It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 28 which means it’s time to talk about how age is relative. It’s unlikely I was actually today-years-old when I learned Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom are the same age, but it was still extremely shocking. Naturally, they aren’t literally the same age as technically Kershaw is four months old, but age is relative. The narratives suggest deGrom is still in his prime, dominating without a clear end in sight. The same narratives also suggest Kershaw is past his prime and merely a “very good” pitcher as he ages gracefully. These narratives truly show that relativity matters. Without this context, the similarities are not shocking at all. With it? It’s jarring. Both of these pitchers are the best of their generation, but the narratives might end up suggesting they’re in two different generations. That’s why it’s always important to remember age is relative.
It’s extremely awkward to have to suggest that Tyler Glasnow has to climb up from anywhere. Tampa Bay’s ace has continually perplexed hitter since his arrival in Florida. Tonight was no exception as the Rays hurler threw seven shut-out innings striking out 10 Athletics en route to his third win of the season. Glasnow struggled as much as a pitcher of his caliber can in his last start, allowing five earned runs and striking out 10 against Toronto. The biggest fear with Glasnow entering 2021 was Tampa Bay’s reluctance to use starters deep into games, but this is his fifth start in six games where he lasted at least six innings. An absolute star, it’s highly unlikely you can trade for him in your league, but Glasnow is the rare AL starter who can be started against any opponent.
Cleveland has been the starting spot of many elite pitching careers over the past decade. The man known as Klubot won a Cy Young after being a complementary piece in a three-team deal for Ryan Ludwick. Trevor Bauer, Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, and Aaron Civale all have become top-tier starters in recent memory under the tutelage of pitching coach Carl Willis. This is a long-winded way of saying Logan Allen is not included on this list. He gave up six runs including three homers in 1.1 innings against Minnesota today and found himself optioned to the alternate site before the end of the day. A sleeper favorite of mine this year, he simply has stunk. With his 6.28 ERA and 1.465 WHIP entering today, he has downright been awful. Cut him and move on as he is not a favorite to return to the rotation anytime soon.
Nick Pivetta has become a quiet producer since he was acquired by Boston at the trading deadline last season. In six starts he has allowed two or fewer runs five times, including blanking the Mets today. Not one to go deep into games as he is averaging just a smidge under 5.0 innings per start, Pivetta does produce when he’s in the game. 25 strikeouts across 24.2 innings with three wins get a starting pitcher noticed. He might not be the perfect full-season starter, but with a light schedule upcoming against Detroit and Baltimore, he could be a very nice buy-low for a team in need of some quick good fortunate.
Dominic Smith went 0 for 4 again today dropping his already putrid .217/.238/.350 triple slash further into the abyss. A popular sleeper pick entering the season, Smith has been anything but positive for a scuffling New York offense. His -0.5 bWAR factors in his subpar defense in left field and his four total extra-base hits (two homers and two doubles) could easily be accomplished by someone a bit more defensively gifted. Dom hit the cover off the ball last year, so there is optimism that this is just an early-season slump. With first base continuing to look poor as a position overall, Smith is a clear hold until he returns to form. If he’s still hitting like this at the end of May, it will be time to reassess.
The Emilio Bonifacio Award
The Braves’ Austin Riley had himself a night in Atlanta tonight. His 4 for 5 performance with a homer, two runs scored and two runs batted netted him his first Bonifacio on the season. Riley’s month has gone the opposite of the way many would have suggested. His on-base percentage is super high (.375 entering tonight) while his slugging percentage is that of a slap hitting middle infielder (.354 entering tonight). The expectation that the power will return is understandable, and if that does happen without the on-base percentage slipping, lookout. The hot corner is hot this season, so Riley’s eligibility in the outfield might be where he sees the majority of his fantasy playing time. Still just 24, this might be the breakout season for Riley not many saw coming.
The James Shields Award
JA Happ, Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Glasnow, Sandy Alcantara, and Domingo German all went 7.0 innings tonight. We’ve touched on Kershaw and Glasnow in some capacity already, so let’s talk about the others. JA Happ continues to prove age is relative by spinning gems. His two runs allowed actually raised his ERA from 1.69 entering tonight’s game. Now 2-0 with a WHIP under 0.85, Happ just continues to defy age and provide fantasy relevance. Domingo German decided tonight he would give flashbacks to his 2019 All-Star campaign. Quietly allowing only two earned runs in his past two outings (including tonight) those flashbacks might just become permanent moving forward. Alcantara continues to be the Marlins stabilizing force in their rotation. Picking up his first win of the season, Sandy should continue to be a usable option in all fantasy formats.
The Brad Lidge Award
Rafael Montero looked every bit his former Met self tonight allowing four runs across 0.2 innings picking up the loss in Houston. Evan White started the rally with a throwing error, but Montero was the one who kept it going. It got ugly fast. An RBI single, bases-loaded walk, and sacrifice fly later and four runs were in. Montero has been completely adequate as a reliever this season which can be fine for a team like the Mariners. The only problem for him is Kendall Graveman has been unhittable. Graveman has allowed one high and two walks across 9.2 innings and clearly is the best arm in the bullpen. Montero owners be warned, he may not be long for the ninth.
The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Just like everything else, baseball ages. Also like everything else, age is relative. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are already the faces of the next generation. They have famous names while performed equal to or better than their famous fathers. That’s the narrative, and it’s correct. We just also have to remember that there is someone else out there. That someone isn’t in the big leagues yet, however, they will be part of this same generation. There is a player lurking and waiting, who will ultimately arrive slightly late but then perform just as well. That player will feel as though he’s younger than these two stars. Remember that it won’t be true, because you will remember the key: Age is Relative.