It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 40 which means it’s time to talk about baseball. Today there were only five baseball games. We have the Red Sox at Orioles, Reds at Pirates, Rangers at Giants, Marlins at Diamondbacks, and Angels at Astros. None of these matchups are particularly enticing, with zero matchups featuring two teams over .500. These are the dull days of baseball. Yesterday featured a plethora of Sunday manganese with two-thirds of the league getting a Monday break. Most fans are taking the day off as well since there is nothing on the slate that screams “need to watch”. That’s fine, no one needs to watch any of this baseball. In most sports, that’s a death knell. Not baseball. The only sport that makes sample size matter, today is just another day, even if there are only five games.
It seems wrong to list a guy who was already hitting .296/.367/.507 as someone who is “climbing up”, but trusting a Tucker Barnhardt breakout is hard to do. Tucker went 2 for 4 today with two runs scored and two RBIs against Mitch Keller and the Pirates. Normally the best game of a week for any catcher, this type of outing happens multiple times per week for Barnhart this season. Clearly, a future Former Red with Tyler Stephenson also hitting the lights out of the baseball, Barnhart just keeps hitting today. Catcher is more of a what-are-you-doing-for-me-today position than any other, and frankly, I’m too late on this Barnhart endorsement. Still, it’s better to be late than to never arrive at all.
Mitch Keller has now allowed more runs than innings pitched in three of his past five starts. That’s another way of saying calling his start today a “letdown” is really calling it his entire season. The NL Central is one of the weakest divisions in baseball, and Keller can’t even perform against it. There was a point where Pittsburgh was a place where pitchers went to succeed, but that feels like it was decades ago. Keller clearly has the talent to not be this inconsistent, but he might have whatever was inside Tyler Glasnow’s Pittsburgh mind inside his. Until there are 3+ outings in a row that are not disasters, Keller does not get the starting call on any of my teams. Avoid him like the plague.
There’s a reason that the Angels would rather take the PR hit and cut Albert Pujols than keep him rostered on a last-place team in May. The reason is Jared Walsh. Someone I’ve been all-in on since last year, Walsh is the real deal and fantasy winner. He went 4 for 4 tonight with a two-run dinger and a steal. Since Pujols’ last game in an Angels uniform, Walsh has gone 10 for 22 with two runs scored, a dinger, eight RBIs, and two steals. All this in only five games. It’s hard to even call Walsh hot because he’s been hitting all year and will continue to do so. He will forever be on the underrated list since he’s playing on the second most popular team in his city on the West Coast, but fantasy managers should not sleep on him. He’s a star.
Eduardo Escobar found himself winning multiple awards for being a great player, so it’s only right to give him one for being poor as well. Mired in an 8 for 50 skid, Escobar went 0 for 4 again tonight. Forever known as a streaky player, this is the version of Escobar that belongs on the bench. If you’re in a shallow mixed league and someone cuts bait because they don’t know this is what Eduardo Escobar does, go make the add. He is not an everyday fantasy player because you can cycle in the hot streaks and cycle out the cold ones. Pair him up with the right fellow platoon player and you have one massively elite asset. Hold onto Escobar until he heats up once more.
The Emilio Bonifacio Award
Ryan Mountcastle decided that he was still eligible to play like his 2020 self. Going 2 for 4 against Martin Perez and the Red Sox, Mountcastle is showing off his true skill. A player who is still in my top 10 dynasty 1B rankings despite being terrible so far this year, I still love Mountcastle. His solo homer today was only the third of his season, but there is mammoth power potential. Someone just like Bobby Dalbec who just needs time and more at-bats, Mountcastle is someone who is actually going to get the chance to play through the cold spells. First base and outfield eligible, I’m still advocating an add for Mountcastle in mixed leagues. The heat up is coming, I promise.
The James Shields Award
Alex Wood turned in a 7.0 inning gem against the Texas Rangers today, allowing a lone run on a fifth-inning RBI single by Charlie Culberson. It’s a broken record at this point, but there is something San Francisco is doing to take good pitchers with elite potential to actually maximize it. Wood, Gausman, Sanchez, Cueto, and DeSclafni are an all potential rotation that is actually meeting their potential. Another all potential team member is Luke Weaver, the only other starter who went 6+ tonight. Adding an extra third of an inning and keeping the Marlins scoreless, Weaver is a tantalizing option. However, do not invest. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, Weaver will burn you. There isn’t a breakout here, don’t fall for it.
The Brad Lidge Award
Joakim Soria was supposed to have another solid season in Arizona. Nothing outstanding, but a strong 15 saves before he gets dealt the deadline. Instead, he got hurt and is not incredibly ineffective for Joakim Soria standards. Allowing two runs in one inning against the Marlins today, he is now the owner of a 9.82 ERA and 2.45 WHIP. A sneaky saves contender coming off the IL, he is nothing more than a guy at this point. Cut him. Let someone else have him. He may have just finally aged out as all players do. No reason to chase saves this desperately. If you’re going to do that, just acquire Stefan Crichton.
The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Every day is a baseball day, even if there are only five games on the slate. It doesn’t matter, baseball is always being played every single day from March through November. It’s a sport where the sample size is so big, it’s just another thing that happens daily. There’s nightly “news”, and there’s nightly baseball. Only five games? Who cares, watch it.