types of strong numbers all season long, making him an intriguing starter heading into 2017.

6) Chris Carter reaches 40 HR for the first time…
He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, posting the type of season we’d have expected as he’s hitting .222 with 40 HR and 93 RBI hitting in the middle of the Brewers lineup.  He’s particularly liked playing in Milwaukee, with 24 HR coming at home, though the strikeouts continue to be a significant issue (32.0% in ’16, 33.0% for his career).  Will he have a starting role heading into next season remains to be seen, as that type of mark is a hindrance.  That said, when he’s in the lineup the potential is always going to be there for him to send the ball over the fence.

7) The underwhelming season for Yordano Ventura comes to a close…
It’s fitting that he struggled, allowing 4 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP and ends with a 4.45 ERA and 1.44 WHIP.  He was better in the second half, with a 3.73 ERA (5.15 in the first half), but is that enough to get anyone excited?  Not alone, but the strikeouts did jump a little bit (6.58 K/9 to 7.36 K/9) while he generating groundballs all season long (50.2%).  If he can get his strikeout rate back to where it had been (8.60 K/9 in ’15), he’ll have the same type of upside.  It was a bad year, but there is still reason for overall optimism.

8) Tyler Glasnow continues to struggle with his control…
After posting a 5.04 BB/9 in 20 Triple-A starts, he finishes with a 5.01 mark in 23.1 innings in the Majors.  Yesterday he went 5.0 innings against the Cardinals, allowing 1 R on 1 H with 4 K, but he walked 4 batters in the process.  There is no questioning the upside, especially with his 12 swinging strikes and 9 groundballs vs. 2 fly balls yesterday.  However, if he continues to issue so many walks his upside is going to be severely capped as he won’t be able to work deep into games and runs the risk of the blowup.  It’s frustrating and something to keep in mind moving forward.

9) Will Taijuan Walker ever live up to the hype…
Sure he got the W yesterday, thanks to ample offensive support (Robinson Cano went 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R), as he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 5 BB, striking out 3, needing 113 pitches to complete 6.0 innings against Oakland.  He finishes the season with a 4.22 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, though he walked 11 batters over his final 16.2 IP.  That hasn’t been an issue overall this season (2.48 BB/9), instead it’s been his inability to keep the ball in the ballpark (17.5% HR/FB leading to a 1.81 HR/9).  After a 1.33 HR/9 last season it’s fair to be concerned that it will be a consistent issue, but all it will take is getting the number down to the 1.00-1.15 range and the upside is immense.

10) Braden Shipley shows upside to end the year…
Taking on the Padres he allowed 3 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP.  Obviously alone it’s an uninspiring outing, as is his 5.27 ERA, though there is enough upside to at least keep tabs on him.  He did post a 3.70 ERA at Triple-A this season, though he’s always going to be limited in the strikeout department (5.81 K/9 at Triple-A) and he’s been destroyed by the long ball in the Majors (14 HR over 70.0 IP).  He’ll likely be nothing more than a streaming option in ’17, but he’s at least worth watching.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference


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