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10 Important Stories From 10/01/16 Box Scores: Not Buying Buxton, Bradley’s Breakout (11 K)? & More

Sunday, October 2, 2016 2:13
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(Before It's News)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yesterday marked the second to last day of the 2016 season.  Who stepped up and gave us a performance that has us curious heading into the offseason?  Who left a sour taste in our mouth?  Let’s get to the action on the field and see what we can take away from the games:

1) Luis Severino underwhelms in start…
Having been working out of the bullpen it’s not a surprise that he didn’t last long, but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have been productive.  However he struggled over his 66 pitches, allowing 3 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 3.2 IP against the Orioles.  At this point his future role is very much in question, as he’s shown a dramatic split in his results (entering the day):

  • Starter – 8.59 ERA
  • Reliever – 0.39 ERA

Could the team ultimately transition him into a late inning bullpen role to form a dominant 1-2 punch with Delin Betances?  It’s not impossible and a storyline that we’ll have to closely watch moving forward.

2) Wei-Yin Chen finishes on a high note…
Going 5.0 innings against the Nationals he allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 5.  Obviously it wasn’t “spectacular”, but given the opponent and the way he pitched in his first season in the NL (4.96 ERA) it at least gives hope for 2017 and beyond.  He surprisingly struggled with the long ball (1.60 HR/9 entering the day, before allowing a solo home run to Trea Turner yesterday), and also didn’t see the jump in strikeouts that we would’ve expected (though he did have a 9.1% SwStr% and generated 9 yesterday).  Let others ignore him, when he could prove to be a great discount buy.

3) Ty Blach dominates the Dodgers…
It took him 99 pitches to throw 8.0 shutout innings, allowing 3 H and 1 BB while striking out 6.  He didn’t generate many swinging strikes (6), but he did get 14 groundballs vs. 4 fly balls.  Of course the Dodgers’ issues against southpaws has been well documented and Blach is never going to be a significant source of strikeouts (Triple-A marks of 5.06 and 6.25 the previous two seasons).  Sure he’s shown good control and the groundball mark was impressive, but it’s simply not going to be enough.  Chances are he’s never anything more than a streaming option.

4) Jose Peraza continues to show off his legs…
While he went just 1-4 with 1 R yesterday, he also swiped 3 bases to give him 21 in just 71 games this season.  That would project out to 40+ over an entire season, and with a .329 average you’d think he’d be a shoe-in for a full-time role in ’17.  Of course he’s also been caught 10 times, has shown little power (.418 SLG), doesn’t draw walks (7) and entered the day benefiting from a .368 BABIP.  There’s certainly upside potential, and he could really help form a game-changing 1-2 punch along with Billy Hamilton, but he has some development that needs to be done.

5) A solid, though unspectacular, start from Trevor Bauer…
He wasn’t bad, especially with 9 K (courtesy of 15 swinging strikes), but at the end of the day he allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 2 BB over 6.0 innings against the Royals.  He finishes the season having allowed 3+ ER in each of his last six starts and his overall 4.26 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 168 K over 190.0 IP aren’t going to get anyone very excited.  He has shown an improved groundball rate (48.3% entering the day) and should be able to improve upon his mediocre strikeout rate.  Does that mean he’s a lock to develop in ’17?  Hardly, especially given how disappointing he’s been over the years.  That said the potential is still there.

6) Eduardo Rodriguez takes a small step backwards…
Sure he followed up his 13 K performance by whiffing 9 over 5.0 IP (that’s 22 K over his past 10.1 IP), but he also allowed 3 ER on 3 H and 5 BB.  His control hasn’t been a significant question, instead it’s been his lack of groundballs (he entered with a 31.3% groundball rate, generating just 2 yesterday).  Of course if they can’t make contact groundballs don’t matter, but you obviously can’t anticipate him maintaining this type of strikeout rate each and every start.  He obviously showed us something to close out the season, but it doesn’t eliminate the pre-existing concerns.

7) A fantastic finish for Jeff Hoffman…
Sure he didn’t get the W, as Wily Peralta (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 3 K) matched him pitch-for-pitch, but the performance from Hoffman should leave fantasy owners somewhat excited about what is possible in Colorado.  Obviously any Rockie pitcher is going to come with questions, but along with Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson, for the first time there appears to be multiple pitchers who will hold value.  Hoffman allowed 1 R on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.0 IP, as he generated both swings and misses (14) and groundballs (6, as compared to 2 fly balls).  He had been struggling with his control during his time in the Majors (5.13 BB/9), though it’s not indicative of his talent.  He’s hardly going to be a must use entering next season, but the potential will be there for him to at least be a streaming option.

8) Should Archie Bradley’s performance excite us…
Sure it came against the Padres, but his 11 K vs. 0 BB over 7.0 innings has got to grab your attention.  He ultimately allowed 2 ER on 7 H, coming away with the W.  It’s obviously an impressive performance, but it obviously doesn’t eliminate the concerns we have had over his control (3.98 BB/9 at Triple-A, 4.48 in the Majors entering the day).  Couple that with an inflated line drive rate (24.1% in the Majors) and it’s hard to get overly excited off of this one performance (which will certainly be coupled with the hype that has always followed him).  Could this represent the turning point?  Absolutely, but we also wouldn’t bank on it.

9) Khris Davis continues to put an exclamation point on his impressive season…
Sure he is hitting a meager .247, but after going 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R he has produced 42 HR and 102 RBI, despite playing the season hitting in the middle of Oakland’s lineup.  At the time of the trade few thought that was possible, but he’s shown off his power stroke regardless of where he’s played:

  • Home – 19 HR
  • Road – 23 HR

His strikeout rate remains elevated, and you can argue that there’s room for it to bloat even more (he entered the day with a 16.7% SwStr% and 31.4% O-Swing%).  That will obviously limit his overall upside, but it obviously doesn’t eliminate it.  He’s emerging as one of the premier power hitters in the game.

10) Byron Buxton’s big day…
He went 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R, giving him 8 HR and 20 RBI over 97 AB since September 1.  He’s also paired that with a solid .278 batting average, so on the surface there’s reason to believe that he’s finally living up to his potential.  That said the best thing he’s shown is a power stroke, something he’s not known for at this point and is unlikely to be able to maintain considering his 30.0% HR/FB in September.  That type of number is helping to overshadow his continued strikeout struggles (33.7% in September), which would nearly eliminate the upside of a pure speed option.  In other words, don’t go into the offseason prepared to label him as a player who has broken out.  There’s still a long ways to go.

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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