Welcome to Ronnie’s Run Down! This column looks at some fascinating matchups and facts that might pique the interest of the reader as that day’s games are reviewed. This is just my attempt at creating come compelling thought on any given day. There are nine innings in baseball, and nine points in my daily run down.
- Mike Hauschild is making his first career start today against the Boston Red Sox. The 28 year old Hauschild was the 999th pick of the 2012 Amature Draft. He’s a sinker/slider pitcher that relies on the ground ball to get most of his outs. He’s not likely to go deep in this one, so this game may be decided by the Toronto pen. The Blue Jays have a solid bullpen, but not one of the elite in the Majors. They allow the 7th best HC at 31.9%, they rank 11th with a 3.71 SIERA and 14th with a 23.6% strikeout rate. The Red Sox rank 4th over the last 7 days with a .206 ISO and they’re 3rd with a 125 wRC+.
- Another pitcher making his first Major League start is the San Diego Padres Brett Kennedy. The 24 year old righty is undefeated in 16 starts at the Padres AAA affiliate El Paso Chihuahuas. He’s another one that relies on balls in play with a 52.6% GB on the year. Unlike the Blue Jays, the Padres have a dominating bullpen. They rank 1st in the NL with a 3.29 SIERA, 1st with a 18.4% K/BB, and 2nd with a 25.5% strikeout rate. If the Padres do have to go to the pen early, they have the chops to hold it down.
- Lucas Giolito is holding strong to his place at the top of the list of worst SIERA of any starting pitcher in MLB. His 5.79 SIERA is 0.43 above teammate Reynaldo Lopez in 2nd place. He also has the 6th worst fourseam fastball in the Majors at -7.7 wRAA. Giolito faces a Yankees offense that ranks 2nd in the Majors with a .336 wOBA and a 112 wRC+. The Bronx Bombers hottest hitters right now are Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres who have a 190 and a 140 wRC+ respectively in their last 7 games.
- The Twins Miguel Sano struggled early this season slashing .213/.289/.450 by the end of April, before being reassigned. He returned in May but things didn’t get any better, by the end of July Sano was slashing an anemic .205/.275/.404. Last season Sano broke onto the scene with 28 home runs and a 126 OPS+, but this year he’s failed to delivery. The month of August, however, has been a bit of a turn around so far for Sano. Through the first week of the month, Sano is slashing .316/.435/.421 with a 142 wRC+. He’s doing this while making 76.9% HC. The amazing part is he has yet to record a single SC for the month.
- Ender Inciarte is on fire right now. In his last 5 games he has a .452 wOBA and a 187 wRC+. He’s been able to hit so well due to his incredibly high 58.3% LD. Inciarte is having a bit of a down year this season, his 83 wRC+ is the lowest of his career. He’s always been a solid fastball hitter, for his career going into 2018 he has a 10.3 wFA, but this season his wFA is way down to -7.1. He may be pulling off pitches this season, his 38.9% Pull is the highest of his career and his 25.8% Oppo is the lowest of his career.
- Jhoulys Chacin takes the hill tonight for the Milwaukee Brewers at home against the Padres. Chacin has one of the worst sinkers in the game, worth -9.0 wRAA. That is the 2nd worst sinker in the game behind Jason Hammel. A major problem is that his sinker is one of him most used pitches, and his primary fastball, with a 35.3% usage. Eric Hosmer is the most effective Padre when facing the sinker, his 2.8 wSI leads the team.
- Andrew Cashner throws tonight for the Orioles. Cashner throws 23.3% fourseam fastballs. It would probably be a good idea for him to dial that back a bit as his fourseamer is the 7th worst in the game at -6.5wRAA. He does throw a sinker quite often, in fact it is his most used pitch with a 38.1% frequency. Unfortunately for Cashner, that pitch isn’t very effective either at -4.5 wRAA. His opponent today are the Tampa Bay Rays. The most dangerous hitter in this lineup today is CJ Cron. Not only does he have a total of 9.5 wRAA against the fourseam and sinker, but over the last 14 days, Cron ranks 2nd in the Majors with 64.0% HC.
- Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians is still tied for the league lead in both home runs (33) and stolen bases (26). I recently wrote about the prospects of Ramirez finishing the season with league lead in both categories since it hasn’t happened since Ty Cobb did it in 1909. Ramirez is actually on the verge of a arguably more impressive feat. If he hits the 30 stolen base threshold, he will be the first third baseman (min 80 starts at the position) to enter the 30/30 club. The club has two NL third baseman in David Wright, and Howard Johnson; Johnson did it 3 times between 1987-1991. Only Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds have done it more often with 5 each.
- Bryce Harper is leading the NL with a 96.7% contact rate in August. To go with that, he has just a 7.5% OZone. It’s not just quantity, but quality of contact that is leading to his success, through 5 games for the month he has a .576 wOBA and a .353 ISO. Today he faces Mike Foltynewicz of the Atlanta Braves. Folty has a couple issues when facing left handed hitters, he tends to struggle to stay in the zone as he has a very high 5.04 BB/9 against lefties and just a 2.34 BB/9 against right handed hitters. Lefties are also touching him up for a 4.35 xFIP while righties have just a 2.92 xFIP against the Braves hurler.