Ray's Ramblings - Down The Stretch

Posted on 2018-09-21 12:20 by Ray Flowers

RAY FLOWERS      ​​

 

On the hill there is a long list of names to break down (Anderson, Archer, Flaherty, Gonzalez, Keuchel, Pena, Ray). Of course, there is on offense as well (Cain, Castellanos, Duffy, Inciarte, Lindor, Machado, Pham, Rendon, Semien, Stewart, Zimmerman), including a quick take on Adalberto Mondesi who has had a breakout second half. 

THE ARMS

Tyler Anderson sure has a funky delivery with that odd leg kick (it looked even stranger when I was watching it while drinking my second Long Island at the bar). He hit a huge roadblock allowing 19 runs over three starts, but in the four outings since then he’s been mildly effective (8.55 K/9, 1.80 BB/9, 4.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP). He’s tough to trust given the likely return at this point.

Chris Archer has made nine starts since being acquired by the Pirates, and it hasn’t gone as expected as he’s basically pitched the same way in Pittsburgh as he did in Tampa. In those nine outings Archer has a 2-3 record with a 4.86 ERA and a far too high to be accepted 1.40 WHIP. He’s also continued to be hit hard as his 40.2 percent hard-hit rate with the Rays has dropped to a mere 39.8 with the Pirates. His stuff is too good to be at that level, really is, but it was 39.4 percent last season as well as he simply falls into counts where he becomes predictable and gets hit. He’s gotta get ahead 0-1 and keep the pressure on.

Jack Flaherty allowed five runs the last time out, and I’ve heard from some folk’s concern. Really shouldn’t be any though. Over his previous nine outings he was 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and a 10.69 K/9. That’s not the look of a guy who is slowing down.

Gio Gonzalez has had a down season by virtually any measure. That said, he’s looked pretty sharp in his three starts with the Brewers: 2-0, 1.65 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 18 Ks in 16.1 innings. There was no way anyone could have seen this coming given how bad he was with the Nationals. If he’s on waivers, with the way he’s looked last three, well, shot give him.

Dallas Keuchel has allowed 11 hits and six walks, not to mention seven runs, his last two starts (11 IP). Over his last 30 days he’s the owner of a 2.08 K/BB ratio, and given his game that’s simply not going to get it done. He’s had particular trouble this season with the mashers as batters hitting 4th in the order have hit .307/.367/.477 against him.

Felix Pena had allowed six runs over four outings heading into his matchup with the Athletics. Of course, he went out and allowed six runs in the outing. He’s only walked two batters his last four outings, and allowed two homers his last five. In fact, his 5.23 ERA on July 29th had dropped to 3.75 before that beat down at the hands of the A’s. You could do worse for a fill-in if you’re looking for innings down the stretch.

Robbie Ray is flat out streaking. Over his last six outings he’s allowed a total of six runs to drop his season long ERA down to 3.92. Over those 34 innings he’s gone 3-0 with a whopping 12.18 K/9 rate and a 1.59 ERA. However, the walks are still a thing as he’s walked more (19) than he’s allowed hits (16). That’s a 5.03 BB/9 rate. So, though his performance has been much better overall the last month plus, he’s actually walking batters at a rate above his season long level (4.94). That walk rate of 4.94 is exactly a full point above his mark last season, and that’s awful.

THE BATS

Lorenzo Cain has been terrific with a .308 average and 28 steals. Pretty amazing that he’s appeared in 132 games with that overall game and that he’s driven in just 37 runs. There are 16 men who have had 37 or more RBI in the second half. Some of those names follow. Rougned Odor has a .273 batting average with 12 homers and seven steals. Paul DeJong has 43 RBI despite a .219 batting average. Hunter Renfroe has 16 homers and a .549 SLG. Matt Chapman has become a star in the second half with his offensive game matching his elite level defense, as he’s hit .325-13-37-49 with a 175 wRC+ in 56 games.

Nicholas Castellanos has eight hits the last three games. He seems likely to fall short of the 26 homers and 101 RBI from last season, but he’s currently rocking a .299-22-83 line so no one should be complaining (he’s also scored nine more runs than last season).

Matt Duffy has two hits in 3-straight games. He’s only hit four homers with 44 RBI, and that .373 SLG is terrible, but he has hit .300 with a .362 OBP offering his owners some value with so many folks hitting .245.

Ender Inciarte has slowed on the base paths, everyone knows that at this point, but he still has a career best 27 steals. He’s also just seven runs away from a third straight season of 85, he’s one homer off his career best of 11, and he’s already at a career best with 59 RBI. Though he hit a poor .241 in the first half, he’s been his old normal self, and then some in the power department, in the second half with a .306/.348/.466. Uneven but ultimately effective.

We got some time left, but for the second straight year Francisco Lindor has gone 33-87-99-15. He’s posted remarkable numbers for a player I thought would be a Ben Zobrist type at the dish.

Manny Machado is the only player in the top-12 in WAR this season who has appeared in 150 games. He’s had the best season of his career heading into free agency, the type of season everyone knew was in him, with a .296-35-96-79-14 line with a 139 wRC+.

Adalberto Mondesi hot take – he’s Tim Anderson with more speed. Mondesi has walked eight times in 66 games. He’s also struck out 66 times. The result is a hideous 0.12 BB/K ratio. That’s not even one third the league average. He has legit speed, but he’s not a .290 hitter, he might not even be a .250 hitter with that approach (which would lead to a horrid OBO as it’s currently just .026 above his batting average), and without the ability to get on base at a higher rate his entire offensive game, sans the speed, could be at risk, especially when you consider that he doesn’t profile as a 20 homer hitter at this point of his development. He’s a 40 steal threat, but the rest of his offensive game is suspect.

Tommy Pham’s career with the Rays started slowly due to injury. How things have changed of late. Now you look at his 29 games with the Rays and there is a sparkling .339-5-16-23-2 line in 29 games. Over his last 21 games he has a hit in 20 outings on his way to an even .400 batting average including a total of eight hits the last three games. #Blazing

Anthony Rendon has at least two RBI in 5-straight games. In four of those five he’s had at least two hits for a total of 11 base knocks.

Marcus Semien hit 27 homers in 2016. Last year he hit 10 homers in 85 games. This season, he’s hit just 12 homers in 150 games. In today’s game, it’s very difficult to start a guy in most mixed leagues if his homer total is that low, that is unless he has a big steal total of a high batting average. Semien has neither. That said, his overall line of .258-12-61-85-14 ain’t bad, I recently commented he’s the new Asdrubal Cabrera, and he has been better in the second half hitting .267 with a .367 OBP and a 113 wRC+. Solid, but really just a bench option.

Christin Stewart was finally called up by the Tigers, and he’s rewarding that promotion with some offense. Thursday he hit two homers with six RBI, and he is sporting an impressive 0.75 BB/K ratio leading to a .370 OBP. He should be on the Opening Day roster next season and will be a viable AL-only play.

Since the start of August, Ryan Zimmerman has a slash line that is damn impressive at .309/.383/.574. You probably didn’t notice (can’t blame you).

 

You can hear Ray, Monday through Friday, on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Ray is on The Fantasy Drive 8-10 PM EST Monday-Friday, and he’s also on the Guru Elite Show Thursday from 2-4 PM EST. You can follow Ray on Twitter at @baseballguys.