Ray's Ramblings - To the Finish
As the season wears down, there is still plenty to discuss. Ray breaks down the return of Bauer, the dominance of Buehler, the struggles of Jon Gray and Cole Hamels, the underrated success of J.A. Happ, the continued greatness of Kershaw, the surprising success of Price and Anibal Sanchez, the recent dominance of Taillon, and two of the top arms in the AL in Severino and Snell. Offensively, there are the slowdowns of Aguilar, Andrus and Bryant. Cano continues to hit. Marte to hit and run (ditto Desmond). Piscotty is producing extra base hits. Rosario of the Mets continues his late push. McKinney has been solid while Puig has gone ballistic.
Trevor Bauer has made a remarkable recovery from his broken leg. So quick has been his recovery, that he will actually take the hill Friday. He will throw a couple of innings and then be relieved by Shane Bieber. If he comes out of the effort in good shape, Bauer will make another start next Tuesday for the Indians. It’s likely too much too late for those that haven’t had him the last few weeks, and it’s also imperative that you don’t add Bauer expecting him to throw enough innings in either start to qualify for a win.
Walker Buehler may or may not have his innings curtailed as he’s right up against the 140 inning pitched mark that the team has always wanted to cap him at (currently 137.2). That said, his last 10 outing he’s the owner of a 1.58 ERA and 11.35 K/9 rate, so it’s gonna take some stones to bench him in the heat of the pennant race.
Jon Gray will have his turn in the rotation this weekend skipped with Kyle Freeland moving from Monday to Sunday. It’s unclear who will fill in Monday for the Rockies, but it seems likely that it won’t be Gray who has been awful his last three starts: 15 hits (five homers), nine walks and 12 runs over 10 innings.
Cole Hamels was blasted for seven runs against the D’backs. His last two outings that’s 17 hits, two walks and nine runs allowed over 6.2 innings. The outing before that he walked five batters in 5.2 innings. His remarkable start with the Cubs is fading fast.
J.A. Happ has been a borderline difference maker this year. His team has won each of his last three starts and 9-of-10. Only once in those 10 outings has he allowed more than three earned runs, the time his team lost. Moreover, in nine starts with the Yankees he’s gone 6-0 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 49 strikeouts in 52.2 innings. Here’s what I wrote at the trade deadline about Happ. “People seem underwhelmed by the addition of Happ. Why is that? Since the start of the 2015 season, Happ is 22nd in WAR, 32nd in ERA, 39th in WHIP and 44th in K/BB ratio (amongst the 145 qualifiers). He’s much better than folks out there seem to think.”
Matt Harvey allowed seven runs to drop his record to 7-9 and boost his ERA to 4.92, yet some folks still shill for him. I just don’t get it.
Clayton Kershaw hasn’t been as dominant as usual, but do you realize just how bizarre that statement is on face value? The last time he allowed more than three earned runs in a game was April 20th. That’s one time in 24 starts this season he’s had allowed more than three earned runs (it was four). He has a 2.45 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He’s been tremendous. The only true negative, other than throwing just 150.1 innings, is that he’s under a K per inning at 8.68 per nine. The mark has been at least 10.39 each of the past four seasons.
David Price allowed six runs, four earned, over 5.1 innings against the Yankees. That’s as more runs than he allowed the previous four outings (five). He’s exceeded my expectations, and then some, on his way to 15 victories, a 3.53 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 171 Ks in 171 innings.
Anibal Sanchez has a 3.01 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with 127 strikeouts in 125.2 innings pitched. Amongst pitchers who have thrown 120-innings, there are 102 of them, Anibal Frickin’ Sanchez has the 49th best WAR, better than Jake Arrieta, Chris Archer, Cole Hamels, Sean Manaea, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana etc. What a remarkable, out of nowhere, it was impossible to predict effort. Anibal Sanchez. #ComeOnUniverse
Luis Severino held the Red Sox to one run over seven innings in an outing all his owners loved to see. In fact, he’s allowed a total of two runs his last two starts looking like the superstar he was early in the year.
Blake Snell has only thrown 169 innings over his 29 starts, but it’s been a magical season for the lefty. He’s not only 20-5 but he owns a 1.97 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and has a 10.65 K/9 rate (200 total). In fact, he’s set to become the first AL hurler since 1990, when Roger Clemens did it, to win 20 games with an ERA under 2.00 if he can hold on to his current ERA. Interesting, the 20 and under 2.00 feat has happened five times in the AL since 1970 with Snell hoping to become the 6th man. He will fail to throw 185 innings. No one else on the list threw fewer than 228.1 innings and the five men who accomplished the feat threw an average of 298.1 innings. #ItsADifferentWorldNow
Jameson Taillon last 11 starts: 7-2, 2.25 ERA, 4.92 K/BB, 1.13 WHIP. Please tell me you kept the faith and held on.
Jesus Aguilar had a homer and four RBI Wednesday to give him a .275-33-103 line in a mere 455 at-bats. That said, he’s really slowed down of late, and over his last 52 games he’s hit a sickly .240 with just nine homers.
Elvis Andrus has two hits in five games, and he just can’t get doing. In 88 games this season he has six homers and 49 runs, about the expected levels. However, he’s hitting a poor .253, but it’s his lack of steals that really stands out. After swiping at least 21 bases in each of his nine big league seasons, he’s swiped four bases. Four. That means he’s not even on a full season pace for 10 steals. Just 30 years old, he will likely end up being a solid buy low candidate next season.
Kris Bryant isn’t fully healthy. I glean that from the fact that he’s hit one homer with 24 punchouts in 59 at-bats since he’s returned to action.
Robinson Cano has six hits, four doubles, and three RBI his last two outings. He’s only appeared in 71 games, but give him his current pace of 140 games and he would go .290-16-85-80 with a .819 OPS. He’s pretty much been the same guy as always, and his game is aging very well.
I wrote about Ian Desmond the other day, noting that he was on the precipice of going 20/20 yet again. Well, he reached those levels yet again this season for the Rockies. As noted by Matthew Pouliot, it’s been a simply terrible rWAR season despite the fantasy success.
Starling Marte is one homer away from a 20/30 season for the Pirates.
Billy McKinney has only three this in six games, but in his 29 outings this year he does own a rather impressive .287/.346/.511 slash line.
Yoan Moncada struck out three times Wednesday night. He’s up to 205 punchouts.
I wrote about Stephen Piscotty last week, but wanted to touch on him again. Over 142 games this season he’s gone .267-25-81-70 with 40 doubles. He is one of 12 men with 25 homers and 40 this season.
Amed Rosario had three more hits and two more steals. He’s been on fire of late. Over the last three weeks he has a .324/.347/.521 slash line with five steals and 23 hits in 18 games. He’s finally producing at the level his talent indicates he should.
Yasiel Puig is a man on fire at the moment. He homered Wednesday night, and his last five games have led to, get this folks, six homers and 12 RBI. Those are winning you a league type of numbers. He’s never going to live up to the expectations placed upon him, but he has 22 homers, 15 steals and a .844 OPS and that’s still pretty damn good.
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.