MLB Game Day Recap Day 44: May Debut

May 15, 2021

It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 44 which means it’s time to talk about a May debut. For whatever reason [re: money], rookies rarely play anything close to a full 162 games slate. Instead, there are delays as elite rookies need to “work on their swing” or “get defensive reps” outside of the Major League roster. Everyone knows it’s to delay Super 2 eligibility to save each team one year of service time to hold the cost of potentially elite players down another year. It’s a business decision. It makes fiscal sense. The problem is it absolutely ruins the sport. Elite NFL prospects do not see their debuts delayed until Week 3 to “get acclimated to the playbook” or NBA prospects debuting in a Week 4 after “working on some plays”. Baseball has a problem and the problem is the owners are somehow greedier in this sport than others. This sucks.

Climbing Up

Welcome to the show Jarred Kelenic. The prized prospect from the legendary Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano trade finally got his first hit. It’s “finally” only because the Mariners don’t care about winning, but it’s “finally” nonetheless. His first hit was a banger as he socked a dinger off Aaron Civale. Ultimately, Kelenic went 3-for-4 with scoring an additional run and driving in three. This is the kind of debut that Mariners fans will remember for a lifetime, even if it’s actually his second game of the season. Jarred Kelenic is here. He may end up closer to being the next Jay Bruce rather than Bryce Harper, but he’s here. Enjoy the moment as a fan, because as much as the owners want to take it away from you, they can’t.

Letdown

Clayton Kershaw did not perform well at home today against the Marlins. The southpaw allowed five runs over six innings including a deep bomb by Adam Duvall. Still sporting an extremely acceptable 3.20 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, this is the type of outing you hate from Kershaw. Not because it’s so bogus and bad that it kills you, but because you know it was so close to being so much better. Still the greatest pitcher of his generation, and the same age as Jacob deGrom, Kershaw is a top-tier fantasy option. Don’t let this blip on the radar mean much to you, because it doesn’t mean much of anything to anyone else.

Who’s Hot

Kyle Tucker is clearly here. He wasn’t during the month of April but oh boy he has clearly arrived in May. Over his past seven games coming into tonight, the Astros outfielder has scored 10 runs, hit three homers, and drove in 10 RBIs, and hit .379. He went 2-for-4 with two more runs scored and two more RBIs tonight. Simply slapping every one of his doubters in the face, Tucker has reminded everyone April was a long, long time ago. Yes, his average is still somehow only .214, but that just speaks to how bad April was. If there was ever a player who reminded fantasy managers that the season is very, very long, it’s Kyle Tucker. Patience is something that every manager needs to display on players, and if you did that with Kyle Tucker, kudos, it’s paying off.

Who’s Not

Sandy Alcantara had an ERA of 54.00 and a WHIP of 6.75 across 1.1 innings today. That’s as cold of a game as any starter can have. He earned four outs and still had numbers that insane, as the Dodgers lit him up from eight earned runs. Headed into tonight Alcantara had been lights out and allowed no more than three runs across his past four starts going at least 5.0 innings per start. It’s tough saying Alcantara is “not” right now, but considering his next start is on the road in Philadelphia, this ranking is more of a prediction than anything. Avoid Sandy if you can until he clearly rights the ship. He’s an excellent pitcher, just hold off on using him for the time being. He’s a hold, not a sell.

The Emilio Bonifacio Award

Garrett Hampson once again takes home a Bonifiaco as he went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and another run scored against the Reds in Colorado today. The 2B, SS, and OF eligible is known primarily for his speed, but he can jack some dongs too. Forever a player who fantasy managers coveted for his speed, he has finally got the consistent playing time this year. The power is not shocking, as he hit five homers last year, it’s just a bonus from this type of player. Hampson is a rabbit who can do it all, and as far as Bonifacio winners, he is elite. Figure out a way to get him on your roster, because his highs will be high. Sure the lows will be low too, but it will all be worth it in the end.

The James Shields Award

Tyler Glasnow went eight strong innings striking out 10 and allowing two runs. Kevin Gausman also went eight strong, striking out a dozen while allowing just one run. I did not expect Kevin Gausman to outperform Tyler Glasnow this year and for my reaction to not be utter surprise, but here we are. David Peterson went 7.1 innings and allowed just two runs. Naturally in true Mets fashion, his inherited runners scored and he did not pick up the win. Zack Greinke went 7.0 innings allowing three runs and picking up the win and five strikeouts against the Rangers. Lastly, Aaron Civale gave up five runs but still went 6.2 innings in a classic Cleveland Indians start. These guys are all a mixture of different types of starters, but they’re all Shields winners tonight.

The Brad Lidge Award

Miguel Castro allowed one run in 0.1 innings of work, which is not awful. He just also allowed the game-winning run when Aaron Loup gave up a walk-off single to Brett Phillips. Castro was selected for this award not because his performance was awful [it wasn’t], rather I wanted to highlight how subjective reliever results are. This performance has numbers that look awful, but Miguel didn’t allow an inherited runner to score like Trevor May. He didn’t allow a game-winning hit like Aaron Loup. Nope, he was just the guy in the middle who performed at worse equally as bad, but it’s his name in the Loss column. Thems the breaks.

Conclusion

The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Jarred Kelenic should have been playing Major League baseball since Opening Day. Instead, he got his first hit tonight. He did not get it because he was hurt, or sick, he got it because the Mariners delayed his service time. Their ex-President of Baseball Operations Kevin Mather explicitly said they were going to manipulate his service time. Even with the lie clear as day and a grievance incoming, they still did it. This problem is so uniquely baseball because baseball is so uniquely stupid. Only the owners could look at the system they agreed to and figure out a way to directly say they did not operate negotiations in good faith. Only baseball can have this issue on the backburner for a decade because they are fucking up so many other things it’s not on the front of the docket. Baseball.

Goodnight.