Jason Grilli (RP-PIT)- Grilli, who had been dealing with a right forearm strain was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, and did not appear in last night's game. Grilli was having a spectacular season before this injury pitching to a 2.34 ERA (1.62 FIP and 2.06 xFIP) with a 14.03 K/9 and 30 saves. The right-hander will not be closing right away, and he will be eased back from his injury. Mark Melancon will continue to close out games, but this does not mean owners should just toss him aside. Clint Hurdle still believes Grilli is the best reliever for the job and is planning to eventually put him back in the role despite Melancon's success this season. Look for Grilli to maintain a successful strikeout rate for the regular season considering his career best 15.3 percent swinging strike rate. He was averaging 93.6 mph with his fastball, and he has improved his overall control this season by throwing more first pitch strikes (63.7 percent).
Ethan Martin (SP-PHI)- Martin made his seventh major league start on Tuesday night against the Nationals and ended up being charged with the loss after allowing five runs in 4.2 innings of work. Martin allowed those five runs on four hits, one home run and five walks while striking out two. While he has featured an impressive fastball that has averaged close to 93 mph and two above average breaking balls, Martin has struggled pitching to a 6.90 ERA (6.44 FIP and 4.89 xFIP). He has been striking out hitters at a strong pace (10.20 K/9), but he just does not have the control or the command to be successful. His walk rate has been quite poor (6.30 BB/9), and his overall zone percentage is below 40 percent. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Phillies take Martin out of the rotation soon considering his general infectiveness. His 19.0 percent HR/FB is also another indication of his lack of command, and I personally do not think he is the control to stick in a major league rotation.
Travis d'Arnaud (C-NYM)- d'Arnaud went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the Mets 3-1 loss to the Braves last night. The rookie catcher has impressed with his defense behind the plate, but he has struggled with his offense in his first 52 plate appearances. He is currently hitting .159/.269/.273 with a home run and three RBI. While that line is not very impressive, it is a small sample size and there are some indications that he has not been overmatched. d'Arnaud has run into some bad luck with a BABIP of .182, and he has shown impressive plate discipline. His 22.1 percent chase rate is extremely low for a rookie, and he has a walk rate of 13.5 percent. Additionally, his strikeout rate might see some regression considering his average swinging strike rate (8.6 percent). I wouldn't be surprised to see d'Arnaud go on some kind of hot streak soon to improve his overall numbers before the end of the regular season.
Yovanni Gallardo (SP-MIL)- Gallardo, who has pitched extraordinarily well since being activated from the disabled list in late August, continued his hot streak on Tuesday night against the Pirates. He did not earn a decision after allowing two runs on five hits (one home run) and three walks while striking out six in seven innings of work. Gallardo was able to lower his ERA to 4.31, but his 3.95 FIP and 3.83 xFIP indicate he has pitched better than his ERA would suggest this season. There is no doubt Gallardo is not the same guy he was a year ago. His fastball velocity has dropped, which has led to a career worst strikeout rate (6.98 K/9) and higher line drive rate (24 percent). However, he has been hurt by a below average strand rate (69.5 percent). Gallardo has also improved his home run numbers by generating more ground balls (49.2 percent ground ball rate).
Hunter Pence (RF-SF)- Pence walked twice and went 0-for-2 in the Giants loss to the Padres last night. While it has not been one of his best hitting seasons, Pence has proved very valuable to owners this year by stealing 21 bases (a career high). He is currently hitting .283/.333/.456 with seventeen home runs. As expected, a full season at AT@T Park has robbed owners of some home runs. His 11.1 percent HR/FB ratio and .172 ISO are both career lows, and he has only hit six home runs at home. Pence's overall numbers have improved in large part to the decline in his strikeout rate. After a career high 21.1 percent rate in 2012, Pence has cut down that number to 16.8 percent. His 10.5 percent swinging strike rate is actually below his career rate of 11.2 percent. Despite his strong performance this season, potential 2014 owners should not rely on those stolen base numbers again.
Follow me on Twitter for baseball info and other miscellaneous ramblings.