Oracle Report: Batters & Pitchers
Batters and pitchers. That's the topic of discussion today. You'll find names like Ventura, Hamilton, Kemp and Sandoval mentioned in this Oracle Report.
Mike Trout is a disappointment. Can the same be said about Yordano Ventura? What about Billy Hamilton or Gregory Polanco? Matt Kemp has found his groove, Matt Shoemaker has been pretty impressive given where he came from, and for the last three months Pablo Sandoval has been an all-star. Believe any of that? Read on to find out what Ray Flowers thinks.
Yovani Gallardo has made 23 starts this season for the Brewers. He's won six games and will have to have some luck the rest of the way to reach 12 wins for the sixth straight year. After striking out a batter per inning from 2009-12 he slipped to 7.17 per nine last season. This year the number is even lower at 7.02. He's cut his walk rate down to 2.51 so at least his K/BB ratio is still two tenths better than his career rate of 2.59. That's fine for a pitcher in the real world, but in fantasy we need a guy like Gallardo to strike batters out at better than a league average rate. The 1.25 WHIP is solid, but overall he's just not offered that much in the fantasy game.
Jeremy Hellickson had a nice outing Wednesday permitting one run over seven innings against the Athletics. That marks a third start in four outings in which he permitted one run or less. Unfortunately, it's the first time he was able to work at least five innings. He's likely on waivers in many a mixed league, and though he's far from being a dominating weapon, he's also not the guy who posted a 5.17 ERA last season. Just look at his career ratios over 106 outings: 3.66 ERA, 1.24 WHIP. Those numbers are a near match for the totals that Mr. Gallardo has posted this season.
Joe Kelly looked strong in his return to St. Louis Wednesday night (7 IP, 1 ER). I know Kelly has a 3.20 ERA through 273 innings, a solid mark. Look at the rest of what he has to offer though. He's 17-14. His K/9 mark is just 5.97. His walk rate is 3.10. His WHIP is 1.38. He gets tons of grounders, 52.2 percent for his young career, but that's really his only outstanding trait. Honestly, he might be best served working out of the bullpen. I see a Jason Marquis future for him if he remains a starter.
Matt Shoemaker only throws 91 mph, and his beard is terrible. He's sure been effective though for the Angels. He's 9-4, has a big K mark (8.58 per nine), and his WHIP of 1.22 is solid as well. I might be most impressed with his 1.75 BB/9 ratio. I'm not necessarily expecting a fantastic finish from Matt, but he's a nice steaming option with the strikeouts and lack of free passes.
Yordano Ventura has had an impressive rookie season. It's been nowhere near an impressive fantasy season though. He's just 9-8 for the Royals. His K/9 rate is 7.80, a solid number but not outstanding despite his raw stuff. His 2.83 BB/9 ratio is solid. Again, not elite though. His 3.47 ERA is solid for an AL arm. His 1.31 WHIP is league average. I do like the 48 percent ground ball rate he owns though. Check out his .300 BABIP and 11.0 HR/F ratio. More average work. Add all of that up and you end up with an intriguing talent, who possesses great stuff, but whose results at this point of his career are only slightly better than average.
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Scooter Gennett hit .324 last season. Didn't think he would repeat that. He had an .834 OPS last season. Didn't think he would repeat that. Well he hasn't, but he's been damn close with a .307 average and .821 OPS. Gotta tell ya, I'm really impressed. In 164 career games he's hit .314 with 14 homers, 58 RBIs, 71 runs scored and eight steals. That's a hell of an effort for any player, especially one who plays second base. He's still dealing with a quad issue that is keeping him in an out of the lineup for the Brewers, but when he's in there he's just killing it.
Billy Hamilton has been really good this season. Not so much of late. It's a long season, a looooong season, and it's fair to wonder how Billy will finish the campaign out as a rookie with no big league history. Over his last 19 games he's hit .195 with a .192 OBP an a .260 SLG. He hasn't walked once in the 19 games while he's struck out 23 times. Say you're not worried and I don't believe you. On the year his BB/K ratio is 0.19, that's half of the league average, and his OBP has dipped to .296. Yikes.
Matt Kemp was a superstar. Then he was injured. Then he was a bum. Now he's trending back toward the first one. In 18 games since the All-Star break he's batting .344 with six bombs, 15 RBIs, nine runs scored and two steals. Moreover, since the start of June he's hit .309 with a .380 OBP and .515 SLG. His career numbers are .292/.350/.491. He's still not running with only seven thefts all year, but his bat is nearly back to previous levels, and that's really exciting even if most don't seem to be aware of it.
Gregory Polanco hit .288-2-10-14 with four steals in 19 games in an excellent start to his big league career. Things went in the tank in July as he hit .214. But, he was still productive as he hit three homers, drove in 10, and scored 16 runs while also stealing four bags. Not gonna say he isn't productive, he has been, an a 15 homer, 25 steal pace will play in any league. His .254 average and .326 OBP are league average, and his .355 SLG is below league average. Great start to his career, even if it's been a bit rough. I wonder if Polanco owners are happy with his effort or not. Are you?
Pablo Sandoval hit .177 in April. Do you know what he's hit since May 1st? Try .317. Read that again. He's hit .317 over his last 315 at-bats. Anyone realize that? He's also hit 12 homers with 49 RBIs. Remove April and he's been, well, a borderline all-star. He's killing it even harder of late with a .338 batting average over his last 19 games as he's driven in 15 runners. He's plated nine runners over his last three games while going deep. If you maintained the faith you've been rewarded.
Mike Trout has 25 homers, five off his career best. Trout has 81 RBIs, 16 off his career best. He'll set career mark in both categories with health. His average is impressive at .302, but that's more than .020 points off his mark the last two years. All great stuff. The biggest issue, and it doesn't diminish his bat at all, continues to be a lack of running. He hasn't been caught which is great, but after seasons of 49 and 33 steals the 12 he's swiped to this point is a huge disappointment. Huge.