It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 39 which means it’s time to talk about baseball. Every baseball season there are breakouts. Right about now, the breakout candidates start to become more and more apparent. Huascar Ynoa is real. Adolis Garcia is real. Neither of these two were on any short-lists for breakout candidates heading into this year. Baseball always has the cream actually rise to the top, as the sample size is large enough for this statement to ring true. It’s yet another reason why baseball is the best. There aren’t flukes at the end of the season, because the season is long enough to wade out the junk. Enjoy the breakouts, they happen every year and every year they are awesome.
There was absolutely nothing about the profile of a 28-year-old with two career hits who could not crack the Rangers Opening Day lineup that says “future breakout” on it, but that’s why we play the games. Going 3 for 4 with a home run and five RBIs today, Adolis don’t call me Aroldis has an eight-game hitting streak. During that eight-game heater, he now has four homers and 12 RBIs. That’s a week for the ages, and Texas fans are falling in love. Yes, his OBP is still only at .324 and will drop to near unacceptable levels once he gets slightly cold. Still, play the hot hand that has playing time for as long as possible. My recommendation probably comes too late, but if it doesn’t, get on him.
Chris Paddack put together a great start, allowing zero runs against the Giants. Unfortunately, he only went three innings before Ryan Weathers piggy-backing and going another three scoreless plus earning the win. It’s rare that a scoreless start earns the letdown award, but Paddack’s lack of length makes him a candidate to lose his rotation spot. Weathers has done everything that has been asked of him, and that might earn him a nod in the rotation sooner rather than later. Right now, in redraft leagues, neither of these two are real options. There’s plenty of potential, but if you need stats today, you’re going to be waiting and waiting.
Huascar Ynoa was not the name anyone had on their list as the Atlanta Braves starter who stepped up to become their next start in 2021. However, some analyst said way back on April 12th that he was a priority add and a budding star. Looks like that was one prediction that the guy got right. Excusing his 4.0 inning, six earned runs allowed start on April 17th, Ynoa has allowed 4 earned runs combined in his seven other appearances totaling 35.1 innings. That’s not a star, but a superstar. Today Huascar went 6.0 innings striking out six, allowing one run with five total baserunners. It’s no longer hyperbole to say Huascar is a rising star. He is in the sky, a regular star.
Johnny Cueto did not bounce back from the injured list well, allowing five earned runs across 3.0 innings against San Diego. Cueto started extremely hot with a 1.80 ERA and 0.85 WHIP across his first 20.0 innings with 18 strikeouts, but he launched those numbers to the moon after today’s start. Cueto is 35 years old and is everything a 35-year-old former ace is. Sometimes you’ll get excellent performances that will fool you into thinking he’s his old self, other times this is what you get. By no means is Cueto a sell, he’s just a guy whose value is clearly defined. Understand that he can hold value, but also that his value is not going to increase over time.
The Emilio Bonifacio Award
Isiah Kiner-Falefa picks up his second Bonifacio on the season snatching up the award with a 3 for 5 performance including three runs scored. IKF will never be the type of player that is going to wow the power numbers, but he can be the type of player to win you a fantasy league. Playing every day while being catcher eligible is a huge source of value. Head-to-head managers already know the type of value a player like this provides the counting stats. Long gone in nearly all leagues, managers who missed out should turn their attention to Dalton Varsho. The same type of catcher-eligible non-catcher, Varsho is just waiting for the Diamondbacks to pull the trigger. Once he has that playing time, watch out.
The James Shields Award
Adam Wainwright turned back the clock and shut out the Rockies for 8.1 innings in St. Louis today. Striking out five while allowing seven baserunners, Adam looked like the two-time former Cy Young runner-up that he is. It’s just he’s last received a Cy Young vote seven years ago. Tyler Anderson has three straight quality starts and quietly looks like the breakout star of the 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates season. Rostered in under 20% of Yahoo! leagues, this start will make those rostership numbers rise. Sandy Alcantara turned in his typical non-blowup, very good to elite performance. One of the many arms breaking out the Marlins staff, Alcantara is a quiet league winning starter who just keeps his managers in their games every week. Our last Shields winner is Domingo German who has three clunkers and three good games. Yep, sounds like Domingo German.
The Brad Lidge Award
Brad Hand gave up a walk-off single to Giancarlo Stanton blowing the save against the Yankees today in New York. This was the second straight appearance that Hand allowed a run after allowing zero earned across the first five weeks. Absolutely not a candidate to lose his job, Hand is still a top tier closer in a world where few exist. Definitely a buy-low candidate today after back-to-back poor performances, Hand could be a league-winning target for savvy managers. Every team needs saves, and a bullpen as defined as Washington’s makes Hand a clear player to want to acquire.
The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Breakouts are part of baseball. Each and every season we get to see multiple players breakout and become whatever they become. We saw Byron Buxton’s breakout season get halted due to injury, who else will we see get lambasted? The truth is it does not matter, we just want to see the breakouts happen. They’re fun, they’re great, and they’re the best. Breakout seasons rock.