deGromination: Definition – when a pitcher with favorable splits to pitching at home shows pure domination in a home start
Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets burst onto the scene in 2014 for a breakout rookie season despite a rather unimpressive Minor League track record, but there was little to suggest that he was in for any severe regression this season. With a matchup versus the Cardinals on Thursday, deGrom was utterly masterful as he struck out 11 in 8 scoreless innings, allowing only one base runner to reach on a Matt Carpenter single in the 1st inning.
Over deGrom’s last couple starts where he had a very rough go at Wrigley Field in Chicago but then turned in a good outing at home versus Milwaukee, I have alluded to the fact that deGrom seems to be very uncomfortable in road starts, but is extremely dominant in home starts at Citi Field. It isn’t uncommon for some pitchers to struggle on the road, whether it is the home team crowd getting on the pitcher’s nerves, the discomfort pitching on a mound that they are not as familiar with, or just foreign surroundings in general. Some pitchers can handle it, but some cannot. It’s just the nature of the beast. But for deGrom, the home/road splits are very pronounced and are definitely something that needs to be of knowledge to anyone who owns the soon to be 27-year old righty, or anyone who plays DFS (daily fantasy sports). Let’s take a look at the splits including Thursday’s excellent outing.
Career at home: 10 W-4 L, 1.50 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 9.30 K/9, 1.83 BB/9 in 108.1 IP (16 games)
Career on road: 4 W-6 L, 4.21 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 8.83 K/9, 3.49 BB/9 in 87.2 IP (15 games)
Given that deGrom didn’t debut in the Majors till May 15 of last season, these numbers span over 31 starts in just over a year’s time. This may be a small sample size in the grand scheme of things, and he wasn’t nearly as bad on the road last year as he has been this year so far, as it’s been two really bad games against the Cubs and Yankees that have hurt his road numbers. But regardless, it is very difficult to ignore what is going on here.
DeGrom’s next scheduled start comes at home versus the Phillies before he will likely get two road starts at San Diego and Arizona. Obviously he is a must start at home against a rather weak Phillies offense, but those road starts may be difficult for him as Petco Park doesn’t seem to be the pitcher friendly park that it once was, and Chase Field in Arizona is definitely a hitter’s haven. I wouldn’t necessarily bench him for those road starts, but strong consideration has to be given to doing so, and with any road starts versus good offenses in general.
Let’s see what else happened on Thursday’s split morning/afternoon slate.
Ender Inciarte – 3 for 5, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. I’ve vowed to mention all of Inciarte’s good games until he is at least 50% owned in Yahoo leagues. Last time that I mentioned him he was at 35%, but now he is at 40%. Progress. He’s not flashy and won’t hit for power at all, but with low strikeouts he can hit .300 and steal 30 bases while scoring a good amount of runs at the top of the Arizona lineup.
Yasmany Tomas – 2 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Wow, this is just getting out of control now. I shall repeat: ever since I mentioned how I am liking Tomas in the daily notes several days ago, he’s been on a terror. This was his 6th multi-hit game in a row as he’s got his AVG up to .349 now. Now if only we can start seeing some more power out of him (if he hits a HR on Friday then that will just be awesome).
Addison Reed – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Reed worked a clean 8th inning for a hold on Thursday. I mentioned right after Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale removed Reed from the closer’s role that I expect him to reclaim it soon. Reed has now pitched 4 scoreless innings since he was removed as closer and despite the team getting 2 saves from Enrique Burgos and the save from Brad Ziegler on Thursday, I wouldn’t be surprised if Reed gets the next chance. But we’ll have to wait and see.
Mat Latos – 5.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Latos doesn’t deserve a 6.12 ERA, but he still is pitching like a bum. I’ve said before that i wouldn’t have drafted him to begin with, so I would say that it is pretty safe to waive him for now.
Steve Pearce – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Pearce hit a grand slam on Thursday for his 4th HR of the season. He’s still not out of the season long slump that he’s been in, but when/if he ever does get out of it, that power at 2B will be nice.
Adam Jones – 0 for 4, 1 SB, 1 K. A hitless day at the plate for Jones, but he logged his first stolen base of the season. Jones is a really good athlete with decent speed, so it surprises me that his carer high in SB is only 16 and last year he only had 7. Considering it took him 6.5 weeks to get his first stolen base this season, I don’t think that he will be reaching double digits again this year.
Preston Tucker – 1 for 1, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R. I mentioned Tucker last week as a someone to keep an eye on for power. He was crushing it in the Minors before his call up and has been hitting nicely for the Astros when he’s been in the lineup, and on Thursday he got a pinch-hit HR for his first of his career. Given how Chris Carter, Evan Gattis, and Colby Rasmus have been all or nothing type of hitters (George Springer too, but he won’t be losing playing time because of his great defense), Tucker’s small sample performance has been a welcome sight and he could be in for an increase in playing time. In that case, he would be a very intriguing outfield option.
David Price – 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K. Price is now 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 54 K/13 BB in 59 IP. Nothing like a start versus the feast or famine Astros lineup to help a pitcher’s strikeout rate. Price came into the game at just 7.13 K/9, but saw that jump all the way to 8.15 K/9 when he was done with them. Last year he had a career high 9.82 K/9, but I think that’s going to be an outlier in his career. He’s still a great pitcher, but should settle in somewhere between 8.00-9.00 K/9.
Joakim Soria – 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K with the BS. Soria’s first blown save of the season had to come at some point. His stat line will continue to regress, but he should remain a solid closer if healthy.
Lucas Duda – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Full piece on Duda coming up.
Jaime Garcia – 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K with the L. While it wasn’t a spectacular first start of the season for Garcia, it was still quality and he is always a quality option as long as he is healthy. The problem is that he is never healthy, averaging only 12 starts over the last three seasons. I’ll set the over/under on when he lands back on the DL as the All-Star break, and I would take the under.
Brandon Barnes – 4 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 R. Barnes got recalled from AAA after the scuffling Drew Stubbs was sent down. With Corey Dickerson on the DL, Barnes could see a good amount of starts. He wasn’t exactly tearing it up at AAA (.205 AVG, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 19 R, 7 SB), but anyone can get hot at Coors Field.
Brandon Belt – 0 for 3, 1 K. I know that I’ve been talking Belt up after his recent hot streak where he ate up the city of Cincinnati, but Belt entered the day 3 for 32 with 18 K versus Clayton Kershaw in his career, so this was a horrible matchup for him on Thursday. Frankly, I am surprised that he was even in the starting lineup in a day game after a night game versus a tough lefty that just obliterates him. We’ll just call this a minor pause in his hot streak and hope that he gets it rolling again on Friday.
Madison Bumgarner – 6.1 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K with the W. Bumgarner even swatted a solo blast off Kershaw. These Bumgarner/Kershaw games are always exciting. Two of the league’s top pitchers on teams that are longtime rivals. Doesn’t get much better than that, so to see one take the other yard is great baseball.
Clayton Kershaw – 7.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K with the L. Kershaw continues to underwhelm, but Kershaw owners need to be patient with him as we all know what to expect from him.
Edwin Encarnacion – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. Another HR for Encar giving him 10 HR and 28 RBI this year, and he now has 5 HR left to hit before the end of the month to prove me right about the prediction I made on May 9.
R.A. Dickey – 9 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K with the W. Dickey goes the distance but still manages to have a rather “meh” stat line. At 37 years old, Dickey hit his prime about 10 years later than most players do, and now at 40, he is clearly way passed his prime. He doesn’t belong on many fantasy rosters.
David Freese – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Freese bombed his 8th HR on Thursday as he continues his power surge.
Matt Shoemaker – 6 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K with the L. After Shoemaker’s last start, I pointed out that the long ball has been his Achilles heel this year and that same trend continued as he served up two more gopher balls on Thursday. I also suggested that I could possibly get down on him being a buy low candidate with his solid strikeout to walk ratio, but that his loss in velocity this season would give me some pause in that thought. In this start he was still working with diminished velocity in the 89-90 MPH range mostly, topping out at 91 MPH but bottoming out as low as 87 MPH. So unless he gets that velocity to creep back up to the 90.5 MPH that he was at last season, then I don’t think that he can be a buy candidate, but he surely should start seeing a little better numbers at least.
Cameron Maybin – 1 for 4, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB, 1 BB. Coming over from the Padres right at the beginning of the season, Maybin has been performing adequately when he’s been in the lineup for the Braves. It seems like Maybin has been a career long disappointment as he’s never really put together a great season. But he is still just 28 years old, so there still is some time. He has good speed, but has never shown much power or ability to hit for a high average due to his strikeout tendencies. Really deep leaguers will want to take a look at him for his speed potential.
Julio Teheran – 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K with the W. This is a sight for sore eyes for Teheran owners. In my article “Brave-ing Through It With Julio Teheran and Alex Wood,” I suggested that the reason for Teheran’s struggles so far this year was the fact that he has not been getting ahead in the count with first pitch strikes as often. In Thursday’s start versus the Brewers, it was more of the same as he only threw first pitch strikes to 12 of 23 batters (52.2%), which is down even further from the 54.8% that he entered the night with. However, he was able to get away with it this time because the Brewers have the 3rd lowest walk rate in the Majors, so they were jumping out of their cleats to swing at pitches even if they started ahead in the count. So although it was a very nice outing from Teheran, I am not clearing him of all trouble. He improves to 4-1 with a 3.91 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and 47 K/19 BB in 50.2 IP.
Matt Garza – 6.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K with the L. Just like deGrom, I mentioned last time how Garza has always been significantly better at home than the road. If you couldn’t tell, this was a road start for Garza.
Alex Colome – 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K with the W. Colome has put up a couple scoreless starts, but he has also thrown up some real stinkers. I would not trust him to be of any help long term. He now is 3-1 with a 4.81 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 19 K/3 BB in 24.1 IP.
Jake McGee – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Another perfect frame for McGee in a setup role. Even if he doesn’t see himself in many save situations the rest of the season, he still should provide value in roto leagues with his great ratios. He is looking fully recovered from his arm injury.
Brad Boxberger – 1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K with the SV. I’ve been saying it all along that Boxberger should be the man for the Rays despite McGee’s return. He continues to nail down any opportunity he’s given.
Shawn Tolleson – 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K with the SV. While Tolleson’s save on Wednesday was kind of shaky, he handled this one pretty convincingly after working around a leadoff double. As I said before he even was given a chance to close, he looks like the guy for the 9th for the Rangers.
Mike Aviles – 4 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R. The great game from the utility infielder has his AVG up to .323 to go with 3 HR. For DFS, Aviles is always going to be a decent option when he’s up against a lefty. For season long leagues, it’s going to take an injury somewhere in the infield for him to be considered.
Danny Salazar – 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K with the W. And whatever window of opportunity there was to swoop in and try and trade for Salazar after he got bombed by the Rangers last week, it’s now gone. Loving Salazar.
Kris Bryant – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R. .289 AVG, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 22 R, 4 SB in 32 games, and he’s on a 10-game hitting streak. I think he’s settling in as a Major Leaguer just fine.
Kyle Hendricks – 9 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K with the W. A masterful CGSO for Hendricks as he gets his first win of the season improving his ERA to 4.14 and his WHIP to 1.18. Hendricks is not a big strikeout pitcher, and his strikeout rate of 7.36 K/9 is kind of deceptive because he actually does not have a very high swinging strike %. However, he can be a serviceable guy for fantasy purposes as he has good control and has some ground ball tendencies.