Daily Trends: May 12, 2015
Pineda is all-world while Samardzija just cannot find his game. What are the Marlins doing in the bullpen? A review of some early season performers at the dish is also undertaken.
DFS PLAYBOOK PRO – An exciting new offering from the Alarm is here! It’s the DFS Playbook Pro. I will be doing a daily breakdown of the hitters –Hitting Coach – while Howard Bender looks into the Pitchers (Pitching Coach). You can find the link to the Hitting and Pitching articles under the DFS Playbook pro tab at the top right of the screen.
OTHER LINKS TO BOOKMARK
IS PINEDA THIS GOOD?
Michael Pineda struck out 16 batters in his last outing. Crazy good. That effort moved his K/9 rate up to 10.49. That’s massive. Sustainable? Not really. Pineda does own a strong 8.77 per nine mark for the course of his career. That’s what everyone is talking about the strikeouts, but the real story with Pineda might be the walks.
Through 46.1 innings and seven starts Pineda has walked three batters. Three. That leaves him with an 18.00 K/BB ratio. Last season Phil Hughes set an all-time record with an 11.63 K/BB ratio. That’s some perspective. Here’s some more. Over his last 20 starts Pineda has walked 10 batters. Come on, that’s just stupid. Over 20 starts he has a 0.73 BB/9 ratio. Since the start of last season the league average has been 2.91. Is he really 400 percent better than the norm? Come on. Pineda walked 3.15 batters per nine innings during his rookie season. Over 98 minor league outings his walk rate per nine was 2.1. So he can throw darts, but it’s just stupid good right now.
As big a concern as all that is – the white elephant is also that his arm has been a big issue as in a health concern.
2006: 20.1 innings
2007: 59 innings
2008: 138.1 innings
2009: 47.1 innings
2010: 139.1 innings
2011: 171 innings
2012: zero innings
2013: 40.2 innings
2014: 84 innings
The guy has been a professional pitcher for nine years. He has one season of 140-innings pitched.
Just a word of advice… be wary/careful of going all in with Pineda.
WHAT’S UP WITH SAMARDZIJA?
Jeff Samardzija has a 4.80 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through seven starts. This is not what anyone was expecting from him in his first year with the White Sox. Is it just the ratios? Unfortunately no. He’s also saddled with a 7.00 K/9 mark, a batter and a half below his career average. His HR/9 of 1.20 is high for a guy who has a career mark of 0.95. Why is it high? He’s just not generating grounders. The last two years his ground ball rate is 49 percent. This year? How about 35 percent. Very strange indeed. Jeff has cut his fastball rate in 2015, he threw it 54 percent of the time the last three years, but in 2015 he’s thrown the heater 43.3 percent of the time as he’s thrown his cutter much more (12 to 23 percent from last year to this) with solid effect on the cutter (.229 batting average against). However, his sinker is getting pounded to the tune of a .395 batting average and .605 SLG.
So the strikeouts are down, but the walks are low (1.60 per nine) and his 4.38 K/BB ratio is elite. It’s also likely his .320 BABIP comes down (.295 career) and the line drive rate of 29.7 percent – that’s just stupid high given his 20.7 percent career mark. Some concerns with Samardzija, but if you can buy low I would still recommend it.
MARLINS BULLPEN IS A MESS
Steve Cishek was removed from the closers role after another blown chance. So much for what I wrote yesterday (sorry about that). So, what do the Marlins do? Strap in.
Tomas Koehler was also mentioned as a possibility once Henderson Alvarez returns. Don't know why the team would make that move, but it's an option for the blah starter.
A.J. Ramos has to be viewed as the top option in the 9th inning. Lots of strikeouts, frequent bouts of ineffectiveness with nary a wee bit of control, and no 9th inning pedigree.
Bryan Morris was great last year with a 1.82 ERA and eight wins. At the same time he also has a 4.60 ERA and 1.91 WHIP this season and he’s walking about 3.80 batters per nine over the course of his career. That doesn’t sound like a 9th inning arm.
Mike Dunn has four saves in 325 outings. The lefty also has a an issue with walks at more than 3.5 walks per nine the last two seasons, and his career 0.85 GB/FB ratio certainly hints at a less than ideal ground ball arm.
There’s also a report from Joe Frisaro that the club could do two other things. (1) They could make a trade. He randomly floated out the name of Jonathan Papelbon in the piece. (2) They have been in contact with Rafael Soriano who they might sign and we all know he’s had success in the past working the 9th inning.
Ramos will get first shot… but he, and the entire group, doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.
Jose Abreu had a 45.5 percent ground ball ratio last year. That concerned me heading into the 2015 season. This year the number is even higher at 48.9 percent. It’s extremely difficult to hit 30 big flies with a ground ball rate that high.
Pedro Alvarez has been terrible. He’s still on pace for 25 homers and 70 RBIs. There is power upside here.
Don’t look now, but Chris Davis is on pace for 40 homers and 110 RBIs.
Billy Hamilton is batting .198 with a .258 OBP. He’s awful with the bat in his hands. He’s ripped off 17 steals in 18 attempts so he’ bringing that but, and I said this many, many times… Billy Hamilton can’t hit.
Jason Heyward has been a disappointment. But, some solid work the last two weeks has been offered by the lefty swinger. Heyward has a .349 batting average, three steals and 12 runs scored his last 13 games with an impressive .440 OBP. He still has only two homers this season.
Matt Holiday has a .434 BABIP this season. Crazy high tis it. That’s why he’s batting .343 on the young campaign. Each of the last seven years his walk rate has been between 10.2 and 11.9 percent. Pretty impressive actually. This year the number is way up to 18.1 percent. That’s not a sustainable pace for him, and all the walks have smoothed over the fact that his current K-rate of 19.7 percent would be a career worst. Still a productive bat, but some normalization is on the way.
Marcell Ozuna is batting .289 with a .362 OBP. Last year he hit .269 with a .317 OBP. He’s slightly cut his strikeout rate, by a percent and a half, but it’s the increase in his walk rate that excites. Last year the mark was 6.7 percent. This year we’re looking at 10.8 percent. If he can sustain that growth it will go a long way to helping him to maintain significant offensive value.
Jorge Soler has a strikeout, well, pretty much every game. In 120 at-bats this season he’s struck out a whopping 46 times. You strike out that much it’s very, very difficult to hit .275, the batting average Soler is currently sporting. There could be significant trouble when his .411 BABIP and 30 percent line drive rates regress.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday through Friday at 7 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 7 PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).